Drumbeat: December 3, 2009

Peak Oil Demand

Between recent consumption data and the International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook 2009 report released last month, it's time for some serious questions when it comes to oil demand. Perhaps the biggest is this: Will oil fields be ready to meet existing and future demand, or will low investment in capital projects now cause bigger problems later down the line?

The big news on Monday was that U.S. oil demand keeps falling, according to the EIA, who said that U.S. oil demand in September was 2.74 percent lower than previously thought. September consumption came in at 18.362 million barrels per day—not a good sign for oil bulls who have been looking for any sign of strengthening U.S. oil demand to support higher prices.

We the Six Billion: The Sky Is Lowering

There was more reader response to my two-part "Ammonia Economy" than to anything I have written. The response was mostly critical, but from two opposite viewpoints. In one view I was insufficiently loyal to the "peak oil" cult. In the other, by saying that our local dependence on oil for heat was a disaster in the making I was crying "the sky is falling," when, in fact, abundant cheap oil will be with us for generations to come.

Paradise Sinking

According to most analysts, "peak" oil - the time when global petroleum extraction has reached its maximum - is already a reality, and another major oil shock and massive price spikes are not far off. Meanwhile the capital costs of renewable-energy equipment - particularly for solar - continue to decline, making this more affordable for individuals and communities alike.

Industrialized economies that run on petroleum are already feeling the pinch. They will find it much harder to readjust to new energy sources and means of production than island states that do not have a large industrial sector, but whose economies are based largely on agriculture and tourism.

Transition Towns on the horizon in PA?: Fear about peak oil is spreading

Rather than just wringing their hands over this draconian vision of vast global change and its dire consequences, groups around the world are attempting to do something about it: namely, change the way they live in their towns. Thus, Transition Towns was born.

Some examples of activities in the towns are: one hundred percent recycling, ensuring the purity of food, support of local farmers, promoting farmers markets, sharing means of transportation, sharing common garden space, creating a local currency that is used in place of traditional money to buy locally produced products and changing policies of local governments.

Ghana: Oil and Gas Driven Industrialization - Country's Model of Petroleum Resource Management

The United States and some European countries who have more oil and gas reserves than Ghana have followed the path of alternative energy sources to fuel their industries. The US especially is spending so much on energy diversification to reduce the share of oil and gas in their energy mix due to the fast rate of depletion of these resources in what has become known as 'the peak oil theory'.

Therefore if Ghana is to develop petroleum driven industrialization, the energy needs of the country in the long-term and whether the reserves can sustain her requirements must be examined. Otherwise, she must begin to look for energy supply sources elsewhere or design future petroleum agreements to reflect domestic energy security for industrial development.

Why OPEC is treading cautiously

OPEC should be cautious when it meets this month decide its oil output policy as it needs to balance signs of economic recovery and abundant supplies, the group's secretary general said on Thursday.

Bubbling under: The hunt for shale gas in Europe

ACROSS Europe, a stealthy land-grab is under way. Exxon Mobil is drilling in Germany’s Lower Saxony. ConocoPhillips has joined 3 Legs Resources, a small firm based on the Isle of Man, to explore a large tract of land in Poland. Austria’s OMV is testing geological formations near Vienna. Shell is targeting Sweden. A host of smaller firms is fanning out across other countries, including France. They are all looking for natural gas trapped in shale (a type of flaky sedimentary rock)—a resource that has transformed the market for gas in America and may have a big impact on Europe, too.

Why business is fretting over China's rebuke of Canada

China's rebuke of Prime Minister Stephen Harper today could have broader implications as businesses shoot for a bigger piece of trade with the emerging economic powerhouse. At their first meeting, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao publicly scolded Mr. Harper for failing to visit China sooner, saying that “five years is too long a time for China-Canada relations and that's why there are comments in the media that your visit is one that should have taken place earlier.”

California utility PG&E to buy first wind project

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - PG&E Corp will build and operate a wind power project of up to 246 megawatts with the U.S. unit of Spain's Iberdrola SA, marking the utility's first foray to own wind generation.

PG&E said on Thursday that it expected to invest just over $900 million in the project. That figure includes the cost for Iberdrola Renewables to develop and build the system.

Cap and tirade: America struggles with climate-change legislation

After eight years of resistance from the Bush administration, America may be about to get mandatory federal greenhouse-gas emissions controls. The House of Representatives has passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act, otherwise known as the Waxman-Markey bill. It is sponsored by two powerful Democrats, Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Edward Markey, chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment.

The bill steers a difficult course between the demands of environmentalists and those of business. In attempting to bring emissions down by 17% below 2005 by 2020, or 4% below 1990 levels, it aims low by the standards of other rich countries, but is under attack in America on the ground that it will hurt the economy. In a cap-and-trade system designed purely for efficiency all permits would be auctioned, which is what Mr Obama wanted. But as a result of concessions made in committee, by the time it was passed, 85% were to be given away initially (though some of the value of the giveaways will be returned to power consumers as rebates).

Crude Reality: Oil Execs See a Glum 2010

It’s going to be a long 2010 for the oil industry.

That’s the key takeaway from a survey of the chief financial officers of 100 U.S. oil and natural gas companies, conducted by the accounting and consulting firm BDO Seidman. (Check back here for a link when it’s available.)

According to the survey, most companies don’t expect demand for energy to rebound until 2011 or later (18% think it won’t happen until after 2012). They also don’t expect access to credit to improve until at least the second half of next year. And they don’t expect industry spending to rebound to 2007 levels until 2011 or beyond.

Saudi Aramco to Complete Manifa Oil Field in 2015

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia expects to complete its Manifa heavy oil field in 2015, according to a statement on the Web site of state-run oil company Saudi Aramco.

The project, which involves building a man-made causeway to 27 shallow-water drilling islands, will eventually produce 900,000 barrels a day of heavy crude oil, 900 million cubic feet a day of associated gas and 65,000 barrels a day of condensate, a high-value light oil.

Manifa is one of several oil field projects that the kingdom is undertaking to boost and maintain its production capacity. Daily output reached 12.5 million barrels in June, Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said last month. The country maintains spare production capacity of about 4 million barrels a day, according to the Oil Ministry.

NIOC world’s 2nd largest oil company: report

TEHRAN – National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) ranked the second in the list of the world’s 50 largest oil companies published by Petroleum Intelligence Weekly (PIW).

The PIW’s ranking is based on operational data from over 130 firms. The focus on operations allows meaningful comparisons of all types of companies -- including state-owned firms -- and thus differs from more financially oriented corporate rankings.

PIW’s system uses as criteria oil reserves and production, natural gas reserves and output, refinery capacity, and sales volumes.

Oil rise to turn Saudi fiscal deficit into surplus

Saudi Arabia could escape its first fiscal deficit in seven years and bask under another surplus in 2009 because of the improvement in oil prices, according to an investment company in the kingdom.

Announcing its 2009 budget in late 2008, Riyadh projected a budget shortfall of SR65 billion (Dh64.3bn) but the actual balance could turn into a surplus of around SR5bn at the end of the year, said NCB Capital, an offshoot of the Saudi National Commercial Bank.

Saudi to keep Jan. crude steady to U.S. - refiners

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, plans to keep crude oil shipments to U.S. refiners unchanged in January, buyers of its crude said on Wednesday.

Sources at two U.S. buyers of Saudi crude said they expected cargoes to remain stable next month after several months of no change in allocations to the United States.

British Navy leads the way as Iraqi sailors learn to safeguard nation’s oil trade

In recent weeks, the British military has made a stealthy return to Iraq, after leaving the country this year when its legal mandate ran out. A new deal was struck this month, and a contingent of 100 naval trainers has since arrived to prepare local sailors and Marines to defend the country’s ports and sea routes. “Iraq’s coastline is short but it still needs a capable navy,” said Captain McMichael-Phillips.

Out in the Gulf lie the reasons why Iraq needs a navy: two massive oil delivery platforms that provide about 85 per cent of Iraqi government revenues. Around the clock, vast tankers dock at one platform, known as the al-Basra oil terminal (Abot), 17 miles from a disputed maritime border with Iran, to load crude oil that has been pumped out to sea from the desert oil fields.

Qatar Oil Production Capacity Rises to 1 Million Barrels a Day

(Bloomberg) -- Qatar’s oil-production capacity increased 4.2 percent to an estimated 1 million barrels a day in 2009, the U.S. Energy Department said in a report on the Persian Gulf nation.

“Though Qatar’s petroleum production has grown steadily since 2002, Qatar’s fields are maturing,” the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration said in the report. “To offset anticipated declines, enhanced oil recovery techniques are being considered for several fields.”

Chevron Exec Encouraged By Venezuela's New Oil Auction Terms

A Chevron Corp. executive called the Venezuelan government's new terms for its Carabobo heavy oil drilling tender an improvement, and said he thinks the revisions are most likely the final draft.

"It's encouraging that they've continued to improve the terms," Wes Lohec, Chevron's managing director for Latin America, said Wednesday. "I don't think there will be any further changes in the terms. These are the terms with which we'll have to make our bid decision."

Shell Scraps Plan to Join Sinopec’s Refinery Project

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, scrapped plans to consider taking a stake in a refinery planned by China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. and Kuwait’s national oil company, a spokeswoman said.

“We decided not to pursue this opportunity due to strategic and commercial considerations,” Li Lusha, Shell’s China manager of media relations, said by telephone today. “We’ve not pulled out because we’ve never expressed that we have joined.”

Medvedev, Berlusconi Oversee South Stream Accord With EDF

(Bloomberg) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi oversaw the signing of an agreement between OAO Gazprom, Eni SpA and Electricite de France SA on the South Stream pipeline aimed at bringing Europe “energy security.”

Gazprom and Eni agreed in Rome today to give EDF 10 percent in South Stream AG, the operator of the planned offshore section of the natural-gas pipeline that will pass under the Black Sea. It will bypass Ukraine and like the Nord Stream pipeline that will run under the Baltic Sea, will help avoid a repetition of the gas disputes that have curbed supplies to Europe twice since 2006, Medvedev said.

Chevron’s $40 Billion Gorgon Plant Sparks Global Worker Hunt

(Bloomberg) -- Chevron Corp.’s $40 billion Australian natural gas project will drive a global hunt for construction workers and has prompted calls to ease immigration rules to prevent labor shortages and cost overruns at energy and mining projects fueling the country’s economy.

Higher Inventories Drag Down Oil Price

The U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory release showed a surprise buildup in crude stockpiles. The agency’s bearish report further added that gasoline supplies rose much more than analysts projected, while refinery rates remained at historically low levels. The only saving grace came in the form of distillates, whose stocks were down more than expected.

Cnooc to Triple Zhejiang LNG Capacity to Meet Demand

(Bloomberg) -- China National Offshore Oil Corp. will triple the receiving capacity of its Ningbo liquefied natural gas terminal in Zhejiang province to meet the country’s increased demand for cleaner-burning fuel.

With 1.2MM Energy Jobs Available, Will Obama Open OCS for Business?

On December 3, President Obama, business and labor leaders, academics and other elected officials will gather at the White House for a jobs summit. Thomas J. Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research (IER), issued the following statement on the positive economic impacts that safe, responsible offshore energy exploration could have on our nation's ailing economy and our long-term energy security:

"Affordable energy is the linchpin to a strong and prosperous nation and workforce. And there isn't an industry that can produce more good-paying jobs more quickly, especially through responsibly expanding homegrown offshore energy production. For more than 25 years, presidents and leaders in Congress -- of both political stripes -- have kept enormous amounts of America's job-creating energy resources off-limits.

Falling remittances one factor in possible peso devaluation

If current conditions persist long enough, however, it could be bad. Mexico’s main three sources of foreign money are oil exports, remittances and tourism, in that order, and all three are in decline. Migrant workers in the U.S. are having such a hard time finding work that relatives in Mexico are having to send money north. And then there’s oil.

Fears Of Food Shortage Due To Drivers Strike

French supermarkets could face some empty shelves in the run-up to Christmas, due to a potential strike by lorry drivers across the country. Local reports said drivers from five separate unions plan to stop work from 13 December, as they look for increased pay.

The strike will aim to block access to supermarket and hypermarket depots, and perhaps also fuel depots, and is likely to target chains such as Auchan and Carrefour.

Oil sharks

So is there any credence to the fact that bad boys are sitting off the coast ripping us off? I can’t believe I am even giving this space but here goes: Firstly, when oil was driven to $147 last year the resulting petrol price (which was blamed on oil) was less than it is today. Crude oil is priced at $77.07 today. (1) Explain that then.

Need I go on?

Obama decision on Afghanistan buildup brings out strong reactions locally

"Occupations are doomed to create more problems than they're supposed to solve," Weiss said.

Michael T. Klare, a Five Colleges professor of peace and world security studies, expressed a similar concern that a military surge could lead to greater anti-American sentiments in the Middle East. "It will appear like America is performing an occupying role," Klare said. "There will be increased resentment."

GDF to Open Pipeline Access to Settle Antitrust Case

(Bloomberg) -- GDF Suez, operator of Europe’s largest natural-gas network, reached a settlement with European Union regulators after an investigation into whether it harmed competition by restricting access to its French pipelines.

The European Commission, the EU’s antitrust regulator, said GDF Suez agreed to “a major structural reduction of its long- term reservations on French gas import infrastructure capacity.” The commission’s decision today makes the company’s initial settlement offer in July legally binding.

Moody’s Raises Oil, Gas Industry to ‘Positive’ on Higher Prices

(Bloomberg) -- Integrated oil and gas companies such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc, Europe’s largest, will benefit as higher oil prices and lower industry costs stem declines in cash flow, Moody’s Investors Service said.

The agency revised its outlook for the oil and natural-gas industry to “positive” from “negative,” it said today in a statement. Rising demand and “a gradual economic upturn are expected to underpin the recent recovery in oil prices in 2010,” Moody’s said.

Nigeria farmers sue Shell over oil spill

A group of Nigerian farmers is suing Royal Dutch Shell, claiming that the oil firm polluted their land in the Niger Delta region.

The four farmers allege that oil spilt from the supply lines of a subsidiary of Shell contaminated fish ponds and farms, ruining villagers' livelihoods.

Oil Sands Clean-up Efforts Criticized

With Canada facing mounting mounting international pressure to confront its sluggish emission reduction record heading into the Copenhagen climate meetings next week, environmental groups this week released yet another unflattering appraisal, this one showing that seven of Alberta’s nine oil sands projects will fail to meet new clean-up rules for the vast tailing ponds located near bitumen refineries.

Explosion Ruptures Tank at Imperium Renewables Biodiesel Plant

(Bloomberg) -- An explosion ruptured a glycerin processing tank at Imperium Renewables Inc.’s Grays Harbor, Washington, biodiesel facility, causing the plant to shut.

Climate e-mail hack 'will impact on Copenhagen summit'

E-mails hacked from a climate research institute suggest climate change does not have a human cause, according to Saudi Arabia's lead climate negotiator.

Mohammad Al-Sabban told BBC News that the issue will have a "huge impact" on next week's UN climate summit, with countries unwilling to cut emissions.

A journey through the Earth's climate history

As world leaders prepare to meet in Copenhagen to discuss climate change - how did the Earth's climate arrive at its current state and how do scientists delve into the secrets of our planet's past?

Climate change denial is the new article of faith for the far right

Despite nearly two weeks of frantic brandishing of the "smoking gun", there is still no evidence of the alleged bullets that would constitute an overturning of 200 years of climate research. The greenhouse effect still exists and the Earth is still warming.

The Science and Politics of Climate Change

I am a climate scientist who worked in the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in the 1990s. I have been reflecting on the bigger lessons to be learned from the stolen emails, some of which were mine. One thing the episode has made clear is that it has become difficult to disentangle political arguments about climate policies from scientific arguments about the evidence for man-made climate change and the confidence placed in predictions of future change. The quality of both political debate and scientific practice suffers as a consequence.

Climate change threatens life in Shishmaref, Alaska

Shishmaref, Alaska (CNN) -- When the arctic winds howl and angry waves pummel the shore of this Inupiat Eskimo village, Shelton and Clara Kokeok fear that their house, already at the edge of the Earth, finally may plunge into the gray sea below.

"The land is going away," said Shelton Kokeok, 65, whose home is on the tip of a bluff that's been melting in part because of climate change. "I think it's going to vanish one of these days."

Contraception won't solve climate change

In fact, there is no causal relationship between population density and poverty. People are only too happy to accept that India is overpopulated but they would never suggest such a thing of the Netherlands or Israel, both with higher population density.

Groups Petition EPA to Set Greenhouse Gas Limits Under Clean Air Act

Two environmental groups petitioned U.S. EPA today to set national limits for greenhouse gases using the Clean Air Act.

The Ministry of Climate Change Misinformation

Climate Cover-Up grew out of the good, old-fashioned muckracking that James Hoggan (with co-author Richard Littlemore) has been publishing since 2005 on the invaluable website DeSmogBlog. The book, through meticulously documented analysis, lays out the deliberate, nefarious, and immoral campaign to manipulate the public discourse on climate change. It also helps explain why, despite the well-established science, there are still ads on TV trumpeting the benefits of carbon dioxide ("They call it pollution, We call it life"), why anonymous commenters continue to bombard climate-related articles and blog posts (and, likely, this column) with uninformed "it's a hoax" or "the world is cooling" denial talking points, why just over half of registered Republicans believe climate change is happening at all, and why, last week, some stolen personal emails from climate scientists that don't actually discredit their work is a bigger news story than the very severe, enormously dire findings released by the scientifically sound Copenhagen Diagnosis.

Climate un-changed: experts say Copenhagen conference a ‘process’, not a resolution

Even as the highly-anticipated United Nations Climate Change Conference is about to begin in Copenhagen next week, two energy experts are already warning against expecting huge strides to be made at the global warming talks.

“I think it does seem that Copenhagen is being cast more and more as a process and not as a conclusion, to not have expectations that there's going to be an agreement there. I think there's still a lot of tough negotiating that's going ahead and I think it's probably harder to do it during a time of economic recession,” says Daniel Yergin, Chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates and Pulitzer-prize winning author of ‘The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power’.

Likewise, Harvard Kennedy School Professor Bill Hogan, who is also the Research Director of the Harvard Electricity Policy Group, thinks “declared success but little else” will emerge from the summit. Speaking in Singapore ahead of the summit, he said: “Perhaps next year maybe in Mexico, when the next round of the COP (Conference of the Parties) meets in Mexico, some stronger agreement would take place. But I think it’s too late for Copenhagen.” Those comments though were made shortly before the White House stated that President Barack Obama will pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the US in several stages, beginning with a 17 per cent cut by 2020.

UK: Government announces second wave of eco towns

Housing Minister John Healey has announced proposals for a second wave of eco towns and pledged to double the money, to a total of £10 million, in Government support to local councils in developing green settlements.

In July, Healey announced that four locations had met the strict criteria for zero carbon developments. The sites in Hampshire, Norfolk, Cornwall and Oxfordshire are currently developing masterplans for local planning approval. Healey also laid out ambitious plans in July for a further six eco communities to be built by 2020.

Why cheap oil is here to stay: With oil supplies rising and the economy becoming ever more efficient, a super-spike in prices is looking increasingly unlikely.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Because oil prices have always been directly related to the strength of the economy, a recovery might have seen headlines like these:

• The recession ends: Get ready for $100 oil

• The economy roars: $140 oil, is there an end in sight?

• Everyone in China buys a Cadillac: World tapped out

But a growing number of experts are saying that you can forget all that. For the next couple of years, they say, oil prices will remain well below $100 a barrel as the economy remains fragile and efficiency measures kick in.

"The world will never run out of oil," Deutsche Bank analysts wrote in a recent research note, echoing the old logic that the Stone Age didn't end because the world ran out of stone. "If the oil age does end, it likely will be because we become more efficient and simply use less petroleum."

Brazil to Produce Extra 1.8 Million Barrels of Oil a Day by 2022

The world in order to meet the growing demand for oil, will need a surplus production volume equivalent to the Saudi production every two years, up until 2020. The statement was made by the president of Petrobras, José Sergio Gabrielli, during a seminar on the pre-salt layer held December 1st at the University of São Paulo (USP), in the capital of the state of São Paulo.

The Saudi output is currently around 11 million barrels of oil per day. According to Gabrielli, Petrobras should contribute to meeting the global demand with an increase of 1.8 million barrels a day, as a consequence of pre-salt production. The volume should be attained within 12 years, according to projections by the state-owned company.

Crude Oil Buyers Risk ‘Bull Trap’ Near $80: Technical Analysis

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil buyers may misinterpret the market’s climb this week as a signal for further gains, exposing themselves to a potential price reversal, according to Cameron Hanover Inc.

Oil, rising for a third week in four, will face stronger resistance the closer it gets to $82 a barrel, a one-year high reached on Oct. 21, said Peter Beutel, president of the trading adviser in New Canaan, Connecticut. Buyers should watch for the market to settle higher each day before stepping in, rather than take their cues from intraday price swings, he said.

John Michael Greer: Lies and Statistics

As important as the misinformation generated by such arbitrary statistical constructs is the void that results because other, arguably more important figures are not being collected at all. In an age that will increasingly be constrained by energy limits, for example, a more useful measure of productivity might be energy productivity – that is, output per barrel of oil equivalent (BOE) of energy consumed. An economy that produces more value with less energy input is arguably an economy better suited to the downslope of Hubbert's peak, and the relative position of different nations, to say nothing of the trendline of their energy productivity over time, would provide useful information to governments, investors, and the general public alike. For all I know, somebody already calculates this figure, but I'm still waiting to see a politician or an executive crowing over the fact that the country now produces 2% more output per unit of energy.

Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson an ambitious dreamer

The growing political power of cities, Robertson says, makes innovative places like Vancouver a sort of ground zero for exploring the changes needed as Earth faces the dangers ahead. Peak oil, the loss of cities’ manufacturing and service jobs, the health costs of unmitigated pollution, the decline of energy-inefficient suburbs, and the environmental advantages of metropolitan densification, eating locally, pedestrianized downtown streets, and community gardens are, Robertson knows, behind a public desire for dramatic urban transformation. In many, many ways, this new urbanism is, in fact, an old movie called Back to the Future, trolley lines, farmers markets, bicycles, and all.

Local food activist makes the farm-bike-sailboat connection

Jan Lundberg moved to Portland a year ago because it seemed like the best place to pursue his intersecting passions for food security, peak oil, bicycles, and sailing.

These passions will be coming to fruition later this month when the oil analyst’s brainchild, the Sail Transport Network, will launch into its first major, ongoing local venture. Lundberg is finalizing plans to deliver malted grain grown on Sauvie Island in Northwest Portland to a brewery further down the Columbia River by a combination of cargo bike and sailboat.

This time, a real jobs program

President Barack Obama is holding a "jobs summit" today, and Congress is currently discussing a jobs bill. Unfortunately, the current talk of combating unemployment has been plagued by false assumptions encapsulated in the word "stimulus," which evokes an organism that can quickly generate the desired response with the right "input." In reality, the U.S. economy will falter for many years unless a government-led jobs program recognizes new economic and environmental realities and confronts the challenges before us.

Facing peak oil and global competition for scarce natural resources, we must repair and reform the physical and intellectual undergirding of our economy to build a broad base of prosperity. That means major infrastructure investments in public works, communications and energy.

Copenhagen Failure Defied by $200 Billion in Green Investments

(Bloomberg) -- Renewable-energy investment may climb to a record $200 billion worldwide next year as companies from Hong Kong’s CLP Holdings Ltd. to American Electric Power Co. start projects that don’t depend on a new climate-change treaty.

Private and public spending on technology such as solar panels and wind turbines will rise about 50 percent from $130 billion this year and top the previous high of $155 billion in 2008, according to Michael Liebreich, chairman of London-based New Energy Finance, a consulting firm whose data is used by the United Nations and Deutsche Bank AG.

Elusive Goal of Greening U.S. Energy

President Obama, both during his campaign and in his first year in office, has promoted the promise of new jobs in cutting-edge, nonpolluting industries, and such green jobs will be a major issue at his jobs “summit” meeting Thursday.

But, increasingly, skeptics who point to the need for more jobs are wondering why he is not doing more to create green jobs faster.

Growth in clean energy industries and in green jobs has been considerably slower and bumpier than anticipated, industry experts say.

Bode: Oklahoma needs renewable energy standard

OKLAHOMA CITY – A former member of the state board that regulates utilities said Wednesday that Oklahoma needs to develop a renewable energy standard to encourage development of its wind energy sector and potentially lure manufacturing jobs.

Mass. gov: Utility to pursue Cape Wind power deal

BOSTON – Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has announced that National Grid will pursue a long term deal with Cape Wind to purchase power from its proposed 130 turbine wind farm.

Patrick said Wednesday that such a deal is critical to securing financing for the Nantucket Sound project and getting it operating in time to qualify for federal incentives that could reduce its $1 billion cost by 30 percent.

Rising Partisanship Sharply Erodes U.S. Public's Belief in Global Warming

"This is a big problem for the president," said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. "One of the main tactics of opponents of environmental regulation since the 1940s has been to challenge the science."

The dramatic 30-percentage-point drop over two years in the Harris poll is the starkest indicator yet that belief in climate change has plummeted in a short amount of time. The shift in numbers since 2007 came from a 15-point percentage increase from those saying they "are not sure" about the cause of climate change.

Ancient Animals Fled to Antarctica to Escape Warming

Antarctica served as a climatic refuge for animals during the world's largest known, and probably global warming-fueled, mass extinction event, according to new research that focused on one scrappy survivor.

David Strahan - Extreme oil: Scraping the bottom of Earth's barrel

EIGHTY-FIVE million barrels. That's how much oil we consume every day. It's a staggering amount - enough to fill over 5400 Olympic swimming pools - and demand is expected to keep on rising, despite the impending supply crunch.

The International Energy Agency forecasts that by 2030 it will rise to about 105 million barrels per day with a commensurate increase in production (see graph), although whistle-blowers recently told The Guardian newspaper in London that insiders at the IEA believe the agency vastly over-estimates our chances of plugging that gap. The agency officially denies this.

Wherever the truth lies, it is widely expected that by 2030 we will have passed the peak of conventional oil production - the moment that output from conventional oil reserves goes into terminal decline. A report from the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) published in August said there was a "significant risk" it would happen before 2020. And that means we will soon be staring down the barrel of the ultimate oil crisis.

Plenty more oil, but use it wisely

CHEAP oil has been the driving force behind the phenomenal economic growth of the past century, at least in the west. Oil is the lifeblood of the modern world. If we were to remove it tomorrow, it is no exaggeration to say that civilisation would collapse.

But the days of abundant, easy-to-extract oil are numbered. It's a mantra we've all heard before. Oil production is poised to enter terminal decline: if "peak oil" hasn't already arrived, it is imminent.

The Peak Oil Crisis: China in 2010

It is looking like the course of China's economy will have a lot more to do with your life and lifestyle over the next year or so than you had ever imagined possible. The logic behind this assertion is simple.

The U.S. and for that matter the rest of the OECD economies seem unlikely to be doing much growing in the near future.

Is shale an answer to the energy question?

"The United States is sitting on over 100 years of gas supply at the current rates of consumption," he said. Because natural gas emits half the greenhouse gases of coal, he added, that "provides the United States with a unique opportunity to address concerns about energy security and climate change."

Recoverable U.S. gas reserves could now be bigger than the immense gas reserves of Russia, some experts say. The Marcellus shale formation, stretching across swaths of Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia, has enough gas to meet the entire nation's needs for at least 14 years, according to an estimate by two Pennsylvania State University experts.

...With new supplies, the country will be less vulnerable to disruptions from Gulf Coast hurricanes and need to rely less on imports. Already, deliveries of liquefied natural gas from places such as Qatar, Nigeria and Trinidad are down 58 percent in 2008, idling costly U.S. terminals.

Cost of oil declines as country uses less energy: Gasoline sales actually slumped during Thanksgiving holiday weekend

Oil prices dipped Wednesday with more evidence that the country is using less energy while oil and gasoline supplies continue to grow.

Demand for gasoline slumped during the Thanksgiving week, when millions of people take to the road and gas sales usually jump.

Fed's Bullard - oil, gold spike not inflationary

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- The recent run-up in gold and oil prices is not inflationary, said James Bullard, the president of St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, in a CNBC television interview Wednesday. Bullard said the Fed generally would not like to start tightening monetary policy until the unemployment rate starts down.

Controversy flares over space-based power plan

Space solar power advocates may soon get their day in the sun, as different projects aimed at beaming energy to Earth from orbit begin to take shape. But at least one space power scientist worries that a U.S.-based project may be promising too much, too soon.

China solar panel makers see boost from Copenhagen

CHANGZHOU, China (AFP) – In Trina Solar's brilliant white factory in eastern China, masked workers in lab coats turn silicon wafers into solar power cells capable of harnessing the sun's clean and limitless energy.

China is now the world's top producer of the cells -- the tile-like engines of solar panels -- and firms like Trina see next week's climate talks as a potential key moment in the wider adoption of renewable energies like solar.

Biofuels: Hope or Hype?

“All of these myths about biofuel being clean, green, sustainable, or furthering energy independence, are supported by the Big Myth, which is that we can consume our way out of over-consumption.”

Idaho Plant Gets Permit With CO2 Limits

Idaho state air regulators issued a permit on Monday – said to be the first of its kind in the country – requiring a proposed fertilizer plant to curb its carbon dioxide emissions.

State's water delivery outlook is grim

Operators of the sprawling state system that supplies water to 25 million Californians from Butte County to San Diego issued their lowest-ever estimate on the amount of water they will be able to deliver.

Officials predicted Tuesday they will be able to offer only 5 percent of the total volume of water requested by California cities and farms next year. That's the smallest water allocation the agency has released since its creation in 1967.

Calif Gov: Climate Adaptation Will Require Water Conservation

SAN FRANCISCO -(Dow Jones)- California will have to conserve water and other resources amid declining water supplies, rising sea levels and more frequent wildfires and floods that are expected to result from climate change, the state's governor said Wednesday.

"There's no single (crisis) that threatens our health more than climate change," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Google Earth explores climate risks to California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Google Inc. launched a new feature in its Google Earth Web site Wednesday designed to let Californians see the risks of climate change.

Google unveiled the new interactive tool in San Francisco as part of a climate change press conference by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Sea Level Is Rising Along U.S. Atlantic Coast, According to Data Analysis by Penn Environmental Scientists

PHILADELPHIA –- An international team of environmental scientists led by the University of Pennsylvania has shown that sea-level rise along the Atlantic Coast of the United States was 2 millimeters faster in the 20th century than at any time in the past 4,000 years.

Low-carbon future: We can afford to go green

TACKLING climate change will cost consumers the earth. Those who campaign for a green revolution are out to destroy our western lifestyles. Such are the cries of opponents of emissions cuts, and their message has political clout: a number of surveys, including one by New Scientist in 2007, have found that the enthusiasm of voters for policies to alleviate climate change falls off as the price tag increases.

However, a new modelling exercise conducted exclusively for this magazine suggests that these fears are largely unfounded. It projects that radical cuts to the UK's emissions will cause barely noticeable increases in the price of food, drink and most other goods by 2050 (see the figures). Electricity and petrol costs will rise significantly, but with the right policies in place, say the modellers, this need not lead to big changes in our lifestyle.

Indefinite population growth is not an option

The Optimum Population trust today launched a unique project that enables carbon offsets to be made through the support of family planning.

This innovative approach stems from a report that shows meeting the otherwise unmet demand for family planning could be the most cost-effective means of achieving CO2 reductions. For example, we believe every £4 spent on family planning saves one tonne of CO2. A similar reduction would require an £8 investment in tree planting, £15 in wind power, £31 in solar energy and £56 in hybrid vehicle technology.

President Obama Launches Secret Green Partnership With India to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions Despite Senate Boycott

In a move sure to anger the Let’s-do-nothing-about-climate-change-till-China-and-India-do crowd, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India launched a secret Green Partnership to do something about climate change.

The secret arrangement was made while the President was on his failed Asian trip resulting in pre-Copenhagen announcements from China and India; of 40% cuts, and 20% cuts respectively, in carbon emissions. (His secret Red partnership with China is another story)

India to slow carbon emissions growth by 20-25 pct

NEW DELHI – India's Environment Minister says the country will significantly slow its carbon dioxide emissions over the next decade.

The pledge to reduce by 20 to 25 percent the ratio of pollution to GDP comes just days before world leaders are set gather to discuss a new climate pact.

Climate e-mails debated at House hearing

WASHINGTON - House Republicans pointed to controversial e-mails leaked from climate scientists and said it was evidence of corruption. Top administration scientists looking at the same thing found no such sign, saying it doesn't change the fact that the world is warming.

NASA climate expert hopes Copenhagen summit fails

LONDON — A leading scientist who helped alert the world to the dangers of global warming said on Thursday that climate talks in Copenhagen next week were based on such flawed proposals that he hoped they failed.

James Hansen, the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies since 1981, said attempts to forge a global deal on cutting emissions after the Kyoto treaty expires were based on a "fundamentally wrong" approach.

"I would rather it not happen if people accept that as being the right track because it's a disaster track," he told Britain's Guardian newspaper ahead of the December 7-18 summit.

Proposed emissions cuts aren't enough, U.N. says

WASHINGTON — Promises by the U.S. and other industrialized countries to cut the emissions causing global warming are insufficient to avoid the worst effects of climate change, the United Nations climate chief said Wednesday.

On climate change, China could show the way

With Copenhagen all but written off, is there any chance we can prevent average global temperatures from increasing more than two degrees? Any bigger rise and large parts of the planet would resemble downtown Detroit. But don't give up all hope, for economic and business forces could come into play to prevent carbon output skyrocketing even if the summit proves a dud.

The first factor is Chinese pride and technical prowess, both rising. The second is higher oil prices. The two are related.

China should adapt to climate change: meteorologist

BEIJING — China's top meteorologist has warned climate change could cause "incalculable" damage to the country and that efforts should focus on adapting to global warming rather than slowing it.

The comments by the head of the China Meteorological Administration appeared to mark a departure from the government stance that has so far stressed both as equally important.

"Global warming is a fact. For a huge developing country like China it's more practical and urgent to adapt to climate change than to seek to slow down the process," said Zheng Guoguang.

Nepal ministers gather for Everest meeting

LUKLA, Nepal (AFP) – Nepalese ministers arrived Thursday in Lukla, one of the main towns in the Everest region, ahead of a high-altitude cabinet meeting to stress the impact of global warming on the Himalayas.

Australian PM warns on climate change

SYDNEY (AFP) – Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd warned there was no "magic pudding" solution to climate change on Thursday as he lashed out over the defeat of his flagship carbon-trading scheme.

Rudd mocked the opposition Liberal Party's reported plan to slash pollution with energy efficiency measures as a "bit of fairy dust" and called for "wiser heads" to pass the bill at the third attempt.

Paul McCartney takes Meat-Free Monday to EU

BRUSSELS – Paul McCartney has taken his Meat-Free Monday campaign to the European Parliament, saying the power to halt global warming lies as much with individuals as with their governments.

McCartney met in Brussels with Rajendra K. Pachauri, head of the U.N.'s global climate change panel, and praised the virtue of skipping meat one day a week for the sake of the environment.

Earth could plunge into sudden ice age

In the film, "The Day After Tomorrow," the world gets gripped in ice within the span of just a few weeks. Now research now suggests an eerily similar event might indeed have occurred in the past.

Looking ahead to the future, there is no reason why such a freeze shouldn't happen again — and in ironic fashion it could be precipitated if ongoing changes in climate force the Greenland ice sheet to suddenly melt, scientists say.

The world four degrees hotter? An unwelcome idea

Once that threshold is crossed, what might a four-degree world look like?

Brace yourself.

Oceans have risen by at least a metre (3.25 feet), drowning several island nations and driving hundreds of millions of people in Bangladesh, Thailand and Vietnam and other delta nations to scramble for higher ground.

Polar bears are a folk memory, starved to extinction in an Arctic where temperatures have soared by 15 C (27 F), nearly four-fold the global average.

Australia is routinely swept by white-hot fires of the kind that claimed 170 lives last February.

Tom Whipple in the FCNP should be mandatory reading for Nobel Peace Price winning persident Obama: "Whether or not China's economic stimulus is being well spent really does not matter. Wars are usually not useful either"

It is not only China's stimulus package, it is how they are spending money in general that is so comical. It is a little like Dubai, building things that they do not need and will not use. They built an entire city, expecting it to hold one million people, but no one wants to move there.

China's empty city - 10 Nov 09 Video

Ron P.

They built an entire city, expecting it to hold one million people, but no one wants to move there.

Of course people will want to move there! If they don't, they will be shot...

>They built an entire city, expecting it to hold one million people, but no one wants to move there.

The United States did that too. It is called Detroit.

Brazil did it, and called it Brazilia


Yeah, but they also made it the capital of Brazil. Plus the Chinese didn't use an architect of the caliber of an Oscar Niemeyer. Brasilia wins!

Oh yeah, just for the record, I was born in Brazil ;-)

Then there is Belmopan in Belize --- official capital where NO ONE wants to stay on the week ends. 'Course no one wants to be there during the work week either and if they can they escape back to Belize city ;-) Astana falls into the same category in Kazakhstan .... different reasons but the same problem/result.

Myanmar (Burma) decided to make a new capitol city to replace Rangoon (Yangong?), don't know what they called it but they had a great big military parade once they built it. The only setback is that the whole thing is just fancy facades on streets, like hollywood sets, with no actual buildings behind them. That's hilarious, but makes more sense than actually building a real city I suppose. We are nothing more than crazy hairless monkeys generally, but knowing quite a few Burmese people, well - genetics does appear to matter. (no racism intended - I do love my mother in law)

The United States did that too. It is called Detroit

No, in China, if you don't move to their city, you'll be shot.
In Detroit, you get shot if you do move there.

Very interesting Ron. Thanks. An even more interesting note was that most of the housing built is owned by investors expecting to cash in on the flood of new citizens moving from the old town 30 klicks away. But they've apparently over priced the market. Just goes to show the Chinese have a steep free market learning curve ahead of them. Not enough details but it sounds like the gov't may have recovered a big chunk of its investment from the housing sales. It also sounds as though much of this "stupid money" came from the new rich in area as a result of big coal development projects.

It just occurred to me how this might let the wind out of some of the folks imagining an end to suburbia with a rush of folks back into the city center areas. In Houston today selling your 4000 sq ft mini-McMansion will buy you 1100 sq ft in the downtown arae. Nice to get that 3 or 4 hour commute of your back but it goes to show how many folks won't make the switch. The majority of d/t buyers aren't from the burbs here. They are the young and mobile workforce.

Interesting video ! Along the lines of that report the Chinese have always New South China Mall

New South China Mall is the second largest mall in the world after Dubai Mall. It has the most gross leasable area of any mall in the world- room for over 1,500 stores in approximately 7.1 million square feet (659,612 square metres) of leasable space and 890.000 square metres of total area.
Since its opening in 2005, it has suffered from a severe lack of occupants. Much of the retail space remained empty in 2008, with 99.2 percent of the stores vacant.

I read somewhere that Mc Donalds is established here :-) Good for US GDP.

A funny thought just hit me. It is the movie "Field of Dreams'. Remember "If you build it they will come".

China has built the "City of Dreams" and the "Mall of Dreams" believing that If we build it they will come.

Well hell, they built it and they didn't come. I am sure there is a moral to this story somewhere but I just can't think of it at the moment. ;-)

Ron P.

My town has one of those. They built a very nice strip of shops and got Macy's and JC Penneys to open there. The funding for it started years ago and there was city assistance to the builder to get them to finish the job. They are slowly building two huge off-ramp systems to get highway traffic diverted to the shops.

There is currently 2 other shops open in this strip with room for about another 200. They were "hoping" that by building the structure and getting 2 anchor stores in the strip everyone else would follow.

That way of thinking just don't seem to work no more.

For another view on the mall experience,I suggest taking a drive thru Kirkwood,Missouri.

Its an eyeopener. I have been thru it many times and it never changes much. Right in the middle of Lindbergh Blvd,which circles around St. Louis from south to north.

Kirkwood has a very large population but almost all are very old and very well built beautiful residences.

The amazing thing is that the main street being a very very heavily traveled street is NEVER widened. Its basically just 'two lanes' thru town. Full of very old storefronts and very interesting places to shop and walk thru. Its a throwback to how all the outlier cities/towns once were in St. Louis county.

You must drive very slowly thru the mainstreet(Lindbergh) of Kirkwood. I go there for the cigars and the amazing ambiance and to recall how those places once were.

There are a set of railroad tracsk right thru town and used heavily. When a train comes thru then you have to wait. No other choices. No overpasses either.

This is a place that NEVER transitioned to yuppieville. Most refreshing to take a walk/drive back thru how life used to be back when I first came to know St. Louis,,,in the early 50s.

A real model on a village that can go back to the 20th century or earlier. When streetcars still rumbled in downtown St. Louis.

Airdale-on my way now back to the farm but for those who might someday go thru St. Louis----try to take a drive thru downtown Kirkwood.

I am sure there is a moral to this story somewhere but I just can't think of it at the moment. ;-)

The Chinese need to build a giant baseball stadium?

.... In a field of maize...

I was curious Ron P. to watch that video link about China, but the video just kept trying to catch up with the white dots spinning. Unfortunate because it seemed like it would have been an interesting story.

For those who may not have understood what you were referring to (including me), here is the link: http://www.fcnp.com/commentary/national/5375-the-peak-oil-crisis-china-i...

Isolationism soars among Americans, poll finds

Among Americans polled, 44 percent said China was the world's leading economic power compared with 27 percent who named the United States. In February 2008, 41 percent said the U.S. was the leading economic power, while 30 percent said China.

A majority of Americans surveyed, or 53 percent, see China's emerging power as a threat to the United States.

We got strong isolationism last Depression and I don't expect this one to be any different.

This is why I hope, if my income goes up, to get a US-made motorcycle and a lot of spares, and if (more probably) my income goes down, to get seriously into bicycles, perhaps having some hand in making parts here.

The good news is, with strong enough isolationism, we'll have jobs again.

Re: Controversy flares over space-based power plan

Here we go again. The story features Solaren Corp.'s proposal to beam down enough microwave energy to produce 200 MWe. With losses in transmission, that means more than 400 MWe at the satellite. Assuming PV with 20% efficiency, that means 2000MW or more solar energy collected. But, that also implies the need to dissipate 1600MW of waste thermal energy from the PV arrays, which is a rather large amount. Here on the ground, large nukes accomplish this with massive heat exchangers, such as those often photographed hyperbolic cone shaped towers near power plants.

Of course, Solaren is closed mouth on the exact details of their system. They claim their patent shows a great advance, but, having seen their patent, I found nothing unusual in the design, as compared with other systems designs by NASA, etc. I see little chance that they will be able to provide that 200 MWe in 2016. I think they are blowing smoke, trying to attract investors...

E. Swanson

Clearly they can radiate waste heat to 3 degrees K deep space. The trick is to make a light weight radiator. What do we know about space radiators?

For the record, I think they are blowing smoke too...

I'm with you on the smoke blowing Robert. But it also reminds me of how many folks probably thought that kid Billy Gates was blowing smoke (or smoking dope) when he went on and on about personal computers being a big thing down the road. Not that I would put my money in it but such plans could be one of the next big techno Black Swans.

but such plans could be one of the next big techno Black Swans.

It doesn't have a snowball's chance in Hades of being the next big techno Black Swan. There are far more problems than they are telling you about. In addition to the 20 shuttle size launches to put it in orbit, it would require hundreds of man-in-space hours to assemble. Then think of that very huge solar panel array. It would be a sail in the solar wind. It would require blast from its positioning engines every few hours, or perhaps minutes, to keep it in the correct orbit. The thing would require a new space flight every year or so in order to refuel the system and perform ordinary maintenance.

And just in case you are wondering, there is no way to turn solar energy into thrust energy. Thrust energy requires bulk, that is you need something with mass to thrust in the opposite direction.

Then there are those solar storm flares. You know, the ones that sometimes rock ordinary satellites. Think what they would do to that huge sail. And there are perhaps a hundred other engineering problems that would cost billions and likely still not be solved after the billions are spent.

Solaren Corp. is the P.T. Barnum of the energy world.

Ron P.

You can add to the list of problem with this technology:

-Magnetic breaking in the magnetosphere.

-Oscillation damping in such a large structure.

-Radiation damage to solar panel.

-Orbital debris collision.

-If they want to avoid atmmospheric drag, they will to lunch it above 10 000 km.The number of rocket will be huge.

It would require blast from its positioning engines every few hours, or perhaps minutes, to keep it in the correct orbit.

Just brainstorming here, but it might be possible to do station-keeping with a big electrodynamic tether.

Just brainstorming here, but it might be possible to do station-keeping with a big electrodynamic tether.

No, not possible. Not for one reason but for two reasons. An electrometric tether would only work in low earth orbit where the earth's magnetic field is quite strong. In the geostationary orbit, about 70 times as high as low earth orbits, where this power station would be placed, the magnetic field is so weak it can hardley be detected at all.

The second reason is that the geostationary orbit is just that, stationary to the rotation of the earth and therefore stationary to the earth's magnetic field, not moving through the field. Nothing would be induced into the tether.

But that brings up another reason why such a project would be extremely expensive. The shuttle does not fly that high. Satellites placed in the geostationary orbit are put there by unmanned rockets. The space shuttle only goes into low earth orbit, typically 200 to 400 miles above the surface of the earth. The geostationary orbit is 22,000 miles above the surface of the earth.

A new shuttle would have to be designed and built to travel that high above the earth. Sending 20 such shuttles to that height and back and spending hundreds of man-in-space hours at that orbit would cost perhaps hundreds of billions.

The more you think about it the more insane this scheme seems to be.

Ron P.

Hmm, yes. Too bad.

And just in case you are wondering, there is no way to turn solar energy into thrust energy.

Actually I think there are plenty of actuators for orientimg a space craft in orbit and controlling it's attitude that don't require fuel deliveries.


Actually I think there are plenty of actuators for orientimg a space craft in orbit and controlling it's attitude that don't require fuel deliveries.

Well no, there are not. Attitude can be controlled with gyros and such but only as far as pitch and yaw go. When a satellite is pushed into higher or lower orbit only thrusters can put it back into its former orbit.

Large low earth orbit satellites must have thrusters on board in order to stay in orbit. If not they eventually decay and fall into the earth though it may take years or even decades. Satellites in the geostationary orbit will stay up virtually forever because there is so little drag there. But if you have a huge sail catching a maximum amount of the solar wind that would definitely push it out of its proper orbit. Only thrusters could keep it there.

It might not require that many fuel deliveries however. That would depend on the size of the fuel tanks.

Ron P.

Well no, there are not.

I was just pointing out the orientation problem doesn't require fuel which is pretty much all that would be required since PV has to be geostationary otherwise it's away from the reciever most of the time and the PV panels will likely have a short useful life.

Even if it is technically feasable, which you and I doubt, IMO it is an unaffordable concept, Hubble's PV panels have had to be changed twice in it's 20 year life to say nothing of other electronics.

The simplest way to see that SPSS is ridiculous is say a space PV system generates 10X as much electricity per watt as a terrestrial one. Then I can simply buy 10X as many panels and launch them on top of rooftops for $5/Watt. Can they put them in space for $50/Watt? Obviously not.

They can turn solar energy into thrust by using a tether. Or an ion engine if they bring aboard a small amount of sacrificial ions.

I seem to remember buying a 5-watt panel all made, plus charge controller, for $85 on the surplus market a few years ago. With deflation so strong now, I"m sure the same thing is cheaper - people who end up homeless often sell the fancy stuff like that off before moving to a cardboard box and cooking with wood.

Remember, within 20 years most of the world's population and yes that includes the US, will be living la vida 1930.

New panels start around $2.50/watt right now. Cheaper if you buy a pallet of blems. A real bargain if you are in the market. It seems the PV producers are in the same situation as oil companies. It won't last long, methinks.

...and the difference between software that can be copied and distributed for cents and 'space based solar arrays' is...

No don't bother answering that, too much smoke to see a reply. :o)


I worked briefly on the ISS Thermal Control System. Here's a link to Lockheed's approach. Each of those radiators were intended to remove 11 kilowatts of thermal energy and weighs 2,300 pounds, the energy being that which was produced by the PV arrays and dissipated within the ISS. And, the design was a new design, the earlier ones apparently didn't work so well. Even were it possible to cool the PV arrays (the PV are part of a concentrator system, perhaps 5 to 1), there will still need to be cooling for the electronics.

Now, how many megawatts of cooling would be required? If the estimate in the article is correct, it would take some 312 MWe of PV to provide 200 MWe on the ground, thus about 62 MWe would be lost in the electronics. That would imply the need for some 5,630 of those ISS radiators, which would weigh about 13 MILLION pounds...

E. Swanson

So we can get rid of five watts per pound of radiator. Say the PV system is 50% efficient so we have to get rid of one watt for every watt we generate. Say launch costs are brought down to $1000/pound which doesn't exist right now. Then we are paying $200/watt just to lift the radiator.

Actually, I was only considering the heat rejection required for the electronics. The thermal control of the concentrator PV is another issue.

The article mentions 80% conversion efficiency from PV generated DC to microwave energy. That's where the numbers I used in the calculation came from. But, I did not include the link between the electronic hardware and the thermal radiators. In the ISS design we worked on, the electronic equipment was mounted on "cold plates", which are heat exchangers with water as the working fluid. The water is then pumped to the thermal radiators. This is necessary due to the fact that there is no natural convection in the zero gravity orbital environment. The total mass of the thermal control system would need to include the mass of the cold plates, the pipes, pumps, water (or other working fluid) and the controls for the whole thing. The mass for all this would be quite large, but I won't try and guess how much more mass would be involved. On the opposite end of the calculations, it might be possible to construct electronics which only dissipate 10% of the electric power in the conversion, which would cut the total mass of a thermal control system in half.

To put things in better perspective, recall that 13 million pounds represents the mass equivalent to about 20 International Space Sations (632,453 lb each)...

E. Swanson

One of the things that irks me is that a lot of ideas get rehashed over and over again even though there are glaring problems. This applies to space generated energy that is beamed to Earth. What will prevent the system from shifting from a receptor to a city if a computer or guidance system malfunctions? If you use microwave radiation, you could fry a whole populace.

I'm open to suggestions but call me skeptical.

Sensors with failsafes? I'd be more worried about the cost of the guy that has to go fix the panels when they break, especially when he has to rent a Russian launcher to get to it.

In their meeting yesterday, 3 Dec, the California PUC approved the application by PG&E to enter into the SPS contract with Solaren.

Here's a link to the press release on the PUC resolution. The page has a link to the resolution for PG&E's PPA application, which gives few background details of Solaren's proposal. No technical details of Solaren's technology are provided.

These guys are flying blind...

E. Swanson

Motorist convicted & sentenced to 10 years for assaulting cyclists


Best Hopes for Justice,


There was an interesting article in the Dallas Observer recently about the conflict within the cycling community--between those who want more dedicated bike lanes and those who want to move to the middle the roads and abide by traffic laws and be treated just like other road vehicles:


I really think that separate bicycle paths are the way to go. If a bicycle path is part of a road, it should be protected from automobile traffic by concrete barriers. There are two reasons why I don't bicycle in North America: (1) it's too dangerous, and (2) I'd like to minimize the amount of exhaust that I breathe.

I do bicycle when I visit Europe, the main reason being the extensive networks of dedicated bicycle paths. If you build them here, I and many others will use them.

As always, the best guide is, How do they do it in France?

I believe in France bicycles are considered road vehicles along with everything else, and road-sharing works out pretty well. It may help bicycle racers are national heroes there while we haven't had the like since the year 1900 or so.

But I do know the difference of opinion between the "vehicular" cyclists and the bike-path types is deep. And I'd like to add that the bike paths are actually not safer - prettier, but not safer.

I myself am vehicular all the way with a little messenger savvy.

From the Dallas Observer article:

Dallas' Former Bike Czar Tells Newbie Riders to Go Play in Traffic

"How have we gotten to where we no longer see cars and bicycles as being compatible?" wondered Summer, who had initially planned to develop at least a few bicycle lanes in Dallas but instantly reversed course. He now believed that cyclists fare best if treated like any other vehicle. So, he replaced dangerous drain grates with more bicycle-friendly designs. He tweaked the sensitivity of traffic signal sensors to recognize a bicycle's presence. And in 2006, he had the last bicycle lane in the city ripped out. Dallas, under his vision, was becoming a dream city for "vehicular cycling."

And that, to hear his critics tell the story, is one reason why P.M. Summer is no longer the city's bike czar. Once again, he was caught riding against traffic. This time, he got nailed. . . a new cadre of local cyclists arose and urged the city to better accommodate bikes. This new group of advocates differed from the hard-core road warriors and was a far cry from the "vehicular cyclists." They didn't want to debate an SUV for the right of way on the road; they just wanted to ride their bikes in a comfortable and safe environment. They rallied the city to design the streets to physically separate bicycles and cars.

The sort of projects popular with these new riders worried Summer because he had seen the effects of such construction before. In 1997, Summer helped to open the Katy Trail. The three-mile paved path along an old railroad bed proved hugely popular, though Summer eyed the trail nervously. There were fewer cyclists on the street after the trail opened, he noted, as cyclists instead strapped their bikes to racks on their cars and drove to the trail. "It really alarmed me," Summer recalls. "The more there were special facilities built, the less often people would ride their bikes on the street because it reinforced their fear as opposed to empowering them."

The three-mile paved path along an old railroad bed proved hugely popular, though Summer eyed the trail nervously. There were fewer cyclists on the street after the trail opened, he noted, as cyclists instead strapped their bikes to racks on their cars and drove to the trail.

Well there must be lot of people like me who don't like to ride in mixed traffic. The main reason people strapped their bikes to their car is probably because the bike path network doesn't reach their neighborhood. That problem can be alleviated by extending the bike paths to all parts of town.

A suburb of Atlanta built a fairly extensive bike trail system connecting neighborhoods to shopping, etc. It didn't take long for the bad guys to show up. They started tackling bikers, stealing their stuff and escaped on the bikes. So much for safer.

bike paths are actually not safer

I find that hard to believe. Are you talking about number of accidents or seriousness of injuries, or both?

With bike paths you eliminate one significant danger: collisions with automobiles. Are you that saying there is just as much danger on bike paths versus roads because cyclist pedal faster on bike paths?

IMO the biggest argument against vehicular cycling is the huge number of cellphone wielding distracted drivers. However, I suspect that bicycles will the ultimate "winners" as the number of cars on the road declines.

Bike paths tend to get full of other cyclists with often very unpredictable behavior, joggers, strollers, rollerbladers, all kinds of crazy stuff.

An example is Newport Beach to Huntington Beach, the cyclists tend to ride to the bike path along the beach, on crowded residential roads - they do this because parking is at a premium there so you don't get the driving to the bike path thing. They filter to the bike path on regular old, busy, Southern California streets. And the accidents occur almost all on the bike path.

For me and my kids (pre-teens and teens ride -- driving age ones won't much), we stick to residential streets and the bike paths. It's tortuously difficult to get to the bike path by riding, so if we want to do a lot of miles we pick our way to the path and then ride.

But the path is pointless except for fun and exercise -- it goes essentially nowhere we'd ever need to be.

As for riding the feeder streets, it's two, three or five lane, and all with 50mph traffic. There are adult cyclists who brave them, but rarely. Certainly not a place for kids to ride, and it's a death-wish for adults as well.

I did have a two-day job this summer that happened to correspond to a Bike Path.. It was HEAVEN! Quiet and Quick.. I could smile and say hi to people. I had fresh air on me.. getting exercise. My stress level simply evaporated once I was on the trails, not wondering what might be coming up behind me, and if that driver was arguing with a spouse on the phone as they approached.

Of course it all would change again if cycling became easy enough that significant numbers were using those paths.. there is a bit of a lack of Bike-rules culture still, and mix in Strollers and kids playing jacks in the middle of it.. their role as 'Public Park space' would have to be changed, and that will be another whole kerfluffle..

But biking is so easy and flexible. It's really dealing with cars/trucks that makes it so challenging.

The first limited access freeway in Los Angeles

for bicycles, in early 1900s.


Best Hopes for more,


That's an example of a recreational trail that is used by roller-bladers, cyclists, joggers, walkers, parents pushing strollers, and then traversed by people focused on getting to the beach, carrying surfboards, beach equipment, campers with their metal detectors. It's like a bowl of spaghetti. The trail isn't wide enough and no one follows any rules regarding which side to walk or ride on. But even with all of its flaws it is much safer than riding on Pacific Coast Highway with 50-60 mph traffic and on street parallel parking. Look around Huntington Beach and you see hundreds of miles of "bike lanes." The ones that no one uses because they don't feel a white line gives them any protection. We've had scores of accidents and fatalities between bikes and cars on the streets. I'm not aware of any on our beach bike path. If we want more people to ride bikes then we have to create an environment that encourages more ridership. Check out www.streetfilms.org to see some good examples.

One interesting dual use.

I live on a busy one way street, Camp Street. One the other side of the street is a wide sidewalk (about 8 feet). Bikes often use the street one way and the sidewalk the other way, but stay on the "street" side of the sidewalk. So far, no issues that I am aware of. They do go significantly slower when on the sidewalk.

Best Hopes for Comity and common sense,


Some studies have shown that bike paths are more dangerous than riding in the street. One theory for the reason: cyclists tend to be less cautious on bike paths than they would be in the street.

But I have to wonder how much less the threat of severe injury or death is, when there are no multi-ton vehicles to do half of the 'arguing'

It would be interesting to find out what the accident rates amount cyclists are in places like Copenhagen where 37% of the population commutes by bike. You would think that there would be fewer automobiles accidents in a place like that simply because there are fewer cars on the roads.

The observed rule of thumb is that bicyclist fatalities stay constant or shrink as the bike modal share increases.

Double the # of cyclists, and the # of deaths stay constant > the death rate is halved. Quadruple cycling > death rate drops by 75+%.

Austin has a disproportionate # of bicyclists in Texas, but the # killed is in line with the rest of the other urban areas.

Best Hopes,


We've beaten this to death before.

One big problem is that city paths usually must cross lots of streets. So they tend to dump cyclists onto the street repeatedly and in places or directions where drivers are not expecting anything and do not look - such as opposite the flow of traffic in the adjacent lane. A classic case is going opposite the traffic on a path next to a highway - at the next intersection, all the drivers on the cross-street will have their necks craned to their left looking for a break in the prevailing traffic, and when that break comes, they will stomp on the gas without ever looking to the right and seeing you. So you can't cross when the light is red for you, but you can't cross safely when it's green, either.

Intersections are where the paths make things a great deal less safe. If you can build the path along a river or railroad with few or no intersections, then it's not so much of a problem, but that only serves those who happen to reside by a river or railroad and who also wish to travel only along said river or railroad.

So remember that nearly all the bad crashes happen at the intersections. Cyclists feel "safer" on the paths in major part because there is no overtaking motor traffic. Unfortunately, crashes of that sort are only a very low single-digit percentage of the total.

Still, what that says is that it's not the bike path where it's unsafe, but again the intersection with motor traffic.

Yergin.. now him, we've beaten to death. (But he just keeps getting up again!) Bike trails, notta so much. Still lots of room to explore this issue and find creative solutions for making workable models.

Still, what that says is that it's not the bike path where it's unsafe, but again the intersection with motor traffic.

Sure, but that's a distinction without a difference unless you can get rid of the motor traffic or elevate or depress the path.

I doubt that the motor traffic is about to disappear any time soon, even if it lessens. Elevated or depressed paths will often be hopelessly costly, especially with modern disabled-access laws. (For example, where I live, there is a busy divided avenue near a high school, where the issue of a pedestrian overpass comes up now and again, apparently because so many parents these days simply can't be bothered even to teach their kids how to cross the street. Only the idea founders because the thing would have to be incredibly big and complicated and take out a bunch of houses.) So good luck with any of that except for maybe a few isolated instances.

In the meantime, that is until Utopia arrives, best to follow toilforoil's advice just below and do a proper job of acquiring some skills. The courses can be found in many localities, but one often has to search them out.

I spent a number of years on the Board of a cycling safety organization as well as on a municipal cycling advisory group and I clearly remember that based on the evidence the safest place to cycle intermodally is on the road with the motor vehicle traffic. Mixing with pedestrians is very unhealthy.

The key is to be visible and predictable. And to have certain basic cycling skills. Courses that teach on road riding skills are available, should be more available, for novioe cyclists and advanced cyclists alike.

I cycle on roads all the time (about 4000 miles this year), including a lot of small back roads that are New-England narrow. I try to be as visible as possible, particularly after dark. I seldom feel unsafe, even cycling 30+ miles from Boston after dark to my home. Once I took the bike path along the Charles River to Boston University - never again. I felt a lot safer on the streets with the traffic and bad drivers. Plus it was shorter distance and faster.

Only where a bike path takes me exactly where I want to go - or offers a short cut - will I take it. Per mile traveled I believe that bike paths are more dangerous, especially during high-traffic periods. Traveling at 15-20mph on a bike path with pedestrians, dog walkers, baby strollers, kids on tricycles is a very bad idea and dangerous for all involved. In addition, many "bike paths" I've seen have poor and uneven paving, increasing the danger to cyclists who travel at reasonable speeds.

Now there's a growing movement in some areas with bike paths to legally FORCE cyclists off the road and onto the bike path. I will not do that: too dangerous for me and the other bike path users.

Dick Lawrence

It may help bicycle racers are national heroes there while we haven't had the like since the year 1900 or so.

Wasn't there some guy named Lance who was a bike hero in this country recently?

Ah, but Lance is old and forgotten news...

Not to mention the doping allegations.

The doping allegations?

I heard this story on NPR last night and what bothered me the most about this story was that the driver of the car was an emergency room physician. WTF?

If I were the judge I would have sentenced him to 20 years of providing free health care to the homeless.

I would prefer to cut his sentence to 5 years and then mandate he surrender his drivers' license, and cycle everywhere he needs to go. Become a cycling safety advocate. Too harsh? There's at least 5 billion people on the planet without drivers' licenses, and they never tried to kill anyone.

Dick Lawrence

I think your sentence is more appropriate than mine.

Unfortunately you have hot-heads and big-egos on both sides; and road conditions (i.e., width of shoulder, etc.) are not uniform for each road.

When I drive though Amish country in PA I can see that some motorists get annoyed with horse-drawn vehicles and do stupid things (like gun their engines when they pass the horse).

Damn I can't imagine getting ticked off enough to gun an engine at a horse. No wait I can imagine a car driver doing it.

I rode with a club for a bit, the excellent Western Wheelers, and noticed a lot more conflict with traffic and some kind of "closie" every friggin ride. I noticed also it was almost always a certain kind of car; large, older, American.

When I was doing my "utility" riding, after a couple of weeks to get back into the Zen of riding, just zero problems.

I think honestly, in a group with shiny shorts and a colorful jersey, there's a resentment, There go the elitist yuppie cyclists, or something. When utility riding, Oh, this person is going to work or coming home, or on an errand, etc. Of course then there was just generally me alone, something about cyclists in groups REALLY ticks off drivers.

When I towed a trailer traffic stayed away like it was radioactive! But if you tow one, remember your "dork flag" it's essential, otherwise the trailer can be invisible and a car cutting in behind you to turn .... crunch.

When I was doing my "utility" riding, after a couple of weeks to get back into the Zen of riding, just zero problems.

I think honestly, in a group with shiny shorts and a colorful jersey, there's a resentment, There go the elitist yuppie cyclists, or something.

I remember commuting on old 66 out of Albuquerque, the hard core sport cyclist groups really would hog the road, and seemed to deliberately block traffic. So part of it may be that 'tude' being returned in kind. And in Livermore it is the group rides that figure they don't need to stop for red lights. I always figure there may be a cop out to get me, so I try to obey the rules of the road as much as possible. (The exception is left turns on turn signal lights, the darned pressure switches often don't detect bicycles, so you could wait till hell freezes over without ever getting a green).

Years ago, biking from my apartment to school, I stayed in the traffic lanes. The left turns were the worst, but I got around it more or less legally as follows:

Right turn on red.
Pull into driveway, turn around, ride up to intersection.
Right turn on red.
Pull into driveway, turn around, ride up to intersection.
Right turn on red and off you go.

I do the same thing, hang a u-turn immediately after turning right.

If there are pedestrian crossings, walk your bike across to the other side, and then do it again for the pedestrian crossing to left street, remount, ride.
Or ride straight on the green, at the other side dismount, align left, remount and wait for the green to go straight to what was your original left.
I don't find cycling convenient really. If you want to go shopping say, you have to lock your bike somewhere and hope it won't be stolen, you have to take your panniers with you and your puncture kit, pump, etc if you don't want it to be stolen, etc. Usually you want to be in cycling clothes because of sweating on the ride etc etc.
The only cycling I'm happy doing is fairly long rides to friend's places, where I can lock the bike inside and shower and change after the ride. And those rides are only ok if the roads are back roads. Busy roads with no shoulders are common and really scary.

A cultural thing. Horse (actually mule) drawn buggies carrying tourists and bicyclists do not get harassed here like they do elsewhere. A general air of comity prevails :-)

Best Hopes for more comity.


"Tragedy tomorrow, Comity Tonight! "

-Zero Mostel 'A funny thing happened on the way to the (PO) Forum'

I think it's been well documented by now that there's a sort of tipping point where just plain numbers are helpful. Kind of like, if you're driving in Manhattan, it's futile to go ape over the presence of a pedestrian - but in the suburbs a pedestrian is seen as the source of an unjust and infuriating delay, even if a very brief one. It follows, for example and as I've said before, that in Pennsylvania, pedestrians are effectively banned outside of city cores by being forbidden to cross at almost any intersection with traffic lights (as well as being generally forbidden, as in many US localities, to cross between intersections, where it might in some cases actually be safer since there are cars coming from fewer directions.)

Has the Iraqi Parliament ratified any deal with an American oil company ?

I believe that every deal with a US company has been tabled or voted down. Deals with Chinese, French, Dutch & British oil companies have been ratified.

But I have gathered this from reading daily Drumbeats, and not an exhaustive search.

Anyone out there with the details ?

Best Hopes for December 2011 and the last US troop withdrawal,


Alan -- I tend to make note of those trades and can't recall any deal with American companies. Possibly some smaller trades that don't merit a headline. Actually I can't think of too many US companies except for Exxon that could really compete (or want to compete) in that market. For many years US companies have not been a major international player. Even one of the big US independents (Devon) announced recently they were liquidating their remaining foreign properties. They had already sold off the west Africa properties a couple of years ago. Not saying we should do otherwise but US companies haven't been able to deal on a level playing field due to US laws restricting bribery. The Chinese not only don't have such restrictions but the gov't actually funds much of these illicit efforts. Recently the Nigerian gov't started bad mouthing the Chinese efforts in Africa. I take such statements as nothing more than negotiation tactics IMHO. Difficult to envision the Nigerian gov't as suddenly becoming a great defender of human rights.

My bet - US troops will leave the Middle East like the Romans left Britain; because they're needed more at home. And not until then.

Re: The World 4 degrees Hotter?

Under its so-called "business-as-usual" forecast, voracious use of coal and other fossil fuels would see planetary warming of 4.0-to-6.4 C (7.2-to-11.5 F) by 2100 compared with 2000.

To that, add another 0.74 C of warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution.

This would spell disaster for Earth's population, 6.7 billion today, on course for nine billion in 2050.

"The carrying capacity of the planet could fall to one billion people or less," said John Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.

In September, Britain's Met Office, a leading centre on climate change, said the 4.0 degree rendezvous could come as early as 2060 -- in time for you or your children to experience it first-hand.

These articles warning people in stark terms about the coming Hell on Earth don't seem to be changing the trajectory "for nine billion (people) in 2050". But the laughable part is they always include the obligatory "smiley face" at the end:

The good news, virtually all of these experts said, is that there is still time to halt the slide if greenhouse-gas emissions peak soon enough and fall thereafter.

But the window of opportunity is narrowing rapidly.

How about we just tell the truth for once. Short of an international pandemic of biblical proportions or a massive volcanic eruption plunging the world into 100 years of darkness industrial civilizations are not going to halt the burning of fossil fuels. From what I understand as conventional oil becomes more scarce we will turn to dirtier sources of fuel.

The question needs to be: How can we adapt to this less resilient world?


You're right, I believe.

From the article:

But the window of opportunity is narrowing rapidly.

For how many decades have we been hearing that?

I think the proverbial window of opportunity is not only closed, but nailed shut.

There's never a single window. This binary simplification - you either make the window or you miss it entirely - needs to be tossed. At every moment there are multiple choices, on multiple levels, and we need as many of those choices to be well made as possible. The first trick is to even see the choices. Framing it all as constituting a single "window" is a sure way to miss seeing most of them. This framing is so bad as to be nearly suicidal in itself, as it leads to a discounting if not outright blindness to all decisions which fall outside the frame. Yet many of those decisions are vital parts of the aggregate. After all, this whole problem came from not seeing how it can be that many, many small actions, each nearly innocent in itself, can add up to massive danger. Similarly in solving (or at least buffering) it, many, many small actions, each of nearly trivial virtue in itself, can add up to a massive course of virtue.

It's the same friggin' blindness to the way out if it that we've shown on the way in.

Nice sentiment and all, but abstract to the point of meaninglessness, I'm afraid.

You're attacking a METAPHOR.

Framing it all as constituting a single "window" is a sure way to miss seeing most of them.

The confusion and lack of clarity in pronouns fairly announces there's no there there.

You're attacking a METAPHOR.

Well, I'm more sympathetic to his argument. Most of these things are choosing a result from a continuum of paths. Absent a tipping point -in which case the window analogy is right on, then coming around later is better than never. The framing is used in the hopes of spurring urgency. But it has the danger of causing people to give up if they don't see hitting the window as possible.

I disagree.

"Framing it all as constituting a single "window" is a sure way to miss seeing most of them."

is equal to

"Framing the time frame as constituting a single "window" is a sure way to miss seeing most of the possible soultions."


Answer: We can't.

The plague of delusional hope is everywhere.

Thanks for the link

That particular post is nicely done

Choosing extinction is the default option, which humans are embracing with gusto.

Very funny if it weren't so true and sad

Did you ever stop to think that GW might be the most ethical way to reduce human population?

I think nuking is much more humane than letting people die because of hunger and thirst.

Joemichaels, it seems like the more information that is catalogued regarding global warming or climate change - whichever you prefer, and peaking oil production, the more there is a denial response. There are so many articles above that seem to be reacting to GW and peak oil by trying to prove the opposite with anecdotal information. Tid-bits like Hanifa will increase Saudi oil output, so the conclusion should be oil will continue far into the future and probably remain cheap from now on.

Global warming is a problem, but let's get the economy going strong again before we embark on any serious action that might reduce GDP. And while we're at this game of denial, I think we all understand that the window of (opportunity) can be gawked out of to look at huge future temperature increases, without concern for the present. For now we can just burn FF until things are business as usual again. Oh joy to you all in this Holiday season.

Need some coal for the ol' fireplace?

When people are confronted with images or words or questions that remind them of death they respond by shoring up their worldview, rejecting people and ideas that threaten it and increasing their striving for self-esteem.... A recent paper by the biologist Janis L Dickinson, published in the journal Ecology and Society, proposes that constant news and discussion about global warming makes it difficult for people to repress thoughts of death, and that they might respond to the terrifying prospect of climate breakdown in ways that strengthen their character armour but diminish our chances of survival.

- Monbiot

To paraphrase Monbiot's last sentence of that article: What the hell do we do about that? Say GW is just a minor problem but one that we have to turn the whole world's industrial economy upside down to deal with?

Actually, the big scary disconnect about GW and FF consumption - that doesn't get much commentary here, let alone in the mainstream media - is this: to be on the trajectory of FF reduction we're told (IPCC etc.) we should be on, with 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050, global production of CO2 should PEAK within 10 or 15 years and decline thereafter.

That's not just oil, but ALL CARBON CONSUMPTION including (especially!) coal.

This is so dramatically different from even the most extreme EIA or IEA energy-consumption scenarios it's like they're from different planets. And remember, the path to getting there is supposed to be a cap-and-trade policy, or a carbon tax, that prices energy so costly that people are more or less FORCED to become dramatically more efficient, or basically price them out of the market for energy. Can you imagine the public reaction to any Congress that mandated such measures? There would be a revolt and the rascals will get thrown out of office!

Watch Copenhagen and see this in action.

Dick Lawrence

Which is why global peak oil denial is the best possible outcome. My refusing to begin mitigating and transitioning away from oil, the global economy is facing at least 20 years of contraction as oil shortages cannot be offset by ramping up production of coal and other carbon heavy alternatives. The infrastructure is not in place. This global economic contraction will result in demand for all fossil fuels to fall, including coal. This has already been seen in 2008/9.

Financial and economic collapse in advance of massive AGW is the best possible outcome.

PO by itself will in no way slow down the burning of coal and will likely accelerate it. One of the first industrial uses of oil was to assist in coal mining, and it is likely to be one of its last.

We have to decarbonize the energy system fast, and we're not going to get there by playing intricate greed games like cap and trade. In spite of what most economists will tell you, institutionalized greed (or any other sort) will not save us.

DL, yes, reality is indeed an SOB.

Pretty much absolutely no one of any consequence is going to face up to the fact that we have to stop mining any more coal---quite a few yesterdays ago.

We are just so very f'd in so many ways it is difficult to know where to even begin.

Copenhagen, at this point is a cruel farce.

The world will continue to play its system of greed games that caused the whole f'n catastrophe in the first place, and we will all just spin down the cosmic toilet bowl.

Sorry, not feeling very chipper on the eve of the Cop-out meetings, meetings my own brother will expend precious ff and expel toxic CO2 to go participate in, almost completely certainly to no avail.

What a sad, sad lot we all are. For all our eloquence and perspicacity, we have essentially zero sway in our collective futures.

I wish every single person the best that they can imagine, but I fear every single person living beyond five to ten years from now will experience horrors we can not even conceive of.

Best to all,

No, still both. There should be some fairly significant differences in survivability between, say, 3 and 6C.


Sorry if I missed an explanation and I know it's not typical drum material, but...

What happened to Toto? Whether he likes it or not, he's part of my post-peak community :)


He clicked his paws together and barked "there's no place like home".

Well that's to bad; I enjoyed his posts. I wish him well.

Where IS Toto? Last I heard he was losing everything, is he homeless now? Anyone in the Phoenix area feel like checking up on him?

Edit - I looked on here and he's been known alive as late at May of 2009, "alive" as in, still healthy (safe/warm/dry/fed) enough to post on here.

If anyone has a way to check up on him, this would be good. I imagine him in some homeless shelter having his shoes stolen while he sleeps, I wish I had the money to get him a bus ticket out here, but I don't. But if he can hitch hike out, I know of two houses in this area right off that he can squat in if he's stealthy. And apparently the food banks out here in my immediate area still have food. Lots of wild foods too.

It's been no more than a month or so since he's posted, but that's still a long time for Toto.

Are you sure you're thinking of the same person? They're asking about Bob Shaw, who posts under the name Totoneila. He last posted here last month. His issue wasn't the price of a bus ticket. It was that his aging mother lived in Phoenix, and he wanted to be near her.

But I believe he said that she passed in the last year sometime.

Been hoping he'd find his way out of that place.. and maybe look up my Father in Law, and drag him out of there, too.

I hadn't heard that. If so, maybe he's headed for Cascadia, as he said he would when he was no longer tied to his "Asphalt Wonderland."

Dammit no one is supposed to use their real name in Fight Club....

OK ok it's Bob Shaw, sigh you just had to strip away all the mystery.....

I hope if he has no more ties to the place he was able to escape, Cascadia is a good choice. I'm at the southern tip of it myself, south end of the SF Bay Area here.

He uses his real name here. Signs it to the bottom of his posts.

Venezuela Bolivar Plunges 9% as Chavez Threatens Bank Seizures

(Bloomberg) -- Venezuela’s bolivar sank to a two- month low a day after President Hugo Chavez threatened to seize more banks following the government’s takeover of four lenders.

Article from WSJ (via Dow Jones):

Venezuela Debt Holders Rush For Exits As Banks Woes Surface

Worries are growing fast that Venezuela may be facing a liquidity crisis in its banking sector, sparking runs by depositors in some of the smaller, ostensibly less sound banks.

Instead of vowing that the state stands ready to inject liquidity into wobbly banks or otherwise provide them financing, as governments have in many other countries hit by the global financial crisis, Chavez Wednesday threatened to nationalize Venezuela's entire financial system, were there a full-blown banking crisis.

Venezuelans weren't reassured.

When I did research for the Dubai article, I was surprised no one mentioned Venezuela. They were having trouble paying oil contractor a while back. They can't be in very good shape.

They seemed to be doing better for awhile. With the price of oil going back up, they paid up their bills, or seemed on track to do so.

Chavez is blaming lack of rain for the current problems, though that's not the only reason they're hurting now.

Thanks for the link up top from CNNmoney: why cheap oil is here to stay.

Articles like that are very dangerous. People scan them and think, move along nothing to see here. While anyone with a reading level above say 4th grade can easily call foul.

For the record that stone age didn't end...yada yada makes my blood boil. Such a poor excuse of reasoning. And where exactly is the electricity supposed to come from for these millions and millions of newly minted Chinese magic cars?

If it was nearer to April I would have sworn that to be an April Fool's gag.


There have been numerous analyses that oil prices will "stay low". This CNN story is the "Peak Demand" spin. But I have read others dating back all through to earlier this year about how "fundamentals" don't justify the oil price above this or that level. Because of (pick one, or any combination you like): floating storage, collapsing demand, credit problems, contango, "peak demand", etc. Some of this analysis is from Peak Oilers.

I haven't believed any of these analyses. I have been long crude oil since the late winter low. I don't know exactly what to attribute this belief in low oil prices. Perhaps it's "whistling past the graveyard", or the first stage of the Kubler-Ross cycle; denial. Sometimes I get really paranoid and start thinking that some powerful interest somewhere is trying to frighten small investors out of their long positions, but I hate conspiracy theories too much to entertain that one for very long.

I think the Goldman Sachs and Barclays analysts have nailed it pretty close with their estimate that we may very well see $85 to $90 either by the end of this year or at some point fairly early during the first half of 2010. That's my own personal "sell" target.

I thought that was what GS and Barclays was predicted as well - $90 target in the next few months. But the article said the all-knowing Deutsche "bank analyst" quoted a $65 average for 2010 as opposed to the $80 average right now (not sure what the average per barrel cost is right now, but my guess is it's not $80 for the 2009).

My point with the comment was the horrible logic used and the "reporting" in general. CNN should be ashamed.

I don't think that CNN knows the meaning of shame.

Regarding Deutsche Bank, aren't they the ones currently trying to dig themselves out of a $750 billion flooded hole in the ground in Las Vegas?

And where exactly is the electricity supposed to come from for these millions and millions of newly minted Chinese magic cars?

One of my contacts in The People's Republic sent me this highly confidential engineering drawing.
If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I wouldn't believe how sophisticated their technology has become.

Magic Motor



Best Hopes for electric assist bicycles,


Maybe they can mount little wind generators to the car roofs! Or they can use all those wind generators they built in the desert that have no grid to connect to. Park beneath one and microwaves will charge your batteries.

I tried to figure out where this author (Hargraves) is coming from.

So far, I've uncovered this:


Not exactly clear

It looks like he may be a fan of increased natural gas production:

RE:Low-carbon future: We can afford to go green : from NEW scientist magazine.

I don't think I've read so much insubstantiated bull in a long time. Let me save you the trouble of clicking the link people. It goes something like this:

"Don't worry people about adressing the cost of global warming or energy depletion; we ran a computer model and it says everthing will still be cheap"

Quite how this crap made it into New scientist, a magazine of quite normaly good repute, I haven't got a clue.

This is why when it comes to policy making the scientists will be about as much use a fork for soup.


New Scientist is a funny magazine. One week they have cover stories about hypersonic ramjet aircraft for ferrying the financial elite (because at the time of publication, launching such a vehicle would cost about 200 grand a seat) from New York to Tokyo or wherever in 2 hours, next week they're running a peak oil special, next week it's electric cars, next week it's Lovelock, next week it's a car that can go 1000 mph, next week....

I can appreciate their balance because they do (occasionally) run articles about the resource/energy/biosphere situation but most of the time it's technofantasy crap. You have to give them credit for running the gamut from "humans are likely to go extinct in a few centuries at most" to "FLYING CARS FOR EVERYONE!!!!1"

I think you've hit the nail on the head! Schizophrenic magazine.

Everybody shoud read Twains short story "How I edited an Agricultural Newspaper" fr a laugh and a little in sight into magazine editors survival strategies.

It's free online and absolutely hilarious.

Retail sales drop surprisingly in November

NEW YORK - The nation's retailers posted a surprise sales decline for November after two consecutive months of gains, as a modestly positive start to holiday shopping wasn't strong enough to offset weak spending the rest of the month.

The 0.3 percent decrease, according to one measure, is especially worrisome because it comes on top of a freefall last November as spooked shoppers went into a defensive crouch after the financial meltdown. Analyst had expected a strong gain.

Usual pattern: news stories on the night of and morning after "Black Friday" crowing about what a great day it was for the stores, huge crowds, etc.; then, the following week, stories start coming out that maybe things weren't so good for retailers after all; then, a few weeks later, the admission that the season has been an absolute catastrophe.

I've gotten to the point that I just mentally revise downward any initial optimistic report that I hear.

I am with you ("...I just mentally revise downward..."). Another thing to consider is that perhaps many shoppers went out and spent most of what they were going to spend during the four-day Thanksgiving holiday (plus perhaps online Monday). And that is it. Sounds like many held off during the rest of November (maybe saving some money) and waited for the big month-end discounts--hence the lower retail sales for the earlier part of the month.


My own income has plummeted. It's becoming counterproductive to go to Santa Cruz when I barely make more than expenses. It's a literal factor of 10, a good summer month was $800, this month may be $80.

So the retailers are getting less from me!

From the linked article:-

"Another exception was Limited Brands Inc., which runs Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works. It reported a solid sales gain instead of the sales decrease that Wall Street projected. "

I guess folks are spending more time at home...does this have an effect on population growth ?

I feel the need for some humor at this point...

Afternoon Dec 3, 2009: continuing one of the most astonishing price collapses in the history of the industry, natural gas goes to new 52 week lows. The UNG naural gas ETF as of 2:20PM:


Announced today, there is more natural gas in storage at this time of year than any time in the last decade.

Astounding. As this price collapse moves through all industries using natural gas, agriculture, business and home heating and the electric utility industry, it will free up billions of dollars, acting as a stimulant to the economy.

If, and this is a big IF, the crude oil price were to move downward rapidly, the economy may recover much faster than many people expect. In fact we could run the risk of overheating and rebuilding speculative bubbles very fast as money flees the energy sector looking for returns.

On a more personal note, I have now achieved positive net worth in the last 2 monthes for the first time since I was 24 years old...financially it has been a very good year!


I found this snippet from the EIA weekly update interesting (bolding added by me):

The latest net injection was the fourth net injection for the month of November, marking the first time a net injection occurred for each week of November since 2001. Working gas stocks established new record levels in the West and Producing regions, as well as on a national level for the seventh consecutive week. Working gas inventories in the East posted the second net withdrawal of the heating season at 7 Bcf, which followed last week’s net withdrawal of 2 Bcf. Following the latest net injection, working gas stocks in the lower 48 States continue to approach the estimated peak capacity of 3,889 Bcf. As of the latest report, working gas stocks were at 99 percent of the estimated peak capacity

I just hope I can sell something and fill my 1000 gal propane tank while its CHEAP. Anybody want a bass boat?

24 States Borrow Money To Pay Unemployment Benefits

North Carolina's high unemployment rate has stuck the state with $1.4 billion in debt - money that officials don't know how they'll pay back.

It gets worse. The debt is still rising. The problem is that with about 500,000 people out of work, the state has more unemployment claims than it can pay. So it has been borrowing from the federal government since February, sometimes as much as $20 million a day.

Mish thinks huge tax increases are headed our way.

And that unemployment will remain high for a decade.

Rod Dreher, one of the very few journalists who is peak oil aware and willing to write about it, recently announced that he is leaving the Dallas Morning News. I wonder if this contributed to his decision:

At The Dallas News, a New "Bold Strategy": Section Editors Reporting to Sales Managers

After the jump, you will find a memo Dallas Morning News editor Bob Mong and senior vice president of sales Cyndy Carr sent to everyone at A.H. Belo Corp. Wednesday afternoon outlining what they call a "business/news integration." Which means? As of yesterday, some section editors at all of the company's papers, including The News, will now report directly to Carr's team of sales managers, now referred to as general managers. In short, those who sell ads for A.H. Belo's products will now dictate content within A.H. Belo's products, which is a radical departure from the way newspapers have been run since, oh, forever.

This is an excellent history and assessment of the banking system and crisis.


Oops, missing some of the parts.

Thanks! I listened to the first part, and thought it was very good.

Reading Crude Oil Buyers Risk ‘Bull Trap’ Near $80: Technical Analysis put an odd image in my mind...

I flashed on the oil traders standing at the tee of hole 6, "The Castle" at a mini-golf course. As each putted, they argued about when and why, and how high the drawbridge would rise, yet none could be bothered to peek in the tower window to see the motor and simple linkage.

From the December Vitamin D Council newsletter:


Professor Bruce Hollis presented findings from his and Carol Wagner’s five million dollar Thrasher Research Fund and NIH sponsored randomized controlled trials of about 500 pregnant women. Bruce and Carol’s discoveries are vital for every pregnant woman. Their studies had three arms: 400, 2,000, and 4,000 IU/day.

1. 4,000 IU/day during pregnancy was safe (not a single adverse event) but only resulted in a mean Vitamin D blood level of 27 ng/ml in the newborn infants, indicating to me that 4,000 IU per day during pregnancy is not enough.

2. During pregnancy, 25(OH)D (Vitamin D) levels had a direct influence on activated Vitamin D levels in the mother’s blood, with a minimum Vitamin D level of 40 ng/ml needed for mothers to obtain maximum activated vitamin D levels. (As most pregnant women have Vitamin D levels less than 40 ng/ml, this implies most pregnant women suffer from chronic substrate starvation and cannot make as much activated Vitamin D as their placenta wants to make.)

3. Complications of pregnancy, such as preterm labor, preterm birth, and infection were lowest in women taking 4,000 IU/day, Women taking 2,000 IU per day had more infections than women taking 4,000 IU/day. Women taking 400 IU/day, as exists in prenatal vitamins, had double the pregnancy complications of the women taking 4,000 IU/day.

. . . Dr. Tami Bair and Dr. Heidi May, of the Intermountain Medical Center in Utah, report yet another study showing that your risk of heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure and death are dramatically increased by Vitamin D deficiency. In a presentation at the American heart Association meeting, they found that people with low levels (< 15 ng/ml) had a 45% increased risk for cardiovascular disease, 78% greater risk of stroke and double the risk for congestive heart failure, not to mention a 77% increased risk of death, compared to people with Vitamin D levels > 30 ng/ml. All that disease and death occurred in only 13 months of follow up for the 27,000 people in the study.

I found the Vitamin D Theory of Autism very interesting. They still see a connection with mercury exposure. With low Vitamin D, babies are more susceptible to mercury poisoning, because they doe not excrete it as well as those with higher Vitamin D levels.

Short Vitamin D Council video clip on Vitamin D & Pregnancy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUpVD6RbQ5k

One of the interesting observations is that the rate of autism on the overcast side of Oregon is about twice as high as on the sunny side of Oregon.

There is an ongoing study involving pregnant women who have had at least one prior autistic child. The pregnant women are being given 5,000 IU of D3 during gestation and 7,000 IU during lactation.

Very interesting (44 minutes, with Q&A) presentation by Dr. Robert Heaney: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emjCzaHtSrg&NR=1

Dr. Heaney was part of the committee in 1997 that set the safe upper limit of D3 at 2,000 IU per day, and he apologized (for the low number). In their defense, he said that 97% of what we know about Vitamin D has been learned since 1997. He said that there is no evidence for toxicity with sustained daily inputs of D3 up to 30,000 IU per day. His summary begins around the 30 minute mark. He, along with several other researchers, puts the safe upper limit at 10,000 IU per day. Maintenance dosages, from all sources, should be on the order of 4,000 IU per day, but there is a huge variation in how people respond to D3 intake.

My husband and I have an adult autistic son who lives with us. I was working at an insurance company during my pregnancy, so got outside very little during the daytime.

The rise in autism corresponded to a rise in a lot of things--women working outside the home, often in offices; electric or gas dryers for clothes, instead of hanging clothes on the line to dry; sending children to day care rather than having kids play outside at home, while the mother was at home. All of these things no doubt contributed to lower vitamin D in the mothers and kids.

The autism article mentions that the impact of vitamin D deficiency seems to be to make kids more sensitive to mercury poisoning, because they don't secrete it as well. Mercury poisoning has been on the rise for two reasons. One is coal fired power plants. For example, see < href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080424120953.htm">Autism Risk Linked To Distance From Power Plants, Other Mercury-Releasing Sources. The other reason is the requirement for more and more immunizations of tiny babies. Most of these immunizations include thimerisol, a preservative containing mercury. Compared to the baby's weight, the amount of mercury is quite high--and the reason why parent groups have been quite concerned.

Have you read anything on research regarding large dosages of D3 for autistic adults & children?

Incidentally, I know someone who was diagnosed with breast cancer after studying intensively for an licensing exam (and staying out of the sun). She is doing fine now (and taking lots of D3).

Bullard said the Fed generally would not like to start tightening monetary policy until the unemployment rate starts down.

Everyone reads into statistics what she wants. Unemployment creates lowered demand as wages suffer; lowered demand drops demand for oil; oil prices remain level until supply decreases sufficiently to cause another spike, setting up the next step down.

Meanwhile, CNN says that oil will be cheap forever, and never run out. Why? Well, you see, demand will keep dropping and we will find new ways to produce energy until we no longer need oil any more. Which is what PO people are saying will happen when we run out of cheap oil.

This is the way to spin peak oil! Supplies are not running out, demand is! Just because prices don't drop, well, oil companies need to stay in business, I guess, so they will just have to maintain present prices, or maybe raise them if there is some 'inflation.'

To me it is just another way of saying that industrial production is going to drop. This happens because of peak oil, but it sounds better if you say that the drop in demand is the cause instead of the slide down Hubbert's Peak. The process will take a while [thank you Mr. Greer, for your analyses], but I suppose that money people don't want to unduly alarm their readers. So, thank you CNN for finding the proper spin.

Funny. CNN (Campbell Brown) just had Thomas Freidman on, discussing and rebutting the effects of the e-mail thing. He dumbed the GW thing down nicely, probably to some good effect. He also addressed the idea of socializing private debt, as in the Wall St. bailouts. I just wished he'd finished by saying " the bottom line, Campbell, is we're probably all screwed".

I think that the media and economists are missing a huge factor. Namely that since our transportation system is almost completely dependent on hydrocarbons, that any drop in the supply of fuel will lead to a drop in the velocity of money. I currently live next to the busiest rail corridor in the world and have recently noticed that railroads have dropped there average speed to about 50 miles per hour. If goods are taking longer to get to there destination, the velocity of money has to decrease as well, since people can only purchase goods, once they have arrived. Lower velocity of vehicles and resultant lower money velocity, will result in lower prices and lower demand in general. We may not see a future oil price spike since the velocity of money is proportional to the velocity of the general economy which should be roughly synchronized with the total amount of petroleum available for consumption.

Velocity of money is what Uncle Milton left out of the equation, and when Ronnie and the St Louis Fed put in his policies, this puppy went into the ditch.
Secrets of the Temple gives a blow by blow description of the history and delusion of Friedman economics during this event.

Economist live by the equation of of monetary exchange


M is the total dollars in the nation’s money supply
V is the number of times per year each dollar is spent
P is the average price of all the goods and services sold during the year
Q is the quantity of assets, goods and services sold during the year

but what if V gets locked into a situation where a higher M results in a proportionally lower V such as the situation with peak oil. Post-peak, a higher M might result in higher and higher oil prices pushing V lower and lower. In engineering parlance this would be destructive feedback loop.

If the proportion is high enough, the long term result might be a collapsing P and Q as well as a diminishing economy in general.

You would actually have a mix of inflation and deflation, or stagflation such as occurred in the last oil shock.

I have a theory that this is what happened in the Great Depression except that the world was dealing with dropping coal production levels ever since 1927.

The economists are convinced that the increase in Money supply brought on by WWII, is what brought us out of the Great Depression, but what if it was really the conversion of the transportation system from coal to oil, that actually brought the world out of the depression by increasing money velocity. Our "lessons" from the Great Depression could be sowing the seeds of our future destruction.

Literal velocity of goods influencing velocity of money directly ..... how simple!

And there was a lot of movement during WWII, the country became like a disturbed anthill.

Not a bad idea. However I think its simpler in a sense. I.e Austrian theory.
Credit expansion caused the productive capacity to increase and as the credit bubble collapsed the productive capacity was far higher than needed for a society paying for goods and services using current earning.

WWII both dramatically increased productive capacity in the US and also destroyed and enormous and probably greater productive capacity throughout the world esp Japan and Europe and China. After WWII loans helped our new allies buy American goods to rebuild.

Despite this we did have a deep recession following the end of the war.

Now at this point is where I think your argument has a lot of merit as post WWII the world was clearly fueled by oil not coal.

So I think it chains easily into this lucky almost financial situation.

As a counter example you can look at the aftermath of WWI where little industrial capacity was destroyed and in fact was of course increased for the war.


Indeed the economic bubble that preceded the depression was for all intents in purposes created to get us out of the string of recessions following WWI.

And of course in WWII we made sure to bomb the hell out of our enemies factories and cities I'm sure our experience following WWI did not influence this decision.

I think its important to look at the period preceeding WWI say from about 1880 through 1940 and the post war years lots of good info in events before the depression that are often lost.

The seeds of our eventual downfall where actually laid then.


esp following WWI the Federal Reserve in my opinion blew the credit/asset bubble that lead to the first depression.

The Oil age that you mention simply obscured or hid the true nature of their policy for decades with only the occasional recession to cause problems.


M is the total dollars in the nation’s money supply
V is the number of times per year each dollar is spent
P is the average price of all the goods and services sold during the year
Q is the quantity of assets, goods and services sold during the year

The equation itself kind of makes sense.
However, the framed definitions of the variables may be what misleads us.

What if we instead said:

where Q is the total quantity of (real and imagined) assets, goods and services (and bads and disservices) sold during the year

Would that give us a better understanding about our well being (our wealth)?

The fact that money (M) is circulating at a given speed (V) does not assure us that we are getting "goods" instead of "bads".

A lot of money (M) was circulating lately to buy unsecured credit default swaps. Was that the "goods" or the "bads"?

Probably if Web Hubble Telescope (WHT) got into this discussion he would change the equation to read:

MV= Intergal(Pi * Qi_good dt) + Intergal(Pj * Qj_bad dt) where Pi is the actual price per quantity of related goods or services and the integral is taken over t=0 to t=365.25 days

These equilibrium arguments appear to fail.


M is the total dollars in the nation’s money supply
V is the number of times per year each dollar is spent
P is the average price of all the goods and services sold
Q is the quantity of assets, goods and services sold

Although it is correct more or less by definition, the trouble with this equation is that it is an identity with four variables, and within those parameters, almost anything can happen.

For instance, during the Depression, M went down because the stock market collapsed, V went down because people started hiding money in their mattresses, P went down because desperate businessmen started selling at a loss, and Q went down because everything else went down. At the end of it all, everybody was much less well off than before.

In contrast, during WWII the government boosted Q because it wanted more tanks, planes, bombs and bullets, it froze P because it didn't want to pay more for them, M went up because it created more money to pay for it all, and V went up because everybody had more money to spend. At the end of it all everybody was better off except the Germans and Japanese who were on the receiving end of all those bullets and bombs.

Unfortunately, you can't generalize from these experiences because you still have one equation with four variables. If you change one of them, you never know what will happen with the other three. Vietnam was an example for the advanced student to analyze. The meltdown in 2008 was another.

Economists throw around these "assumptions" which have been "known" for a long time. Any other discipline would conduct rigorous research exploring the correlations between variables and come up with sound principles and laws. However, very little research has ever been conducted exploring the relationship between macroeconomics and available resources.

Science is the process of coming up with theories and either proving or disproving them in a logical manner. In medicine, we call this evidence based decision making. Economists make observations which seem to be popular and expect everyone to believe their theories as fact with minimal actual science to back them up.

It is time for economics to become a science rather than an "art"

Actually, back in university I thought it was extremely funny that they considered economics to be an "art", because I took most of my mandatory "art" courses in economics. I was more of a hard science kind of guy, so the touchy-feely kind of "art" courses didn't appeal to me.

I somewhat messed it up for the instructors because I tended to use advanced calculus and partial differential equations to answer questions, which produced a "Huh?" kind of response, their math skills not being that good.

Today, economics is much better defined than it was back then, and any country that wants to run a high-performance economic system just has to hire the top experts in the field and follow their advice. It's worked well for a number of countries - those ones that have the double-digit growth rates.

However, many people still don't realize that if you can't do integral calculus and partial differential equations, or don't have a basic understanding of chaos theory, then you don't understand economics.

Economist live by the equation of of monetary exchange
I'm not a monetarist, and find it a crazy way to control an economy. This is a system that essentially protects the creditor class, at the expense of everything else,

Just got finished watching a documentary called: What a way to go: Life at the end of Empire. 2 hrs. Available through Netflix.

Covers many topics including peak oil and global warming, but goes deeper to explain how we got here and the inherent misguided pursuit of a society (empire) that has sought to control and dominate the planet. Also looks at how society is sick in its disconnect between people, yet sees a future that will need to change to a new paradigm, through collapse or by whatever means it may occur. Does a good job of interviewing numerous authors and inter-splicing images from the 50's. I highly recommend it.

It's been out for quite some time. I found it kind of nebulous and repetitive, but good. A good recommendation for your more emotionally motivated family and friends.