Drumbeat: January 25, 2010

Top 10 Pieces of the Peak Oil Puzzle during the 2000s

Here’s one take on key events that impacted the peak oil story during the decade of the 2000s. If you have a favorite factor that isn’t listed below, send it along; we may run a follow-up.

1. USGS World Oil Study released during summer of 2000. The USGS study was a continuation of efforts that Chuck Masters headed up every four or five years between the early 1980s and 1994. [Note: no USGS world oil report has been issued since the 2000 version—a notable break from tradition.] Life-long oil man Jean LaHerrere’s voice was probably the loudest among the early critics of the year 2000 report; he flogged the conclusions early and often, focusing on what he saw as a glaring methodological departure from previous studies (taking the mean of very high- and very low-probabilities for the amount of future oil discoveries). Despite the critics, the USGS’s numbers from the 2000 study still retain their status as the official US government view.

Energy crisis threatens Venezuelan exports of fuel oil and diesel

Venezuela's need to produce more energy, amid a power crisis, threatens declining exports of fuel oil and diesel, which are used in power generators throughout the country. "From now on, there will be an increase in diesel consumption in shopping malls and other places," said José Manuel Aller, an academic expert at Simón Bolívar University. "We are going to export much less" oil byproducts.

Exports of fuel had already declined in 2009 due to oil production cuts under the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and growing domestic consumption in vehicles and power plants.

Beware the 4 new asset bubbles

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- Here we go again.

Less than two years after the housing market collapsed, the U.S. economy is threatened by a new bubble in asset prices. This time, four billowing balloons are hovering: two commodities -- gold and oil -- stocks, and government bonds.

Shell & Big Oil's Exploration Challenge

The oil business used to be simple. Find oil. Drill hole. Sell oil. Buy Stetson and private jet.

These days, you have to corral an army of engineers in the desert to build an enormous factory to transform natural gas into a liquid to be used like oil. The capital cost of Royal Dutch Shell's Pearl gas-to-liquids plant in Qatar is a cool $18 billion or more -- 10% of its market capitalization. Like Chevron's Gorgon liquefied natural gas project offshore Australia, it shows what big integrated oil companies are capable of.

But have they neglected bread-and-butter exploration for lower risk, lower return engineering projects? Certainly, investors are unimpressed. A decade ago, the international oil companies (IOCs) accounted for 79% of energy sector market capitalization and nearly all its net income. Today the figures are 53% and 62%, according to Sanford C. Bernstein.

Drugs brings more money to Mexico than oil

The country’s drugs cartels, which control most of the cocaine and methamphetamine smuggled into the United States, are estimated to have brought $25-$40 billion (£15-£25 billion) into Mexico from their global operations in 2009.

A survey of analysts by the Reuters news agency estimated that as a result the drugs trade in Mexico is likely to have made more money than was earned by the state oil monopoly, Pemex, from exports of crude - the country’s single biggest legitimate foreign currency earner.

Should Climate Activists Support Limits on Immigration?

Immigrants to the developed world have frequently been blamed for unemployment, crime, and other social ills. Attempts to reduce or block immigration have been justified as necessary measures to protect "our way of life" from alien influences.

Today, some environmentalists go farther, arguing that sharp cuts in immigration are needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow climate change. However sincere and well-meaning such activists may be, their arguments are wrong and dangerous, and should be rejected by the climate emergency movement.

Kunstler: Swingtime

The "green economy" that so many people idly blather about -- imagining that it will just mean running WalMart by other means than oil -- is actually an economy of awesome stringency. It's nothing like they imagine. It's a world made by hand. We should be turning our efforts and our remaining resources toward the task of becoming that differently-organized, finer-scaled society.The money that went into propping up the automobile companies could have been used to rebuild the entire railroad system between Boston and the Great Lakes, and the capital squandered on AIG and its offshoot claimants could have rebuilt everything else the rest of the way to Seattle. Is it really so hard to imagine what history requires of you? Apparently so.

Venezuela May Yield Twice as Much Oil as was Thought

As to the likely outcome of this, even if sufficient quantities can be recovered it is to the EROEI (Energy Returned On Energy Invested) that we should look to determine the viability of sources of “oil”. Middle East oil has various estimates of EROEI ranging from about 30 down to 8 (i.e. for each barrel of oil worth of energy, 30 to 8 barrels of oil may be recovered), while “oil” from tar sands is costed at anywhere from 3 down to 1.5. Clearly, whatever amount of hydrocarbon liquid fuels may be produced in the future, cheap, easily refined oil must soon peak, and along with it our global transportation network. It is the relocalization of civilization whose silhouette appears on the future horizon.

U.S. intelligence briefing: Taliban increasingly effective

Washington (CNN) -- A December 22 briefing, prepared by the top U.S. intelligence official in Afghanistan and obtained by CNN, maps out the strategy and strength of the Taliban and their allies in Afghanistan, and concludes that the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan is increasingly effective.

The briefing, which warns that the "situation is serious," was prepared by Maj. Gen. Michael Flynn last month. His assessment is that the Taliban's "organizational capabilities and operational reach are qualitatively and geographically expanding" and the group is capable of much greater frequency of attacks and varied locations of attacks.

At least 37 killed in Baghdad suicide bombings

BAGHDAD - Three car bombs exploded Monday near three Baghdad hotels popular with Western journalists, security contractors and businessmen. At least 37 people were killed and more than 104 injured, security officials said.

Aging bikers taking to the streets on beefy trikes

LOS ANGELES - Arthur McCoy didn't let the amputation of a leg because of cancer stop him from riding motorcycles. The solution to his disability came in the form of a third wheel.

McCoy is among a growing group of aging motorcyclists taking up trikes: three-wheeled motorcycles that provide the stability and nearly all the comforts of a car while still allowing riders to feel the wind in their face.

U.K. Firms Mobilize in New Falklands Foray

LONDON—Twelve years after the last prospectors left the Falkland Islands, British oil-exploration companies are returning, lured by rising oil prices and advances in deep-water drilling technology.

But exploration and production around the remote wind-swept islands—best known as the location of a brief, bloody war 28 years ago—have been handicapped by a harsh climate and dicey politics.

Analysts say that as much as 60 billion barrels of high-grade oil could be found in the 200-square-mile economic zone surrounding the islands. If estimates prove correct, this could make the Falklands one of the world's largest oil reserves, comparable with the North Sea, which so far has produced about 40 billion barrels.

Kurt Cobb: Days of world consumption: A warning label for oil and gas discoveries

A few years ago I was speaking before a group shortly after a local oil company discovered what was characterized as the biggest find of oil on land in the United States in 30 years. The president of the company refused to speculate about the size of the find other than to say that it was "significant." The media suggested that it might amount to one billion barrels.

I mentioned this find to my audience and asked them how long they thought one billion barrels would last the world at the current rate of consumption. Guesses ranged from six months to three or four years. The correct answer was 12 days. Naturally, people were astonished and dismayed.

That is why I think it would prove useful for a warning label to come with each public announcement of a large oil or natural gas discovery. I understand that the companies that make these large finds are anxious to emphasize the size of the reservoir since this tends to goose the stock price. And, it is reserves that investors seem to react to, though, as it turns out, reserves are probably the least important factor in deciding whether a find is worth producing.

Gas prices drop a bit - survey

(CNN) -- Gasoline prices fell an average of $1.4 cents per gallon over the past two weeks, but remain well above last year's mark despite high unemployment cutting into demand, according to a new nationwide survey.

The latest Lundberg Survey, conducted Friday, found the average U.S. price for self-serve regular at slightly over $2.72 per gallon. But that's nearly 87 cents a gallon more than drivers were shelling out in late January of 2009, said Trilby Lundberg, the survey's publisher.

Oil up near $75 in Europe as dollar weakens

Oil prices rose to near $75 a barrel on Monday, as the effects of a weaker dollar offset falls in stock markets over President Barack Obama's plans to restrict big banks.

China, setting the world’s oil prices

Well, Goldman Sachs’ analysts think so. In their latest weekly commodities report, they point out that China’s 1.6m b/d rise in crude imports almost perfectly offsets a 1.5m b/d decline in the same, from the US.

Morgan Stanley Expects Oil to Rise to $95 on Demand

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil traded in New York will rise by the end of this year to $95 a barrel as demand recovers, Morgan Stanley forecast.

Declining crude inventories and the improving global economy will boost prices from current levels of around $75 a barrel, said Hussein Allidina, a commodities analyst at Morgan Stanley, the second-biggest U.S. securities firm after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Crude oil in 2011 will average $100 a barrel, he said in a note today.

Ruble Falls in ‘Catch Up’ to Global Market Slump, Oil Below $75

(Bloomberg) -- The ruble declined to its weakest level against the dollar this year and fell the most in almost a month versus the euro, after oil dropped below $75 a barrel last week following the close of Moscow trading.

“The ruble is trying to catch up with Friday’s oil price decline,” said Stanislav Ponomarenko, a fixed-income analyst at ING Groep NV in Moscow. “The currency is very sensitive to global volatility. Any changes in risk appetite or oil price are fully translated into the ruble.”

Iraq signs oil field deal with Exxon Mobil-Royal Dutch Shell consortium

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq has signed a final deal with U.S. and European oil giants Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC to develop a major oil field in the south.

Under the 20-year deal, the consortium will develop the 8.6 billion barrel West Qurna Stage 1 field for $1.9 for every barrel produced. The deal could be extended for another five years.

Philippine Customs May Seize Shell Gasoline Imports

(Bloomberg) -- The Philippine Bureau of Customs said it will confiscate gasoline imports by Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s local unit to pay for disputed tax claims once a court lifts a restraining order on the planned seizure.

Minsk hits out in Russia oil row

Minsk has accused Russia of acting illegally in applying full export fees to oil pumped to Belarus, in a sign that the dispute - which some fear could disrupt supplies to Europe - is far from resolved.

Newcastle Exports Rise; Ship Queue Near Two-Year High

(Bloomberg) -- Coal shipments from Australia’s Newcastle port, the world’s biggest export harbor for the fuel, increased 14 percent last week while the queue of vessels waiting to load lengthened to near a two-year high.

Korea National Oil puts Canada on its radar

Korea National Oil Corp. (KNOC), sitting on a multi-billion-dollar warchest, is setting its sights on Canada as the state-owned company aims to ramp up production and catch up to Asian rivals.

Seoul said this month that cashed-up KNOC will spend $6.5-billion (U.S.) on M&A in 2010 in an effort to cut South Korea's almost total dependence on imported oil. That goal will put the company in direct competition with Asian energy giants such as PetroChina, Malaysia's Petronas, and India's ONGC.

Texas Sabine Neches Waterway Closed After Oil Spill

(Bloomberg) -- The Sabine Neches Waterway, the Texas ship channel serving four refineries that process about 6.5 percent of total U.S. capacity, remained closed indefinitely after a collision between a tanker and vessel spilled about 11,000 barrels of oil, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Cleanup crews are working 24-hours daily, Coast Guard Petty Officer Richard Brahm said in a telephone interview from Port Arthur, Texas. The waterway may open to vessel traffic within five days, Dow Jones reported earlier, citing Capt. J.J. Plunkett of the Coast Guard.

Tehran unveils oil fund revamp

Iran's government wants to set up a new National Development Fund (NDF), to which at least a fifth of the country's oil and gas revenue would be transferred, according to reports.

China Says Worst Sea Ice in 40 Years Starts to Recede

(Bloomberg) -- China’s worst sea ice in 40 years showed signs of receding after subzero temperatures and strong gales froze parts of Bohai Sea, where Cnooc Ltd. drills for oil and natural gas, for more than three weeks.

The ice floes have decreased in size, with 32 percent of the sea frozen as of today, the State Oceanic Administration said. That compares with 39 percent yesterday.

Halliburton Net Income Declines After Customers Reduce Spending

(Bloomberg) -- Halliburton Co., the world’s second- largest oilfield-services provider, said fourth-quarter profit fell 48 percent after clients cut spending because of lower demand.

Net income dropped to $243 million, or 27 cents a share, from $468 million, or 52 cents, a year earlier, Houston-based Halliburton said today in a Business Wire statement.

Global exploration and production expenditures declined about 15 percent last year to $395 billion, Barclays Capital said in a Dec. 16 report. Barclays said spending this year may climb 11 percent. The number of active oil and natural-gas rigs in North America fell 40 percent from a year earlier to a fourth-quarter average of 1,385, up from 1,156 in the third quarter, according to Baker Hughes Inc.

Shell to Scale Back on Oil Sands - Report

LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell is slowing its expansion into high-cost Canadian tar sands and will in future focus on exploration, rather than expensive, capital-intensive projects, Chief Executive Peter Voser said in Monday's edition of the Financial Times.

Analysts said the decision to slow oil sands investment was no surprise given Shell's relative inaction in the field in the past year or so but questioned whether Shell could halt a 7-year slide in output with the drill bit alone.

Pacific LNG Examines Floating LNG for Papua New Guinea Project

(Bloomberg) -- Pacific LNG Operations Ltd., developer of a liquefied natural gas venture in Papua New Guinea, may use a floating terminal to exploit reserves faster than a conventional plant, to help it attract equity partners.

Pacific LNG and InterOil Corp. are exploring floaters to chill the fuel before an onshore production unit starts operation by 2015, said Henry Aldorf, Pacific LNG’s newly appointed president. The partners are offering about 30 percent in gas areas in Papua New Guinea, in the proposed LNG plant and a share of the cleaner-burning fuel, he said.

ExxonMobil denies links to PNG deaths

A clash that reportedly killed 11 Papua New Guinea villagers had no link to ExxonMobil's $16 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, the oil and gas giant says.

PNG police were unable to confirm newspaper reports that 11 villagers were fatally shot near ExxonMobil's LNG site in the Southern Highlands Province (SHP) at the weekend.

Mitsubishi Heavy Expects First Europe Reactor Sale

(Bloomberg) -- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., which has developed the world’s biggest atomic reactor, expects to win its first nuclear power plant order in Europe next year, challenging Areva SA in its own backyard.

Weatherization stimulus off to cold start

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- It was supposed to be fast and easy: Pay a bunch of out-of-work contractors to outfit old homes with new furnaces or insulation. It would put people back to work right away, and at the same time cut energy use and save people money.

How stimulus saved renewable energy

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- On a mountain top 80 miles northeast of Bangor, Maine, in country where houses and gravel pits are mere pinpricks on a map green with forest, Paul Gaynor is making stimulus work.

Gaynor, chief executive of First Wind, is using $40 million in federal funds to help build a wind farm that will produce enough power for 13,000 homes and has created 200 construction jobs.

Without stimulus, First Wind's project -- and most renewable energy projects across the country -- may not have happened.

Airport Check-in: Dallas/Forth Worth and green taxis

Dallas/Fort Worth International, one of the world's largest airports, wants more taxis converted to greener vehicles, providing a big push for a nascent movement to phase out gasoline-powered cars at airports.

Following a practice that began at San Francisco International in 2005, Dallas/Fort Worth restarted a program last week that lets compressed natural gas (CNG)-powered taxis go to the front of the line for customers, thus giving them more business. Boston Logan and San Jose Mineta run similar programs.

Darebin group shifts houses by bicycle

MOVING house by bicycle might take a little longer than using a man with a van but it’s a lot more fun, says Preston resident Jos Tait.

Ms Tait is a member of the Transition Darebin group, formed late last year as part of the global Transition Towns movement, which prepares the community for peak oil and climate change through practical, low energy alternatives.

The group is offering a Darebin Bike Move service for those game enough to try.

Institute plans to make ammonia for fuel

A Rockland-based nonprofit involved in Maine’s efforts to develop deepwater wind turbines also sees “green energy” potential in a compound that many people likely associate with cleaning products.

The Ocean Energy Institute is developing plans for a pilot project in Maine that would take hydrogen from seawater and nitrogen from the air to form ammonia, which then can be used as a type of fuel similar to propane.

Study offers models for dams to adapt to climate

GRANTS PASS — As the climate gets warmer, the old rules for when to let water out of Columbia Basin dams and when to hold it back won’t work.

So researchers from the University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have developed computer models that simulate new operations schedules for flood control dams in the Northwest based on a climate change scenario.

China, India, Brazil Commit to Meet Copenhagen Accord Deadline

(Bloomberg) -- China, Brazil, South Africa and India will disclose the voluntary steps the countries will take to help reduce global warming by the Jan. 31 deadline set during negotiations in Copenhagen, India’s environment minister said after talks between the four nations in New Delhi yesterday.

New Anti-Smog Restrictions Could Warm Planet

The Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to tighten the ozone standard for smog will have an unfortunate side effect: Because of a quirk of atmospheric chemistry, those measures will hasten global warming.

Desertification may have retarded global warming by as much as 20%

In an article published on Friday in the journal Science, Prof. Dan Yakir and Dr. Eyal Rotenberg of the Environmental Sciences and Energy Research Department discuss their analysis of findings from the Yatir Forest research station.

By looking at the other side of the equation, the two researchers discovered that desertification was not necessarily all bad - in fact, it may have retarded global warming by as much as 20%. The desert reflects sunlight and releases infrared radiation, which has a cooling effect. And in a world in which desertification is continuing at a rate of about six million hectares a year, that news might have a significant effect on how we estimate the rates and magnitude of climate change.

Scientists create model of monster 'Frankenstorm'

(AP) -- Think the recent wild weather that hammered California was bad? Experts are imagining far worse.

As torrential rains pelted wildfire-stripped hillsides and flooded highways, a team of scientists hunkered down at the California Institute of Technology to work on a "Frankenstorm" scenario - a mother lode wintry blast that could potentially sock the Golden State.

The hypothetical but plausible storm would be similar to the 1861-1862 extreme floods that temporarily moved the state capital from Sacramento to San Francisco and forced the then-governor to attend his inauguration by rowboat.

The scenario "is much larger than anything in living memory," said project manager Dale Cox with the U.S. Geological Survey.

I do tend to drone on about these things, but there's a terrific (independent) assessment of ductless heat pumps in today's Telegraph Journal

see: http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/magazine/article/931614


That's Ok Paul. Even we southerners like hearing about such technolgies. And besides, I figure that during the winter droning must be a major indoor activity in your part of the world.

You fire away Paul!

Your Consistently positive activities and perspectives are about as monotonous and tedious as having a cold glass of Orange Juice every morning~!


(and of course my inner doomer just started singing 'Always look on the Bright side of Life!' as I wrote that, but I'm not taking it back!)


I would be pleased indeed if you were to do a comprehensive piece on heat pumps and another on lighting.

If the editors can't fit such pieces into the pipeline, you could post chapters as comments at the tail end of nearly dead threads.

I am certain that they would attract a large readership.

I am considering this one which I believe is the most efficient ...


to run on PV one could use and inverter .... but there are now some DC models coming ...


A discussion on using PV for a mini split ...


Hi jmygann,

The Fujitsu 12RLS is a great system with the best numbers I've seen in the industry. Unfortunately, it's an expensive piece of hardware, at least in Canada. The 12RLS was my first choice, but the Sanyo 12KHS71, albeit not quite as efficient at 17 SEER/9.3 HSPF, was roughly half the cost.

The Sanyo operates at 115-volts and this was an important consideration for me as I'm running out of space in my electrical panel (a 240-volt system would require two breaker slots whereas this requires one). I can also run it off our generator should the need arise. More importantly, I can plug it into a Kill-a-watt meter so I know precisely how much electricity it uses over the span of 24-hours (I log this data in a spreadsheet to calculate my savings).

Thanks for the link to the wind-sun forum. Lynford was asking if it would be possible to run a ductless heat pump on a PV system. I said it was unlikely but, obviously, I was talking through my hat.


Got it: Thanks Guys.

I have a Sanyo 12KHS51 and love it. I bought it because of the 115-volts, too.

Unfortunately, I did undersize it for the space I'm asking it to heat. Roughly 10 days a year it's too cold for this model, but I imagine the 12KHS71, which improved all the numbers, would have been perfect.

But that was my fault and the unit is happily purring away right now, five years after buying it, with not a stitch of maintenance except for cleaning the air filter.

Hi André,

The 12,000 BTU Friedrich that serves our main and upper floors is undersized as well and it's an older non-inverter model gets a little short winded as temperatures fall below -5°C and it spits and sputters at -10°C and below (at these temperatures, the 12KHS71 doesn't even break into a sweat).

I'm not the least bit disappointed with its performance, but today's inverter systems are more energy efficient and produce far more heat at these lower temperatures. The Sanyo is also amazingly quiet -- it's virtually silent on its lowest setting. The Friedrich is somewhat louder and when it shifts in and out of defrost it's a bit like changing gears without engaging the clutch... there's an unmistakable crash, bang, whooooooooosh to the affair; you would never know the Sanyo is defrosting unless you happen to notice the indicator light turn orange.

The Friedrich has already paid for itself and I'd like to replace it with another Sanyo once they refresh their model line (I'm hoping by that point they'll have moved to CO2 refrigerants).


Thanks for the extra detail, Paul. I will definitely get another unit when the need arises...they're fabulous units.

Thanks, Rock, Bob and OFM. I beat this drum pretty hard, so I appreciate it can get a bit monotonous after awhile. This technology may not be a good fit for everyone, but it can be a good candidate for many of us, in particular those of us with electric baseboard and hydronic heating systems. As I said here before, I've made a lot of poor choices in my life, but this sure ain't one of them.

With respect to a key post, I'm not sure I can add much beyond what I've already shared, OFM. I would certainly appreciate learning more about the experiences of others, good or bad; I think that would add more value to the conversation. There are a couple forum members who have ductless systems and it would be great to hear their take.


No question that heat pumps are the way forward - if we had an engine that could get triple the mileage it would replace every existing car within five years.

Paul, if you want to add some to what you have already done, then do some digging on CO2 heat pumps. These have been used in Japan for years (made by Sanyo, the "eco-cute"), no ozone depleting refrigerants, more efficient, etc etc .

One other rarely discussed point about air source heat pups - they work best in humid air, as then you are getting the heat of condensation of the water vapour - much harder to do in dry prairie winters.

Hi Paul,

I've been following the development of the Eco-cute for sometime now and if it ever arrives on these shores I'll be replacing our oil-fired boiler with one.

Most non-technical folks don't want to listen to a lot of mumble-jumble, so I simply tell friends a device like this allows you to heat your home for as little as 4-cents per kWh or 32-cents per litre if they heat with oil. The last time we paid 4-cents per kWh in this province, you could air a commercial like this and not get run out of town.

You raise an interesting point with respect to sensible and latent heat. Any sense as to how the added heat potential in humid climates compares to the increased defrosting overhead?


I bought a 9000BTU Mitsubishi (Mr. Slim) in 2007 for my master bedroom. It was mostly for AC and does a great job of that. The heating capability was just an extra. During our recent Florida cold spell it struggled to keep the room 64°F when the nights dipped into the 20's. It would seem that to size a unit large enough for heating, the AC capacity would be way larger than needed.

I normally don't run heat but that was just a test to see how it performed. I use an electric mattress pad on my bed and much prefer it to an electric blanket. Heat does rise doesn't it?

The Florida Paul

Hi Paul,

Is your Mr. Slim an inverter model? At 23°F, a 9,000 BTU/hr Sanyo produces 9,470 BTUs or 2.78 kW of heat -- that's the same amount of heat as would be provided by two 7 ft. baseboard electric heaters.


Hi Paul,
Yes it is an inverter, It's model MSZ-A09NA.

I did the install myself, that is, up to the point of putting the flares on the copper pipes. My buddy who has a HVAC license came over and did the connections & vacuum check. He also made the purchase for me $aving quite a bit.

When we turned it on the first time we both said "it's not working". Then I put my hand underneath and felt air coming out, then noticed it seemed like cool air. We went to look at the outside unit, and again said "it's not running" then saw the fan going around. It was that unexpectedly quiet.

Hmmm, something seems amiss. The Mitsu and Sanyo HSPF ratings are identical so, presumably, their output curves would be very similar as well. As mentioned, the 9,000 BTU/hr Sanyo at 23°F cranks out almost as much heat as three 1,000-watt baseboard heaters and the 12,000 BTU Sanyo installed in our lower level has no problem keeping 900 sq. ft. at a steady temperature all the way down to 0°F. You might want to have a service tech to check things out.

I bought our two units at cost through our business and a buddy of mine did the rough in and a friend of his who is a licensed HVAC technician did the final hookup and commissioning. The two systems, with materials, labour and generous tip came to about $4,100.00 CDN. By far, the best investment I've ever made. Not only do I save just over $1,000.00 a year on our heating costs, but we're a lot more comfortable -- these things are so economical to operate I don't begrudge keeping the house at 22°C whereas, previously, when we heated with oil I was reluctant to turn the thermostat above 15°C (there's a lot less grumbling from all parties concerned).


"these things are so economical to operate I don't begrudge keeping the house at 22°C whereas, previously, when we heated with oil I was reluctant to turn the thermostat above 15°C"

Hmm, a perfect illustration of Jevon's paradox - nothing wrong with that, and I would do the same too (in fact, I do do the same, just with wood I chop myself). It illustrates that when there are efficient solutions that maintain or improve living conditions, they are much more likely to be adopted than ones that require sacrifice.

I was always quite comfortable at 13 to 15°C until I started on high blood pressure medication. The first winter was brutal; I kept the house at 25°C and still felt cold. It took almost a full year before things normalized. Sure knocked the tough-man bravado out of this guy (and most likely saved my life).


I don't think the problem lies with the heat-pump. What is really amiss is the fact that this is a 50 year old Florida house with 2 50 year old sliding glass doors in the MB. One is 8 foot and the other is 6 foot, both single pane. That and walls of uninsulated concrete block with sheet-rock & plaster, and don't forget the cold terrazzo floor not completely covered by carpet.


I'm not sure which is worse - that it was so long ago that you paid 4c/kWh, or that we don't get ads (or flight attendants) like that anymore.

Can't answer you explicitly about the defrosting, that would need some researching. But here's my take on it.

When you condense water at atmospheric pressure, it releases 2257kJ/kg, when you freeze it, it releases another 333kJ/kg, for a total of 2590kJ/kg.

If you had to re-melt the ice to get rid of it, then you are back to the 2257, but it has only taken you about 750kJ of electricity to get it.

Air at 0degC contains about 5grams of water per cubic metre. Air has a heat capacity of 1kj/kg/degC and there are 1.25kg/cu.m, so to drop the temperature by one degree, we extract 1.25 kJ. When we condense the 5 grams of water in that same volume of air, we get 0.005x2257=112kJ.

So you can see that extracting heat from water vapour is far more efficient than from dry air, and that is where most of your heat is coming from.

Until last year, here in BC we paid 6c/kWh, but the attendants still weren't like that.

Hi Paul,

re: "we don't get ads (or flight attendants) like that anymore."

You fly to "peak oil" conferences, perhaps?

Hi Aniya,

I can't think of anything more contradictory than flying to a peak oil conference, and I would have no interest in doing so.

I do fly for business a few times a year, and, though more modestly dressed, none of the flight attendants seem to enjoy their jobs, though that is hardly surprising given the nature of their jobs these days. Being part of an industry that is rapidly downsizing and on life support wouldn't help either...

Hi Paul,

Thanks for writing. I should've put a smiley face after my comment, to match the intent. :)

Yes its not the 50's and 60's with cockpit parties anymore. The pay scale for flight attendante isn't too grand, though the cheap flying perk keeps those going who have a yen to travel. Most of the attendants look to have raised their families anymore so it is a whole different demographic in the less than friendly skies but...the cheeriest flight attendants I've come across--and with some regularity I might add--are the girls and guys with Alaska while on flights that touch Alaska. Thats a good thing as flying is often about the only way to get from here to there in these parts.

Thanks, Paul. This is helpful, indeed. My memory is fuzzy, but we would have most likely passed the 6-cent mark in the late 70's or early 80's as the bulk of our electricity would have been oil-fired at that time.


About 5 years ago I install a 4 ton GeoThermal Heat Pump in my basement of the log house.

I did all the installation work myself. Ran the 1 inch sch 40 PVC, set an inline adjustable water valve on the output line, ran the copper cables for the pump and another set for the heat strips. Installed all the breakers and such , since I had wired the house myself and install the weather head as well out the outside Control Center and breakers and dug the ditch and laid the underground lines, as well as all the various copper coated ground rods.

I used well water from my private well for the input and dumped the output down the holler where it eventually drained back into the aquifer, since we have all sand a gravel under our top and subsoil. All creeks in the hollers contribute and though I preferred to return the water to the well head I knew that not too far from me springs were running continously out of that aquifer and its seams.

My plans were to later lay some underground coil and a inline pump up on the hillside nearby and in land always in direct sunlight.

I never regretted that installation. It had a circuit board with all the indicators present and I embedded a couple readable digital thermometer in the output plenum and incoming side to judge the efficiency of the unit.

The heat strips had never came on. It was enough to easily heat my 4500 sq ft(under roof and including the full poured concrete basement.

The brand was Florida. I would recommend them due to first being manufactured in the USA and the overall engineering of the unit.

I had replaced a very old Amana split unit with its attendant 'defrost timer' that was always giving problems. A outside air unit. Very very inefficient.

Yet when the electricity finally went off permamently I had a quite large Buck Stove upstairs, triple chambered and with a three stage blower. I could heat the entire first and second levels and keep all my canned jars in the basement where they would never freeze.


ductless heat pumps

Sir, thank you. I was quite happy to learn more about this way to heat a home.

As other's may have already said: keep 'em comin'

I purchased mine at http://www.ductlessdepot.net then found a local installer. That was a little dicey, though, because often a local installer wants you to purchase the equipment from then. You may want to do it in reverse order (find the installer first, then order the equipment).

I moved my Friedrich window heat pump from my apartment to my house and have it in my large (28' x 14') front room that serves as office & bedroom for me (I rent out the two bedrooms). A dividing arch with two columns in the middle of the room. 9,000 BTU cooling, 12 EER (not SEER, EER > SEER, usually by 2 or so).

I also added space gas heaters (99.9% efficient) in the two bedrooms (10,000 BTUs) and bathroom (6,000 BTUs) and my bedroom/office (10K + 6 K). Three of the five gas space units can run in a power failure.

3,412 BTU = 1 kW for the metric

In the summer, during the day, when I am the only one at home, I will run just the window unit. Kick on central (16.x SEER) when the renters arrive home. It is also an emergency back-up in central fails.

In the winter, I run the window heat pump down to 38 F or so, then gas heat from there. (<38 F is maybe two weeks/year at night).

To control humidity and perhaps heat kitchen directly I am thinking of adding a modern heat pump. It could also add efficiency to the central unit. But the decision of where to put one or two is difficult. Kitchen or one or both bedrooms ? My large room ?

I am sold on using zone heating and cooling. More efficient (some not home for part of day or for a week+, turn off their heat/cool) plus bedrooms and bathrrom are more "sensitive" to extremes of temperature.

First, I need to finish upgrades of house envelope first. Double cell honeycomb blinds, caulk EVERY penetration and small crack (especially in the floor). New rear door (insulated door, probably from Provia). Possibly storm windows. Remove whole house fan, etc.

During the winter, we had the two coldest days in 17 years, 21.0 & 22.5 F (-7 C & -6 C) and the gas heaters added excessive humidity to the house (despite very dry air outside. Most winter days are humid though, which also means humidity issues inside and more efficiency for heat pumps.

Solar water heater or heat pumps first ?

Best Hopes for Wise Energy Efficiency Decisions,


I have just installed 6 mil thick plastic under the house (vapor barrier & easier to move) 2.5 to 2.75 feet clearance. Installing a heat pump condenser under the house seems ideal. Cooler temps in summer, warmer in winter.

A quick Google.

Fujitsu 12RLS US $1,576 mail order. Shipping extra. SEER 25, the 9,000 BTU unit has SEER 26 but only about $130 less.


Given the costs of installation and shipping, and the energy savings, I am hard pressed to see why not buy the higher SEER unit. Limited electrical panel space perhaps, but I would look seriously about combining two circuits elsewhere in the house to make room (or add a supplemental panel or larger panel).


Hi Alan,

Prices here in Canada are (or were) much higher. I would have bought this model but the local distributor had just jacked up the wholesale price by 25 per cent. As I recall, the 12RLS was priced at $2,800.00 CDN versus the similar size, but less efficient, Sanyo at just under $1,700.00. I ran the numbers and there's no way I could justify the cost premium. For the lower level, I estimated our space heating requirements at 3,000 kWh; that would have put the theoretical energy usage of the Fujitsu (seasonal COP = 3.52) in the range of 850 kWh and the Sanyo (seasonal COP = 2.72) at 1,100. The 250 kWh difference at $0.11796 per kWh is less than $30.00 per year. If the cost premium had been $500.00, say, I might have bit the bullet, but the Sanyo distributor was excellent in every respect whereas the Fujitsu dealer treated me like dirt under his fingernails. That, and the fact that it takes one breaker slot, I can run it off our generator and monitor its consumption with a Kill-a-Watt meter pretty much made the Sanyo a slam dunk.


The Californication of ethanol:

While California is the largest fuel-consuming state, 11 states in the Northeast have essentially copied California's standards, Oregon is looking at following suit and others may be next. The bottom line, Holzfaster says, is that motorists will be forced to rely on more crude oil and, possibly, foreign sources of ethanol.


But Brazil is low on ethanol, so the next step may be exporting ethanol to Brazil:

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, Unica, is calling for the end of a 20 percent import tax on ethanol as the country has seen its domestic supplies dwindle while Brazilian ethanol producers have struggled with higher sugarcane prices, according to Rechargenews.com.


California leads the way with $500,000 bungalows in a real estate bubble, incompetent government and near bankruptcy. It’s the Californication of America:


“Destruction leads to a very rough road
But it also breeds creation
And earthquakes are to a girl's guitar
They're just another good vibration
And tidal waves couldn't save the world
From Californication “

But Brazil is low on ethanol, so the next step may be exporting ethanol to Brazil:


I think someone has been sipping the ethanol...

I agree. The thing is domestic ethanol producers wouldn't get the tax credit for exporting to Brazil. So they would have to compete against anyone else trying to put their ethanol into Brazil. Corn ethanol can't compete against ethanol produced in the tropics.

From up top: "Seoul said this month that cashed-up KNOC will spend $6.5-billion (U.S.) on M&A in 2010 in an effort to cut South Korea's almost total dependence on imported oil". Their merger/acquisition effort will be focused on Canada. Just one more source of U.S. oil imports we have taken for granted for many years. Add that to Japanese deals cut with Mexico and similar trades between China and Venezuela and Americans may soon realize that THE prime weapon in the future resource "war" is capital applied at the right time. Add that to the support of such efforts given by the other govt's with the short-term myopic approach of our free market system. It appears we are unarmed to a fair degree.

And I think that the problem with the military option--we force the oil to our shores--is that all it takes to counteract the military option is the threat to torpedo a supertanker off our shores. And it's not like one needs a state of the art nuclear sub. An old conventional sub with old torpedoes would do the job just fine.

WT -- how about an even more cost effective method: the Chinese refuse to buy anymore U.S. gov't debt securities. Think what would happen to the value of the dollar if the whole world suddenly began to doubt our ability to repay our debt. And with a reduced dollar our effective import costs would rise leading to a drop in oil purchasing power which should make that much more oil available to the Chinese at perhaps even lower prices. Makes you wonder if the Chinese couldn't see the net value of such a scenario.

It goes to a question I have posed before, to-wit, at what point does our (still) high level of oil consumption pose more of a threat to the developing world than the benefit they get from us buying stuff from them? So, at what point do they perceive it to be in their economic interest to euthanize the US economy?

Of course, I guess one could argue that they might as well let the current trend just play itself out, since we are already being effectively outbid for oil supplies.

WT: I believe that our economic contraction will provide the push needed, as the emerging nations realize that we cannot purchase their toys any more. Then, they stop loaning us money, and they trade amongst themselves? I don't know how that will play out, but the impact on the US dollar will be catastrophic. Think Germany post WW I.

That WILL happen, it is not a question of "if", but "when" - and not even that so much, for they have already started tapering off.

Take Greece bond auctions from yesterday for example


The cheerleaders were rejoicing this morning about how demand was 4 times 'oversubscribed', so ,no Greece isn't going under today. Only later on did we hear how the yield on such instruments has soared up to 6 and 1/2 percent. (getting up nearer the kneecaping range where debt service is most of what you do)

The National Bank of Greece shares have fallen from $8. to $4 in a very short period of time.

Welcome to your future America.

the Chinese refuse to buy anymore U.S. gov't debt securities. Think what would happen to the value of the dollar if the whole world suddenly began to doubt our ability to repay our debt.

..I think a senario like this was in a Clancy book?

As you are probably aware, the Germans had pretty good luck with this for quite a while back in WWII.

U.S. Ships Sunk or Damaged on Eastcoast of U.S, and Gulf of Mexico During World War II.

Who cleaned up all these oil spills and how long did they cause problems?


Interesting question. One good thing, supertankers hadn't been invented yet, so instead of a million barrel spill, they were generally in the 10's of thousands of barrels...for instance, the 'Gulfstate'...


In 'The Prize', Daniel Yergin states that the eventual inclusion of escort ships, convoys, coastal blackouts, and other measures gradually put an end to the U-boat attacks. You'll notice most of the ships were sunk quite close to land.

dipchip -

I think for the most part, oil spills resulting from torpedoed tankers during WW II simply were not cleaned up or only marginally cleaned up. One of my uncles was in the Coast Guard during WW II, and I recall him saying that the beaches were quite a mess in certain areas. It didn't matter too much for swimmers because many of the beaches were closed anyway for security reasons.

westexas -

Yes, what you describe is the fallacy of the de facto US energy policy of attempting to secure oil by militarily dominating the Middle East and Central Asia: a spoiler nation can spoil things pretty easily.

Sure, the US can deploy several carrier battle groups in and around the Persian Gulf, but it cannot protect every single tanker at every single moment. And unlike the protracted war of attrition during WW II between German U-boats and Allied merchant vessels, a spoiler nation doesn't actually have to win, it just has to drop a large turd in the global oil market punch bowl to create total economic chaos.

And one doesn't even need a conventional submarine firing a torpedo to sink or damage a supertanker. (They are huge but about as robustly built as a giant water balloon.) Other possibilities include nighttime surface attacks by fast craft firing relatively crude ship-to-ship missiles, the dropping of floating mines in the path of the tanker, or plain old suicide attacks by small explosive-laden speed boats.

If things get really dicey, what does the US plan to do, form WW II style convoys going in and out of the Persian Gulf? How long can this be kept up? And at what expense?

Another factor to consider is that a modern supertanker probably has 20 times the carrying capacity of the typical WW II tanker. While this makes for great economy of scale, it also places more eggs in fewer baskets. A torpedo can sink a 300,000-ton tanker just about as easily as a 15,000-ton tanker.

Getting back to dry land: oil and gas pipelines are also extremely vulnerable and difficult to defend, as there are literally thousand of miles exposed to possible attack.

While no other country is militarily capable of taking 'our' oil from us, neither is the US military capable of totally preventing severe disruptions to our imported oil by a country bent on making life difficult for the US However, I am not sure how well this notion has sunk in to those charged with "energy security".

Implementing a convoy system reduce freight capacity by about 1/3, based on UK WWI and WWII experiences. The loss reflects that all ships have to be loaded or unloaded before any can leave port. Also, convoy's travel at the speed of the slowest ship.

The US military is able to prevent severe disruption of oil traveling to the USA and perhaps some allies. I doubt the USA military is too worried about protecting Chinese or Indian shipments.

If one is interested in convoy issues and wars based on oil, I recommend "Red Storm Rising", by Tom Clancey.

To do a more detail analysis, one has to start making assumptions based on the aggressor, and their weapons and tactics. My guess on Iranian Aggression is that Iranian and Iraq exports stop immediately. I assume Iran can and will destroy/disable the Iraqi export terminal. The USA will shut down Iranian exports.

If one is interested in convoy issues and wars based on oil, I recommend "Red Storm Rising", by Tom Clancey.

Red Storm Rising is probably Clancys best book. I suspect this is in no small part due to his 'co-writer' Larry Bond, the designer of Harpoon, and author of Red Phoenix and Vortex.

Team Yankee by Harold Coyle is a decent read, too.

I've got most of Clancys books (except the Op-Centre series and some of the post-Ryan Presidency stuff). Fun to read, but they get silly towards the end of the Ryanverse (much like Dal Browns' McLachlanverse/Dreamlandverse, which started out OK in Flight of the Old Dog, but very quickly went downhill.

The most potent weapon of all is the "insurance bomb". If Lloyds feels it is too risky to underwrite tankers, they all stay in port.

If things get really dicey, what does the US plan to do, form WW II style convoys going in and out of the Persian Gulf? How long can this be kept up? And at what expense?

Joule, what might happen if we try to use force against, say Iran? Or, for that matter any other country for which China is a major customer?

My belief is that, when we use serious military force, China calls our debt. End of game, end of story.

zap -- additionally folks have to remember that some volume (still can't get a good handle on the percentage) of future oil exports to China will not just be oil they purchase but oil to which they own the title. No difference then the title to your house or car. Intercepting such a cargo would be piracy in the eyes of the World Court. Likelwise, many of the deals the Chinese have done are long term production sharing trades where they also have the sole right to purchase some of the exported oil.

Intercepting such a cargo would be piracy in the eyes of the World Court. Likelwise, many of the deals the Chinese have done are long term production sharing trades where they also have the sole right to purchase some of the exported oil.

These are not equivalent (in the security sense) to domestic supplies. If a country that had signed one of these agreements wished to risk the consequences, they could nullify the contract (kinda like Castro nationalized US owned enterprise in Cuba). Also a hostile third country could attempt to steal the cargo. Obviously such actions would lead to serious sanctions or even military action, but in a desperate and not too rational future either scenario is possible.

"My belief is that, when we use serious military force, China calls our debt. End of game, end of story."

And that's why there will be no war on Iran. Neither the US, UK, EU, Japan, Korea, and lesser US allies afford the chaos an attack on Iran would unleash. Not just the Debt Bomb, but massive interruption of energy deliveries to countries that can't live without them.

A reader wrote to me asking if we could talk about whether moldy corn is going to be a problem that hasn't been considered in UDSA forecasts of crop availability for 2009. Moldy corn can be an issue when harvesting was done late, as it was done this year, and the fields are wet. There seems to be a particular problem with pigs being sensitive to a particular type of toxin, called vomitoxin. Even if the corn is sold for ethanol, there is still a problem, because the toxins concentrate in the DDGs.

The standard work around with this problem is to mix good the bad so the combined mix is within has a suitably low mix of toxins. Another approach is not to dilute the toxin as much, and feed the product only to cows.

A person cannot tell how much toxin is in corn by just looking at it, so it has to be tested. The reader was concerned that their might be shortages because of this not-fully-recognized problem. I think there are enough work-arounds that the likelihood of this is fairly low. Here are a few article links.

Questions and Answers on Moldy Grain and Mycotoxins Part 1-2009 Crop

Late, Wet Corn Harvest Favors Ear Mold

Still worried about corn mold?

Corn Ear Molds: Basic Questions and Answers

Has anyone run into this? Is any substantial amount of corn being rejected outright (as opposed to just getting a lower price) because of this problem?

Speaking of food & crop availability. . .

Looking at 2008 versus 1998, many developed OECD countries showed generally flat to lower oil consumption numbers, as annual oil prices rose at 20%/year. But as we know, many developing non-OECD countries showed much higher consumption over this time period in response to rising oil prices.

I was struck by Marc Faber's comment in Barrons that the total size of the (rapidly growing) developing world economies exceeds the total size of the developed world economies.

If the non-OECD countries have, in effect, been able to outbid OECD countries for oil supplies, wouldn't they also be able to outbid OECD countries for food supplies?

If the non-OECD countries have, in effect, been able to outbid OECD countries for oil supplies, wouldn't they also be able to outbid OECD countries for food supplies?

I think that is a good question, but not as easy to answer as one would first think. I think in the biding for oil the determinant, is how much you are able/willing to pay for what usage. The developing world may be able to outbid us if the uses to which they put oil are valued highly enough. The developed world demand contains at least some frivolous demand (water skiing, snowmobiling, pleasure boating, single passenger per car commuting), which could be cut in a pinch. Food on the other hand seems more likely to go to those who can afford it, i.e. it is not discretionary spending. Of course food also has its 'frivolous" component, high meat diets, excess consumption etc, but after a bit of fat is cut, it becomes necessary.

Not only that, but many OECD countries are food self sufficient, and the OECD as a whole certainly is. So they will be outbidding us for world traded food, but I doubt we'll be going hungry anytime soon. There are still land areas in US/Europe paid to not be farmed, so there is still capacity to increase food production.

Gail, if this is going to be a problem then the traders are not aware of it. On January 11th March corn traded as high as $4.25 a bushel. Yesterday it closed at $3.63 and is now trading at $3.66.

Of course this is corn for March delivery but moldy corn in storage would definitely drive up the price of the near term contract. Traders are pretty savvy. A rumor of moldy corn, if proven true, would drive up the price of all corn being delivered this year. And for that reason I would think it is not a serious problem since the price of corn has been falling as of late.

Go here, CBOT Corn, and click on any bar on the chart to get that day's opening, high, low and close. You will notice that on January 12th the bottom fell out of the corn market. And here is what happened on that day.
Corn Plunges Exchange Limit on Record U.S. Crop; Soy, Wheat Drop

Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Corn prices plunged the maximum permitted by the Chicago Board of Trade after the U.S. forecast a record crop. Soybeans and wheat prices also dropped.

Ron P.

Very few people knew the stock market was about the crash and the global economy tank before it happened. If the Record US Crop is a bogus number and traders are relying on that number then those prices mean nothing. Does anyone posting here know how the USDA comes up with those forecasts? Do the traders in any way verify those numbers? Remember the forcasts of the IEA and CERA and the EIA. Note the undercount on unemployment which does not include among other things self-employed people who no longer have work.

Funny to see a group of people who doubt official numbers on oil reserves totally trust the official numbers of a record crop on a crop harvested in one of the most difficult weather years of late. See the articles at http://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/cafe/harvest/

"The impetus for this collection of articles came from the challenging 2009 harvest season in Indiana and throughout the Midwest. Delayed planting of crops, slow crop development due to cool summer temperatures, significant incidence of late season foliar diseases and ear rots in corn, slow grain dry down due to cool fall temperatures, and frequent periods of rain resulted in a frustrating end to the growing season." <\blockquote>

Our farmers must be the most excellent of farmers to produce a record crop in such conditions. The effects of the late harvest in wet conditions will continue with dealing with ruts and compaction caused by the combines being run on wet soil http://www.extension.iastate.edu/CropNews/2009/1029hanna.htm

My family members who live in Illinois and Iowa all report disaster for the crops there. How did the record crop grow, and how was it harvested?

Maybe crop failures and inability to harvest in two states wouldn't impact that much, but those two particular states are major producers, so far as I know.

Of course, I have been wrong in the past. Who knows for sure?

Those two states usually produce about 40% of the crop.

Go here select: Corn field


Then select all states 2008 2009 and: get data

Okay, so let's use 40% of the producers' crops come in essentially at 50% or less, which is better than my sources say is the case. That means a 20% overall reduction. The remaining 60% would need to make up that 20%, or have a 33% above average crop. For a 'record' crop, overall, that would seem impossible.

Perhaps what the story meant to say was that, 'some States had record production of corn.'?

Now we begin to see a new spin on desertification of farmland. It has reduced global warming by 20%. Great! I cannot figure out is that good news or bad news...

Suncor is yet trying to expand ethanol production in line with Canada's desire to use green fuel. They are supposed to have a five percent ethanol blend in their gasoline by Sept. of 2010.


Canada is a net importer of corn from the United States. Wheat was also used in Canadian ethanol production. If all the world's grain were converted to ethanol, it would not satisfy transport fuel requirements and the EROEI of ethanol is lower than for most other energy sytems currently sold on the market.

I'll just chip this one in here ... somwhere .. since you lot discuss this corn culprit !

U.S. Feeds One Quarter of its Grain to Cars While Hunger is on the Rise

January 21, 2010

The 107 million tons of grain that went to U.S. ethanol distilleries in 2009 was enough to feed 330 million people for one year at average world consumption levels . More than a quarter of the total U.S. grain crop was turned into ethanol to fuel cars last year. With 200 ethanol distilleries in the country set up to transform food into fuel, the amount of grain processed has tripled since 2004.

... nice 'Bartlett-shape' , huh?

... same curve , different reporting.Give it another 5 years and 50% is diverted to your cars , enough to feed 660 million hollow stomachs(?)

The January 12 USDA reports. Normally, the January crop production estimate is the final word on production. This year when USDA’s survey was conducted there was about 8% of the crop still in the field. Even so, it will provide the benchmark to adjust for field losses. We expect USDA to lower the national yield by 0.9 of a bushel from November to 162 bushels per acre, resulting in a
production figure of 12.850 billion bushels, down 71 million bushels from USDA’s previous estimate. Based on that level of production, we calculate December 1 grain stocks at 10.709 billion bushels, 6% higher than a year ago.

Doanes Agriculure report 1-08-10 Only available by subscription: excerpts

"A few states updated harvest progress this week. Harvest progress for South Dakota is 93%, North Dakota 71% and Nebraska 96%. With these updates and estimates for the remaining states, we estimate that about 400 million bushels of corn is still in the field."

Also: Corn quality concerns are great for a large number of 2009 bushels being stored on-farm.

My family members who live in Illinois and Iowa all report disaster for the crops there.

I have recently been told the same for South Dakota as well.

Yes I heard about that. But let me say that farmers usually NEVER tell their yield values while harvesting.

Many corn states had a lot of problems with massive rainfall and late plantings but checking the farmers blog sites I never heard much bitching after it was over.

I know southern Illinois was in bad shape. Their soil south of Mount Vernon is no where as excellent as north of there. And its all very very flat land at that.

You want a real answer go to TALK.NEWAGTALK.COM and ask in one of the sections. Like CROPS. You might get some bad answers unless you pretend to actually be a farmer. Its a tough crew over there so watch yourself.


Does anyone posting here know how the USDA comes up with those forecasts?

Yes, part of every county agent's job is to survey his area for planting, rainfall, etc. etc. and report this data to the USDA. This data is constantly updated. The USDA has a very good record of forecasting everything except the weather and diseases that may or may not hit crops. Because they often miss on the weather or such things as mold they should not be castigated. They do the best they can under the circumstances.

But some people are always looking to blame someone for their failures in futures investing or crop planting or whatever, and the USDA makes a good target. The job of the USDA is to serve the farmers and regardless of their record they try.

Forecast from the IEA and CERA and the EIA are not remotely related to the USDA and should not be compared at all.

A footnote: I once installed a huge computer in a futures trading firm in Memphis, Tenn. (That was back in the days of huge mainframes.) They mailed out thousands of survey cards to every county agent in the country, and I suppose to some large farmers also. They tried to beat the USDA report by one week. They could make millions for their clients by getting ahead of the USDA crop survey. I don't know how well it worked but the fact that they spent thousands on postage, evry year, I suppose it must have worked pretty well.

Ron P.

Per http://www.agrinews.com/chad/hart/calls/usda/crop/report/the/january/sur...

—Iowa State University Extension grain marketing specialist Chad Hart called USDA's Jan. 12 crop production summary for 2009, "the January Surprise."...Hart said that because there were so many unharvested corn and soybeans when USDA surveyed producers in late November for the Jan. 12 report, it will resurvey producers who previously reported acreage not yet harvested. If the newly collected data justifies any changes, USDA will update the Jan. 12 estimates in the March 10 report

So because of the unharvested wet corn and soybeans the Jan. crop production report done in late November may be off quite a bit. Nor does the amount harvested relate to how much is usable.

I worked in a bank a long time ago. We supplied numbers to the government for some sort of statistics. We never made much notes on how we did it from month to month and no one ever checked. So we sort of guessed at what to include or not every month. I wondered at the time if this was how all gov't statistics worked.

At any rate gov't statistics that once were more accurate and reliable have become increasingly variable. What is counted in the basket of goods for inflation changed during Clinton's realm to present a lower number (and thus have lower increases of SS payments among other things._ Which is why someone set up a web site called shadow stats http://www.shadowstats.com/ Well we shall see soon enough. May take years for the IEA and EIA to be shown wrong but only one year for the USDA. That of course would lead one to think they wouldn't dare fudge. Depends on what is riding on it.

I hope that those who are questioning the USDA are wrong, because if they are right things will get nasty pretty quick.

Meanwhile back in Nov our very own beloved Agriculture Secretary reports "MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Alabama's agriculture commissioner says heavy rains have damaged some Alabama crops and caused poor harvesting conditions. Commissioner Ron Sparks said farmers are in a potential crisis mode if they don't get dry weather within the next two weeks.
He said most farmers were expecting a bumper crop before September, but then heavy rains started falling. He said the rains have reduced crop yields and quality on many farms. The most affected crops are cotton, soybeans, corn and peanuts." http://www.sparks2010.com/news/harvest-delays-create-potential-crisis/

At least in our part of the state the weather has continued to be unusually wet all winter, with numerous gully washer type rains, yet per deCarbonel the USDA sets our crop at being more than twice the 5 year average. http://www.marketskeptics.com/2009/12/2010-food-crisis-for-dummies.html But if Jan. report is from November survey and the ability to harvest was still in farmers hopes that could explain that without any intention to deceive. Maybe other parts of the states had less rain than we did here.

In my opinion the greater risk than mold is the potentially large losses due to corn standing in the field over the winter. Your Purdue universty link references a University of Wisconsin test at their Arlington research station. High losses seem to be correlated to high snow falls and at least some areas with a lot of unharvested corn have had a lot of snow this winter. If this is correct the CBOT sent prices the wrong way.

I believe the 2009 corn yields are less than the USDA claims and I have put my money where my mouth is on the options market.

Leaving corn standing in the field over the winter - AKA "Feeding the deer, and racoons, and crows, and etc."

Very few people knew the stock market was about the crash and the global economy tank before it happened.

Actually, just about anyone paying attention knew it. My wife's chiropractor knew it.
I made the call, and got out.
That was an easy one.

I knew it too and had my husband take all his retirement money out of stocks. Then I listened to all the people I work with bemoan the decline of their 401K's. I don't know anything about stocks but knew about the subprime 2 years before it happened. Heard it on PBS. A whole lot of people didn't know or heard and didn't believe.

I knew that the party was over back in 1999 when that damn fool "Dow 36,000" article came out. I pulled out of equities then and have only been in to a very small extent since. Best move I ever made.


Also available in book form! $30 for paperback, maybe for the collectors value. Hardcover only 3.25??

The first review:

By A Customer

This book was one of the reasons I got completely out of the stock market in late '99 early 2000. When I read this pustulous piece of putrescent puffery I just knew I had to get out. THANK YOU KEVIN AND JAMES!!!!!

And James Glassman has the gall to call his web site "Tech Central Station" (no more apparently, he sold it and now it is Technology, Commerce, Society)

It is all game theory at work. All those Wall Street dudes forcing stocks up as they were selling off because they had invested in stocks going down. But since they were going up because of the sell off to avoid shorting losses and not because of a real demand for stocks, the common guy investor had no clue what was going on and held on longer than he should have.

It is why I don't invest in this stuff at all. It all fits under the guise of game theory and nothing can predict the outcome of most game theoretic problems.

Some of the farmers I know are very very good at playing the Commodities market. Others are lousy at it.

I think my friend forward contracted his corn at about $7 and his beans at $10. He was very happy. He uses a very professional marketing group to help him at it. So far he always comes out very very well.

One of his secrets is very good maintenance. While others are broke down in the field he keeps on rolling. His planters , combines, pull behind equipment and semis are always in top shape. He keeps a crew of 8 or 9 busy almost all year long.

The others have to call the dealer techs out but he and I keep everything running and never have to call out those expensive mechanics from the dealer.

He bitches but without electronics and computers he would be almost dead in the water. Costs would eat up his profits very fast.


This article from the Renewable Fuels Association indicates that the ethanol industry is worried

2009 Corn Quality Issues and Ethanol Production
Unfavorable weather conditions have significantly delayed the 2009 corn harvest, making this fall’s harvest the latest in more than 40 years. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Nov. 9 Crop Progress report showed just 37% of the corn crop has been harvested, compared to a five‐year average (2004‐2008) of 82% for the week ending Nov. 8.
Cool, wet conditions in the fall can affect grain quality in a variety of
ways. Some areas in the Midwest experienced frost before corn had reached full maturity, effectively putting an end to the grain‐filling process. Much of the Corn Belt also faced record or near‐record rainfall amounts this fall and hail was experienced in some locations. Excessive moisture and hail damage increase the chances
for field molds and ear rot.

More at the link http://www.ethanolrfa.org/Grain%20Quality.pdf

Per the article below since grain is stored for use throughout the year some of the problems may not show up right away.


Elevator managers across Iowa and Illinois are concerned about how well last fall's corn is storing on the farm, and some producers are finding problems as they core bins to check on conditions....A merchandiser at a co-op in northeast Iowa said she estimates 75 percent of producers in her area are finding problems. It could be a "nightmare all the way through the marketing year," as damaged corn comes to town and elevators have to find ways to blend the lower quality grain...."Expect to lose some of this corn to mold through both physical shrink and damaged kernels if you cannot dry it quickly," said Hurburgh. "Wet corn in piles and bunkers is especially high risk."

Given that more energy has been used drying corn this year I am sure that any net energy gain from ethanol (assuming there is some which I don't) is now lost.
More at the link http://www.ethanolrfa.org/Grain%20Quality.pdf

Every load of corn I delivered to the grain elevators is first tested at the 'probe' station. They test for several items and will surely dock you if they find them and to the degree.

The never wish to take any grain that will be refused by their future buyers so they test rather well. Foreign matter, insect infestation, molds, damage to the kernels and weight testing to name a few. I have entered the sheds where this takes place and they are very good at this.

Other lesser well known elevators may be unscruplous and take known bad grains. Pays to be careful.

Grain that is stored in farmers bins can easily develop many problems, such as stated above. Field conditions can contribute as well as how good the combine is set up by the operator. Splitting soybeans is frowned upon.

The probe folks know that farmers will try to hide bad grain on the bottom of front of the semi and will make several probes.

Be wary of buying from a farmers bin unless you can judge yourself the grain's condition you are buying.

For farm usage I prefer ear corn over shelled corn myself. Easier to keep and dries better on the cob.

The unknowledgable buyer can get into some serious trouble.

Combining corn or beans at the right moisture is a very important ability to be able to judge. All farmers carry a moisture tester and a good well setup combine with its sensors operational and tested will test you exactly the moisture of what you are combining as you travel the field.

In fact the combine I helped my farmer buddy setup sets a 'virtual stake' in the ground about every second or so and you get a yield map later that shows the moisture, bu/ac and other data for each and every 'virtual stake' the GPS unit sets. Controllable of course by the operator.

Combining good grain with todays equipment is then easy to do. Yet I have sat and listened to ignorant stupid farmers brag 'Oh I just shut all that stuff off and just do it like my father did,,its all nonsense anyway!!!!"....Those folks need to be slapped upside the head often and hard.

Is corn rejected? Yes it is. They are told "take that stuff back home and don't bring anymore unless you check with us"....junk is turned away all the time. Wet corn sometimes as well. YOu are charged quite a bit for moisture. And you can be docked such that you make ZERO profit on your crop.

Airdale-I drove farm semis for several years. I operated farm equipment and repaired the electronics then and still do. A lot of farming now takes place at the Desktop PC in the farmers shop. I know for I built many of them.

BTW. I pulled all the yield maps for about 3,000 acres and most every one showed 250-300 bu/ac corn yields. I didn't mess with the beans. This was an very very good corn and bean crop here in WKY for 2009. 2007 and 2008 was also very prosperous for this areas farmers. Best years I have seen in a long long time.

The USDA historically has been recongized as one of the most competent and successful agencies of the US government. Their field workers are educated professionals who know agriculture and the farmers, so it would be unusual for them to be caught off guard by something like a badly missed crop estimate.

But cover up of a problem at a higher level of the government is another matter, as with unemployment no longer being U6 and the under reporting of inflation.

Most farmers I know tend to view the USDA and there crop forecasts are pretty much manipulation.

For instance the corn was being planted very very late in many areas last spring yet the USDA made this wild projection. There was little basis in their projections. And many farmers way way late on planting expressed their dismay yet said this was normal the USDA very much liked to exert control and sway the market.

I agree. I saw it happening.

The USDA has brought to this country invasive species , both in wildlife and vegetation.

I think very little of them for doing this. Each time I find a Asian Lady Bug in my soup I vocally shred them and theirs. I think you would too. Each time I think of the huge Asian Carp invasion I cuss them mightly.

For you to uphold them means I don't think you know much about what I speak of.

A lot of them tell farmers..."well do this and that" and in some cases the farmers reply "Why don't you get down here in the dirt with me and prove it?" ...dead silence comes back.

The only one's I ever respected was those who were in the squeeze cage with the young bull showing us better ways to castrate. Rather than sitting in ivory towers and pontificating away.

My viewpoint and I am sticking with it. What is YOUR farming background?


Link up top: Korea National Oil puts Canada on its radar

The link states that Korea is trying to get a piece of the Canadian Oil Sands in an effort to cut South Korea's almost total dependence on imported oil. Now I am curious, how would that help cut South Korea's dependence on imported oil? Even if South Korea owned a piece of that action, would not that still be imported oil?

When Exxon Mobil imports oil into the us from its Sakhalin-1 Project in Russia, surely that is not counted as US domestic production. As far as the US is concerned that is still imported oil and I am sure Russia collects export duties on that oil.

I think the author of this piece is a little confused. South Korea cannot possibly reduce its dependence on imported oil unless it finds oil on its half of the Korean Peninsula or in its territoral waters.

Ron P.

Ron -- Yep...poorly worded. I assume what they are referring to is SK efforts to own oil reserves vs. having to buy it on the open market. Their Canadian production would be exported to them but it would be theirs regardless of market conditions. The exporting component only increases the costs to them. Otherwise it's about the same as drilling wells in their own country. They are just doing what China has been doing for over 15 years.

Yes, it was poorly worded. It should have said that Korea was trying to reduce dependence on oil that it doesn't own.

Obviously, the Koreans are not buying up oil leases with the intention of shipping it to the US. They want oil for their own refineries. And Canadian governments don't care where it goes as long as they get the royalties and taxes for it.

'Desertification may retard global warming'. Yippee! When the last tree has gone and the last barrel of oil has been extracted, we can live in a cool desert rather than a hot one.

And thats probably only a temporary reduction, i.e. eventually the desert will bake to carbon out of the soil.
There are also claims that the Sahara might revert to Savannah, as it had been just a few thousand years ago. That would be a warming influence should it happen.

It is under the feedback loops that we don't understand some of the systems that are limiting the heat waves from showing up in some areas, and cold waves in others.

High smog levels reduce sunlight getting in to an area. Deserts send more heat back out even though they are dead grounds and can't be used for much. One side goes up a bit, the other side brings the balance down a bit. There are many of these up and down tilting feedback triggers out there.

If you record a temp, from a station inside a heat island (parking lot), rather than in a forest glade station, numbers can be swayed a bit.

I hope for better modeling programs, It would be nice to see where all these things tie in together.

We have cut down forests to plant golf courses and paved over farmland for house farms, we have gone to slash and burn in the tropics. The stresses to the system must be rather high. It might feel like pulling taffy.


My mom told me earlier when we were talking about tree hugging, that she loved to go hug our trees in the back yard. We still have 11 on our city lot. 2 pecans, 1 black walnut, 2 Slash pines, 2 silver maples, 1 redbud, 1 willow oak, 1 pin oak, 1 cedar.

If you record a temp, from a station inside a heat island (parking lot), rather than in a forest glade station, numbers can be swayed a bit.

You can disabuse yourself of that ridiculous notion: Mitchell Anderson | Urban Heat Island Myth is Dead

A recent peer-reviewed paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research looked at data from 114 weather stations from across the US over the last twenty years and compared measurements from locations that were well sited and those that weren’t.

They did find an overall bias, but it was towards cooling rather warming.

According to the authors,

“the bias is counter intuitive to photographic documentation of poor exposure because associated instrument changes have led to an artificial negative (“cool”) bias in maximum temperatures and only a slight positive (“warm”) bias in minimum temperatures.”


Callendar was taking the heat island effect into account way back in 1938, every researcher since has as well. RealClimate: No man is an (Urban Heat) Island

Well it is not the UHI that is dead, that is a very real and documented effect. The surprising thing is that the most urban sites are
not heating faster than the country sites. That means that while the urban sites are warmer then the countryside, they are not getting warmer any faster.

Come now, let the wing pawns have their delusions. Their corporate masters pull the strings, and they believe the propaganda.
Its all good, critical thinking is not selected for genetically, as you would often get eliminated from the gene pool for standing up to the elite.

Thanks for the info. I do a lot of gathering of information, oft times in feilds that I have had no training in, or in the case of climate some training but not enough.

I have been trained as a Landscape Architect So climate issues are looked at a little. Weather happens everyday and Climate is the overall system, or so I have heard ( forgive me if I get some things confused, I've had a few bouts of brain injuries ).

I do know that my little Island of the world seems to be warmer these past few years than it has been in years past. My mother pointed that out today, when we were talking about the tress.


I have been trained as a Landscape Architect so climate issues are looked at a little.

You might find this interesting:

U.S. Hardiness Zone Changes Between 1990 and 2006

That is something I know from being in the region off and on for 46 years. And this yard for 32 years. Things are changing, it is warmer in the winters on average, we don't have nearly the number of snow days as we used to.

I have not kept records, but birds and plants are showing up earlier and earlier than ages ago.

Thanks, I have not seen a zonal map for some time.


I wouldn't hug a black walnut too tightly. If you ever get some of that black stain on your body, it may never come off.

I know, I skinned a green Walnut a few years ago, My Swiss Army Knive was fine, but my fingers there were a bit yellow for a while.

We had originally 5 trees in the front yard, 5 trees in the back yard. We have now 6 trees in the back yard, 6 trees in the front yard. We lost 7 trees, but planted by one method or another 9 trees. I had forgot about the Dogwood, and the Sugar hackberry. The hackberry was ruining the fence between us and the house next door, and They wanted to lay in a concrete sidewalk. So we let him and his friend cut it down. I'll miss the tree, but it was doing some damage to the houses, it was to close. Being tree huggers it is hard to let trees go that are damaging and in the way.

The front yard has filled up and the back yard's tree line has moved.

Tree huggers unite,

As I was reading JH Kunstler's monday morning post Swing-time, it was more than a little ironic that I could hear in the background my wife listening to CNN's broadcast of President Obama and V.P. Biden assuring Americans that "relief for the struggling middle class is on the way".

The election in Massachusetts prompted President Obama to understand that the voters were pissed off -- among other things -- about the special privileges of banks and bankers, after a year of force-feeding them taxpayer money like Strasbourg geese.

Now, one big question is how come the president waited until after the Massachusetts election debacle to man up with the banks? Did it only just come to him that they were looting the nation -- with government assistance? Pretty obviously nobody will believe that Mr. Obama is sincere about reigning in fraud-ridden Wall Street until he issues pink slips to the Goldman Sachs alumni who have been running him like a radio-controlled monster truck: Summers, Geithner, Rubin, et al.

A lot of people complain that Jim is a broken record rehashing the same editorial week and week. They may have a point but for my dime I think the following makes a lot more sense than the absurd theatre coming out of the beltway:

The underlying reality is that the financial sector of the economy has got to shrink. It ballooned from about five percent of the US economy to about 22 percent over the last two decades -- mainly as a way to compensate for our declining real productive activity as we off-shored and outsourced and disassembled US industrial capacity. Capitalism only works when it operates in the service of productive activity. Trading mere paper certificates (or digital simulacra of them) in ever more "innovative" (i.e. abstract and incomprehensible) ways is not a substitute for making goods.


We should be turning our efforts and our remaining resources toward the task of becoming that differently-organized, finer-scaled society.

Which raises a question worthy of considerable discussion: What, then, should we be doing?

I am thinking that a good way to approach this might be to imagine what life in the future low-energy-throughput society will probably be like, and then to consider how to adapt one's life to that future reality in anticipation. The other part would be to consider what things are not in place now within one's community or region that might be particularly valuable to have, or what things are in place that are particularly worth preserving; these are worthy "causes" to which one might contribute time, talent, and treasure.

Apparently Obama planed another stimulus for our dying economy since the green shots froze but this time aimed at the "middle-class" since there are elections looming.

The best part of the article is:

But, Obama said, "We also need to reverse the overall erosion in middle-class security, so that when this economy does come back, working Americans are free to pursue their dreams again."

So Obama's goal is to keep us asleep and dreaming... till we have to wake-up to a reality undistinguishable from a nightmare.
I have a dream...

Giving us some of our own money back. Obama is SO generous with other people's money!

Oh, no, your money barely pays for half of fed spending as it is. He has to borrow to give you any back.

Then he's giving us China's money! I hope they don't mind and don't actually intend for the U.S. to pay them back with interest in a currency that is actually worth more than toilet paper.

I'm sure the Chinese hope they receive the priciple. But in the mean time they are using the interest payments (in US $'s) to buy up oil resources around the globe. Add that to the benefit of keeping our economy buying their exports they may see themselves coming out ahead in the game even if they don't eventually recover all the principle.

Best wishes for a new dream. Pretending we can have it all is a crime against the future.

Link up top: Kurt Cobb: Days of world consumption: A warning label for oil and gas discoveries

I mentioned this find to my audience and asked them how long they thought one billion barrels would last the world at the current rate of consumption. Guesses ranged from six months to three or four years. The correct answer was 12 days. Naturally, people were astonished and dismayed.

That reminded me of this story, posted a few days ago but there is a new article out on it today.
Exxon Mobil Rejuvenates Mature Oil Field

Another cherished myth of the peak oil crowd may have fallen by the wayside, as Exxon Mobil has figured out how to pump another 40 million barrels out of an oil field discovered more than 70 years ago, and at a stunningly low price.

Forty million barrels would supply the world with oil for all of 12 hours. If these cherished myths keep falling we may never reach peak oil.

One other item to consider is that the Hawkins Field had original oil in reserve of 1.8 billion barrels with total recovery of approximately 50% including this new effort by Exxon Mobil. This still leaves another 900 million barrels to be recovered using a future technology.

Current technology only allows us to get about 50 percent of the oil out. Future technology will find a way to get all the oil out! So not to worry, peak oilers are full of crap because new technology will save the day.

Ron P.


I'll tell you an odd fact about what people respond to in the real world. In 1984 I bought my first house in S. CA and I financed 95% of that purchase with what I had been sold as a variable interest mortgage. The only thing I wanted to know was what my payment was going to be. My "teaser rate" for a six month Libor was 8% making my payment about $900.00. I wanted the house and my dream was accessible. Six months later my payment adjusted to what the 11th district cost of funds were (with no incremental rate shift) of 18.9%. They had sent me my new payment 30 days ahead of time in order to allow me the opportunity to pay off the mortgage or make my new payment of $1900.00. In short order my dream had morphed into a nightmare.

In much the same way in July of 08' when gas at the pump hit $4.50 there was this great sense of national dread. When gas at the pump dropped six months later to less than $2.00 everyone imagined that it was an aberration. Now gas here is $3.00 at the pump. I can fill up my tank (17 gallons) for about $50.00. That is still $25.00 cheaper than $4.50 gas. All you have to do is wait for $150 dollar a barrel oil and you will see all of those happy motorists blaming Obama or whoever happens to be at the helm of this zombie economy.

Will they believe in Peak Oil then? I doubt it...


Future technology will find a way to get all the oil out!

That's right, Ron. Maybe the future technological secret is that they have figured out a way to strip mine it.

Of course, this new technology will increase EROIE to 25 or 30 for those final barrels, dontchaknow?

Actually, Ron, it is amazing that a field that old can be stimulated that way at all. The East Texas Field could never be treated in this manner. By the time the Hawkins Field was drilled, the techniques for controlling wells and protecting the integrity of the reservoir was pretty well acknowledged, so techniques like cementing was used to protect the zone and the fresh water strata, and wells plugged should have been plugged in a manner that would isolate the productive zone as well. Those precautions were not recognized when Spindletop and the East Texas Field were developed, so even the additional fraction which will be recognized from the Hawkins Field cannot be recovered from them.

My only problem with it is that my % starts off with a decimal point and a couple of zeroes.

Since drugs have taken the top spot in Mexico's economy, it appears our energy problems are finally solved. We will run our economies on coke and meth!

Firms Default on Mortgages, So Why Can't Homeowners?

Why is it considered fine for commercial investors to default on their mortgages, but immoral for individuals to default on home mortgages?

There is a Sheraton near us that is about to default on their mortgage.

Should Climate Activists support Immigration Restriction?

If yoo are going to post the Marxist left viewpoint, you should link to one or two paleo sources for balance.

Vdare is a great site, Brimelow is one of the few financial guys who gets it.

VDare: the scariest prediction of Al Gore and Co.—that the ice caps will melt, causing the seas to rise and inundate us—is not at all obvious from just using your eyes.

It's obvious if you point your eyes at the right places.

Regardless of any possible outcomes of AGW, how can you reduce total emissions if you grow the population at over 1% each year through immigration? If you ask these immigration enthusiasts when enough is enough, generally they rabble on about no one being from here and have no goals for the U.S. population wise. They would allow the population to rise to over a billion if given the chance. Personally I am more concerned with per capita energy consumption, peak oil will hit long before climate change gets going. Those who deny that population growth through immigration strains a finite world are probably the same lot who believe we can run a "service" economy and be a nation of fitness trainers and dog groomers on ethanol and hydrogen.

peak oil will hit long before climate change gets going.

I have a hunch they'll both arrive together, right about now...

peak oil will hit long before climate change gets going.

I just have to laugh at people who say things like this. You'd have to know virtually nothing about climate change to say such a thing, wouldn't you? I mean, when the Arctic sea ice is ALREADY well above 80% depleted, how the hell can people say such things?

Crazy, I tell ya.

I live on the water, I will consider climate change to be in full swing once it is regularly over my sea wall.

This is odd - the EIA figures for Venezuela production (all liquids) 2009 Jan-April have been revised upwards since I entered them into my spreadsheet in August, by the suspiciously round numbers of 100/200/100/100 kb/d. Not even scientific fraud!

According to zFacts.com, the US National debt will reach $12,400,000,000,000.00 or $12.4 trillion sometime around 4 pm est tomorrow Jan. 26. Our debt ceiling has to be raised. This year $1.5 trillion will be added. It has been announced that $1 trillion deficits are on tap for the next ten years. There are other debts that have to be considered National debt. These include Fannie and Freddie losses,and FED and bailout losses, mortgage losses from instruments taken over from the banks. As we approach the 100% of GDP ratio and exceed it, a la Japan, our currency and commodity imports will be adversely affected because the world will be forced to move away from the dollar as the only reserve currency IMO.
All in Washington, Republicans, Democrats, and the FED policies, are to blame. Pandering to voters may be good politics, but is a poor way to run a railroad.

Re increasing coal shipments from Newcastle Australia I guess all those folks who went to the Copenhagen conference must have forgotten their promises. Maybe coal exporting countries should cut their shipments 2-3% a year to help the customers jog their memories.

A lot of metallurgical or coking coal is loaded from Newcastle which would be difficult to source elsewhere. For example India does not have enough domestic coking coal to support its steel industry from what I understand. As to the argument that CO2 from exported coal is not Australia's problem then we should repeal laws against selling alcohol to minors. An estimate of annual CO2 from exported coal is 262 Mt X 2.4 = 628 Mt. Net emissions from the entire Australian economy (ie including oil and gas) are under 600 Mt CO2e, but still 25 tonnes or so per man, woman and child.

Australia might have only 0.3% of the world's population but it punches above its weight in contributing to global emissions. A kind of flatulent chihuahua.

Re increasing coal shipments from Newcastle Australia I guess all those folks who went to the Copenhagen conference must have forgotten their promises.

We haven't forgotten them, we're (our PTB) are just flat-out ignoring them. Science!, via CCS, will probably save the day, maybe, eventually, and if it doesn't, well, "we've got ours, thanks Jack", says TPTB.

Australia might have only 0.3% of the world's population but it punches above its weight in contributing to global emissions

Yep, 0.3% of population, something like 1.7% of direct emissions. Add in our coal exports and it's probably over 3% of emissions. Add in the emissions from the shite we import as finished goods and it's probably 6 or 7% of global emissions (I'd wouldn't be surprised if we weren't responsible for fully 10%).

the curmudgeon of armageddon, JHK, sez yet again we must reduce our lifestyle. here is the evidence. no one buying much no need to
have lots of trucks and trailers on the highways. wont it be funny if the rickshaw becomes the mode of transport in the usa?

"Truck trailer shipments dropped to levels not seen since 1975, according to figures compiled by ACT Research Company of Columbus, Indiana."

"it's all good"