Drumbeat: December 22, 2009

Energy 2.0: What Comes From After Oil

What happens after the world hits peak oil and prices skyrocket? Or when coal pushes the carbon count in the atmosphere into the danger zone? Soylent Green might turn out to be more prophetic than you thought. But, luckily, entrepreneurs are devising new ways to produce energy even beyond solar and wind. Here are some of the more intriguing and far out ones.

Iran: Border spat with Iraq was misunderstanding

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran on Tuesday said its recent takeover of an Iraqi oil well was the result of a "misunderstanding" and called for the two nations to open talks to clearly demarcate their border.

The Iranian and Iraqi foreign ministers spoke over the weekend and agreed to re-establish a long-standing joint border committee, said Ramin Mehmanparast, spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry. He said it was critical that the committee immediately get down to work.

Venezuela Orders 20% Reduction in Electricity Use

(Bloomberg) -- Venezuela’s government ordered a 20 percent reduction in electricity use and set restrictions on malls, billboards and casinos as the South American country suffers its worst drought in at least 40 years.

Large companies with electricity demand above 5 megawatts per month and apartment complexes with demand exceeding 2 megawatts a month must reduce their usage by 20 percent from the same period a year earlier or face fines, according to a government resolution published today in the Official Gazette.

Venezuela began to ration water and electricity in November after a drought caused by the El Nino weather pattern cut water levels to almost record lows in reservoirs and rivers that power hydroelectric plants. President Hugo Chavez is asking residents to take 3-minute showers and accept rolling blackouts to prevent a total collapse of the electricity system.

Study: Risks, Benefits to Israel of Increasing Reliance on Natural Gas

Israel is running out of capacity to meet its electricity demands. Its power grid is not connected to that of any other nation, making it an electricity "island." Partly for reasons of supply security, Israel has relied heavily on imported coal supplies to fuel its electric-power-generating plants. Now, given how long it takes to build new electric-power plants, Israel faces the need to make expensive, critical decisions on investing in new baseload-generating capacity in the near future.

Method makes refineries more efficient

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Refineries could trim millions of dollars in energy costs annually by using a new method developed at Purdue University to rearrange the distillation sequence needed to separate crude petroleum into products.

Peak Climate And New Energy

Energy trader perception of the Copenhagen summit is easy to forecast: oil substitution is now delayed, possibly sine die, so oil prices will be bid up along with natural gas and uranium prices, these two fossil energy sources being the most able to combine mainstream industrial use, relative abundance, and apparent "low carbon" performance. Coal prices might also gain, but less surely and with fewer high ground pro domo one-line statements by star traders. The long-predicted "gas bulge" is now arriving, and could last 5 years depending how fast natural gas burning is ramped up. Along with windfarms, natural gas will be the default choice for new electric power capacity in nearly all countries and world regions, probably including developing and emerging Asia, and perhaps several African countries.


“There’s been a lack of understanding in the business community of just how much increased profitability can be realized through simple energy savings. And this is not a sector-specific opportunity – every business in the world that uses energy is a potential retrofit client.” Greenscape’s list of new clients – $30 million of new business in B.C. over the past month – includes parking facilities, a tourist lodge and an auto dealership.

While it never did make sense to operate inefficiently, the cost of doing so in some industries has been low. With carbon taxes, peak oil and global energy insecurity placing new pressures and potential risks on companies, those costs could rise. All of which makes it a great time to think about getting lean. It just happens that this also means “going green.”

A dark Arctic tale set after the ice melts

It's hard to imagine a world in which polar bears don't exist in the wild. Alun Anderson, former editor-in-chief of New Scientist magazine, asserts that it most likely will occur in our lifetime.

In his book, "After the Ice: Life, Death, and Geopolitics in the New Arctic" (HarperCollins, 2009), Anderson takes a close look at the complicated past, present and future of the Arctic region, the area of Earth that he says is certain to feel the effects of global warming first and most powerfully.

Anderson traveled extensively in the Arctic to tell the story of a place that few are familiar with.

Iowa firm seeks to block Jefferson ethanol plant sale

An Iowa company that seeks to become a producer of ethanol fuel has filed a court motion to block the sale of Renew Energy LLC's ethanol plant in Jefferson to a unit of Valero Energy Corp. for $72 million.

In a press release, ALL Fuels & Energy of Johnston, Iowa, said its ALL Fuels-Jefferson LLC subsidiary was one of four qualified bidders at the Dec. 11, auction of the Renew Energy ethanol plant. All Fuels claims it bid $77 million for the company, an offer that was announced as a bid of $72.1 million, based on a discount formula, after Valero Renewable Energy Co's bid of $72 million.

As US Crude-Oil Reserve Fills, Questions Abound

In coming days, a 500,000-barrel delivery of crude oil will push the U.S. government's emergency stockpile to capacity. What happens to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve beyond that is far from clear.

Federal law passed in 2005 requires expansion of the rainy-day reserve by 38% from near 727 million barrels now to one billion barrels of capacity. That was enacted when the government forecasted a decades-long surge in oil demand requiring steadily rising imports.

The Energy Department in 2005 saw U.S. oil use rising 40% to 28 million barrels a day in 2025 from 20 million barrels a day in 2003, with imports meeting 68% of demand. Now, DOE sees oil use stable at 19 million barrels a day through 2035 and biofuels contributing the needed four million barrels a day of extra fuel. Improved fuel mileage and increased efficiencies will cut reliance on imported oil to about 45%. That suggests the current size of the reserve would provide adequate insurance against supply disruptions until 2035.

"There is no doubt that the Obama administration does not have an interest in spending capital on an expansion of the facilities," said John Shages, an Energy Department SPR official for 22 years before retiring two years ago. "Even if SPR had empty capacity...there is no way that the Congress would appropriate funds for oil acquisition. So expansion is out for the foreseeable future," he said.

Pemex Bonds Are a Buy on Spreads, Higher Oil Prices

Mexican oil production declined 25 percent to 2.602 million barrels of oil a day in October since peaking in December 2003, prompting Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings in the past month to lower the country’s credit rating one step to the second- lowest investment grade.

Concerns about the output decline and the ratings cuts have been overblown, and a more than doubling in oil prices since mid-February has helped Pemex’s sales, Suarez said.

NZ Methane Hydrates May Soon Be Developed

A gas industry using frozen gas hydrates below the seabed off the East Coast could be developed in the near future thanks to rapid global technical developments.

George Hooper, executive director of the Centre for Advanced Engineering, told a recent Oil and Gas conference in Wellington that exploitation of methane hydrates could transform New Zealand's energy market.

The Green Movement's People Problem: Environmentalists need to stop being so misanthropic.

The movement needs to break with the deep-seated misanthropy that dominates green politics and has brought it to this woeful state. Its leaders have defined our species as everything from a "cancer" to the "AIDs of the earth." They wail in horror at the thought that by the year 2050 there will likely be another 2 or 3 billion of these inconvenient bipeds. Leading green figures such as Britain's Jonathan Porritt, Richard Attenborough and Lester Brown even consider baby-making a grievous carbon crime--especially, notes Australian activist Robert Short, in those "highly consumptive, greenhouse-producing nations."

Yet a slower population growth--while beneficial for poor, developing countries--can lead to a dismal, geriatric future in already low-birthrate nations like Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, South Korea and Russia. And although birth rates are dropping in most developing countries, particularly those experiencing rapid economic growth, it will likely be decades before population stops increasing in most of the developing world.

Balance of power shifts to the east

The current recession is only part of a potential triple crunch also involving an energy crisis and climate change. Industrial capitalism has proved resilient over the last 250 years: faced with these challenges it will need to be.

Big oil, social responsibility and American capitalism

Oil extractors (be they private, public, or parastatal/quasi-public) have long made it their business to try to understand what their own collective future might portend. And with the passage of time, the data on global oil discovery and consumption rates has only become more accurate. The jury is now in: since the 1980s, the world has gradually been consuming more cheap oil than it has been discovering, and the disparity between these rates of discovery and consumption has been increasing steadily. Broadly speaking, discovery rates presage production rates (i.e., you can’t produce what you’ve not yet discovered). The conclusion: trends in oil discovery/consumption ratios imply that Americans have been living on borrowed time.

The big bonfire: The U.S. already has a de facto climate policy

My daughter Ren celebrated her 25th birthday last summer. She's a member of what I call Generation B, where B stands for "bonfire." Since her birth, more than half of all the fossil fuel consumed in human history has been burned, and more than half the greenhouse gas emissions humans have ever produced has gone skyward.

Top 10 most widely read stories of 2009

1. Zenn and EEStor - Our coverage of stealthy EEStor continually snags your attention, but you were especially interested when Zenn Motor CEO Ian Clifford spoke to us about plans to incorporate ultracapacitors from EEStor into full-speed electric vehicles in 2010. Following third-party verification that EEStor passed its final technology milestone, Clifford shared details of the new timeline for technology deployment with the Cleantech Group in this exclusive piece (see Zenn CEO reveals details of EEStor's progress).

Time to go nuke…or not?

MANILA, Philippines – When Martial Law strongman Ferdinand Marcos pushed for the construction of the Philippines’s first and only nuclear power plant in 1977, the reception was far from warm. Not only did the project entail large sums of foreign loans, it also involved a still-developing technology which was initially used as weapons of destruction during the Second World War.

Fast forward to the new millennium, nuclear energy is now being considered as a viable and clean energy option. What was then considered as a dangerous energy source is fast becoming a strong alternative to minimize oil dependency and global warming.

Group calls for wind turbines off Ocean City

OCEAN CITY -- Citing a pending statewide energy crisis, an environmental advocacy group is calling for wind turbines to be built off Maryland's coast by 2014.

Environment Maryland released a report outlining the advantages of wind farms, and announced their findings Tuesday on the Boardwalk in plain view of where the turbine blades would spin on the horizon.

EPA's Delay in E15 Ruling Means Jobs and Economic Opportunity Lost

Why is the E15 ruling important? Aside from the immediate environmental benefits of reducing hydrocarbon and other notable airborne particulates, by increasing the market demand for alcohol fuel consumption the EPA could enable states to keep millions of fuel dollars in their local economies. By encouraging localized alcohol fuel and related co-product production communities, counties and states would be able to incentivize the creation of tens of thousands of direct and indirect non-exportable alcohol fuel-related jobs including the building of new cars and other transportation related solutions based on Flex Fuel design technology. Additionally, because alcohol fuel is less expensive to produce, local communities would be able to reduce the overall cost of fuel to its residents.

MiaSole and Silicon Valley bank on green solar energy

The greater Silicon Valley has lost 50,000 jobs in the past year, and its unemployment rate, almost 12%, is on par with the state, a rarity given Silicon Valley's highly trained workforce.

But at MiaSolé, there are 300 employees, up from 150 a year ago. Every employee, including the janitor, has stock options they hope will someday soar. CEO Joseph Laia faces the quintessential Silicon Valley conundrum: what to do with employees who work all night as MiaSolé pushes to commercialize a cheaper solar-panel technology. He's considering a "cot room" for catnaps.

Fireman’s Fund Insurance In Favour Of Copenhagen Climate Accord

Fireman’s Fund Insurance has said that it is in favour of the Copenhagen climate accord and remains committed to its climate change initiatives.

The company said that it is committed to reducing its carbon emissions by 25% by 2012. It has received a LEED-certification. It cut its energy usage by 36% in the last 10 years. It has also testified before the National Association of Insurance Regulators on new climate risk disclosure requirements.

China attacks 'shirker' UK on climate change

China has gone on the defensive after being accused of blocking agreement at the Copenhagen climate change summit by Ed Miliband.

Britain's energy and climate change secretary wrote in the Observer newspaper on Sunday that the UN Convention on Climate Change had not reached agreement on halving global emissions by 2050, or on 80 per cent reductions by developed countries, because of China.

Time to rethink, coal chief Keith De Lacy tells 'mate' Kevin Rudd

Now that the Prime Minister has come up in the world, Mr De Lacy has a message for him: the Australian coal industry was sold out in Copenhagen, and Kevin Rudd needs to drastically revise his climate change response.

Leading Climate Scientist James Hansen on Why He’s Pleased the Copenhagen Summit Failed, “Cap and Fade,” Climategate and More

We speak with the nation’s leading climate scientist, James Hansen. He wasn’t at the Copenhagen climate summit and explains why he thinks it’s ultimately better for the planet that the talks collapsed. We also speak with with Dr. Hansen about his new book, “Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth of the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity” and much more.

The 10 Countries With The Most Dwindling Oil Production

Global oil production saw a 0.4% increase in 2008, according to the 2009 BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

But while the overall industry saw a rise in production, several countries saw oil production sink considerably.

As the threat of Peak Oil continues to rise, the areas of the world that are running low are increasingly in danger of seeing their bubble get burst.

We've compiled a list, based on the data released by BP, of the ten countries at the bottom of the barrel.

OPEC Holds Production Quotas Steady for a Fourth Time This Year

(Bloomberg) -- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to keep production targets unchanged for a fourth time this year, as expected.

The producer group maintained total production quotas at 24.845 million barrels a day, Saudi Arabia’s Ali al-Naimi and other ministers said as they left their meeting today in Luanda, Angola. Nigeria, Iran and most OPEC members are now pumping more than their allotted targets.

OPEC Focuses on Compliance With Output Limits

LUANDA, Angola (AP) — OPEC held its output quotas unchanged Tuesday, several ministers said as the producer group called for greater compliance from some members whose overproduction could undercut efforts to support prices amid a fragile global economic recovery.

The announcement by delegates representing several of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ members reflected the producer group’s cautious approach to balancing the market this year — at once dealing with weak demand and an oversupply while trying sustain the rebound in prices. In the end, the 12-member group decided that no action was the best action in a market where the pace of the world’s recovery from its worst recession in decades remains uncertain.

Crude Oil Drops After OPEC Decides to Maintain Output Targets

Crude oil for February delivery dropped as much as 59 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $73.13 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It traded down 44 cents at $73.28 a barrel at 12:19 a.m. London time.

Crude’s 64 percent rise this year has encouraged some OPEC members to renege on their pledge in 2008 to reduce 4.2 million barrels a day of output. Members complied with 58 percent of cuts in November, down from 60 percent the previous month, according to the International Energy Agency estimates.

Iraq to double oil supply to China to 300,000 bpd

LUANDA/BEIJING - Iraq will more than double crude oil supplies to China next year to over 300,000 barrels per day, Iraq’s oil minister said, as Chinese refineries boost output to new highs to feed strong recovery in demand.

Saudi Arabia to Use Oil Storage Facility in Japan, Al-Naimi Says

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia has some oil storage capacity in Japan which it may use to supply Asian countries, Saudi Arabia Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said.

“Japan was kind enough to offer us storage for commercial use,” he told reporters today in Luanda, Angola. “We are using it. It’s free by the way.”

The storage facility can contain “millions of barrels,” though Saudi Arabia does not yet have any oil there.

Total Plans to Develop China Gas With CNPC, Bid in Venezuela

(Bloomberg) -- Total SA, Europe’s third-largest oil producer, is planning to expand cooperation with China National Petroleum Corp. by pursuing a multibillion-dollar project to extract natural gas in the northern Chinese Ordos Basin.

Total is also aiming to jointly bid with CNPC to develop a heavy-oil block in Venezuela’s Carabobo region, Chief Executive Officer Christophe de Margerie said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. The comments were confirmed by Total spokesman Paul Floren, traveling with de Margerie in China.

Oil flow from Iraq to Turkey to resume soon: official

ANKARA (Xinhua) -- Turkish Energy Ministry said Tuesday that shipment of crude oil would resume within a week from Kirkuk-Yumurtalik oil pipeline, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

An official from the ministry was quoted as saying that oil flow in Iraqi side of the pipeline was halted two days ago after an act of sabotage.

"Iraqi executives said the damage could be fixed in 5 to 6 days," the official said.

Russia to Receive Turkmen Gas After Nine-Month Halt

(Bloomberg) -- Russia agreed to resume natural-gas imports from Turkmenistan in January, ending a nine-month halt in supplies from Central Asia’s biggest producer caused by a pipeline explosion and a slump in European demand.

...Turkmen gas shipments to Russia stopped in April following a blast on the export pipeline, which Turkmenistan blamed on Gazprom, saying the company abruptly cut the volumes it was importing. Gazprom, which denied causing the explosion, has suffered a 5 to 7 percent decline in gas demand this year in Europe, its main export market, the company said last month.

The company and Turkmenistan will move to a pricing formula that “fully matches the terms of the European gas market,” Medvedev said. Gazprom controls Turkmenistan’s only gas route to Europe and the cut-off has hurt the country’s economic growth.

“Turkmenistan lost at least $7 billion, or about 25 percent of annual GDP” as a result of the halt, Mikhail Korchemkin, an analyst at East European Gas Analysis, said in an e-mail. “Before signing a new deal, Russia needs to reimburse the loss of Turkmenistan, for instance by price discounts in Russian exports.”

Total revs up in Algeria

French giant Total has landed a 47% stake in the Ahnet licence, in south-western Algeria's onshore gas play.

Gas 'gold rush' ignites in rural New York

Environmentalists fear intense drilling could bring ecological disaster to the same pristine Catskills that also contain New York City's entire drinking water supply.

Many others, though, foresee an economic miracle that could turn an impoverished section of New York into "a Little Texas," as 56-year-old Graby puts it.

Europe May Be Colder Than Average in First Quarter, WSI Says

(Bloomberg) -- Northwest Europe may be colder than average in the three months through March, boosting demand for energy to heat homes and offices, forecaster WSI Corp said today in an e-mailed statement.

Temperatures will be at their lowest in February, falling as much as 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 Fahrenheit) below typical levels in the U.K. and Scandinavia, the company’s chief meteorologist Todd Crawford said in an interview yesterday, ahead of today’s statement. January will be 1 to 2 degrees Celsius colder than usual in northwest Europe, he said.

Pakistan to Raise Power Tariff by 13.5% From January, Dawn Says

(Bloomberg) -- Pakistan will increase power tariffs by 13.5 percent from January as part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund, the Dawn newspaper reported, without saying where it got the information.

The government has decided to end subsidies to the so- called lifeline consumers, or those who use less than 50 units a month, and the agriculture sector, according to today’s report by the newspaper.

Obama has powerful tool to pressure Myanmar

WASHINGTON – If talks with Myanmar over democratic reforms fail, the Obama administration could tie up large amounts of money that the country's ruling generals stash in international banks from the sale of natural gas.

Macarthur Coal Bids A$656 Million for Gloucester Coal

(Bloomberg) -- Macarthur Coal Ltd., the world’s biggest exporter of pulverized coal used by steelmakers, bid A$656 million ($577 million) in cash for Gloucester Coal Ltd., adding two mines in Australia amid surging demand in Asia.

Newcastle Coal Ship Queue Longest in Two Years as Exports Slow

(Bloomberg) -- The queue of coal ships waiting at Australia’s Newcastle port, the world’s biggest export harbor for the fuel, stretched to its longest in more than two years as exports slowed for a second week.

Sixty ships, waiting to load 4.2 million tons of coal, were outside the harbor at 7 a.m. local time yesterday, up from 52 vessels a week earlier, Newcastle Port Corp. said on its Web site. The queue is the longest since July 2007.

Tokyo Electric May Exceed Budget for Atomic Restart

(Bloomberg) -- Tokyo Electric Power Co. may face higher costs to restart all nuclear reactors in the world’s biggest atomic power station, which was shut in the aftermath of an earthquake in 2007.

Asia’s largest utility got approval today to start full commercial output at the No. 6 and 7 reactors in the Kashiwazaki Kariwa power station about 300 kilometers (185 miles) north of Tokyo. The plant has five other units in need of strengthening work, and based on the cost for the No. 7 reactor, the total bill may exceed the 100 billion yen ($1.1 billion) allocated, President Masataka Shimizu said in an interview in Tokyo yesterday.

Next Stage on Iran Could Hold Real Peril

LONDON — A little less than a month ago, one of the officials developing the allies’ strategy to halt Iran’s drive to make a nuclear weapon described their governments’ discomfort about soon having to move beyond attempts to engage the mullahs.

The diplomat’s remarks, quoted in a European newspaper, hardly created a stir, perhaps because they reflect an obvious truth: months of outstretched Western hands have brought nothing in return from Tehran.

Pentagon Developing Options to Deal With Iranian Nuclear Program

The United States' top military officer says the Pentagon must be ready with military options against Iran's nuclear program in the event the president calls for them.

In a document outlining U.S. military assessments and priorities, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, said he believes diplomacy offers the best chance to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear program.

The admiral added that military action remains an option but that it would have "limited results."

US Military Aggression against Venezuela escalating

Caracas – Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez revealed today on his Sunday television and radio program, Aló Presidente, that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, have illegally entered Venezuela’s airspace during the past several days. “A few days ago, one of these military planes penetrated Venezuela as far as Fort Mara,” a Venezuelan military fort in the State of Zulia, bordering Colombia. The drone was seen by several Venezuelan soldiers who immediately reported the aerial violation to their superiors. President Chávez gave the order today to shoot down any drones detected in Venezuelan territory. Chávez also directly implicated Washington in this latest threat against regional stability by confirming that the drones were of US origin.

Pricing Crude Oil in "Gulfos"? In Their Dreams

A bloc of oil producing countries led by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and others (not OPEC; for some reason they left out Dubai) reported preliminary steps to establish a regional currency: The “Gulfo,” in which to trade their oil in lieu of U.S. dollars. Is this a threat to the dollar hegemony?

Some would say yes, but I would say no. In fact I would go as far to say heck no.

When Airlines Run Out of Fuel

Mass air travel is incompatible with a sustainable economy. Air travel is energy and capital intensive, creates a gigantic carbon footprint, and is likely to remain dependant on the high energy density of fossil fuels much longer than surface transport. As such, it is a prime candidate for the short side of a clean energy portfolio.

American Petroleum Institute sues Tennessee over renewable fuel rules

The American Petroleum Institute is challenging a new state law aimed at providing Tennessee businesses with a greater opportunity to profit off renewable fuels.

The Tennessee Renewable Fuels Blending Act was passed by the Tennessee General Assembly this year and goes into effect Jan. 1. It requires petroleum refiners and suppliers to sell gasoline and diesel fuels that have not been blended with biofuels, but that are suitable to be blended with them.

According to a state fiscal analysis of the legislation, some major oil company suppliers began preventing Tennessee businesses from blending ethanol in 2008 and instead sold only pre-blended products. This “effectively shifted income and/or profits away from certain Tennessee petroleum wholesalers and to out-of-state suppliers,” the fiscal analysis states. There are federal tax credits associated with the blending of biofuels.

First Solar, fund manager in tussle over cab fare

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Solar power industry bellwether First Solar Inc and a fund manager who has wagered the company's stock will fall are locked in a tiff over a $9 cab fare, after the bear manager was invited to a meeting in Times Square and then asked to leave.

China considers compulsory green energy purchases by grid operators

BEIJING (Xinhua) -- China's top legislature Tuesday discussed a legal amendment to require electricity grid companies to buy all the power produced by renewable energy generators.

The State Council energy department and the state power regulatory agency should supervise the purchases, said the draft amendment to the Renewable Energy Law, which was submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) for its second reading.

Biofuels: can they fuel our lifestyle without taking food from the poor?

Just in case you thought it was safe to stop thinking about biofuels, here comes another study – this time into the ethics. Can a new generation of biofuels ensure we don't increase greenhouse gas emissions and take food from the poor to fuel our cars?

Desert Vistas vs. Solar Power

AMBOY, Calif. — Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation in Congress on Monday to protect a million acres of the Mojave Desert in California by scuttling some 13 big solar plants and wind farms planned for the region.

But before the bill to create two new Mojave national monuments has even had its first hearing, the California Democrat has largely achieved her aim. Regardless of the legislation’s fate, her opposition means that few if any power plants are likely to be built in the monument area, a complication in California’s effort to achieve its aggressive goals for renewable energy.

Japan eyes methane hydrate as energy savior

TOKYO - Japan, the world's second-largest economy, may have found a way to reduce its almost total dependence on other countries for the oil that drives the industries on which the country's wealth is built.

Betting that Japan can extract and commercially exploit methane hydrate, the hoped-for alternative to oil, investors last week drove up the price of Japan Drilling, a company established in 1968 but only this month raising money by selling shares to the public.

Upcoming oil shortage: part three

Americans have been led to believe that the supply of oil is nearly limitless and for the next half century we will have more than enough crude to meet the growing needs of the global economy. The Republican party’s national platform touts the availability of untapped reserves in Alaska and along our shores while the party currently in charge (the Democrats) seems genuinely unconcerned with future supplies.

But, as we go about our lives, guzzling gas at amazing rates and taking its presence for granted, the rest of the world is concerned about the long-term prospects for oil as the world’s preeminent energy source. Along those lines, in early November the United Kingdom newspaper, the Guardian, dropped a bombshell, quoting two unnamed oil industry executives who said that the International Energy Agency was willingly overstating oil supplies.

Alaska coast erosion threat to oil, wildlife

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - A portion of Alaska's North Slope coastline is eroding at a rate of up to 45 feet (14 meters) a year, posing a threat to oil operations and wildlife in the area, according to a new report issued by scientists at the University of Colorado.

Warmer ocean water has thawed the base of frozen bluffs and destroyed natural ice barriers protecting the coast, causing large earth chunks to fall each summer, the scientists said.

"What we are seeing now is a triple whammy effect," study co-author Robert Anderson, an associate professor at the University of Colorado's Department of Geological Sciences, said. "Since the summer Arctic sea ice cover continues to decline and Arctic air and sea temperatures continue to rise, we really don't see any prospect for this process ending."

Europe's Flora Is Becoming Impoverished

ScienceDaily — With increasing species richness, due to more plant introductions than extinctions, plant communities of many European regions are becoming more homogeneous. The same species are occurring more frequently, whereas rare species are becoming extinct.

African Leaf-Eating Primates 'Likely to Be Wiped Out' by Climate Change

ScienceDaily — Monkey species will become 'increasingly at risk of extinction' because of global warming, according to new research, published this week. It reveals that populations of monkeys and apes in Africa that depend largely on a diet of leaves may be wiped out by a rise in annual temperatures of two degrees Celsius. The study by researchers from Bournemouth University, Roehampton University and the University of Oxford suggests that the species most at risk are the already endangered gorillas and colobine monkeys.

Report: New Mexico's greenhouse gas emissions up

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- An inventory of New Mexico's greenhouse gas production shows residents have reduced their average emissions from gasoline use over a seven-year period, but they're consuming more energy to heat, cool and power their homes.

Despite efforts by Gov. Bill Richardson's administration to address climate change and lower greenhouse gas emissions, a draft inventory prepared by the state Environment Department shows New Mexico's total direct emissions increased by about 4 percent between 2000 and 2007 to 80 million metric tons.

Falling carbon price could result in higher bills, energy firms warn

Electricity bills could go up as a result of the weekend's feeble agreement on climate change at Copenhagen, energy suppliers have warned.

The price of carbon – paid by heavy polluters such as power plant operators – plummeted yesterday by almost 10% on Europe's emissions trading market. This was in response to the EU scrapping a planned commitment to cut emissions by 30% by 2020 because other countries failed to show similar ambition.

E.ON and Centrica warned that they would not invest the tens of billions of pounds to build expensive new nuclear reactors and clean coal plants at today's carbon price, which is supposed to penalise dirty coal and gas plants.

UN chief calls for new climate pact push

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) – UN chief Ban Ki-moon appealed for world powers to make a new effort to secure a legally binding climate deal next year amid new diplomatic wrangling over the failure of the Copenhagen summit.

China hit back at Britain over claims that Beijing had "hijacked" the Copenhagen negotiations while Brazil and Cuba lashed out at the US President Barack Obama.

Bangladesh wants 15 pct of climate fund: minister

DHAKA (AFP) – Bangladesh, one of the nations most vulnerable to global warming, will seek 15 percent of a 30-billion-dollar climate change fund committed at the Copenhagen summit, the environment minister said Tuesday.

Bangladesh, with a population of 150 million, makes up around 15 percent of the approximately one billion people estimated to be affected by global warming, Environment Minister Hasan Mahmud said.

Lisa Margonelli: Copenhagen's surprising gain for climate

(CNN) -- Two weeks ago, representatives from nearly 200 countries flew to Copenhagen to hammer out an agreement to limit the emissions that cause global warming.

Now that the carbon-heavy contrails of the diplomats' jets have cleared from Copenhagen's airspace, it's clear that while they failed to make history, the modest three-page unsigned Copenhagen Accord is a surprisingly futuristic document.

Owning the climate: Will geoengineering help combat climate change?

"Geoengineering is plan B," says oceanographer John Shepherd of the U.K's Royal Society of plans to deliberately tinker with the planet's climate. "It's not to be adopted unless absolutely necessary."

After all, "geoengineering is technically possible," Shepherd adds. But "in most cases, it's still on the backs of envelopes and there are very many things to be concerned about, like environmental impacts."

NIWA says greenhouse gas methane on the rise again

NIWA has today released measurements from its globally significant Baring Head station showing that southern hemisphere atmospheric methane increased by 0.7% over the two-year period 2007–08. While this increase may not sound like much, it is about 35 times more than all the methane produced by New Zealand livestock each year.

This is significant in that it follows a three-year period of no growth, and accounts for more than half of the growth observed over the ten years 1999–2008 (1.2%). Methane is the second most important contributor to global warming behind carbon dioxide, though its abundance in the atmosphere is far lower. Additional methane traps twenty one times more heat over 100 years than the same mass of carbon dioxide (CO2 ).

“The evidence we have shows that methane in the atmosphere is now more than double what it ever was during the 800,000 years before 1700AD” says NIWA Principal Scientist, Dr Keith Lassey. This is based on analyses of ancient air trapped in polar ice that has been extracted and dated.

Another reason to distrust government statistics:

US Growth Rate Revised Downward

The US economy grew by less than originally estimated between July and September, official figures show.

The latest estimate said the economy grew at an annual pace of 2.2%, down from the previous estimate of 2.8%. The first reading had shown growth of 3.5%.

I have been predicting this. Even the 2.2% is probably stretching it.

Denninger also has some choice comments today:

The ugly reality, however, is that with the government being 30% of the economy and up 8%, the government's "pump" was responsible for 2.4% GDP "growth" - or more than the entire claimed increase.

That is, with this revision we now have proof that we're exactly where I said we were in October: The economy is not expanding at all in the private sector, rather, other than explicitly government spending, even with so-called "rebates" and "special deals" - IT IS STILL CONTRACTING!

The US economy is still crap. Merry Christmas.

expanding economy is a desirable thing ?

Ask Stevie Forbes.

A shrinking economy caused by high and increasing levels of unemployment and business bankruptcy definitely isn't.

By itself the "growth" or "contraction" of the economy is meaningless, otherwise we might as well print a $1 million note and give one to each person, think of the "growth" that would cause.
It just happens that changes in GDP are a good proxy for changes in the quality of life for the individuals which make up the economy, but people forget what they are trying to measure, and just focus on specific magic numbers.

By itself the "growth" or "contraction" of the economy is meaningless


But then again, I have this symbol-free notion that most people cannot grok that which you are trying to get at.

The other day, in the New York Times, there was a story (here) about one psychologist's analysis of how different people "think".

One of his more interesting observations was the following:

My research says that there are a lot of people who don’t ever naturally form images, and then there are other people who form very florid, high-fidelity, Technicolor, moving images,” he said. Some people have inner lives dominated by speech, body sensations or emotions, he said, and yet others by “unsymbolized thinking” that can take the form of wordless questions like, “Should I have the ham sandwich or the roast beef?”

When it comes to words like "economy", "price", money , income (GDP), etc. I get the feeling that most people are operating in their “unsymbolized thinking” regime. After all, "money" was the stuff that Mommy used when I was 1 or less years old to get me toys and candy. It just worked that way. Always has. Always will. (End of unsymbolized story.)

expanding economy is a desirable thing ?

No. But shrinking under capitalism, with no planning, with no survival path for those at the bottom, which will be 90pct of us eventually, is also terrible. Shrink we must, but it needs to be done consciously, and in contravention of profitability when necessary.

Instead, growth is promoted, with the result being that those at the top do, while everyone else makes up for it by shrinking involuntarily.

expanding economy is a desirable thing ?

No, but a declining economy that is accompanied by deception, denial, and delusion instead of wise and effective leadership and management surely isn't desirable either.

"I'll tell you in no uncertain terms the CARB process has been an abomination," he said. "They had a conclusion-driven analysis in mind when they began this process. The RFA participated in every workshop. We gave them reams of data. We bought the model that they were using. We taught consultants how to use it. We ran a number of different sensitivity models or runs to assess the assumptions that CARB was using, the inputs they were using. We got a pretty good handle on the faulty analysis that CARB is relying upon."


Farm and renewable-energy groups argueCARB's proposed rule would penalize corn ethanol for international indirect land-use changes, calculated by inputting a set of data into economic models. The theory of ILUC is that expanded U.S. corn ethanol production leads to land-use changes in others countries.

Yeah. That smells.
Not necessarily wrong, but probably impossible to quantify.

Before we go to a "one child" policy, perhaps a "one dog" policy...:-)



I love the last line of that article ...

"Rabbits are good, provided you eat them," said Robert Vale

hee, hee, makes me think of a bilboard that used to be out west somewhere, it said, "There's a place on God's earth for all creatures...right next to the mashed potatos." :-) (okay, but that's funny, I don't care who ya' are!)



If God didn't want us to eat animals, why did He make them out of meat?

...and so tasty?

No way would I eat my hound! I would rather eat an SUV owner..

Dogs are nice. SUV owners are nasty. End of.

I'll second that.

For some reason that reminds of the movie "A Boy and His Dog".

Great movie! Didn't know that anyone else had seen it.

While I appreciate your sentiment, I am not into cannibalism.

Seems the picture I posted of the Chinese dog barbecue was so offensive it got removed. My apologies to whoever was offended, I myself very much like dogs and my girlfriend and I are looking to possibly adopt one from a local shelter. However there are many cultures that think of dogs as food and nothing more. And we do live in a dog eat dog kind of world.

one take away after a long rail adventure thru China: a land of many puppies but no dogs

I'd rather eat a slimy fungal growth off of the side of a tree!

Oh wait, I just did - BURP!

Reminds me: a Chinese friend (my tenant actually), new here then (25+ years ago) and I were walking along. There was a store with fur coats. He asked me what kind of fur -- dog? For his safety I explained to him how people feel about dogs here.

Another time long ago my wife was walking our dog and bumped into our Korean neighbor and friend, Benny. My wife asked him: do Koreans not like dogs - they always cross the street when I walk ours? Benny answered: we love dogs, they're delicious!

Mrs. Tiger Woods drives an SUV. Looks pretty good to me.


A purely speculative thought on my part-

Just how many fewer children might there be in the rich countries as the result of all the potential mommies and daddies lavishing thier love and affection on thier dogs and cats?

I have no data whatsoever but my guess is that the answer might well be into the tens of millions,world wide, extrapolating from anecdotal accounts heard first and second hand from pet owners themselves.

I have it first hand from two in a discussion group women that they decided on a family dog as partial "substitute" to a possible third child, given the lesser burden of looking after a dog which would be a good playmate and companion to thier small kids, plus a sense of responsibility about not having more children.

They did NOT say that they chose a dog over another baby but rather that the dog made it easier to decide not to have the third baby just to make myself perfectly clear.


You are probably correct, but that is all just a symptom of the greater problem of dispersing the family unit. When multi-generational families live together there is a lot more opportunity for nieces and nephews to perform a similar role.

Looking at it from a permaculture perspective, pets should be multi-functional. Bed warmer and guard dog. Mouser and purring lap cushion. Egg layer, fertilizer maker, and eventual soup stock.

When pets are only around to serve human emotional needs, they are just another drain on limited resources.

I think you are right, in fact one of my childhood friends grew up in parallel with a little puppy that became a big ol' fluffy dog (friend grew up to a be a big ol' gal, and they both topped out at the same weight or close enough). The bad part is, while Sarah was just discovering boys, Grizz was an old codger by then.


I know, point well taken, And for the record, I adore dogs, cats and most animals (although I have no pets, mainly for economic and schedule reasons), so my post was somewhat in jest...but there is a more serious point I was thinking of indirectly when I wrote it:

Human "consumption" and "carbon footprint" is a pretty complex thing, and cannot just be reduced to how many miles you drive or even what you drive. What about stabled horses for recreation in the U.S. and other prosperous nations? Lots of land, lots of feed, they have to be hauled to horseshows and gatherings or places to ride. Some have already mentioned golf courses, lots of land, etc, but of course in acreage the biggest cultivated crop in the U.S. (that is fertilized, pest controled and even irrigated, is lawn grass!

Speaking of carbon production, one of the biggest producers in construction is concrete...has anyone noticed how many giant new ball parks, stadiums and "convention centers" have been built right through the heart of the "great recession"? Even car road race curcuits don't use as much, being principly asphalt without concrete stands clear around the stadium. We will leave yachts and airplanes aside for now, but let us not forget the ports, airports, service facilities, etc, etc, etc. As folks have pointed out to me right here on TOD, we are much more than just a car culture.



Taken all the way around I agree wholeheartedly with your position.One thing in particular that burns me up no end is the building of sports stadiums at public expense for the private benefit of team owners who can and do pay hundreds of millions for thier toys-and only a rather small percentage of the public ever sets foot in such facilities.

AVOIDING such foolishness is a key part of what TRUE conservatism is all about.

Bread and Circus

The masses must have their bread and circus

We do seem to be running a bit low on lions and gladiators.

Concrete is another example of how we are blind to the energy all around us. Concrete uses a tremendous amount of energy to make and ship, but we see it as the most common and worthless thing - barely worth noticing. I once bought a truck load of mortar mix at Home Depot, probably about 800lbs worth, and it was one of the cheapest bills I've ever had there.

I have doubts about some of the numbers being thrown around about wild animal loss due to cats. How many of those cats are only house cats, that don't go outside. Several precentage points I am sure maybe even as high as 50%. So they don't kill anything but a food dish.

And choice meat cuts is a bit of a misnomer as well. In the US meat that can't be sold for human food, goes to animal feed produces, And there is a lot of it deemed healthy for pets and not people. So yeah it might be good enough to have been served on your plate, but the USDA picked it out and said you can't sell that to humans sell it to an animal feed company. If this were a thrid world nation we would be eating most of that meat anyway.

I have had dogs, cats, hamsters, turtles, tropical fish, lizards, gerbils, and kids.

But all the kids were step children. I've procreated zilch.

The pet food and care market in the USA is in the 10's of billions of dollars. I can see where the pawprint is big, but everything we do is over the top these days. In coming decades less effort will be put into keeping pets and more into keeping yourself alive.


and i have eaten dogs, cats, hamsters, turtles, tropical fish , and gerbils. My favorite is feral cats. I live near a college community and during the last week, cats have been left to fend for themselves by their thoughtless student owners, numerous feral cats, thats them that come on my property, have been visiting my bird feeders. i watched an large black and white cat catch 3 birds in 4 days before i caught him. they are easy to shuck out, and butchered and par boiled, make an excellent high protein addition to stir fry. Raccoons, possum, and armadillo are also excellent food and found in most neighborhoods in my part of the world. one of the most important things one can own, as part of a survival kit, is a selection of different sized traps. squirrels are another of my favorites. Everything that is alive is food. think about it everything you eat was recently alive. If we don't have a quick massive crash in population, we humans will strip the earth of everything edible, plant and animal. And yes, you will learn to eat all these things too, when the gnawing hunger pains really set in.


I have eaten insects even slugs.

According to Morgan Downey, floating storage globally continues to fall:

(Click to enlarge)

Net oil is coming onshore has been a major factor since the end of September in pressuring global prices lower.

Another top performing natural gas player votes with its wallet on the question of whether shale gas assets are worth something:

HOUSTON, Dec. 21 Ultra Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: UPL) today announced that it has signed a purchase and sale agreement to acquire approximately 80,000 (net) acres in the Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale, from a private company. Following the acquisition, Ultra Petroleum will hold approximately 250,000 net acres in this region, with the potential for 1,800 net drilling locations. Ultra Petroleum expects to pay roughly $400.0 million for the assets which will be financed using debt.

Catman -- Does look like the Marcellus is picking of more interest then other trends. One advantage of the Marcellus that you may be aware of is the transportaion factor. To get SG production from Texas to NE runs around $1/mcf. The local market in NY thus allows a 15% to 20% premium. Cabot out of Houston has been heavy in the Marcellus for a long time: NY was the birth place long ago.

Rockman -- I agree there's a price big advantage to owning gas that's near your end-use market for it. Ultra is well aware of this since they've been getting squat for their Pinedale gas for years (although that situation has improved greatly since the completion of the Rockies Express Pipeline to the Midwest.)

I can go back through my 20 years of NG bills here in Colorado and tell almost exactly when each pipeline leaving the region was opened: each is accompanied by a step-function increase in the price I pay. As one of the local curmudgeons writes regularly in the paper: "If the Governor were really serious about 'affordable energy for Coloradans', he'd send the National Guard out to blow up some pipelines."

I appreciate the sentiment mcain. We've still got a few warehouses in Texas full of "Let them freeze in the dark" bumber stickers if you want them.

But my two favorites are still:

"If God wanted Texans to ski he would have made BS white" (originated in Colorado) and
"God did want Texans to ski -- he gave them oil" (counter sticker from Texas)

chivington kicked their texas buts out in the 1860's and they have resented it ever since.

chivington went on to a life of crime:


RE: US Military Aggression Against Venezuela Escalating

Since 2006, Washington has classified Venezuela as a nation “not fully collaborating with the war against terror”. In 2005, Venezuela was labeled by the State Department as a nation “not cooperating with counter-narcotics operations”. Despite no substantive evidence to prove such dangerous accusations, the US has utilized these classifications to justify an increase in aggression towards the Venezuelan government. In 2008, the Bush Administration attempted to place Venezuela on the list of State Sponsors of terrorism. The initiative was unsuccessful primarily because Venezuela is still a principal supplier of oil to the US. Should Washington consider Venezuela a terrorist state, all relations would be cut off, including oil supply.

On the eve of 2010 with President Obama supposedly running the show the U.S. military with their old partner the CIA is back to their dirty tricks. What possible threat might Venezuela pose for the U.S.? Chavez is no more than a gadfly encouraging Latin Americans to "stand up to the great Satan". The US could give a damn about the "war on drugs". Our best friends are the Columbians who depend on the cocaine trade to keep their illegitimate govt. afloat. What we might fear is the very real possibility that all of that oil might go to China and Latin American slaves might demand livable wages.

Joe Michaels

Does the logistics really work for China to ship oil from the Atlantic clear across the Pacific rather than buy it from Middle Eastern sources? Just asking...


In the long term the logistics will work just fine when the supplies in the ME start drying up and the missles start flying in the local M E sea lanes and straights .

The Chinese have always been long term thinkers.

Short term thinking may very well turn out to be the straw that breaks the back of the capitalist West.

They are building a pipeline to the coast of Myanmar (formerly Burma) and two rail lines to Iran (as part of three standard gauge lines to the EU).

One is China-Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan (?)-Iran and the other is to exploit a copper deposit in Afghanistan. China-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Iran (Pakistan is changing line to standard gauge).

Both continue on to Turkey & Bulgaria and rest of the EU.


As mac said, if you can't get it there you have to get it somewhere else. But in the meantime China might do swaps. They swap their crude (on paper) with another buyer in the world that's has a similar transport expense. IOW, a Gulf Coast refiner could buy ME oil and swap it for a more local source (like China's Venz. production). China would then take delivery of the ME oil. Even done with different quality crudes: one side pays a differential.

The Real Iraqi Crude Story (Hint: It Ain't Iran)

So when, just for instance, the mainstream media jumps all over the Iranian "invasion" of Iraq to seize oil wells, despite the fact that the seizure of the well itself is only one of a rather unremarkable series of similar incidents in exactly the same disputed area going back years, and at the same time totally ignores the much more serious news of terrorist attacks on Iraqi pipelines that actually halt about 400,000 barrels per day of crude flow, well, we are just not that surprised anymore.

So, there would be 400,000 bls more on the market if not for the terroist attacks. Intresting...

Thou shalt shoplift, priest tells congregation

LONDON - A British priest has advised people in "desperate situations" to shoplift from chain stores.

Reverend Tim Jones said society "leaves some people little option but crime," the BBC reported.

Crime Rate Falls Despite Recession

The FBI’s preliminary crime statistics for the first half of 2009 show the crime rate falling all across the nation despite high unemployment and a deep recession. Even murder and manslaughter dropped 10 percent during this time.

This defies the standard logic that tougher economic times drive more people to a life of crime. Experts are at a loss to explain why crime hasn’t gone up with the rate of joblessness. Some guess that since those without jobs are home more often, thieves have fewer opportunities, or that the American population is aging and older people commit fewer crimes. The 10-percent drop in violent crimes like murder and manslaughter just doesn’t fit past patterns.

Insider theft a big problem for small charities

While people worry about fraud or wasteful spending at big charities, abuse often occurs much closer to home — at the trusted local PTA or soccer club. Often, such thefts aren’t spotted until a charity changes leaders or an unpaid bill comes due.

Small organizations often lack the financial controls to prevent theft, experts say. That’s because people in smaller groups often don’t want the hassle of going over bills and bank statements and don’t want to offend the person who volunteers to handle the checkbook, who might be a longtime neighbor or the mother of a child’s best friend.

IME...this is the flipside of localization. Large, centralized organizations often have a lot of stupidities and inefficiencies, but corruption becomes a bigger problem if you go local. It happened with the school districts around here, when they switched to more local control. Suddenly, you had principals embezzling money from the school coffers to buy themselves furniture and cars and vacations.

Large organizations have problems as well:
Dec. 22, 2009. Koss Corp. executive accused of embezzling $4.5 million spent huge amounts of money at individual stores and left big piles of expensive clothing - the price tags still attached - sitting in her office

• $1,358,322.25 at Valentina Boutique, at 1505 W. Mequon Road, Mequon.
• $670,000 at Au Courant, 400 W. Silver Spring Drive, Glendale.
• $649,000 at Zita Bridal Salon, 211 E. Silver Spring Drive, Whitefish Bay.
• $213,500 at Gigi of Mequon, 1550 W. Mequon Road, Mequon.
• $127,400 at A.C. Zuckerman Jewelers, 1340 W. Mequon Road., Mequon.

Still, all these little thefts are "little". We had the same thing happen at my grade school -- principal took cash, ran up debt, and disappeared to Alaska. Another time a cub scout mom pilfered the popcorn cash.

The difference is that with local theft, those involved can learn from the experience and do things differently the next time. With money gone to Washington and its debts, they taxes go and there is nothing I can do about it. All the minor pilferage maybe cost me a few hundred bucks. The interest each of my kids owes on their $300K share federal debts and obligations is probably more than that per month.

Graft close to home is, if nothing else, still money kept in the community.

Graft close to home is, if nothing else, still money kept in the community.

But...you just said it disappeared to Alaska. :-)

Good point. THAT grafter ran far enough away to not be throttled!

I don't think even Alaska is a far as a future generation of international bond-holders, though!

With globalization and all, I don't think the money really stays in the community. Unless you have an embezzler who makes an effort to "buy local." If they spend the loot on a European vacation or a flatscreen TV from Amazon.com, it's as gone as any international bond.

One of the CLASSIC "Malcolm In The Middle" episodes is about insider charity theft.

And yeah, the surprising charities are any that may exist that don't have this. I think of them as rackets, some are just more beneficial rackets than others.

I guess when the rich and powerful start looting the public treasury with the active assistance of the lawmakers and law enforcers, it does becomes understandable that some people at the bottom of the heap might start to question why they should continue to obey the law.

No, I don't think that's it at all. As the article notes, most of the embezzlers don't think of it as theft at all. They only want to "borrow" the money. They plan to pay it back. They just find that they can't.

I think a lot of people in that situation - with access to a lot of money that's not being used - would be very tempted to "borrow" it.

Along those lines there was a story this morning about a priest somewhere in the States that told his parishioners it would be alright to shoplift for food if they were hungry but do so at the big national chains because they could absorb the loss better. Shortly afterwards the bishop announced that the church had not dropped the "Do not steal commandment".

Guess the bishop has never been that hungry.

Um...that was in the UK. And I posted the story to start this thread.

I can understand that temptation. Heck, I do that to my savings on a regular bases -- in theory it's there for emergencies, but sometimes I borrow from myself when my wants get ahead of my self control, and then it's as hard to pay back as the credit cards were once upon a time.

Eventually my disdain for credit companies outweighed my lack of self-control. Now I'm learning to hate my mortgage company, so I can pay off my house.

Now I'm learning to hate my mortgage company, so I can pay off my house.

Does that work? Cause if it does mine may already be paid off!


Familiarity breeds contempt.

Officers and enlisted men,plant managers and line workers can only mingle socially to a very limited extent without serious problems resulting.

And contempt breeds imitation.

I expect you have heard the one about some nice English girl from high society meeting an American student and having a little fling on very friendly terms while traveling and refusing to speak to him later when they meet accidentally in London.

She had her maid compose a note hand delivered of course to the effect that social intercourse is not to be confused with sexual intercourse.

A British priest has advised people in "desperate situations" to shoplift from chain stores.

Or, as an alternative, people in desperate situations could steal from priests.

Demographics do have a lot to do with crime rates.I've not been keeping up with the figures but some years ago certain liberal factions were maintaining (probably with good cause but again I did not check) that crime was down not because of the then current republican get tough and lock'em up policy but because of falling numbers of young men in certain age groups.

Most likely both sides were partly correct.

Street robbery would certainly be a poor way to make a living with fewer people out at night and the ones out being able to park closer to restaurants, etc.

Younger folks I know of who live in town now are starting out for a night in the bars a little later after having a shot or two at home and taking small easily hidden throwaway bottles filled with grain alcohol along in purses and deep pockets.This info comes via a friends daughter who is a rising senior at a large university.

Drinking money goes a lot farther that way.

And pressure cooker brandy is making a comeback out in the hills.I heard recently that actual cash costs are maybe a dollar fifty to two dollars a quart to manufacture this stuff which is most definitely much much cheaper than anything at the liquor stores.

I remember my first heist.

I was 12, undersize, underfed, and we were trying out, for some reason, living on a beached Navy launch that lived at an angle at one of the sand bars at Sand Island marina.

For some reason I got the idea to try shoplifting, so I planned it, and did it. My little sister was in it with me. I got a Hershey bar and I believe some Certs. The fat and calories in the chocolate bar were needed and appreciated, and as for the Certs, I just really liked them - the ones with little flecks in them. My younger sis got a candy bar too and I think some different Certs, maybe something else. We had a plan - if they're onto us, RUN!

We didn't get caught or anything. I saw that I could probably do it quite a bit and not get caught. I filed that information and decided I had a new skill to use if I was ever really hungry and needed food. And that was it, I never shoplifted again.

Funny fleam. I know how that feels. As a child I supplemented my diet by stealing wooden soft drink cases (ages me, doesn't it) from the Barq's Root Beer plant in my neighborhood. Then I swapped them for a po'boy sandwich from the neighborhood grocer. First time, I sat outside the store and threw up after eating half of it. Next time I didn't throw up. Eventually I gave up my life of crime with the help of a pellet pistol I would borrow from a friend. Go down to City Park and shoot squirrels when they would come up for a hand out. Still like squirrel but don't have the heart to hunt them anymore.

Off-topic Questions re Offshore Wind Farms:

As Europe has the most experience building offshore wind farms, I was wondering whether anyone out there is intimately familiar with some of the specific construction practices and costs for large wind farms on the Atlantic and North Sea coasts.

Question 1 -

Are the towers for the wind farms typically fabricated by the turbine supplier, either directly or via a subcontractor, or is the tower fabrication handled as a completely separate project? (I am mainly referring to the fabrication of the tower, not merely its on-site erection?

Question 2 -

Are the towers typically fabricated in several segments at a nearby on-shore fabrication operation dedicated solely to the wind farm or are they supplied fully fabricated in segments by existing steel fabricators that might be some distance away and then shipped to the erection staging area?

Question 3 -

For a large wind turbine (say 3 MW nameplate capacity), what is a typical cost in terms of US dollars, of the complete turbine assembly delivered to the erection staging area, and what is the cost of the fabricated tower (exclusive of the underwater base) also delivered to the same erection staging area?

I ask these questions largely because some politically-connected people in Delaware are attempting to set up a business entity solely for the fabrication of wind farm towers, and my gut feel is that their projections are far to optimistic, both in terms of dollars and number of jobs created. I suspect that once a wind turbine supplier is selected for the proposed wind farm off southern Delaware, that supplier might have other ideas as to how it wants to procure the towers. If it were not for the fact that these people are seeking a sizable amount of state economic assistance, I really wouldn't care if the venture flops, but as a taxpayer I have an interest in its prospects for success.

You might want to put this question to Jerome Guillet, (Jerome a Paris) who occasionally posts here. He has a column up right now at eurotrib.com about a wind farm he is involved with in Aruba.

Here is a photoshoot of the construction of the Thorntonbank windturbine park 30km off the coast of Belgium. This is a spectacular showcase of human engineering and the first development of a turbinepark that far out into the sea. Unfortunately the text is in Dutch, but the pictures speak for themselves I reckon.

A very satisfying rant on Obama. Enjoy.

And a funny XKCD comic to go along with it.


I am more in the mood for "the trains must be kept moving":

Fusion energy *sigh*
Its good basic research but it is much easier to get all kinds of breeder reactors going.

Link up top: NIWA says greenhouse gas methane on the rise again

What is the source of this methane? The bovine population has not increased by this much in the last 20 years. In fact the wild bovine population is decreasing while the domesticated verity has been slightly increasing so it is probably pretty close to a wash.

If this methane is coming from the earth, from the warming of the earth causing its release form the frozen tundra or ocean hydrates, then this is not good news. That is the release of the methane causes more warming causing more release of methane. A positive feedback where more release causes even more release.

This means, if this scenario is correct, that we have passed the point of no return. The trigger has been tripped. The only question now is how fast will it all happen.

Ron P.

If you can find a way to plug the 100 or so active volcanoes in the world then you would have this greenhouse emission thing licked. I bet if we all gave Al Gore a couple of hundred trillion dollars he could get the job done in no time. But I bet its a lot easier just to blame those in agriculture. All we need to do is fudge the numbers a little, publish some climate change "facts" and just wait for the billions to come rolling in from the carbon credit tax. Another miracle solution that was born in a boardroom, for the benefit of the rich, jammed down the throat of those who have no choice in the matter. Does the climate change? Of course it does, at one time there were no glaciers at the poles. Is this current climate change legitimate or just a means to financially loot the masses? Just follow the money trail. A carbon credit is just another fiat currency. The U.S. dollar is on it's death bed and the PTB have come up with the replacement called the carbon credit so that the banking elite can continue to screw the masses some more. It's all about the transfer and accumulation of wealth and the accumulation of and retention of power.

Along those same lines Ric did you see the new story about the ROV catching the first underwater volcanic eruption ever filmed. The geologist pointed out that 70% of the world's volcanoes are under the ocean and we generally have no idea of how much GHG they might be putting out at any one time. Might be an insignificant amount or perhaps the biggest factor. I have no idea. Maybe no one has a good guess. Certainly man's activities are having an impact. Be one of Mother Nature's greatest jokes: by some miracle we actually reduce man's impact and then increased volcanic activity cancels the effort out. Mother does have a wicked sense of humor. Kicked my butt more than once.

The gases emitted under water would tend to be absorbed by the water, so long is there any capacity to do so.

Of course, the oceans are heavily burdened with CO2 already, the ocean being one of the largest carbon dioxide sinks on the planet. If the co2 is not released into the atmosphere, fine. But if this leads to lowering of the ability of the ocean to absorb even more, then it would have the same effect as if it were erupting on land.

What would seem worse is that any sulpher dioxide emitted would be trapped in the seas as well. It is the sulpher emissions that might form aerosol layers, reflecting sunling and reducing warming, ala Mt. Pinitubo [?sp?]. And, unless it goes 6-7 miles into the stratosphere it does not good whatever.

As if to underscore what we are discussing, I find this:

The global warming solution proposed by Nathan Myhvold involves running a hose up to the stratosphere with balloons and using that hose to pump out enough sulfur particles to dim the sun's heat just enough to counteract the effects of global warming.

For the full article:


Given that Nathan Myhrvold is the reputedly one of the brightest people on the planet, it is little wonder that things are screwed up. Such hubris!

RE: "One of the brightest people on the planet.."

as Mr. Spock said,

"Remember, logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end.."

Nathan Myhrvold does not have clue one as to what he is talking about. Hubris doesn't do justice to this kind of idiotic nonsense.

People make a pot of money in virtual stuff (software), so they're considered intelligent? And qualified to make proposals like this for the real world? Ackkkk!

Unfortunately this is what we will end up doing i.e. some sort of geo-engineering when AGW becomes obvious even to Inhofe.

There is no way a fair and equitable emission reduction program can be agreed to implemented by the world before that.

Mega-volcano eruptions release great amounts of sulfur dioxide which causes cooling.

Not even a mega-colossal eruption of this magnitude would stop global warming, though. The level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would not be affected by the volcanic eruption, and warming would resume where it left off once the stratospheric dust settled out in a decade. With civilization crippled by the disaster, greenhouse gas emissions would be substantially reduced, though (small solace!) If we really want to say goodbye to civilization, a repeat of the only magnitude 9 eruption in recorded history should do the trick--the magnitude 9.2 La Garita, Colorado blast of 27.8 million years ago (Mason et al., 2004).

wunderground linky

I'm a big fan of yours ROCKMAN, I always look forward to reading your posts.
Yeah, I agree. Nature is the real boss, humans just like to think that they run the show. On this planet extinction of species is the rule and not the exception. Mankind has positioned itself into a massive overshoot situation and now we are faced with the reality that there will be a cost that comes with it. The experts scurry around looking for solutions to a problem that few of them can truly grasp; humans have entered the extinction phase for our species.

Thanks Ric. From what I've read the oceans control the climate to a far degree. No way to anticipate how all the factors will interact. Global warming and sea level rise may be inevitable. But what other surprises might Mother have that could dwarf those problems. We've all read something about salinity changes altering the major currents in the Atlantic and potential catastrophic results. In the end humans may be like the guy dying from several diseases. He's going to die young but it's uncertain what will kill him first. You might slow the spread of the cancer but then he drops from a heart attack. And none of this takes into account a madman in the ME with a nuke taking this guy out before all the other "natural causes" do the trick.

Damn Ric. Now I'm really depressed...thanks for nuthin. LOL

And none of this takes into account a madman in the ME with a nuke

Plenty of undeclared nukes in the ME - but who cares because the doctrine of MAD will protect us....right?

Frankly, a bio engineered super-virus strikes me as more of a problem - nukes need state power. DNA recombanation is a college lab or corp level. Thus more within the reach of the average mad man budget methinks.

If you can find a way to plug the 100 or so active volcanoes in the world then you would have this greenhouse emission thing licked.

Rick, volcanoes do not cause either CO2 or methane in the atmosphere to rise. Volcanoes have been with us since the beginning. There are no more of them now than they were 100 years, 200 years or 200,000 years ago. So blaming the rise in greenhouse gases on volcanoes is just about the dumbest thing I have heard in years.

Ron P.

Thanks Darwinian, I always wanted a critic! Now I can cross that off my bucket list. ;-]

That you so easily dismiss an alternate cause for increasing GG emissions leads me to believe you have already closed your mind to anything but the official Govt. rhetoric.
Since humans have only been involved in the GG emission business for less than a thousand years, it makes me wonder how you would explain the fluctuating levels of GG prior to human influence? Possibly those pesky cows? IMHO the natural causes of GG have been marginalized to promote the assumption that the problem can be solved with new taxation. Human created GG have no doubt played their part in the increase but you have to realize, that the PTB can't tax natural sources of GG.


Pride is a poor substitute for logic.

Rick, there have been periods of intense volcanism that did cause global warming. It has happened many times in the past. In fact the greatest extinction the world has ever known, the Great Permian Extinction, was caused by the volcanism of the Siberian Traps. There was also intense volcanism 165 million years ago and 150 million years ago and 90 million years ago that caused intense global warming. There has however, not been any such volcanism in the last several million years.

There are also other things that can cause global warming. There is the orbital oscillations of the earth around the sun, the tilt of the earth and intense solar activity can cause global warming. However none of these things are happening now! What is happening right now, that has never happened in the past, is intense human burning of fossil fuels.

Any more questions Rick?

Just to make it clear Rick, I do not believe there is anything we can do to stop this human dumping of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. It is way too late to change anything. But there is absolutely no question that it is caused by human activity. To deny that is just absurd. You would have to prove that the things that caused intense global warming in the past are happening right now. They are not! End of story.

Ron P.

Well Ron, what can I say. It's just since this little "climate-gate" thing has popped up there is some question being raised now that maybe, just maybe the global warming thing has been blown out of proportion. That maybe the planet isn't warming as fast as the PTB would have us believe. That maybe the global temp has stabilized or worse, began cooling! With those in the drivers seat fudging the numbers to show a slant towards a warming planet can we take the numbers seriously? I for one agree that man is releasing GG, but I will question the warming effects of GG when those creating public policy based on the data are manipulating it for financial gain.
And yes, Ron, I will always have questions when it comes to unproven science in the same way I don't take a used car salesman's opinion as "fact".


Clearly the fact that people will take advantage of the situation to get ahead means that there is absolutely nothing to it. The Earth is not warming and even if it were man would have nothing to do with it. The statements of scientists and researchers are exactly equivalent to those of managers and marketers from companies with a vested interest in making sure nothing jeopardizes their profits, not to mention politicians, so just ignore them. Yup, it's all bunkum.

I hear now is a great time to buy beach front property on the Outer Banks, or perhaps a condo in Phoenix.

It doesn't make a damn bit of difference what you (or I) believe - the climate will do what it will do, and nothing will or can be done to change that outcome now. We are totally at the mercy of the planet and it doesn't give a crap what you believe.

Sea levels have risen in the past and they have also fallen in the past, that's just the way it goes. Ice Ages come and go too. Given enough time mountain ranges form and are ground down by erosion in turn. The human influence on planetary events will soon come to an end, brought down by the scientists and engineers that have given us the ability to destroy ourselves and the politicians who have steered us on this fateful trajectory and by the schools that have perpetuated myth as fact and religions that preach salvation and ideological supremacy at the cost of decency and humanity. Ultimately the climate change debate will reach it's predetermined conclusion and the masses will cheer their salvation. Only later will they lament their complicity as they stare blankly through the barbed wire of the FEMA camps.

And yes, Ron, I will always have questions when it comes to unproven science in the same way I don't take a used car salesman's opinion as "fact".

Unproven? Look at the chart of methane above. And you think that is unproven? Look at a similar chart of the rise in CO2 emissions. It is measurable Rick. They know exactly what the methane level and the CO2 level was for the past many thousands of years. They get that data from the ice cores. They know Rick, it is proven!

I would find the denial of the AGW deniers comical if it were not so sad. The very idea, trying to say that the rise in these two greenhouse gasses may be caused by volcanoes. That is hilarious Rick.

Ron P.

O.K. Ron, I'll agree that global warming isn't likely caused by volcanoes and their emissions if you will agree that it isn't caused by the humble bovine and it's flatulence.


Of course not. That was the point of my post, it is NOT caused by bovine flatulence. It IS caused by human burning of fossil fuels. Or, at least the overwhelming mountain of evidence suggestes that it is.

Ron P.

So, Ron, how would you propose that we as a species deal with this increase of GG? We all seem to think that the status quot will be the obvious choice for the PTB and if you can't reach a global consensus on targeted emission cuts then why try to change current patterns? The "ship" is obviously "sinking" so if nobody is willing do do anything meaningful then why should we as a species try to mitigate the unmitigatable? Why not just roll the dice and see what happens?
As a species we have had a pretty good run, why not just let things happen as they most obviously will?
It's a fair question.


Rick, I have stated over and over again, on this list, that there is nothing we will, or really can do, to stop global warming. C02 stays in the atmosphere for approximately 800 years before it is removed by natural means. So it does not matter how fast we burn the fossil fuel but how much of it we burn. And we will burn all of it.

So it is going to happen. End of story.

Ron P.

So it does not matter how fast we burn the fossil fuel but how much of it we burn. And we will burn all of it.

Apart from what is used for plastics, paint, medicines, etc. And a lot will stay in the earth, forever.

We'll probably dig that up and burn it, too.

Someone at PO.com was bragging about how he was burning PVC pipe in his stove. Said it burned great, really hot. Didn't seem concerned about possible fumes.

And I saw an article about how they're burning waste plastic in ceramics studios in some developing nations. It's often illegal, but legal fuel is so expensive people ignore the law.

We'll probably dig that up and burn it, too.

Leanan, you mean the plastics like PVC. And they can burn a lot of medicines from all the missed doses because of low therapy compliance.
However, a lot of oil will stay forever where it is.

It's just since this little "climate-gate" thing has popped up there is some question being raised now


This "litle climate-gate thing" is itself a hoax.
You have been hoaxed by your "skeptical" and unethical friends. (Yet again.)

To learn more, check out this video:

Watch this one as well:

Then again, maybe you shouldn't. Why give up on "hide the decline" when you can hide from reality by keeping your head "conveniently" tucked deep and dumb under the denialist dirt farm?

Hey Step Back, I appreciate the pic but you do realize that real ostriches don't actually stick their heads in the sand.
I guess that its just more questionable propaganda from the AGW environmental crowd. ;-]

Maybe the problem is that both you and I and almost everyone else for that matter are not qualified to have a definitive say (or maybe any say) on whether global warming is happening or not and if it's us doing it or not. And because of our lack of scientific knowledge we tend to listen to the arguments of the camp that appeals to us most and base our believe on that. Well, simply put, that is wrong: Al Gore, Anthony Watts, Monckton whatever person you listen to, don't fall for their persuasive babbling on blogs and videos -> read the actual scientific literature! Everyone can put the most appealing articles on their blog and we won't notice if the science is crap or not (although, generally, the lack of pointers to relevant independent previous peer-reviewed research on the matter is an clear indication of crap science). Unfortunately, that brings us back to point 1: you and I won't really understand what's going on to properly grasp the true science from the crap science (and I have a degree in Physics should that be of any comfort).

This is a vicious circle which brings me to suggesting to listen to what credible climate scientists like James Hansen have to say: global warming is happening and it's us who're doing it. Don't fall for short eyed explanations for what the eager blogosphere has to offer about the contents of those CRU emails, on the science matter of global warming the outcome of the research into those emails is of no importance. If you want to get into the mud throwing, Google for Anthony Watts and American Enterprise Institute or Monckton and faked graphs for some tasty stories on the denialist side as well.

I hope you can be objective enough to accept a link to RealClimate describing in relative layman terms the role of CO2 in global warming (with a ton of links to scientific literature about the subject). I you're really interested into the science behind global warming then the articles of RealClimate are a good starting point as they contain tons of links to relevant literature. Be skeptic but don't fall for the red herrings, strawman arguements etc.

RealClimate ?
Grist ?

You've got to be kidding me.

(I read them all the time.)

Problem is that the so-called debate is never "Fair and Balanced".

The unethical skeptical crowd distracts, detracts and then darts away like a bunch of cockroaches when you challenge them to present their "model" of what will happen to finite planet Earth as we (humanity) pump unending amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere (to infinity and beyond).

Truth is they have no model. They have no truth. They have only their wedge tactics.

not qualified to have a definitive say

So maybe YOU know who can have the 'definitive' say on CO2 in the air and the rising acidic level in the ocean.

I don't really give a gosh darn dam about global warming argument as I see it as water over some kind of river blocking device.

But ocean acidification sure does seem like something not adding fossil fuel CO2 into the air would effect. So please direct me to actual data showing that human produced CO2 has no effect.

Like I said, ask the credible scientists (if you still believe there are any). They will most likely tell you that it is us that is putting the extra CO2 in the air and that this is largely absorbed into the oceans.

This is easily measurable due to isotope differences in natural CO2 and CO2 from petroleum, coal, tarsand, NG etc. So unless you trust the easily rebuttable denialist blogposts I can't show you actual data that anthropogenic CO2 has no effect.

Rico, yes, we know that the paleo data shows lots of changes to climate. Trouble is, those changes have happened relatively slowly over thousands of years. surely, the oceans were about 125 meters lower some 16,000 years ago and sea level didn't reach levels near today's until about 8,000 years ago. We've been in an Ice Age for a little over 3 million years. Trouble is, lately (meaning the past 10,000 years) the Earth's been in a warm interglacial phase. But, the last 150 years has seen a major rise in CO2 and other greenhouse gases. What is likely to result will be a global climate unlike any seen since the start of the present period of Ice Ages mixed with brief interglacials.

All this hoopla about "climate gate" is nothing more than carefully crafted propaganda by politically motivated loud mouths to ignore the science. You conflate TPTB with the scientists, assuming without hard proof that all the scientists are fudging the data to show a warming which isn't there. The same charge can be directed towards the few people in the denialist camp, who have repeatedly cherry picked data in a way which shows little or no warming. I've seen it happen for more than 15 years and I know that ditto heads like you who repeat the mantra from neocon guys like Limbaugh or Inhofe have no clue about the many avenues followed by scientists to study the changes.

But, you are probably correct, mankind's effects on the Earth are likely to end soon (meaning within a few hundred years), since there are so many guys (like you?) who insist on ignoring any efforts to avert the impending disasters. It's all your fault. Hope that makes you feel great.

E. Swanson

Well Black-Dog, you have just hurt my last feeling!
I hadn't realized how much my existence has hurt the global environment but you gotta realize that it was done in self defence.
I tell you what, we should meet back here in lets say oh, 10000 years and then we will have enough data on the human climate impact to make a half a**ed guess. Basing global warming on a few hundred years of records as in doesn't convince me of anything other than that the earth grew warmer for a few hundred years. Now if your graph showed a base line of lets say, oh 300,000,000 years and the climate variations during said time I would be more impressed.
Anybody thinking that we should somehow commit to a carbon tax to solve an atmospheric imbalance should be tasked to explain exactly how said tax will correct said problem without the obvious results of sh*t happening and a lot of rich people getting richer.


Well, the latest EPICA ice core data from Antarctica provides data back more than 800,000 years. The temperature data for the past 1,000 years or more has been thrashed about on many forums. The past 150 years of instrument data have been analyzed by several researchers. Most of the CO2 has been added since WW II and there is the ocean thermal mass time lag to consider, thus the warming effects would be difficult to find in the data before the middle of the 20th century.

But, I doubt you are actually interested in science. You apparently demand some sort of absolute proof, which won't be blindingly obvious until after the fact. By then, it will be too late to do anything but kiss your A$$ goodbye.

BTW, there are other approaches to the problem besides a carbon tax or cap-and-trade...

E. Swanson

Ric: Watch the interview with James Hansen on Democracy now. The email "controversy" was designed to confuse people - doesn't change the observations. Imagine the stories someone could make about you if you handed them your email and they cherry-picked some nice snippets.

And yes, follow the money... the real money leads to beneficiaries of BAU. Scientists don't get paid that well. I know climate scientists who have had repeated attempts at robbery and intrusion. Focus on their published work - if you can point out holes in logic or lack of verifiability, great.

I agree with Darwinian, and also don't think humans will change willingly to reduce their impact (and unfortunately, post-peak oil we'll probably emit even more for a while in desperation for energy).

I know I should have learned by now not to engage denialists of any stripe because it is just one gigantic exercise in frustration... but I never learn. So here goes.

It's just since this little "climate-gate" thing has popped up there is some question being raised now that maybe, just maybe the global warming thing has been blown out of proportion...

That's a rather Large dollop of horse manure right there!

I doubt that you'd be willing to keep an open mind and listen to the other side but what the hell...

BTW re: denialists in general


Denialism is the employment of rhetorical tactics to give the appearance of argument or legitimate debate, when in actuality there is none. These false arguments are used when one has few or no facts to support one's viewpoint against a scientific consensus or against overwhelming evidence to the contrary. They are effective in distracting from actual useful debate using emotionally appealing, but ultimately empty and illogical assertions.

Examples of common topics in which denialists employ their tactics include: Creationism/Intelligent Design, Global Warming denialism, Holocaust denial, HIV/AIDS denialism, 9/11 conspiracies, Tobacco Carcinogenecity denialism (the first organized corporate campaign), anti-vaccination/mercury autism denialism and anti-animal testing/animal rights extremist denialism. Denialism spans the ideological spectrum, and is about tactics rather than politics or partisanship.

It's just since this little "climate-gate" thing has popped up there is some question being raised now that maybe, just maybe the global warming thing has been blown out of proportion.

The only thing that's been blown out of proportion is 'climategate'.

The fact that it took only a few days between the hack and the release, and it's timing, suggests to me that the hack itself was a)well funded, b)well staffed, c)well planned. You can't go through twenty years of emails and attatchments in a few days without a lot of help. As such, one might well question the motivations of those behind the hack/release.

Ric The earth is a closed loop system. Within that system there is a carbon cycle. The carbon flows from decaying matter and normal life processes to the atmosphere and the Oceans. This carbon is what has allowed the evolution of all carbon based life.

This carbon in the atmosphere for at least the last 10 million years has been between 180 and 350 ppm. Yes there are natural processes such as volcanoes that add CO2 into the atmosphere. As a matter of fact at least two of the previous extinctions were due to massive Volcanism. Currently that is not the case. The current problem is that industrial society has been digging up stored carbon from previous extinction events, (buried treasure you might call it) burning it for additional energy and releasing that additional carbon into the atmosphere. This additional carbon is creating the same conditions as extreme volcanism would create for the atmosphere, oceans and terrestrial environments. Welcome to the Late Quartenary Extinction.

Can govt. intervention solve this problem? Not a chance in hell.


Yeah Joe, I agree with you. I would just like to know for sure that the oppressive slave states that are going to be created by this environmental boondoggle were really necessary.

Ric - Environmental Boondoggle? Let's be clear. The only thing worth saving are natural environments. The relative value of asphalt and shiny pick-up trucks would be less than zero. I acknowledge that those items may hold personal value but beyond that fagetaboutit!

E.O. Wilson, the great biologist, put it this way.

The current mass extinction is being driven by the following factors: HIPPO

1. Habitat destruction (for roads, cities and agriculture)
2. Invasive species (spread by migrating humans)
3. Pollution
4. Population Explosion (Human beings and their cattle now make up over 98% of the weight of all terrestrial species)
5. Over-harvesting of the oceans and forests

Things have progressed so rapidly that ecologists aren't even trying to save charismatic species like penguins, California Condors and Polar Bears anymore. It is now a triage operation...the desperation of trying to preserve habitats. In that way they're hoping to preserve some level of biodiversity that might survive the coming die-off. Do you think that's a boondoggle?


Rico, do you know for sure that you will still be alive tomorrow? How about next week? Next year? How can you know for sure about anything? Science does not usually provide absolute answers, in case you didn't know.

The oppressive slave states will be the ones that decide to use a nuclear power based replacement for fossil fuels as they run out. That's because anyone who decides to attack that system could potentially cause massive damage. Also, the more technologically complex society becomes, the more fragile it will become. It's much easier to destroy than to build and there will be plenty of people who will be so desperate that they won't care about attacking "the system", just as we are seeing in Iraq or AfPak.

Humanity will likely survive for quite a while, even though civilized, high tech society may not. The children of the Mayans are still around in parts of Mexico and the same goes for Egypt and Babylon.

E. Swanson

That you so easily dismiss an alternate cause for increasing GG emissions leads me to believe you have already closed your mind to anything but the official Govt. rhetoric.

It's called 'education.'

It doesn't have to come from an institution.

But the fact that you so easily swallow volcanoes as an alternative cause for increasing GG emissions, a theory that is likely physically impossible, leads me to believe that you have already opened your mind to any thin straw that will allow you to be a rebel in your own mind.

We know that the additional CO2 in the atmosphere and oceans is coming from "man-made" CO2 because the carbon in fossil fuels (and the limestone in cement) holds a different ratio of Carbon-13 to Carbon-12 than the carbon in 'free range CO2.' As we burn billions of tons of fossil carbon every year, we are slowly but persistently changing the C13/C12 ratio in the air and sea.

Contemplate this on the tree of scholarship:
(there are other, better source material, but they are behind paywalls)

Changes in the 13C/12C of dissolved inorganic carbon in the ocean as a
tracer of anthropogenic CO2 uptake

Quay, 2003

Stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry in global
climate change research

Ghosh, 2003


If those papers are too much for you,
this might be more appropriate:

See if you can follow the math on this page.


Humans emit 26 billion tons of CO2 per year.
Volcanoes emit less than 1 billion tons of CO2 per year.


It's good to have an open mind,
But not so open that you brain falls out.

Thanks for the information Ron!
I really enjoyed the all of the colorful pictures and graphs, although as you insinuated, it was way to far above my level of education for me to gain any meaningful benefit.
Near as I can figure it roughly translates to something like this: HUMAN = BAD.
Now I usually get my climate information from rumors and from small children so I will admit that my basic understanding of the principals of global heat transfer and oceanic current patterns may be somewhat lacking.
You must also realize that not everyone can afford the title of PHD in front of their name and I happen to be one of those unfortunates.
All that being said, my mother always told me to watch out for short men and ugly women, as they always have a chip on their shoulder and something to prove.


pride is a poor substitute for intelligence

The problem with playing the fool is that you might not recognize the point it stops being play.

Never feed a troll and never discuss anything in public with a fool, because the public cannot reliably discern which is the fool.

You're probably right. I should have learned my lesson with 'conservative.' To quote a man with more education than I: There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."

Thanks for the reminder.

" ... fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."

The other day in the New York Times there was an article about a psychologist who studies people's "inner lives" --how they cognate internally.

I wonder what a peek into GWB's inner life would show?

Well said.

I will for just this once take up for you Rico-maybe you really are scientifically illiterate and if that is the case your arguments, given the data and the world view you have to work with, are internally consistent-climate science would be as silly to you as Jesus and Heaven is to an athiest, just another scam by just another bunch of hustlers.

I happen to live in a part of the world where the average person, including a great many of my family unfortunately,is no better educated.Common sense is on thier side, and yours, in this discussion.

Unfortunately common sense, experienced at the level of the technically uneducated, does not always lead us to the correct interpretation of the facts.

You are sort of like a fundamentalist theology student who has wandered into a science classroom by mistake and don't even know enough to realize that you are in WAY over your head and in need of several years of formal instruction to understand what is going on here.

Global warming and climate change at this level of understanding IS common sense.

Or else you are just amusing yourself. Which is it?

No offence meant Ron, I'm just having a little fun at the expense of your implied superiority. I have a unique perspective on most issues as I am am a sociopath and do not have the emotions or moral baggage that most people carry. It gives me a greater understanding of problems and situations that require difficult solutions. I have been very successful in my career as a result.
It also gives me greater insight into the mindset of TPTB as I can understand their actions and motivations better than most. You would be amazed at the clarity one can achieve when you are not encumbered by self imposed restrictions. I guess that my personality and personal style are somewhat ogreish to more civilized persons, but I like to analyze a situation and then go straight to the obvious conclusion. I also realize that my contributions to TOD are going to cause consternation so I will refrain from further comments.


... I have a unique perspective ... I am am a sociopath and do not have the emotions or moral baggage that most people carry. It gives me a greater understanding ... It also gives me greater insight ... I can understand their actions and motivations better than most. ... not encumbered by self imposed restrictions.

"I acknowledge the superior intellect."

But talk is cheap; Data rules.

So back up your "unique", "amoral" opinions of "greater understanding" and "greater insight" with data and logic.

Wait a minute ... I think I misquoted...

"I'm laughing at the superior intellect."

Yeah, that's the line. :lolz:


And openly, with no agenda, I think I am safe in saying that there are many voices on this board that come from guys and gals who know how to think outside the box _and_ have been sucessful in their careers. You might find this a challenging learning environment. If you 'delurked' to show us what "you've got", you've started off on a bad foot.

Ricochet has posted here under other names, I believe. The 'Successful Sociopath' line is a repeat.

as I am am a sociopath


Thanks for sharing.

I grok where you're coming from.

A close relative of mine is a sociopath. That person has no sense of how others "feel". He just pushes their buttons all day, perhaps out of curiosity and a desperate attempt to understand how others think.

p.s. The fact that you worry about "my contributions to TOD are going to cause consternation [to others at TOD]" shows that you are not a full fledged sociopath. A true sociopath would never have that thought pattern.

I've been coming to this site for a long time, and I haven't seen you around here before. When I clicked on your screen name, I get a message that I'm not authorised to see that information, which is something I have not seen before either. So, it would appear that you're little more than an anonymous troll. You are quite right, in that the earth has warmed (and cooled) with assocated sea rise and decline over it's history. This time around, however, we happen to have 6.5 million humans living on it, which makes the consequences of climactic change a bit more important to us. I guess all that sea ice melting in the Artic, Glaciers retreating from various mountain ranges around the world and the gradual breakup of the Larsen B Ice shelf in Antarctica is just some kind of special effect dreamed up by all those liberal leaning Hollywood types. Relax, it's just a movie!
Perhaps you would be more at home at Alex Jones 'Prison Planet' website. He's totally on your wavelength.

Pete Deer

This topic has been debated almost daily here for the last two years. The debate was vigorous. Don't be surprised if not many people jump in.

The proposal for a Carbon tax up here (Canada) was revenue neutral. Offset by income splitting. A couple can cut the bread winners income in half between stay at home parent and knock themselves down a tax bracket.

I thought it was a good idea. Thumped soundly by the people.

Anyway - it is not likely that you will offer anything new to the GG debate that has not already been thoroughly crushed by logic. Not pride.

That you so easily dismiss an alternate cause for increasing GG emissions leads me to believe you have already closed your mind to anything but the official Govt. rhetoric.

Apart from all the independent non-Govt researchers, of course.

In any case, 'Official Govt rhetoric' seems to be " we're convinced of the sceince behind AGCC, but we're not going to do a damn thing about it", so you can take the tin-foil hat off, you're in no danger.

It certainly looks like it's being released from the previously frozen hydrates based on what I've been reading. Also, I don't see how carbon released by animals matters much - any carbon they release through digestion was pulled from the environment in the last few years (with the possible exception of fossil fuel inputs to agriculture), and cannot have a big impact on climatological time scales. Although it would be better if it were released as CO2 than methane.

AGW is constantly in the news. Climategate, carbon caps and trades, bio fuels, etc., etc., ad nauseum. And not a word about PO from the people 'at the top" or in the MSM. Why not?

My thesis is that climate change debate is something the folks in charge can play with, and get the po' folks used to the idea of less oil, less gas, and less coal. And, because global warming can be gussied up as, well, really not catastrophic, it can be discussed, and you can even have international conferences about it. PO. on the other hand, would scare the snot out of the populace if they got a wiff of it from the alpha dogs. No one would know how to handle it. So... watch for more activity in AGW circles, resistance from the same people who resist PO materials because they don't want even that much limitation on BAU, and silence on the threat that could shatter the economy if word leaked out. Right now they are riding along with plausible denial. That will continue, even when the next oil shock hits.

Frankly, I am surprised that so little was done in Copenhagen. But not shocked. Too many just have no clue.

Zaphod: I think this is in part because addressing AGW can be cast as a "voluntary" response to "protect" the planet. It can be wrapped in a growth paradigm: carbon credit trading, carbon capture and storage, mitigation, increasing the elevation of small island states (well maybe not the last one). And political "leaders" can cast themselves as "heroes".

PO on the other hand has at its core "involuntary" reductions, and hence economic contraction (or what economists oxymoronically call "negative growth"). Hard to cast in a positive light and politically toxic. We can expect this to be kept in the shadows, and light to be shone on symptoms.

AGW is a demonstration of our power, while PO is an indication that it was all just the energy in the fossil fuels and that we're not really all that powerful.

AGW is constantly in the news. Climategate, carbon caps and trades, bio fuels, etc., etc., ad nauseum. And not a word about PO from the people 'at the top" or in the MSM. Why not?

There has been some mention. In particular, Gore and Clinton are peak oil aware, and have talked about it...after they were out of office. Cheney talked about it before he was VP.

But in general, peak oil is not getting the interest from scientists that AGW has. I think that's the major difference. As JoulesBurn pointed out, scientists seem to have ceded the topic of oil depletion to economists.

I think almost everyone admits that peak oil is real. They just think we'll move seamlessly to other energy sources, so it's not that big a problem.

Yeah. I just saw a recent speech by Gore on CSPAN.
He mentioned Peak Oil matter of factly.

I think what worries him is that "we" will simply move on to burning more coal again.

In other words, Peak Oil does not solve the problem he is concerned about.

May I ask why scientists should be the ones advocating PO to our governments? Has there ever been a real scientific debate about whether of not PO exists? And is there really any scientific doubt about PO left since Hubbert?

May I ask why scientists should be the ones advocating PO to our governments?

Because some things require credentials. James Hansen warning about global warming has a lot more weight than some random blogger. Funding helps, too.

Has there ever been a real scientific debate about whether of not PO exists?

No, because scientists have been remarkably uninterested in the topic. There was some interest during the '70s oil crisis, but it was soon forgotten.

And is there really any scientific doubt about PO left since Hubbert?

There's no doubt that peak oil will happen one day. When...yes, I would say there's considerable scientific doubt. The USGS keeps saying it won't be for decades.

And perhaps more important, is how easily we will transition to other fuels.

These are all areas where scientists have basically left it to economists. Most economists think that nature will put more oil in the ground as long as you flash enough cash. And if not, the price signal will allow us to smoothly transition from oil to alternate energy. Economists don't seem to consider EROEI.

Styno -- I don't know if it's as much a science question as it is an engineering question. If we had access to the same data from the oil exporters as we do for oil/NG production in the US there would be no debate. Some variations in different decline models but the big PO should be fairly clear. Have you not noticed there is no debate as to future production from existing oil/NG fields in the US? But I'm just talking about current producing fields. How much oil/NG we'll eventually get from undiscovered fields is another question. But that's an easy problem to answer: when someone makes a discovery then tell us what you found. Otherwise all those projections of huge unknown reserves mean nothing: none of it exists until it's flowing out of a well head.

Other then tinhat wearing types I've never heard anyone argue that PO will never occure. The argument has been when it will (or has) occured. If we had access to the production histories of all major oil producing countries the estimate for the timing of PO would vary by a year or two and not decades IMHO.

From the FT today:

The cartel last year announced a series of record cuts totalling 4.2m barrels a day. Though it has not fully adhered to those reductions, the campaign has been largely successful because it has driven oil prices from $32 a barrel to about $74 today.

Opec influences global oil prices by setting official output levels for its members.

I just love how OPEC can take the credit for a world market which they are a minority share in. If the price was low then presumably someone else would be blamed.

Any one care to comment on the alleged 4m barrel cut? Very convenient to say your are making cuts verses being in steep decline....

Cap coal exports.

Several items up top report how well Australia is doing out of coal exports. They point out the $A55bn in sales helps the economy and customers could go elsewhere if Australia didn't supply them. An earlier Drumbeat article revealed exports of coal to China increased 12-fold 2008 to 2009. However Australian PM Kevin Rudd talked big at the Copenhagen conference so I think it's time he put his money where his mouth is. Australia could start by helping other countries keep their promises to cut carbon by unilaterally reducing their coal imports.

First of all hard coking (metallurgical) coal will be more difficult to get outside of Australia. Getting US east coast coking coal to India or Japan would be more expensive. On thermal coal if China was to get it from Indonesia instead Australia could cut foreign aid to Indonesia since they are getting the extra bucks elsewhere.

Whatever they resolved at Copenhagen if countries are importing more coal then they are having trouble cutting carbon. Now is the time to help them out.

Boon - Fair point but Oz would expect a subsidy from someone else to fund this. And who would be providing that?

The Aussie PM explanation for why they won't limit coal exports will be similar to "If we don't sell them our coal they'll buy poorer quality coal from someone else (who will make even more money from their coal sales because the Aussies et al stopped exporting) and thus causing even more pollution." Unfortunately, he'll probasly be correct. So many good reason for not burning more coal. But I've yet to see one reason that would cause any country to abandon the use of the most cost effective FF available to them and thus damage the economic growth.

It's illegal to sell alcohol to minors even though that hurts liquor store sales. If you sell FFs you are complicit in carbon emissions whether you light the match or not. The day may yet come that we see coal cargo ships plying the ice free Northwest Passage. I think reduced oil supply will cut coal demand somewhat but not soon enough.

Unfortunately Boof your analogy underscores the problem: any 15 yo in Houston can buy all the booze he wants anytime he wants. Laws and morality have no impact on that situation. Should we expect better from mankind over coal?

Cap coal exports.

While Australia has probably the cheapest coal available close to tidewater, there are numerous other sources available. The US and Canada have huge amounts of coking and thermal coal under their western deserts and plains, and if the price was right they could and would move that coal to market. A great deal of it already goes to Japan and Korea, and in future much more may go to other markets in Asia.

China and India have large coal reserves of their own, and nearby Russia has the largest coal reserves in the world. There's no way that Australia could cut off anybody's coal supply by itself.

They point out the $A55bn in sales helps the economy and customers could go elsewhere if Australia didn't supply them.

Whenever this comes up, I keep asking, "who from?". Australia is far and away the largest coal exporter. Something like twice the next biggest exporter (the US, I believe). And it takes years to build up the infrastructure for large exports.
China doesn't particularly need our coal anyway, they've got huge reserves of their own, and Russia has plenty to spare. It's just easier to get us to dig up farmland than it is to move their populations off a new pit.
In the last boom, our hard black coal was going for nearly AU$300/tonne. Slapping a $25/tonne Carbon Tax on it woldn't even make the Chinese blink twice.
The Governments focus on Coal exports (and the disgrace that is/was the CPRS) shows just how badly its been captured by the mining lobbyists, and how truly little importance they place on developing alternative sources of energy, like SCT's Wind-to-Ammonia suggestions, or desert Solar, or rooftop PV, or or or. Or we could build that gas-and-electricity pipeline that was discussed on TOD ANZ a little while ago. Or even my suggestion to run redundant cables to New Zealand.
Not that the Opposition is any better (what with a temporary leader who doesn't know what Peak Oil means, a Finance Minister who's predicting a US and QLD debt default - not that he's necessarily wrong, but the beetroot-red face and wild eyes when he says it doesn't lend much credibility - and a Shadow Cabinet that's a carbon-copy of the Howard Years).

I might have another go running for Fed Parliment next election, if only to stir up the local rallies.

Forbes, in urging increased population and growth:

One problem is that the people of earth and their representatives don't much fancy the notion of a centrally dictated, slow-growth world. They proved unwilling to abandon either national interest or material aspirations for promises of a greener world.

Well, I guess that's it, then. The people of earth and their representativess [I guess that would be Republicans and Forbes] have declared we cannot have slow growth. Need more people! Uh huh... that's all it took. Good luck with that.

What's worse, the 'peopl;e of planet earth' read Forbes, and they believe this crap.

Strange species Homo Sapiens. Wonder if they'll be missed.

wars and rumors of wars. purty scary stuff. and it seems all to be directed at countries who have oil. hmmm....oh, it's all good. as the curmudgeon of armegedeon sez changing light bulbs or driving cars with higher mpg wont help. his blog is linked from the oil conundrum. does the curmudgeon read TOD? does he post comments? me? i put a 3 kw solar pv system on my roof. what a dope! done it without gubbermint subsidy.
man oh man i wisht i had dat money back. why oh why didnt i curb my consumption starting with my solar power system? the least consuming person is a dead person. should we all die? are there to be purges of consumers? do we need comsumer nazis to round up consumers and chuck them into concentration camps? and what of the elite criminal class?
who is to throttle back their consumption? why do they need so many dollars? and what do they do with them? are they doing god's work by removing dollars from the economy so me and everyone else cant consume?
i cant figger it out. it takes a big factory with lots of inputs to build a SUV. then the purchaser has to put fuel into it. lots of fuel. i owned a dog. it didnt cost me $2.50 a gallon to run a dog.
so i think comparing dog ownership to SUV ownership is trolling.
it's PSY OPS to see what B$ the populace will put up with. "let's see what the dopes over at the oil conundrum will believe"

The latest API inventory report (released 4:30 PM New York City time) indicates that crude inventories continue to fall. While I don't know the specifics behind this report yet, it's a safe bet that it has much to do with falling imports.

By the way, the import figures do not appear to be distorted by offshore storage, based upon recent reports of offshore tankers sitting unloaded.

Granted a series of out-of-season storms has disrupted shipping in the Gulf of Mexico, and Mexican oil ports, but the downward trend in US oil imports is becoming unmistakable.

If this trend is 'real', US oil inventories, looking excessive to most, could within months be down to relatively low levels.

It remains to be seen if that situation occurs whether tankers sitting offshore Europe will make their way to the US in time to avoid a 2010 oil shock.

Paging memmel.

The American Petroleum Institute in a report released Tuesday afternoon, said crude inventories fell 3.7 million barrels last week, despite imports rising 127,000 barrels per day to 8.98 million bpd. API said total distillate stocks fell 745,000 barrels and gasoline inventories fell 1.1 million barrels as product imports also slipped. Heating stocks fell 993,000 barrels, according to API.


Oil & Gas News
Al Hilal Publishing & Marketing Group
December 20, 2009
Floating oil product tankers to stay on


Oil product tankers idling in quiet waters of the world's oceans are unlikely to move on until well into 2010 when more refinery shut downs could curb production and force vessels to unload. Floating oil product volumes, comprising mostly distillates such as diesel and the heating fuel gas oil, have surged to unprecedented levels of about 100 million barrels, but refiners are still pumping out more than the world can consume. "We see no quick solution for the floating storage issue. It might run into the third quarter of next year," said analyst David Wech at JBC Energy, adding, "The high contango reflects the supply-demand imbalance which is most dramatic in distillates. Banks, oil majors and trading companies with access to cheap credit are looking to reap the benefits of a market structure known as contango, where future prices are higher than the prompt, that tends to emerge in times of oversupply. They are buying gas oil, storing it on idle tankers in sheltered parts of the English Channel, Singapore and the Mediterranean and selling it at a higher price later. Buying for storage at sea, dubbed "floating storage demand" by physical traders, creates the illusion of consumption in the products market, and keeps profit margins for distillates positive. This in turn sends a false signal to refiners to keep churning it out. A senior official at French oil major Total said in an interview with Reuters in November that the market will have to accept high levels of floating storage until at least the middle of next year. Crude oil volumes in floating storage are estimated at around 35 million barrels. [no link]

Well lets see from the price lows at the begining of 2009 we had a massive oil glut with the US close to running out of storage and prices rose. Now we have a massive product glut and prices rose.

Somehow this massive oil glut managed to get landed refined and put back on tankers without being counted. Of course thats because according to legend it was all refined in Timbuktu and Shangri-La however Atlantis also has played a large role and some is kept in the Bermuda Triangle.

There are faint whispers that perhaps just perhaps these magic ships just are not real. And the brimming storage tanks in America are actually empty.

Now thats not to say that there is no distillates sitting in tankers I fully expect there is some and its not a small amount at least 10 million barrels of distillates probably closer to 20 million perhaps more 50 ?
Thats 25 vlcc's. Are there really 50 vlcc's sitting around cleaned and holding distillates. And of course we need the ones to hold the oil glut still out there some where right say its now 50 million barrels. Thats another 25 vlcc's

Next we plenty of reports of many vlcc's sitting around idle waiting to be loaded say perhaps 25 or so if not more ?

Thats almost 100 VLCC's not hauling oil around for daily use. Even if I buy into this I have this problem that this means daily oil production is very very low. Taking 100 VLCC's or more off the market should be shooting rates skyward. And of course OPEC and others are claiming almost 1mbd higher production well thats a new VLCC load every two days or 15 a month or assuming 8 week voyage time 30 more VLCC's just or so.


I've just been passed the following information regarding the state of the worlds VLCC fleet that may of some interest to members:

Johan G Olsen (JGO) lists in its latest VLCC review a total of 520 VLCCs - up 22 from March 2007. In addition to that there is an orderbook of 196 VLCCS (up 3).

Now your talking about a serious precentage of the VLCC fleet hanging out not shipping oil over 20%. Now there are certainly a lot of other types of crude carriers not just VLCC's This has a bit over 5000 total.

The move 20 billion tons of oil or about 14 billion barrels or about half the worlds oil supply or about 30 mbd or so plus considerable product shipments of similar numbers. Obviously our 500 or so VLCC's are generally quite busy and don't have time to hang out and play floating storage.

Assuming the use of smaller ships insteand of VLCC's does not really change the situation since your simply talking hundreds of ships with less carrying capacity one has to assume in general you would want to use the largest that make sense.

Our own latest report from official sources.


Shows oil consumption/production down about 2mbd or so depending on how you want to do the numbers. Its really really hard to fit this number with the number of tankers that are claimed to be used as storage.

And a sort of eyewitness account.


He is suggesting a lot are doing STS or ship to ship transfers without ever docking. A VERY interesting little tibit but what does it mean ?

This has 50 count em 50 anchored around england alone.


How many off Singapore outside of Amsterdam ?

How many are full and how many empty and with what ?
Some obvious VLCC's in that bunch.

If you collate the reports we have tankers scattered all over sitting around briming with oil and of course OECD stocks are still very high. Non of these tankers are doing their job which is to transport oil and products on our normally fairly JIT based oil infrastructure.

Yet they never seem to deliver and the price of oil just keeps going up and up.

And OPEC is breaking quota to stem oil prices and American refineries are limping along and we have ever indication the rest of the OECD's refining capacity is probably under utilized.

For me at least the official party line has holes in it you can drive a VLCC through but I guess my desire for all the "official" truths to actually work out to something reasonably believable is simply not doable.

And further more not a single government raises even a finger to force these glut to be unloaded ? After massive intervention in every other aspect of the world economy ? Traders are free to store oil and products waiting for some magical price and OPEC gets the price they want even though current prices are a drag on a weak economy ?

And we have recent knews such as this ..


Suggesting tanker rates are finally increasing at least on some routes.

But off major lows.



A PAKISTANI breaker was reported to have offered nearly $13m for a very large crude carrier last week, with the amount of tonnage sold for scrap this year now nearly double the total for 2008, writes Brian Reye s

Across the Indian subcontinent, breakers continued to pay firm rates for select vessels despite subdued sentiment and ample supply. Rate...

The scrapping of single hull tankers and other older oil tankers is brisk and has been for a while as the move to double hull ships becomes widespread.

A very well balanced story here.


Whats interesting is it has 56 tankers being used for storage.
50 are off Britain 12 off Malaysia more on the GOM some off Africa some in Singapore etc. These 56 ships seem to get around with their 100 million barrels of crude or product.

I recommend the last article its in my opinion pretty good even though perhaps some of its numbers might be questionable.

My own opinion has settled on a deliberate storing of oil in the first half of 2008 followed by a unloading as prices fell coupled with the economic chaos smashing prices. As things got out of hand I think a second wave of storage existed this time controlled by bankers and I do believe there is still a significant amount of oil and products offshore. How much I don't know but I suspect less than the 100 million barrel figure in the press.

Next if all these events are related and there is actually a systematic attempt to moderate prices then it makes sense that the bankers are allowed to make a profit by acting as the only real source of surge capacity assuming the ME actually has little in the way of spare capacity. Thats not to say its zero either but not even close to 4mbd.

If so you absolutely must hoard some oil and products and it has to be in a fairly rapidly deliverable form to ensure it can offset shortages to keep prices from spiking. Its nothing more than a traditional attempt at price controls and rationing with a bit of much needed profit thrown in to bolster the banks. Kill two birds with one stone if you will. Banks get recapitolized via whats for all intents and purposes a tax and and long as the game can be played prices rise slowly but profitably.

Everyone is a winner except perhaps the consumer over the longer term when not if the game fails.

Now of course the question is where exactly are we in this game if this is the game thats being played. Are we comfortable or near the breaking point ?

For this you need to see some patterns.

For gasoline in my opinion each one of those lows and the spikyness indicates a system bouncing of MOL and getting its ration.

Same for oil from the import graph.

This ignore the absolute values those are bunk just shift the curve to the bottom. Looks like a bit of effort was made to keep shoppers happy over christmas.

Regardless its the signature I expect to see if a rationing scheme is being tried.

Thats not to say the scheme has broken down yet however it closer to the end than the start. In fact the spike in gasoline storage is well correlated with a surprising jump in gasoline imports.

So although I seriously question the absolute values from the EIA unless they have a reason not to I assume whatever spin figures they put out are relatively correct simply adjusted up or down by a constant. Since I'm seeing the pattern I expect to see and the easiest lie to tell is simple adding or padding an number I've seen no reason to assume the shape of the moves is particularly wrong just shifted well above the real situation in some cases. In others like imports for example perhaps they may actually be lower than reality tough to tell obviously they are not high. But its the shape of the curves I'm more interested in since I've had no reason to suspect these are distorted and good reason to suspect they won't be at the moment since there is no real reason too.

How much longer can this go on ? I don't really know but I can't see it lasting forever my best guess is that it actually has already started to break down and is beginning to fail. Even then it could still be months before you get the natural result of price controls and rationing which is shortages.

I'd have to see at least one price spike into 90 before I'd be willing to say its over. However a single spike is sufficient to suggest if this is the game its probably ending at that point. Thats not to say the first won't perhaps be brought under control but sooner or later this game will break down. And my bets are on sooner.

On last note on VLCC's sorry for the rambling but unfortunately if you dig its a very complex situation with lots of different things going on esp the move to double hulls and if you read you find the VLCC fleet is very old with a large amount of it ready for the scrap heap so this intrinsic issue is huge and actually has little to do with oil. It makes the entire situation fiendishly complex and not a simple problem. Its hard to say how many were scrapped this year how many are positioned for what routs how many on long term contract even if they are sitting empty etc etc. Given the fleet size of 500 or so a change by 10-20 is enough to have a impact 50 or more is huge and improbable with the low rates. No matter how I do it one thing is clear there does not seem to be a lot of oil for steady export and the storage seems to behave more like a emergency rationing scheme than a glut.


Interesting analysis. Your analysis ties in nicely with this analysis of grain supplies around the world.
If both analysis's are correct, it would appear to me that there is a desperate attempt to prevent price inflation in food and energy from occurring at least until the banksters are able to give themselves big bonuses. It seems to me that there is the potential four a massive disruption in the economy in the not to distance future.
I'm just glad that i have ordered my seeds for this years garden.

Very interesting ideas which I've been trying to understand better.

As far as I can tell there isn't any more oil in tanker storage than six months ago. Meanwhile this article below says that VLCCs are still being scrapped. They apparently are not expecting to ship anymore oil in 2010 than in 2009.

I try to comment more in Wednesday's drumbeat.

Right Vision News (Pakistan)
December 22, 2009

UAE: Tankers to face pressure despite rise in oil demand
Pakistan, Dec. 22 -- The current tanker market appears to be ending the year in a much better state than many protagonists anticipated, especially in the crude sector. However, 2010 will be a challenging year even with the anticipated revival in oil demand, according to a report. "The tonnage supply situation will continue to be a major headache in 2010 although any prolonged floating storage may provide considerable support to the tanker market," said London-based EA Gibson Shipbrokers in its latest weekly report on the tanker market.

The tanker market encountered the recession a little later than other shipping markets following last year's extreme highs in the sector. The influx of newbuilds could not have come at a worse time coinciding with the first drop in oil demand since the early 1980s, it said. Demand for temporary floating storage tempered the supply situation and by April as many as 56 VLCCs were being used for this purpose.Initial requirements for floating storage were for crude tankers, but as the year progressed increasing demand for clean products storage took on a greater impetus. LR1s (large range one) to VLCCs were absorbed into these strategic roles, which included several delivered straight from the shipbuilders. Relatively few newbuilding orders were placed during 2009. But, at the same time few tanker cancellations have come to light.


Be careful assuming the VLCC scrapping rate is directly tied to oil.

Many are single hull and no longer allowed on a lot of routes. Others are just plain old and literally ready for the scrap heap. Indeed to some extent the availability of some for floating storage is a simple financial decision between scrapping or making a few more bucks. A whole lot of new VLCC's where on order its probably the cancel rate of new orders thats more important as far as oil is concerned. If there is one thing I've learned trying to really understand the VLCC market its that is not a simple problem.

However if tanker rates are hovering near historical lows even as bunker fuel prices have risen no matter how you slice and dice it we simply are not shipping a lot of oil and the more ships you claim are being used for floating storage the lower normal exports are.

The market has actually pretty much correctly priced this in. If the world had a large flux of oil and daily shipments are low then we are pulling down storage. Thats why despite the claims of high storage levels the price is elevated since daily shipments would be under whats needed to meet current demand. I.e we are slowly draining down our stored oil.

Next the claim by OPEC is they will ship more if the price goes much over 80 so that places and upper bound on market prices over the short term.

This gets into my very simple rule for the current oil market. If reported storage levels fall by 50% then the price of oil will double if they fall by another 50% to the bottom of the five year range perhaps 3X or more of current prices.
At 75 this implies that market would price oil at 225 a barrel if OPEC fails to deliver and oil storage reports are force to report low storage.

Thus the market has not yet called anyones bluff but it has signaled that if its being lied to it will punish the liars.

I think we have gotten ourselves into and intresting catch 22 situation and OPEC is loving it.

By keeping our storage claims so bloody high even as prices rose if we do bring them back down close to reality then we will easily see 100+ oil prices.
As long as we don't OPEC will refuse to raise exports assuming they can claiming the market is well supplied.

Everyday we continue to play the game oil prices increase making adjusting storage claims closer to reality all that much harder.

The only game you can play as you try and bring down your high oil inventory numbers is to claim high product levels of both distillates and gasoline however this has already been done for a while and all it really does is suppress refining margins and product prices it has less of and effect on crude prices.

OPEC is not going to really help you out of this jam by claiming surging oil exports until after you give up on your high inventory claims and off store storage claims.

This is for political reasons but also for market reasons. The only way OPEC can really control prices is to do what I think they did at the start of 2008 which is to store oil themselves in floating storage even if it spikes prices then saturate the real end market or refiners with oil driving prices down.

With everyone on the planet willing and able to store oil a surge would never make it to the consumer and the banksters will trickle the oil onto the market keeping prices from rising fast but also preventing any sort of spike behavior.

My opinion is that the move in 2008 to store by OPEC even as it spiked prices and unload was pretty much a one time event and worked because storage levels where so low. But once the world knew for sure that OPEC was against the wall and this was all they could do to try and control prices it simply could not work again.

The extreme confidence needed to store oil at the levels we see today even my lower estimates requires extraordinary proof that OPEC is unable to increase production rates otherwise its a very dangerous game.

Eventually of course as I said before this game comes to and end. When it does OPEC will get and excellent price for oil and there is not much we can do about it. What they have achieved is a floor price around 70 regardless of how inflated claims are about oil storage levels. In this sense they won one of their primary objectives and have made it clear they will not let oil fall lower and this they can control by really dropping production.

However outside of spiking and flooding they have no control over the top end of oil prices despite their claims all they can do is set a floor.

Now whats really interesting is if the US wants to keep prices low but also try and contract demand its must do some fairly damaging actions.

All it can do now is to drop support for the housing market this primarly means dramatically slowing the purchase of MBS's and allowing interest rates to rise and probably allowing the tax credit to expire although the last is not required. The idea would be that the drop in housing prices will cause some conservation as people feel poorer again. And it will strengthen the dollar esp rising interest rates keeping oil prices low. If rates rise then the MBS purchases are a waste of money as the housing industry will go into a tailspin regardless. It has a choice propping up housing or keeping oil prices relatively low if it can. I'll be very interested to see what happens on this front as I think the financial game and oil game are tightly tied and we are again reaching the point where moves have to be made to make a decision. And of course the stock market won't like a suddenly strong dollar but who knows for sure how it will react as the bond market becomes bearish.

Its complex but I really think that the rug will be pulled out from under housing. I think the games with the banks recently getting them to repay TARP and go for bonus money while refusing to lend was just that games. And done because the US will pull the rug out from under housing and the group of banksters targeted with elimination don't believe it.

But we are in the second stage of the financial wars and now that banking is sounder the US will now take the strategy of good bank vs bad bank and the too big to fails will discover they are not to big after all. Its a consolidation into a real to big to fail or few to big to fail banks. But this time around puplic opinion and banking all will not react badly if Citi and Bank of America and and others are broken up next time they get their ass in a crack.
And the US pulling out of mortgages will send these banks down.

Obama becomes the knight that slew the dragon of to big to fail. Housing prices would have easily fallen back to long term trends if now below and we would have increased interest rates allowing them to be reduced to spur housing. We can assume that oil prices are either volatile or high and Obama the great dragon slayer will campaign on a platform of freeing us from the clutches of OPEC and renewables esp EV's for suburbia. The green shoots are finally showing "for real". US wages would have fell making us more competitive etc. And the great game goes on.

However what really happened was under the cover we had a massive consolidation of banking with a lot of the uneeded financial excess destroyed its both smaller and far more consolidated either directly or indirectly into the hands of GS. I continue to think they will buy or merge with whats left of Bank of America for the name and to set themselves up to be the only bank left.
I know its a bit corny but somehow I can't shake this thought.

As far as oil goes well the US can car pool and use public transit our the resistance to a further drop in consumption is structural but high enough oil prices and we can change as consumption is ridiciously high. One has to think that the EV game will work at first to put a floor on suburban housing prices along with other games. The natural movement towards the cities will spur another round of commercial real estate and condo development with the current ones having been finally sold and prices firming as high oil prices cause more people to choose city life. As far as US debt goes its not a problem as at some point in the future I assume we go to some sort of world currency and the US either inflates away its debt and abandons the dollar or does some similar action to effectively write it off. Everyone will do the same thing so its safe at that point.

Again I have to reference unpublished data but a huge reason that I think they believe they can pull this off is they expect the decline rate in oil production to being to moderate significantly. Projects spurred by higher prices will be coming online and in general I think they believe post peak decline rates will become very gentle. They have bet everything on this coupled with assumptions about elasticity of demand. They still believe the oil market will take care of itself with high prices spurring production and dropping demand.

I think they are wrong and the decline rate is steadily accelerating and export land is making things even worse. Since my unpublished report show oil production has been falling steadily for years yet overall things have not fallen apart I think our leaders are simply not afraid of peak oil. Its a problem of course but I think they think they have it basically under control and can manage it. They just need to keep blowing bubbles and popping them as needed.

Thank you for your detailed explanation.

No doubt there will be a complex inter-reaction in 2010 between the oil markets and the US mortgage market (which the Fed is now 100% supporting by issuing fiat money) - as Roger Baker of ASPO-USA also recently pointed out.

I tend to think that the mortgage market will continue to be supported by the Fed well into 2010 - after a short crisis where it becomes apparent that market clearing mortgage rates without the Fed will lead directly back into recession. Alternatively it's possible that the second oil spike (mid-2008 being the first) will bring that recession first, but probably not until later in the year.

If I am not mistaken, you will be making some type of post where we could discuss these many related issues - especially about oil shipments. It does seem like the oil market is somehow being managed so that it is not too disruptive. Occasionally speculation swings it a little too far each way, but the trend is unmistakenly up. Sluggish US demand can not explain what it happening, leading many to (incorrectly) conclude that the price of oil is 'in a bubble' and must 'deflate' back to $50.

i never had to change the oil in my dog or put a new set of tyres on it.
my dog's "assembly" didnt require the strip mining of metals or their transport from far away. nor did it require lots of electricity and man hours and especially it did not require an elite manager class to "screw" things up like the boys in detroit. my dog didnt require the extraction and refining and transport of fuel and the war and politics that goes with it. my dog ate table scraps and crapped in the back yard. my dog didnt cost me $30,000+ to purchase. i say it is out and out
B$ that a dog has the same environmental footprint as an SUV. i own a cat now. i guess cats have the same environmental footprint as a sedan by the that logic. now tropical fish...that i can see having an environmental impact.
i love reading the oil conundrum. you never know what outrageous and outlandish thing you will read next. and the comment posts? priceless.
"it's all good"


You are getting better all the time-this is your best comment so far I am sure.I totally agree.I have a degree with a few credits in nutrition from a very respectable cow college and old Dan does just fine on feed made mostly out of grain and by products but if I thought he really needed gourmet dog food I would buy it for him even if it meant giving up my internet and TOD, which has become my primary hobby over the last few months.

My old hound has consumed about five dollars worth of dog food a week and fifty dollars worth of vet care per year except for a couple of accidents that required doggie hospitalization.The rest of his keep consists of table scraps and an oversize arm chair reserved for his sole use in the sun room.

In exchange he is expected to bark at the occasional stranger who enters our yard and occasionally chase a raccon or opussum up a tree or at least out of the grapes and nectarines.In the event that taking care of these strenous duties doesn't interfere too much with his naps and sunbathing of course.


The Oil Drum didn't publish the story, just copied the link from Yahoo news. It was in a UK paper, or website.

Tropical fish have a high overhead mainly because you have to run lights and air pumps, clean the tank about once a month if you don't do it every week. If you are a hobby fish keeper and not a breeder you might not spend but a few hundred on the tank. A breeder could spend well over a thousand if not more as time goes by in this or that, not to mention how pricey tank setups have gotten.

I don't have any pets, and don't have a car. So my foot print is lower than it has ever been.

Not to forget that a dog returns all its inputs to the earth in an immediately useable form, while a SUV dumps it into the air as a variety of carcinogens and GHGs.
And when a dog dies, you can recycle it in a compost heap, instead of having to send it to Sims Metal.

Anyone on this board from Toronto? Here's a video of your mayor riding a bicycle around Copenhagen (and singing.) I have no idea if he's a good guy or a bad guy, but he at least looked competent riding a bike. And was well-dressed to boot!


Yeah, he's a lefty with his heart in the right place. I spotted him riding the streetcar in Toronto with an aide one time. He's on his way out of power with a legacy of mixed results. Toronto is probably a bit of a tough place to be a mayor. The suburbs are vast and hopeless places and the electorate is pretty conservative and has been subject to 30 years of neo-con brainwashing - they are not easily sold such things as tax increases for infrastructure projects. Also, upper levels of government would rather eat broken glass than provide money to keep an economic engine like Toronto going. It isn't clear who will replace him and when I think of the calibre of some of the US mayors I really cringe.

Great site.

Ahhhh... Toronto the good. Hahahaha - hizzoner-eh, or whatever is the term of address, not only gushing over a bike, but icing the cake and putting the cherry on top by singing, of all the things in tarnation. Imagine the unending political fallout that would come thundering down if he were a mayor on the other side of the border. ROFLMAO. Not pretty. Not pretty at all...

NZ Methane Hydrates May Soon Be Developed

Whats up with this ? Even Japan is looking into it.

How can they on one hand talk about reducing emissions and on the other dig up new fossil fuels ?

BTW, there is enormous amount of methane under the ocean and if released will definitely cause runaway global warming. Infact one of the reasons Hansen et al worry about warming of more than 2 Deg is that some of these carbon sinks can get unstable and start releasing carbon into atmosphere. If that happens we will be


Ironic but if the stuff is going to melt anyway we damn well better burn as much of it as we can , cause (one) it will displace a lot of coal , and (two) methane burnt to co2 will be a heck of a lot smaller problem that an equal amount floating free -about twenty times a smaller problem , in terms or warming.

Not quite, if the methane hydrate is deposited deep enough it will dissolve when bubbling upwards instead of escape into the atmosphere. Only at the poles water is cold enough to have hydrates stored at shallow enough depths.

Despite that, digging and burning it up because 'it would otherwise escape into the atmosphere anyway' is a lame excuse and if coal is cheaper then it will be burned anyway.

Edit: Link to source

How can they on one hand talk about reducing emissions and on the other dig up new fossil fuels ?

Things that make me go: hmmmmmm......