Drumbeat: December 1, 2009

An oil-less recovery

In the last two years, US oil consumption has fallen some 9%, down nearly 2 million barrels per day (mbpd) from 20.7 mbpd in mid 2007, to about 18.8 mbpd in October 2009. The comedown has been painful, marked by severe recession and high unemployment. As we look to the future and recovery, what should we expect? Will US oil consumption recover, or is the country fated to make do with permanently lower levels of oil consumption?

As ever, understanding the future begins with a look at the past. The seeds of the collapse in oil demand were sown in late 2004, when the oil supply stalled. Thereafter, no extra supply was forthcoming until 2008. Notwithstanding, global GDP growth continued strong, and oil prices rose as demand from China and other emerging countries increased competition for existing supplies. As prices increased, demand in the developed countries stalled, and after 2006, turned down. Thus, peak oil consumption for the US was and remains 21.7 mbpd in August 2005, nearly 3 mbpd above current levels.

Technology lessens risk of imminent oil supply crunch

New oil discoveries resulting from high crude prices and the introduction of advanced technology have reduced the risk of an imminent supply crisis but the debate on peak oil remains alive, a veteran Arab oil analyst has said.

Nicolas Sarkis, Director of the Paris-based Arab Petroleum Research Centre (APRC), said up to 12 billion barrels in new crude discoveries have already been made in 2009, the highest level since 2000.

Mexico Oil Output to ‘Decline Sharply,’ Barclays Says

(Bloomberg) -- Mexico’s oil output may “decline sharply” next year as state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos enters a sixth year of falling production, Barclays Capital said.

Output may drop 8.9 percent in 2010 from this year, Helima Croft and other analysts said in a note to clients today. Mexico, which pumped 2.607 million barrels a day of oil through October, may see Pemex’s output fall to 2.374 million barrels, according to Bloomberg calculations using Barclay’s estimate.

Iran threatens to halt oil exports

IRAN'S oil minister today warned world powers Iran may stop exporting crude oil if economic sanctions continue to be enforced on the Islamic republic.

"Iran is one of the world's major oil producers and any cut in Iran's supply of crude will, undoubtedly, cause prices to surge," the semi-official Mehr news agency quoted Masoud Mirkazemi as saying.

The burning issue

When the International Energy Agency delivered its recent World Energy Outlook, one figure stood out: $500bn.

This is the amount that will need to be invested each year to keep inside the limits that scientists say are needed to head off the threat of catastrophic global warming – on top of the $1,200bn required simply to meet demand in a “business-as-usual” scenario. Such huge sums set the scale of the challenge the global energy system faces in delivering the supplies that consumers need without irreparably damaging the climate. If energy policy is to meet that challenge, it will need some creative and far-sighted thinking, and courageous political leadership.

So what policies are needed to bring about the “revolution” in energy that the IEA and others say is needed? Three guiding principles stand out.

Kjell Aleklett: The Dubai Crisis and Peak Oil

The company Dubai World is completely dependent on tourist travel to Dubai. The investments in projects such as artificial islands (shaped, among other things, to form a map of the world) and gigantic skyscrapers, were meant to be inhabited by rich tourists and business people that travel to Dubai by air. Even if the neighbouring emirate, Abu Dhabi, that has oil and money, gives new guarantees for Dubai’s debt, the fact remains that Peak Oil means that aviation cannot expand in future.

Malawi: Six million Euro to save fuel crisis

Malawi is coughing out a whooping six million euros to halt its acute fuel shortage that has affected its economy. Market watchers blame the crisis on the shortage of foreign currencies to buy enough fuel from Mozambique.

ExxonMobil On Track for Point Thomson Production in 2014

ExxonMobil resumed development drilling Nov. 23 at the large Point Thomson gas and condensate field, located 60 miles east of Prudhoe Bay, and is on track to have the project in production in 2014.

How long could Venezuela's slump last?

Recession has hit Venezuela, South America's top oil exporter, after declining output and low prices for crude, plus a collapse in manufacturing and imports, brought an end to five years of economic good times. Some questions and answers about the downturn and its impact on President Hugo Chavez's socialist revolution.

Oil to drive up Russia growth

Russia's economy is likely to grow faster than previously expected in coming years as higher oil prices speed up its return to pre-crisis levels, deputy economy minister Andrei Klepach told a banking conference in London today.

Statoil and Gazprom sign US LNG pact

Norway's Statoil and Russian monopoly Gazprom signed initial deals to import LNG to the US and trade energy there.

Problem to combat

The Russia/Ukraine crisis prompted another round of initiatives in the European Union, designed to bolster the region’s energy security. The moves echo similar plans around the world, from the US support for ethanol and other alternatives to oil, to attempts by China and India to tie up oil and gas reserves.

Yet for all the talk about energy security, progress so far has been slow. Consuming countries’ vulnerability has increased in recent years, and is set to grow further. Policies to reinforce energy security are available, and by good fortune they are often the same as the measures needed to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, but it will require bold political leadership to put them into effect.

Naxals put the squeeze on transport of Jharkhand coal

India’s Maoist insurgency, which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called the country’s greatest internal security threat, is putting the squeeze on economic activity by strangling the transport of coal.

Naxalite groups have choked movement of the commodity from the mines of state-run Coal India Ltd (CIL) India’s largest producer of the fuel.

Deadly fireball sparks U.S. to levy record fine

WASHINGTON - The Transportation Department said Tuesday it has fined the El Paso Corp. and a Colorado subsidiary $2.3 million for safety violations in connection with a pipeline explosion in Wyoming three years ago that killed one worker and sent a giant fireball hundreds of feet into the air.

The fine is the largest it has levied against a pipeline company, the department said.

Stephen Leeb: Is Technology Hastening Peak Metals?

We've done our part alerting the world to the risk of Peak Oil, but other commodities are just as crucial.

Small vehicles get ready for big outing

Automakers are planning a small-car assault at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which opens to media Wednesday, with fuel-efficient cars and crossovers playing a starring role, especially for General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co.

The focus on smaller models coincides with a broad federal mandate to boost fuel efficiency and lower emissions; automakers are also taking advantage of an opportunity to sway opinion in California, the country's No. 1 auto market with the power to influence the rest of the country.

A nefarious design

IN what has become a common practice, India has cut off thousands of cusecs of water flowing into Pakistan in contravention of the Indus Waters Treaty. This is done to strangulate Pakistan's irrigation system to destroy its agriculture.

EPA delays ethanol decision until mid-2010

A decision on whether to increase the ethanol blend cap to 15 percent for a gallon of gasoline has been delayed until mid-2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said today.

EPA said more testing was needed before it could make ruling.

Energy secretary says U.S. losing edge, but can recover

GREENVILLE — U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu says the type of innovation found at Clemson University is part of what is needed to help the country solve its energy problems.

But the country faces losing its superiority in the clean energy race as China and other countries are moving ahead of the United States on a number of fronts, including making fuel-efficient autos, building car batteries, developing electricity transmission infrastructure and nuclear power plants.

Solar panels were developed in the U.S., but other countries have taken the market away, Chu said today.

Best Buy wants your electronic junk

Dunn believes that sustainability is a rising social value -- and therefore a business opportunity. Twenty Best Buy stores in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Portland, Ore., began selling electric motorcycles last summer, after the company's venture arm took a small stake in Brammo, a startup based in Ashland, Ore.

"I view us as in the early innings of all this," Dunn says, "but it's very, very important to us." If $12,000 electric bikes sell well, the company may try selling solar panels, wind turbines, and electric cars, along with home-energy networks to tie them all together.

Climate-change refugees

A STUDY of rainfall, topography and geography led Charlie Robinson to the pursuit of self-sufficiency in the foothills of the Victorian Alps.

Making buildings more efficient: It helps to understand human behavior

If I told you how much energy your neighbors use on average, and whether you fell above or below that average, would that induce you to save more energy? What if, depending on whether you came in above or below average, you got an emoticon on your energy bill? Say, a smiley face if you save more energy than they do, a frowny face if less.

Sounds silly, right? We’re all rational people here. We do things for considered reasons, not some cartoon face!

Except not so much. In a 2007 experiment in California, homeowners given an emoticon on their bill in addition to information about their neighbors’ energy usage saved 40% more energy than those given information alone. :o

Gulf States carbon cuts will come from projects not people

Large-scale sustainable energy projects are more likely to be successful at cutting carbon emissions in the Gulf States than initiatives aimed at consumers and businesses according to a new report published by the London School of Economics.

The report's authors, Steffen Hertog and Giacomo Luciani, point out that, although the residential sector is responsible for the bulk of electricity consumption and there is a high domestic consumption of fuels such as petrol and diesel, it will be too difficult politically to tackle this through, for example, increasing prices or regulation.

Energy, Peak Oil, and Development 2010 and Beyond

Beyond the issue of climate change, many call into question the phenomena of peak oil , that is the tipping point at which worldwide oil production peaks and eventually slips into decline. This would cause massive problems worldwide as the global economy is effectively built on the notion that cheap, abundant fossil fuel energy sources will always be available. A whopping 40% of the world's energy comes from oil.

Dr. Yergin politely cast aside this notion that the world was running out of oil, citing amongst other examples, recent oil discoveries off the coast of Brazil. "Rather than a peak, production seems to resemble more of a plateau," he said.

According to Yergin, the world has plenty of supply. It is a sentiment echoed by the International Energy Agency (IEA), whose most recent World Energy Outlook 2009 Report indicates that world energy resources are adequate to meet projected demand increase through 2030 and well beyond. However, any IEA projections should be taken with a pinch of salt, as there have been serious allegations their numbers have been exaggerated.

Obama to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan

Washington (CNN) -- President Obama is sending 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan and is ordering military officials to get the reinforcements there within six months, White House officials told CNN Tuesday.

The president, whom Republicans had accused of "dithering" over the decision, came to the conclusion that the deployment needs to be accelerated to knock back the Taliban, the officials said.

Nuclear fuel: are we heading for a uranium crunch?

AS THE world prepares for the largest investment in nuclear power in decades, owners of uranium mines last week raised the prospect of fuel shortages. To make things worse, the reliability of estimates of the amount of uranium that can be economically mined has also been questioned.

Yielding high returns

In 2006, author and Post Carbon Institute fellow Richard Heinberg, citing the need to unshackle food production from oil consumption, said the United States would need up to 50 million new farmers in the next three decades to meet the country’s future food needs.

Megan Fehrman, a grassroots organizer at Friends of Family Farmers, a Molalla, Ore.–based nonprofit whose mission is to support sustainable and socially responsible agriculture in the state, says she saw evidence of the same while traveling through Oregon to assess how to support small farmers. “One thing that came up over and over again was that we need more farmers,” Fehrman says. Friends of Family Farmers estimates that with an aging agricultural population—the average age of an Oregon farmer is about 60 years old—the state could lose up to half of its agricultural production land if new farmers don’t take over. But more than 70 percent of farms in the state are less than 100 acres, which potentially offers a lot of room for new small farmers to step in.

After Emergence of Climate Files, an Uncertain Forecast

Roger A. Pielke Jr. is a political scientist at the University of Colorado who has long focused on climate and disasters and the interface of climate science and policy. He has been among those seeking some clarity on temperature data compiled by the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, which is now at the center of a storm over thousands of e-mail messages and documents either liberated or stolen from its servers (depending on who is describing the episode).

On Monday, I asked him, in essence, if the shape of the 20th-century temperature curve were to shift much as a result of some of the issues that have come up in the disclosed e-mail messages and files, would that erode confidence in the keystone climate question (the high confidence expressed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007 that most warming since 1950 is driven by human activities)?

Bill McKibben: As the World Waits on the U.S., a Sense of Déjà Vu in Denmark?

Twelve years ago in Kyoto, the world was poised to act on a climate treaty but looked for a clear signal from the United States. Now, with the Copenhagen talks set to begin, the outcome once again hinges on what the U.S. is prepared to do.

Oil Companies Look to the Future in Iraq

BAGHDAD — More than six and a half years after the United States-led invasion here that many believed was about oil, the major oil companies are finally gaining access to Iraq’s petroleum reserves. But they are doing so at far less advantageous terms than they once envisioned.

The companies seem to have calculated that it is worth their while to accept deals with limited profit opportunities now, in order to cash in on more lucrative development deals in the future, oil industry analysts say.

“The attraction of these fields to oil companies is not the per-barrel profit, which is very low, but their value as an entrance ticket to the oil sector of southern Iraq,” said Reidar Visser, a research fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs who operates an Iraq Web site, Historiae. “In terms of size and potential, the Basra region remains one of the most attractive areas of future growth for the international oil industry.”

Oil rises above $78 on Chinese data, weaker dollar

Oil prices rose above $78 a barrel Tuesday, driven by positive economic data from China, the dollar's weakness against the euro and optimism on world stock markets.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for January delivery was up 85 cents to $78.13 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

A Chinese industry group released a survey showing manufacturing activity expanded in November for a ninth straight month, a sign oil demand in China may be on the rise.

OPEC Increased Output in November, Bloomberg News Survey Shows

(Bloomberg) -- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries increased crude-oil production in November to the highest level in 11 months as members took advantage of rising prices, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Output averaged 28.9 million barrels a day last month, up 110,000 barrels from October, according to the survey of oil companies, producers and analysts. Iraq, the only OPEC member without an output quota, was the only member to cut production. Countries with quotas pumped 26.5 million barrels a day, 1.655 million above their target.

Reliance not selling gasoline to Iran - co source

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Reliance Industries has not sold gasoline to Iran since April, a senior company official told reporters on Tuesday.

"We are not selling gasoline to Iran. We have a destination-restriction clause in our contract to prevent sale to Iran," the official, who did not want to be named, said.

Sinopec to Boost Gas Output to Ensure Winter Supply

(Bloomberg) -- China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. will increase natural-gas production through January to a record to meet increased winter demand in the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

Sinopec, as China Petroleum is known, will raise its output of gas, used for power generation and as a heating fuel, by as much as 500,000 cubic meters a day after last month’s cold snap, parent China Petrochemical Corp. said in a statement on its Web site. Northern China’s heaviest snowfalls in six decades killed 32 people and caused 6.96 billion yuan ($1 billion) in damage.

Equatorial Guinea: Ruler beset by 'corruption and abuse' wins another

The electoral charade confirms another seven-year term for Obiang, whose government is rated by Human Rights Watch as "one of the most abusive and corrupt in the world". It offers further time to entrench the extraordinary wealth which flows from the third largest oil exporter in Africa into the private coffers of the president's inner circle. And it confirms the nature of Western relations with oppressive African regimes.

EU: Hijacked oil tanker was outside corridor

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- The commander of the EU Naval Force tells The Associated Press that an oil tanker hijacked by Somali pirates was traveling outside a recommended maritime corridor.

The Greek-flagged tanker Maran Centaurus was carrying more than $20 million of crude oil when pirates captured it Sunday.

Rear Adm. Peter Hudson said Tuesday he does not advise vessels to have armed guards on board, and that flammable cargo and firearms don't mix.

Hudson also says that the fact that pirates are now attacking ships 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) off the Somali coast presents a large challenge and that the EU force will never fully secure such a large area of ocean.

Pirate attack on oil tanker repelled off Oman

NAIROBI, Kenya—Using flares and hoses, the crew of a Greek oil tanker fought off a pirate attack Tuesday in the Arabian Sea two days after brigands seized a tanker bound for the United States with $20 million of crude oil.

BP Restores Oil Production After Pipeline Spill in Alaska Field

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc is restoring production after losing some output at its Prudhoe Bay field in Alaska following a leak yesterday from a pipeline that carries water, crude oil and natural gas.

“There was minimal production impact yesterday and production is being restored today,” said Steve Rinehart, an Anchorage-based spokesman for BP. “The spill came from a line that wasn’t in operation.”

Venezuela says delivers Carabobo oil auction terms

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela delivered the final terms for the auction of the 1.2 million barrel-per-day Carabobo extra-heavy crude project late on Monday, a government source said, after long delays to its first tender in more than a decade.

"They were handed over last night close to midnight," the source, who has knowledge of the project, told Reuters.

Indonesian crude output slides

Indonesia's crude oil production fell further in November from October as older wells produced less oil, an official at the country's energy watchdog said today.

Gazprom's Oil Arm Posts Drop in Profit

MOSCOW -- The oil arm of Russian gas monopoly OAO Gazprom Tuesday posted a 47% fall on the year in its third-quarter net profit as oil prices dropped.

Yukos Owners Say Hague Panel Clears Way for $100 Billion Claim

(Bloomberg) -- Shareholders of jailed Russian oilman Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s former company OAO Yukos said they won a European arbitration hearing that allows them to seek as much as $100 billion in damages from the Russian government.

Auto leasing creeps back from credit crisis; some offer deals

DETROIT — Car leasing is making a bit of a comeback, though it remains anemic compared with the boom times for car sales, before gas prices rose and financial markets fell.

Sempra Didn’t Breach California Power Contract, Jury Says

(Bloomberg) -- Sempra Energy, owner of the largest U.S. natural-gas distributor, won a jury verdict in a lawsuit with the California Department of Water Resources over failure to build a power plant on time.

The jury in San Diego Superior Court yesterday agreed that Sempra didn’t breach a $6.6 billion 2001 contract to provide a stable supply of power in the wake of the state’s 2000-2001 energy crisis.

NIA's 10 Most Interesting New NIAnswers

Let us assume worldwide oil production peaked in 2008. How will this affect the inflation scenario?

We believe oil prices over the next few years will rise above its high in 2008 of $147 per barrel based on inflation alone. If we are past peak oil production, we could begin seeing oil prices rise in terms of gold.

The gold/oil ratio is currently 14.5. It has historically averaged 10. Therefore, on a historical basis oil is currently cheap compared to gold.

Peak Oil: The Eventual End of the Oil Age [PDF]

Since modern society is so heavily reliant upon oil, there could be severe consequences associated with peak oil if it is not addressed in time. A scarcity of oil could have significant ramifications for global prices, modern transport, and international affairs. Few individuals would be protected from the effects of oil’s scarcity. At the international level, countries may adopt more belligerent foreign policies due to the increasing importance resources would have in national security concerns. These effects will be explored in further detail.

Will peak oil be adequately addressed by oil markets and private industry? Or will governments have a role to play in the management of an irreversible decline in the supply of oil? Peak oil may not result in a “doom and gloom” scenario if proper proactive steps are taken. Policy options are available now that governments can implement to mitigate the effects of peak oil, and these measures will be briefly outlined in the following analysis.

Group condemns bulldozing of UNESCO tribal reserve

RIO DE JANEIRO — A group of Brazilian ranchers is bulldozing a UNESCO reserve inhabited by an indigenous Indian tribe with no prior contact with the outside world, an native rights group said Monday.

Survival International said the UNESCO bioreserve in Paraguay's Chaco region is home to the only uncontacted indigenous tribe in South America outside of the Amazon -- the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode.

Mass. homeowners can now sell back electricity

BOSTON – Homeowners tired of paying high electricity bills can now turn the tables by selling excess electricity back to power companies at more lucrative rates.

The hitch? Homeowners need a way to generate power on their own, either by installing solar panels on their roofs or planting wind turbines on their property.

It's called "net metering," and beginning Tuesday, property owners can submit the applications needed to begin earning credits on their electricity bills if they generate more energy than they need on any given day or week.

Greek solar panel company plans Pa. facility

PHILADELPHIA – Gov. Ed Rendell says a Greek company that makes solar panels will open a new manufacturing facility along the Philadelphia waterfront.

Athens-based Heliosphera plans to open the plant in Philadelphia's redeveloped Navy Yard.

Company plans 500 megawatt wind farm in Montana

BILLINGS, Mont. — A Minnesota company has partnered with a Montana developer to pursue more than 500 megawatts of community-owned wind power in central Montana.

National Wind of Minneapolis and Montana Wind Resources of Billings said Monday the project would be built in phases of at least 100-megawatts each over the next five to eight years. Landowners in Judith Basin, Wheatland, Golden Valley and Fergus counties would share in any revenues.

RI gov to speak about offshore wind power plans

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Gov. Don Carcieri will offer industry leaders an update Thursday on his plans to build a massive wind farm off Rhode Island's coast capable of providing 15 percent of the state's electricity needs.

For Forest Kindergartners, Class Is Back to Nature, Rain or Shine

Schools around the country have been planting gardens and planning ever more elaborate field trips in hopes of reconnecting children with nature. The forest kindergarten at the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs is one of a handful in the United States that are taking that concept to another level: its 23 pupils, ages 3 ½ to 6, spend three hours each day outside regardless of the weather. This in a place where winter is marked by snowdrifts and temperatures that regularly dip below freezing.

The new forest kindergarten, which opened here in September, is an extreme version of the outdoor learning taught at more than 100 Waldorf schools, all but a handful of them private, scattered throughout the United States. They are based on the teachings of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner and emphasize the arts and the natural world, with no formal academic curriculum until first grade.

Government owns our highways. Why not our rail lines?

Day was part of a panel of speakers at a town hall meeting organized by the Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains (CAPT) and Northern Ontario Research, Development, Ideas, and Knowledge (NORDIK) to discuss the urgency of securing effective train service for Algoma.

He cautioned participants to make sure their tax dollars do not go to companies that will run the rail lines for five to 10 years, then take the money invested by government when they leave.

Copenhagen's baby step on climate change: More electric cars?

China and US cooperation in promoting such vehicles is a concrete step against global warming. But how to measure claims in miles "per gallon"?

WTO states urge early deal on environmental goods

GENEVA — World Trade Organization member states called on Tuesday for an early deal on freeing up trade on environmental goods and services, ahead of a major climate change summit in Copenhagen.

An early accord could also act as a much-needed stimulus for negotiations for a broader global trade pact, which are locked in an impasse, trade ministers gathered at a meeting of 153 WTO member states said.

Five eco-crimes we commit every day

So, ask yourself this: how green am I really? You might think you are doing your bit for the environment, but even if you shun bottled water, buy local produce and reuse your plastic bags, chances are that you have some habits that are far more environmentally damaging than you realise. What's more, if everyone else is doing these things too, their detrimental effects really add up.

Apocalypse Cow: Can vegan celebs save the planet?

PARIS (AFP) – On Ecorazzi.com, self-proclaimed provider of green gossip, Paul McCartney and other green celebs offer meat-free Christmas recipes while Cate Blanchett muses on the Copenhagen climate summit.

Ever since Al Gore's 2006 Oscar-winning movie "An Inconvenient Truth" put climate warming at the centre of pop-culture, celebs have scrambled aboard the green campaign by the score.

EU leaders want details on China emissions plan

BEIJING — European leaders called on China to provide details on how it plans to curb its greenhouse gas emissions, saying Tuesday that Beijing's status as the world's largest polluter gives it a special responsibility to combat global warming.

India, meanwhile, is under growing pressure to offer up a plan of any kind with less than week to go before 192 nations gather in Copenhagen to try to craft an international agreement for controlling emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases believed responsible for global warming.

China presses rich nations over emissions cuts

BEIJING (AFP) – China called on Tuesday for rich nations to heed the developing world's position on climate change just days ahead of crunch talks in Copenhagen aimed at tackling global warming.

"Developed countries should pay attention to the concerns and interests of developing countries," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters.

India rejects Danish climate proposal

NEW DELHI — India Tuesday rejected a Danish draft proposal on climate change which seeks to cap emissions, widening the gulf between rich and poor nations ahead of next week's Copenhagen talks.

Media reports say the Danish offer sets 2025 as a deadline for all countries to cap their emissions irrespective of current levels, essentially blurring the line between the developed world and countries that are still industrialising.

In an interview on the CNN-IBN news channel, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said the draft proposal "clearly is unacceptable to us".

Australian politician torpedoes carbon cut plans

SYDNEY (AFP) – A colourful climate-change sceptic seized control of Australia's opposition on Tuesday, vowing to kill carbon trading legislation ahead of UN talks, in a step that could trigger snap polls.

Right-wing maverick Tony Abbott ousted Liberal Party leader Malcolm Turnbull by just one vote, 42-41, in a shock back-room result likely to doom marathon attempts to pass emissions laws.

E-Mail Fracas Shows Peril of Trying to Spin Science

Contempt for critics is evident over and over again in the hacked e-mail messages, as if the scientists were a priesthood protecting the temple from barbarians. Yes, some of the skeptics have political agendas, but so do some of the scientists. Sure, the skeptics can be cranks and pests, but they have identified genuine problems in the historical reconstructions of climate, as in the debate they inspired about the “hockey stick” graph of temperatures over the past millennium.

Groupthink and the global warming industry

The Climatic Research Unit scandal unearths some very inconvenient truths — namely that scientific as well as journalistic tribalism have encumbered an honest debate.

Climategate: Follow the Money

Climate change researchers must believe in the reality of global warming just as a priest must believe in the existence of God.

Science or Nonscience?

As important as the planet is, we need a community of climatologists that is not precommitted to a theory or — worse yet — to a policy prescription. The UN agenda is obviously driven by the many despotic nations of the world that seek to use climate change to shake down the wealthy nations of the world, in concert with an intellectual elite that favors socialism over capitalism and with special-interest groups seeking massive government subsidies. The Kyoto Treaty, which imposes limits only on certain nations (the wealthier ones), could never work, since it will only shift industrial activity to nations without limits (the poorer ones), with no net reduction in carbon emissions.

Finally, we know that, with regard to all scarce resources, a market approach is to be preferred to a socialist approach, especially a one-world-government socialist approach.

A market approach to environmental policy would not only achieve whatever goals are set efficiently, given the technologies currently available; it will induce the discovery of new technologies, making what seems costly and maybe even impossible today achievable with increasingly higher standards of living tomorrow.

Is Government Action Worse Than Global Warming?

The goal of both approaches is to make polluters pay for the costs they impose on others. But they work only if those costs can be accurately assessed. In the real world things are never so simple. Estimates of the potential damage caused by global warming range widely, depending on predictions about how the climate will react to extra carbon dioxide, future economic growth, and, most crucially, the discount rate.

Scientist: U.S. effort on climate ineffectual

Prominent climate scientist James Hansen on Monday dismissed President Barack Obama's recent pledge that the United States would cut its carbon dioxide emissions as “completely ineffectual.”

Hansen said Congress, which is considering a cap-and-trade bill to lower greenhouse gas emissions, and the president, who pledged a provisional target of reducing greenhouse gases by about 17 percent of 2005 levels by 2020, should pursue a carbon tax instead.

“These are completely ineffectual approaches,” Hansen said in an interview.

U.S. Navy Prepares for Militarization of Arctic

While hoping for a future of cooperation with other nations, the U.S. Navy is simultaneously planning for potential combat situations that may arise once global warming has melted the Arctic Ocean’s summer ice within two decades. A 35-page memo from the Department of the Navy spells out a five-year plan expressing the need to develop new technology and strategies in the event things become contentious in the open waters of the Arctic Circle by 2030.

“This opening of the Arctic may lead to increased resource development, research, tourism, and could reshape the global transportation system,” read the memo authored by Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, vice-chief of Naval Operations. “These developments offer opportunities for growth, but also are potential sources of competition and conflict for access and natural resources.”

Antarctic melt to feed global sea rise

PARIS (AFP) – Quickening ice loss in West Antarctica will likely contribute heavily to a projected sea level rise of up to 1.4 metres (4.5 feet) by 2100, according to a major scientific report released Tuesday.

Scientists long held that most of Antarctica's continent-sized ice sheet was highly resistant to global warming, and that the more vulnerable West Antarctic ice block would remain intact for thousands of years to come.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- whose 2007 report is the scientific benchmark for the UN December 7-18 Copenhagen climate summit -- did not even factor melting ice sheets into its forecasts for rising seas.

But studies since then show huge loss of ice mass, mainly as a result of warmer ocean temperatures, according to the review by more than 100 experts on the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research.

With the runup to the Copenhagen climate summit, we are going to see quite a few articles about climate, such as the ones linked to above. Lest we forget, it's the 1 December and the official end of the hurricane season. There's been rather few hurricanes this year, perhaps the result of El Nino forced high level wind shear, especially over the Gulf of Mexico. But, not to worry, there's another storm brewing in the Gulf as I write. All that energy stored in the warm waters of the Gulf will eventually make into the atmosphere and result in precipitation downstream. Since it's also the start of climatological Winter, look out for lots of precipitation of the frozen kind over the US...

E. Swanson

There was an article in the McPaper today.

Hurricane season ends with little bluster

The 2009 Atlantic hurricane season ended Monday without a hurricane landing on U.S. shores and with the fewest named storms in 12 years, according to the National Hurricane Center.

...The reason: El Niño, the cyclical warming of equatorial waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean, which tends to inhibit the development of tropical systems in the Atlantic, Feltgen said.

Only sort of true. Danny and Ida both came ashore. Ida caused significant damage. It's just that neither was still a hurricane when it landed. I doubt that that was great comfort to the victims of the flooding.

"CLIMATE-GATE" - The director of the embattled Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in the United Kingdom is stepping down pending an investigation into allegations that he overstated the case for man-made climate change.

The loss of the data prevents other scientists from checking it to determine whether, in fact, there has been a long-term rise in global temperatures during the past century and a half.

So now, we will not know the real truth. The truth about peak oil is being distorted as well.
I guess that some people simply "Can't handle the truth".

Loss of what data? The basic data is still there so I don't know what you are talking about. He is not stepping down; he is stepping aside until the independent investigation is done. This in no way implies any wrong doing on his part. For that, we shall see. I think you are spreading misinformation but am willing to look at any documentation you have regarding lost data.

Apparently the raw data is NOT still there, and was purposefully discarded. How they measured and collected the data (assuming it wasn't all meticulously gathered for 150 years and then summarily discarded only now) and whether it can be re-measured would seem to be valid questions.

This is a prime example of zealous researches with intrinsic bias coupled with a politically juvenile tendency toward handing enemies bats with which to crack their heads. Science NEEDS the fire of peer review and disbelief to temper the theories, and such organizations should welcome outside analysis. It is truly sad to see such an opportunity for manufactured doubt set loose in a world which is accustomed to marketing by testimonials and statistically insignificant examples.

But then, I cynically maintain that no good will come of any successful anti-AGW efforts anyway -- those which are implemented will be done the wrong way for the wrong reasons, and the rest won't be implemented at all. Climate change control (and even concern) is a luxury which will not long be afforded, I fear.

Some raw data (on paper and magnetic tape) was discarded in the early or mid-eighties when they moved to a different building. At the time, it just didn't seem important. Nobody foresaw then what a big deal climate change would turn into 20 years later.

It's not like it's the only data available. The skeptics just like to pick on the CRU because they're the only ones who haven't released their data, due to non-disclosure agreements.

Ok, now I see. In any event, wouldn't the raw data still be held at the various weather stations from which it was collected? And, as you say, wouldn't other organizations possess the raw data? Further, one would need to prove that the data was improperly manipulated to distort the temperature curves. One would also have to ignore what has happened since the 80s in addition to proving that the basic theories of the greenhouse effect are invalid.

I have read what are purported to be the most damaging emails and all of them have been adequately addressed except one. I have yet to see a reasonable explanation for why an email was written to advise certain parties to delete some of their emails. Until that is adequately addressed, there will be this lingering doubt in the integrity of some of the scientists. Many, of course, will doubt their integrity regardless of the explanation offered and regardless of how reasonable. One truly amazing fact, of course, is that the email requesting deletion was itself not deleted. Dumb.

How about all the destroyed data from the oil companies? And don't tell me that they are private, as they get lots of public funding and leases over the years.

(I am talking to Mr. "conservationist" here)

Who are the skeptics here? TOD, Matt Simmons, etc? Or Michael Lynch? I don't think you can really compare peak oil with AGW. Even the abiotic crowd believes we are using oil faster than it's being created. The only question with peak oil is when. Last year, 1,000 years from now, or somewhere in between.

Even the abiotic crowd believes we are using oil faster than it's being created

Do *NOT* overestimate the reasoning ability of conservatives.

I have read and heard that abiotic oil means that more oil is being created, so therefore no need to worry about depletion. Relative rates of exploitation and creation are simply not considered.

Of course these are often the same conservatives that get their scientific analysis from a high school graduate with a serious opiate addiction problem and who calls himself an entertainer.

Best Hopes for more reasoning > fewer conservatives,


Best hopes for keeping up with current events.

Most Americans ARE conservative. Even more so with the current (epic) failed left wing government. A Republican Governor for NJ, oh my!

Perhaps you should move to Cuba.

Not "conservative" in the Rush/Beck/Palin/Denier/GWB way that you are.


Please tone down the antagonism. If you want post this kind of thing, take it to Free Republic/Daily Kos. As previously pointed out, this is not that kind of "rant" site.

In any event, wouldn't the raw data still be held at the various weather stations from which it was collected?

Yes. It still exists, so the data is not truly lost.

One truly amazing fact, of course, is that the email requesting deletion was itself not deleted. Dumb.

Apparently, no e-mails were deleted, despite the talk about it.

Apparently the raw data is NOT still there, and was purposefully discarded.

In any event, wouldn't the raw data still be held at the various weather stations from which it was collected?

YES. No data was destroyed. Period. To the person spreading lies about data destruction, go read the three (four?) threads at RealClimate.

Leanan, when commenting on this, please use full info. The raw data does, indeed, still exist.

Cheers and Jeers

"realclimate" is run by the Hockey Team scamster, emailers themselves. Of course they'll have some BS answer for everything. Try a dose of reality for a change.


Conservationist, are the oceans rising on your planet? Because they sure are on mine.

"Jones was not in charge of the CRU when the data were thrown away in the 1980s, a time when climate change was seen as a less pressing issue"
....climate change was seen as "a less pressing issue...


....climate change was seen as "a less pressing issue...

I would be more inclined to say: Scientists never expected their hard work to be questioned so much by idiots who refuse to accept their conclusions.

If the raw data is truly still available, this discussion is over. At least until the Deniers/Skeptics have a chance to re-analyze it, and present vastly different conclusions(like that is going to happen).

"I would be more inclined to say: Scientists never expected their hard work to be questioned so much by idiots who refuse to accept their conclusions."

That statement is even more astounding than the already astounding statement that climate change would ever be regarded as a "less pressing issue".

Why should we not question "their hard work to be questioned"? That is what scientists MUST expect, that is what science is! If they wanted their observations to be accepted without question, perhaps they should have joined the ministry. And yes, if your a scientist your work will be questioned by "idiots" as well as your peers, it comes with the territory...sometimes the "idiots" spot something the peers, in teir zeal to fit in, miss.


Go and apply this "questioning" to the daily drivel spewed by the MSM and then come back and spout your sanctimony.

There is not a shred of evidence of wrong doing in that pile of emails. Also, as has been pointed out the data did not originate from CRU but from the met services of different countries. Are you going to claim that they destroyed their data too? And where in this data is there anything new? Perhaps you believe that satellite observations are irrelevant and some poorly monitored weather station in Lower Slobovia is all we have to care about.

It is a fact that the vast majority of "skeptics" are idiots who wouldn't know what to do with any data. You actually believe that some amateur is doing climate science in their basement...LOL.

Sanctimony was not my intent, but I have been surprised by the number of people who have replied to this situation on a "faith" basis, i.e., they are scientists so you can't presume to question what they say, can you?

I have long accepted climate change and the very real possibility that the climate is being changed by human activity, but I, like many others, accepted this in great part on the basis of authority, given the complexity of the models involved, and the vast amount of data required. I am simply now realizing that I should have been a bit more careful.

Given the consequences of climate change (again, accepting the authority of scientists supposedly in command of the data) I have always felt (and still feel) that reduction of carbon emissions should be a priority for individuals,governments and companies around the globe.

I would hate to have the scientific community held to the same low level that we now hold the mainstream media to.

As far as "some amateur in their basement", I think we can dismiss this as caricature and simply ask for open access to information so that various researchers and post grad students can at least look at how the models are being built based on open availability of the raw data. Am I incorrect that this would be the normal way of doing things in scientific research?

One last thought: Those who now accept all pronouncements of climate change and catastrophe have developed a habitual response to all who may ask questions of them in calling them "idiots" and other names. Again, is that the standard way of dealing with questions in the scientific community? One could ask who is engaging in sanctimony, but it is best to simply let the rhetoric speak for itself.


Stepping down may not imply wrongdoing, but the emails do. I suggest you take the time to read them for yourself. As for the raw data being dumped, you can read about that here:


Only I doubt the raw data was dumped by accident.

You can doubt until the cows come home, but where is the evidence that this data was dumped on purpose?

Conservationist, are the glaciers melting on your planet? Because they sure are on mine.

The 'worst' of the private CRU emails were
1.) using a 'trick' to clarify/'distort' a chart.
2.) getting rid of the Medieval Warming Period (period before AGW began).
3.) what happened to the warming in the last decade.

Nothing has been found disproving the research of the scientists or any kind of conspiracy of wrongdoing which should have been blatant in private emails.

"...we've never before seen a set of people accuse an entire community of scientists of deliberate deception and other professional malfeasance. Even the tobacco companies never tried to slander legitimate cancer researchers."

Science historian Spencer Weart reacts to hacked climate e-mails..

"Back around 2000 leading climate scientists talked to each other mostly about their science--debating one another's data and analysis and negotiating travel, collaboration and other administration--and a little bit about policy. As time passed they have had to spend more and more of their time answering criticism of the scientific results already established, criticism mostly based on ignorance, fallacious reasoning, and even deliberately deceptive claims. Still more recently they have had to spend far too much of their time defending their personal reputations against ignorant or slanderous attacks.
Even the tobacco companies never tried to slander legitimate cancer researchers." The theft and use of the emails does reveal something interesting about the social context. It's a symptom of something entirely new in the history of science: Aside from crackpots who complain that a conspiracy is suppressing their personal discoveries, we've never before seen a set of people accuse an entire community of scientists of deliberate deception and other professional malfeasance.

Even the tobacco companies never tried to slander legitimate cancer researchers. In blogs, talk radio and other new media, we are told that the warnings about future global warming issued by the national science academies, scientific societies, and governments of all the leading nations are not only mistaken, but based on a hoax, indeed a conspiracy that must involve thousands of respected researchers. Extraordinary and, frankly, weird. Climate scientists are naturally upset, exasperated, and sometimes goaded into intemperate responses... but that was already easy to see in their blogs and other writings.


Conservationist is an ignorant anti-science Faux Noise cultist.

Good post...until the last line. Please knock it off with the name-calling.

How will political correctness help a dialog with such conservatives ?
Why 'protect' the Conservationist?
The editors haven't 'protected' me from the boorish Engineer-Poet(not that I think it's necessary).

She's not protecting Conservationist, she's protecting The Oil Drum from becoming 'That kind of rant site' that smart people are quick to abandon.

Flaring up with a bunch of namecalling isn't even 'Politically Incorrect' .. it's just embarrassing.

"Our aim is to keep this restroom clean. YOUR aim will help."

Exactly. Majorian, this isn't the first time I've warned you.

Personal attacks are against our guidelines. Attack the idea, not the person who holds it.

Try these:

"hide the decline" (in global temperature trends)

"redefine what the peer-review literature is"

(in order to prevent papers raising questions about anthropogenic global warming from appearing in IPCC reports)

"The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming and it is a travesty that we can’t."

"I tried hard to balance the needs of the science and the IPCC, which were not always the same"

It's a conspiracy because several "scientists" were working together to commit the fraud.

Oh and BTW, Fox News has a much larger viewership than the left wing MSM. And they've been hammering on the latest global warming fraud. This will hurt the left politically (just like it did in Oz). The left was already crashing and burning anway.

I'm sure you're aware that taking a few sentences out of context can form a misleading picture.

All is explained quite clearly here: The CRU Hack: Context

There is no conspiracy of climate scientists. It is a paranoid delusion to believe otherwise.

And so it goes........

And of course, Big Oil and the BAU crowd will obviously continue to try to "HIDE THE DECLINE" of oil production.

"There is no conspiracy of climate scientists. It is a paranoid delusion to believe otherwise."

Barrett808, I think you are correct about that one, but the discussion is now far beyond the issue of "climate change" per se.

The critical issue (and this could be HUGE) is about "science".

I challenge anyone to bring results to a communitiy college professor, and if the professor should by chance ask to see the raw data, just say, "oh, I destroyed the raw data, but here are the 'refined' results." Or if your math teacher asks you to show your work, simply tell him/her that you have provided the answer, the "refined results" so the professor should have no need for the raw data.

The very HEART of science is that experiments and or equations can be tested and possibly duplicated. The very functioning of science simply cannot work the way the CRU wants it t. It becomes not science or psuedo science at best, pure conjecture and wishful thinking at worst.

There now must be a complete and total investigation of not only this occurance but of the whole method in which science can claim to be peer reviewed and verifiable. I know many folks here want it to go away, but it simply won't. The credibility of not only climate science but ALL science is on the line. Think of the new super collider...there is no chance that the data from that multi-billion euro facility will be taken seriously unless the scientists can provide a reliable and verifiable chain of evidence. Otherwise, it is simply very expensive superstition.


The credibility of not only climate science but ALL science is on the line.

All very dramatic, but also wrong.

Phil Jones, who has suffered more slings and arrows in l’affaire Climategate than anyone, has this to say. In this story, the Telegraph spin is predictably sympathetic to the contrarians, giving David Holland alot of column inches, but they give the last word to Phil Jones.

"Our global temperature series tallies with those of other, completely independent, groups of scientists working for NASA and the National Climate Data Centre in the United States, among others. Even if you were to ignore our findings, theirs show the same results. The facts speak for themselves; there is no need for anyone to manipulate them." Climategate: University of East Anglia U-turn in climate change row

And that's the current state of the data. There is no "crisis of science."

It becomes not science or psuedo science at best, pure conjecture and wishful thinking at worst.



There is no fraud. There is no conspiracy of "climate comrades." Data have not been destroyed.

It is a paranoid delusion to believe otherwise.

Again, I agree with Barrett808, I do not believe there is grounds to claim fraud or conspiracy. I differ with him however in his assertion that this is not a real and potentially very damaging threat to the credibility of "climate science".

He points out that NASA and others have arrived at similiar or same conclusions. The public MUST see now these conclusions were arrived at, what the basic data looks like, the methods used in gathering it, and how the models were constructed from it. There is no other way.

If one goes to the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) website, and attempts to read the information there, or reads any of the so called "hacked" e-mails that have come out of this affair, they may be astonished to realize that they entered a world of arcane model making, unreleased (and apparently unreleasable (!!) data, conclusions arrived at only after "cleansing" and "refining" data, data that works only if you accept said cleansing (much of which seems to have been arrived at in an effort to make an already accepted conslusion work, etc, etc. Whatever this is, it is not science in any normally understood sense.

It may be that NASA and others can provide a much more straightforward path to the models they construct. But given what we have seen to date, we can no longer take on faith (as I have up until recently, an error on my part) the conclusions they arrive at. All information must be vetted carefully by outside third party auditing, and frankly we must suspect any conclusions until such vetting takes place. When the public pays for research by way of public funding of science, we must make it clear that the data belongs to the public and no raw data can be considered proprietary. Science MUST return to climate science. If not, we have the prospect of another Piltdown man on our hands.


To your point: Nature: Climatologists under pressure

Stolen e-mails have revealed no scientific conspiracy, but do highlight ways in which climate researchers could be better supported in the face of public scrutiny.

As I've said before it's not only a scam, but it's one of the greatest scams in modern history. And NASA is right in the middle of it. It was Hansen at NASA that started all of the alarmism back in 1988 (after they turned off the AC to make the hearing room warmer). Perhaps the first global warming trick, but certainly not the last.

Why is it UAH has been flat for the past 10 years and GISS keeps going up? Chris Horner wants to know:


whether this is human caused or not is certainly debatable, but you really need to get your arctic time in if you don't think it is warming rather quickly up here. The lack of ice and snow cover over larger and larger areas for longer and longer times is very real. Possibly down in the bomb shelter it is not as noticeable, for you and Mr. Cheney. Now it may cycle back, but that will take some doing as the feedbacks just keep openning bigger areas longer (a little up and down year to year but trend is unmistakable). NASA ain't faking the ice photos. This planet is warmer when there is not a year round polar ice cap, and we are headed that way fairly quickly. Now if the wind doesn't blow too hard for about ten summers and temps hold we may get enough old ice back to stabilize things. That is a very big if...

Actic sea ice is increasing (not decreasing).


And snow is forecast for Houston tomorrow (which would be the earliest on record).


Odd facts given the "scientific consensus" is predicting Venusian thermal runaway.

Yes it bottomed for now midsummer 2007, after a very windy summer. Why does your chart only go back to 2002? Try this page. Ice was very slow to form this fall. It is almost forming at the record low level we had after the very windy arctic summer of 2007.

Read what I wrote again, please, then look at the longer term charts on the page I linked, and read the page. We only have good satellite data going back to 1978, sorry.

Would you say your stock was trending up or down if it gave you this chart?

We are talking climate here, not weather. Enjoy a little cold, it clears the head. But if you want to talk weather we had a toasty September October and have had only one below zero week so far and it is already December. Its down right hot up here ?-) By the way I started checking that site every day to give me some idea what the fall weather was going to be like up here and it has proved quite useful. I also check out a world infrared flat map that excludes the poles to look out a week/week and a half. When you spend a lot of time outdoors in these parts a little heads up is helpful.

I talk with people who work on the Arctic Ocean every summer, things were way different a mere twenty years ago.... oops, hold the phone, it looks like on site icebreaker ice measurements and observations have shown that satellites have been identifying a lot of ice as solid multiyear that is actually rotten according to David Barber, University of Manitoba arctic researcher. I hadn't seen that before, little chance of an ice comeback if this is the case.

Here is a 2009 arctic sea ice report card from NOAA that actually works in older declassified US Navy sonar numbers.

Sadly, none of the trends show the ice increasing. Like I said before, you really do need some arctic time.

But conservationist, why would you trust any of this data? Where does the great climate conspiracy stop and "real" science start?

Surely all of the following evidence is part of the hoax as well:

I'm starting to suspect that you are part of the conspiracy.

It's not that I trust the data, it's that your own manipulated data shows arctic ice increasing.

The UN plans an investigation of the hoax:


Increasing from what baseline? 2007 Please read all the links I sent your way, then try to understand the difference between multiyear ice and one year ice, boat hulls certainly can tell the difference . Then take note of Barber's observations that much of what the satellites have been classifying as dense multiyear is old rotten ice. If what Barber observed is more widespread than just on the Beaufort, it means the ice cover is in even worse shape than anyone had thought. Windy weather will reek havoc with old rotten ice. Even if that observation only holds for the Beaufort it means a good chunk of what we are classifying as stable old ice is anything but.

Areas will get cooler as the earth warms by the way. For an experiment put on some heavy boots and light socks. Find some place that is zero F or below (a freezer will work) and keep your boot encased feet in it until they get good and cold. Then immediately put your boot encased feet under a blasting car heater, wait a minute or three and feel the pain. I usually tell people I see do that to get those damned boots off before they frostbite their toes but in your case the full lesson might be required.

it's that your own manipulated data shows arctic ice increasing. The UN plans an investigation of the hoax

Here's some data straight from the UN:

Graph of the Day: Trend in Winter Multi-year and First-year Sea-ice Fractions, 2004-2008

So the UN will be investigating itself?

the link does not work, but its odd any hoax guy would give any creedence to anything from a conspiratory outfit like the UN ?-) Conservationist is probably someone enjoying pulling different chains, wouldn't doubt he/she has a different handle and spouts the exact opposite opinions at sites where that kind of fun can be had ?-)

I started to suspect that, but I'm a slow learner. Here's the working link.

Thanks. Here is the link to the actual report on the confusing/overlapping signatures the satellites are picking up from multiyear and rotten first year in piles topped with new first year ice. Nothing like boots on the ground or in this case a ship on the water to clarify data observed from on high

Cool, thanks. That's some nice data; I might make it a Graph of the Day!

And here's what the UN investigation may reveal: Hackers paid by climate sceptics, UN says

On Sunday, Achim Steiner, the director of the United Nations Environment Program, said the theft of emails from East Anglia University's climate research unit, a globally renowned climate research institute and keeper of British temperature data, was reminiscent of the Watergate scandal, which brought down US president Richard Nixon.

But he stressed that it was ''not climategate, it's hackergate''.

Not a surprise, but that still has no bearing on the improprieties that were uncovered. I personally am not going to bother to read the emails, enough ice data is out there to satisfy my personal interest. I do believe human carbon release has been shown to be instrumental in the current warming event, how instrumental is a fair subject for debate, but the systems are complex and our models relatively simple. Few who are honest say we have it all figured out. Deforestation, increased erosion and fishery depletion bother me more than fossil fuel carbon release, but husbanding fossil fuel is excellent policy regardless, and policies that bring about more responsible use of fossil fuels will very likely positively impact those issues as well.

Conservationist, here's some data:


Let us know when you publish a few peer reviewed papers with your conclusions disproving anthropogenic climate change so we can congratulate you for your well deserved Nobel prize.


More interesting is what is not contained in the emails. There is no evidence of any worldwide conspiracy, no mention of George Soros nefariously funding climate research, no grand plan to 'get rid of the MWP', no admission that global warming is a hoax, no evidence of the falsifying of data, and no 'marching orders' from our socialist/communist/vegetarian overlords. The truly paranoid will put this down to the hackers also being in on the plot though.

Instead, there is a peek into how scientists actually interact and the conflicts show that the community is a far cry from the monolith that is sometimes imagined. People working constructively to improve joint publications; scientists who are friendly and agree on many of the big picture issues, disagreeing at times about details and engaging in 'robust' discussions; Scientists expressing frustration at the misrepresentation of their work in politicized arenas and complaining when media reports get it wrong; Scientists resenting the time they have to take out of their research to deal with over-hyped nonsense. None of this should be shocking.

I have consistently stated that I do believe the climate change advocates are right and that temperatures are rising.

I do have a great deal of faith in the peer review system.

I don't think anybody gathering data falsified it.

I don't know if data was lost by accident or by design.I'm willing to give the university the benefit of the doubt.

I have been following this story in four major papers online and have read there comments made by various seriously upset well known environmental writers and bloggers.

I conclude that the data was probably not falsified but there is now no way to prove that it wasn't cherry picked if some of it is missing.

I have read a great many reports over the years that have been written and edited by people with agendas and it is the rule rather than the exception that data is arranged and presented in such a way that the argument looks as strong as possible.

I conclude that there has been some creative editing going on in the publicly released documents.

That this suprises anybody ASTONISHES me. ;)

For example when the tree ring data did not make the famous hockey stick graph look quite so impressive, apparently they editors switched to another set of measurements that sort of made the graph look better.

Now this may or may not rise to the level of professional misconduct and it may have been the decision of a public spokesman non scientist bueracrat type .It may not technically be data tampering.

But there is no question that it is intellectually questionable.

There is no doubt that any skeptic without a good understanding of the basic sciences (read ninety percent plus of the population probably) or without a habit of hanging around environmental web sites or in the habit of reading quite a lot of serious literature is justified ACCORDING TO HIS OWN COMMON SENSE interpretation of the situation in concluding that there is some fire where there is this much smoke.

Over the years I have been offered a lot of checks in the line of business with no quick and easy way of verifying the check out in the field-what I have noticed is that the more evasive and belligerent the check writer or his companions become ,the greater the odds that the check is no good.

This is a public relations disaster but the facts will soon enough assert themselves and somewhere down the road it will be forgotten like the occasional story about a cop found asleep in his car instead of patrolling.

There is no such thing as a large group of people working over a long perod on a project of any kind where there is no spinning of the technical facts (within the working groups there will always be factions) and a few bucks misappropriated here and there or a male putting unwelcome moves on a female coworker or a pr machine marketing type spinning the data output.Every once in a while this expected foolishness come to th attention of the public.

I am AMAZED at the religious faith of the people who insist that this simply could NOT have happened since everybody involved is a member of a different species with better morals than the rest of us poor mortals.

Denying that it has happened (-whether it did or not- )like a fundamentalist waving a Bible denying evolution will not win any pr wars.

This is a pr war.

The public doesn't give a hoot about the emails being stolen-the journalists ridded us of any squeamishness on that account decades ago with Pentagon Papers and such.Honesty in regard to stealing information is for fools who take thier kids to Sunday school, we're all jaded and hip nowadays.It's not a sin anymore.

Best just laugh it off, remind people that there are lots of other data SHOWING ABOUT THE SAME RESULTS, admit that there was a lot of poor judgement exhibited,throw a few of the people who made the worst bloopers under the bus for the good of the overall research community, and get back to work.

This will happen over the next few months.The more things change, the more they stay the same.

(I feel sorry for the ones who will get run over but as scientists they should have been smart enough to be more discreet in committing reckless language subject to being SPUN by thier enemies real or imagined to the written word.Conversations are easily and conveniently forgotten.I am probably the biggest klutz on this site when it comes to computers but even I know that a computer never forgets anything that NEEDS forgetting.)

I don't talk about climate change and global warming when I am around skeptics.I talk about all that oil and gas and iron ore we will be getting from up in the arctic and how it was a shame we did not get up there years ago.Most of them get sort of happy at the thought but the more intelligent ones do stop to chew on the thought that the weather at the North Pole is pretty nice in the summertime lately.

It he's a dumb one I find it necessary to mention all that ice that has been there throughout known history is now melting fast enough that the BANKERS AND THE OIL MEN are buying up property up that way.That sort have a LOT of faith in bankers and oil men you see.Eventually they figure it out after another round of drinks.Hey guys-the ice is meltin, at th north pole !!?who ud a thunk it?

Of course the really dumb ones think that the North Pole is only an imaginary place where Santa lives with his elves.Once he found out about Santa Claus he knew all he would ever need to know-everything and every body is a fraud.All you can do for HIM is to feel sorry for him.

The Global Warming Deniers (GWDens) are very much like the Evolution Theory Deniers.
Scientists keep digging up mound after mound of fossil records and yet the ETDens insist there never were things like dinosaurs, woolly mammoths, etc.

This month's Scientific American has an article about thawing of Siberia's permafrost regions and accelerating release of methane (far more potent as a GHG than CO2).

IIRC, there's an island in the Pacific that is going under due to rising sea levels.

And yet the GWDens deny and deny.

Another case of don't confuse me with the facts, I've made up my mind and I'm going to stick to it.

Otherwise known as In-Duct-Taped Reasoning

conservationist, You make the statement "The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming".

Lack of warming? I don't see any lack of warming, the Arctic is melting, the Antarctic is melting, virtually all glaciers are melting. Every chart, chart I see shows a clear trend upward. If you think these charts are fixed I want to hear it straight from you that you think those 2 are fixed.

Where do you get the "lack of warming"?

He's quoting from the e-mails.

"Can’t account for the lack of warming" wasn't referring to global temperatures, but to the inability to measure the heat balance at the top of the atmosphere to the required precision.

Why did they need to hold the data after they had incorporated it since that data is still held by the compilers of said data?

The original data is not gone.

Exactly, everyone who doesn't understand how one side the debate has been should start reading about climate-gate on the web. I just read that over 30,000 scientists and over 9000 of them PHD's signed a petition last year refuting the assumptions about man made global warming.

I would challenge anyone who is so positive to search climate-gate and then say how sure you they are of man-made global warming (or of the mainstream media that have surpressed all dessent and told you it is absolutely settled (except of course the surpressed tree ring studies, and the Harvard study and the erased EPA data and the fudged data in England and surpressed papers...)

I wouldn't by the way say man-made warming is impossible, I just cann't seem to reach a firm conclusion as to global warming, and especially man-made global warming, no matter how hard I study the evidence and try to reach a conclusion.

You are not as objective as you claim and your facts are simply false. Where is that link to 9,000 science PhDs signed petition ? (Liberal Arts PhDs have no significance)

I read quite a few papers and discussions till I became convinced that the scientific case was conclusive (around 1997) and the rest is just details. (For example I am a skeptic that the "Little Ice Age" and "Medieval Warming" were more than regional events and they may have been caused by variations in the THC/Gulf Stream. Whether I am right or wrong matters little though). Once it was settled, I spent much less time on the literature.

There does appear to be a systemic error in the projections, IPCC UNDERESTIMATED the rate of climate change and the impacts of these changes. The cause of this systemic error is the deniers and "being conservative"/not "being alarmist".

Exxon (and API headed by former Exxon CEO) are spending tens of millions spreading lies and half lies.

From a management perspective, there only needs to be LESS THAN A 30% CHANCE that IPCC is correct (or too conservative) to justify spending as much as we spend on defense to slowing the rate of Climate Change.

Reportedly, Dick Cheney was obsessed with the possibility of terrorists blowing up an atomic bomb in a US city. News for Cheney: A 5 kt nuke going off in the waterfront of any US city would be a forgettable trivial event of no impact in comparison with the long term impact of Climate Change.

For example, I expect to see California agriculture shrink to less than half it's peak (perhaps <10%) in my lifespan. California is our largest agricultural state and the almost sole domestic source of quite a few fruits, vegetables and nuts.

Best Hopes for Reality,


Bank of Japan to Hold Special Meeting Amid Government Pressure

(Bloomberg) -- The Bank of Japan will hold an emergency policy meeting today amid government pressure for it to combat falling prices. The yen fell the most against the dollar in seven weeks.

...Deflation can undermine economic growth by making debt burdens heavier, eroding corporate profit margins and deterring capital investment and consumer spending. Japanese prices excluding fresh food slid 2.2 percent in October from a year earlier, a near record drop, and the government’s declaration of deflation on Nov. 20 was the first in more than three years.

It seems like when the US dollar sinks, the Japanese yen rises, and the system becomes unbalanced. The rise of the yen is part of what is behind Japan's deflation problem, since imports are relatively cheap.

Right now, it seems like there are a lot of stresses on the system of exchange rates. Each country would like to have its currency relatively low, so it is easier to pay back debt, and so exports are easier to sell. Everyone can't do this at the same time.

It seems like we are going to see a lot of volatility in the months ahead, in exchange rates.

Dubai World Debt is commercial, NOT sovereign

says local (Dubai) paper



If so, their situation is not unlike Iceland's where the banks defaulted but the nation so far has not. But that is where the similarity ends.

Iceland is energy and water independent, has a remarkably well educated populace, few foreign inhabitants and can make a subsistence living off of cod fishing if nothing else.

Dubai has none of those and if new construction comes to a halt, as it did in Iceland, they may have a much harder time figuring out what their 'new normal' is.

-- Jon

We May Be Born With an Urge to Help

What is the essence of human nature? Flawed, say many theologians. Vicious and addicted to warfare, wrote Hobbes. Selfish and in need of considerable improvement, think many parents.

But biologists are beginning to form a generally sunnier view of humankind. Their conclusions are derived in part from testing very young children, and partly from comparing human children with those of chimpanzees, hoping that the differences will point to what is distinctively human.

The somewhat surprising answer at which some biologists have arrived is that babies are innately sociable and helpful to others. Of course every animal must to some extent be selfish to survive. But the biologists also see in humans a natural willingness to help.

Some interesting tidbits in this article. I had no idea that children in foraging societies consume more than they produce until age 20.

Yergin's own words above appear to support PO if you're not the type to thinks we'll be crashing over a cliff in a matter months.

"Dr. Yergin politely cast aside this notion that the world was running out of oil, citing amongst other examples, recent oil discoveries off the coast of Brazil. "Rather than a peak, production seems to resemble more of a plateau," he said."

The fact that he sees a plateau developing as we add new production argues that he sees existing old field declining at a significant rate also. Must be so if the +'s and the -'s are resulting in a flat curve. Add that to the generally acknowledged high decline rates associated with Deep Water fields and one can make a good argument (using Yergin's own words) that we'll never see oil production capabilities any higher then we have today. And that is a peak. Maybe a flat top peak for a period of time but a peak none the less.

I noticed that part of Yergin's argument is that speculators were piling into commodities (like oil) during the summer of '08 because of the weakening dollar. Hmmm, then how come neither gold nor silver breached their previous highs reached just a bit earlier that year? It looks to me like both metals were just slightly above their respective 100 day moving averages in July.

And of course 'flat' depends on your perspective. A ten year plateau still looks like a pretty sharp peak over the entire history of oil production.

I think we will see more and more of this kind of coded language as laggards like Yergin struggle to admit reality without seeming to eat his many past words to the contrary.


Are you suggesting that Yergin "May Be Born With an Urge to Help"?

Iggy -- It might be more that he "May Have Been Born With An Urge To Cover His Butt". In another 5 or so years, especially if the global economy does muster a sustained rebound, there might not be much debate left in Yergin. It won't take falling off of a cliff for folks to start seeing the truth of PO. I know Yergin is no spring chicken so perhaps he's thinking about his final bow being more of an "Ops" then a "I told you so".

I'll take the opportunity to point out again how the cornucopians will take phrases like "running out of oil" and beat us over the head with them. He is absolute right: we are not running out of oil. Every dumb Joe6Pack can see all those non-existent lines at the gas stations and clearly see that we aren't running out of oil. It's a shame that a man with Yergin's credentials plays this word game.

It should have always been "running SHORT of oil". NEVER, EVER say "running OUT of oil".

So true WNC. But even "running short" can be a problem for the non-thinkers out there. Like the comedian Ron White says: "You can't fix stupid."

During a PO discussion over Thanksgiving dinner I was careful to use terms like "declining production" and "limits to growth". Within minutes someone said "but you said we are running out of oil!".
Its hopeless to try and convince people that they won't be able to consume as much as they have in the past. Its all doomsday to them.

Ghung -- I hope at least the turkey wasn't too dry.

It's bad enough when PO proponents slip in our phrasology but when the likes of Yergin says "they say we're running out..." we're really defenseless. He essentially sets of a stawwman arguement that he can easily win in the eyes of Joe6Pack. Add that to the media coverage and we don't stand much of a chance. Your kin are just victems of long established propoganda techniques.

TEOTWAWKI= boring boring (for Thanksgiving Day table conversation)

Fall from Grace of Latest Celebrity= OK now we're talking juicy gossip. Bring it on.

Yergin's statement about a plateau indicates that he is well aware, and is strategically altering his optimistic claims incrementally to save face. Pretty soon, he'll claim that the peak has passed, and his warnings had gone unheeded.

His argument regarding high oil prices is full of holes. First, although the US was in recession in the summer 2008, the "financial crisis" didn't really establish until Oct 2008 (after oil prices had already dropped from their high point). Second, while it may be that some investors were looking for a safe haven other than US dollars, "speculating in other areas" isn't consistent with "seeking a safe haven". Oil may be emerging as a financial instrument (although I would argue the converse, financial instruments emerged as surrogates for potential energy), but greater volatility in price and the goal of a safe investment haven are in stark opposition.

I hope someone keeps track of the changing statements of people like Yergin. They may take incremental steps while changing their story, but eventually the contrast between prior and new statements can point out their inconsistency and hence non-credibility. John Stewart on the Daily Show does this regularly (with comedic outcomes), most recently showing completely opposite statements by Rudy Giuliani regarding treatment of people charged with terrorism (the main change, of course, being the replacement of control by elephants to donkeys). Perhaps this could be a topic for a campfire (e.g. inconsistent statements by BAU lobbyists).

In Response to: We May Be Born With an Urge to Help:

I agree that Humans are social animals, but I have a few disagreements with some details of the article.
- It says that men account for 68% of calorie gathers. From what I've read it seems that the actual percentage varies depending on the environment in which the calories are gathered... men probably gather the most calories in the Arctic (where hunting is the key tool) but far less in many parts of the tropic (where endurance walking to find plant-based food is the usual method).
- the assumption that chimps aren't interested in what other chimps think may be a quick assumption. Go to a zoo and watch how capuccin monkeys act in a group (especially if one of the keepers gets distracted and stands there talking with another keeper while holding a basket of food in close proximity to the monkey cage).
- I think Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs depends on the subject in question. Some people see family as greater than recognition while others have it totally the other way around. Maslow's Theory is over-rated if you ask me.

"Of course every animal must to some extent be selfish to survive. .."

That seems to be a self-justifying distinction. I think that the impulse to follow social mores and maintain strong social bonds IS a self-preserving, and hence a selfish one. But the author follows our current cultural bias in suggesting that selfishness is also antisocial and unhelpful. US Cowboyitis, it sounds like..

Beyond that, starting it with 'Of course' already makes this generalization easy to target..
ahh, 'Selfish' is almost as bad as 'Terrorism' for a word that can be thoroughly misused and undefined..

I would term it 'enlightened self interest'

Good find Leanan!

Get out from behind your computer screen and around people and you'll find that there's a huge instinct to help. All kinds of people from little kids to co-workers (those other people who walk past your cubicle sometimes) to the homeless have a huge helpful streak.

I've been spending a lot of time around all sorts of people for the last year and a half, and it's done nothing but raise my faith in "human nature". The scared, selfish, hardass Republican type certainly exists but as a percentage of population they're actually pretty rare, maybe 10% in an average American town, higher in more affluent areas and always miserable to be around. They're surely much more rare in healthier societies, and as common or more common in destroyed societies under revolution, US attack, severe famine, or displacement.

Research showing the "selfish gene" has learned the survival benefits of some altruism is at least 30 years old now, it's refreshing to read this because most of the stuff printed now to show that Scientific Progress is proceeding apace is in fact 50 or more years old.

You confuse altruism with mutual cooperation.
IMO altruism is a figment of the human mind and simply a mechanism to cope with our actual psychopathic natures.

Lets start with simple inequalities.
From your own relative wealth to every level of human culture and society.
I don't see any inequalities in the world being addressed with "altruism".
Every individual, family, community and country has a reason why they need to preserve their own way of life. What is non negotiable.

An example of the occasional good deed does not equate to altruism. Especially when compared to the horrific acts we perpetrated on each other throughout history.

Just over the last century or so the acts of genocide alone should make it perfectly clear that we (humankind) are most certainly NOT altruistic.

We have exploited every possible niche on the planet and polluted and devastated the oceans, rivers, lakes, atmosphere, flora and fauna, land and each other to further our existence.
People and corporations with agendas do everything in their power to further their goals and ambitions. The economic and global warming denialists are among the most evil examples of human nature to be found.

How can we expect our nature to change now?
As I have repeated many times here for a couple of years, if it means REAL sacrifice to bring about change then it will not happen. Everyone from individuals to nations have a reason why they should be exempt, be it political or simply selfishness. The fight for survival will come down to engineering a way for or just hoping the other person goes first. This scenario will be played out from the lowest to highest levels.

So you spend your time writing about the horrible examples, but don't devote any to the examples of people being great and good..

-Your opinion only derives from what you opt to look for.

An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, "Let me tell you a story.

I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.

But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times." He continued, "It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.

But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger,for his anger will change nothing.

Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit."

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather's eyes and asked, "Which one wins, Grandfather?"

The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, "The one I feed."


.. and you might ask yourself just why does the Grandfather bother to teach this lesson to the boy?

I find de Waal to be very convincing when he makes the case for reciprocal altruism in Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals.

How can altruism possibly be reciprocal? If it is reciprocal it is cooperation.
Altruism means sacrifice with the expectation of NO return.
If a return is expected whether it be immediately in the future, divine or worldly then there has been no altruism.

Certainly there has been many examples of apparent altruism, especially in war but who knows what was going through a persons mind at the time. Their beliefs, their standing among their peers or instinct.
I'm of the opinion that examples of altruism is vastly overwhelmed by acts of self preservation, selfishness and undetermined ulterior motives.

Look I don't say what I do to demean the human race, I'm simply a part of the system and subject to the whims of my human nature and instincts as is everyone else.

There is no overall good or bad trait or behavior to judge. We are what we are due to evolution and simply reap what we sow. We can't and will not change.

Did you read the article? It covers a lot of ground and I'm sure there are holes a plenty in the summarizations but the article is about the attempts to find just what that human nature is. No doubt the dynamics of large and competing groups will bend that one way or another but that was not what was primarily being addressed. I found the part about the comparative size of whites of our eyes and very young human babies following eye movements while other primates seemed to follow only head movements intriguing.

Well Joe Cool, your opinion only derives from what you care to overlook. You prefer fables, anecdotes and bedtime stories.

Obviously you have a faith in humanity oblivious to history, reason and evidence.
That's okay I suspect you are in the vast majority.........but the godly religious are in the vast majority too.

I would like to read about your examples of people being "great and good" and how those people negate the "horrible" examples.

I can give you one example, from a book called "Survivors" written by Terence des Pres in the 1970s. He looked at the memoirs and books written by survivors from the death camps in Germany and Russia, trying to suss out how people behaved in the most extreme situations and awhy some lived and most died. What I took away from it was this:

1 Luck.
2 Will to live, usually manifested as a "Will to bear witness"
3 Community, solidarity, altruism, ...

The ones who helped each other survived better than the loners. It was codified in the "Bread Law" that was the rule in every camp, in every country. Anyone who stole bread from another was killed by the other inmates, because the occurrence of the theft, starvation aside, was enough to cause the victim to die from despair.

Des Pres concluded that the urge to work together was hardwired into our genes, the same way that dogs are pack animals and cats are not. It's not faith in humanity, it's not religious altruism, it's not being "good" instead of "bad", it's the way we are as a species.

Until humans accept their non uniqueness. Until humans accepts they are a part of a bigger picture than themselves, their families, communities or countries, we will continue to overpopulate and ravage the world in which we live.

Murder is not altruism, prisons do not contain an abundance of altruists. To the enemy, suicide bombers are not altruists. Suicide bombers do what they do because they think they are altruists and their enemies are not. A religious group wishing to convert or kill non believers is not altruism. An estimated fifty million dead in WWII is not altruism but certain acts will be cherry picked to rationalize.

Morality is not altruism. Morality changes with the circumstances. Morality can be assuaged to justify the massacre of innocents.
Empathy is not altruism. Empathy is reserved for ones own kind and when empathy should be felt most, it is rationalized. If the human race was empathetic, there would be less homelessness, less people than the millions starving to death each year throughout the world. There would be less them and us, rich and poor. We wouldn't kill animals for sport.

The big picture tells the story of the human condition. We adopt many coping mechanisms to deal with our destructive natures, religion being the most obvious.

IMO altruism is a figment of the human mind and simply a mechanism to cope with our actual psychopathic natures.

I disagree. It primarily has to do with genetic selection. This basically is genes selecting for their own propagation, not for the benefit of the individual, or even of the species. Regarding altruism, in
small clan type groups, say like your typical hunter gatherer level, during which most of our evolution ocurred, there is a lot of commonality of genes. The individuals comprising the group are closely related. The gene doesn't care if its carrier is killed defending the group. If that act of "altruism" results in other identical copies from other group members propagating, then it has done its evolutionary job. In this manner, at least some "altruistic" traits were selected for.

Richard Dawkins explained it in his book, "The Selfish Gene".

Humans have short lives, but genes are immortal. Human beings are just their genes' way of perpetuating themselves from generation to generation.

If a human is killed but two of his/her children survive as a result, the genes have broken even. If a human is killed but two siblings survive, the genes have broken even.

Human beings share many of the same genes even with complete strangers. If a human is not killed, but as a result of his/her actions, a complete stranger survives, the genes are ahead of the game. That's why people will try to rescue complete strangers - even if it's not in their best interest, it's in their genes best interest.

People will often take risks that might kill them because it's in their genes' best interest to do so. This is particularly apparent in wars.

WSJ: Job Cuts Loom as Stimulus Fades

WASHINGTON—Highway-construction companies around the country, having completed the mostly small projects paid for by the federal economic-stimulus package, are starting to see their business run aground, an ominous sign for the nation's weak employment picture.

Tim Word, vice president of Dean Word Co., a heavy-construction company in New Braunfels, Texas, said his income is now coming mostly from projects that are winding up. He said that in normal times he has about $100 million of signed contracts in hand. But that number has fallen to $30 million, and the pipeline is empty. In the past two years, his work force has shrunk nearly 40% to 260 from 420. "Having something to bid on is the lifeblood of the industry, and it's running out," said Mr. Word. He isn't sure what will happen next year without new projects. "There's no pavement fairy that's going to help."

WSJ: Working Two Jobs and Still Underemployed

For Richard Crane, the "new normal" in the labor market began when he was laid off from a New Jersey battery plant in the summer of 2006. Mr. Crane had been earning more than $100,000 a year operating heavy machinery at Delco, a former unit of General Motors. He worked there for 23 years, since graduating from high school. But when he lost his job he was thrust into a netherworld of part-time gigs: working the registers at Taco Bell, organizing orders at McDonald's, whatever he could find.

"I thought it would be temporary," says Mr. Crane, 49 years old. Three years later, he is selling outdoor furniture by day and pumping gas by night, while worrying about his skills atrophying and spending scant time with his teenage son. He makes about a third of his former pay.

Mr. Crane is part of a growing group of underemployed -- people in part-time jobs who want full-time work or people in jobs that don't employ their skills. Since the recession began two years ago, the number of people involuntarily working part-time jobs has more than doubled to 9.3 million, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest number on record.

It's a mess.

As for Tim Word, at least there is still a need for his services. I can show him many roads that need paving and upgrades. His problem is that the funding isn't there. In areas like ours the economy changed completely over 30 years from agricuture, logging, and manufacturing to real estate and home building (retirement and second homes). Everything else now exists to service the real estate industry and it's get. Except for a few cottage industries, very limited agriculture and limited tourism, thats it. These jobs aren't comming back because they won't be needed much, like the textile jobs of 30 years ago. It seems that planned obsolecence applies to people too. Adapt or decline.

I have a hard time feeling empathy with Mr. Crane. He was lucky enough to enter the workforce during the greatest expansion of wages and benefits for unskilled laborers that the world has seen.

There are people that will never sniff a 100,000 dollars a year -- and they work in professions that are skill or knowledge based moreso than heavy machinery operating. He was lucky and now he's not.

There are literally billions of people that year for the type of career he's had given his modest intelligence and skillset.

Another story from the article:

Among the underemployed is Marty Rasmussen of Walnut Creek, Calif., who was a banking executive for more than 15 years. He and his wife earned a combined income of more than $250,000 a year. As a hobby, he built cabinets and furniture.

Based on the article, Mr. Rasmussen (now working as a part time carpenter) and his wife actually have less income now that Mr. Crane and his wife.

OTOH, ELP (sorry about all the acronyms)

P = Produce. Good, productive hobby. If he'd played video games in his spare time he'd really be up a creek.

That reminds me, I've gotta quit blogging and go learn something useful...

It is no easier for a man who made $100K (along with everybody else in his peer group) to watch his "belongings" be repossessed and his life dissolve than it is for a man who makes half as much or twice as much. We don't know if he has a sick child or poor parents who depend on him either, but many do.

I believe we are programmed to normalize our existence such that most of us think our lives are "OK", but that with 2x the money life would be "great" (above that is "rich b***ards and crooks"), and with 1/2 it would be "harsh" (and below that are the "lazy, shiftless hoodlums, thugs, and welfare cheats").

A man does not idly work 87 hour weeks for a fraction of his past income. The saying "walk a mile in his shoes" comes to mind, and I'm loathe to criticize.

"Some are born to move the world
To live their fantasies
But most of us just dream about
The things we'd like to be
Sadder still to watch it die
Than never to have known it
For you, the blind who once could see
The bell tolls for thee..."

I got to know a nice guy at the local Home Depot yesterday, he was an electrician for 15 years then did "corporate sales" and indeed made that 100K or a bit more. Now he works at Home Depot. I never made 100K myself but I did indeed get within sniffing range lol.

He's a cheerful guy, and probably within a few years of my own age, my height maybe an inch taller, and build like a fire hydrant. He's one of those people who would be cheerful in any job, and maybe he finds the New Simplicity a relief after the long hours he may have worked in Corporate Sales.

It's a big come down for sure, he may have ridden a bicycle to work that day, where he used to have a big work truck with lots of tools. Maybe he does some wiring on the side for extra cash, although chances are it's done as favors for friends these days with no thought - or hope - of repayment.

I see many of us living on 8-10% of what we used to, and a large gift economy forming.

Mexican remittances tumble 36 percent

MEXICO - The money Mexican migrants sent home fell nearly 36 percent in October compared to the same month last year, Mexico's central bank said Tuesday. It's the largest drop since records began to be kept in 1996.

I think you will find that that is pretty much the case with most immigrant worker groups. In my neck of the woods I recently saw a middle aged man send money to the US to help his struggling daughter (not a student). It's usually the other way around.

Alan from the islands

There was an article making the rounds not too long ago, a week maybe, about how money is being sent by folks in Mexico to their relatives up here, when it used to be the other way around.

And I hear about people planning to move back to Mexico all the time, in my local barber shop. I'm kinda tan for a gringo and since I've never seen another gringo in there, I think I'm assumed to be just another one of the guys and not someone to save face in front of, so this means I hear everything.

Remittances sent by migrants have been Mexico's second largest source of foreign income, falling only behind oil exports. Bank officials have said remittances are declining because of the U.S. economic downturn, particularly in the construction market.

And revenues from oil exports are way down too..

Also tourism. . Down 6.2% for the 3rd Qtr GDP, less than expected by Bloomberg econs though.

At a local diner both immigrant workers quit. The replacement native-born quit twice, but also came back twice... so the waitresses say.

China's "guest worker army" has also returned home -- 20 million people with no work...

Junk mortgages: It just gets worse

We thought this was a cautionary tale -- but it's turned into a horror story. All the tranches of this issue, GSAMP-2006 S3, that were originally rated below AAA have defaulted. Two of the three original AAA -rated tranches (French for "slices") are facing losses of about 90%, and even the "super senior," safer-than-mere-AAA slice is facing losses of 25%.

Arming Goldman With Pistols Against Public

(Bloomberg) -- “I just wrote my first reference for a gun permit,” said a friend, who told me of swearing to the good character of a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker who applied to the local police for a permit to buy a pistol. The banker had told this friend of mine that senior Goldman people have loaded up on firearms and are now equipped to defend themselves if there is a populist uprising against the bank.

I called Goldman Sachs spokesman Lucas van Praag to ask whether it’s true that Goldman partners feel they need handguns to protect themselves from the angry proletariat. He didn’t call me back. The New York Police Department has told me that “as a preliminary matter” it believes some of the bankers I inquired about do have pistol permits. The NYPD also said it will be a while before it can name names.

NYC has some of the toughest gun control laws in the country. CCWs are particularly hard to get; except, of course, if you're a wealth banker. Welcome to NYC, welcome to the Middle Ages; the Aristocracy is armed, everyone else can pound sand.

That GS piece is truly precious. Here are some other great clips:

"Common sense tells you a handgun is probably not even all that useful. Suppose an intruder sneaks past the doorman or jumps the security fence at night. By the time you pull the pistol out of your wife’s jewelry safe, find the ammunition, and load your weapon, Fifi the Pomeranian has already been taken hostage and the gun won’t do you any good. As for carrying a loaded pistol when you venture outside, dream on. Concealed gun permits are almost impossible for ordinary citizens to obtain in New York or nearby states.
In other words, a little humility and contrition are probably the better route."

"So maybe other senior people at Goldman Sachs have gone out and bought guns, and they know something. But what?

Henry Paulson, U.S. Treasury secretary during the bailout and a former Goldman Sachs CEO, let it slip during testimony to Congress last summer when he explained why it was so critical to bail out Goldman Sachs, and -- oh yes -- the other banks. People “were unhappy with the big discrepancies in wealth, but they at least believed in the system and in some form of market-driven capitalism. But if we had a complete meltdown, it could lead to people questioning the basis of the system.”

Torn Curtain

There you have it. The bailout was meant to keep the curtain drawn on the way the rich make money, not from the free market, but from the lack of one. Goldman Sachs blew its cover when the firm’s revenue from trading reached a record $27 billion in the first nine months of this year, and a public that was writhing in financial agony caught on that the profits earned on taxpayer capital were going to pay employee bonuses.

This slip-up let the other bailed-out banks happily hand off public blame to Goldman, which is unpopular among its peers because it always seems to win at everyone’s expense.

Plenty of Wall Streeters worry about the big discrepancies in wealth, and think the rise of a financial industry-led plutocracy is unjust. That doesn’t mean any of them plan to move into a double-wide mobile home as a show of solidarity with the little people, though.

Cool Hand Lloyd

No, talk of Goldman and guns plays right into the way Wall- Streeters like to think of themselves. Even those who were bailed out believe they are tough, macho Clint Eastwoods of the financial frontier, protecting the fistful of dollars in one hand with the Glock in the other. The last thing they want is to be so reasonably paid that the peasants have no interest in lynching them."

Real tough guys-the vast majority of these guys have never been in a real streetfight in their entire lives-they have never even felt a good shot to the temple. Hilarious.

Common sense tells you a handgun is probably not even all that useful.

But, it does help deterrence wise. I can daydream about grabbing a pitchfork and reaming these guys with it. But, if they may be packing, I'd think twice about trying it in real life.

Don't bring a pitchfork to a gun fight.....................

and stay damned clear of any mob

EOS -- And as a lady once asked a Texas Ranger if he was wearing that sidearm because he was expecting trouble. He said no...if he were expecting trouble he would have brought his rifle.


In relation to gold in sacks and the plutocracy -well said sir!!

Now all of us good old boys keep our pistols loaded and if we don't we can load one in five seconds if its a semiauto clip fed gun.

An armed society such as the one in the southern mountians is a polite society.We do occasionally shoot somebody but we are basically pimp free and street robbery is virtually unheard of.My second to last wife used to ride her saddle horse for miles on lonesome roads in the moonlight dressed in a halter and short shorts and she was one good looking babe-literally dozens of rednecks drooled and she was locally very well known as the hot xxxxx on the horse-nobody EVER bothered her at all as she was known to carry.Taught her to use a pistol myself but she was proficient with a shotgun when I met her as her brothers taught her how to use long guns.

Good story, as usual, ofm. On the other hand, I have lived much of my life in inner cities and have known many attractive women who have never been raped or bothered, and without carrying a weapon.

Many a study has shown that fire arms in the home are most likely to be used on members of that household. My experience of humans, myself included, is that we are not always completely rational in every situation (yes, that is understatement); in a fit of passion, an otherwise peaceful person may become violent, and the instrument of that violence will be whatever is on hand--fist, knife, or gun, in ascending order of lethality.

Perhaps, though, others have found in their years, that humans remain perfectly rational and reasonable in all situations?

But I don't want to derail this thread onto one about NRA...

Anyone who wanted to target these GS jerks could take them out from afar before the banksters would even see them, much less pull out their weapons and defend themselves. Maybe they'll all end up killing each other with their own guns, ridding us all of bad garbage.

I just listened to the latest Radio Lab
It talks about Benford's Law, about 20 min. in
has any one applied this to production numbers?

and here's an OT video

Benford's Law falls out of power-law dependiencies. It is a natural effect of values that range over many orders of magnitude. You will likely see it pop up when you look at sizes of reservoirs. Nothing special about it and it is less of a law than an outcome of more fundamental laws.

BTW, I can't stand Radio Lab.

Forgive me if this has been posted in an earlier Drum Beat. I just came across it and found it intriguing.

Is Global Warming Unstoppable? Theory Also Says Energy Conservation Doesn't Help

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.

I got a particular kick out of a comment from an economist after reading the paper reported

I am afraid the author will need to study harder before he can contribute.

Translation: "I have no idea what physics has to do with economics"

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 suspect it may be slightly more complex that this, as the current financial system does not actually produce much of real value (i.e. Greer's tertiary economy), and is therefore divorced from all reality including energy costs - but overall I think it has merit. It was always all about energy. That this baffles economists only makes it more plausible.

And of course a number in "watts" can't be right. It would have to be joules or "watt-hours" to get it into energy units.

WHT, I noticed the same thing when our ASPO-USA columnist, Dave Cohen, quoted this article a few days ago. I tried to send emails to him but they bounced or got rejected.

I can't believe this physicist is being quoted correctly when he talks about energy in milliwatts instead of xxxxwatt-hours or something of that form, with TIME (hours, minutes, seconds) being the second factor in the number's units. Watts is power; watt-hours is energy. How could a physicist get that wrong?

Dick Lawrence

Isn't a dollar of GDP a dollar per unit of time? You have to recreate it next year, and so on. For that you need a continuous power source, measured in watts.

From the paper reviewed:

Figure 3 shows that, over a period between 1970 and 2005, the ratio λ (t) = a/C
maintained a nearly constant value of 0.306 exajoules per trillion 1990 US dollars
per year, or alternatively 9.7 mW per 1990 dollar.

As I understand the analogy, he's treating past economic output as being similar to the past accumulation of biomass of a living organism.

For clarification, the figure is 9.7 mW, since the accumulated value of all past production is being treated in an analogous fashion to an organism's current biomass. It's not really clear to me that Garrett provides a particularly compelling reason for doing so, only noting that this is some proxy for the value of civilization. In Garrett's framework, a "steady state" economy would be treated as a growing organism. All economic activity is treated as an accumulation invested in "civilization," requiring greater energy requirements to maintain the "larger" civilization.

I haven't and won't read Garrett's paper.
I don't see how a steady state economy would necessarily mean a growing organism. An organism requires energy to maintain it's state, and more to grow.
My interpretation makes sense to me - it requires a certain amount of energy to get a certain amount of GDP each year. Multiplying through by time, it takes a certain power production to have a certain GDP production.
That's what it means to me, even if it's not what he says.

Real scientific thinking there...

His paper is not about steady state economics. It is about the fact that the economy behaves like every other organism and obeys the 2nd law of thermodynamics. No energy gradient across the "membrane" means no economy just like it would mean death to any organism.

Is Garrett claiming that each dollar of production requires energy usage of .3 milliwatt-HOURS, or is he claiming that each dollar of production results in the need for .3 milliwatt of power use in perpetuity thereafter? The first sentence seems to imply the latter.

Edit - I guess I left my window open for a few hours before checking the thread, because others have addressed the source of my confusion.

As noted above, it all about energy and Garrett's observation about growth (and conservation) is an important one. The other side of this is that resource limits also can impose very dramatic changes beyond what we are willing to accept based upon our past experiences.

Riding the bus, "using less" just means that there is "more" for someone else...until there isn't. But in the meantime, economists just don't see how exponential growth (in physics) has anything to do with their artificial economic world.

But in the meantime, economists just don't see how exponential growth (in physics) has anything to do with their artificial economic world.


Las Vegas rebound riding on $8.5B CityCenter

"We're in a 12-round fight. The first six rounds, you guys got beat up," Tony Alamo of the Nevada Gaming Commission told CityCenter owners MGM Mirage and Dubai World when Aria's license was approved.

"We're putting all our eggs in the 'grow-the-market' basket. I would be lying to you if I wasn't concerned — that's a reality," he said. "This is not just the company, it's the state."

We're putting all our eggs in the 'grow-the-market' basket?

To paraphrase Einstein: Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

You're chiding a bunch of gamblers for wanting to take a risk?

No, I'm chiding the owners of the house who should know better that the odds are stacked against them ;-)

Do you mean house, or house? In the case of the latter odds aren't stacked against them by definition.

From the conclusion of Nassim Taleb's Black Swan, Chapter titled: Umberto Eco's Antilibrary,

Nassim recounts four multimillion dollar losses suffered by a particular casino due to factors that were completely unanticipated by their supposedly sophisticated risk modeling.

A back of the envelope calculation shows that the dollar value of these Black Swans, the off-model hits and potential hits I've just outlined, swamp the on-model risks by a factor of close to 1000 to 1. The Casino spent hundreds of millions of dollars on gambling theory and high-tech surveillance while the bulk of their risk came from outside models.

All this,and yet the rest of the world still learns about uncertainty and probability from gambling examples.

It seems that when it comes to understanding real risk, the managers of the house, are no better at managing it than your average Joe.

I'd further wager that betting the house and 8.5 billion dollars on an economic recovery that will supposedly allow their new venture to succeed is a very lousy crap shoot indeed, especially given what is currently unfolding. The cards are not in their favor. Playing Russian Roulette would give them better odds.
(my apologies for the bad, but intended puns)

'd further wager that betting the house and 8.5 billion dollars on an economic recovery that will supposedly allow their new venture to succeed is a very lousy crap shoot indeed, especially given what is currently unfolding.

Probably not from the standpoint of the individuals (knowingly) making the wager. If they lose, it is some investors money. If they win, some of it is theirs. Its called moral hazard, and seems to be at the heart of the bankster shenanegains. Of course if the investors figure out they are being used this way, the local hitman may recieve a nice contract.

The gamble probably didn't look that bad early on-now they are in so deep they have to ride it out and hope to fill the inside straight-tat's a better bet than just folding at this late stage of the game.

I agree it's hopeless, but if involved as a manager I would feel compelled to try to play out the game.

I agree it's hopeless, but if involved as a manager I would feel compelled to try to play out the game.

Yes, but it still underscores the fact that they didn't properly assess the risks to begin with when they were in the planning stages. Which was my point in citing Taleb.

"How could anyone have anticipated what was going to happen", is not an excuse that is going to fly when your job description is to anticipate risks, just sayin...

Which is also why those who continue to insist that BAU can go on, should be gently wrapped in straight jackets by the little men in white suits and big butterfly nets and then placed in padded rooms for their own and our protection. Ironically we are the ones they call crazy.

I agree with Enemy of state that the "developers" knew better but since they always get away with it they just go ahead and swindle away all day.
Bring back hit men and hence suitable justice.

FMagyar, I prefer to be labeled as abnormal since crazy is the new normal.

It has been posted before, in the DrumBeat of 23. nov (and here (DrumBeat 26. nov)), but I think it's exciting enough to repeat... as is this: Second Law of Thermodynamics May Explain Economic Evolution

From the paper by Annila and Salthe discussed in the PhysOrg article (which is downloadabe free from there):

It is time to re-inspect the fundamental resemblance between economic and biological systems using the 2nd law of thermodynamics, which was recently formulated as an equation of motion for natural processes [6–8]. In this form, evolution by natural selection can be recognized as being guided by the 2nd law. This relationship is in agreement with earlier reasoning about the governing role of the 2nd law, known also as the principle of increasing entropy, in directing numerous natural processes, animate as well as inanimate [9–18].

Certainly in the past too, the principle of increasing entropy has invigorated cross-disciplinary thinking [19,20] and given rise to evolutionary economics, thermoeconomics and econophysics [21–28]. However, the inspiration has not been exhausted, because the entropy law, in the words of Georgescu-Roegen is still surrounded by many conceptual difficulties and equally numerous controversies [19].

Common considerations about entropy contrast with the principal findings of this study. It is reasoned here that economic activities are not confined by the 2nd law but are actually manifestations of it. The entropy of an entire economic system does not decrease due to its diverse activities at the expense of entropy increase in its surroundings. Rather, it follows from the conservation of energy that both the economy and its surroundings are increasing in entropy (decreasing in available energy) when mutual differences in energy densities are leveling off as a result of economic activity. The key here is that according to the statistical physics of open systems increasing entropy means dispersal of energy, rather than as increasing disorder. Finally, we understand the ultimate motivation of economic activities, not as the maximizing of profit or productivity, but rather to disperse energy.

(emphasis mine)

I think this is rather profound, and would love to see some in-debth discussion of it here...

This does imply, as Darwinian commented when the Garrett story was first posted, that "we will burn it all", at least all of "it" that has better EROI than the alternatives.

This again means that the best thing we can do for the planet is to dissipate the rest of the fossil energy as harmlessly as possible -- i.e., in ways that create minimal additional growth of humans and industry. (I see the destruction of the biosphere from human/industrial encroachment as the greatest present threat)

That means Orlovian boondoggles!

CCS is a perfect such boondoggle: It not only dissipates energy harmlessly, it actually reduces the harm done; and it will create little in the way of growth.

A start of a discussion is on a recent TOD post that I wrote called "Crude Complexity".

As an example, I used the maximum entropy principle to show how transportation activities disperse according to the 2nd Law. It fits the proxy data very well.

I spent some time reading this paper. They are on the right track, and only have a few reservations with certain of their assumptions.
They also don't actually apply their ideas to any practical problems, yet I think we should be able to work it out much like I have been able to.

I am with you on the profound nature of the general idea. I believe this approach is the only way that we will be able to make progress in understanding trends. It fits well with Taleb Black Swan philosophy as well.
It also fits well within the context of intractability of certain economics problems. We learn from the statistical physicists to work smart when faced with overwhelming complexity.

As you can tell, count me in on further discussion. It does scare a few people away but this is fun challenging stuff.

It occurs to me that if we can whip this carbon willie using CCS, over the very long term we could use it both ways. If we solve our current crisis and pump all of our excess carbon into storage somewhere, cooling the planet, it could mean the end of ice ages. Just open the valve a little if you want things to warm up.
I'll let you guys do the math.

, it could mean the end of ice ages. Just open the valve a little if you want things to warm up.

I saw an amusing paper by someone who did that. Only he didn't consider CCS, just deliberate burning of FF to ward off the ice age as long as possible. Looked at Milancovich (spelling?) forcings and all. He figured, we are blowing, burning all the FF at the begining. Gave us a bit over a hundred thousand years before the next one. Husband the FF, only burning enough to get the glaciers at bay, and he reconed we could go a half million. Some of the sinks, such as weathering to carbonates, really do effectively remove the carbon. Its just that they take too long.

Of course if we were an industrial civilization, we could do a lot beter than CO2. We could manufacture a mixtures of hydroflorocarbons, which pound per pound are thousands of times more effective than CO2. It seems like the system has an assymetry. It is easier to warm the climate, than to cool it.

I must admit that my math skills are not too impressive. I can follow the reasoning, but am not likely to improve on it, and many of the finer details probably elude me... so when I say I'd love to see it discussed, I really mean I'd love to listen in on a discussion between people more knowledgable than me 8-)

Yes, I read your post, and have read some of the pieces on your blog, ordered the Gell-Mann book... will work on my math. Maybe I can contribute in a year or two...

(BTW I just installed Scilab. Anyone here have any experience with it, and/or like to recommend some other open/free math program?)

“The second law encourages activities that consume free energy as soon as possible,” Annila said. “Therefore, there is the quest to increase productivity and throughput and to find new sources of energy. Moreover, the second law reveals that it is impossible to predict in detail the optimal course of energy utilization because the chosen course itself affects the choice for future actions. Therefore, it makes sense to favor statistically independent actions that open new opportunities to consume free energy, and likewise to regard the use of insider information as illegal since it narrows the choices.”

I get the impression that this view is somewhat biased towards the currently predominant pseudo free market capitalist western society paradigm.

It would be very interesting to see what happens if one could realistically model the consequences of changing EROEI values for different mixes of energy sources under different societal systems. For example can we model the long term viability of a low EROEI solar and wind based, lightly industrialized, social democracy that places a high value on cultural activities and leisure vs the high consumption of physical goods?

Would such a society find its own ecological niche within the ecosystem of competing social and economic systems?

Since the access to high EROEI fossil fuel, on which our current economic system is based seems to be ebbing, it makes sense to expect this system to significantly contract and possibly open the way for some completely new systems to evolve and fill some previously unavailable niches.

It occurs to me that the way we can apply EROEI in terms of 2nd law+entropy is that we assume a mean EROEI and then disperse that value over all possible values consistent with a maximum entropy. This means that we have quite a few low values of EROEI and a few values above average. What this accomplishes, as what all these kinds of calculations do, is put a realistic random profile on usage.

One of the ways to understand how the maximum entropy principle works is to imagine that we have very little information on the variance of EROEI in practice. Since we don't know how much it varies, the approximation with the least amount of bias is the assumption of maximum entropy, i.e. the standard deviation of EROEI equals the mean. The other way to understand it is that people will tend to disperse their usage as much as possible. People with lots of money will either be able to purchase high-quality EROEI sources, or they could just as likely squander their energy sources by using a low-value EROEI source.

The bottom-line is that you can think of entropy in many other ways than the classical view.


as to whether they are "biased towards the currently predominant pseudo free market capitalist western society paradigm" or not, I must admit that they appear to contradict themselves in the paper. They repeatedly say things like

Natural selection for the most effective mechanisms of energy dispersal is often pictured to be driven only by mutual competition, sometimes referred to as an arms race, whereas less attention has been given to the gains that are obtained by evolution to hierarchical organizations, sometimes viewed as co-evolution, co-operation or even altruism


Economies, just as ecosystems do, organize themselves in nested hierarchical systems to improve on energy dispersal. At each level of hierarchy a larger system provides the surroundings for its integral subsystems. Throughout the hierarchy the incentive of activities is nevertheless the same, the dispersal of energy. The holistic description of an economy as a nested hierarchy of energy transduction systems is self-similar with regard to energy transductions so that the landscape contains basins within basins (Equations 3.3. and 6.1). In other words, the global economy is comprised of national economies, each housing economic zones that in turn accommodate districts, firms, households and so on.

Likewise, the biosphere is comprised of ecosystems, each housing populations of individuals that in turn encompass organs, cells, organelles and so on [78]. Biological systems were integrated already eons ago into the biosphere, which also houses systems within systems. For example, a eukaryotic cell houses cellular organelles, chloroplasts and mitochondria that are thought to have once been independent organisms [79]. Also at higher levels of hierarchical organization various forms of symbiosis and co-operation are found.

which to me at least suggests that we should expect cartels, monopolies and command economies to spontaneously emerge... But then go on to state that

Considering that natural processes are non-deterministic it would be difficult to command an economy along the steepest gradients. This idea of freedom was once voiced as laissez-faire. However, it should be noted that although integration in hierarchical organizations structures energy dispersal processes, it also fosters statistical independence in transformations, e.g., by legislation that prohibits monopolies, cartels and use of insider information.

I am unable to reconcile those two views.

My opinion: The rationale for a (partial) command economy is to keep your economy from exploding into (along) the steepest gradients, sacrificing short-term growth for long-term stability.

Anyway, the assumption that profit is not the ultimate goal of economic activity is rather contrary to the dogma of business circles...

Consider the energy/GDP of Japan or Germany versus Dubai or the USA.

I basically reject the notion that there is some fixed ratio of energy to economic activity. Especially that subset of economic activity that increases human well being.

I could go on,


That's not really fair. It's the same problem we have comparing states' energy use. The states that produce energy look really bad on paper...but they are producing energy the other states use.

Energy/GDP comparisons are pretty meaningless, unless you consider the energy that went into imported products, whether that's gasoline or gewgaws.

Not so.

None of the four burns a lot of energy to produce energy for others.

Unfair if I had used the Netherlands (which refines a lot of oil later burned by Germany) but not particularly so by Dubai (which produces relatively little oil now and refines none AFAIK), Japan (refines most of their consumption, imports some), USA (ditto), Germany (does some refining, but imports a higher %).

The delta is in the lifestyle and way that they have organized themselves.


I just meant the energy-GDP connection in general.

We have outsourced our energy use and our pollution, and thus made our economy more "efficient." Japan and Europe have done the same.

Our standard of living is supported by energy consumption that is not reflected in the numbers.

I don't doubt we could use less, and be happier for it. But GDP-energy statistics aren't the way to prove it.

This is essentially what I was getting at - I can't see how an energy per GDP measure means much, as the GDP numbers don't mean much. But however you go about quantifying it, I think there is a direct relationship between energy and "real" economic output, and it would not surprise me to find out that it's pretty constant.

I think this also ties into what Greer has discussing - you'd have to subtract all of the tertiary economic nonsense off the numbers first. It does not actually produce anything and therefore it need not use anything of consequence in terms of energy or resources.

And WHT is right in that watts is not a measure of energy, something that always bugs the hell out of me. Sloppy.

And WHT is right in that watts is not a measure of energy, something that always bugs the hell out of me. Sloppy.

Well OK, but it can be defined as energy flow per unit of time and therefore is a useful metric when discussing thermodynamics and energy dispersion along a descending gradient over a specific delta T.

Now how exactly that works as a useful metric when assessing the recent banking crisis or housing bubble is something I would like to have explained to me in a clear and concise manner.

While I might, after some considerable effort, work my way through say the derivative of an exponential function. When it comes to credit derivatives I still find myself at a considerable loss.

If you can get a T in the numerator and a T in the denominator, then I'm OK with dropping it. ;-)

I think y'all need to go back and read what Garrett said again. He is saying that GDP is is related to the rate of energy consumption by a fixed factor. In other words, energy per unit time, watthours per hour, which is watts. Joules per second. K?

OK, I read it again:

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."

So he equates economic production over time to the rate of energy consumption.

You're right - he was consistent.

Really, to be entirely consistent, he should have presented GDP in terms of dollars/second then.

Read the paper. He's claiming that every dollar of activity in the past has created an ongoing power requirement. In other words, one 1990 dollar of activity generated one hundred years ago has created an ongoing power requirement of 9.3 mW for the last one hundred years.

OK, sounds fairly pedantic and somewhat arbitrary in that case. I.E. Why did he choose 100 years and not 110 years? I know, I know, I should read the paper.

I chose 100 years for illustrative purposes. He goes back further that (as far back as he can find GDP series). For any given year, he sums up cumulative production until that year. He then takes these figures for the last thirty years (not current but accumulated GDP) and the energy production figures for each year, and arrives at the estimated figure (energy usage divided by cumulative production in any given year translates into energy per dollar per year, which can easily be converted to a W/$ figure). At the moment, I don't find his metaphor particularly compelling.

I didn't even need to go to the paper. Garrett is explicit on this point in the media release:

"I'm just saying it's not really possible to conserve energy in a meaningful way because the current rate of energy consumption is determined by the unchangeable past of economic production. If it feels good to conserve energy, that is fine, but there shouldn't be any pretense that it will make a difference."

All of this based on a dubious metaphor.

K ;-)

I suspect he just left the unit of time off the GDP, which is usually dollars per year. Sloppy to be sure. But an easy omission to make. As a person with physics training sloppy use of lanquage bothers me. Many technical sentences, if properly written can be directly transcribed into algebra. But most writers are clueless about that. They like to throw out phrases, like "every day" as adverbs, when really they are multipliers of fundamental physical units. So it leaves someone who wants to go beyond the emotional wow factor and actually think about the numbers having to guess, what was the equation before they garbled it out of ignorance?

Germany and Japan, the two energy efficient examples, export more manufactured goods than they import. So I do not see how one can say that they (as opposed to the USA) have outsourced their energy use and pollution.

They still "make stuff", and quite a bit of it, in Germany & Japan. Just with low energy inputs.


I don't see the energy-GDP thing as fundamental. At least within a factor of perhaps five, we can see examples of people living fairly similar lifestyles but using drastically differing amounts of energy. So it is possible, at least in prinicpal, to change that ratio. Energy simply hasn't been expensive enough for enough people to try at being efficient.


Although I think that the USA could have a better quality of life (by almost every metric except gross consumption) with 1/8th of our current energy use/capita. Fifty years+ to get there, but hypothetically doable. And 12.5% need not be the minimum.

Best Hopes,


Airdale gets it. http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5987/562665
Why don't more of us?
Instead we get crap like "Uranium supplies are likely to be adequate until 2020"
Pray for collapse.

Given my understanding of the paper, the economist is right in this instance. But why let the specifics get in the way of our personal biases?

Appendum - I'm probably being too harsh on Garrett, and for the wrong reasons. As someone with degrees in economics and physics, I get tired of the continual economics-bashing on these boards, not because I'm a staunch defending of the orthodoxy, but rather because the label "economist" itself refers to individuals with a wide range of beliefs about what might be a fruitful eay of thinking about the economy. Garrett's contribution is certainly no worse than many of the peer-reviewed contributions to the "new growth literature," which simply ignored a whole series of methodological criticisms the were made twenty years before.

Official Chinese claim that population will peak 2025-2030 at 1.45 billion

Down from 1.6 billion in 2050.


Population stats in China are of questionable veracity, but this is interesting none the less.

Best Hopes for Population Control & Smaller Die-offs,


In the meantime, natural gas prices continue to make fools of us all. Unless an arctic winter gets here soon, all predictions seem to be for further collapse in prices, as there is simply no where left to put the gas. Drilling at this point is an exercise in futility, gas stores best in the ground.

This is all the more amazing given the season we are in and the collapsing dollar...people would rather stock up on gold than natural gas or propane (!!!) The logic of the maddening crowds...they would rather have gold to try to store or secure than gold you can live in (nice homes) or gold you can heat with (natural gas or propane), or better yet, buy more stocks, nothin' like paper...just be sure to get the certificates so you'll have something to burn just in case!
This too shall pass...


I get your point Imout. But not all that futile an effort to be drilling now. My owner just pushed another $80 million at us to spend in 1Q 2010 on NG drilling deals. A little cash flow along the way is nice but the bottom line is to keep most of the NG in the ground until prices rebound in 4 or 5 years and then hopefully sell near the top before the economy takes another very predictable tumble IMHO.

Likewise in central Alberta. Our NG wells are throttled back pending decent prices. Also we are holding off swabbing some of the collecting pipelines as an unnecessary expense.

Nonetheless, there are still insane optimists drilling for NG and flowing it all to market because they need to service their debt at any cost. It is like construction contractors who bid below cost because it is better to lose $1,000 on a job than pay $5,000 in fixed costs for idle equipment and labour.

True Dale. I hear rumors that the public companies in the shale gas plays are pushing back in faster then would like. They don't have much choice: no drilling and just keep producing = no reason to expect the stock price to climb = no reason to buy the stock = no reason to not fire the CEO

Paradoxically, here in Wisconsin the utilities are being approved for rate increases on natural gas. Makes sense, right? Especially if the higher rates lead to conservation...

PSC approves rate increases for Wisconsin Power & Light

Seen it many times before with utilities Wisco: lower sales volumes require price increases to meet minimum income requirements for the utility. A tad frustrating for the consumer of course.

Seems like a death spiral for the utility though if this further suppresses demand.

wisco -- not sure if it's not more of a downward spiral for the consumers. Varies from one utility board to another but in most cases the utility is guaranteed a minimum rate of return on the capex. Less NG sold = higher prices to meet the revenue requirements. But raise the costs for an individual and he conserves more and thus they need to raise prices even higher. At some point the exercise has to stop: you can have a very small number of consumers paying all the costs. Anyone's guess what happens when that day comes. I've seen more then one co-op go under for the same reason.

Yeah, it reminds one of the Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPSS) case, where the utility extrapolated large growth rates in consumption then started building five nukes. The Pacific Northwest had enjoyed very low electric rates for years, since most of the electric power was generated by dams. After 1980, the price of electricity jumped and people started conserving. The demand did not grow fast enough to cover the increase in generation capacity, so 4 of the nukes were canceled, leaving unpaid debt, which resulted in bankruptcy. The cost of the nukes, aggravated by major cost overruns, did in WPPSS.

E. Swanson

Yes, and it has happened with natural gas...think of Calpine or Aquila (ILA) I lost the most money I ever lost in my life on Aquila alone...finally, Aquila needed cash, so they sold their natural gas holdings...just before the price tripled. They were then purchasing natural gas for $15 per million btu they had formerly sold at $6. It did teach me one thing though...don't feel bad if you completely blow a call...the insiders can screw it up worse and bigger than the average schmoe could ever affort to! :-)

It seems to me that those global warming deniers with some intellectual integrity (and there must be some) should be a little discouraged that they are now reduced to embracing a conspiracy theory. Thousands of scientists around the world, as well as the journalists reporting on their findings (many with scientific training themselves), are all "in on it", are all lying. Or the ones not lying are mistaken. Lying or mistaken in the field to which they have devoted their careers. Such behavior among professionals flies in the face of the observable, but that hasn't stopped identical conspiracy theories about 911, Katrina, moon landings, etc. from flourishing, and I guess it never will.

Retired NYPD: Even if due to GW, Greenland and West Antarctica slipped into the ocean, raising sea level dramatically and flooding coastlines worldwide, the deniers would simply go quiet for a while, then as the thermohaline ocean circulation changed due to an influx of fresh water causing an ice age, they would then come out of the woodwork to say, "See, it's getting colder, not warmer!"

One of the 9/11 conspiracy claims was we could see the glass on the side of the tower becoming mis-shaped just before the jet hit, proving a timed bomb was detonating just before the collision. The obvious question is, why bother with the complication and split second timing of a bomb, if a jet is going to hit? Instead of the truth, which is a jet pushed air forward of its nose causing the glass to mis-shape just prior to the collision, they conjure up some rediculous idea.

What's amazing is the media provides opportunity for the misinformed to suggest such dumb ideas. Oh well, I suppose we just need to pay attention to the most accredited sourced information and ignore the fantasizers.

A lot of stupid stuff comes up in 9/11 conspiracy circles, which is why I don't associate with them. A lot of the "evidence" for an inside job is as much in violation of the laws of physics as the official story. However, there are some things that happened that day that I cannot explain. In NYC, 2 planes supposedly destroyed three buildings. Leaving the two towers aside, why did building 7 collapse in a uniform fashion despite only sustaining relatively minor damage?

How on earth did the supposedly unskilled pilot manage to crash into the pentagon in a maneuver that would have made the special effects team from Top Gun proud? How come no significant part of this plane was found?

I'm kind of ashamed of TOD on this one, this forum bashes people for not understanding physical limits WRT energy on a daily basis. 3 towers collapsing from two planes, an unskilled pilot pulling off an impossible maneuver and the US air defense failing all on the same day sound a lot like a finite number of finite fields producing an ever-increasing stream of oil to me.

Believe me, I really wish that 19 angry men from the desert who hate us for our freedom killed 3000 Americans that day. It just isn't very likely.

This isn't the place to discuss this. Or rather, it's been done to death already. Let it be. Even Mike Ruppert has changed his mind about 9/11 "truth."

You are correct. This is certainly not the place to discuss such nonsense. But as an engineer I must respond - the History channel had several excellent programs on the "Rise and fall of the twin towers" and debunking the various conspiracy theories. Check them out and stop ranting.

As the old lady in New Orleans, after Katrina, said, when asked if she thought there was a government conspiracy involved:

"The gummint ain't smart 'nuff to do no conspiracy"

And she's right.

Enough. Each side has gotten a say. Anyone interested in learning more about either side can Google it.

We've got much bigger problems coming down the pipe, and it ain't one turd at a time......

Fifty-three scientist at most, not thousands.

"Only a handful of scientists – 53 to be precise, not the much-touted 2,500 – were actually responsible for the doom-laden global-warming sections of the IPCC’s reports."

Source: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100017987/climategate-...

Scientific opinion on climate change

As of 2007, no scientific body of national or international standing has maintained a dissenting opinion.

Global warming is real, it's caused by humans, and the effects are already dire. Deal with it.

A meaningless factoid. Count the number of scientists in the peer reviewed literature cited in the IPCC report. The IPCC report is a compendium of published articles and not a new work. In fact, it is borderline useless in its conservatism such as the forecast of a 50 cm sea level rise by 2100 based purely on thermal expansion of the oceans. There is not scientific justification for ignoring Greenland and Antarctic ice sheet melt.

BTW, supposedly there are 200 or so skeptical papers out there in the journals (no time period given so these could be really old and obsolete). I would love to see a list of these papers.

Yet another lie. The report was actually, physically written by a smaller number of people. The "report" cannot be said to be the work of only those people. Thousands were, quite factually, involved in creating the report. It was a reflection of the science done in many, many scientific studies done by thousands of people.

Admins: why do you continue to allow blatant lies? AT LEAST make them adhere to THAT principle, for chrissake.

doom-laden global-warming sections of the IPCC’s report

OK then. Wish upon a star and make it go away.

You might want to pick up a copy of December '09 SciAm and read about permafrost


On the cover of Newsweek this week is the following:

HOW GREAT POWERS FALL: Steep debt, slow growth and high spending kill empires--and America could be next. By Niall Ferguson

Needless to say, there is no mention of oil in the article. It is about debt and the need to balance the budget. How easy will this be in the years ahead, with less and less oil available?

Prime examples - Persians, Romans, Ottomans, USSR, et. al.
Can the World not learn from history?

When the corruption sets in, and all sense of values is lost, then the debts mount up and destroy the infrastructure. Soon the dollar will be worth less than the yen.
The US and UK and others are in the same boat on this one.

Obama vs Osama - Obama sends 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan to catch one man.
What a real waste of energy. UK and other countries are only sending 500 troops (They are more conservative). When the interest on the US debt is equal to the yearly tax revenue then the military machine will come to a grinding halt.

Gail -- It's really amazing how some folks either can't or won't connect the dots. You're the bean counter. I'm not. I don't even balance my checkbook. But even a geologist can see the connections. Like most folks I like to focus my conversations on what I know best. But it seems as though some of the "experts" go out of their way to avoid the obvious. That's one of the characteristics of TOD I enjoy the most: view points offered from all angles.

In addition to Gail's comment,

In Wake of Dubai, Trying to Predict the Next Blowup
by Graham Bowley and Catherine Rampell
Tuesday, December 1, 2009

...Big banks that have only just begun to recover from the financial shocks of last year are now nervously eyeing their potential exposure to highly indebted corporations and governments...


"Iran threatens to halt oil exports"

In the words of Clint Eastwood (a.k.a. Dirty Harry) "Go Ahead and Make My DAY!!!!!"

If Iran does halt exports, it will hurt them more than others.
What a weak plot.....

The stupid seems to be really strong out there today.

It is this credulous stupidity, warmly embraced by the human race, that will ensure that no action is taken to mitigate the impacts of peak oil or climate change.

There are times when one would like to hang the whole human race, and finish the farce.

- Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

May I offer a few comments?

First, we, as a species have contributed less to the recent warming at high latitudes than alarmist, careerist, pseudo-scientists have tried to suggest. If any of the so-called scientists pushing AGW can successfully produce a simple, correct 96-forecast of the whole earth’s atmosphere—temperature, moisture, momentum flux—from the surface to 200 hectoPascals, please, please, let tell us. We need them to forecast coffee, orange and grain futures and fund the Oil Drum for the next decade. We will all make a large profit.

About global warming: We have seen a rise in temperature, ocean wave action and surface wind speed over the past 25 years above 50°N. There is no reasonable doubt. It is in the record. Go to the http://ndbc.noaa.gov and pull all the data from station 46035, a buoy in the Bering Sea. After doing so, we should be able to agree that that there has been a warming using 1st, 2nd or 3rd order regression.

Has the warming been because of all the engines we burn and the CO2 we are spewing into the air? It’s easy to make that assumption, standing in downtown Atlanta, mesmerized by all the human activity, noise, too boot, and looking at the Keeling Record, from atop the Big Island. Ask East Anglia and the answer is yes. Ask David Thompson, Fred Singer and a few stalwart old-timers who continue to use the scientific method and their answer is much, much less clear, more measured. Change the ordinate on the Keeling record and anyone can exaggerate to push an agenda. But, can we forecast sun spots, solar luminosity, and the background radiation and electric field in the Local Group as we travel at a million miles a day toward constellation Hercules? The arrogance of some scientists in the climate arena astounds me. Could any of them forecast hurricane landfall a week in advance? I guess not.

Is there Peak Oil? Yes, yes, yes! The conclusion is “rocks for jocks” stuff. It’s not rocket science, it’s not quantum physics, it’s not the classics. Proving Peak Oil is not hard. I used Deffeyes’s method, running production data from 1959 to 2006, downloaded freely from the web, in spring 2007 and forecast peak for June 2008. I self-published my findings in a book (American Polemic, Ithuriel Press, 2007), and there are a couple hundred copies sitting in my garage if anyone doubts me. (However, I only give my book to those who can accept certain truths about Israel and 9-11, or are conversant enough on the subject to inform me without make ad hominem attacks.)

Main point: AGW and Peak oil are not the same; Peakists who have also touted AGW have lost some credibility owing to lack of integrity among a handful of climatologists. And it's sad.

that a 96-hour forecast. Whoops

BS !!


Touched a nerve, I guess. Non-cognitive dissonance, or what? "BS" is kind of weak, Alan. Ungentlemanly, unscholarly and weak. Is it all BS or some of it. If some, what? If all, then BS, I'm sorry; I suppose my efforts to date, over 20 years have been worthless; Good grief, is hari kari is the only answer? . . .

To nitpick, you sound very sure of yourself by saying "Proving Peak Oil is not hard."

FYI, Deffeyes technique is just a heuristic and does not "prove" anything in the scientific sense. We still could discover Black Swan super-giant reservoirs with a small probability that would adjust the peak date, thus nullifying your forecast. Next time you hear a weather forecaster "proving" tommorrow's weather, please post it.

So . . . the U.S. hasn't peaked, yet, because there's a black swan?

Yes, I suspect that your efforts over the last 20 years have been worthless, based upon your comment above.

And I see no reason to waste my time on your statement other than to give it a clear label for others to see. As to what to do ? Just do something else, somewhere else.

I have wasted far too much time already on deniers. The science has been settled, just as it has been for Creation vs. Evolution.


One piece of tripe (GAWD why am I wasting time ?) is your statement on CO2 levels over time observed at Mauna Loa "Change the ordinate on the Keeling record and anyone can exaggerate to push an agenda".

Changing the ordinate does not change one data point (unless you truncate the # of years, which the GWB administration did for on-line data as part of their efforts#). So how does "changing the ordinate" affect the science ?

# Under GWB they split the graph and data set available on-line into two sections. The dividing point was when the organization collecting the data changed (from memory). Same Earth, same atmosphere, same mountain, collecting station may have moved a few yards.

The conclusion is “rocks for jocks” stuff. It’s not rocket science, it’s not quantum physics...

Fundamentally, climate science also is not rocket science; Svante Arrhenius published the first paper about the "greenhouse effect" in 1986. The first principles of the science are pretty straightforward thermodynamics that you can learn in an afternoon: read Ray Pierrehumbert's Principles of Planetary Climate to understand it -- free draft online!

Once you understand the science, contrarian claims sound very weird and archaic, like arguments for the flat earth, phlogiston, creationism, or abiotic oil.

Sorry. If I remember correctly, it was Lord Rayleigh who first proposed green house gas heat capture. But CO2 is something like.014 percent of the atmosphere, and human contribution to that concentration is much less and H2O is an order of magnitude more than CO2 and methane. Cloud modeling is smoke and mirrors. Look ant any forecast from NCEP and see the accuracy of any cloud model after 72 hours.

I often joked during my numerical modeling class, geophysical dynamics class, numerical weather prediction class that all we were looking for was a crystal ball.

Now, if we had a crystal ball giving us the future, even of our own demise, would we look at it?

These climatologists measure with a shovel and forecast with a micrometer, and none, I guess, have made a simple hurricane forecast to evacuate a city. They make forecasts for 50 years when none of us will be around to see if it verifies.

It's not a climatologist's job to forecast a hurricane to evacuate a city.

They make forecasts for 50 years when none of us will be around to see if it verifies.

Speak for yourself! I plan to be here to check up on them.

It's true that short-term and regional forecasts are difficult, and any honest climatologist would agree with that. The big picture can be easier to forecast than the details. I can't say if it will be snowing in Boston in seven days...but I'm pretty confident that it won't be snowing there in seven months.

I hope to be around in 50 years too.

And it's a valid point that climate modelling is different than short-term forecasting. But I think it's best to admit what we don't know. When is Yellowstone going to blow? When will the next solar flair knock out the lights? When will the magnetic pole begin to drift faster than it is now? Our whole world is balanced on a pencil point, and we are travelling through the abyss of space at breakneck speed going through who knows what plasma fields.

Why do many climatologists not accept AGW, including very senior ones at NCAR? I've listened to, read the literature and studied the facts as best I have been able to for years and have not been completely convinced of AGW. There is a climate signal associated with CO2, but it's not as big as the entrenched climate community makes out. Those who are convinced . . . fine, but they may have been deceived much like many decision makers I've met who believe the EIA spin on the timing of Peak Oil.

The only way I know to verify a model is to test it, over and over and over. Numerical models are like fine wines. It takes time to develop these. Climate modelers have convinced everyone that their work is so important that we are to believe their models, which cannot be tested for a generation. I've developed atmospheric and oceanographic models enough to know how difficult these endeavors are. Moreover, we are basing models on imperfect measurements. Do an error analysis on everything from instrument calibration to final outout and see what you get, which is essential if we are to dead reckon with numerical models. Add to that the complication of crude parameterizations.

Furthermore, from the emails I read coming from East Anglia, those bozos WERE fudging the data. This is going to hurt the climate community for years.

My comment about "Rocks for jocks" I regret. Getting geological data is no easy task. However, analyzing oil production data from 1859 to the present is not that hard. I used a simple Hubbert model and obtained a peak in June 2008. It's in the ball park, like my decision to buy gold at $400/oz.

Black swans notwithstanding.

You too can run your very own Climate Model (two with dual processors).



And chose Climateprediction.net (bottom of the list) and the UK Meteorological Office will send you models to run on your home computer (on my Mac Mini each one takes about 500 hours). Click "Tasks" and "Graphics" and then toggle between Temperature, rain & snow, pressure & clouds (other options as well). One of my models is on the year 1823 and the other 2033 ATM.

As I understand their methodology, they have basic climate models but the values of various parameters are uncertain in the 2nd or 3rd significant digit. They start out a couple of centuries back, compare the run to known historical data (pretty good since 1920, very good since space observation started in 1960/61) and run forward a century for predictive purposes. Running against historical data is the best available control.

I occasionally get an abort. MY GUESS is that run, with those parameters, ran off the rails and failed to get close to historical data.

I have done about 100 of these models in my computers spare time, and I am one of many thousands.

If you make attacks on climate models, why not run a few dozen and observe them in action ?


Thanks Alan. It's always good to find a new source of information.

There have been some successes with modeling. Gavin at RealClimate gave these examples:

In 1991 Hansen et al predicted the temperature drop that was expected from the Pinatubo eruption well in advance of it happening. In 1988, the same team projected how temperatures would increase under 3 scenarios of rising greenhouse gases. For the scenario that came closest to being realised, the trends were a pretty good match to what actually happened. Other groups have made skillful projections for the El Niño events and their consequences months in advance.

And I have not seen any evidence that anyone was fudging data.

so what is your sell price?

From wiki:
"Climates can be classified according to the average and typical ranges of different variables, most commonly temperature and rainfall."

"Weather is a set of all the phenomena occurring in a given atmosphere at a given time."

So in my own humble words, climate is an average over a long period of time and weather is a point in time measurement. So forecasting what the climate will be like in 50 years is an apple and predicting the weather for tomorrow or a weeks time is an orange.

Both are very complex problems they attempt to solve, and everyone in every field misuses averages (here comes my personal peeve...) by publishing an exact number usually, rather than a range (except for the hurricane forecasters - thy give a range and are always humbled at the end of the year when it usually lands outside the range,). I am not a meterologist, but even if they identified all the variables necessary and had a quantum computer that harnessed the power of the solar system, I think the Heisenberg principle illustrates that its a futile attempt, at least until someone comes up with a better principle :)...

Personally, I don't know if anyone knows enough about global climate yet to know how much the climate ranges from year to year, decade to decade or century to century to prove anything whether AGW or natural variation. We are getting more data from creative extrapolation techniques, ice cores and pollen counts to know what types of things grew about when and where for example, but we still know more about our solar system than about our oceans. That said, and being risk averse and fairly conservative by nature, there is a good possibility/probability that the earth is warming, and adding CO2 to the air may compound the problem. But to me that is not the reason we should look at energy production methods that do not involve FF. For me it is preserving a resource that is finite by definition, where there is a great deal of uncertainty is the amount remaining, and much of the known current sources are controlled by gov'ts/regimes that cannot be trusted. Secondly, I would like to have clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and believe that the fauna and fish I eat are not laden with chemicals. Oh yeah, I like a pretty view too now and again.

Sounds sensible to me Stormy, but if we assume maximum entropy we just might be able to get a working climate model too ?-)

Those who subscribe to the precautionary principle, which you hit upon twice, appear to be in eternal disfavor. Yet from economic, security, energy, and climate perspectives taking a precautionary view would say that America should balance international trade and reduce debt at every level, should control its own critical resource base, should transition to alternate fuels while preserving oil for future use, and should eliminate its contribution to atmospheric CO2 growth.

Several investments could help ALL of the above areas at once -- increased insulation in homes is one, and solar panels on residential roofs is another. Electrified rail, hybrid purchases for gov't vehicles, domestic battery manufacturing, and a host of other projects would address at least a few as well.

"Live with Reckless Abandon" is our national meme. Individually, we can choose to do better. As a whole, achange seems slow in coming.

I often joked during my numerical modeling class, geophysical dynamics class, numerical weather prediction class that all we were looking for was a crystal ball.

Excellent, glad to hear you have the background to understand the following statement, which I've tried to hone down to maximum succinctness:

Fundamentally, climate science is based on well-understood principles of thermodynamics. Before humans burned the sequestered carbon (fossil fuels) and released CO2, Earth was in radiative near-equilibrium with space. Humans introduced a sudden, 500-gigaton excursion in the global carbon budget. Because CO2 is a “heat-trapping gas,” Earth is now in thermal disequilibrium with space. To return to equilibrium, the atmosphere must warm. The rest is details.

The final equilibrium temperature, and the specific trajectory that the climate system will take on its way back to equilibrium are certainly interesting, and a great deal of research is underway to pin them down, but you don't need to know either of those details to know that significant warming will result from the human perturbation of the carbon cycle.

Explain the medieval warming and why in the paleo-record CO2 increases lag warming by 800 years, or should we dismiss ice core data as inconvienient?

My supposition:

Apparently the Little Ice Age & Medieval Warming were primarily regional events (North Atlantic) and speeding up and slowing down the THC/Gulf Stream and volcanic activity (or lack thereof) are alternative explanations.

But I am really not interested in debating you.


Medieval Warming Period:

While the Medieval Warm Period featured unusually warm conditions in some regions, there were other regions that showed significant cold temperatures. Globally the planet was much cooler than current conditions.

CO2 and temperature:

CO2 causes temperature rise and warming causes CO2 outgassing from oceans. This feedback system is confirmed by the CO2 record - in the past, the amplifying effect of CO2 feedback enabled warming to spread across the globe and take the planet out of the ice age.

Please, please go read a college-level text on climate science before bringing up these wall-bangers again: Principles of Planetary Climate (free online).

Thats the equivalent of the casino dismissing the scientist who calculates the odds, because he can't predict which slot the rolette ball will land in. He sure as heck can calculate the casinos expected take, and the varience of it. He can also be of help in trying to set criteria for how "lucky" a gambler should be before security should start paying him special scrutiny. Some systems you can know alot about the aggregate behavior of without knowing the small scale details. Climate versus weather is one. Calculating the drag coefficient of an object, versus knowing the details of the turbulent eddies is another.

This is the way I think about the topic. They are marginalizing all scientists to advance a BAU agenda. To me, nothing else makes sense.

Who are they, man?

Scientists aren't "being marginalized", I don't think.
I'm not a scientist, but I work with them. They include some of my best friends. But not being a scientist yet working "in science" gives me the perspective of an outsider working on the inside.

What I see is this.
The education level of the general public regarding science is abysmal. The general public also has a craving for cut and dried answers to questions. This sets up an unresolvable conflict with science, because in science, nothing is ever "proven". The idea that scientists work in a world of probabilities is completely lost on the average lay person. They want, and even more importantly, expect, scientists to deliver the "facts".

The nature of the probabilistic world with which scientists work creates an Achilles Heel for any good rhetorician to drive a truck through. Exhibit A would be O.J. Simpson's legal defense which demolished a very carefully constructed scientific argument with just a couple of carefully crafted rhetorical jabs.

I have pointed out to many of my scientist friends that they disregard the power (and beauty) of rhetoric at their peril. Rhetoric only relies on the "truth" of logic. Within these parameters, the "facts" do NOT matter. Virtually all of our politicians are lawyers. This means they are professionally trained rhetoricians. Any of them are very capable of making any scientist who sits on the opposite side of any political issue look stupid. And they do this in public! There is no mystery, nor is any conspiracy needed to explain why the general public is so easily manipulated.

Barrett808 wrote: "Svante Arrhenius published the first paper about the "greenhouse effect" in 1986."

I'm pretty sure this was a typo - in fact Svante Arrhenius died in 1927. His paper was published in 1896, not 1986.

Heh, thanks for the QA!

You want climate scientists to make super accurate predictions but then you accept generalized methods to discuss peak oil.

Pot meet kettle.

Has the warming been because of all the engines we burn and the CO2 we are spewing into the air? It’s easy to make that assumption, standing in downtown Atlanta, mesmerized by all the human activity, noise, too boot, and looking at the Keeling Record, from atop the Big Island. Ask East Anglia and the answer is yes. Ask David Thompson, Fred Singer and a few stalwart old-timers who continue to use the scientific method and their answer is much, much less clear, more measured. Change the ordinate on the Keeling record and anyone can exaggerate to push an agenda. But, can we forecast sun spots, solar luminosity, and the background radiation and electric field in the Local Group as we travel at a million miles a day toward constellation Hercules? The arrogance of some scientists in the climate arena astounds me. Could any of them forecast hurricane landfall a week in advance? I guess not.

The lack of integrity is yours.

1. AGW is not temp records. It is:

* temp records from many DIFFERENT sources, all in agreement.

* melting ice on EVERY continent. (How do you explain that without AGW?)

* habitats moving to higher latitudes and higher altitudes.

* increasing frequencies of more intense weather events.

* the unsynched connections between animals and their food sources.

* methane clathrates from permafrost and the sea bed increasing.

* the isotopic signature of CO2 in the air that proves the provenance to be human-caused.

* a two-to-one preponderance of record high temps vs. record low temps in recent years.

* CO2 rising from 285 to 387, higher than in at least 2 million years. During that time it had never been higher than @ 300.

* dying coral reefs.

* enlarged ranges of beetles killing trees.

* a 3x increase in thermokarst lakes.

Claiming Fred Singer, who DOES NO CLIMATE SCIENCE, a person who "continue(s) to use the scientific method" is just dumb. He doesn't use it, and if he does, he's very poor at it. After all, he first told us smoking doesn't cause lung cancer.

And who is arrogant? Who is doing prediction? You prove yourself to be intellectually dishonest with this post. Or are you ignorant of basic science? Or are you just a liar?




These are each troubling things. We have mountainous problems on this planet galore. I've seen the coral reefs dying off of Florida. I have looked at environmental data from around the world and analyzed it--it makes me wonder, at the very least. Flying into LAX is no joy. I have to fight off discouragement looking at a raped, polluted natural world because we as a species have a hard-wired, insatiable appetite. Covering millions of miles of farmland with blacktop is, in my opinion, stupid. I'm also often taken aback by the decline in politeness, respect and common courtesy among concerned persons arguing among themselves, when, I suspect, we are striving for the same thing. I run into many who pride themselves in "by golly" knowing the answer, and I've guilty of that, too. But I've been burned enough to be a little more careful in reaching conclusions, and its not for lack of ability, dedication or concern. We know, don't we, that correlation does not prove a causal link? If this is the best the Oil Drum can muster . . . well . . . I can walk away. See you later. Smaller groups tend to be more effective, anyway.

I can walk away

Please do.

that correlation does not prove a causal link?

That was PRECISELY the argument of the tobacco industry for a couple (three ?) decades against a link between smoking & lung cancer.

Exxon and the API, with it's paid and unpaid lackeys, is doing the same thing again (with the same level of morality).


If this is the best the Oil Drum can muster?

TOD has shown you multiple links to peer-reviewed science, pointed you to an actual climate science textbook from which you could learn something, and patiently answered questions you could have found the answers to in five minutes with Google Scholar.

And somehow TOD has fallen short?

I agree that there are problems on many levels both in the US and around the World. But, some are larger and more pervasive than others. I too found the air pollution in California to be more than I could live with and I was in Northern Cal. I left in the 1970's, about the time the first catalytic converters began to appear on new cars. Did they fix the pollution problem? I wouldn't know, as I haven't been back to California since 1980. I lost about 10 years of experience and friends and missed many opportunities as a result. But I felt I had no choice as it seemed my survival was at stake.

I feel the same way about AGW, having studied the problem for more than 30 years. Messing with climate may produce such massive changes that the impacts will be devastating. Peak Oil might also be such a problem and the two are linked as the choices made after Peak Oil could make AGW worse or result in a solution.

Do we simply ignore these problems? Do we walk away and say: "It's not my problem"? You make claims that sound as if you would be able to contribute to the solution, once the problems become widely accepted as they will be. Maybe you have another avenue to work thru, so be it. Take care...

E. Swanson

The gold/oil ratio is currently 14.5. It has historically averaged 10. Therefore, on a historical basis oil is currently cheap compared to gold.

Historically, gold has been valued at approximately one week of wages of an American worker. Or perhaps it is the other way around, one week wages is valued at one ounce, Troy, of gold.

I have been watching the antics in the market, and so far our inflation is most evident in terms of value of gold. Gold is rising, and I suppose we may expect that to continue. It is problematic whether or not that ratio is meaningful during worldwide inflation, however. If gold and oil both rise simultaneously vis-a-vis the greenback, what would that mean to the economy overall? And, what currency would be a reliable guage of value? Euros? Yen? Dollars? It looks and smells more and more like barter, as various governmental units ramp up their printing presses to invent some more 'wealth,'

Not that it will mean much if gold settles at $6,000 US, oil costs $650 a barrel and gas is 20 dollars US per gallon. Especially if, as looks more likely, wages continue to diminish. Who do our economic gurus believe will purchase the Chinese toys, Korean automobiles, and European wind turbines? And, with what?

U.S. to unleash millions for streetcar, bus projects to reduce pollution | Oregon Environmental News - – OregonLive.com

The Obama administration today announced it wants to spend $280 million on urban neighborhood mass transit projects, such as streetcars and bus facilities, in an effort to make more livable communities that reduce pollution.

$280 million dollars!

The money amounts to pocket change in the context of the billions of federal spending on transportation each year. It makes use of money Congress designated for mass transit projects, but which the Bush administration did not spend. It could help Portland's efforts to grow with streetcar lines beyond the downtown area and grow business for Clackamas-based United Streetcar, the only U.S.-based maker of modern streetcars.

"This represents a significant effort to promote livable communities, improve the quality of life for more Americans and create more transportation choices that serve the needs of individual communities," LaHood said. "Fostering the concept of livability in transportation projects will stimulate America's neighborhoods to become safer, healthier and more vibrant."

Best hopes for moving past 4.9% MT Ridership in the US.

Announcement took place in the old Carrollton streetcar barn in NOLA, too. Didja attend, Alan?

This basically "un-sticks" money Congress appropriated and GWB refused to spend. It just sat in limbo for 8 years. Hopefully more to come.

And I did not hear of this (no prior announcement AFAIK) so I did not make it. Heard about "some deal at Carrolton" from the streetcar operator after the fact (several of them know me).

Oh well,


re: U.S. to unleash millions for streetcar, bus projects to reduce pollution

$280 million dollars! Woo Woo! That will buy several hundred feet of rapid transit tracks for every city in America!

Nice try but no cigar. When are they going to get serious about weaning people off using gasoline?

Probably when it's too late and Americans couldn't afford to drive to work even if they had jobs to commute to and houses to commute from. We're quite far down that time line already.

United Streetcar, the only U.S.-based maker of modern streetcars

Did they notice that Siemens has a light rail vehicle manufacturing plant in Sacramento, California? Or that the United Streetcar vehicles are actually Škodas?

We have manufactured 30 new streetcars in New Orleans, 6 for Riverfront and 24 for Canal (in service in 2004).

The idea from Congress was for $25 million in federal matching for small streetcar set-ups (like Tampa, Memphis, Little Rock, Kenosha WI, planned for DC, Dallas, Seattle, Portland's Step 1, Long Beach) and hope that they will grow from there.

Not much real transportation solutions, but just a starter system to "play with", often for tourists that then expands into something more generally useful.

With limited $, funding 11 such starter systems (say 2 to 3 miles of track and half a dozen cars) gives good leverage for the future.

Best Hopes for Starting SOMETHING,


I am surprised that nobody has commented on the item about the coal trains in India.

Seems like the Maoist rebels are becoming world leaders in carbon control.

I have often thought that disrupting the rail transportation of coal would be one of the quickest and most effective methods of rapidly reducing CO2 output. Knock out a few critical railway bridges near the mines, and you have instant reduction of emissions.

This might be a bit rough on those folk left to freeze in the dark, but on an overpopulated planet this would work towards solving two problems at once.

This might be a bit rough on those folk left to freeze in the dark, but on an overpopulated planet this would work towards solving two problems at once.


Speech from the President to the World regarding our war in Afghanistan...from an alternate universe...


If only...might as well have the Betsy Ross society sew a 51st and 52nd star on the flag...buy some more yellow ribbon car/SUV magnets to show your support for the troops...

I watched the real speech last night. It was amazing how much he sounded like Dubya.

But then, I was one of the few Americans who was against the war in Afghanistan to begin with. I figured it would end for us like it did for the Soviets. Few imagined then that we'd still be fighting this war eight years later.

You and me both (against the war and speech sounding like Dubya).

Some of the phrasing seemed identical. Very disappointing.

And, I think that few Americans realize that we'll still be fighting these wars 8 years hence.

I figured it would end for us like it did for the Soviets.

And the Brits. And the Mongols. And the Indians. And the Greeks. And the Persians. And, and, and. . .

Funny thing, history.

WNC -- I wish that were true. For Russia Afgh is a bad memory but it is in their past now. I suspect the politics of PO will have us keep a strong military presence in the Persian Gulf for decades. Various rationalizations for different escapades in one country or another. For some years the political powers have used 9/11 to motivate support from the public. In the not to distant future when some obvious negative effects of PO begin to slap the American public around they'll have additional justification IMHO.

Regardless of who's in the White House the path seems unavoidable.


There are no rocks in your head.

If we had taken the path not taken at least as far back as the Carter Reagen era we might be in shape to return to a Monroe Doctrine type world.

Now we are dxxxed if we do and dxxxxd if we don't as far as a military presence in the ME is concerned.

We will collapse immediately if we pull out.This conclusion must be immediately obvious to any realist.

On the other hand our presence over there may in the end very well be one of the three or four most important reasons for our eventual downfall.

Right now as I see it we are in the position of a construction company accepting jobs that are sure losers because if they are not working at all they will lose even more due to thier fixed expenses in equipment payments,etc.Such a strategy can only postpone a final day of reckoning unless conditions improve and profitable work is again available.

As I see it we are by being "over there" we are postponing that final reckoning a day at a time.

It does not seem likely that conditions will improve enough for us to come home until we are able to transition to nuclear, ng,and wind and solar-such a transition if it is even possible will take a very long time-possibly fifty years or more unless it is forced by an emergency rationing and renewables build out program.

In short we are stuck there until ts truly htf.That will probably be anytime within the next ten years depending on the way the economic cards fall.After that we will probably either just confiscate some territory outright after the fashion of old time colonialism, get our butts kicked out because we can no longer keep our forces supplied, or reach an accomodation with the rest of the world along the Mutually Assured Distribution of Resources line.

Sad but true mac. Like the old joke about lossing money on every unit sold but making up for it on volume. The very sad side of that joke is the volume of body bags coming through Dover. Our patriotic youth have always been a great resource. Makes me wonder if we might be approaching a peak there also.

You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia"...

Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia"

I just loved that line from "The Princess Bride". In the midst of that spoof of a fairy tale, they tossed in a major strategic principle which has been ignored by superpowers throughout history, to their catastrophic detriment.

In terms of world-class non-sequiturs, it ranks up there with Monty Python's "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition".

You have to be a student of history to appreciate the full humor of these things.

Beautiful line, so many in that flick. Sadly, I don't think our politico military planners can bring themselves to walk away from a country that borders China...

as if on cue, I was watching Charlie Rose discuss the Afghanistan policy with the Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff and Admiral Mullen actually said this:

"you will see General McChrystal's main effort GO SOUTH"

emphasis and clipping statement to put it out of intended context mine, but still...one of those slips maybe

Introducing: Electron Stimulated Luminescence™ Lighting Technology

I wonder if VU1 will amount to anything with their ESL lamp? Reminds me of a NIMO tube.

Edit; Found this on U-Tube- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13O-uAvC3j8