Drumbeat: December 7, 2009

IEA forecasts stir debate

But the most important question regarding the oil forecast is the alarming view of the IEA that the majority of oil production in 2030 will be coming from "fields yet to be developed or found".

The IEA goes on to say "sustained investment is needed mainly to combat the decline in output at existing fields, which will drop by almost two-thirds by 2030".

A few years ago and even when forecasts were very much higher, the IEA was always assured of the availability of resources without such lost and found statements.

This has led some commentators to call this "capitulation to peak oil" and the Guardian on November 9 quoted an unidentified employee of the IEA as saying the world is "closer to running out of oil".

However, the IEA does not want to admit this in case it causes panic buying and a severe impact on oil prices and financial markets.

Iraq oil claims may be too high

Some international oil companies have overstated how high they can take Iraq's crude oil production, a senior government adviser said today, ahead of a second round of oilfield development tenders this week.

Thamir Ghadhban, adviser to Iraq's prime minister and a former oil minister, told an industry conference that he believed 6 million barrels per day (bpd) was a realistic target for Iraq's oil output within the next six to seven years.

This is well below the estimates of 10 or even 12 million bpd that have been mentioned as a result of plateau production targets proposed by some foreign oil companies as they bid for Iraqi oilfield contracts.

The Peak Oil Report Buried in the Financial Crisis

It's easy to forget things.

In this particular case, the "thing" is an oil report overshadowed by the economic crisis. Had everything not hit the fan last year, I believe more people would have taken notice.

After all, it took $150/bbl oil prices and $4-5/gallon gasoline to get people's attention. Unfortunately, their memories were wiped as soon as pump prices came back down and oil prices crashed to $30 per barrel.

However, a November report released last year by the International Energy Agency was grossly overlooked. The report painted a sobering picture for us... and it wasn't just a generalized warning that we need to get our act together.

Peak oil and peak gold: No comparison

It’s difficult to see the logic. In fact, the implied parallel between peak oil and peak gold seems deliberately misleading. We use up oil. We don’t use up gold.

...If we are truly nearing peak gold, we don’t have to fear a world without gold. We just have to prepare for a world that will have exactly as much gold as it does now.

Sure, having no new supply of gold may eventually make the metal more valuable. But given that the overwhelming most common use for the metal is for jewelry, I suspect the world would find substitutes if gold became too expensive.

U.S. government oks Shell's Chukchi Sea drilling plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Interior Department on Monday approved, with conditions, Shell Oil's plan to drill three exploratory wells in Alaska's Chukchi Sea.

Shell, the U.S. unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, paid $2.1 billion in 2008 for leases in the Chukchi Sea when the Bush administration opened up 30 million acres (12 million hectares) in the unexplored area for drilling, in a bid to reduce U.S. dependence on oil imports.

But the oil major had been held up by environmentalists and North Slope residents.

Valero's Texas City boiler had history of problems

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A giant industrial boiler that exploded late Friday, killing a worker at Valero Energy Corp's (VLO.N) Texas City, Texas, refinery had a history of problems since it was installed in 2006, said an attorney for a worker injured in the blast.

"It just blew up," said Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents injured Valero employee Michael Gibb, in an interview with Reuters on Monday. "They've been having fits and starts with this thing for many months."

Electricity networks frustrated at Ofgem proposals

Companies in charge of transferring electricity from the national grid to homes and businesses have warned they will reassess their commitment to the industry following new proposals from Ofgem.

James Hansen: Cap and Fade

Because cap and trade is enforced through the selling and trading of permits, it actually perpetuates the pollution it is supposed to eliminate. If every polluter’s emissions fell below the incrementally lowered cap, then the price of pollution credits would collapse and the economic rationale to keep reducing pollution would disappear.

Energy Department tightens reins on Ill. stimulus money

WASHINGTON — The Energy Department has agreed to increase oversight of a $5 billion weatherization program after department investigators found that Illinois failed to properly monitor the $242 million in economic stimulus money it received to pay for energy efficiency upgrades to low-income homes.

In one case, an inspector for a local agency in Illinois overlooked a potentially catastrophic gas leak in a new furnace installed with stimulus weatherization money, according to a "management alert" issued Monday by the department's Office of Inspector General.

EPA: Greenhouse gases are harmful to humans

WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency took a major step Monday toward regulating greenhouses gases, concluding that climate changing pollution threatens the public health and the environment.

The announcement came as the Obama administration looked to boost its arguments at an international climate conference that the United States is aggressively taking actions to combat global warming, even though Congress has yet to act on climate legislation. The conference opened Monday in Copenhagen.

The EPA said that the scientific evidence surrounding climate change clearly shows that greenhouse gases "threaten the public health and welfare of the American people" and that the pollutants — mainly carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels — should be regulated under the Clean Air Act.

Baker Hughes: US Land Rig Count Up 63 to 1,107 for Nov.

Baker Hughes reported that the international rig count for November 2009 was 1,025, up 42 from the 983 counted in October 2009, and down 71 from the 1,096 counted in November 2008. The international offshore rig count for November 2009 was 284, up 17 from the 267 counted in October 2009 and down 13 from the 297 counted in November 2008.

‘Global race for oil & gas assets is intense’

Iran is strategically important for us, as in a world worried over the progressive depletion of hydrocarbon reserves it is the second largest oil-reserve-holding country after Russia with estimated reserves of 800 trillion cubic feet (tcf). In fact, the projects at Rostam and Raksh oil fields in Iran were among our early initiatives immediately after the company was formed out of the erstwhile Hydrocarbon India Pvt. Ltd in 1989. We already have an exploration block in Persian Gulf—the Farsi offshore block—which we had won in December 2002 through auction.

We had faced some problems in carrying out the drilling there due to the US sanctions on Iran. But we managed to move our own rigs from here in India and have since successfully completed drilling in four wells. The estimated gas reserves of the block, as approved by the Iranian authorities, are of the order of 12.5 tcf. To put that in perspective, our domestic KG basin gas reserves are currently estimated at around 10 tcf.

Rebel attacks swell Nigeria-to-Ghana pipeline cost

ACCRA (Reuters) - Rebel attacks in Nigeria's restive Niger Delta have boosted the cost of a natural gas pipeline to Ghana in which U.S. oil major Chevron (CVX.N) is a large stakeholder, a project official said Monday.

"We have suffered delays due to many factors including damage to the pipeline as a result of the unrest in Niger Delta region," Jack Derickson, managing director of the West African Gas Pipeline Company told reporters.

Mexico cuts Pemex's budget for Chicontepec work

The Mexican government has slashed the allocation to state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) for Chicontepec oil development in 2010 by more than 60% from this year's level, according to local media.

Crude Oil Consolidating Before the Next Big Move Higher

When it comes down to it, I’d rather not wrestle a vampire squid at all. I’d rather be the guy sitting on the dock drinking a beer, cheering on some other poor sap who is splashing around and wrestling the squid: “Dude, you’ve totally got him! Keep at it! You’re doing great!” But sometimes you get to sit on the dock, and sometimes it’s your fate to wrestle the squid.

GM plugs $336 million into Volt production

DETROIT (Reuters) -- General Motors Co. will invest $336 million in a Detroit-area plant to produce its heavily anticipated Chevrolet Volt electric car beginning next year, the No. 1 U.S. automaker said Monday.

Assembly of Volt prototype vehicles will begin in the spring at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, with the regular production scheduled for late 2010, GM said.

New Buses Bring Silence to the Streets

Silence, that rare commodity on the city streets, is achieved by throwing out the most basic element of automobile design: internal combustion. Instead of a noisy, piston-based engine, the DesignLine operates on a spinning turbine that recharges a lithium-ion battery, a green energy source more commonly found inside laptop computers. That means fewer moving parts, and fewer ways to create a racket.

Building Resilience

The current economic downturn is the worst in decades. Millions are suffering devastating losses – vanishing jobs, foreclosed homes, and soaring food and health costs. Meanwhile, climate instability, species extinction, resource scarcity, and toxic pollution are threatening the basic life-support systems of the planet. And let’s be honest: All of these are traceable to the grow-at-all-costs economy. We’re finally running up against – if not far surpassing – the limits of our planet.

And yet, the primary ecological challenges of our time remain largely off people’s radar, due partly to corporate dominance over our media, culture, and government. But we environmentalists also share in the blame. All too often, we’ve focused on endangered species and ecosystems, and failed to connect their protection to the well-being of people or communities. In a world with fewer resources to go around, the future of environmentalism may hinge on making it synonymous with building sustainable communities that can meet everyone’s basic needs.

America The Immaculate

Obama is continuing a policy that the Pentagon has given name to: Full Spectrum Dominance. That’s everything! Land, sea, air, space, biological, cyber. That’s the way we maintain the disparity between what “we” have, and what “they” have.

From the middle of the last century, when we began coveting Middle East oil, control of energy resources became a vital part of our economic and political strategy. And this was when supply seemed inexhaustible, long before the bleak “peak oil” scenario appeared!

Controlling the world’s energy resources is key to maintaining this position of dominance, that and a strong military. It’s no coincidence that our military is globally positioned along the sights of proven oil and gas reserves.

Petraeus: Afghanistan war surge won't have quick results

Gen. David Petraeus, who commands U.S. forces in the Middle East, said he does not expect progress in Afghanistan to mirror the quick and dramatic results achieved under the troop surge in Iraq in 2007.

Religious groups active in climate debate

COPENHAGEN — Sunday started like any other day for Sister Joan Brown — with a period of prayer and meditation just before dawn at her home in Albuquerque.

Then, instead of going to Mass, the Franciscan sister boarded a plane to Copenhagen. When she arrives Monday, she'll join 20,000 other attendees at a United Nations summit on climate change, where she hopes to persuade leaders including President Obama to reach a worldwide agreement to cut pollution levels.

What It Looks Like When a Local Authority REALLY Gets Transition… the Monteveglio story

So what might it look like when a local authority really gets Transition? Earlier this week I received a very excitable email from Cristiano Bottone, one of the movers behind Transition Italia, and the Transition of his own town, Monteveglio, near Bologna. “Monteveglio’s local authority signs a strategic partnership with “Monteveglio Città di Transizione”….This is a revolution for this country, believe me. Thank you for all your help. I love you ;-)”. So what did the Monteveglio authorities actually sign up to, why is Cristiano so excited about it, and what does it mean?

Why We Find it so Hard to Act Against Climate Change

It should be easy to deal with climate change. There is a strong scientific consensus supported by very sound data; consensus across much of the religious and political spectrum and among businesses including the largest corporations in the world. The vast majority of people claim to be concerned. The targets are challenging, but they are achievable with existing technologies, and there would be plentiful profits and employment available for those who took up the challenge.

So why has so little happened? Why do people who claim to be very concerned about climate change continue their high-carbon lifestyles? And why, as the warnings become ever louder, do increasing numbers of people reject the arguments of scientists and the evidence of their own eyes?

Copenhagen: time to re-think? Or just keep thinking!

Hansen and Lomborg have completely different positions and standings in the climate debate. Hansen is a heavyweight who insisted on energetically disseminating the conclusions of scientific research at a time when the world did not want to hear it and the weight of established scientific opinion was against him. Thirty or forty years ago, the settled view was that climates do not change quickly. That he succeeded in getting a proper hearing was the result of his dedication and determination to carry through on a major act of public service.

By contrast, Lomborg is a gadfly with a talent for getting publicity, who courts controversy, some of it around his ideas but much of it around his use of evidence, and who is often worth listening to because what he says is not all stupid.

Krugman: Unhelpful Hansen

James Hansen is a great climate scientist. He was the first to warn about the climate crisis; I take what he says about coal, in particular, very seriously.

Unfortunately, while I defer to him on all matters climate, today’s op-ed article suggests that he really hasn’t made any effort to understand the economics of emissions control. And that’s not a small matter, because he’s now engaged in a misguided crusade against cap and trade, which is — let’s face it — the only form of action against greenhouse gas emissions we have any chance of taking before catastrophe becomes inevitable.

Business Fumes Over Carbon Dioxide Rule

Officials gather in Copenhagen this week for an international climate summit, but business leaders are focusing even more on Washington, where the Obama administration is expected as early as Monday to formally declare carbon dioxide a dangerous pollutant.

An "endangerment" finding by the Environmental Protection Agency could pave the way for the government to require businesses that emit carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases to make costly changes in machinery to reduce emissions -- even if Congress doesn't pass pending climate-change legislation. EPA action to regulate emissions could affect the U.S. economy more directly, and more quickly, than any global deal inked in the Danish capital, where no binding agreement is expected.

Kunstler: Climate, Oil, War, and Money

Against a greater welter and flow of incoherence jerking the nation this way and that way en route to collapse comes "ClimateGate," the latest excuse for screaming knuckleheads to defend what has already been lost. It is also yet another distraction from the emergency agenda that the United States faces - namely the urgent re-scaling, re-localizing, and de-globalizing of our daily activities.

What seems to be at stake for the knuckleheads is their identity, their idea of what it means to be an American, which boils down to being an organism so specially blessed and entitled that it is excused from paying attention to reality. There were no doubt plenty of counterparts among the Mayans when the weather changed and their crops failed, and certainly the Romans had their share of identity psychotics who doubted reality even when Alaric the Visigoth was hoisting off their household treasure.

Center line stripes may be thing of the past on some county roads

“The gas tax is only decreasing a little, but the license fee income will be the lowest since 1996,” he said. Bachman has been in office since 1989.

Through Oct. 31, the fees generated $2,256,551. Through that date in 1996, it was $2,200,041. The peak was in 2003 at $2,568,656.

The gas tax revenue is almost 2 cents per gallon sold, while the license plate fee for a typical passenger car generates $14 to $15 for the department.

Bachman pointed out that for the last couple of years, the department has purchased used pickup trucks, and this year bought a used truck for the first time for salting roads and plowing snow.

The number of bridges being replaced annually has been reduced from eight to six.

“We can’t afford to buy the steel and concrete to build the bridges with,” he said.

Natural gas locked in the Marcellus Shale has companies rushing to cash in on possibilities

"It was an amazing thing," Ms. Haines said, and a small indicator of surging interest in the Marcellus Shale, a geological formation that sprawls from midstate New York across more than half of Pennsylvania and into Ohio and West Virginia. Little regarded five years ago, the Marcellus Shale is now viewed as one of the world's leading reservoirs of recoverable natural gas.

It was only in 2008 that interest in the Marcellus Shale exploded, a development triggered by the release of two reports.

Solar industry 'in limbo' as grants dry up

Renewable energy manufacturers have warned of their "frustration" after the government's flagship grant scheme for solar power ran out of money less than halfway through the financial year.

The UK PV Association, which represents companies making and installing solar panels, warned that they were "in limbo" after the Low Carbon Building Programme Phase 2 was closed to solar applications this week.

Drive for Geothermal Power Heats up on US Campuses

While solar and wind power get most of the headlines, geothermal power is quietly gaining traction on college campuses where energy costs can siphon millions each year from the budget.

UK small wind blows strong despite recession

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's small wind sector is booming despite the recession as many rural homes, farms or small businesses are putting up turbines in the yard to counter higher energy prices and blackouts.

Orders for turbines with less than 50 kilowatts capacity have soared before the introduction in April of feed-in-tariffs for small renewables, a system similar to those that have propelled wind farm growth in Germany or Spain.

Sunshine, sewage to power cities of the future

LILLE, France (Reuters) - "These are the three giant stomachs of Lille."

Amid the hum of machinery and warm odor of putrefying autumn leaves, official Pierre Hirtzberger is explaining how three giant fermenters can convert household food waste, trimmings from parks and gardens and the slops from school and hospital canteens into enough methane gas to power about a third of the buses in the French city.

Underpriced Rare Earth Metals From China Have Created A Supply Crisis

China has a policy of predatory pricing, which has allowed it to gain monopoly control over some strategic natural resources such as the rare earth metals. The policy has now backfired as the low revenues to Chinese producers have deprived them of the investment funds they need to not only expand production but also to maintain the production they have.

The result is a massive Chinese environmental problem, which threatens all by itself to cut non Chinese end users off from their only supply.

Coal throbs at the heart of India growth engine

Although government has announced a new climate plan which identifies renewable energy such as solar power as key elements, coal remains the backbone of energy supply in a country where almost half the 1.1 billion population still has no electricity.

"Coal-fired power will stay for the next 20-25 years at least," said R.D. Sonkar, chief engineer at one of Korba's many thermal power stations.

"Look at the high cost of solar and wind energy. Can we afford? Power from renewable energy will have to wait, I think."

Chesapeake Energy Corporation Named Energy Producer of the Year and Receives Industry Leadership Award

The Platts Global Energy Awards recognize excellence and innovation by companies and executives throughout the global energy industry. A total of approximately 150 individuals and companies were finalists for the Global Energy Awards with hundreds more nominated. According to Platts, “The Energy Producer of the Year Award recognizes excellence in the upstream energy sector for companies that have set world class standards in exploring for and finding new resources, maximizing technical excellence and innovation in resource extraction, and bringing complex or difficult projects to completion on schedule and on budget. The panel of independent international judges noted Chesapeake’s expertise in shale gas plays and its very high success rate in exploration activities.”

The internet's dirty carbon secret

A demand for data from the likes of Google and Facebook about their emissions and energy consumption is long overdue

100 Best Blogs for Socially-Minded MBAs

Some of the recent news stories have given those in the business world a bad rap, insinuating that ethics and business don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. You, as a socially-minded MBA student, know those allegations are not true. So do these bloggers and their readership. The following blogs provide insight and thought-provoking posts on environmental and social justice topics that are relevant to all future business people.

Approaching peak oil (video)

As oil approaches its maximum rate of production globally, Western Australians are considering ways to prepare for the inevitable rise in prices.

Saudi Aramco Plans to Drill 45-50 Exploration Wells in 2010

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, plans to drill 45 to 50 oil exploration wells next year, the company’s vice president for exploration said.

“Aramco now is exploring in every corner of the kingdom,” Abdulla al-Naim said in an interview in Doha, Qatar, today. “Our exploration is spread evenly in the Rub al Khali, in northwestern Saudi Arabia, in the Gulf area, and in existing operational areas too.”

Kurt Cobb: Reserves are bunk

Henry Ford is famous for having once said, "History is more or less bunk." He was, in fact, attacking tradition in an age of rapid technological and social change. Almost a century later we have a less ambitious observation which may not achieve the broad visceral appeal of Ford's statement, but one which may turn out to have a good deal of importance, to wit: Oil and natural gas reserve numbers are more or less bunk.

Oil prices fall below $75 as dollar strengthens

Oil prices fell below $75 a barrel Monday as the dollar strengthened and several OPEC ministers said they don't expect their group to change production levels at a meeting later this month.

Price of gas drops, but not by very much

CAMARILLO, Calif. - The average price of regular gasoline in the United States has dropped 1.24 cents over a two-week period to $2.64.

That's according to the national Lundberg Survey of fuel prices released Sunday.

Adnoc Raises November Oil Prices to 14-Month Highs

(Bloomberg) -- Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., which exports most of its crude oil output to Asia, raised November official selling prices to their highest in 14 months, reflecting increases in the global benchmark.

Iran to launch oil, gas exploration in Caspian Sea

TEHRAN (Xinhua) -- Iran is to start exploration drillings in the Caspian Sea for oil and gas by the end of the current Iranian year (March 21, 2010), the local satellite Press TV reported on Monday.

With the inauguration and operation of Iran-Alborz semi-floating rig, the country can reach a high level of technical knowledge and oil industry technology in deep waters, Press TV quoted an Iranian official at Khazar Exploration and Production Co. (KEPCO) as saying.

Police clash with protesters at Tehran University

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Security forces and pro-government militiamen clashed with protesters shouting "death to the dictator" outside Tehran University on Monday, beating men and women with batons and firing tear gas, on a day of nationwide student demonstrations, witnesses said.

Thousands of protesters demonstrated in the streets outside the campus in support of students inside. As they chanted "death to the dictator," riot police and Basij militiamen charged the crowds, the witnesses said.

Job fears, hopes temper Iraq welcome for oil majors

BASRA, Iraq (Reuters) - Like a camel laden with gold but fed with thorns, as locals say, the impoverished Iraqi city of Basra has seen little benefit from its oil wealth, but new deals with foreign oil majors have stirred cautious optimism.

FACTBOX - A history of foreign oil firms in Iraq

(Reuters) - Iraq on Dec. 11-12 will hold its second auction since the 2003 U.S. invasion of oilfield service contracts, ramping up its efforts to lure foreign oil companies back into the country after a long absence.

Here is a history of oil operations in Iraq:

Brazil girds for massive offshore oil extraction

Everything about the shipyard here is colossal -- the 4,000-man workforce, the billions sunk into it in capital costs, the half-finished 10-story-high production platforms.

But then, so is the challenge facing Brazil's state-controlled energy company, Petrobras: developing a group of newly discovered deep-sea oil fields that energy analysts say will catapult this country into the ranks of the world's petro-powers. The oil pools are 200 miles out in the Atlantic and more than four miles down, under freezing seas, rock and a heavy cap of salt.

PDVSA in $600m bond buy back

Venezuela's state-owned oil company PDVSA bought between $300 million and $600 million of its dollar-denominated bonds during the second half of this year, taking advantage of their fall in market price, a company source said.

China Gas May Increase LPG Sales Sixfold on Expansion

(Bloomberg) -- China Gas Holdings Ltd., the Hong Kong-listed supplier of the fuel to homes and businesses on the mainland, expects liquefied petroleum gas sales to surge sixfold as the company expands its distribution network to 300 cities.

Sales of bottled LPG may rise to 3 million tons by March 2012 as the company extends sales beyond the 113 cities it currently sells the fuel in, Chief Financial Officer Eric Leung said in an interview. The shares reached a two-year high today.

Recession Makes ‘03 Blackout Unlikely as Grid Investment Grows

(Bloomberg) -- Six years after the biggest blackout in U.S. history, the reliability of the electricity supply is being shored up by investors betting that transmission projects are a smart wager in a weak economy.

“The current recession definitely bought some time for utilities,” said Angie Storozynski, an analyst at Macquarie Capital USA Inc. in New York. “Economic contraction reduced traffic on transmission lines, easing the pressure to add new transmission capacity.”

Energy suppliers may be forced to cut bills

Ofgem, Britain's energy regulator, today warned energy supply companies that they may be forced to pass on the benefits of falling wholesale gas prices to customers in the new year.

Alistair Buchanan, the chief executive of Ofgem, said: “Ofgem’s role is to ensure that companies can invest, but do not use investment as a shameful excuse to overcharge consumers.”

ADB Pitches for $2 Billion Clean Energy Funding

(Bloomberg) -- The Asian Development Bank, a lender to developing countries in Asia, plans to help raise more than $2 billion in private equity and venture capital to boost clean-energy spending in the region, an official said.

The bank is evaluating a program to invest as much as $100 million in venture capital funds to raise $1 billion and is investing $100 million in five private equity funds, which plan to finish raising $1 billion by next year, said M. Shin Kim, an investment specialist with ADB.

When Dreams Came True

Is this an alarming development? Is it a bourgeois-capitalist-masturbatory-decadent trend that bodes ill for our capacity to confront future economic devastation, environmental catastrophe, peak oil, and terrorism? Maybe. In any case, it underscores the range of ways in which filmmakers have begun to dramatize—directly, indirectly, and by accident, via osmosis—the breakdown of connections between people and one another, the planet, and even their own minds. The most compelling films of the last decade, bad and good, suggested that globalization and instant communication have not brought us closer but driven us deeper into our dream worlds.

Battle over mountaintop mining slowly gains ground

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Environmental activists gained more momentum this year than in the past decade against the destructive, uniquely Appalachian form of strip mining known as mountaintop removal, though they have yet to mobilize the millions of supporters they want.

Rio favours coal carbon project over gas

RIO Tinto has dumped its gas-related carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in the United Arab Emirates and will instead focus on sequestering emissions from coal.

Plug-in hybrids have miles to go for widespread use

"EVs are at a point of no return," I was assured last week by Jason Wolf, an executive at Better Place, a Palo Alto firm aiming to provide charging services for plug-in drivers. "Over 70% of major manufacturers have some kind of mass plug-in coming in the next two years. That's a milestone."

Yet plug-ins or fully electric cars can't run on hope and expectations any more than today's Buicks and Hondas can run on cooking oil. A lot has to change in policy, practice and public attitude for plug-ins to reach critical mass in the U.S. private fleet.

VW Planning Diesel Beetle And Electric Up! Minicar For U.S.

Volkswagen’s New Beetle (pictured), which has been on sale since 1998, is set to be replaced by a brand new car in 2012 and according to the automaker’s U.S. chief, Stefan Jacoby, a clean diesel engine is planned for the iconic car.

Jacoby also revealed that a production version of Volkswagen’s 2007 Up! minicar concept is also headed to the U.S. in 2014. However, while other markets will receive gasoline and diesel versions, the models sold in the U.S. will only be available with electric powertrains.

Obama’s Climate Push Plays Catch-Up With Executives

(Bloomberg) -- Now that U.S. President Barack Obama has given fresh impetus to climate-change negotiations in Copenhagen, corporate leaders supporting an agreement to control greenhouse-gas emissions are pressing anew for action.

Analysis: Obama, Dem Efforts on Climate Cooled Off

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama strode into office backed by a Democratic majority in Congress and pledged to do something his predecessor had not: set mandatory limits on global warming gases and show that the U.S. was ready to tackle a problem it played a lead role in creating.

Nearly a year into his presidency, Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress have fallen short of their own expectations on climate change as they prepare to attend international negotiations that begin this week.

Climate change conspiracies: Stolen emails used to ridicule global warming

Russian computer hackers are suspected of being behind the stolen emails used by climate sceptics to discredit the science of global warming in advance of tomorrow's Copenhagen climate negotiations, the United Nations' deputy climate chief said yesterday.

"This was not a job for amateurs," said Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, vice-chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), referring to the theft of the emails from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Pachauri Defends UN Climate Science After Leaked E-Mail Flap

(Bloomberg) -- Rajendra Pachauri, the top United Nations climate-change scientist, said the panel he heads is “transparent and objective,” dismissing allegations by global- warming skeptics that UN data were manipulated.

The distorted global-warming debate

(CNN) -- I asked a knowledgeable environmentalist earlier this week: "How big a story is the CRU scandal in your community?"

"The what?"

"The e-mails hacked at the Climate Research Unit at [the British] East Anglia University?"

"Ah." He smiled. "It says something that I didn't immediately recognize what you were talking about. I suppose on my side we'd take the same view that the Pentagon took of Abu Ghraib: a few bad apples on the night shift."

Meanwhile, on the right, the story is the biggest scandal since the leak of the Pentagon Papers.

Paul Krugman: An Affordable Truth

Of course, if things go well in Copenhagen, the usual suspects will go wild. We’ll hear cries that the whole notion of global warming is a hoax perpetrated by a vast scientific conspiracy, as demonstrated by stolen e-mail messages that show — well, actually all they show is that scientists are human, but never mind. We’ll also, however, hear cries that climate-change policies will destroy jobs and growth.

The truth, however, is that cutting greenhouse gas emissions is affordable as well as essential. Serious studies say that we can achieve sharp reductions in emissions with only a small impact on the economy’s growth. And the depressed economy is no reason to wait — on the contrary, an agreement in Copenhagen would probably help the economy recover.

Bill McKibben: Why Copenhagen May Be a Disaster

Let me be blunt about what amazes me when it comes to global warming. In the U.S., it’s lblocargely an issue for Democrats, “progressives,” liberals, the left, and I simply don’t get that. Never have. If the word “conservative” means anything, the key to it must be that word at its heart, “conserve”; that is, the keeping or not squandering of what already is, especially what’s most valuable.

Neither Canada nor the world can afford growth of dirty oil

Today in Copenhagen, the Harper government will walk into the UN climate summit not with the intention of transitioning Canada into a clean energy economy, but instead with the agenda of prolonging the oil industry frenzy in the tar sands in northern Alberta.

The best last chance: UN climate conference opens

COPENHAGEN – The largest and most important U.N. climate change conference in history opened Monday, with organizers warning diplomats from 192 nations that this could be the best last chance for a deal to protect the world from calamitous global warming.

U.N.: Climate summit may get happy ending

"For those who claim a deal in Copenhagen is impossible, they are simply wrong," said U.N. Environment Program Director Achim Steiner, releasing the report compiled by British economist Lord Nicholas Stern and the Grantham Research Institute.

In Face of Skeptics, Experts Affirm Climate Peril

COPENHAGEN — A much-anticipated global meeting of nearly 200 nations — all seeking what has so far been elusive common ground on the issue of climate change — got under way here on Monday with an impassioned airing of what leaders here called the political and moral imperatives at hand.

“The clock has ticked down to zero,” said the United Nations’ climate chief, Yvo de Boer. “After two years of negotiation, the time has come to deliver.”

Developed countries should pay for climate change

COPENHAGEN (Xinhua) -- "How much money is enough to fight climate change?" "Who should provide the money?" These were questions thrown at the UN climate change chief by journalists at a pre-summit press conference in Copenhagen.

Scientists: Decade Of 2000s Was Warmest Ever

It dawned with the warmest winter on record in the United States. And when the sun sets this New Year's Eve, the decade of the 2000s will end as the warmest ever on global temperature charts.

Warmer still, scientists say, lies ahead.

Australia: Breathing space on climate change

WITH Australia's ETS voted down and continuing impasse at the international level, three hard lessons are obvious in relation to climate change policy.

FACTBOX - Predicted impacts from rising global temperatures

REUTERS - The head of the U.N. climate panel painted a stark picture of the future unless nations agree tough emissions curbs to control global warming.

Following are some of the key points from Rajendra Pachauri's speech on Monday to delegates from nearly 200 countries gathered in Copenhagen for Dec 7-18 talks aimed at sealing the outlines of a climate pact.

Earth More Sensitive to Carbon Dioxide Than Previously Thought

ScienceDaily — In the long term, the Earth's temperature may be 30-50% more sensitive to atmospheric carbon dioxide than has previously been estimated, reports a new study published in Nature Geoscience.

The results show that components of the Earth's climate system that vary over long timescales -- such as land-ice and vegetation -- have an important effect on this temperature sensitivity, but these factors are often neglected in current climate models.

Kjell Aleklett: "The UN’s future scenarios for climate are pure fantasy"

Kjell Aleklett

"Climategate shakes trust in scientists: Saudi"

Talking about the pot calling the kettle black.
The Saudis who are the least amenable to opening up data for public view are jumping on the pile and hypocritically accusing scientists of misdeeds.

They just want more money. They are open to bribes.

Saudi Arabia Demands Climate Change Bailout
October 08, 2009 by Mark Whittington

As the writer says, SA asking for a bailout is "brazen beyond belief"


No, that would be the Israelis, asking the Saudis for a bailout ;-)

Good commentary over on the Orange Punch Blog today. It is nice to see a vibrant and open discussion of this imporant issue.



Speaking of Climategate credibility - or lack of it …
December 7th, 2009, 4:29 pm by Mark Landsbaum
Steve McIntyre has been a pain in the (pick your own part of anatomy) for global warming zealots. McIntyre is the noted global warming debunker who has shot down hockey-stick graphs that distort historic temperature readings that gave the impression we’re about to cook to death.

McIntyre points up why the East Anglia Climate Research Unit may be so reluctant to open its books to outside scrutiny. (emphasis ours) He made repeated:

“efforts to obtain a list of (temperature measuring) stations used in (Climategate’s Phil) Jones et al 1990, a prominent study purportedly proving that the UHI (urban heat island) effect was inconsequential. Once this list was obtained, an examination of the list of Chinese stations by myself and Doug Keenan, showed that claims in Jones et al 1990 to have selected stations based on careful examination of station history metadata could not possibly be true, as such metadata did not exist, which led Keenan to file a complaint against one of the authors.”

Why don’t climate gurus like Jones want their books opened for others to inspect? Two guesses.

Link up top: Saudi Aramco Plans to Drill 45-50 Exploration Wells in 2010

Saudi proven oil reserves, in billions of barrels according to three reporting agencies.

BP Statistical Review  Oil & Gas Journal   World Oil  
264.209                266.710             264.825 

Proven oil reserves means you know exactly where they are. Saudi produces about 3 billion barrels per year. This means they know exactly where to find 88 years of of oil at current production. Why are they spending billions looking for more?

The company will begin acquiring 3D seismic data off the Red Sea coast in the first quarter of 2010, and plans to drill the first well in 2012, he said.

Hey, they are even looking in the Red Sea. From another link: "The Red Sea is two kilometers deep in places with a 7,000-foot thick salt sequence which can distort seismic images, according to the magazine." If any oil is found there it will be some of the most expensive oil in the world to produce. Yet the Red Sea is part of their billions of dollars exploration project.

Something smells here. This lends credence to Kurt Kobb's article Reserves are Bunk! Kobb is talking about mostly about US natural gas reserves in his article but the same principle could be applied to OPEC oil reserves.

Ron P.

Don't you suppose they are merely taking the long view?

Western capitalist countries are frequently criticized for not considering the future, and native american tribes believe they are concerned about the seventh generation.

88 years of proven reserves is only one man's lifetime.

Not a valid business arguement LNG. Spending money today to prove up reserves you won't produce for at least 20 years is a horrible investment. And the KSA does not make horrible investments IMHO. For a detailed explanation of my opinion just read Kurt's article above.

Now now Rockman you gotta keep the story line strait. I know from time to time it gets tough too take everything the Saudi's say as gospel but keep the faith.

Trying to use critical thinking or gasp logic is simply not a good approach. You don't know what they have and why they are doing it.

Heck I can help out here.

Rockman obviously the Saudi's are concerned about bolstering their supplies of light sweet crude so they can offer their customers a wide boutique of crude flavors as the boost production. Its well known that in general their vast reserves are sourer and heavier than other sources. It would be a disservice to their customers to not continue to look for the best grades of oil.

How on earth can your argue with this. I should just join the dark side I bet I can generate better spin than anyone. Heck perhaps we will see this in some Saudi press release down the road I bet at least one Saudi reads the oildrum.

Hey given I'm now unemployed if your reading in KSA I'm very open to generous compensation to my non profit fund to help unemployed computer programmers !

My email is in my bio.

Wish me luck Rockman :)

No ! No ! No !

They are just drilling in the Red Sea as part of their stimulus package :-)

Developing anything they find will just be more stimulus spending.

Just as we still enjoy WPA built parks, bridges and roads, Saudis yet unborn will benefit from this stimulus drilling !

Best Hopes for Creative Spin (with a dash of sarconol),


OK guys, Sen. James Inhofe just said that "We (the US) have the largest oil reserves in the world, the largest reserves IN THE WORLD".
Now he's a Senator, damnit! Well I'm moving to OK tomorrow so I can vote for a true patriot.

I put out this challenge to a bunch of High Priest Inhofe's followers. I don't think they passed it on to him, tho.

...INHOFE: I think he’s right. I think what he’s saying is God’s still up there. We’re going through these cycles. … I really believe that a lot of people are in denial who want to hang their hat on the fact, that they believe is a fact, that man-made gases, anthropogenic gases, are causing global warming. The science really isn’t there.


This should be fun. he is not only gonna have to prove the hypothesis that there is at least one God of some sex, he has to prove his God is up there, and, with all the billions and billions of galaxies with their billions and billions of stars, God is watching us, and cares about our welfare. I hope that will be carried on TV.


Jimbo doesn't need to present data. A demo would be good. Like this one already in the literature. Is it reproducible?

Challenge to Baal
...At this point Elijah proposes a test of the powers of Baal and the God of Israel. The people of Israel, 450 prophets of Baal, and 400 prophets of Asherah are summoned to Mount Carmel. Two altars are built, one for Baal and one for the God of Israel. Wood is laid on the altars. Two oxen are slaughtered and cut into pieces; the pieces are laid on the wood. Elijah then invites the priests of Baal to pray for fire to light the sacrifice. They pray from morning to noon without success. Elijah ridicules their efforts. They respond by cutting themselves and adding their own blood to the sacrifice. They continue praying until evening without success.

Elijah now orders that the altar of the God of Israel be drenched with water (twelve barrels of water). He asks God to accept the sacrifice. Fire falls from the sky, igniting the sacrifice. Elijah seizes the moment and orders the death of the prophets of Baal. Elijah prays earnestly for rain to fall again on the land. Then the rains begin, signaling the end of the famine.

He can take 400 scientists to the Copenhagen town square and challenge them to a fire starting contest. They can use their icons and devices, ( lighters, matches, magnifying glasses, magnesium blocks,and the laws of physics). Then Jimbo can dump water on the wood and call on God to zap it. Should be EZ, and will prove his point. I'd pay good money for a ticket to that.

I guess Jimmy Boy just wants to be King of the Trolls. And people think Osama is a threat to national security!?

My theory always has been that Elijah discovered kerosene.

Mark Twain beat you to it. ;)

Careful memmel, they might take you up on that offer, and you would be a lot more convincing than CERA.

Anyway, the search in the "empty quarter" goes on. Also Manifa looks like it's falling a tad behind schedule. Do you think the Saudis would like give us a real world test to see if they can crank up that capacity they keep talking about?

Saudi Economic Survey

November 23, 2009

Saudi Aramco CEO sees oil demand rising

World oil demand could rise by 1 million to 1.5 million barrels per day from 2010 as the global economy recovers, the head of Saudi Arabia's state oil company told the press, but added that there was no need for the country to add capacity.

With spare capacity of around 4 million barrels, Al-Falih said there were no current plans for new capacity development. "You look at announced capacity additions by others and you come to the conclusion that Saudi Arabia doesn't need to." The Manifa oilfield is expected to add 900,000 bpd to Saudi Arabia's oil capacity around 2013, later than an earlier target of 2011, news reports said, because of the recent fall in oil demand.

"Once we are getting close to Manifa, we will relax spending in other areas to allow Manifa to replace rather than add to capacity," said Al-Falih.

Al-Falih said the challenge for Aramco was supplying enough gas to meet consumption that was rising at 7 percent a year. Saudi Aramco will begin drilling in the Red Sea for the first time in 2012, and will continue exploration in the Empty Quarter, he said.

Sorry for the late reply memmel. Saw your predicament. Tough break. Wish you well. Always hard on the soul to be sent to the house. That's why I'm so thankful to have fallen into my present gig. There are probably more then 5000 petroleum geologists in the Houston area. The other geologist and I might be the only ones in town to have received a job offer in the last 6 months or more. Typical oil patch: when it's good it's great. When it's bad it's really bad. In 34 years I've never seen companies dump staff as fast as they've done in the last year.

Typical oil patch: when it's good it's great. When it's bad it's really bad. In 34 years I've never seen companies dump staff as fast as they've done in the last year.

That's rather disconcerting. As I recall, prior to the current downturn, the average petroleum geologist in the US was nearly old enough for early retirement. When the companies go looking for them after things pick up, they'll probably have retired and may not be that keen on working again. It sort of implies that the oil companies are kind of planning to go out of business and retire themselves, although they may not think of it in those terms.

I'm retired and out of the game, myself, but I have investments in some of those companies and I may want to review them.

Typical oil patch: when it's good it's great. When it's bad it's really bad. In 34 years I've never seen companies dump staff as fast as they've done in the last year.

Which is another reason why we won't be able to increase or maintain production. Who in their right mind would train/educate themselves for such an industry, when it is obvious that come the next bust, and they are considered to be expendable. So once the current crop of experts goes to the house, I think that is going to be that.

So true EOS. Here's a few tidbits. When I began my earth science major in 1969 almost all my profs were ex-oil guys who were laid off in the bust during the early 60's. They couldn't get jobs so they went back to school for PhD's. When I started there were virtually no careers in Pet geol. Even my profs advised us to find other careers. Then, 6 years later, I'm leaving grad school at Texas A&M and the next boom is starting. Companies can't hire fast enough. Then the embargo hits and then we have 4600 drillings rigs running by 1980. There were 60 geologist majors in my department in 1969. By 1980 there were over 160 sophomores alone. When they got out of school in the 1980's there were virtually no jobs for them. Not sure how they make a living today but very few are in the oil biz. The bust continues and over 400,000 in the oil patch lose their jobs. Then oil hits $10/bbl in 1986. Times are very slow to say the least. Not wanting to drop out of the biz completely I pick up odd jobs as a supplement: driving a cab, delivering produce to restaurants, etc. Many didn't hang in there and left the field. Texas A&M was so short of pet. engineer students they hired an athletic recruiter to keep from shutting down the department. They were offering free tuition, housing and $18,000/yr. Had I not picked up a consulting gig I had planned to take them up on the offer. Back to the age spread in pet. geology. Around 1980 I saw the age distribution of the Geologic Society of Houston. We have more pet geologist in Houston then the rest of the world combined. There were two obvious spikes: around 30 yo (me) and around 52 yo. The big hole in the middle goes back to the early 60's bust (Shell Oil fired every geologist under 30 yo at that time). Not difficult to imagine there another huge hole developed in the 1980's. In 1990 it was almost impossible to find a pet geologist with <5 years experience. The 52+ yo group from 1980 have retired at this point for the most part. All that was left was my peer group.

A side story about that gig with respect to how and, more importantly, when you make a profit in the oil patch. I'll skip the tech details but in 1985 I began a shallow (<5000') NG drilling program. NG was selling for less than $1/mcf. But from a rate of return standpoint, it was one of the most profitable ventures I've ever had. Not big but very juicy. Hit 23 out of 25 wells. NG was cheap but I could drill and complete the average well for < $50,000. Last year at the peak the same well would have cost >$500,000. As I've mentioned before, I've never seen as many companies lose money or go belly up as I watched during the late 1970's BOOM. High oil/NG prices push companies to make very bad investments.

Back to manpower: Then on to the 90's. A number of ups and downs. The big advances in exploration/production technology were done by my peers. Along comes the 2005+ period and companies are again hiring as fast as possible. Especially among the shale gas players. Takes a lot of bodies to keep that many drill rigs running. But we're not getting younger. I'm 58 yo and sit in the middle of my peers. The latest bust pushed more folks to the sidelines faster then I saw in the 1980 bust. Back then it took several years for companies to scale back significantly. This last time they've done it in less than one year. Many at the older end of my peers are going for earlier retirement. The younger ones are wondering how long they can hold out before they have to change careers. And the under 50 yo group that will replace us when things heat up again in 5 years or so? Not sure. I've only met ONE pet geologist under 50 yo in the last 5 years. Just one. Probably not as bad for pet engineers but not very good either. The only factor that has allowed the industry to stay fairly productive is the advent of personal computers. They really have improved out productivity greatly. But that gain has topped out.

I haven't seen any stats in a while but I'll guess that more than 50% of the experienced pet engineers and geologist will be leaving the industry in 5 to 7 years. BTW: it generally takes 4 to 6 years of college and 5 to 7 years of on the job training before we can be truly productive. So if a boom does develop after 2015 there will be very few geologists and engineers available to hire regardless of salaries. The bodies just won't be there.

BP Statistical Review 264.209
Oil & Gas Journal 266.710

Ron, I can see only two of the three agencies (the right bar (with 'contact and 'personnel' is in the way and I don't know how to change the screen).

This means they know exactly where to find 88 years of of oil at current production. Why are they spending billions looking for more?

Apart from drilling all those wells in 2010 and exploring the Red Sea, they are working on CO2-EOR in Ghawar and developing the heavy oil field Manifa.

It is too difficult for those agencies to see the truth.

The HL-graph published on Drumbeat 5 december is 'a little' more realistic: remaining recoverable reserves ('light crude' ?) about 90 Gb.

Ron, I can see only two of the three agencies (the right bar (with 'contact and 'personnel' is in the way and I don't know how to change the screen).

Han, there is more than one way to change the screen resolution but the easiest way to do it is like this.

If you have Internet Explorer then click on "Page" in the upper right hand corner of the screen. Then mouse over "Zoom" then click on a smaller resolution than the one shown.

If you have Firefox then click on "View" in the upper left of the screen. Then mouse over "Zoom" then click on "Zoom Out". You may have to do this more than once if the first zoom out is not small enough to show the whole line.

Or you can just go to the source at the EIA.

World Proved Reserves of Oil and Natural Gas, Most Recent Estimates

Hope this helps.

Ron P.

Yes. Thanks Ron.

This is a great point, I think. Thanks for putting the numbers together.

With that said, let me offer some questions/comments from a Devil's Advocate position (I hereby acknowledge that all of these could be wrong, and I'm not trying to defend anything, just trying flesh out the ideas here):

- Reserves do not imply that production can be maintained at the current rate. I would imagine that these reserves are spread between multiple fields. I don't know how these reserves are distributed among producing and non-producing areas.
- The decline rates of the various fields are probably different, so the reserves in question would be used up in different timelines.
- Are all of these reserves in areas that are currently being produced? If not, are these "exploration wells" trying to find some of the ~260 billion barrels of proven reserves?
- 88 years at current production, but how does the ELM affect this?

Valid points Mark. Spending money to improve lifting capabilities from existing fields does make sense even during a time of diminished demand. Exploration for the same goal of increasing deliverability also makes sense but is a riskier proposition of course. By definition an exploratory well is not certain to find any commercial production. If the KSA is willing to spend that much money in an effort to find oil that might not be there then we might take that as some of the best proof that they anticipate a day not to far down the road when demand will surpass their max deliverability. In fact, this might be the best evidence yet of what they see coming ... a significant short fall in export capabilities.

Thanks for the explanations, Rockman.

I understand your definition of "exploratory well". What would one call a well drilled into an area of "proven reserves" that was not currently being produced? I imagine that it is possible to get a dry well in "proven reserves", but, perhaps the possibility nowadays is very small.

And, thanks for the interview with Kurt Cobb. Very helpful to understand more about how financial/business decisions can drive production from the inside of the industry.

Mark -- A well drilled for a reservoir proven to exist is typically called a "development well." And yes, not all development wells work. A wide range of risks depending on the specifics. On my first offshore project 34 years ago my first 5 "development wells" drilled off the platform were non-commercial. Damn those explorations geologists like westexas!!!!

I suspect that the exploratory wells the KSA has planned are rather risky. No idea about the geology but the KSA can't be drilling for small targets: those just won't have a significant impact on an operation of their size. And the bigger the prize the higher the risk. The more I think about it the money the KSA throws at such efforts almost certainly says a lot about their expectations of future production rates more than any other info out there. As I said earlier, any monies spent proving up reserves that won't be produced for decades is absolute stupidity. The KSA maybe many things but stupid isn't one of them IMHO.

- Are all of these reserves in areas that are currently being produced? If not, are these "exploration wells" trying to find some of the ~260 billion barrels of proven reserves?

Mark, the point is that if 260 Gb are proven, they know where that oil is. Their plans for 2010 mean that 260 Gb is "possible reserves" at best, and based on finding more oilfields in 'remote areas'. Those areas are allready explored in the past, so supergiants they won't find anymore. Also, that number 260 is staying the same, after 2,5 decades of oilproduction (= about 75 Gb).

Thanks for the explanation, Han.

I wasn't as clear as I could have been. I should have written:

If not, are these "exploration wells" trying to DEVELOP some of the ~260 billion barrels of proven reserves?

And, I think your point about the unchanging number (260) is very important. I often wonder how the Yergins of the world can ignore the coincidence of new reserves exactly matching production so as to keep the "proven reserves" number where it is.

- 88 years at current production, but how does the ELM affect this?


Growing consumption of oil is nothing new in the KSA. As I've pointed out before much of this is for generation of electricity that could be phased out; they are even burning about 400 kb/d of raw crude oil for this purpose. This is not to say this problem will be addressed tomorrow, but solutions do exist. The OECD nations used to consume an inordinate amount of oil in this fashion as well.

I don't see these telltale ELM patterns, either; or if they exist I've never seen them presented convincingly. It's a real mystery why various nations who are on the verge of peaking would by chance shift their consumption patterns in lockstep, this seems an even more unlikely auspice than attempting to detect a peak with raw HL.

Exactly Ron. Just another version of the old "Don't do as I do ...do as I say". In these cases it's "Don't judge on what I do...believe what I say."

Hackers paid by climate sceptics, UN says

UNITED Nations officials have suggested that computer hackers who pilfered thousands of emails and files from a British university were probably paid to undermine the Copenhagen climate change summit.

And according to a British newspaper investigation, the emails emerged from a server operated from a small red building in the Siberian city of Tomsk.

The Mail on Sunday reported that the server is primarily used by Tomsk State University. In 2002, ''hacker patriots'' believed to be students from the institution acted against a site that had reported events in Chechnya and angered Russian officials. ... ''not climategate, it's hackergate''...

Were Russian security services behind the leak of 'Climategate' emails?

Suspicions were growing last night that Russian security services were behind the leaking of the notorious British ‘Climategate’ emails which threaten to undermine tomorrow’s Copenhagen global warming summit.

An investigation by The Mail on Sunday has discovered that the explosive hacked emails from the University of East Anglia were leaked via a small web server in the formerly closed city of Tomsk in Siberia. ...

The Mail on Sunday understands that the hundreds of hacked emails were released to the world via a tiny internet server in a red brick building in a snow-clad street in Tomsk. ...

Computer hackers in Tomsk have been used in the past by the Russian secret service (FSB) to shut websites which promote views disliked by Moscow.

Such arrangements provide the Russian government with plausible deniability while using so-called ‘hacker patriots’ to shut down websites.

It will be highly amusing if the right-wing blogosphere finds out it was punked by the Reds.

How are the "Reds'" interests any different from KSA? Or USA, for that matter? What nations are the top 3 oil producers?

What nations are the top 3 oil producers?

Here are the 37 largest oil producers in order of production, thousands of barrels per day of Crude + Condensate. The catagory "Other" is all the rest lumped together. This data is from the EIA's International Petroleum Monthly for August 2009.

Russia	       9,603
Saudi	       8,480
USA	       5,286
Iran	       4,056
China	       3,844
Canada	       2,687
Mexico	       2,542
Iraq	       2,472
Other	       2,429
UAE	       2,413
Kuwait	       2,350
Venezuela      2,240
Nigeria	       2,193
Norway	       1,970
Brazil	       1,960
Angola	       1,950
Algeria        1,826
Libya	       1,650
Kazakhstan     1,432
Azerbaian      1,013
UK	         990
Indonesia	 935
Qatar	         935
Oman	         839
India	         669
Colombia	 668
Argentina	 644
Malaysia	 575
Egypt	         534
Sudan	         495
Australia      	 494
Ecuador	         477
Syria	         367
Eq Guinea	 332
Vietnam	         309
Gabon	         285
Yemen	         284
Denmark	         271

Ron P.

It seems pretty amazing that the US is still pumping over 5 MMBD nearly 40 years after its peak.

It seems pretty amazing that the US is still pumping over 5 MMBD nearly 40 years after its peak.

It's not that amazing when you consider the huge volume the US has pumped over that time period. The curve started around 1859, so if it peaked in 1970, and it's symmetrical, it should reach zero around 2081.

It's currently about half of what it was in 1970. From this point the curve should start flattening out.

Jim -- And what accounts for this for the most part are the small independent operators in the US. Collectively they've accounted for more of the daily production then all the major oil companies combined. They are very unique in the world. I can only offer WAG but I would bet our current production rate would be as little as 1 million bopd without these small companies. Maybe less. Exxon et al cannot produce stripper wells cost effectively. Small operators can because the pay with sweat equity the large companies don't have to offer. Private ownership of much of these poducing mineral rights is another fairly unique situation in the world.

Both factors make any effort to model future world decline rates based upon the US history futile IMHO.

IMVHO, a bit more than 1 million b/day.

Thunderhorse, North Slope AK, much of the rest of the deeper Gulf, advanced tertiary recovery such as Kern all require the resources of the IOCs.

But a good point none the less.

Africa, oddly enough, seems as close to the US as anyplace. Wild cat drilling in Uganda, Ghana, Chad seems a bit like the old USA. I have some stock in Tullow which is a player there.


Good point Allen. I was focused on all the old heritage production. But I was mostly trying to give a sense of scale. The main point was that global decline rates, as the world's fields further decline, won't have a similar profile to the US IMO.

How is the (distressed) student loan situation going to play out with co-signers? Nobody in the MSM seems to touch on this area.


My lawyer advised me rather late in the game:
"Never never co-sign for a loan."

I already had, several times in fact, and for my children.

I found out the hard way to not do this.But I did not co-sign for any student loans. I didnt' think they needed a co-signer? At least way back.


Having signed, to my regret, for an auto loan for my child, I learned the truth of this.

Education loans are difficult to remove by bankruptcy, but it can be done. You need a good attorney, but in some circumstances it is avoidable.

Having signed, to my regret, for an auto loan for my child, I learned the truth of this.

In my younger days, just after I graduated from college, one of my college buddies wanted me to co-sign an auto loan. I told him, "look, I'm incurring a risk doing that. If I'm taking a risk, I should get some benefit. So, I'll lend you the money myself, and you pay me the interest."

This was something of a conceptual leap for him, but he agreed, I loaned him the money, and he paid me principle+interest on schedule. Big grins all around except at the bank. I knew him well and he would rather sell his left kidney than stiff a friend.

The conceptual leap for him was that I was driving a really cheap, fuel efficient, used car myself, so why was I lending him money to buy a better car for him to drive rather than buying it myself? Aahh, that's the key to investing.

Having signed, to my regret, for an auto loan for my child, I learned the truth of this.

I'll just add another anecdote, since I have heard far too many of these "I shouldn't have cosigned the loan" stories.

One of my friends owned a cheap used car dealership. (This was before he found his true calling as a slum landlord.)

One day, he sold a car to a young lady on the condition that the bank approve the loan. The bank refused the loan.

The young lady's father came in and was extremely irate. Not only did his daughter not get the car she wanted, but his son had defaulted on a loan for a sports car which he had co-signed, and now he had a sports car he didn't want, which really ticked him off.

So, my friend told the father, "Look, you have a sports car you don't want. I have a nice car that your daughter wants, and I also have a real piece of cr*p on the lot that I can't get rid of. I'm sure it would be perfect for your son."

So, big grins all around, the father got rid of the sports car he didn't want, the daughter got the nice car she wanted, and the son got the piece of cr*p he deserved. The son wasn't all that pleased, but that just made the father grin more.

The father was down about $5000 on the deal, but he was a happy man regardless. Satisfying your customer is the key to being a good salesman.

Igy -- something I heard a while back surprised me: a bankruptcy won't dismiss a student loan...it lasts for ever. That can't be very comforting to a co-signer.

I didn't get co-signers but my grades and major (engineering) helped, and I was not able to get any help until I was over 24, they think you have rich parents waiting in the wings until that age and if you can't get papers etc from them which I could not, you're screwed.

FINALLY FINALLY I don't feel bad about not finishing my degree! In fact (since I seem to have to regret something) I regret not going into chemistry which is interesting enough in its own right to maybe have kept me going in college, or just having done some sort of vo-tech thing.

But, I did have about 10G's of student loan debt, and I paid it off. On $9.50 - $11 an hour I paid 'em off. In fact on $11 with some overtime, I had a small apartment, somehow always kept rolling on a decent motorcycle, had clothes, food, paid down loans, etc. I lived fine! And looking back, I realize how much "finer" it could have been, being frugal.

So maybe I'm an A.H. thinking this, but I think an individual can live great on $11 an hour now, and OK on $8. It requires renting a room or living in a group with others, and probably riding a bicycle instead of anything with a motor. Used clothes etc., but you can live and SAVE on that.

But this thread is about parents co-signing for $20k-$100k in student loans for their little darling(s) and being sure they can cover it since they have a house, 401k etc. And it was a safe bet since the kid's going to get a job and Mom/Dad only having to cover when the loan goes into default.

Well, they'll almost all do into default, which is going to take huge bites out of house equities, retirements, etc., or force whole families into bankruptcy.

Chesyre is right: America is a debtor's prison.

Fleam getting a chemistry degree was one of my best moves.

If I could do it over again I would do chemistry/philsophy and at least a minor in math. After a big of grad school I eventually picked up a lot of math but a combo of the three would have been cool. And learn a foreign language but English seems to qualify for me :)

On top of that would more history, arts and poetry.

But I've always felt engineering should be a graduate specialization not and undergrad degree. But I'm very old school math, physics, chemistry, the arts and languages and history for undergrad.

Biochem, Geology, Engineering, etc etc all post graduate. And people should start in college earlier at say 17 with those wanting to learn trades specializing after say two years at 19. Basically everyone at least gets a couple of years of "college" under their belt.

This in general would also include leaving home at 17 not 18 as things work now.

I think forcing kids to hang around with their parents instead of taking responsibility for living at least in a semi-controlled environment during these years causes a tremendous amount of problems.

Also of course many will mess up but your two years younger than now so its easier to go back once you get your head strait.

And also it leaves room for a sabbatical to travel between your undergrad and graduate specialization if you go. And perhaps you could even cut undergrad down just a bit to 3 instead of four years. This puts you at 19 and say specialization was two years so the total is five with plenty of room to take a break.

And hopefully with the first three years paid with public monies.

I've never liked how US education works it a holdover I guess from our farming age.

I think the above approach would increase the overall level of education amongst the populace significantly.

Well, I was 16 going on 17 when I started college at an expensive private school where 90+% were in the top 10% of SATs and they flunked out 50%.

I chose a Chemistry BS with American Chemical Society certification which meant I had a ton of really hard courses every year. FWIW, I'm an emeritis member of ACS-hard to believe. I have two retrospective thoughts on this: First, I could only take two courses out of four years just for the fun of it. The rest were required and I feel I missed out on what college is for. Second, my life would have been happier in the long run if I had taken my folks money and bought a farm...or, at least, gone to Ag school.

Finally, I was not psychologically ready for college at that age. Yes, I made it work but it was difficult.


PS I really hated my senior year since I had labs five afternoons a week for four+ hours and we spent a 1/2 day in the lab on Saturday.

When you were starting college, they hadn't even invented the radio.

How much snow did you get? I only had about 2 inches.

Hey Mike,

Don't get smart...you've got some gray hairs too!!

The snow wasn't bad, maybe, an inch. But, it's been cold as hell (well perhaps not). We went down to 19 last night and it was 25 degrees by 3:30 this PM.

I got up for the bathroom at 11:45 last night and there wasn't any water pressure so I put on some clothes and went out to see what was wrong.* The pump starter overload breaker was kicking out so I switched over to our storage tank and back-up pump and went back to bed. I found the short today but it wasn't nice in the shade at the pump. I couldn't do a permanent fix but at least I got it going.


*Why do problems always occur at the worst times. Why not some sunny, warm morning?

If I didn't have silver hair, I'd be bald.

I think I was only 25 degrees. Water tank didn't freeze. Having a 1500 gallon block of ice isn't a lot of fun. Been there a few times. Doesn't matter how well you protect yer lines if all you have is ice.

*Why do problems always occur at the worst times. Why not some sunny, warm morning?

Murphy's Law, I guess. Life sure can be ironic though. I was on my way to a good friend's funeral this past Sunday, he was a polymath, machinist, master welder and metalurgist he was a damn good mechanic to boot. He died too young, of a massive heart attack at 59, in his shop while working on one of his projects.

It just so happens that my car had massive engine failure about a mile and a half from the funeral home. If I weren't an atheist and a skeptic I could easily imagine him looking down and laughing his ass off at me...I cursed him anyway! I sure won't forget him though, he was one of the good guys.

Sleet here in Gilroy, California and snow on the mountains, it's pretty.

If I'd been free to do what I liked, I think a degree in chem would have been a lot of fun. The landowner here is a chemist and the conversations are great. Too bad there's no money in it now because there's no money in anything.

These days, the rules are all out. That's right, the old rules, like Elvis, have left the building. They've been U-O-T out for a while actually, we're just starting to notice now.

Maybe I'll make money as an EMT, maybe not. When I was a kid I remember a guy who carpooled with us for a bit. He was studying to be an EMT and had a book full of gory pictures, my older bro would only let me see the black and white ones. Now I have the gory book lol.

Problems happen in good times too.

We just don't remember them as vividly.

Sorry for the loss of your friend. (Life is too fragile and all too short.)

Here's a graph from an article titled Peak Oil Demand on seekingalpha.com.

It's from the IEA's World Energy Outlook 2009 report. The drop in currently producing oil fields is dramatic, BUT I compared the bars, did the math, and realized they are using a decline rate about 4.2% per year. I thought the IEA had already agreed that the decline rate should be in the 6% to 7% range, but that is not reflected in this key chart. If it were, the results would be even scarier. I wonder if the use of the old, lower decline rate assumption was intentional or not.

Here are some non-OPEC projects for 2010 according to Oil megaprojects (2010):

Country Project Name 2P resvs Peak
Australia Pyrenees 0.08-0.12 50
Australia Van Gogh 0.05 15
Brazil Frade Ph 2 0.25 60
Brazil Peregrino 0.5 100
Canada North Amethyst 0.07 35
and so on...

These fields will not produce much oil in 2030. Thus, we need (much) more "fields yet to be developed or found" between 2010 and 2030 than the light blue indicates above if IEA is going to be correct.

The light blue segment in the middle, "fields yet to be developed or found" is interesting. Evidently they assume that we will 'find' exactly the number of barrels as we use forever. That explains the continuing Saudi numbers in their stated reserves - I hesitate to use the term, "proven."

The chart also assumes that LNG sources will continue and never run out as well. My understanding of natural gas wells is that their "Hubbert's curve" is very steep on the downside. How is that reconciled in the IEA report?

Oh dear...over the long term we will find at least the number of barrels we use - no use denying it, mass is conserved in all plausible scenarios. Now, whether we find the number we would like to use, that's an altogether different question... ;)

Foreign affairs has a bibliography of oil books called What to Read on Oil

The 2009 books listed are as follows. (Many books from prior years are also listed.)

Oil 101. By Morgan Downey. Wooden Table Press, 2009.

Petromania: Black Gold, Paper Barrels, and Oil Price Bubbles. By Daniel O'Sullivan. Harriman House, 2009.

Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia. By Robert Lacey. Penguin, 2009.

Oil, Dollars, Debt, and Crises: The Global Curse of Black Gold. By Mahmoud A. El-Gamal and Amy Myers Jaffe. Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Russia and the Caspian States in the Global Energy Balance. (Free report by Rice University's James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy.)

China's International Petroleum Policy. By Bo Kong. Praeger Publishers, 2009.

The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes. By Bryan Burrough. Penguin, 2009.

It looks like a few of these will not really be released until 2010.

I couldn't resist posting this, because of the irony in the title. However, the points they are making are not funny.

Major Impacts of Climate Change Expected on Mental Health

Dr Page and Dr Howard identified the following ways in which climate change is likely to impact mental health:

* Natural disasters, such as floods, cyclones and droughts, are predicted to increase as a consequence of climate change. Adverse psychiatric outcomes are well documented in the aftermaths of natural disasters and include post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression and somatoform disorders.
* The needs of people will chronic mental illness have often been overlooked following disaster in favour of trauma-focused psychological interventions and yet the mentally ill occupy multiply vulnerabilities for increased mortality and morbidity at such times.
* As global temperatures increase, people with mental illness are particularly vulnerable to heat-related death. Contributing risk factors such as psychotropic medication, pre-existing respiratory and cardiovascular disease and substance misuse, are all highly prevalent in people with serious mental illness. In addition, maladaptive coping mechanisms and poor quality housing are likely to further increase vulnerability, and death by suicide may also increase above a certain temperature threshold.


There must be something like 1/3 of Americans on "goofinthal" by which I mean all the mind-bending pills.

Gonna be interesting.

Quarter of workforce could become temps as contract work grows

Gary Mathiason, vice chairman of Littler, the No. 1 employment law firm, predicts half the jobs created in the recovery will be filled by contractors, consultants and other temps.

Fifteen years ago, most temporary slots were for office work, but more than half are now filled by professionals such as engineers and physicians, Asin says. Business Talent Group, which places executives, saw its second-quarter business rise 70%.

more than half are now filled by professionals such as engineers and physicians, ...

Not to mention lawyers. As firms lay off their associates, temp agencies pick them up and hire them back. The associates are paid about 1/4 of what they had been paid, for doing the same work; the agencies charge 1/2 of what the firms had paid, pocketing the difference, after their expenses.

Temp firm partners and shareholders benefit; law firms benefit; the associates take it in the chops.

I expect maybe the big law firms will soon lose some of thier pricing power and that some of those former associates will have something to do with it happening.

Most contracting companies that do any kind of engineering or physical work have already lost thier pricing power-it seems that the price of lots of services of this sort have crashed big time.Cargo ships can be had for pennies on the dollar of the prices they got a couple of years ago and oil drillers, etc, are barely able to stay in business due to cuthroat competition, lots of them have closed up.

Never feel sorry for a lawyer who planned on getting rich at the expense of people who do the real work in our economy.

We have about ten times as many lawyers as we really need.

Having both used professional temps and been a professional temp, I would say temps provide a much lower level of service to the corporation. At one time, i was a controller with 10 temps and 4 permanent employees. Issues are many, but include:

1) Training: Why learn special skills for a new job? Why pay to train a temp on new skills?

2) Loyalty: Temp assignements can be ended without a blemish on either the temps or the corporation reputation. This means high turnover.

3) Productivity: High turnover means much lower productivity. I have had the "joy" of having one temp train the next temp how to do the job. Net effect: Easy to be in situtation where no one knows how the systems really work, we just hope it works ok.

4) Loss of institutional knowledge and skills: We had often had situations where no one had any clue why a journal entry was made, how a number was calculate, where original data was at. My guess is many of the temps did not bother to file the reports, such as engineering studies, etc.

5) etc, etc.

You Must Have worked for HP!

Leanan -- I had not thought of it in such terms but the oil/NG industry over the last 30 years might serve as a viable model for this brave new world your article references. When I started 34 years ago the engineering and high tech work done by the majors and large independents was performed for the most part by employees. All the majors still had large and well funded research groups manned by employees. Some companies still owned a few drilling rigs manned with employees. The majors owned and manned their seismic crews. After several boom/bust cycles this is where we are today: a very large percentage of the work in the oil patch today is done by consultants and service company hands. The company run research groups, seismic crews and drilling crews are all but history. Last year I worked on a DW GOM well: 150 or so hands on board and only two were company employees. Back in Houston half the offices were filled with consultants. A number of the service companies actually had auxiliary offices set up inside the company's office. This client was also big into the shale gas play. Just as quickly as they shut down that drilling program the offices started to empty out quickly. Got so bad they actually began terminating employees. One reason for the switch to consultants was to gain higher experience levels. Another was the cold hard fact that it's easier and cheaper to get rid of consultants then employees. The future potential problem should the energy industry pick up significantly will be the lack of experienced hands. There is a huge age gap behind the current 55+ yo group that dominate the biz today. Between college and on the job training it takes a good 10 years for a geologist/geophysicist/engineer to be truly productive. The one factor that has helped keep our efficiency levels so high has been the advent of personal computers. But experience is still needed to prevent "garbage in -- garbage out".

I would echo Rockman that it is a brave new world of temporary work out there.

It can come as a shock to some people, but a company that wants to staff a major project can just pick up the phone and call up a few key consultants, they pick up the phone and call a few of their buddies, their buddies pick up the phone, and before you know it, you have a major project staffed with highly experienced experts.

The only thing is that you can find yourself in a conference with 20 people on a major project costing hundreds of millions, and absolutely nobody in the room is a permanent employee of anybody. They all work for themselves.

A lot of people like this lifestyle, however, because you don't have to play politics. You just tell the company, "I'm not your employee, I work for myself. This is my opinion, and if you don't like it, I can be working for your competitors next week. Your choice."

Despite that, a lot of companies like it that way. Their employees are often lying to them and you are telling the truth because your loyalty is not to them but to your profession reputation.If you tell them, "Well, that's it, you're history, you're going bankrupt", they just say, "Thanks for telling us, we'll be terminating your contract at the end of the month," and you say "Great! I needed a vacation! See you on the beach in the Cayman Islands because you probably won't be hanging around here very long."

OTOH, it's quite a shock to the "permanent" employees to discover that they are now out on the streets with no job, the bankruptcy receivers are taking over, the SEC is investigating, and their former CEO is now in the Caymans accepting free drinks from a former consultant.

And for some reason everything was tax deductible. I didn't understand the details but my accountants seemed to. I had a house in the city, a house in the mountains, a company car, a yacht, and no income at all. However, the tax people seemed to be okay with that. It was weird - when I was a company employee everything was taxable, but when I was a company, nothing was taxable.

Most of my engineering jobs were contract/temp work. After I developed a reputation I was always employed (when I wanted to be), fairly well payed and rarely bored with the same work/people year after year. I also gained a wealth of experience across several diciplines, and developed a lot of good contacts.

Being a temp/consultant is great! I have known a lot of people who did this, and done a tiny bit myself. There's a lot of misery at the low end in temping (the end I'm likely to occupy unless I get some useful skills) but I've run into many people over the years who LOVE temping.

You need to use the right terms. Temps get paid $15 an hour to answer phones for employees on vacation. Contractors get paid $75 to do the work that employees will revise or redo later. Consultants get paid $125 to parrot back what the employees already told management. And executive coaches get paid twice that to tell executives how to enjoy it all.

$15? Wow - big money to me! $4 an hour more than I ever made as a 'tronics tech.

I gotta good fone voice too, where do I show up? Where do I sign?

Consultants get paid $125 to parrot back what the employees already told management.

Oh, come on. We do more than that. We put it in a nice, official looking binder with really nice graphics and make sure that the spelling is correct and the grammar is coherent. And we also put a clear, succinct one-page executive summary at the front, using simple words and short sentences, which is all the executives ever read. Why would they bother with the details when we've already told them what they need to do?

That's why we get the big bucks.


You forgot the disclaimer statement.

All "Consultants" have one that avoids all liability for any client's misfortune for acting on your advice. They need that $125 fee to pay the lawyers who draft the cop-out clauses in the contract.

I don't know about other nations but in NZ a period as a "Consultant" on your CV is a fancy name for being out of work. A bit like "Resting" in the theatre world.

I also carry $1M of professional umbrella insurance too, just in case those clauses don't hold up. It's amazingly cheap, too, for the peace of mind provided. I'd recommend any contractor or consultant to investigate such.

A million or two in liability insurance is not a bad idea, but you have to realize that the reason that it is amazingly cheap is that they are unlikely to prevail in a court case. You are only giving them your opinion, and they can act or not act on it at their discretion. The only thing you are guaranteeing is that it is your opinion.


You said,

This is my opinion, and if you don't like it, I can be working for your competitors next week. Your choice.

On the contrary, many, if not most, require that you sign a non-disclosure/non-compete as to the project you sign up for. That pretty much kills the, "I will go work for your competitor." At least for that project, which covers a lot of ground.

Some states (like where I live in Virginia) are "Right-to-work" states, and non-compete agreements are probably unenforceable here. That wouldn't stop them from suing you essentially as a means of legal harassment, of course.

In retrospect, I was generally working as an independent contractor through a professional resources company. I think that the professional resources company would have had a real problem with a non-compete agreement.

If company A terminated my contract, the placement agency would want to move me to company B since they got a percentage of my fees. If company A tried to sue me about that, I think they would have suddenly been talking to the lawyers for the placement agency about how much this was going to cost them, since the placement agency would have been out of pocket for their share of my fees.

I know that whenever a company made an employment offer to me, they had to hand over a considerable amount of money to the placement agency.

many, if not most, require that you sign a non-disclosure/non-compete as to the project you sign up for.

I never had this experience working on a contract basis. I would never disclose one company's trade secrets to another company, and they were quite clear about it. However, I have a lot of trade secrets that are mine and mine alone, and they could be yours for a price. But not exclusively yours because they belong to me.

I did have the "non-disclosure/non-compete" experience when I was working as a permanent employee of a company which was acquired by by another company. I just looked them in the eye and said, "My lawyer has advised me not to sign this document."

Brief look of panic on the face of the HR person, long pause. "Okay, let's move on to the next document."

I don't think that anybody who was at my level of qualification agreed to sign a non-disclosure document. After all, we could have all been working for the competition the next week, and with a big severance package in our bank accounts (our lawyers would have made sure of that. It's called "constructive dismissal".)

zap -- As Rocky said it's not the same in all industries. bacl in 1999 I left my consulting gig with a public company. Within days I was contracted by another company that thought they might want to acquire my former employer. Good plan: I knew more about the company's worth then anyone. What worked out even better for the new company was that I was able to save them a good deal of time and money in this evalaution. My old company was a true dog and if you paid $1 dollar for it you would loose money.

Where the inbreeding really pays off is the technology transfer. Let's say Halliburton is doing the completion work, as a consultant, for Company X on a particuarly difficult project. Company Y has an indentical project. Halliburton won't tell Y how X is doing the work...a definate no-no. But if you ask Halliburton to draft up proceedures for Company Y it's going to look a lot like what they've done for Company X.Basicly you can't force a consultant to unlearne what they've learned.

And for some reason everything was tax deductible. I didn't understand the details but my accountants seemed to. I had a house in the city, a house in the mountains, a company car, a yacht, and no income at all. However, the tax people seemed to be okay with that. It was weird - when I was a company employee everything was taxable, but when I was a company, nothing was taxable.

I wouldn't be broadcasting that if I were you. I'm not very paranoid, but admitting to anything that could be perceived as illegal in front of the IRS and the WWW, seems like a high-risk, no return strategy. At least say "a friend of mine", or "I heard stories".

I'm not very paranoid, but admitting to anything that could be perceived as illegal in front of the IRS and the WWW, seems like a high-risk, no return strategy.

Oh sure, but you have to realize that if the IRS investigated, they would discover that I haven't broadcast anything that can be used against me.

As I said, "I didn't understand the details, but my accountants seemed to." and guess what, they offered insurance against the possibility that they might be wrong.

Actually, I used to deliberately understate my tax deductions and overstate my income, so if they audited me, they would find that they owed me money. I used to love getting those extra refund checks from the tax people after an audit. Call me sick but I enjoy sticking needles in little doll models of bureaucrats.

The rare earths stories you have linked to recently are downright scary. This is the one today:

Underpriced Rare Earth Metals from China Have Created a Supply Crisis.

Yesterday you had one up called Chinese pay toxic price for a green world

Seepage from the lake has poisoned the surrounding farmland. “The crops stopped growing after being watered in these fields,” said Wang Cun Gang, a farmer. The local council paid villagers compensation for loss of income. “They tested our water and concluded that neither people nor animals should drink it, nor is it usable for irrigation.”

This is the price Chinese peasants are paying for the low carbon future. Rare earths, a class of metallic elements that are highly reactive, are essential for the next generation of “green” technologies. The battery in a Toyota Prius car contains more than 22lb of lanthanum. Low-energy lightbulbs need terbium. The permanent magnets used in a 3 megawatt wind turbine use 2 tons of neodymium and other rare earths.

If we think rare earth metals are going to be scaled up at low prices, we are kidding ourselves. If we had to pay, say, 5 or 10 times as much for rare earth metals, to extract them in an environmentally friendly manner, and in locations other than China, I wonder how it would affect the price of electric cars. I wonder too how long locating reserves to do this and developing these mines would take.


My Prius (now with 64,000+ miles) has turned out to be a great car. Lucky me (for now). But anyone who thinks that we're all going to be driving around in electric or hybrid vehicles is badly mistaken (I'm talkin' to you, Warren).

These vehicles require materials which cannot be economically scaled up to large scale mass production (tens of millions of units). Heck, they can't even be scaled up to medium scale mass production (millions of units). This is why the Prius, after over ten years of production and becoming a hit in the market place is still only selling in hundreds of thousands of units. It doesn't look like the lithium ion battery is going to materially change this situation, either. Although it may be more cost effective than the nickel metal hydride (I'm glad I have THAT one in my car:)

Actually I think that electric cars are the future. But it isn't a BAU future. People will just get used to having less mobility. You can drive a pretty simple electric car back and forth to work if you work within 20 miles of work

-and you can charge it at work
-and you don't have air conditioning
-and you don't go very fast
-and you don't have power windows, or power brakes or

well, you get the picture.

Many of the rare elements can be recycled, and I forsee a future with "battery change stations". If batteries for electric cars were standardized (like most all other batteries) long trips would not be a problem. You would just stop every couple of hours and swap your battery for a fully charged one. The stations could test your old battery and recycle it if it was near the end of it's useful life.

The Nissan electric car is due next year. They plan to sell the cars, but lease the batteries. Nissan will recycle the batteries. That way, the car's owner isn't going to be stuck with the large up front cost of the battery when they buy the car. Also, if (when) the battery dies, the owner isn't stuck a second time for the cost of a new battery.

I just bought and then sold a Honda Civic Hybrid. It had a bad 5-spd transmission, so I returned it, but along the way, I did a little research about the NiMH battery it had. They do go bad and Honda sells replacements for around $3,000 each (with occasional discounts). They are initially warrantied for 100,000 miles, unless you have one of the California cars, which has a 150,000 mile warranty. There is a company who claims to be able to rebuild the battery, using parts from other junked cars, at a substantially lower price.

The car I bought had just over 100,000 miles, so I suspect the previous owner dumped it, thinking of the potential battery cost. Other than the tranny problem, it seemed to run fine, as long as one didn't attempt a long up hill climb, which would completely drain the battery. Once the battery is drained, one needed to down shift to continue up a long grade.

E. Swanson

Ghung --

I enjoy reading your posts, but I have to disagree with this one. For it to work, we'll need better batteries. I helped my brother with an EV-conversion Geo Metro, and the batteries fill up the car from where the rear seat used to be to the back. Those suckers aren't light weight, either. I don't think battery swapping will work with the technology we've got right now.

Ok, here goes:

I'm sure that the conversion you mentioned used some type of lead/acid battery and yes! they're big and heavy (believe me, I know).
Battery tech is improving as we speak and the newer batteries are constructed from many little cells all connected in series/parallel, which means they can easily be configured in a big tray, like a drawer. If these battery "banks" were standardized, and EVs were standardized with a compartment accessed from the front or rear (and kept low, improving center of gravity and access) then changing them would be easy. In an earlier post I envisioned automated battery change stations. People would subscribe to a service when they buy the car (sort of like the lease that Nissan is proposing) and would pull into the station. A robot scans the bar code or RFID on your car:

"Good morning, Waterplanner! I detect that your energy cell is 93% depleated. I will proceed to replace it with a fully charged one. Would you like to take advantage of this week's special upgrade offer? We can upgrage your energy cell to the new Excide Super-Boost for ten additional credits. All upgrades include a free half litter Wild Bean Coffee of your choice or the new MP3 single from Fuel Sucking Pigs: "Jimbo Inhofe, King of the Trolls" . Please say "yes" for an upgrade or "continue" for the standard cell. Thankyou Waterplanner. Your estimated range is currently 211 kilometers. Have a nice day!"
Of course, you could charge your battery at home or work. Motels could offer free battery charging the way they offer broadband now. These stations would perform diagnosis, maintenance and recycling as needed on all batteries, and upgrades as new battery technologies appear.
See your future, Waterplanner!

The electric cars I support now run on electricity from Scotland to the Pacific Ocean on electricity, without refueling even once !

Best Hopes for Mature Technology (and no rare earths required),


I have posted much regarding my love for trains. One of my dreams is to get on a train in the UK with just a backpack and video camera and ride trains all the way to Kamchatka, mouth shut, eyes open.
We're still going to need some form of personal transport. I just hope it ain't a rickshaw (sp?).

I place a lot of hope myself in mature technologies comimg to the rescue as energy gets scarcer and more expensive.

Furthermore there is a lot of opportunity to tag new technology onto old, like another car on a train.I just read a couple of pieces over the lat few days that look really promising.One promsed to substantially cut the cost of making the parabolic mirrors used in solar thermal power plants.The other was about building inly the collecter portion of a solar thermal plant and feeding the steam into a conventional coal or ng plant.This would make the entire plant run a lot cheaper and produce power very economically if it works out. Of course it would only be expected to work at plants located in hot sunny climates, but there are a lot of electrical plants in such places.

Three or four decades ago you really couldn't afford a decent air compressor unless you used it quite a lot.Nowadays any back yard mechanic almost has a rather powerful compressor for occasional use.

If we don't crash first, lots of machinery may continue to get cheaper for a long time yet.My new welder /generator is a better machine in terms of performance than anything on the market ten years ago but it costs less in real money.And it is likely to last for a very long time.

It occurs to me that combined heat and power systems will soon be economical enough for homeowners and small businesses to own them.There are millions of businesses and homes with piped in ng used mainly for heating.But they are buying electricity that is produced at only thirty five to forty five percent efficiency when all is said and done as over half of the energy released by buruning the fuel at the plant is lost up the stack or in transmission.

An automated water cooled generator especially designed to capture ALMOST all the waste heat it produces can be used to heat a large hot water reservior used in turn to heat the house or building.

If it is run ONLY when there is need for the hot water, the fuel efficiency of it's electrical output rises for practical purposes to almost one hundred percent-because the exhaust heat is "purchased" by the heating system of the house at "face value".

If the various controls needed to automate such a system are not off patent they soon will be and with the coming of the smart grid and the electric car and residental solar hot water and solar pv some iteresting synergies emerge.

If the house has a hot water heat system -radiators or enbedded pipes-then the reservoir tank can serve double by holding sun generated hot water during warm weather.

If the generator is sized right to provide the amount of kw needed to charge the electric car, it can essentilaay make a ng car out of the electric car at one close to one hundred percent efficiency so long as the weather is cold and a lot of heat is needed.

If the system priduces only enough to charge the car at half the maximum rate it could just run longer,evening out the heat production, maybe making a smaller tank possible.Of course a smaller engine/generator combo would be producing a lot less heat anyway.

If the house has solar pv and batteries, the solar cells could be optimized for the summer months and long days, and any available juice from the genset fed into the batteries as available when the sun isn't performing.

Such a system would substantially reduce the peak load of a house during the long northern winter and might prove to be quite economical in a decade or two depending on equipment and fuel prices.

And in a pinch it could be fired up remotely by the smart grid to shave a little off the grid peak.

Larger systems of this sort could easily pay for themselves in hotels, factories,apartments buildings, schools and other large structures if fuel prices go high enough.

And there is no inherent reason the genset couldn't run on diesel or lp gas.

Remember that such a genset can be designed mainly for simplicity and durability and should last for decades-high energy efficiency is not a critical metric because except when used in an emergency all the wate heat is captured and used with no loss.Actually there would be some small loss-if the genset is say thirty percent efficient , and the cooling system is ninety five perecnt efficient , five percent of the seventy percent of the "waste " heat would really be lost.This is close enough for conversational purposes and within reason technically.

I understand it is possible to build refrigeration equipment that runs off heat-as in the old time gas operated refrigerators -but I presume that such systems cannot be economically to run air conditioners with hot water as the energy source.

It might be possible however to use the exhaust gas from an ice directly to power an ac system -its pretty hot, enough turn iron red.But heating and air systems are something I know little about.Adding an ac unit would complicate the system considrably if it used the hot exhaust directly from the engine but the juice would be very useful as it would be coming at a time when loads often peak.

Incremental expansion pf "mature technology" is the most likely course and private gensets/heating systems have merit. The speed with which they will be adopted, or the % of homes with one, are likely to be slow and a low ultimate %. A silver BB.

Best Hopes,


There are numerous small to medium CHP units on Market already fully Grid tied avalible on Gas or Oil

Sterling CHP Trialed in UK
German unit Based on China Diesel

Ge Jenbacher Caterpillar Wartsilla all to Trigeneration
uinits where exhaust at ~500Deg C is used to drive Lithium Bromide Absorption chillers to produce chilled water at 5deg C to run Air Con systems. Used to work on Jenbacher 620 3.6MwE 3.0MWt or 2.0Mw of cooling all year effiency of approx 85% using absorbtion chiller or Steam boiler depending on heating cooling requirement. Impressive sight on Full Load.

Hi Rib,

Thanks for the links.I knew already that some of this stuff is on the market already, which is why I know about it from cruising sites like Popular Science and POpular Mechanics as well as trade publications ans envoronmental/ energy sites.

I am more optimistic than most people in that I think there is a strong possibility these systems can really catch on based simply on dollars and cents considerations if things don't go down hill too fast.I can't see for the life of me why a genset of the type I described should cost over ten grand even in low volumes -my New Miller welder which has a lot of capabilities unnecessary in such a genset cost only three thousand.It would take the place of the bioler normally used to heat the house-that alone should wipe off a couple of thousand of the initial expense.

It should be eligible for whatever tax credits are available-take off a thousand or two for that.

If we go to peak pricing on electricity, as seems likely, the juice it produces might be worth three or four times off peak night time rates or the regular rate.

If they sell in large numbers they should get really cheap -maybe down to three or four thousand bucks in today's money.

If utilities are going to pay out money to encourage conservation,as seems to be a growing trend, they should get on board too as it might reduce the need for peak load plants and grid upgrades -at least in the colder parts of the country.

I didn't know there is a commercially viable cooling system based on engine exhaust heat.These might also become popular, at least at locations where a very large genset is practical, as at large office buildinds or factories or hospitals, etc.Such places use huge amounts of juice and cooling on a very regular basis , as well as large amounts of hot water.

At first glance the exhaust heat to cooling system looks too complicated and expensive to scale down to homeowner size.

Those are my kind of electric cars. The kind where one person drives, and the other 500 sit back and read the morning news on their Amazon Kindles.

Actually I think that electric cars are the future.

I think electric motorcycles are going to sell really well.

Note that Brammo has dropped their price by 33% — to just over $7k with the federal tax credit:

It still has some major limitations: 40 mile range (it's probably 1/5 less in reality), top speed of 60 mph (again, probably less in reality) but the price will come down and it means not waiting in line for gas when the shortages start.

You can pick one up at Best Buy (or at least some Best Buys) as Best Buy is a equity partner in the venture.

At the rate things are going I'll be living on less than $3k a year and riding a bicycle. But if things go different, a used Harley Sportster at $4k is in the plans, 60MPG and very repairable with US or US second sourced parts.


HD parts are very expensive.
Old bikes are usually evolution.
Old bikes can be very trouble prone.

You must be an extremely good mechanic to dare to go inside a HD engine.

I did and 4 months later came out ok but it was one hell of a wild trip.

Tore into the cam bottom end chamber to replace cam chain tensioner blocks WHICH will over time self-destruct an engine(TC88 in this case).

A good used Sportster 883 might be a wise investment if the miles are low.
Its ok but nowhere the high end quality of a larger HD bike. Yet will do the job.

I do get a consistent 50mpg on my 01 LowRider. Love that bike.
100 mpg on my Honda Trail 90 ,70's vintage.

Airdale-simple maintenance is easy, the rest is very tough and you must be in top game form , as well as special tools needed


You always seem to be right on the money on mechanical stuff.

Let me add that except for the very simplest stuff like tires and batteries and lightbulbs there is very little available in the line of repair parts available antwhere except at the dealer for ANY motorcycle-just tons of customizing junk.

My personal estimate is that all things honestly considered it is not generally possible to ride a motorcycle as economically as you can drive a cheap second hand car that is easy on gas-ESPECIALLY IF you must keep the car -you can get by with a car only, but not with a motorcycle only.

Motorcycles are so expensive to maintain and depreciate and wear out so fast that saving ten or twenty bucks a week on gas will not cover the difference in repair, maintainence, and depreciation costs.And if you are putting a LOT OF MILES on a bike a cheap one won't last more than a year or two.

I used to ride quite a lot and have owned a bunch of rice rockets.Never owned but one Harley and it gave trouble constantly.

If somebody wants a motorcycle to get around, they should definitely look around for a small Honda preferably a single or a twin plain jane but any Japanese bike that is not a high performance model is generally ok.

One of my buddies has a trail ninety and it has performed flawlessly for over tweny years.The little cb series street bikes used to last about fifteen or twenty thousand miles befre trouble started.The bigger ones lasted forty thousand or more.I hear any of the new cruiser style bakes are supposed to last like a car-well over a hunderd thousand miles.I haven't had anything to do with motorcycles for a long time except talking to riders and fixing one occasionally, si my opinions may be pretty out of date.

I quit riding a long time ago when I had responsibilities after one too many close calls with idiots in cars.A friend of mine riding his wife double in the middle of the afternoon on a sunny day had a car pull out in front of him once on the Blue Ridge Parkway at an overlook in plainsight of a Park Ranger sitting in his car observing traffic only a hundred feet away. .Luckily he was only doing about twenty five and he and his wife did not suffer any real serious injuries-luck was
riding shotgun.

One minor accident once you get old and stiff can mean going on welfare-it used to mean hobbling ariund for a few hours cussing and worrying more about the scratches on the bike that the scratches on my own hide.

I calculated that my low mileage 1982 Mercedes 240D (manual shift, rare) could last me the rest of my life if I kept out of accidents, drove few miles and kept it up.

Still easy to maintain (no computers), rock solid engineering (unlike newer M-Bs), heavy sheet metal, designed for 3rd World roads. Bosch has even marketed retro-fit kits with new technology glow plugs and "problem solver" hand pumps. 28 to 30 mpg in the city and can run any bio or waste oil. The mechanical fuel pump is legendary in bio-diesel circles ("it can pump pureed bananas all day").

Add a bicycle with parts and good shoes and I am "good to go" post-Peak Oil.

So far, so good.



When I was a kid, my parents had a Hillman Minx, a compact British car that nonetheless comfortably seated 5. I was with them when they bought it new in the Fall of 1959, at an Oakland, Calif. dealership for $2,000, cash. And it got great mileage; we measured it at 36 MPG on the open road, a phenomenal mileage for that era.

Also, it was simple to work on. My dad was mechanically inclined and did virtually all his own repair work on it; there were no computers or converters or other such BS to deal with.

Antoinetta III


A good bike rider has to sorta have it in his blood.
A mental spirit thingy perhaps.

I got 30K on my 01 Low Rider. I can easily take it to 100k if I keep up with the maintenance.

I parked it last fall in the barn and with all the Factory Manuals I already had I started a very methodical slow tear down. I enjoyed this immensely and could see the very great machine engineering of the HD folks all the way.I had to buy several torque wrenches and 4 different types of LocTite along the way.

The chrome is very excellent. The paint is too. The metal is superb as is the mechanical aspects. I had been wanting to tear into it anyway. Put in a oil pressure guage as well.

Now I KNOW that engine. Now I trust it for another run to Tulsa to visit the once in a lifetime HD dealer with his Route 66 scene. And to visit some old Navy buddies. Perhaps this coming summer.

Yet if I left it parked in my shed for the rest of my life and never rode again I would just go and look at it from time to time. Shades of 'On the Beach'.

I have rode bikes all my life except on the farm for my first 14 years. First thing I got after we left the ship on the trip to Pearl was buy a 250 CC motorcycle to see the Island while it was still unspoiled. To ride in the mountain showers coming off the Pali. To cruise the beaches. To see the chicks in bikinis.

Life was good. I flew the rest of time I wasn't surf boarding , snorkeling, drinking or riding my bike.

Its a trip to the past for me in the way I enjoyed it.

But I can ride my Trail 90 in the woods and imagine how it also 'once was'.

Life is a ride, then you die but the path and getting on it is what its all about. IMO.

Airdale-peace and the wind in your hair

Airdale, I hear the new Harleys are good as gold but right now I just can't afford to buy one -or take the chance of riding on public roads, as there is no one else in a position to stay with my folks who are getting way on up in years.

I am just a heathen eviiiluntionist but I feel very grateful for every holiday they are still with us. The doctor was here again a couple of days ago and said that there is virtually no chance that Momma will make it to Christmas.I get plenty of help from the rest of the kids but I'm the only one who does not have to work full time.

I would love to own a really old Harley , which the old guys tell me would last just about forever with a little steady tinkering, , or one of the newer ones.I did love to ride and I liked riding the Harley better than the rice rockets.

There are more Harleys advertised for sale nowadays in the Roanoke paper than you would believe-maybe in another year or two I will be able to pick up a bargain.I expect there will be plenty of roads with very few cars before too long and riding will be a pleasure again if I can afford a tank of gas.

One thing that always has irked me no end is how the egghead liberal types are always running down
people who like to do drugs or drink or drive while wrapping themselves in thier mantles of self rightousness of social responsibility.Virtually all of them are pretty well off and have carbon footprints many times larger than somebody who rides a motorcycle for pleasure occasionally-or attends a car race.

People gotta indulge in what they can afford-and damn few liberal talking eggheads know anything about the reality of not having money-just like a man will never know anything about the reality of having a baby-physically.

Forty two cars at Daytona may burn maybe six or seven thousand gallons of gas.The ten or fifteen thousand cars in the parking lots for a well attended ball game probably burn as a wag four gallons to six gallons each on game day.Maybe more, certainly not less.

And one large jet hauling a load of skiers from say Atlanta to Denver and back for a long weekend burns well over ten thousand gallons I am pretty sure.

It is WAY PAST the TIME that airlines should be paying a serious fuel tax.

EVs, cars, bikes, motorcycles, skateboards, etc are a techno-fad item.

They would sell great at sharper image.. oops! they went out of biz.

Everyone knows that flying cars will be the preferred mode of travel on the 21st cent. Thats what everyone has been talking about for the last 50 years. Why do you think that that wouldn't be true? Do you think that we are so fickle that we would change our mind just because? WRONG

Why would the electric car not have all these BAU conviniences ? Except for the long range and quick recharge times ... it will be equal or better than an ICE car.

Ofcourse a Tata Nano EV will be like what you describe - but then Tata Nano ICE is also like that (except for range).

I wonder how nickel metal hydride or lithium battery hold up their charge when it is -9 degree F here in Bozeman, Montana this morning? We have quite a bit of Toyota Piouses in our quaint town (oops, Priuses). Friends I know that drive the Prius stand by them; all is well I suppose. In my limited experience, having a Prius only encourage one to drive more not less. Living in a walkable community and especially today when it can take 20 minutes to warm up the car encourage me to take the bus and walk to the local pub.

Its the walk home that sucks.

walking home from the pub a little buzz is fine. alcohol deadens the nerves. We actually experience more traffic in our pubs as the temperature plummets.

We have a Prius and have decreased our driving this last year by 20% with two electric bikes, more use of public transit, carpools for kid activities, and downsizing one car by getting rid of our minivan. (My husband has commuted to work by bicycle or public transit for the past decade.) We also live in a neighborhood with a walk score of 91, so that certainly helps. I want to drop our gasoline purchases by another 20% next year, but I'm not sure how to do this except by getting a plug-in upgrade for the Prius or buying a small electric car. Both are pricey options. Maybe I'll work harder to up the number of kids in our carpools.

Last Friday evening my husband and I went out to dinner. Due to kid obligations we didn't have much time to get to the restaurant and it was cold. (45 degrees. Cold for San Francisco, anyway.) So I wimped out and said let's take the car, even though our destination was less than a mile and half away. But of course once we got there, we spent five minutes searching for parking, and then another five minutes walking from the spot we found, so in the end it would've been quicker to ride our bikes. Lesson learned!

I applaud your effort to cut back, however we ought to consider Gail's link (the start of this thread), rare earth metal extraction and environmental consequence.

I recently started living "downtown" where it is walkable to most places, but there are places that you want to go e.g. the restaurant that you and your husband went that is a bit farther out. My rule of thumb is this, anything within 1/4 mile I'll walk, but anything beyond that but less than 5 miles I will drive. Anything farther than 5 miles, I will consider an alternative e.g. carpooling or another solution. I have no illusion that I'm saving the environment by moving downtown. For every gallon or watt I save, people in LA County and China are more than happy to use it for me.

Get rid of your car and then you`ll see your gas purchases drop fast enough! We take (short local trips in) taxis two or three times per month when there is no alternative. Otherwise it`s always bikes or walking or public transportation...You`ll find that without a car you can spend more on all sorts of other more pleasant items...like food, clothes and books.

This is what digs at me, even on a motorcycle I zoom by stuff like recycleables I can gather, walnuts, scrap and odds and ends, that Id see and easily gather on a bicycle. I spend money on gas, it may be $50 a month or $10 a month, it's still there. Registration and parts and insurance etc., plus is makes it too easy to go to Santa Cruz 50 miles away, so I've neglected ways of making money here in favor of peddling crafts there. I can't really carry more on the motorcycle than I can on a bicycle, and I have NO fears of mechanical breakdown on a bicycle because I can fix it all by the roadside.

This area is semi-rural. A bicycle is OK. There's a lot within a 10-mile radius and the bus and train to go further. In some areas a bicycle is a definite good by quite a margin.

Driving less will certainly help you prepare for a future of higher gas prices, and of course that whole environment thing, but I just wanted to comment on a lot of people saying they drive less with their Prius. I think you might be more of the exception, because studies say prius owners actually drive further:


and if you tack on the energy costs of buying a new prius (energy equivalent of a year's consumption of fuel), plus environmental and energy costs that go into the battery, its not as clear cut.

because studies say prius owners actually drive further:

If this was a rational world, Prius owners would have been self selected to be those that drive a lot. I don't drive anymore with my Prius than what I had before, I am still stuck with a 45mile round trip commute, I do little driving otherwise. The economics of owning a Prius are better the more miles you have to drive. If you only do 5000miles per year, by all means let someone else who has to drive a lot buy one instead.

Already underway.

from Wiki

A few sites are under development outside of China, the most significant of which are the Nolans Project in Central Australia, the remote Hoidas Lake project in northern Canada and the Mt. Weld project in Australia. The Hoidas Lake project has the potential to supply about 10% of the $1 billion of REE consumption that occurs in North America every year.

In addition a California mine will re-open in 2012, rare earth extraction will be added to an existing mine in Kazakhstan.

from an investing site:

about 42% of worldwide reserves of rare earth ores still lie outside China. But with cheap labour and huge funding from Beijing, the Chinese were able to invest heavily in new mines and processing plants during the 1980s, building a formidable network of rare earth metals research and development laboratories that worked to undercut China's rivals.

A devastating price war followed. Soon, producers from America to South Africa found it was no longer economic to keep mining. By the early 2000s, most rare earth producers outside China had gone out of business. Yet China continues to cut off exports, leading to a dramatic shift in the last three years from oversupply to demand shortages. With no significant mining capacity left outside China, some experts fear the country will engineer a supply crunch to suit its own industries. That's sending a wave of panic through industries that rely on these metals. With global demand for rare earths growing at 10% a year, there is an urgent need to find deposits outside China, says Hard Asset Investors' Tom Vulcan. Toyota, which needs lanthanum to produce metal hydride batteries for its hybrid cars, has rushed to secure supplies in Vietnam and Malaysia...

Mount Weld ... which will produce some 1.1 million tonnes of rare earth oxides. That's enough to supply up to 20% of the global market for 30 years...



" about 42% of worldwide reserves of rare earth ores still lie outside China. "

I would suspect that this is a gross underestimate of reserves outside of China. REE's are found in many parts of the world, and it is only due to China's policies of underpricing and the effects of Globalization that have resulted in the Chinese near monopoly in production of these elements.

In 1970 I was working for a minerals exploration company on the South Island of NZ. The prime mineral of interest was Ilmenite (a source of Titanium Dioxide), but many REE's were also assessed. Unfortunately for NZ a much larger deposit of Ilmenite was discovered at Bunbury in Western Australia, and without the option of profitable Ilmenite production, the REE's could not be recovered.

Rational trade control policies would have prevented this aberrant situation, not just for NZ, but for many other nations who could not compete with the subsidised Chinese product in an uncontrolled market.

If we think rare earth metals are going to be scaled up at low prices, we are kidding ourselves. If we had to pay, say, 5 or 10 times as much for rare earth metals, to extract them in an environmentally friendly manner, and in locations other than China, I wonder how it would affect the price of electric cars. I wonder too how long locating reserves to do this and developing these mines would take.

Gail, if one looks at the proven Bastnazite (one of the minerals that contain the REE) reserves in China, it seems the world doesn't need other locations. It's another story (as is the 'government limitations) that it is not wise to depend so heavily on one country.

From the 'Rare earths information center': (www.americanelements.com)

Essentially the entire world's producing reserves of rare earth minerals is located in Northern and Southern China where American Elements operates a rare earth separations plant. In China, an oft quoted statement of Deng Xiao Ping is that "the Middle East has oil and Baotou has rare earths" In fact, 80% of Chinese production is concentrated in Northern China (Baotou, Inner Mongolia). Proven Bastnazite reserves are estimated to be 48 million metric tons with prospective reserves estimated to be another 120 million metric tons.

Annual Chinese rare earth oxide production presently stands at between 70,000-90,000 metric tons, so the availability of rare earth supplies, from the standpoint of rare earth reserves, is not an issue. However recent changes in limitations placed by the Chinese government on rare earth production and export will limit their availability in the future.

Kjell Aleklett: "The UN’s future scenarios for climate are pure fantasy"

This article makes a point that I would echo, and establishes some basis. The climate debate is secondary, IMO, since it is trumped by peak oil! And peak coal, and peak gas.

Everyone thinks that because the State of Illinois claims it has enough coal in its reserves to supply the planet for 300 years, that there is enough coal, anywhere, to last more than 60 years or so, especially after oil supplies drop off, and gas as well.

Maybe for a while, coal and gas will be a bridge. But they may well be a bridge to nowhere. Of course, we are used to that, aren't we?

Re: Earth More Sensitive to Carbon Dioxide Than Previously Thought

ScienceDaily — In the long term, the Earth's temperature may be 30-50% more sensitive to atmospheric carbon dioxide than has previously been estimated, reports a new study published in Nature Geoscience.

In this regard, Kjell, and many POers, are out of their minds.

Unfortunately, the article above is a little vague in how it describes the situation. There is a difference between climate sensitivity to CO2 and that + feedbacks. As I understand it, CO2 sensitivity + fast feedbacks is essentially what gets termed "climate sensitivity." (Someone please correct me if I am wrong.)

The above article seems to be saying the same and lumping everything together. However, if they are not, I would like to remind all of the uproar over the coal paper and posts on coal/fossil fuels and the effects on climate from some time back.

In those debates I was quite critical of the findings, considering them little more than back door denialism using peak fossil fuels as an excuse to do nothing. I based this on two things: the cavalier use of 3C as the climate sensitivity with little attention paid to feedbacks and the editors involved being climate denialists by their own acclaim.

I stated quite strongly that the climate sensitivity had to be higher than stated based of two things: observations have, and continue to, outstripped scenario projections, and, that Hansen, et al., had recently posited a sensitivity of possibly as high as 6C.

The article above supports my position. Overall sensitivity MUST be higher than assumed or we wouldn't be seeing what we ARE seeing in the natural world.

A second point I want to bring up is the weakness inherent in debate that leaves no room for supposition based on logical thinking. Essentially, if it's not documented and certain, it can't be used. Yet, the real world doesn't work this way.

Insight is an invaluable tool. It is something all great scientists and policy makers have in abundance. They can see what is despite any and all deficiencies in data, knowledge or information. This is something we need to acknowledge and be more comfortable with for, as I have often stated, most policy decisions are made within a context of incomplete, hotly debated data. We almost never have an undeniable level of certainty.

With regard to climate, the degree of certainty is currently far higher than with many other things we have made decisions on in the past. Also, the risk here is so great that doing nothing means the end of civilization as we know it. I don't mean people won't survive, or even that cities or countries won't survive. What I do mean is that life, and the map it is delineated as, will be drastically different if we don't arrest the changes that are coming.

If using just 1 trillion barrels of oil has brought us to 390, and to 447 by 2050 even if we reduce emissions to zero by then, then what will burning all the rest of the coal, oil and gas do? There are more unused fossil fuels than used. Then we must pray the permafrost and ocean bed clathrates don't release to any significant degree (they have already started.)

Given the permafrost alone holds 2x the CO2 currently in the atmosphere, only 10% of that releasing would take us from the 450 we are fairly sure to hit to 550ppm of CO2.

If going from 280 to 390 gets us melting everything, shifting jet streams, changing habitats, extinctions, desertification, greater storm intensities, greater rain intensities, greater droughts... etc., then what is 550 going to give us?

Rest assured, and use your own reasoning to look at what has happened at the 30+% rise in CO2 so far to check my conclusions, climate sensitivity is higher than 3C. Of this I have zero doubt, particularly if you are talking about total climate sensitivity.


To be clear, Kyell's foolishness comes from the following:

He doesn't understand the climate sensitivity

He doesn't include all sources of fossil fuels

He doesn't address permafrost and clathrates. (In an e-mail with a climate scientists studying these, he stated these deposits were within 1-3 degrees of unstable temperatures overall. My take? Put your head between your legs and... you know the rest. The Arctic is warming a hell of a lot faster than the rest of the globe.)

He doesn't include any concern for tipping points

He doesn't, as deduced from his perspective, understand the import of a worst case scenario.

As I said, on this he is blinded by his dedication to PO activism. A myopically dangerous position.


I concur...there is lots of trouble coming from climate change even though we won't be emitting as much as the IPCC says we will be. There is a lag in the system; that's the only reason the whole planet isn't suffering right now as badly as it will — current CO2 levels are already intolerable.

Unfortunately, the article above is a little vague in how it describes the situation. There is a difference between climate sensitivity to CO2 and that + feedbacks. As I understand it, CO2 sensitivity + fast feedbacks is essentially what gets termed "climate sensitivity." (Someone please correct me if I am wrong.)

I read the sciencedaily version, not the real publication. I think his slow feedbacks are ice sheep melting, and vegetation changes. The fast sensitivity is called the Charney sensitivity, and several independent lines of reasoning all come in close to 3C. Note ice sheet melting is not the same as sea ice melting, the later might reach equilibrium within a few decades, but the Greenland ice cap probably takes centuries to perhaps a few thousand years to reach equilibrium. And the slow spread of trees to higher latitudes and altitudes is also pretty slow. These marginal treeline trees take centuries to reach maturity, so this is also a slow feedback.

I think fast feed-back includes that which can be lumped under the heading of 'albedo'; especially, that is, reflectivity of surfaces at high northern latitudes. Geometry makes high latitudes warm faster than lower latitudes, and then seasonal loss of reflective surface ice and snow means more absorption for more of the year. Trees only need to stand above the snow to reverse albedo for extended seasons (flying over northern Europe made this very obvious to me).
Other fast feed-back could be drying (or melting) of mires thereby converting carbon sinks to carbon emission, whether CO2 or CH4 respectively. As about half of anthro C emission has been taken back (sequestered) by 'the sinks', any human activity that alters these sinks has potential for very fast feed-back. Stripping old growth forest or in the tropics replacing for biofuel or for Soy for animal feed seems also to have enormous potential for rapid change. But look to the north, and the shrinking ice and snow mirror during the long summer sun ...
(Don't even think about the acidity of CO2 saturation in the stratified ocean ...)

Phil, IMO the vegetation feedbacks of tree growth & extension of forest range are not considered in the current models. I think the fast feedbacks encompasses things that operate within about a years timeframe, and treegrowth takes longer than that, perhaps a decade or three. Similarly with the decrease in extent of large glaciers. Both of these mechanisms mean that models would have to contain biological and icesheet dynamics (perhaps in parameterized form). So for the purpose of current analysis these effects are "new".

Most trees are managed by man. Faster growth (which is less likely than you think, species by species variability#) means a pine plantation is turned into toilet paper and newsprint in 24 years instead of 25.

A mature wild forest is carbon neutral and "increased growth" is unlikely to have much impact on carbon balance. Farmers and their helpers (sheep) routinely prevent expansion of forests.

# Greenhouse experiments show that modestly higher CO2 levels slow the growth of Icelandic birch and much higher levels kill them. They get confused and fail to properly winter harden.

I have shown pictures of cassava with doubled CO2, their root volume is 1/8th of today and their leaves turn poisonous.

Increased levels of CO2 are going to have many subtle negative effects on variosu species which will disrupt ecosystems.


Well, I would love to hear Kjell A and some climate guy go mano a mano on this issue! I'm swayed by KA and then CCPO comes along and sways me the other way. It's hard for me to believe that KA isn't aware of the issues raised by CCPO.

The one thing AK got right was that the US and Russia could have a huge impact by establishing a bilateral agreement to halt coal mining. If they convince the other top producers--Chindia, Australia, and So. Africa--they could achieve an 80% reduction in coal use. If Canada can also be convinced not to develop tar sands, we would be on the way to a response that begins to address the depth of the problem.

Likely to happen? Probably not. But the fact of the matter is that not everyone in the world needs to agree on a plan for there to be enormous cuts in the production of GHG's. We simply have to stop UN-sequestering vast quantities of carbon every year.

I don't think it's that simple.

Coal reserves might be a lot larger than estimated, if we include coal that's currently "too dirty to burn."

And look at what's happening in developing countries as petroleum products grow more expensive. They are burning wood and charcoal instead, or even PVC pipe, asphalt, etc. Trees that have shaded family courtyards for generations have been cut down. Mountainsides are being denuded.

Max Keiser sees problems in a Peak Oil Middle East. Interview with George Galloway, 'Max Keiser on the Real Deal', towards the end of the clip. http://maxkeiser.com

From the Max Keiser in the interview:

My sources in Saudi Arabia tell me that the Ghawar oil field, for the past three years, has shown 10 percent production decline.

I wonder if this means 10 percent per year for three years or just 10 percent total over three years. At any rate this is significant.

Ron P.

It was several items about the decline of Ghawar that I found on Google that led me to search peak oil as a term, and from there to TOD. As far back as 2004, the decline of Ghawar was a topic of interest. And, don't look for SA for a straight answer about rates, or anything else. Back in early '08 they were claiming goo gobs [seems like an appropriate term to use for heavy sour oil] of excess capacity, and were drilling like 500 new wells to facilitate demand. Their production increased nada.

Then they increased hot water injection with similar results, except they got a lot more water in the mix.

Then the world economy tanked and they breathed a sigh of relief!

IMO they are years past peak! They probably got a few extra barrels out during the frenzy last year, but that cost them for the future. Now they are doing all those exploratatories.

So, when push comes to shove, they are in decline. If they announced it or even admitted it, the panic it would cause would push the world economy farther into the tank, or at least sooner than it will be.

Again, this is my opinion. I could be wrong.

The items are still there. Here is 2004:\


Interesting... 8% is the stated rate, even back then!

This is why the U.S. will never be able to cope with peak oil. They have borrowed too much from the future and cannot pay for the changes needed today.

The couple bought the home for $520,000 early in 2006 with an adjustable rate subprime loan from IndyMac bank, which was shut by the government last year. Less than a year later, they said, they refinanced to lower their interest rate and took out $20,000 to pay off credit card debt.

As part of the refinancing, they took out a mortgage in the amount of $464,000 from HSBC bank with an interest rate of 6.8 percent, and a simultaneous second loan from Citimortgage for $126,000. The latter loan came with an interest rate of 9.5 percent.

This is why the U.S. will never be able to cope with peak oil.

I don't understand what that means, "cope with peak oil." I think bankrupcy copes adequately with the situation. It is just not very friendly or nice... even to think about.

On the otherhand, if that is what you have, what choice is there? And, where do we go from there?

IMO, at least, passing peak oil is going to change everything. It means peak population, and then we will see what a few billion hungry people decide to do. That is part of coping as well. Isn't it?

I suppose that, if we had adequate capital, we could 'cope' better, by creating a new energy paradigm involving solar, wind, geothermal and the rest. But, to do that, we would have to begin about 15 or 20 years ago... not a realistic thing to do. It isn't just the US in a bind. It is the entire world. We have squandered our inheritance... prodigal people. How we WILL cope the best we are able with what we have left. IMO it will not be fun, and our numbers as a species will drop - probably below sustaining levels at first. Kuntsler thinks we will survive... so does Greer. Some are not so certain.

Myself, I am with Greer. It looks like every time the economy tanks, demand drops, there is a modest adjustment, and we try
BAU. Then it happens again: 1979, 2009, ????

It will be an agonizingly slow, excruciatingly difficult period of change. I will not even try to predict how things will look when we are done, except to posit that none of us would recognize society in general when things come into balance.

i marvel at the ebb and flow of "information" and "data" presented on websites like the oil conundrum. often TOD lists articles on the same day that "cancel" each other out. and the "experts" that post comments,
what is a knucklehead to think? who is right and who is wrong? i gots to go to work, in my car, to eat and pay property taxes. if the paradigm of money collapses it will be sudden and brutal. only then will we know who was right and who was wrong. if the usa goes bankrupt will the gold man sacks people go bankrupt? will bernancke and summers and paulison and corzine, et al be living in tent cities with us knuckleheads? will the trillions of dollars they stole buy them food and electricity and gasoline and cheap plastic trinkets from china?
i burn wood. but going to work does not let me burn wood during the week. when you burn wood you have to get wood. i have some trees to remove on my modest lot, 1/3 acre. where i live, tree cutters get $1000 a pop to remove a 50 foot tall 24 inch diameter oak. cut rate fly by nighters do it for $600. then once the tree is down it has to get split. i bought a $150 pump type splitter made in china. on free spring and summer weekends you split wood. that involves lots of labor. and i put my solar carts out in the sun to charge up. it aint that romantic. it saves money but lots of personal time and labor investment. my wood burning is secondary and incidental. here's a rule of thumb. if you want wood as a primary source of heat in the midatlantic states, you need a stack of wood the same volume as your
house. most knuckleheads arent going to do do all that implies. cuts into surfing the web and posting comments on websites,heh-heh! but i am serious. when the money paradigm collapses and i dont have to go to work every day for 8 hours nor commute for 90 minutes i'll have lots of free time to burn wood. and if the electric grid collapses,
my 3KW PV array on the roof is useless. it's grid tied. no utility electric no solar electric.
climate is what you expect and weather is what you get. 2009 has been very cloudy with lots of precipitation (NJ). cooler than many previous years. a new trend? one sample is poor statistics. get back to me in a few hundred years. "it's all good" and quoting that same person whose name i cant remember, "changing light bulbs or driving
electric cars wont help".

OK, Hummbuga. Hope you feel better now.

Humbuggah, you need a hug, maybe some hot cocoa, maybe some EtOH.

Those panels are NOT useless, ham radio ppl and a lot of others know how to make a set like that and some car batteries a nice off the grid setup. When I'm able to build a shop and house I plan to be off the grid for a lot of things, since electricity is priced on a tiered system here and a little extra juice I use can be VERY expensive for the landowner.

Check ham radio etc sites for how to set up for off-the-grid and maybe get a nice hobby too. Truck stops RV catalogs etc are full of great 12V stuff.

As for pulling that tree, we do 'em ourselves here, I do NOT want to recommend not using a licensed arborist here but ....

Here man, (handing you a beer) here's a beer to cry in.

As I explained to Hum on a different thread, he can prepare for post-grid with a little knowledge and a few extra components. I think TOD's version of reality has him a little glum. If you don't cheer up man we're gonna change your handle to "Glumbubba".

Please don't take offense, but if you want people to take the time to read your posts, please learn how to punctuate properly, with capitals at the beginning of sentences and a couple of spaces at the end. Use paragraphs. One idea per paragraph. People might read you then.


You're still kvetching about your PV. Those panels aren't useless in a blackout, only your inverter is. And 3kw is a good little pile of power.. that's like 4hp. Yesterday it was the snow.. come on, if you're willing to split wood, you can't be that helpless.

You've got assets that you're saying you'd allow to lie fallow when there are fairly easy workarounds. A couple hundred dollars and you'd have a couple KWH standing by in Marine Batteries from that system, while this array should be able to feed your house with more than 15kwh on a good sunny day. That's more than enough for the necessities.

2009 has been very cloudy with lots of precipitation (NJ). cooler than many previous years. a new trend?

"Global Warming" is making it cooler. That's why they call it "Climate Change".

For once I agree. Climate Change is more accurate and descriptive of our future reality.

Western Europe may see much cooler weather due to a slowing or shutdown of the Gulf Stream, for one example.


It was a bit cooler summer in parts of the US and Canada this year, but warmer nearly everywhere else.

It's not cooling, it's nothing more than natural variability. And all that means is some variation somewhere (Hint: La Nina) is masking the uptake in energy due to the imbalance of the system caused by increasing GHGs (trapping more energy than can get out).

"The last 10 years are the warmest 10-year period of the modern record," said NOAA climate monitoring chief Deke Arndt. "Even if you analyze the trend during that 10 years, the trend is actually positive, which means warming."/


Temperatures over the past 12 years are 0.4 of a degree warmer than the dozen years leading up to 1997.


The BuCheney administration popularized (it was apparently coined in 1983! http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=climate+change ) Climate Change to downplay the seriousness of the situation. Now there's irony for you. Oh, and to you and the poster above who posted it, 2009 is not cooler than "many" previous years unless you think 2, 3 or 4 equals "many."

NOAA's National Climatic Data Center stated in its October Global Analysis that "[f]or the year to date, the global combined land and ocean surface temperature of 14.7 °C (58.4 °F) tied with 2007 as the fifth-warmest January-through-October period on record.


Add to that that I've read in the last day or two that November was so warm it might have pushed this year up to as high as third - depending on how December shapes up. Anecdotally, here in Detroit it just got winter cold in the last two or three days.

The US was quite cool this summer due to cut off lows, which are likely connected to changes in the Jet Stream, which are likely connected to its migration north... which is due to climate changes. However, the GLOBE was quite warm:

NOAA: United States saw "third coolest October on record." NOAA stated in its October "National Overview" that "[t]he average October temperature of 50.8°F was 4.0°F below the 20th Century average" and that "[f]or the nation as a whole, it was the third coolest October on record." Hannity may be mistaking the U.S. national October temperature for the global annual temperature. Globally, October was "the sixth warmest October on record," according to NOAA. And data for the year thus far, rather than for one month, indicate that 2009 is among the warmest years on record for the planet.


This should remind you of the 1932 (or whatever year it was) flap not long ago where US highs came in higher than 1998, but global highs did not. Here we have the opposite of that. In both cases, people are confusing regional changes with global.

But don't let facts stand in the face of propaganda, despite the Reader Guidelines.

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

It's not cooling, it's nothing more than natural variability

Sure, that's what they say publicly, but privately it's:

"where the heck is global warming?... The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't."


Oh? Try this quote:

The global mean temperature in 2008 was the lowest since about 2000 (Fig. 1). Given that there is continual heating of the planet, referred to as radiative forcing, by accelerating increases of carbon dioxide (Fig. 1) and other greenhouses due to human activities, why isn’t the temperature continuing to go up?

It's from a report published this year:

Trenberth, K. E., 2009: An imperative for adapting to climate change: Tracking Earth’s global energy. Current Opinion in nvironmental Sustainability, 1, 19-27. DOI 10.1016/j.cosust.2009.06.001.

Nothing private about that quote. Read the rest of the report, if you care for further information. Notice that your previous link to Watt's site cherry picked the same quote, without a link to the rest of the report.

E. Swanson

what is a knucklehead to think?

I hadda laugh. Knucklehead must be the word of the day, eh? You and Kuntsler?

Great fun, though.

But to be, hopefully, helpful. If you want to do some immediate good with solar, try a passive hot water heater. In most places, a basic set up will provide all the hot water you need, hotter than you could stand it. A demand type gas supplement would be nice, for those cloudy days in the dead of winter. But the savings would be about 1/2 or more of your gas, and a good bit of your electric if that is what you use now.

And, it is not tied to the electric grid! Of course, you might still have problems if you are on public water, but you can hedge that I guess. Do a small tank, gravity feed, using wind to pump water from your well...

Like clock-work, the media buildup on the climate science emails is perfectly synchronized to the Copenhagen meeting.

Look closely at the Y-axis, which is the number of news posts as reported by Google (these are separated since I have been monitoring Google since the original story broke). Over the weekend the number of articles which mention "climategate" went up by ~ 10x. All the echo chamber starting at the end of November paid off, and the complaints of media not covering this story are now moot.

This has the appearance of a carefully planned strategy to marginalize climate science.

We haven't seen nothing yet.

The empire has just begun to strike back.

I hope they follow the money right back to some big oil and get all their emails. That would be very informative ...

It's the Copenhagen conference that's moot. Perhaps they should come back in 3 years after the raw data has been reexamined. Perhaps NASA's data should be reexamined as well (by someone other than Hansen).


At least we have gotten you off your cornucopian oil outlook.

I just posted this to get the DKos crowd worked up:
"Climate skeptics lying about their credentials?"

I'm sure the Daily Kooks will appreciate that. But if McIntyre's credentials are suspect, what does that say about NASA's credentials making "mistakes" that McIntyre found?


Nothing. Everybody makes mistakes. One of the reasons for peer review is to find such errors. They are not a problem unless intentional like, say, the crap on clouds, etc.

What neither you nor McIntire speak of are the times he's been absolutely wrong. Being a statistician doesn't make him a climatologist and he messes up on a regular basis.

The claims of McIntyre and McKitrick, which hold that the “Hockey-Stick” shape of the MBH98 reconstruction is an artifact of the use of series with infilled data and the convention by which certain networks of proxy data were represented in a Principal Components Analysis (”PCA”), are readily seen to be false , as detailed in a response by Mann and colleagues to their rejected Nature criticism


MM claim that the main features of the Mann et al (1998–henceforth MBH98) reconstruction, including the “hockey stick” shape of the reconstruction, are artifacts of a) the centering convention used by MBH98 in their Principal Components Analysis (PCA) of the North American International Tree Ring Data Bank (’ITRDB’) data, b) the use of 4 infilled missing annual values (AD 1400-1403) in one tree-ring series (the ‘St. Anne’ Northern Treeline series), and c) the infilling of missing values in some proxy data between 1972 and 1980. Each of these claims are demonstrated to be false below.

[McIntyre and McKitrick have additionally been discredited in a recent peer-reviewed article by Rutherford et al (2004)]. ( http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=10 )


So the facts deal a death blow to yet another false claim by McIntyre and McKitrick. Despite the plain facts, as laid out here, however, their false claims have nonetheless been parroted in op-ed pieces of dubious origin and other non-peer-reviewed venues.


McIntyre has based his ‘critique’ on a test conducted by randomly adding in one set of data from another location in Yamal that he found on the internet. People have written theses about how to construct tree ring chronologies in order to avoid end-member effects and preserve as much of the climate signal as possible. Curiously no-one has ever suggested simply grabbing one set of data, deleting the trees you have a political objection to and replacing them with another set that you found lying around on the web.

The statement from Keith Briffa clearly describes the background to these studies and categorically refutes McIntyre’s accusations.


Near as I can tell, McIntyre is the fraud here, pretending to be something he isn't, which is a scientist. A climate scientist. Keep this in mind the next time you think you are qualified to, oh, pilot a space ship, do open heart surgery, etc.

Despite his protestations to objectivity, his actions say he is biased. Why does he never go poring through, say, WattsInMyPants work, which is riddled with poor work. Why didn't he go after the mistaken tropospheric data? Why no critiques of Soon? Baliunas? Spencer? All have produced bad work. Why does McIntyre focus only on people doing actual, quality science?


The real story is that the hockey team didn't want to give up their code for the hockey stick until Congress forced them to. What MM found was that you could input any data (even noise) and the program would produce a hockey stick! lol

Most of MM's findings were vindicated in the Wegmen report:

MBH98 and MBH99 were found to be "somewhat obscure and incomplete" and the criticisms by McIntyre and McKitrick were found to be "valid and compelling."
The report claimed that the MBH method creates a hockey-stick shape even when supplied with random input data (Figure 4.4), and argues that the MBH method uses weather station data from 1902 to 1995 as a basis for calibrating other input data. "It is not clear that Dr. Mann and his associates even realized that their methodology was faulty at the time of writing the MBH paper. The net effect of the decentering is to preferentially choose the so-called hockey stick shapes." (Section 4)
The report found that MBH method creates a PC1 statistic dominated by bristlecone and foxtail pine tree ring series (closely related species). However there is evidence in the literature, that the use of the bristlecone pine series as a temperature proxy may not be valid (suppressing "warm period" in the hockey stick handle); and that bristlecones do exhibit CO2-fertilized growth over the last 150 years (enhancing warming in the hockey stick blade).
It is noted that there is no evidence that Mann or any of the other authors in paleoclimatology studies have had significant interactions with mainstream statisticians.
A social network of authorships in temperature reconstruction is described of at least 43 authors with direct ties to Mann by virtue of having coauthored papers with him. The findings from this analysis suggest that authors in the area of paleoclimate studies are closely connected and thus ‘independent studies’ may not be as independent as they might appear on the surface. Dr. Wegman stated this was a "hypothesis", and "should be taken with a grain of salt."[44]
Many of the same proxies are reused in most of the "independent studies" so these "cannot really claim to be independent verifications."[45]
It is important to note the isolation of the paleoclimate community; even though its members rely heavily on statistical methods they do not seem to interact with the statistical community. Additionally, the Wegman team judged that the sharing of research materials, data, and results was done haphazardly and begrudgingly.
Overall, the committee believes that Mann’s assessments, that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium, cannot be supported by his analysis.

McIntyre is a WHOPPING liar, on par with Jon Lovitz's character.

McIntyre is not a climate-science insider, with peer-reviewed articles in journals that the hockey team firmly controlled. He's an amateur with mathematical chops, with a serious track record for spotting statistical funny business. McIntyre, who spent decades in mineral exploration, was involved in exposing the Bre‑X fraud in Canada several years ago. Bre‑X was a gold mining company promising fat profits on a new proprietary technology for ore deposits in Borneo; McIntyre smelled a rat and demanded the raw data. Bre‑X collapsed shortly after.

Can you read that? If the claim is that you exposed a fraud when in fact you didn't, that qualifies as presenting false credentials. So the fact that McIntyre supposedly exposed the BIGGEST mining fraud in history (Bre-X), when in fact he didn't makes him irrelevant.

Try reading what is posted for you to read. McIntyre claims that yet another statistician is more qualified to discuss The Hockey Stick than, oh, climatologists. Quackery. Let us review, shall we?

1. Hockey stick shows current warming greater than any time going back 600 years or better.

2. M&M claim it has errors.

3. Legitimate errors addressed; a number of the supposed errors, aren't. Hockey Stick still there, though a little more wavy than before, with bigger dip for LIA. Basic conclusions not undone in any way, shape, or form.


5. New hockey stick shows current warming greater than any time going back 2000 years.

6. M&M say.... squat.

And yet...



You have to be utterly dishonest to continue to misrepresent past events as more than they were and also pretend that in the intervening decade no other work has supported the original conclusions you claim are bunk. Not only were the 1990's the hottest on record at that time, the 2000's have been hotter still.

Remember this?

Temp Anomalies,

Where are your ethics?

The Met Office is confident that its analysis will eventually be shown to be correct.

I've yet to see an honest post from you on this topic. How you do post nothing but false or misleading posts on a given topic the way you do?

They know you could throw out all of the HadCRU work and still not put a dent in ACC science or soundness. They also know fools will continue to lie about the quality of the data until they do all the work over again. That they are using this exercise to pressure the met offices to allow distribution of their data is laudable. Lemonade out of lemons.

However, it says it wants to create a new and fully open method of analysing temperature data.

Yet, you choose to characterize it as admitting the data is suspect. This is revealing, but not about the data.

Yet, you choose to characterize it as admitting the data is suspect. This is revealing, but not about the data.

It is well known to anyone who has studied this debate that data gets "adjusted". Here NOAA is showing a graph of their "adjustments".


What we have with the "leaked" emails is admission (in their own words) that the hockey team is deliberately altering data in order to show a predetermined conclusion (global warming).

And an admission the realclimate.org (your favorite site) is nothing more than a propaganda tool:

Anyway, I wanted you guys to know that you’re free to use RC in any way you think would be helpful. Gavin and I are going to be careful about what comments we screen through, and we’ll be very careful to answer any questions that come up to any extent we can. On the other hand, you might want to visit the thread and post replies yourself. We can hold comments up in the queue and contact you about whether or not you think they should be screened through or not, and if so, any comments you’d like us to include.


Will you please go someplace else and bug a different group of people.

Most readers of TOD have already had to suffer far too much denialist nonsense to be interested in your fallacious comments.

This site supports robust debate on many energy related topics, but does not not need the tired old stance of climate change denial any longer. We have all heard the pathetic arguments and suppositions too many times to be even remotely interested.

If you could by some chance come up with some new, solid, peer reviewed research from some reputable source that gives even the slightest reason for readers to re-evaluate their positions, such information would be welcomed.

As it now stands, it appears to me that you have nothing of value to offer to the discussions on this site.

Nothing was "peer reviewed" by the hockey team. As Wegmen points out, it was their "social network" that reveiwed the work.

And the climate scamsters often point to the lack of skeptics' theories published in science journals. It's interesting that the leaked emails point out just how hard they've been trying to keep the skeptics OUT of science journals!

“This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the “peer-reviewed literature”. Obviously, they found a solution to that–take over a journal! So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board…What do others think?”

“I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor.”“It results from this journal having a number of editors. The responsible one for this is a well-known skeptic in NZ. He has let a few papers through by Michaels and Gray in the past. I’ve had words with Hans von Storch about this, but got nowhere. Another thing to discuss in Nice !”

How scientific and professional can you get!

Shock and Horrors !!

Scientists play office politics too !

That just about sums up "Climate Gate". Oh, and one of them fudges his income taxes.



please go someplace else and bug a different group of people

I would caution against censorship of differing points of view.

There are many ways to handle differing points of view.
You don't have to call everyone a troll and kick them aside.

Perhaps an in depth analysis (dissection) of the "conservationist's" brain patterns may be instructive.


Over here. Pay attention.

1) You inherently agree that the GW-proponents methodically collect climate data. (This is so because you can't fudge "the" data until after you have collected it.) With that in mind, who are the data collectors on the anti-GW side and where is their data? You want truth in advertising. Fair is fair. Show us you cards. Where is your data? Who collected it and how? Where did they publish it? Did they fudge their numbers or spin their language? Do they have an economic-political goal that supersedes the goals of the GW-proponents? In other words, might greed for money and power cause oil and coal tycoons to launch a major denialist campaign? How do you answer the charges made at this link:
The Manufactured Doubt Industry and the Hacked Email Controversy

2) You have been making demands for answers about Climategate (CG) from the GW-proponents. But that means under rules of fairness that you have to answer questions about CleanCoalGate (CCG).

If ever there were a bunch of fraud flinging fiends, it would be your friends and foxes over at the CleanCoalGate (CCG) manufacture and dump site.

How do you answer the charges made at this link:
Coal Is Deadly, Not Cheap

If anything, ClimateGate pales in comparison to the lies generating machinery of the CleanCoalGate (CCG) manufacture and dump site. So if anything, you need to start answering questions about that first.

3) Folks here at TOD have predictive models about resource depletion and resource spoliation. They see the world as finite globe where eventually there are consequences to lighting a match near the drapes.

What predictive models whiz around in your head? Is it the Buzz Lightyear view of the Universe, that we can keep pumping more and more CO2 into the atmosphere without end and without consequence? From here to infinity and beyond? Is that your model?

Inquiring TODders want to know.

Only 45% (silly Democrats) still believe in AGW:


And yeah, Obama has saved jobs. He's just lost a lot more than he's saved! lol

It depends on which poll you look at and who gets polled:


LONDON (AFP) – Most people worldwide believe climate change is a very serious problem that their governments must tackle, a poll said Monday, as the landmark Copenhagen summit on the issue was set to get under way.

However the poll of more than 24,000 people also showed concern about rising global temperatures from man-made emissions has dropped in the United States and China -- the world's two biggest polluters.

Sixty-four percent of people think climate change is a "very serious" problem, up from 44 percent of those polled in 1998, according to the GlobeScan survey conducted for Britain's BBC World Service.

IMO, any poll in the US can be categorized as a "TrollPoll".

Here's some data for ya:


Doesn't look quite so ominous does it?

And what "we" pump is less than 5% of the total. The other 95+ % is produced naturally. And with regards to the amount, even if we DOUBLED the CO2 level in the atmosphere (this would take some time BTW), it would still be less than 1/10 of 1%. Those are facts, look it up.

You don't have to be an aerodynamicist to be able to look at a pile of bricks and say it won't fly.

Hi Conservationist.

Thank you for the link. Would you mind clarifying if the curves you liked to are the standard deviations? The legend seems to say sd_UAH, sd_GISS, etc. So are you saying that the data is accurate within less than one sigma? Would you mind clarifying how that's relevant for global warming.

For comparison the reader can look at GISS temperature data,
which if I'm not mistaking is one of the data series for which conservationist showed the SD.

Normally I would caution against censorship as well, especially if there are valid scientific questions that are still outstanding.

But eventually you reach a point where it is time to move on, and further discussions are just a waste of time. Nobody debates the link between smoking and cancer any more. With the exception of some religious zealots, nobody disputes evolution any more. Nobody disputes plate tectonics or quantum mechanics any more.

To the deniers: Until you can produce peer-reviewed papers that show some point you wish to make, I am not interested in reading more of these discussions. And to suggest that the explanation for the absence of such papers is because of a conspiracy merely highlights the weakness of your arguments.

I concur, with two addendums.

*IF* there are paid hacks/trolls out there (paid by, say, Exxon), TOD is one logical site to concentrate on. It would be quite difficult to separate the paid from the zealous unpaid that refuse to modify their positions despite logic and contrary evidence.

And there is a mindset here @ TOD, where logic and science intersect, and we have robust debates (I have been on one side or another for a number of them). By bringing forth new data and new arguments/POVs, the positions of both sides evolve (rarely to complete agreement, but modified none the less).

The entire ClimateGate episode has taught me that scientists play office politics and nothing else. I already knew that paleoclimate research is extraordinarily difficult##, but Climate Change does not even need the support of paleoclimate research#. Zero it out and our understanding diminishes significantly, but there remains a VERY strong case for dramatic action none the less.

There is no modification to the dogmatism of the deniers and they bring nothing else to the table. Because they do not follow the established TOD ethos, I would happy to see them gone.

# Using just records from good ground based weather reporting (some back to 1800s, widespread by 1920s) and space based since 1960/61, and some knowledge of physics, one can prove that adding 100+ ppm of CO2 will change the climate. One has enough data to run climate models on older data and then "test" the models against the most recent data and project even more global warming.

Go to BIONC (google) and pick ClimatePrediction (last one on the list) to run your very own climate model on your computer. They start about 1810 (no paleoclimate data needed) and the UK Met Office gives you a specific model with slightly different parameters. Do that a few million times and then select the models that give the best prediction for the future seems to be their approach. Empirical selection. About 500 hours/model on my computer.

No paleoclimate data required.

Best Hopes,


Sir may I caution you against going down the conspiratorial method of debate. I could easily drop the facts that AGW has been in the realm of late nite talk radio with Art Bell and his lunatic conspirators, like Whitley Streiber. Art bless his heart even wrote a book about the "Quickening" which closes out with a call for world government to allocate resources. The alien implant crowd I hate to say beat most of your side to the punch.

The multi-decade "conspiracy" of the tobacco companies is established historical fact (with copy cats in the asbestos and other toxics). There is public evidence that Exxon (and API under ex-Exxon CEO) are starting down the same path to deny Climate Change with the same moral rectitude.

Ignoring Real Politik Reality is not called for. Just note the timing of the release of these eMails (and I am still unclear who paid to hack them) as circumstantial evidence that Exxon and the deniers have the same moral compass as Reynolds Tobacco.



Do you notice something?

He ran away.


Because he's a manipulative personality.
His game is to send analytical people into problem solving mode over and over again. He does this by asking questions and demanding answers.

The minute you turn the table on him and start doing some asking instead of answering, he runs off like a cockroach caught in the spotlight. He knows his own game when it's played on him in return.

Sir they no doubt have the same moral rectitude as GS and the other carbon kings, but it is not them that are reducing climate science to the farce of political correctness. Funny how you mention tobacco the only more addictive substance than nicotine is taxes, funny how that works. If my carbon foot print makes me responsible for destroying the planet in your opinion then it is my opinion that you are responsible for a grave injustice of taking my family's money that we earned to give to GS and King Albert Gore all the while they use far more "carbon" than I or my family.

Typical of a denialist MO--when cornered, quick change the subject to GS or to that ultimate big bad boogyman of the denialist fringe, Al Gore.

Truly sad.

This is it entirely. The debate here is supposed to be robust, yet assertions are allowed to stand as fact and "researchers" who aren't are held as equal to actual researchers. When an interesting question is asked, the scientists answer. Up to the current moment, nothing the denialists has raised has held up.

The troposphere? No. It was investigated and the error was in the data set.

Sun cycles? No. Accounted for. Not ignored, but studied and accounted for.

Other solar? No. Accounted for. Not ignored, but studied and accounted for.

Clouds? No. Accounted for. Not ignored, but studied and accounted for.

Just because? No. Accounted for. Not ignored, but studied and accounted for.

By the same token, the denialists will not respond to any legitimate question.

Their funding? Silence.

When you point out the FACT of Big Business underwriting denial? Silence.

When you point out the direct movement of people from the pro-smoking lobby to the anti-AGW lobby? Silence.

When you point out Big Business ignored their own scientists? Silence.

When you point out only a tiny handful of legit climate scientists support an anti-AGW stance, and that those have ties to Big Business? Silence.

When you point out that there are 8 to 14 TIMES more anti-AGW lobbyists in Washington - and that number swelled to those huge proportions ONLY THIS YEAR - than pro-AGW lobbyists, what do you hear? Silence.

When you point out that there were multiple posters all over the internet last fall, some of them here at TOD, stating the tide would change and AGW would be gone this year, then see the rise in lobbyists, then see that virtually every post, article or paper on AGW is swarmed with anti-AGW comments, then see this e-mail bull, what do you hear? Silence.

This isn't objective debate, this is a coordinated attack with anything BUT the truth in mind. How could there possibly be a 14 - 1 imbalance in favor of a position that has ZERO scientific merit?

This is propaganda on a scale that dwarfs anything ever seen.


AGW is losing in the polls, commons mistake thinking because someone is afraid to speak out and violate some canon of PC that they are for it. As an example I work with mostly democrats and they are split evenly, some its a holy writ that gives them some sense of superiority and for others it is a joke but a joke they dare not mention lest it invoke the charge that they want to kill polar bears, pollute the world and not want to raise taxes on "Big Oil." As for the science some years ago the mostest smartestest man on the planet extrapolated a hypothesis that Kuwait's oil fires would plunge us into Nuclear Winter, nope not at all. Your putting a tax on the very people whose standards of living are going to plunge dramatically, all for a hypothesis that has reduced climate science to a farce of PC.

Argumentation by assertion.

A.K.A propaganda.

FYI, the tax I support is the one outlined by Hansen. I would change it to return the money only to those in the lowest third of wage earners. I do not support cap and trade.

Now be quiet since you have nothing to say.

AGW is losing in the polls

We have noted the vast propaganda machine, have we not? I have pointed out the sui-genocidal nature of such propaganda, have I not?

Your response to "There's a mountain of science" with "You're losing in the polls!" is the perfect example of the insanity you encourage.


ex said, "As for the science some years ago the mostest smartestest man on the planet extrapolated a hypothesis that Kuwait's oil fires would plunge us into Nuclear Winter, nope not at all."

Well, I guess that's it for science, then. We can throw that whole idea of testing hypotheses right out the window and go back to truth by decree of the church (presumably the church of ex).

Really, this level of argumentation is so far below the level of even the dimmer lights here on TOD (of which I count myself one). If we are going to be over-run by this kind of idiocy, most of the more intelligent posters will not bother coming here.

What about the silence (in mainstream media and the like) about the fact that over 30,000 scientist (including 9000 PHD's) signed a petition last year refuting claims about man-made global warming?

I have seen a lot of evidence both ways. There are long range tree studies that have been surpressed, data that has been erased (both in England and by the EPA), and many different opinions that have been squelched.

I personally would like to know how it was that when I went to Glacier Bay Alaska last year the nature conservationist tour guide who worked for the Park Service said that where we were cruising in the bay would have been under a mile of ice 300 years ago (pre-Ford) and it's been changing since recorded?

Also, if you look at many 1 1/2 million year records we are high but not necessarily extreme. I also heard a climatologist on the radio two weeks ago saying that he believes we are in a 19,000 year warming cycle and also that some islands he studied indicate sea levels have been as high as 15' higher than they are today (even if not man-made that would be a real problem eventually but not this century).

If we were heading into a natural cooling period then people would likely be shouting about global cooling (as Time Magazine did on its cover in the 70's). I don't have a firm opinion because I think the evidence is mixed but plenty of politicians have just as strong an interest (or more) in squelching debate as others have. One thing I do know is it is Not unananamous by far. Look up climate-gate on the web and read about the other side. It is not clear....

For an explanation of that petition, read


And also see why Climate Change deniers have the moral equivalence of the tobacco and asbestos deniers.


Went to look at cite with anticipation I would learn something relevant and useful. Makes 100% illogical arguments:

- Some 13 reports and tobacco companies conspired so 30000 independent scientists must be lying and therefore there is manmade global warming

- There are many lobbyists and vested interests opposed to global warming thought so therefore the planet must be warming and it must be manmade causes.

I have asked the question about Glacier Bay twice now and never received a single explanation. I don't know whether there is global warming and I don't know if there is manmade global warming but I do know that those who are positive have there head in the sand and refuse to look at both sides. Research climate-gate on the web for 15 minutes. It's not hard to find both sides.

The site shows that the "30,000 independent scientists" is a lie based upon deception.

First, they were duped by the whore# for the tobacco industry (later bought by the climate deniers) by appearing as National Academy of Sciences correspondence. A sample by Scientific Americans shows that half would reaffirm their position, and a majority did not have advanced degrees (hint: scientists have advanced degrees; at least 99% do) so those that signed were not scientists.

As for Glacier Bay, I do not know about that specific glacier (perhaps some local effects *IF* what you say is true), but I saw former Icelandic glaciers that have been there for thousands of years have disappeared into two patches of ice , with all of the retreat in the last 35 years.

Same for Alps, etc.


# Apologies to working girls, their morality is far superior to that scum's

There have been a few interesting ongoing developments in the field of electric commercial vehicles some of which have been mentioned on drumbeats. One from this DB is the story on the series hybrid electric buses built by Designline that, have a small turbine as the prime mover for their range extender. I mentioned this bus in my post on Electric Commercial Vehicles earlier this year.

Another series hybrid that has been evaluated by the New York MTA is an interesting unit manufactured by DesignLine. This unit uses electricity generated by an on-board micro turbine manufactured by Capstone Turbine Corporation, a supplier of micro turbines for use in Combined Heat and Power applications. This turbine boasts one moving part with air bearings. It will be interesting to see how these fare in the long term. What makes this vehicle unique is that its traction motor and auxiliary power unit (turbine-generator) contain a total of three (I stand corrected, it's two) moving parts!

Apparently the evaluation went well enough for the New York MTA to expand the evaluation by acquiring 30 of these buses with an option to buy 60 more. It will be interesting to see if the turbine will require less maintenance and last longer than the regular diesel engines. Theoretically this bus should require a lot less maintenance. It is my impression that the turbine is not particularly fussy about the fuel used and would work equally well with diesel, kerosene, biodiesel or jet fuel.

An interesting side note, a wealthy developer from Electronic Arts (video games) has used essentially the same turbine as a range extender in a sports car he built using a kit car platform (Factory Five GTM). The car was on display at the LA auto show and uses Lithium ion batteries and a similar AC Propulsion drivetrain to that used in the electric Minis being tested by BMW.

This got me to wondering if combined cycle turbine based power plants could be developed for rail and marine applications to increase the efficiency in the use of fuel. Just a thought

Alan from the islands

What is the MPG on the turbine hybrids vs diesel hybrids?


WeekendPeak, your question made me realize that the couple links I provided did not furnish much information about fuel efficiency so, I've done a little digging. From a press release issued by Capstone after receiving a 150 unit order for C30 Capstone MicroTurbines, according to Darren Jamison, President and Chief Executive Officer of Capstone Turbine Corporation.

In recent product demonstrations the ECOSaver IV hybrid buses when equipped with our turbine have seen up to a 100% improvement in fuel economy over a traditional diesel bus which equates to fuel savings of up to 6,000 gallons per year according to DesignLine

The most informative story I could find was this one from chicagobus.org.

As the turbine engine requires significantly less fuel than a traditional diesel engine, the buses are able to achieve between 7 to 8 miles per gallon. CTA’s current 40-foot hybrid buses average just 3.95 mpg. The newest 1000-series diesel buses average 3.28 mpg.

As for the cost of the buses,

The CTA says it would need to negotiate creative financing deals to acquire the buses, which cost approximately $580,000 each. CTA’s current 40-foot hybrids cost approximately $570,000 each and a regular diesel bus cost between $350,000 and $375,000 each.

My gut tells me that these buses are a very sound concept. Whether their performance will justify their cost in the medium to long term is another matter.

Alan from the islands

What is the MPG on the turbine hybrids vs diesel hybrids?

You have to realize that turbines work best at unvarying high power outputs. Their part-throttle fuel economy is truly abysmal. By contrasts, diesels are extremely efficient at part-throttle operation, but become less inefficient at full throttle, blowing black smoke, making a lot of noise, and generally being annoying.

So, which mode do buses and cars spend most of their time in? BING! Yes, the correct answer is part throttle. Leave the turbines for jet aircraft.

Ahhh, but in this application the turbine is started and run at close to full throttle to maintain the charge on the batteries. If it is not needed, it is shut down completely, hence the fairly remarkable fuel efficiency claims. While I acknowledge that the "100% increase in fuel economy" is coming from the head of the company that is making the turbines, as well as some technical inaccuracies in the quote that tried to explain why the buses got better mileage, I still think the concept is sound. I would love to hear from someone with more intimate knowledge of these things, whether it would be practical to set up a combined cycle type power plant in situations where size and weight are less of an issue, like trains and ships.

Alan from the islands

A few years back when I played stocktrading games with alt energy stock, Capstone was the only one I lost money on (fairly badly it turned out). I think their problem is the things are bloody durned expensive. Admittedly that may be due to product immaturity and low production volume. They are reasonably efficient, and can utilize crappy fuel and/or waste heat. But some practical questions remain. Cost of the product. How big and heavy a power plant do you need -important for transport operations. Not having asked these questions cost me some bucks a few years back. I don't know the current answers, but they need be asked. Otherwise this is just another fuel-cell powered vehicle -great for PR claims, but orders of magnitude more costly than the competition.