Drumbeat: December 25, 2009

7 Tipping Points That Could Transform Earth

When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issue its last report in 2007, environmental tipping points were a footnote. A troubling footnote, to be sure, but the science was relatively new and unsettled. Straightforward global warming was enough to worry about.

But when the IPCC meets in 2014, tipping points — or tipping elements, in academic vernacular — will get much more attention. Scientists still disagree about which planetary systems are extra-sensitive to climate shifts, but the possibility can’t be ignored.

“The problem with tipping elements is that if any of them tips, it will be a real catastrophe. None of them are small,” said Anders Levermann, a climate physicist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.

Ukraine has problems paying for gas: Gazprom

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's gas export monopoly Gazprom said on Friday Ukraine was facing difficulties with payments for its gas, news agencies quoted Gazprom's Chief Executive Alexei Miller as saying.

A dispute between the two countries led to gas supplies to Europe being cut off in January 2009, leaving millions of homes without heat at the height of winter and damaging the industry.

"We assess the situation with payments for Russian natural gas deliveries in December as very alarming," RIA news agency quoted Miller as saying.

Russia scraps Jan oil exports via Ukraine - trade

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has fully scrapped its oil export plans via Ukraine in January and will have to divert some 0.5 million tonnes of crude meant for the port of Yuzhny to other destinations, traders said on Friday.

None of Iraq’s Oil Sites Under Iranian Control, Official Says

(Bloomberg) -- None of Iraq’s oil fields are under Iranian control, an Iraqi official said, one week after Iranian forces occupied a well in a disputed border area.

“There are no other wells under Iranian control,” Ali Maarej, director of Iraq’s state-run Missan Oil Co. said today on a press visit of the al-Fakah site where last week’s standoff took place.

Toyota faces expulsion from Venezuela

CARACAS (Reuters) -- Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has threatened to expel Japanese carmaker Toyota unless it produces an all-terrain model of 4x4 vehicles used for public transport in poor and rural areas.

The next energy decade with Dan Yergin

"When you just do the mathematics you see that oil is going to continue through the next decade to be the predominant energy source. You kind of have to divide the world in two. ther's the industrial U.S. and the other industrial countries. In the last couple of years we've reached peak demand. Demand will recover somewhat through the recession, then it will be declining because of demographics and fuel-efficient engines. As populations age they drive less... There's a focus on energy efficiency to an extent we've neer seen before."

"It's quite a different picture when you look at emerging markets... As those markets motorize we'll see more demand."

Mexico oil output resumes decline in November

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican oil production fell in November after two months of rising output as the giant Cantarell field pumped less and the troubled Chicontepec project again failed to replace lost capacity.

The country pumped 2.553 million barrels per day in November, 5.8 percent less than a year ago and a 49,000 bpd decline from October, data released on Thursday by state oil monopoly Pemex showed.

Steadily declining output from the world's seventh-largest producer has contributed to concerns that diminishing supply from mature basins will make it even harder for the world to meet growing demand from emerging oil consumers, one of the key factors that underpin long-term oil investment.

It is also causing growing headaches for Mexican policymakers who rely on revenues generated by crude exports to fund around a third of the federal budget.

Although officials say they have come to grips with the dramatic production decline at Cantarell that has sent Mexican output tumbling by nearly a quarter since peaking in 2004, investors remain skeptical given Pemex's long track record of failing to deliver on promised production stability.

Storm clouds ahead for America; Rise of China, India could cause headaches for superpower

Just two and a half weeks after he was elected and before he even set foot in the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama was presented with a 120- page report that was supposed to help him to peer into the future.

The top analysts at the U.S. National Intelligence Council had spent a year surveying other experts and studying global trends in a bid to give the president-elect an over-the-horizon view of the year 2025.

The international order is in the midst of profound change, the report, Global Trends 2025, concluded.

U.S. economic and political clout will decline over the next 15 years; the world will become a more dangerous place; food, water and energy shortages could spark regional conflicts and, while the appeal of terrorism might decline, terrorists themselves will become more deadly and dangerous thanks to new technology, the report says.

Oil refining’s golden age over? Or not?

The New York Times seems to have put a lump of coal in Hyperion Refining’s stocking today with its article detailing the decline of oil refining in the United States as demand for fuels, both gasoline and diesel, decline.

Partly, that’s due to recession, writer Jad Mouawad, concedes. But he proceeds to show the trend had its start long before the economy’s recent shrinking act.

12 VLCCs store crude, fuel oil off Malaysia

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – At least 12 supertankers holding fuel oil and crude are anchored in south Malaysian waters, up from eight previously, as a shortage of landed tanks spurs a shift to floating storage, traders said.

More trading firms, including Swiss trader Mercuria Energy trading and Southern Petrochemical Co. Ltd., an affiliate of China's Sinopec Group, are venturing into the residual fuels market to capitalize on potentially firm trade margins.

Venezuelan discontent over power cuts

CARACAS, Venezuela (UPI) -- Public discontent over renewed disruptions in electricity supplies reached new levels as the government of President Hugo Chavez announced further cutbacks in business and domestic use of power.

Officials said the cutbacks are a direct result of low water levels in the Guri hydroelectric dam, one of the largest in the world, astride the Caroni River in Bolivar state. In normal conditions the dam generates enough power to meet the needs of most of Venezuela, but persistent drought has forced the shutdown of parts of the complex.

Fuel Crisis: Ihonvbere Advocates ‘Modular’ Refineries

Former special adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo on project monitoring and policy implementation, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, has advocated the establishment of modular refineries by the country’s private sector as panacea to acute fuel shortage especially during festive periods in Nigeria.

Nigeria: 2009, the year of gas turbulence for manufacturers

As the year 2009 wraps up, investors in the industrial sector of the economy have described the year as one of gas turbulence.

In fact, industry watchers say no quarter of the year passed by without a row between members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and some of the gas companies .

Power firms may face funding worries, fuel shortage next year

Mumbai: Power companies, which have raised close to $6 billion (Rs28,080 crore) in less than two years, will need to find more money to keep their projects going next year while making sure they line up enough fuel and struggle for critical resources such as land and water.

The sector raised a substantial Rs11,862 crore through initial public offers (IPOs) and institutional placements this year, but analysts said that lenders, who provide the bulk of the money for power projects, will become more demanding next year.

‘India has huge untapped green energy’

Chandigarh: The recent CII-Ernst & Young’s report on ‘renewable energy- the next wave’ points out huge untapped renewable energy resources in the country, which can be used to generate power. As per official estimates, India has a commercially viable renewable potential of around 85,000 mw, which includes wind potential of 45,000 mw, small hydro of 6,000 mw and 25,000 mw of biomass/ bio-energy. The report also adds that the country has potential to generate 20 mw per sq km using solar photovoltaic and solar thermal energy.

Pakistan - Now power crisis to end in the next summer: Pervez Ashraf

KARACHI: Federal Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf has said that power crisis would be resolved in June/July of coming and there would be no power shortfall in the next summer.

Addressing a press conference at Karachi Press Club on Thursday, he said government wants to generate electricity from hydel power, which is a long-term plan. He informed that at present 65 percent of electricity is generated through fuel and the cost will reduce if the same power is generated through hydel source.

Pakistan: Gas management, low pressure irk consumers

LAHORE - Loadshedding and low pressure of gas caused nuisance not only for the domestic consumers but also for the CNG consumers who are now compelled to get fuel for their vehicles in long queues, revealed a survey conducted by The Nation on Thursday.

The consumers condemning the policies of the government protested against the shortage of gas while queuing up to get fuel from the CNG filling stations. Some of them were of the view that getting fuel for their vehicles from CNG filling stations is a painful task because for getting CNG they have to spend hours at filling stations due to which they could not reach their destinations in time.

Pakistan: Consumers complain of outages despite raise in power tariff

As the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has allowed 15 paisa per unit tariff increase to the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC), power consumers in various parts of the city complained of electricity failures on prolonged and frequent basis.

The KESC Abraaj Capital-led management has been sticking to its version that the power utility has been carrying out a maximum of three-hour power load shedding every day on rotational basis.

The residents of Lasbela and Garden areas, among other affected localities of the city, complained that they had been undergoing around eight hours of power outages these days.

Ghana: Gas shortage hits Kumasi

THE POOR state of business and economic activities in the Ashanti Regional capital during this year’s Christmas festivities is expected to get worse following the acute shortage of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in the city.

Some taxi drivers have been queuing at filling stations in the Metropolis for the past three days in anticipation of the arrival of some of the product, but to no avail.

Due to the relatively cheaper cost and the economic benefits of the LPG compared with petrol, most taxi drivers have converted their fuel tankers into gas, as a means of saving cost, but the non-availability of the product for the past three days has caused a lot of inconveniences to most drivers and passengers in the Metropolis.

NRC panel of advocates for dead-end hydrogen cars, chaired by a former ExxonMobil executive, trashes plug-in hybrids in deeply flawed report, Part 1

In a staggering lapse of judgment, the National Research Council let its panel of hydrogen advocates publish a deeply flawed report trashing plug-in hybrids.

Last week, the NRC’s “Committee on Assessment of Resource Needs for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technologies,” which is stacked with hydrogen car experts and advocates, but lacks comparable experts on electric cars or batteries, published a report “Transitions to Alternative Transportation Technologies–Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles” dismissing their major competitor in the “car of the future” race. That would be like letting a Coal with Carbon Capture and Storage Committee or the Nuclear Power Committee write a report on “Transition to carbon-free power — solar energy.”

Iraqi Crisis Report: Farmers Hit Hard Times

Iraq imports more than 80 per cent of its food, according to the United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organisation, FAO. Economists and consumers are alarmed by the trend, fearing agriculture may disappear in a country once known as the heart of the Fertile Crescent.

The FAO describes the Iraqi agricultural sector as "under-performing drastically" due to political instability, war, poor infrastructure and years of grinding drought.

Regional gasoline shortage easing

HAGERSTOWN, Md. — Scattered gasoline shortages caused by a record-breaking winter storm eased Wednesday as fuel trucks sidelined by up to 2 1/2 feet of snow resupplied gas stations from Virginia to Connecticut, industry workers said.

The Rumford fireplace - energy-efficiency rediscovered

I confess I didn’t exactly stumble on the Rumford fireplace. It was brought to my attention by Dale King, a builder we’re using who specializes in old homes. One day I was chatting with Dale and bemoaning the fact that fireplaces are so inefficient in terms of energy, and yet, so necessary -- at least as far as I’m concerned -- in a home – old or new.

“Have you thought of a Rumford?” he asked.

“A what?”

“A Rumford. They’ve been around since the 1800s. They’re amazingly efficient.”

And so I set out to discover just what “a Rumford” is. It turns out concerns about energy efficiency have been around a lot longer than the energy crisis of the 1970s and today's energy concerns.

In the 1700s, the cost of fuel (wood in those days) and how inefficient it was as a heat source also concerned great men. That’s what prompted Ben Franklin to invent the Franklin Stove in 1742. It’s also one of things that preoccupied a Woburn, Mass.-born physicist named Benjamin Thomson, who later became known as Count Rumford and for whom the fireplace is named.

For Caring Consumers, the Gift of Carbon Dioxide

What says holiday cheer better than a ton of carbon dioxide?

Rebecca Young of Mountain View, Calif., recently opened her mail to find a gift from an old friend in New York City.

“Carbon reduction certificate,” it read. It is good for three tons of carbon emissions that will be “retired” in her name so that no power plant will ever release them into the atmosphere.

To some people, the certificate may be as welcome as a lump of coal. But Ms. Young, a marketing manager for the environmental Web site Care2.com, was delighted.

“I don’t need stuff,” said Ms. Young, 37, the mother of 3-year-old twins. “And as someone who cares about the environment, I thought it was a very kind gesture. It obviously showed that he knew me.”

Resource depletion will reduce emissions

For those who are concerned about the lack of an effective climate change agreement in Copenhagen, there is some consolation. Depletion of global fossil fuels is likely to force the world to move to alternative energy anyway. Higher energy prices will do what trading schemes won’t.

It has generally been assumed that depletion of global fossil fuel resources will come too late to have any bearing on policies to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions. However the future will arrive sooner than we think. It is not only oil that is running out. There is not enough coal, at least in the right places, to sustain projected global demand.

Dear Naomi Klein, please stop making my work difficult

Describing the climate debt owed by wealthy countries as 'reparations' makes it impossible for the US to take part.

Scientists in drive to make carbon-neutral cities

Scientists are testing the power of trees and plants to clean the air and absorb greenhouse gases in cities in a drive to make new developments carbon neutral.

Experts in Dublin, New York and Tokyo are carrying out similar tests to find out how urban landscapes cope with emissions and heavy traffic.

The aim is to plan more sustainable developments as the fight against climate change widens in the coming decades.

Build-a-Bear takes heat for global-warming webisodes

St. Louis - First, Chicken Little warned children that the sky was falling. And now Build-a-Bear Workshop has warned children that the North Pole could disappear before Christmas.

The Missouri-based company has found itself in hot water, defending an animated series on its website featuring polar bears, penguins and Mrs. Claus, as Santa is warned that global warming is "a serious situation."

Conservative bloggers reposted the videos online and called for a boycott of the toy company, saying Build-a-Bear should not be presenting a political stance to children.

The Price of Disappointment

The price per metric ton of permits to spew carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere fell by $3.30 on the European Climate Exchange between the first day of the climate summit in Copenhagen and the day after its disappointing conclusion as traders reacted to the failure to reach binding targets for future carbon emissions.

The decline — which put the price of the benchmark futures contract dated December 2010 at $18.20 per ton — reflects the European market’s deflated expectations that the meetings would lead to a treaty to lower emissions ceilings and boost the price of permits.

The depressed price of the emissions permits also suggests that despite years of diplomatic efforts, the real world — where people and businesses buy energy to make things, move things and stay warm — still operates as if people can spew carbon more or less at will.

Passengers will pay for carbon, airlines warn

DOMESTIC air travellers face higher fares to cover the cost of airlines' greenhouse gas emissions - estimated at $100 million or more - if the Federal Government's emissions trading scheme is passed by Parliament next year, leading airlines warn.

And that, they claim, could hurt the Australian tourism industry, which employs about 500,000 people.

Climate change 'scare tactics' won't work, warns expert

A LEADING researcher into attitudes on climate change has claimed Government scare tactics are only increasing public scepticism about global warming.

Dr Lorraine Whitmarsh, who has carried out extensive research into public mistrust on the issue, says scaremongering to convey environmental messages is not effective.

Instead she argues low carbon lifestyles - that can save people money and have long term health benefits as well as helping slow climate change - should be heavily incentivised.

Where There’s Smoke ... There’s a Trade-In

There are some 10 million wood stoves in use in the United States, according to the E.P.A., and while the agency has set new emissions limits for those made after 1990, most are older.

Those stoves use more wood and emit up to 10 times more particle pollution than newer ones, according to the E.P.A.

In California, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has imposed wood-burning bans on 14 days so far since November 2008. People who rely exclusively on wood heat are exempt, but one of them, Sandy Clark of Woodacre, Calif., said she felt singled out nonetheless.

“I get nasty notes from someone here in town on my woodpile,” Mrs. Clark, 65, said. “There is one woman who walks up and down the street looking for smoke in people’s chimneys. She has her own spies — kids and other women who walk around with notebooks, looking for smoke.”

DEC suggests wood stove burning usage tips

ALBANY - State DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis has reminded residents to exercise great care when using wood stoves in their homes. With the winter heating season now fully upon us, many New Yorkers have begun using wood- fired stoves to take the chill off of their homes.

"While many still heat their homes with natural gas or oil, there has been a recent resurgence in the popularity of wood stoves," said Commissioner Grannis. "Using a wood stove can be an economical and environmentally responsible choice; however, it does require more oversight and responsibility than other heating options."

Energy prices on upswing, rise above $78

NEW YORK - Energy prices are ending the year on an upswing with large storms, falling supplies, a weak dollar and a slightly better employment picture sending futures higher.

Crude futures closed above $78 per barrel for the first time in more than a month Thursday in shortened holiday trading as the U.S. government reported that unemployment benefit claims from newly laid-off workers fell for the 16th straight week.

Natural Gas Falls After Stockpiles Decline Less Than Expected

(Bloomberg) -- Natural gas futures fell the most in two weeks in New York after the U.S. Energy Department released its weekly stockpile report that showed inventories declining less than expected.

Natural gas in storage slipped 166 billion cubic feet last week to 3.4 trillion cubic feet. Analysts forecast a drop of 172 billion cubic feet, according to the median of 21 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

US natural gas rig count slides 22 to 751 for week

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States slid 22 this week to 751, according to a report on Friday by oil services firm Baker Hughes in Houston.

The U.S. natural gas drilling rig count has rebounded after bottoming at 665 on July 17, its lowest level since May 3, 2002, when there were 640 gas rigs operating.

But the rig count is still down sharply since peaking above 1,600 in September 2008, standing at 596 rigs, or 44 percent, below the same week last year.

North Dakota oil patch posts record production

North Dakota's oil patch will set a production record in 2009, despite a year that began with depressed crude prices and a drop in drilling activity, state and industry officials said.

North Dakota will produce about 80 million barrels of oil in 2009, up from a record 62.8 million barrels last year, said Lynn Helms, director of the state Department of Mineral Resources. Final production numbers won't be known until sometime in the first quarter of 2010.

"We are rocking along," Helms said. "It's a much better year than we expected earlier in the year. It adds up fast when you're pumping out more than 240,000 barrels a day."

Nippon Oil, Mining to Shed 20% Capacity by March

(Bloomberg) -- Nippon Oil Corp. and Nippon Mining Holdings Inc., set to merge in April, will shut three oil refining units and cut capacity at another plant by March 2011 as fuel demand shrinks in the world’s second-biggest economy.

Nippon Oil will close three crude distillation units in Japan with a combined capacity of 204,000 barrels a day, the company said in a statement released in Tokyo. Nippon Mining will also reduce capacity at a plant in Kashima, near Tokyo. The cuts amount to about 20 percent of overall capacity.

Yemen reports disastrous drop in energy revenue

CAIRO — Yemen, in addition to fighting off military challenges in its North and South, is facing a sharp drop in oil exports.

The government said crude oil exports amounted to $1.4 billion for the first 10 months of 2009. A government statement said oil export revenues during the same period in 2008 reached $4.1 billion.

The report by the Yemen Central Bank cited a drop in oil exports in 2009 as well as a decline in prices.

Origin steps up gas search

ORIGIN ENERGY and its joint-venture partner ConocoPhillips have taken another step in the race to export Queensland's coal-seam gas reserves, awarding a $220 million drilling contract to the US firm Savanna Energy Services.

Under the contract, Savanna will supply two drilling rigs for five years from September next year, helping in the extensive drilling needed to extract gas from underground coal seams.

First Russian Oil From ESPO Pipe to Load Next Week

(Bloomberg) -- The East Siberian Pacific Ocean Pipeline, Russia’s multibillion-dollar attempt to tap growing energy demand in Japan, China and Korea, will load its first oil next week.

“This is a colossal piece of work,” Nikolai Tokarev, who heads OAO Transneft, Russia’s oil pipeline operator, said in an interview on Russian state television station Vesti-24 today. “This isn’t just an event for Transneft.”

Judge strikes down Richmond tax on Chevron plant

MARTINEZ, Calif. (AP) -- Chevron Corp. could be getting back millions of dollars from the San Francisco Bay area city of Richmond after a judge struck down a tax assessed on a refinery the oil giant operates in the city.

Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge David Flinn ruled last week that a tax approved by Richmond voters last year on the value of crude oil refined at the plant is unconstitutional and violates state law.

China to have world's second biggest power capacity

BEIJING: China's electricity generation capacity will increase to 860 million kilowatts at the end of this year, the second largest after the United States, energy official said on Friday.

The nation's power grids coverage has become the world's largest with fast expansion of ultra-high voltage network. New energy such as nuclear and wind power played an increasingly important role, said Zhang Guobao, head of the National Administration of Energy.

Capacity of wind power base in NW China hits 2 GW

YUMEN, Gansu: The installed capacity of China's first massive wind power base in northwestern Gansu Province reached two gigawatts, local authorities said Friday.

The Jiuquan wind power base achieved the landmark capacity as China Datang Corporation, one of China's power giants, installed a 200-megawatt wind power unit in Yumen City under the jurisdiction of Jiuquan City, said Wu Shengxue, deputy head of Jiuquan's Reform and Development Commission.

Rise of Wind Turbines Is a Boon for Rope Workers

Rope specialists like Mr. Touchette and Mr. Haughey have long filled a range of niche jobs, like inspecting big dams, cleaning Mount Rushmore and repairing offshore oil platforms. But as wind farms have sprouted across the nation, rope companies have quickly expanded into a new line of work — fixing turbines so they last longer in the elements.

It’s a dream job for rock-climbing types.

Plug-in America's Top 12 Plug-in Electric Vehicle Myths

1. MYTH: EVs don't have enough range. You'll be stranded when you run out of electricity

FACT: Americans drive an average of 40 miles per day, according to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation. Most new BEVs have a range of at least double that and can be charged at any ordinary electrical outlet (120V) or publicly accessible station with a faster charge. The latter, already in use, will proliferate as the plug-in infrastructure is built out. At present, all it takes is planning for EV owners, who can travel up to 120 miles on a single charge, to use their cars on heavy travel days. Alternatively, a PHEV goes at least 300 miles on a combination of electricity and gasoline.

Japan's Kansai sees restarting reactor in late Jan

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Kansai Electric Power Co (9503.T) said on Friday it expected to restart the 1,175-megawatt No.2 reactor at Ohi nuclear plant around late January after an unplanned shutdown in October.

EnergySolutions defends foreign nuclear waste plan

SALT LAKE CITY -- EnergySolutions Inc. has started airing commercials critical of a U.S. congressman who wants to prevent the company from importing Italian nuclear waste for disposal in Utah's west desert.

The company is fighting a bill in Congress sponsored by U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, that would ban the importation of foreign low-level radioactive waste unless it originated in the U.S. or served a strategic national purpose.

EnergySolutions contends jobs will be put at risk if it isn't allowed to dispose of the waste at its facility, about miles west of Salt Lake City. Meanwhile, Matheson said that any country that creates nuclear waste should dispose of it itself.

10 Sustainability Predictions for 2010

Energy conservation and alternative energy strategies are expected to grow in importance in the coming year. Val Haskell, director of Environmental Sustainability Solutions at Hitachi Consulting, shares her list of sustainability predictions for 2010.

China defends role at Copenhagen

BEIJING (AFP) – China has defended its role at this month's climate change talks in Copenhagen, saying Premier Wen Jiabao played a key part in sealing an accord, after critics blamed Beijing for blocking negotiations.

"One can see from the tortuous and difficult process of the summit that China played a crucial role," said a lengthy official record of Wen's attendance at the summit posted on the foreign ministry website late Thursday.

A diplomatic battle of finger-pointing and sharp recriminations has erupted over the summit's final agreement, which has been widely panned for its failure to oblige countries to carry out concrete greenhouse gas emissions cuts.

Mexico wants binding climate accord at 2010 summit

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Mexico will push for a binding international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions when it hosts the next climate change summit in Mexico City in the coming year.

Mexico seeks to accomplish what the recent Copenhagen conference failed to do - get developed and poorer nations to agree to a 50 percent emissions cut by 2050, as compared to 2000 levels, according to a statement issued by the Environment Department Thursday.

Jeffrey D. Sachs: Obama undermines the U.N. climate process

Obama’s decision to declare a phony negotiating victory undermines the U.N. process by signaling that rich countries will do what they want and must no longer listen to the “pesky” concerns of many smaller and poorer countries. Some will view this as pragmatic, reflecting the difficulty of getting agreement with 192 U.N. member states. But it is worse than that. International law, as complicated as it is, has been replaced by the insincere, inconsistent, and unconvincing word of a few powers, notably the U.S. America has insisted that others sign on to its terms -- leaving the U.N. process hanging by a thread -- but it has never shown good will to the rest of the world on this issue, nor the interest to take the lead on it.

Global warming skepticism is fueled by public relations, author says

There's a new book on the public relations aspect of human-induced climate change that's well worth the read. It's called "Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming."

Author James Hoggan, cofounder of the DeSmogBlog.com, has been in the public relations business since 1972. His experience gives him a unique perspective on what he labeled, in a phone conversation, "by far and away the biggest public relations campaign that I've ever seen."

Consumers 'Key Part Of Solution' To Global Warming

ScienceDaily — Consumers can have a major impact on the world's efforts to reduce global warming, a major report has concluded.

The research is led by Professor Mohan Munasinghe, Director General of The University of Manchester's Sustainable Consumption Institute and one of the world's leading thinkers on energy, sustainable development and climate change.

The bad news is that Santa left me a lump of coal.

The good news is he included carbon offsets!

Merry Christmas!

Happy 368 birthday Sir Isaac Newton!

The report on hydrogen fueled cars vs. plug in hybrids or electrics is just another example of the top right quote we often see about a man not being able to understand something if his job depends on him not understanding it. Or as my dear departed father used to say "Where you stand depends on where you sit" Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you in Oil Drum land. And thanks especially to Leanan for giving us your gift every day, not just on Christmas. Bill

Yes treeman,and the reference to James Hoggan's article about the public relations campaign against climate change is another. Hoggan refers to the anti climate change as "the biggest public relations campaign he has ever seen."

He may be right, but I think the campaign against renewable energy has been just as big and possibly longer lasting. Renewables are pictured as pie in the sky toys of no use in the creation of usable power, pictured as literally swallowing vast amounts of land and resources to construct and operate (unfortunately, misuse of the EROEI argument can be used against them, and often is), and the picture is given of a sea of energy provided by the fossil fuels that is so vast no amount of development of alternatives can be more than a piss in the sea compared to them.

I recently was showing a link online depicting a 10 megawatt solar plant (concentrating mirror) to a well educated friend of mine, and he said, "yeah, but look how much land to make that little bit of power..."

I asked him, "Do you know how much a megawatt of power is?" Of course he did not and openly admitted it...when I let him know that a megawatt was about 1300 horsepower, he was absolutely awe struck...he had never thought about that amount of power (about 13,000 horsepowr) being produced by sunshine, he just could not visualize it. Such is the power of constant public relations to alter perceptions...we have discussed here before the amount in volumetric terms of crude oil used each year worldwide (about a cubic mile). I myself was completely astounded, having assumed it must be nearer 50 or 100, and when I did a survey amoung friends (again, mostly well educated college graduates) NO ONE took a number anywhere near as low as one cubic mile as a guess, and some were in the hundreds!

The embedded energy industry is in a death duel to get the time they need to age out their sunk cost and investments and will say and do anything to discredit climate issues and renewable energy. It is that simple.


I always tell people that i could run my Fordasaurus (Expedition, which by the way has been one of the best vehicles I have ever owned 140,000 miles and no major problems.) up the hill behind my house, which is about a quarter of a mile and quite steep, on about a quarter cup of gasoline. I then have them relate that to the physical labor that would be required and the fact that the efficiency of the engine is quite low. It generally gets the embedded energy thing across.

The TVA lake near us flooded 19,000 acres and produces 12 megawatts intermitantly. People don't seem to have trouble accepting that. I wonder how many MW a 19,000 acre concentrating solar plant would produce?

1 Acre = 4046.85642 Square Meters

Let's use conservatively 1kw per sq meter:

4046.85642 sq. meters x 1000 watts/sq. meter x 19000 acres =76,890.27 and at 20% efficiency = 15,378 mw?

(feel free to correct my math as the holiday joy is having its effect!)

I understand that I am comparing apples and oranges, but my point is that if you put things into perspective for the trolls you sometimes get through to them.

What you are doing is comparing one form of renewable power with another form of renewable power. The challenge is showing how much land is needed by coal mines plus their distribution chains, and by the power plants that burn that coal.

Here's another one people forget:

Usually nuclear plants have very compact sites of 500 to 1000 acres including the exclusion area around the plant.


And this area doesn't include the area damaged by mining, the fuel manufacturing and "enrichment" facilities or the area required the next 10,000 years to store the waste.

It makes a solar plant seem pretty benign.

"...campaign against renewable energy has been just as big..."

Yes but the so called campaign against renewable energy has been carefully documented six ways from sunday, vs the ampaign against AGW which is pure unadulterated BS.

Nice try though thatsit

eeyores enigma wrote:

the ampaign against AGW which is pure unadulterated BS..

Pardon moi, but your use of the English language makes it difficult to understand your meaning. Surely you aren't one of those ditto head idiots that don't understand science. Documentation of the denialist campaign against AGW can be found in several publications, such as "The Republican War on Science". I expect that this latest book extends our understanding of just how pervasive and successful the campaign has been.

E. Swanson

I think eeyores enigma meant the campaign is BS, i.e., completely lacking a foundation in fact.

Despite that, it has been extremely successful, as you say. People disbelieve climate scientists, despite all the evidence, and believe economists, ditto.

Black_dog - I was trying to point out the fact that there is no meat behind climate change denial vs the fact that there has been loads of analyses showing the limitations of renewable energy.
The two issues do not compare.

eeyores enigma said,

"I was trying to point out the fact that there is no meat behind climate change denial vs the fact that there has been loads of analyses showing the limitations of renewable energy."

Oh there is absolutely NO DOUBT that renewable energy has limitations. Everything does. Believe it or not, fossil fuel has limitations. Would you believe that fossil fuels have any limit if you watched Exxon or the American Gas Council advertising? Let's really take a look at the so called "analyses" and make them price in all the externalized costs...national security, transportation costs, carbon release issues, mountain top blasting to extract coal destroying some of the most diverse and irreplacable ecosystems on earth, giant catch pools of mining debris that has collapsed on whole towns and killed people, declining return on fossil fuel vs. increasing return on renewables, sunk costs of a century of development of the fossil fuel system vs. the already demonstrated efficiency of a relatively young technology?

Just the other day (Dec 22, 2009), in a very good article right here on TOD that at least accepted the viability of alternative energy (Tom Konrad, Ph.D. "Managing the Peak Fossil Fuel Transition: EROI and EIRR"), I asked several questions, among them these two questions concerning the EROEI arguments against alternative energy and a so called "renewables hump:

-It is interesting that the highest carbon fuels seem to come out to advantage, but I am assuming this is only true if you leave the costs of dealing with the carbon issue off the books. Am I correct in this assumption?

-Likewise other infrastructure issues: Coal comes to mind, in which the already "sunk costs" of the rail and or barge system to move the coal around are seemingly left "off book", and only the costs of mining/extraction seem to be factored in.

Dr. Konrad replied:
-I did not account for the energy costs of cleaning up after fossil fuels.
- I didn't really deal with boundary issues of EROI, I just used the EROI numbers from the chart I showed. But boundary issues are as much of a problem for EIRR as for EROI.

I say this not to fault Dr. Konrad's article in any fashion, it was an educational, informative and very well written article, but simply to stress how difficult it is to get a clear accounting of the alternative energy potential returns compared to fossil energy...it is very complex. This does not stop the fossil fuel industry and those who are status quo supporters from using even the most vague and flimsy of statistics to attack alternative energy programs without mercy or doubt, and declare them null and void as important to the world's energy future. Does it not surprise us that these so called useless energy technologies are being developed all over the world? That Germany, with even less favorable solar conditions than most of the U.S. is applying solar energy, that Spain with no better wind resources than the midwest of the U.S. is applying wind and solar and Japan is applying micro generation with distributed and renewable power production mixed into a smart grid system? Do we assume that every nation in the world is stupid and incapable of basic math while only the U.S. can see the impossibility of large scale renewable energy application? Maybe we should assume we do not know everything, I know it sounds odd, but just a possibility.

I do not dismiss the challenges of the renewables, and I admit the power density of the fossil fuels make them tough competitors. But fossil fuels have many liabilities, and even if there was NO DANGER of peak or depletion, there are still plently of liabilities. Given that there is clearly a danger of peak and depletion in the near term, the willingness to attack any potential renewable alternative based on obviously incomplete comparisons strikes me as very poorly thought out.


New issue is out and new online articles:

-Elizabeth Cutright has an editors comment on energy storage and the smart grid and
-Article on EPA recognition of 20 entities producing and consuming the most power onsite
-"Biggest Losers" article, HVAC retrofits managing to "lose" 20% to 90% of prior consumption
-And an absolutely fascinating article "The New Core Technology" catching us up on the state of the art in energy storage (much further along than many folks may think and moving very fast)

This is an absolutely free publication, all you have to do is register, and many articles ore online for the reading. I am not associated with the publication in any way except as a reader and fan.


The cost of the lithium ion storage system in the article is outrageous. One could buy two 20 year lead acid batteries, with a total of 140 KWH of storage. for $14,000. Giant Battery Co. The twenty years would probably require a 20 hour discharge rate and seldom dropping below 50% ( take out 50% in ten hours) but still, that is considerably more storage for less than $.14 on the dollar, compared to the lithium ion. The batteries are heavy, probably 3000 pounds apiece, but in a stationary storage mode who cares?

In stationary applications, Lithium Ion seems expensive to me. I assume they make the case that it can take more life cycles (charge/discharge)than lead acid batteries, and at a deeper discharge rate. But you seem to have the economics worked out, so the owners of the system would have to defend the system to the investors I suppose...


HVAC retrofits managing to "lose" 20% to 90% of prior consumption

"HVAC retrofits" search gives me 5 pages of returns -
would you clarify ?


"In This Issue" (Jan/Feb)

Top left corner. You have to get your free subscription to see it.

Thanks Ghung, subscribed and reading now.

Chavez's threat to Venezuelan auto manufactures may be first step in an oil for cars deal with China:

Today’s Nikkei [sub] sees even more sinister dealings afoot: Oil and China. Says the Nikkei: “The takeover threat and possibility of turning control over to the Chinese comes on the heels of two days of bilateral talks with China that ended Tuesday. The Chavez administration said in a statement after the talks that it now considers China its ‘main strategic alliance.’”

Venezuela currently sells 1 million barrels a day of Venezuelan crude to the U.S. Chavez wants to reduce this co-dependency, and focus on China instead. Venezuela currently ships 400,000 barrels a day to China. Chavez wants to raise that to a million per day, damn the distance from Puerto La Cruz to Qingdao.


x -- A Chinese-Vz auto gambit makes a lot of sense to me. Tied to the recent oil trades with China it seems a natural progression. In addition to the crude contacts with Vz you mentioned, about a year ago China cut a deal that seems to predict the future: China agreed to construct 4 specialty built tankers to haul Vz heavy crude to 3 heavy crude refineries to be built in China. I forget the exact schedule but I think it started at around 200,000 bopd and then escalated yearly. This would set up a significant and growing trade imbalance with Vz for the Chinese. Don't know it for a fact but doubt there are many Wal-Mart’s in Vz. But instead of China paying Vz in US $'s for the crude they could just start shipping cars to Vz. Also, building cars in Vz by Chinese companies could also makes sense to a degree.

Then add that to the potential sale of the Valero Aruba refinery to China (which would fit with a recent $16 billion heavy crude contract with Vz) and now China can sell cheap cars to Vz in exchange for crude and then refine the crude locally in Aruba and sell products back to Vz. I don't have a strong sense of the economics involved but I suspect it makes a lot of sense on paper. Add all this to Hugo's hatred for the US gov't and it's easy to see Gulf Coast refiners taking a hard hit. As Mexican crude declined the GC refiners thought they would always have Vz heavy as a substitute. Appears Hugo and the Chinese have other plans.

Yeah, Rockman... It's kind of funny that in a few years the Chinese will have Hugo over the same barrel that they had George II over. At least Chavez has something to trade besides paper.

Add all this to Hugo's hatred for the US gov't and it's easy to see Gulf Coast refiners taking a hard hit.

That's the only major contradiction. Hugo dislikes the capitalists with a passion, but nowhere has capitalism become as unfettered as in China. They may still pay lip service to Mao's little red book, but when the rubber meets the road, the Chinese are uber-capitalists. But, I guess Hugo hasn't figured this out yet. Or maybe just like the rest of us he can't let his distaste get in the way of business.

Part of "breaking free" is breaking free of the single client relationship. Right now VZ sells most of its petroleum to US. Diversify first.

Maybe so EOS. But in reality, even though I threw it out, I don't know if I believe Hugo hates the US gov't, capitalists, George II or even Santa Clause that much. His rhetoric may be no more motivated by such feelings as the Reps and Dems when they blast each other. Hugo needed an "enemy" to focus the Vz people against while he slowly gained absolute control of the country. Ever dictator needs some revenue to appease his constituants. If not then he has only the military to control the population. And those boys like to get paid eventually. If it were the only way for him to keep control was to start attacking Mormons he would directing hate filled speeches towards salt Lake City instead of DC IMHO.

Short of military force he can only maintain control with money = oil = capital needed to maintain oil production = China. Just a view from the cheap seats.

Given that the US government was implicated in the failed coup attempt, and still represents a real threat to him, I think his hatred of the US government is real. Thats only normal human psychology. The US has been the enemy of the Latin American left for many decades, and no Latin American leftist could have escaped from the dislike of their foreign enemy. While it is possible that Hugo is just an ordinary megalomaniac pretneding to be a true believer, I would give pretty high odds that he really is a true believer.

I love the way a democratically elected President is described as a "dictator."

How much U.S. patriotic baloney does one have to eat to come to that conclusion.

His beef with the U.S. is U.S. meddling - As in, had a leader in a neighboring country deposed and shot (Allende), is forming military bases in a neighboring country (Columbia), and 100 other U.S. meddlings in the latin world.

He's constantly portrayed in the U.S. media as a dictator even though he's done everything according to the constitution of Venezuela.

In truth, BHO is more of a dictator than Chavez.

Unreal that flimsy U.S. propaganda can have posters on a board like this, who should be able to recognize how dangerous Chavez is to U.S. interests, demonizing the guy.

Can you please take the antogonism down a notch?

OK Leanan...sorry about the Santa Clause crack

And a belated Happy Holiday!

But instead of China paying Vz in US $'s for the crude

China would not have to pay in U.S. dollars in any case.

Right, they could pay in Monopoly money if that was what was agreed upon by both parties. Just because oil is priced in U.S. Dollars does not mean that it must be paid for in U.S. Dollars. That Oil must be paid for in U.S. Dollars is the greatest fallacy being circulated among those not that familiar with international trade.

It is really kind of like two people making a deal on the streets of Mexico City. The dealer might want Mexican Pesos, the buyer might want to pay in U.S. Dollars but they could seal the deal with Euros if they both agreed to do so. Simply because a commodity is priced in Dollars for convince does not mean that there are any hard and fast rules that the commodity must be paid for in U.S. Dollars.

Ron P.

I think you have got it. In the short term, it would not matter which currency is used as a reference for setting prices, since, as you have noted, currencies are easily exchanged on a daily basis. Over the longer term, the situation becomes more complicated, I suspect. A seller would want to price their product(s) against some currency which will maintain the greatest purchasing value on the world market. That the dollar used to present this level of stability is the main reason it was the reserve currency. That the dollar may no longer present a stable value may give the sellers of oil reason to seek other ways to price their product.

I recall a claim that the price of a barrel of oil in ounces of gold has been relatively constant over the years. Perhaps the recent run up in the price of gold in parallel with the increase in the price of oil this year is an example of that.

E. Swanson


Another aspect of dealing in dollars has been that dollars were simply the most readily available , best recognized, and trusted currency around for a long time.

There was a time when if you were headed out for a long rambling trip in the US it was wise to drive a Chevy for the simple reason that you could find Chevy mechanics and Chevy parts anywhere at all-something that still can't be said for many imports.

This probably doesn't mean diddly to oil companies as such, but it means a lot to every day people, and this sets the stage for various govt policies-one of which has ben to stay on the good side of the source of those so very easily spent dollars.

All this is in terms of "Once upon a time of course ."

But I expect it will be a good long while yet before you can buy a night out any where in the world with Chinese money.

Another aspect of dealing in dollars

The point that Ron and I were making is that oil is not necessarily transacted in dollars. It is only priced in dollars. Purchasers can pay for it in whatever currency is mutually agreed upon; Euros, Yen, chickens, arms, etc. When Europe buys oil from Iran or Russia, they do not need to pay in dollars and in all probability, do not.

The reason that we continue to make this point is that there is a huge misunderstanding that because the price is stated in dollars, it has to be transacted in dollars, which is not true.

The price is just a way of measuring the value of oil. You can only have one measurement for the price. You can measure in Euros and translate to dollars, or measure in dollars and translate to Euros. It would might well make a lot of sense to price oil in a basket of currencies, but it wouldn't change much. If you measure your waistline is centimeters, you get a much bigger number, but you are not fatter and don't need to buy bigger pants.

True Ron/Jack. But that wasn't the point. China has a big pile of US $'s it can pay with. Or swap for any other currency it likes and pay with it. But even better would be not paying for oil with any of its currency reserves at all. Paying for $10 billion of Vz crude with $10 billion of Chinese autos which are built by their chronicly unemployed population would make sense to me. Sounds pretty much like a win-win for China/Vz to me. Then the nice kicker would be swapping (perhaps at cost) Chinese refined products (made from Vz heavy in, lets say, Aruba off the coast of Vz)to Hugo for more crude. Then Hugo can continue selling gasoline cheap to his peaople who can thus afford to buy cheap Chineses autos. And thus allow Hugo to maintain his effort to be president for life. Really does sound like a damn good plan to me.

Except that the news article talked about pressuring Toyota to produce 4x4s in Venezuela. The 4x4s that are often used as public transport in the barrios.

I wouldn't really trust any information that came from the Toyota representatives in Venezuela, they tend to twist the truth just as much as the politicians (opposition and official). Toyota might be on the way out of Venezuela, it has problems with the unions, problems with the dealerships, and problems with getting import permits.

I believe that the real intention would be to bring in a foreign partner to facilitate the technology transfer, but with 51% Venezuelan ownership. The Venezuelan government already has done similar things, with cars and in other fields.

PS, I don't really like any major car company, but I have an especially poor view of Toyota after the suspicious death of Argenis Velasquez, a union secretary.

Good point synch about bringing in another player to handle the heavy lifting. I recall how the Vz refining industry took a hit after Hugo took over. Many skilled hands were replaced by incompetants and significant problems ensued. I suspect China has more then a few skilled auto making hands they can send to Vz to sub for th Toyota hands. That prospect has to be worrying big T.

Passions over 'prosperity gospel': Was Jesus wealthy?

Anderson says Jesus couldn't have been poor because he received lucrative gifts -- gold, frankincense and myrrh -- at birth. Jesus had to be wealthy because the Roman soldiers who crucified him gambled for his expensive undergarments. Even Jesus' parents, Mary and Joseph, lived and traveled in style, he says.

"Mary and Joseph took a Cadillac to get to Bethlehem because the finest transportation of their day was a donkey," says Anderson. "Poor people ate their donkey. Only the wealthy used it as transportation."

Many Christians see Jesus as the poor, itinerant preacher who had "no place to lay his head." But as Christians gather around the globe this year to celebrate the birth of Jesus, another group of Christians are insisting that Jesus' beginnings weren't so humble.

They say that Jesus was never poor -- and neither should his followers be. Their claim is embedded in the doctrine known as the prosperity gospel, which holds that God rewards the faithful with financial prosperity and spiritual gifts.

My wife and daughter and I flew in a couple of jets across half a continent to celebrate the birth of a prophet we don't even worship.. I guess wealth, like worldview comes on a sliding scale. .. or is it a slippery slope? (with sleds!!)

In any case, Merry Christmas, Leanan, John Boy and Grampas all at TOD. I look forward to your wisdom and some renewed energy in 2010.. as I aspire to create less friction and wasted heat.

Most Sincerely and Gratefully,
Bob Fiske - in Rainy Madison, WI

A child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost—how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky’s dome.

This world is wild as an old wife’s tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.
GK Chesterson

.. Let the Sunshine In!

Happy Holidays, folks.
If Ace is right, we'll be falling off the cliff 3 years from now, so make the most of the next 1000 days.


People are out enjoying themselves all right - the list of car crashes on the radio is LONG, 2X-3X what it is on a weekday, and the firemen nearby are busy; as soon as they get in from a call they get a few minutes' rest then they have to deploy again.

If I had the money I'd take pizzas over there but can't even afford a single slice for myself so..... all my good wishes don't do any good.

the list of car crashes on the radio is LONG, 2X-3X what it is on a weekday, and the firemen nearby are busy; as soon as they get in from a call they get a few minutes' rest then they have to deploy again.

With your quest for EMT certification, those sorts of manic holidays may be in your future.

Oh yeah, I'll be working these days, since many EMTs etc will be married or have a family of some sort to be with. For me, it will be work or sit around and I'd rather work. The garden here is getting a major re-vamp over this holiday because there's nothing else to do.

I should be going out and chasing the sirens, and observing what goes down from a discreet distance. It's ghoulish, and I've always hated the idea of that and never did it, but once I started EMT training that changed. I need to get a feel for scenes, how people react, what kind of safety issues arise, etc.

Oh yes these maniac holidays will be in my future. And if I can swing it, I do want to take paramedic training and play with the big boys.

It's ghoulish, and I've always hated the idea of that and never did it, but once I started EMT training that changed. I need to get a feel for scenes, how people react, what kind of safety issues arise, etc.

Sounds perfectly reasonable, its becoming a professional duty. Sounds like it might be a very good choice for you.

I just was gonna say Sounds like it's calming down but I just heard a MILLION sirens go off, I"m very tempted to jump on the bike and go check it out but ..... I'll be good.

I could really use a radio that I can listen to 'em on, I may be able to tune one of the local freqs using the weatherband feature on my emergency radio that I listen to, it's tuneable to pick up the strongest station and I may be able to listen in to some local action.

Otherwise it's get a decent ham VHF handheld, open up the freqs, and listen to the fun. A cheapo scanner costs as much at Rat Shack, so might as well go with something good.


I think my Radio Shack portable scanner is a PRO-164 or thereabouts.

It has 1000 channels. A big hard to learn but totally packed with many features. Even set it up for police trunking. Not good for digital transmissions though. At least mine isnt. But it has a very fast scan function and allows you to lock in the freqs transmitting in the area of reception.

Can be set to use CAT..computer assisted interface.

This will allow you to monitor EMT in transit etc. All bands. Even aircraft.

You will not lose by having this portable in your possesion.

Airdale- a good ham vhf/uhf rig can sometimes be used to monitor off ham bands. I use a Kenwood and forget model but I can do just about anything with it except for the newer Homeland Security digital/encrypted traffic.


You might consider moving to an area with a volunteer fire department and becoming a First Responder. Trouble is, that doesn't pay anything. Here's something you might find interesting which I found a few days ago.

E. Swanson

I'm already a First Responder, been through the class, hustling crafts like "eye of god" dealies and "awareness" ribbons, really a glorified version of panhandling, paid for the class and has kept me alive.

So I've got that class done. And am signed up for EMT-B class starting at the end of January.

I can ask at the local station, I won't have a cell phone (can't come close to affording one) but they can give me a pager or a radio or something, if I'm not just in the fire house when on shift.

I've actually heard of volunteers being paid per call, something like $15, that's huge money for me.

Story of Jesus is so heavily distorted and filtered - so a little bit more can't hurt.

This is pure fantasy, as Jesus is not in the historical record, at least by anyone on the ground at the time.
And the Romans were fairly obsessed historians, and would of probably taken notice of this in such a colonial backwater.
No Palestinian mention either, by any of their historians.

More of a later Mystery Cult, after the fact.

I can't say as I have ever heard much about people eating draft animals except in dire emergencies.
And donkeys are very cheap animals to hire;a carpenter or other successful tradesman could have esaily afforded one occasionally, especially if faced with otherwise forcing a woman due to give birth walk for a long distance.

Clotheing is always expensive in pre industrial societies as it must be made by hand.I have no expertise in this area but making a simple woolen robe probably consumed a week or more in labor which would have made it well worth gambling for,especially since soldiers were poor men too.

And even today a small company of men short of money would be expected to have a trusted member of their party to hold thier common funds and keep careful track of expenditures.

As far as the gifts are concerned, they were in token of the heavenly origins of Jesus rather than his worldly status.

All in all the prosperity evangalists strike nearly all other Christians as hucksters.

Thank you well said. That these shysters are getting a foot hold now, is clear example of where our world is going. If you are preching this sort of thing you will get people like yourself following you because you are preaching that greed is okay.

Safe days to everyone, especially after reading the headlines and hearing what is going on in Fleam's neck of the world.


Surely Jesus was wealthy... But the wealth was of a different, lasting kind. The wealth of Spirit and God realization.

Look how his memory and teachings have endured the ages.

Like Mohammed. Or Buddha. Or Santa Claus.

And more like Mohammed than Buddha or Santa Claus. Buddhism never said you will go to hell if you don't accept it as your sole faith. Santa Claus does terrify children with his list, but only for a brief period each year.

From the view of another Christian these profit hounds only want to live life on the high side and get away with it, by bending what they read in the Bible to their own wishes.

I'll grant you that he got nice gifts, but he also ran away to a another country till later in life, Joseph was a carpenter so Jesus learned a trade, albeit a lot of things were made out of wood.

This group of people using their translation of Bible verses to push for their own greed is not going to win them any browny points in my book. They should be careful what they wish for. For most Christians I know, Heaven in the goal, not earthly wealth.

I'll chalk them up as another brand of false teachers.


Based on logic and evidence, it would appear that the Gospels were written at least a hundred years after the death of a man called Jesus. The Gospels are probably a fictionalized account of his life to counter other religious/political movements at the time. Even if you want to stretch and believe that the Gospels are an actual account of his life, it would appear that Jesus was described as a Rabbi and not a carpenter and Joseph was a builder and not a carpenter. Of course, taking literal meaning of the Gospels is way out there in a fantasy land (politely termed faith), IMO.

Japan unveils record budget to boost economy


The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has warned that Japan's public debt is set to soar to more than 200 percent of gross domestic product by 2011.

Japan is going further into debt than any other nation, in relation to GDP. I'm wondering if their economy is being hit the most by higher energy prices due to their economic system of having so many middle men (number of people handling products before they reach market).

In times of cheap energy that approach would probably work quite well, but now in times of higher priced energy the ill effects are in my opinion that much more pronounced.

Am I barking up the right tree here, or is there some other reason?

I can't see how this rising debt is sustainable. I am not sure which countries will get into trouble first, but it seems like the rise in debt can't continue, especially if the recession continues (or continues with brief interruptions).

I don't think the middle men are the big issue. Japan can't really grow very much--it has little land, very little energy sources of its own, and grows significantly less than 100% of its food. Population has been declining, because people don't like being crammed together. Also, having China with its low wages next door competes with Japan in terms of wages. Things China makes tend to be very cheap, causing deflation if Japan imports them. Japan can attempt to stimulate the country, but it really doesn't work. It just causes a bigger deficit.

Galbraith, "Culture of Contentment", 1992. It doesn't matter that it doesn't work. It serves the entitled.

SCARY is right! Japan produces only 40% of its food and there is a huge contempt for becoming a farmer if your family left the business two generations ago. There are a ton of shut down cement auto dealerships and gas stations near me, not to mention empty offices with "FOR RENT" signs.

I saw a homeless person near where I live for the first time last week. He was young. Now a lot of the new homeless are in their 20s and 30s.

The desperation is leading to a lot of smaller building projects which are filling in the few remaining green spaces that were left. Anything to get a loan, a cash flow, an income stream. This was the case before, but the building projects were huge. Now they are small. But those tiny green spaces would have been places to grow food and now they too will be ruins.

It is sad.

Yergin is spinning his own fairy tale. The ending is about the man digging a hole ...

I afraid his argument is gaining traction among many news outlets i.e. a lack of demand is causing a drop in supply. Wrongfully so, I believe his view is winning at least in the short term. I think it will be years before the masses come around to Peak Oil if ever. Economists, analysts and pundits will attribute our decline to many other reasons before any realize that cheap energy has been the engine of our civilization. I afraid TODers and POers will have to wander the wilderness for quite sometime to come.

MSM views is, indeed,

a lack of demand is causing a drop in supply.

IMO, this view will prevail since the only other view is PO, and that is being shut off. Determintively shut off.

And, in many ways, what difference will it make to most whether the drop in production comes 'because of' peak oil or lack of demand. Never mind that the 'lack of demand' is a product of the wildly increased price of oil, and that every time the economy 'recovers' oil will shoot up again. The end result to most is the same. Prices go up, demand falls, prices go down, demand increases. The gradual down slope will not be noticed until it is much too late to do anything about it.

Unless, of course, something totally crashes the economy. And that is where the problem really lies. The debt of nations, and of individuals, will bring the system to its knees eventually since it takes the oil economy to maintain and pay off the debt. The next credit crash will pretty much tank the world ecnomny. The we'll see what happens.

Meanwhile, have a wonderful holiday! B.U.Ế.K

I would consider it plausible that Yergin pushes the idea of Peak Demand simply to prolong the eventuality of being proven wrong. That is the way that most of the pundits think, spinning their way to remnants of credibility, at whatever cost to his readers. He can never admit to peak oil because his ego would not allow it.

OTOH, I would find it fascinating to see the decline reversed, because the math and geology behind it would provide a challenging behavior to describe.

Kunstler, "reality is going to drag us out, kicking and screaming to some woodshed of the national soul and beat the crap out of us".

"Wrongfully so ... I believe his view is winning at least in the short term. I think it will be years before the masses come around to Peak Oil if ever."

The rate of consumption of fossil hydrocarbons will not go completely to zero for a very long time yet. Meanwhile, it will be affected by a number of factors, including the geological, economic, financial, political and environmental kinds. There will be messy feedback loops causing a degree of chaotic behavior, ups and downs superimposed on the general trend.

To paraphrase a stock-market saying, some of those ups and downs may last longer than a person can stay sane - should that person be foolish enough to work him- or herself into a frenzied doctrinal view based on an exclusive single cause of events. Indeed, the finite supply may never come to be perceived as - or even actually be - 100% of the cause of an ultimately very low flow rate. It's unreasonable to expect the real world to behave as if it were an idealized classroom study-case...

In a sufficiently short term sense -say 6-24 months, I think he is right. Depressed demand -and difficulties raising capital are restricting supply. Of course it seems unlikely supply could go much higher even if the world economy would allow an agressive attempt to do that. So yes, it is likely that we are within 6-60 months of a severe supply crunch. But either wittingly or unwittingly he is aiding the next right-wing PR strategy. "There is tons of oil available, but for those darned enviro-wackos we'd be swimming in it". So there plan is to built up this meme-myth in the public consciousness, then when the cruch hits, blame the liberals for walling off drilling.

I've noticed a distinct lack of demand for 30 dollar a barrel crude.

Heck they have to keep it on ships now and wait patiently because everyone is refusing to pay 30 a barrel. They would rather pay 70 or more.

Oil is like bottled water these days why drink it for free if you can pay a ridiculous amount for water ?

What people don't understand is its a matter of taste and showing your ability to overpay for something and thus your wealth.

And whats fascinating is how everyone is now a perfect expert on demand able to understand even the slightest changes in demand and why they occur.
I had no idea the world was full of oil demand experts that understand exactly how macro economic changes impact demand down to the barrel.

Given the extreme intelligence displayed I'm puzzled how we got into our current mess. Perhaps its because everyone is a genius economist ?

Being unemployed so far my oil usage has been higher than when I had a job but I guess I'm abnormal so ...

But I'll let you know the day the price of gasoline becomes important for the foreseeable future its rent. But I guess I'm supposed to set at home and not burn any oil so I'll think about it so that the budding economist can get their demand calculations right.

"Showing your ability to overpay for something and thus your wealth" yes, this is the whole psychology behind tattoos.

Money passes so quickly through the hands of the underclass, that among them a tattoo is indeed a show of wealth. A tattoo that would cost hundreds of dollars is visible proof that the person was at least able to raise the money for the tattoo, at some time.

(For what one of 'em spends on ciggies, I could tattoo my entire body over the course of a few years then show myself off for tips lol.)

Your on the right track and I'm only half joking. The reason Americans won't ride the bus is the stigma associated with being to poor to buy and drive a car. In a real sense the suburban/SUV/McMansion craze is about looking rich not being rich. And surprisingly for similar reasons that the poor often get a tat people without a lot of money will drive.

I drive I'm jobless why ?

Well I have bigger issues to deal with and right now I don't have to walk and perhaps one day I will have too. Until then its cold I'll drive.

I was a bit surprised to be honest how resolute this decision was. It turned out to be easy as long as I can afford to drive I will. It was a no brainer.
Why take away one of the few conveniences I can still enjoy for a little bit of money ? When looking longer term perhaps I won't even be able to afford that.

Thats not to say I drive frivolously its to the grocery store to look for a job etc however I could easily not drive most of it but why ?

If gasoline got expensive or I got poorer I'd drive less but until I sold my car I'd still drive. A full area bus fare is $2.30 here gasoline itself is often less or just a few dollars more for similar trips. You don't save a lot vs the strict cost of the trip. Where you would save big is not having a car. But even here mine is paid for and I don't drive much so its just the insurance which is fairly cheap for me. 500 a year I think or something like that.

Whats really interesting is you would need a price differential close to Europe where a gallon of gas is six dollars or so and public transport is closer to four or less depending on the trip. In Europe in general public transport is both cheaper and often more convenient. Once the differential hit something like that then I'd be more interested in not driving.

Also of course just about everywhere I've ever gone outside the US small groups of shops carrying a wide variety of goods including a small grocer or two seem common you don't have to drive to get the little stuff or even take transport. Often similar shops are close to work where you can pick up a few things at lunch or after work if you wish.

Its not that I'm addicted to driving but as long as you have a bit of money convenience vs cost decisions can and will be made. You have to get very very broke before you don't decide what little pleasures your going to enjoy. It can be a tattoo or taking the car instead of the bus to the grocery store.

Longer term of course its my rent, utility, cable bill etc that become a issue.

If I really seriously cut what I could which is basically everything but rent I probably could easily save say 4-5k. However that would only keep me going for and extra say two months or so as I'd need the last few thousand as emergency money say moving back with my parents.

My point is if you don't have a job extraordinary actions only stave of the steep drop in lifestyle by a few months at best. I'm not saying blow your money but you do what you can and you wait it out. If you do get a job and its a lot less money then you can budget based on that cash flow.
Without one you just do what you can and make sure you have enough to make the next decision.

I'm lucky my parents both have a large home and are willing to allow us to live with them. Its not something I want to do at my age but surprisingly since I know they would love having the grandkids underfoot its not that bad.

Perhaps other people eat noodles and take the bus and try and save their houses I don't know everyone is different. However absolutely no doubt in my mind that many will choose to burn gasoline when and if they can.

When they can't they wont however at least so far my experience is its both something I'm not yet worried about and a bit of a luxury I can and will enjoy as long as I can. Not all that different I think from getting a tattoo with if you have a bit of extra cash. I think the underlying thought process is the same. And I was actually a bit surprised to realize its actually quite reasonable. Once you give up on the big stuff like a house new cars etc its surprising how you value the little stuff. The chances of me getting laid off have been there for over a year. Right until it happened I'd assumed I'd cut everything to the bone and try and make it as long as I could however afterwards I realized that although I'd not splurge It also did not make a lot of sense to cut drastically unless you had cash flow to work with some sort of budget you could live with.

And additional moth or two before I have to make painful decisions simply was not that important. Might as well get the tat I guess.

Yeah, you wanna keep the girls away, take the bus or ride a bicycle etc. It would make the most sense for me to sell the motorcycle and put that money into preps. But instead if I can come up with some racket that makes decent money, I want to get a Harley Sportster. And the reason for this is, not only are they fun, thrifty on gas, and the most likely to be maintainable in a Mad Max future, but having something like that is social currency. Having something like that is how you have friends and how you get laid. I'd like to have a girlfriend again sometime, and right now I really don't give a crap because I know, being SO poor, it's just not gonna happen. But if I can maneuver myself into some situation where I'm making, say, minimum wage ... if I ever have that much money to throw around ... I can get that bike, start building a better dwelling than this trailer (which will literally finish its process of decay in a couple of years and just not be liveable so I have to get hopping) and be the kind of person a girl would like, one with a "cool bike" that's a thrill to ride on, and one who can support her and house her and all that stuff you gotta do.

If gas is $10 a gallon and buses are 50c a ride, people will still try to have the biggest, most gas-guzzling vehicle they can. Or they'll still want to tear around on a motorcycle. There are no other choices in our culture.

I really envy types like say, Eric Clapton. You ever read about him? He was poor, living in England where no one had a car, so it was no big deal that he didn't have one. All he needed was a guitar and after a LONG time of HARD work, fortunately most of it done during his teens, he was a guitar hero which meant he was a chick magnet. A guitar doesn't eat gas, they don't break down often, and in general are a very inexpensive "social vehicle" to run and maintain. Ah-nuld's muscles were his "social vehicle", all he had to do was work his guts out on the weights and being in Germany again where car ownership isn't mandated, he was able to get places. In the US the "social vehicle" is in fact the real vehicle one uses to get around. It's very expensive, and many work their guts out and still end up on the bottom. You can tell those on the bottom, because they ride the bus.

Thus, to attain certain goals, I may do without a motor vehicle for a time, but it will only be in service of goals that attained, will enable me to get a bigger bike. The only culture I can think of that's like ours is the Masai, and their "social vehicle" is cattle. If you have no cattle, you're an un-person just like someone without a car (or at least a motorcycle) in the US.

If The Big EMP changes all these rules, then we'll just be back at the bicycle craze of the 1890s, look out for the scorchers!

Oh, dear. Amusing, this blanket assertion (emphasis added):

The reason Americans won't ride the bus is the stigma associated with being to poor to buy and drive a car.

Maybe so, but then you go on to explicate one of a number of far more practical reasons:

If gasoline got expensive or I got poorer I'd drive less but until I sold my car I'd still drive. A full area bus fare is $2.30 here gasoline itself is often less or just a few dollars more for similar trips. You don't save a lot vs the strict cost of the trip...

Not a big deal, except that a common habit around here is to frame this matter politically - stigma, almighty $, wicked corporations, and other such tub-thumping - while blithely ignoring practical matters. That habit becomes dysfunctional when it leads to frustration (and even borderline inchoate rage) over the consistent failure of the public to See The Light.

Political tub-thumping may not do much to advance the use of transit or other alternates to cars. Sure, many people will happily dump on the affluent or on corporations, out of jealousy arising rooted in their own failure, if nothing else - but only for as long as they think it costs them nothing, and not one moment longer. As a result, the car-alternates are essentially useless as a means of tub-thumping. The instant people notice that they still must pay for the car unless they get rid of it altogether, or that it takes two hours by bus to make a 20-minute trip, they'll find some other tub they can thump for free. (Never mind that it probably costs the municipality $5 or more to provide that $2.30 bus ride, which is probably more than the overall cost of solo driving - leaving the bus a loser in every respect.)

What PaulS says here is so true it bears repeating:

Not a big deal, except that a common habit around here is to frame this matter politically - stigma, almighty $, wicked corporations, and other such tub-thumping - while blithely ignoring practical matters. That habit becomes dysfunctional when it leads to frustration (and even borderline inchoate rage) over the consistent failure of the public to See The Light.

A lot of people make a virtue of necessity. Still others make a virtue out of what they personally find convenient. But memmel's description of why he's still driving while unemployed even though extremely Peak Oil aware just says so much. I bet very few Peak Oil aware people who rail against evil corporations, political leaders, and banks had themselves made much change in their lifestyles in preparation for Peak Oil.

Since I wanted to find out what the post-peak era will really be like I started walking daily to places that take 20-30 minutes to reach on foot. It gave me a different view of distance. Worth doing. I'm still doing it. Yesterday I took an hour and a half round-trip walk to a shopping mall looking for an electrical part. I've never tried to reach that mall before on foot. I didn't expect it would take that long. I also discovered on Christmas day that I live a 1 hour walk to the Pacific Ocean. Again, I did not know how long that trip is on foot.

I've made a lot of stupid mistakes in my life and replacing our home's oil-fired boiler with a new oil-fired system is one of them. If at some point we upgrade to a 200-amp service, I'm ripping the damn thing out and installing a small electric unit.

It seems I'm not the only one who wants to give fuel oil the kiss off.

See: http://omrpublic.iea.org/demand/ct_ho_ov.pdf


You have previously reported a rather dodgy electricity supply up there. Might you want the oil-fired unit at least as a backup?

Paul: Without electricity the oil fired unit will not work either. The oil unit will require less but it will require some.

We are stuck with about the same here. The propane furnace will not work without electricity for the glow plugs and fan. Even our wood stove is not efficient without a couple hundred watts of electricity for the fan.

The solar powered golf cart (~7000 watts of battery) will only keep the furnace and well going for a couple days intermittant use. Fortunately we are in a rather sunny area in Reno NV but we can still have enough clouds to make it a serious hardship in the winter if the electricity goes off during a cloudy week. When else would it go off? Murphy is a optimist. :-)

"Without electricity the oil fired unit will not work either."

True enough. But as you go on to say, you're already doing something like what I had in mind. Your temporary rig would be exhausted in an hour or three, instead of a couple of days, if it had to heat the house instead of just run fans, controls, and whatnot.

Hi Lynford,

Because we've experienced so many power outages over the years, we use a generator to supply backup power to our boiler (a Yamaha EF2400is). Powering the boiler two, three or four hours a day should provide us with sufficient heat to maintain adequate room temperatures even during the coldest times of the year (it was -12C last Saturday and we were without power for fourteen hours). As noted below, the burner and circulation pumps draw less than 300-watts so even a small generator could easily handle the load.


Hi Paul,

That's true... our street is served by an old 2.2 kV line and we experience frequent and at times lengthy outages, e.g., this past Saturday we lost power at 13h45 and it didn't return until 03h50 the following morning. The boiler and circulation pumps draw 275-watts and are connected to our backup generator by way of a transfer switch; in the event of a power cut, we can obtain 30.0 kW of space heat for less than 0.3 kW of auxiliary power. That said, we also have four propane fireplaces spanning three floors, so we're in pretty good shape with respect to backup heat.

The downside of oil is that your insurance company requires that you replace your fuel oil tank every ten or fifteen years and you must clean/service your system once a year. It might be tied to local wind conditions or an improperly adjusted flue damper, but we often detect a faint oil smell after the boiler shuts off.


Why not consider a pellet boiler? My friend loves his and the pellets he buys are from Quebec. It uses a small amount of electricity but he can run it on a small generator when the grid fails. It can run on corn too.


The Maxum is a good thing. A friend here is a dealer. It has a small battery that will run the auger for a day or two. BUT ... there is always a but ... it is a standalone unit and only one room is heated let alone the crawlspace where the plumbing is. They make pellet units that are like a central furnace but this one is not.

I wish I had one in the shop to replace the 45KBTU propane unit.

My buddy's Maxim is a boiler that supplies his radiant floor and domestic HW through a heat exchanger. The unit itself is outdoors and he added a hopper that holds several hundred pounds of pellets. When I was there he was getting a delivery of 10 fifty lb. bags of pellets he said would last for months. He also beefed up the battery and added a 75 watt PV panel, (supplied by me) to run the fan, auger and pump.

Lynford, My brother's woodstove fan motor went bad and we replaced it with a 12vdc brushless that he has a battery backup hooked up to. He leaves a 4 amp trickle charger on it. He says it's quieter and more efficient than his old AC motor. During his last power outage he used his tractor to keep the battery charged. His stove is built-in and isn't supposed to be used without power to the fan. Kinda sucks.

Hi Ghung,

I'm closing in on 50 and I'm looking ten and twenty years ahead... simple, reliable and little or no maintenance are high on my list. If my health and financial circumstances permit me to travel, I'd also like something that can look after itself whilst I'm away, and that pretty much rules out pellet and wood.


With your airsource heat pumps, I'd think you wouldn't need to use it much. If thats the case then it largely functions as a backup. Still a mistake -as you aren't getting much use out of the capital expended. But, at this point this is a sunk cost.

The spin dryer came. Hopefully it will allow us to make a big dent in the 20 or so KWhr per week that the electric dryer is consuming.

Hi EoS,

That's correct. We replaced the boiler when we purchased this home in 2002 and at that point I hadn't even heard of ductless heat pumps. Although things can shift somewhat from one year to the next, oil and electric resistance heat in these parts are more or less on an equal footing in terms of their operating costs. My preference was to switch over to electric, but it would have required a service upgrade and our electrician talked us out of it... I've been kicking myself ever since.

We use no more than 100 litres of fuel oil a year for space heating purposes and perhaps another 50 litres for DHW. Even if electricity were two or three times more costly per BTU, we require so little back up heat the difference in cost would be extremely modest.

Congratulations on the delivery of your new spin dryer. I'm anxious to hear how it works out for you.


I've not been spending much time on TOD of late, too much other stuff to do. But I had today to look up something I wrote last year, about what I was working on.

I did not succeed in going off grid - electricity - this year. Failure. Or maybe a change of direction. Instead I've put in several envelopes and drastically reduced my heating needs. Even though I burn wood. It looks like I'll go off propane before I go off electricity - if I ever go off electricity. My battery backup is a golf cart (thank you John Howe) and while that is fine for some LEDs, it's not fine for my arc welder.

The envelope is really important. Anyone remember the sci-fi story "A Pail of Air"? Winter apartment. Outside airlocks. Enclosed farmer porches. Wrapping wrapping wrapping and layers layers layers.

Hoophouses - even if they use plastic. Rather than cut back on my use of energy, I'm trying to think of how to bootstrap. So now I have one 44 foot hoophouse and 4 at 25'. The farms in Ireland come to mind - chicken coops and stables built of stone - and I'm only using pressure treated wood and plastic. That's a choice the next generation will call a mistake.

I grow way more food than I need, though I've not yet gotten a handle on the right mix. Much of it is fermented (kimchi) or winter veggies. Heritage breed birds. I brew more malt-cider than I drink. Yes, a nice hoppy ale tastes damn good sometimes. Let alone brandy. My grapes? Those are years from that level of production.

One of the things that got the kissoff this year was the propane water heater. In the summer I've got solar; in the winter I've got wood stove and solar - 12 4x4 panels if only I'd hook them up.

I don't even plow the driveway anymore - another reason to kill the propane - no way to deliver it.

None of this works for someone doing 9-to-5. Nor does it work under Obama's health insurance "reform" - coin-of-the-realm scheme that is. Ironic that a black-man-in-America freed by the 14th Amendment shills so for the corporations-in-America turned gods by the 14th Amendment. And Obama's Christmas Eve gift is to create human "non-persons" - eg slaves. A whole clusterf**k related to changing energy regimes - all about EROEI.

An interesting cluster of successes and failures and not so much that can be generalized; the whole concept of a "generalized" solution depends on excess energy anyway.

cfm, the growlery, gray, ME

Wow. Anyone designated a "suspected enemy combatant" by the Prez or his minions becomes a non-person. No rights, no existence, no habeas corpus no nothing. Disappeared, more surely than the Soviets ever did.

This only confirms what was already in the MCA, PA and NSPD 51 (50?). I almost didn't return to the US because of this. A strong motivation to leave again if we don't get our current plans off the ground.

Then again, if collapse isn't catabolic or if we hit a massive climatic bifurcation, it may not matter, eh?


"...coin-of-the-realm scheme that is."

Yup. A lot of people will soon make the bitter discovery that You Can't Have It Both Ways for very long. There was a huge uproar demanding that the gubbermint guarantee - somehow, we don't care how, it's "simple", just do it - that "everyone" have "health" "insurance". It's only going partway at best, but regardless, the gubbermint or its surrogates sure weren't going to be paying doctors and hospitals in tomatoes, kohlrabi, bags of NPK or anything else of the sort. It was bound to be coin of the realm, it has to come from somewhere, and it's not clear how much longer the current borrowing spree can be kept up. (For one thing, politicians seem to value power above all else, but if the gubbermint decides to inflate the debt away, the dollar will crash, putting oil through the roof, making the economy head south again. Whoever the voters think to be responsible will be out on their ears.)

To put it more broadly, the more government mandates everyone demands to have piled on, irrespective of the subject matter of the mandates, the less permissible it becomes for anyone to drop out. The ultimate endgame would be stringent punitive "anti-parasite" laws, labeled forthrightly as such, as in the old Soviet Union. Sorry about that, but There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, not even under Saint Obama. What's that old saying, be careful what you wish for?

Yeah we wished for change. And as JHK or was it AE, pointed out we got change alright, Change for the worse. The WE above were all those who voted because they wanted change and thought that was what they were going to get with their vote. There were others that voted for the guy in office, but not because of his Change Theme. As others have pointed out maybe if things don't change for the better come 2012 he'll be a one term Prez.

Pray for a soft landing, prepare for a crash.


Excellent work, Dryki. Keep chipping away at it.

If cooking is your only remaining requirement for propane and you're stuck using grid power for the foreseeable future, you might as well go electric. If you lose power during the winter months, I take it you can still prepare a hot meal on the wood stove.


Ethanol Groups Challenge Constitutionality of California LCFS:

“If the United States is going to have a low carbon fuel standard, it must be based on sound science and it must be consistent with the U.S. Constitution. California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is fundamentally flawed in both respects. Today, in federal court, we filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the LCFS. As structured, it violates both the Supremacy Clause and the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.


Peace on earth, goodwill toward men...and doomer porn. ;-)

MSNBC is airing a show called Future Earth 2025.

So far, Las Vegas has dried up, and the southern half of the US has turned into desert, creating millions of refugees.

Those of us already living in the future don't have TV.

Hi fleam,


I guess I've been living in the future since I was four years old, as I just never liked TV. For one thing, it took my parents away from me, (or, at least, it didn't help the situation).

Only the TV free have made the step forward--
I agree, and have not had one for 20 years.
The more you watch, the less you know.
I worked for a brain research company for a while, and it was the medium itself over the content.

When I was a kid we had a b/w TV but only a few channels and a lot of the time they weren't coming in so it was a lot more fun to go out and play.

In my teens we had one, I seem to remember it being in color now, again same story, poor reception and poor programming.

When I got out on my own it was years before I could afford one, I've not been that stridently against TV, I'd watch it if something good was on, but a lot of the time I just didn't have one, or was too busy, etc.

There's no way in hell I could afford one now, and the antenna, the HD signal is pretty good here if my neighbors are any indication, it's just far far out of my financial grasp and if it were, the money'd be better spent on preps.

The Internet is a huge waste of time but at least there's some really good stuff like Project Gutenberg and archive dot org. There's a lot of crap on the Internet but a lot of great stuff, college chem courses, how to play "sweet child of mine" on the electric guitar, what haggis is.

Of course lots of people are dropping off of the Internet as they end up on the street, computer breaks and they can't afford a new one etc. This is why I plan for a future with 1930s tech, telephone for those fortunate enough to afford it, the President's fireside chat on the radio, and Morse code 2-way for those of us able to build, power, and maintain our own "rigs".

I was rather annoyed yesterday when someone here had the TV on, It was a guest, not the family, most of us were listening to the stereo and my brother's music collection. At home we don't watch TV, but have one for watching VHS or DvDs but this past year the TV even for that has not been on. I watch some things on Hulu or elsewhere, but mostly at night.

I always wonder if people living paycheck to paycheck think about giving up TV or something else first.


Having a TV or radio on is sort of like having an old dog in the yard. You won't learn much from his barking, he just gives you a heads-up. People who don't have at least some MSM have no real idea how the other 90% live/think. Watch too much of the wrong stuff and you'll realize how deep into distraction our society is. When the real reality TV comes on (what little there is), people tune out. "It increases their paranoia, like lookin' in the mirror and seein' a police car". I do enjoy some of the lectures on UCTV and some of the concerts (watched David Gilmore in Poland last night). FSTV is fun sometimes (I call it the Anger Channel). As I type I'm listening to a lecture (UCTV) about how state and local govts are tackling GHG emmisions since the feds are so inept. I guess I still refuse to throw out the baby with the bathwater, even though the baby seems to be drowning.

So what do you think?
Real estate around the great lakes?

Here's the MSNBC link for those who do admit to having a TV: