The Bullroarer - Friday 11th December 2009

The Australian - Record coal exports as prices fall

AUSTRALIA had record coal export volumes in October, despite pulling in its lowest revenues for both coal and iron ore in more than 18 months as China's rebuilding of stockpiles drew to a halt and the dollar continued to rise.
Bureau of Statistics figures show a $524 million, or 10 per cent, drop in monthly coal and iron ore revenue was completely related to price falls, with volumes increasing in both minerals as other markets like Japan, Korea and India took up the slack from China.,nz - Imagining 2020 #4: Green Crude by Pete Fowler

Kurzweil maintains that right now, nanotechnology, genetic engineering and robotics are the main drivers of technological advance. The production of crude oil from atmospheric CO2 and water will be mostly a triumph of genetic engineering.

Nature took hundreds of millions of years to produce the crude oil which, in about 200 years, we’ll have exhausted. If we can speed up this process, and produce all our liquid fuels and chemical industry feedstocks, and some stock feed and human food from atmospheric CO2 and waste, by a process many times as efficient as farming, without diverting farmland or native bush, on the same timescale as the rate at which we deplete fossil fuel, we’ll have solved the problems of peak oil and global warming, and a few lesser problems.

Big Pond News - Oil running out faster than admitted

Money begets oil, oil begets money.

As oil becomes harder to get, it will become worth more.

Then the giant oil companies will spend more money to get at deeper, poorer-quality crude.

However, a 2007 bipartisan report handed to the Senate warned 'the difficulty, cost and environmental problems of exploiting (deeper oil reserves) means it is unlikely that they can be brought on stream in time or in enough quantity to make up for the predicted decline of conventional oil'.

While the coming of peak oil remains largely unaddressed in Australia, environmentalists are desperately attempting to drag it into the light.

Australia.To - OIL: A Market Psychology of Fear?

”Many inside the organisation (IEA) believe that maintaining oil supplies at even 90 million to 95 million barrels a day would be impossible, but there are fears that panic could spread on the financial markets if the figures were brought down further,” a senior IEA official told the Guardian.

According to the confidential RCMP documents, ”[censored]... a market psychology of fear will continue to place a 'geopolitical premium' on crude oil, keeping prices for oil products higher than market fundamentals along would dictate.”

It is this fear that the IEA is trying to placate. However, many believe a binding deal at Copenhagen seems like a more reasonable approach to reduce oil dependency than the current policy of fudging the numbers.

ABC - Abbott accused of climate costing blunder

The Federal Government has accused Opposition Leader Tony Abbott of running a climate change "scare campaign" by making a $250 billion costing error on the price of reducing Australia's carbon emissions.

TVNZ - NZ distances itself from Danish texts

New Zealand is distancing itself from leaked Danish texts at the Copenhagen Climate Conference, despite admitting it was approached about them.

A storm is brewing at the international conference where draft proposals from the host country have divided attending delegates.

The leaked Danish documents reveal a draft proposal which would allow rich countries to cut fewer emissions while poorer nations would have tougher greenhouse gas limits. - Causes of Climate Change not 'Settled'
I know I create outrage whenever I post something like this, but I think it is worth noting that regardless of the state of the science, the state of people's BELIEF about the science is still subject to uncertainty. There is a whole ideology devoted to creating this uncertainty. This has consequences. This concept also applies to Peak Oil. It doesn't matter that a person such as myself can look at a few graphs and conclude that the Peak Oil argument is compelling. Most people aren't trained to look at things that way. We need to be reminded of this sometimes because policies and actions are dictated by this simple fact. If we can't change their mind, we are doomed to the policies and actions that they decide upon. I believe that this is legitimate news and has a place in this post.

The International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC - see today released the names of over 140 leading climate experts from 17 countries who are asking the United Nations and other supporters of this month's Climate Change Conference to produce convincing OBSERVATIONAL EVIDENCE for their claims of dangerous human-caused global warming (AGW) and other changes in climate. - Private Sector Must Support of Global Climate Deal

Business Leadership Vs. Business as Usual?

Private Sector Must Rally in Support of Global Climate Deal

Progressive businesses must continue to speak up in support of a strong climate deal in Copenhagen or risk allowing their head-in-the-sand competitors to derail the talks, cautioned Oxfam International today, ahead of high-level events on the private sector’s role in tackling climate change.

With conflicting voices emerging from the business community – one calling for ambitious and urgent action and the other for obfuscation and delay – Oxfam is urging progressive business leaders to encourage wavering governments to show leadership in the international negotiations.

Big Pond News - Exergen unhappy with coal decision

A Victorian company says it's disappointed the state government appears to have abandoned talks aimed at allocating its brown coal to sell to India.


Brown coal .. which has a high water content and is a high-polluting fuel .. is not traded on the export markets because it's too expensive to ship compared to its energy output.

Radio Australia - China increases role in NSW coal industry

The Chinese Government is set to become an even bigger force in the Australian state of New South Wales' coal industry, with a takeover of Felix Resources clearing the final hurdle.

Courier Mail - Brisbane woman goes 35 days without food for climate action

A BRISBANE climate campaigner has gone 35 days with just water and teaspoons of salt in an effort to press world leaders to radically cut emissions of greenhouse gases.

Pete Fowler's "green Crude" article has given me a dilemma. Do I keep trying to develop the perpetual motion machine, or do I give that up and start working to make the laws of thermodynamics subject to Moore's law?!?

Yes I was thinking the same thing. Apparently, every year that goes by, we burn fossil fuels that have taken natural photosynthesis (plus some amazing geological processes) around a million years to accumulate.

So maybe genetically mutated bugs won't quite perform the hoped-for trick, unless we can feed some serious energy into those suckers... Giant magnifying glass in space, anyone?

- Hmm, and I wonder how much concentrated heat our vats of franken-bugs and bio-oil will be able to stand...? (Oh my goodness, the chips!)

Geology schmeology. All we need is for enough economists to assume that the invisible hand can speed up the process by a factor of about a million or so and ... viola ... problem solved and Nobel Prizes all round! How hard can it be?!?

I live in Australia and the bid for the FIFA World Cup made me wonder about the price of aviation fuel in 2018 or 2022.

The Australian govt has already gone into large debt with stimulus spending because of the global financial crisis. To stage a Soccer World Cup the govt will spend many $100millions of taxpayer dollars on building stadia, wooing high ranking FIFA officials, security, compensating local football codes like Australian Rules and Rugby League - the total bill may be several $billion.

However we are told it will all be worth it for the fun of the tournament and for the tourist dollars it will bring.

But this is only if 100,000s of tourists fly all the way down here to see the World Cup. That will surely happen in todays world. But what if aviation fuel was 2, 3, 5 or 10 times today's price??

So do TOD readers have any predictions on the price of long haul aviation in 2018 or 2022 (the two years Australia is bidding to host the World Cup)? It really could be a good argument to float now to get Australians thinking about peak oil. Australia is ill prepared with long road transport and cities based on cars and urban sprawl - we need to start preparing a decade ago.

Bread and circuses,pH,that is what the FIFA joke is about,plus the BOOST from building facilities(which I'm sure we really need) and the megabucks all the tourists will spend.

Seriously,I doubt if we will have a long haul aviation industry of any significance in 10 years and there won't be too many international tourists either.

Sorry,just a little dose of reality for those who think BAU will continue in some form or another.

pH, you might like to check out this work by Cameron Leckie.

thanks, and looks grim, will enjoy my air travel while I can (and pay my off-sets) - well maybe ASPO Australia can use the World Cup bid as a way to highlight the need to factor in peak oil.

Remember to "focus on the donut, not the hole". Too many people focus narrowly on the nominal price of fuel and the direct impacts of peak oil. Don't fall into this trap. Learn as much as you can about the complexities, i.e. second and third order impacts. For example there is a lively debate about whether the economic consequences will be deflationary or hyper-inflationary. In either case the main issue for air travel over the long term is more likely to be demand destruction than the direct impacts of fuel price and availability (see for example Roger Bezdek's presentation from the 2007 ASPO-USA conference), except for periodic oil shocks. If you are debt-free and have a secure job, I envisage that you will still be able to afford air travel for quite some time. Don't bother paying 'offsets', they are a scam. Pay off your debts instead.

The truth about offsets...

For one thing, he said, offsetting the emissions of a flight from London to New York would probably require an extra fee of $200 to $300, far above what any airline is now charging...

“Buying offsets won’t solve the problem because flying around the way we do is simply unsustainable,” said Ms. Kollmuss, who has researched airline offsets.

A recent study in Britain concluded that one flight from London to Los Angeles produced more carbon dioxide per person than the average British commuter produces in a year by traveling by train, subway or car.

Airlines defend offsets, even while acknowledging that some projects have not lived up to their promises. For example, mango trees that were planted in India to offset a concert tour by the band Coldplay were found to have died a few years later...

...the final straw came when he noticed that carbon offsets were being offered by private jet companies and helicopter tour operators, which generate very high emissions per passenger. “The message was, ‘Don’t worry, you can offset the emissions,’ ” he said. “But you don’t really need to see Sydney from the air, do you?”

"AUSTRALIA had record coal export volumes in October..."

Does anyone else find it a little inconsistent that under the CERS one can secure carbon credits by buying forest in another country and then promising not to cut it down, but at the same time, one can export as much coal as one chooses to that country for its inhabitants to burn without attracting a penalty???
(Especially if the country to which you are exporting has only a weak CERS of its own.)

Maybe this is part of the reason why Penny Wong, Kevin Rudd and Australia's delegation to the Climate conference are considered a bunch of backsliders and hypocrites and have no credibility in Copenhagen?

It's curious too that other countries can see the hypocrisy to which we here at home seem blind. This is probably due to the focus on the struggle within the Coalition over Climate Change which makes the government look relatively Green in comparison.

Anyway, it looks as though the conference in Copenhagen is going to fizzle out into failure leaving the people of the world in a vast pit of despair- and who knows what might emerge from that?