Drumbeat: February 3, 2010

Exxon Dives Deep into High-Risk Exploration

Hardly known as a wildcatter, Exxon Mobil Corp. is searching for oil in most of the world's regions where high-risk exploration is under way, even as other big oil companies are being more selective and cutting capital spending.

So far, though, Exxon has little to show from its exploration campaign and needs to make large discoveries soon to justify the increased spending.

Exxon has "tried to put a tiger in the exploration hat," said Neil Mc Mahon, a Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst. But it has "only pulled out a fluffy bunny so far."

Call made for gas network

The chief of Oman’s main gas transportation firm called for the development of a regional GCC gas pipeline network, but said higher local gas prices would be needed to support such a project.

“We need an integrated approach to putting a gas network in the area,” Yousuf al Ojaili, the chief executive of Oman Gas, told the Gas Arabia Summit in Abu Dhabi yesterday. “Enough studies have been done. We need to move to the next step.”

Why Iraq Remains a Puzzle for the U.S.

(CBS) A professor of sociology at Stony Brook State University, Michael Schwartz is the author of War Without End: The Iraq War in Context (Haymarket Press), which explains how the militarized geopolitics of oil led the U.S. to dismantle the Iraqi state and economy while fueling a sectarian civil war.

'Russia unlikely to make oil tax switch soon'

Russia is unlikely to switch to a profit-based oil taxation system before 2012, chief financial officer at state-controlled oil major Rosneft, Peter O'Brien, said today.

Oil services poised to grow in 2010

Barclays Capital has a bullish report on the global oil service industry, which it says will grow this year after passing the low point for activity in the fourth quarter of 2009. The reports predicts an 11 per cent rebound in worldwide spending on exploration and production this year.

Nigeria Cement Makers Cut By HSBC on Fuel Shortages

(Bloomberg) -- Three of Nigeria’s four biggest cement makers had their recommendations cut by HSBC Holdings Plc on concern fuel shortages in Africa’s biggest oil-producing nation will cause earnings to “disappoint.”

Militant attacks have disrupted pipeline supplies from the Niger Delta oil region, cutting output from four state-run refineries and causing the West African nation to rely on imports to meet 80 percent of daily domestic needs. Fuel shortages have worsened since November after companies including Exxon Mobile Corp. and Total SA stopped importing oil into the country because of debt owed to them by the government.

Valero doesn't see fuel shortage after Quebec fire

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Quebec is not expected to be hit with gasoline shortages as a result of a fire that damaged the Canadian province's biggest refinery, a spokesman for the company that operates the refinery said on Tuesday.

Depletion of Key Resources: Facts at Your Fingertips

Modern industrial society is based on a triad of hydrocarbons, metals, and electricity. The three are intricately connected; each is accessible only if the other two are present. Electricity, for example, can be generated on a global scale only with hydrocarbons. The same dependence on hydrocarbons is true of metals; in fact the better types of ore are now becoming depleted, while those that remain can be processed only with modern machinery and require more hydrocarbons for smelting. In turn, without metals and electricity there would be no means of extracting and processing hydrocarbons. Of the three members of the triad, electricity is the most fragile, and its failure serves as an early warning of trouble with the other two.

White House report: Develop more crops for biofuels

Washington, D.C. — The nation won't meet its biofuels goals unless the government accelerates the development of biofuel crops and products, the White House says.

In a report being released today, an administration task force said the government needs, among other things, to set targets for commercializing new types of fuel crops, such as switchgrass.

Energy Quiz: What renewable fuel delivers the most net energy?

Surprise! Humble firewood yields the highest energy return on energy invested.

Russia boasts 100% reserve replacement

Russia has fully replaced oil output with new reserves since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Natural Resources Minister Yuri Trutnev said today, as the world's top energy nation seeks to maintain record oil output levels.

Trutnev said in a statement Russian oil reserves as of 1 January were equal to the reserves of 1990.

About 51.3 billion barrels produced since then had been fully replaced with new reserves, he said.

Saudi Oil Flows East: China's Ever Increasing Appetite for Oil

One more measure of China’s growing global clout – so much Saudi oil is flowing China’s way that it may soon replace the U.S. as the leading market for the world’s largest oil exporter.

Saudi Aramco Completes Ras Tanura Asphalt Unit Work

Saudi Arabia, holder of the world’s largest oil reserves and the biggest producer in the 12-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, imports refined products such as gasoline because it lacks capacity to meet domestic demand.

Aramco is investing in refining capacity even given the current poor returns, Chief Executive Officer Khalid al-Falih said at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week. Refiners worldwide have postponed expansion projects and idled plants in the past year as the global recession eroded fuel demand, squeezing profit margins for oil processors.

Venezuela Cuts Power Use Amid Conservation Drive

(Bloomberg) -- Venezuela cut electricity consumption last month after President Hugo Chavez ordered homes, businesses and government offices to save power as water levels plunged at hydroelectric dams.

The country used 9,557 gigawatt-hours of electricity in January, down 2.4 percent from a year earlier, according to preliminary figures on the Web site of the National Administration Center, the electricity-grid operator known as the CNG. Consumption fell 8.1 percent from December.

Iran seen boosting gas supplies to Turkey - minister

ANKARA (Reuters) - Iran is expected to boost gas sales to Turkey from current levels of between $1.5-2.0 billion a year, Turkish State Minister Cevdet Yilmaz said after meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Wednesday.

Oil price predicted to be low this year February 2nd 2010

Despite the world’s long term march toward peak oil – the time when daily oil supply to the world can no longer be expanded – oil may see more downside than upside in this year comments Saxo Bank. Even a dramatic geopolitical disruption related to Iran’s nuclear ambitions may do little to upset the well-supplied energy markets. After the spectacular collapse in oil in late 2008 on the heels of the credit meltdown and worldwide recession, oil went on to rally more than 100% off its lows around $35 dollar per barrel in early 2009 to as high as $82 dollars by later in the year. Prices recovered as risk appetite recovered in general and on higher demand. As well, oil was partially caught up in the USD carry trade and the idea that it was better to own hard goods rather than paper currency, though this effect was far more pronounced for gold than oil.

Shifting More Freight to Rail Isn't Always Such a Great Idea

The U.S. government has introduced various incentives to motivate companies to use rail transportation more often to move their freight, with the goal of a greener transportation system throughout the country. However, there's no real evidence that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions would be reduced by forcing truck traffic onto the rails, says Noël Perry, managing director and senior consultant with FTR Associates. In fact, it's quite the contrary -- most freight currently moving by truck would consume more energy if converted to a 100% rail move, he points out.

Lithuanian official sees deal on new nuclear plant by early 2011

Riga - A final agreement on construction of a new nuclear power plant in Lithuania will be signed by early 2011 at the latest, Lithuanian Energy Minister Arvydas Sekomokas said Wednesday.

Speaking to the German Press Agency dpa on the sidelines of an energy and infrastructure conference in the Latvian capital, Sekmokas said an agreement binding together the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, plus Poland and a yet-to-be-chosen private strategic investor, would be signed 'at the end of this year or, in a worst-case scenario, early next year.'

Lack of Australian nuclear plant almost immoral: Cosgrove

FORMER defence force chief Peter Cosgrove has pleaded for Australia to embrace nuclear power, criticising the "daily scrapping" between politicians about climate change.

Addressing a business breakfast in Perth, General Cosgrove said strong action was crucial and it was "almost immoral" to export uranium to less technologically advanced and stable countries to use in nuclear power plants while refusing to have one in Australia.

Tony Abbott's compost idea is not so corny

IT wasn't fear of global warming that prompted farmer Cam McKellar to start producing a humified compost that captures and stores carbon in his soil.

Rather, it was a simple business decision.

"It's about increasing the fertility of the soil, improving yields and producing better-quality food," says Mr McKellar, who runs a 1200ha corn and mixed-crop farm at Spring Ridge, 100km southwest of Tamworth in northeast NSW.

No apology from IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri for glacier fallacy

The embattled chief of the UN's climate change body has hit out at his critics and refused to resign or apologise for a ­damaging mistake in a landmark 2007 report on global warming.

IPCC flooded by criticism

Just over two years after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, the United Nations panel on climate change is undergoing a period of soul-searching.

Phishing Scam Cripples European Emissions Trading

Sneaky cyber-thieves have made millions by fraudulently obtaining European greenhouse gas emissions allowances and reselling them. The scam has hampered trading of the credits, which are seen as an important tool in curbing climate change, in several European countries.

Jeff Rubin: Why can't we build coal plants, too?

Just because North Americans have lost faith in international environmental summits doesn’t mean that environmental—and, in particular, carbon—concerns don’t factor more and more into our economies and our everyday lives.

Try setting up a brand-spanking new coal-fired power plant, like the 800 China and India will have on the go, and see how far you get in the approval process. With the exception of major coal-producing areas like Wyoming, West Virginia and Alberta, you can’t get new coal-fired facilities licensed anymore, not even in places like Texas, which still get nearly half their power from coal, let alone in holier-than-thou states like California.

Obama pushing clean coal and green jobs

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama is meeting with governors from coal-producing states, hoping to earn their support for a languishing energy bill and to bolster his image as a leader willing to work with Republicans as well as Democrats.

Obama planned to announce on Wednesday new steps to increase the role of biofuels in powering the nation and to release a report detailing how Washington could increase investments in green technologies, an administration official said. The president was also expected to discuss so-called clean coal technologies, said the official, who spoke ahead of the announcement only on condition of anonymity.

Obama Says Senate May Drop Cap and Trade, Pass Energy-Only Bill

President Obama acknowledged yesterday that the Senate may pass an energy bill this year without the cap-and-trade component he has long put at the center of his environmental agenda.

Oil hovers above $77 on demand hopes

Oil prices continued to rise Wednesday as economic reports suggested demand could improve and the dollar weakened, making crude cheaper for investors holding other currencies.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for March delivery was up 27 cents at $77.50 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract jumped more than $2 on Tuesday to settle at $77.23.

Gasoline Poised to Rise Past $2.19 a Gallon: Technical Analysis

(Bloomberg) -- Gasoline futures are set to rise past $2.19 a gallon after breaking through resistance at $2, according to a technical analysis by Newedge Group.

The March contract “surged higher, pulverizing resistance,” said Veronique Lashinski, a senior research analyst for Newedge USA LLC. “It is positioned to continue higher,” and challenge resistance between $2.05 and $2.10.

U.S. Distillate Supplies Fell Last Week, Survey Shows

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. inventories of distillate fuel, a category that includes heating oil and diesel, probably fell last week as wholesalers prepared for colder weather, a Bloomberg News survey of analysts showed.

Corporate Bond Risk Falls on Greek Deficit Plan: Credit Markets

Elsewhere in credit markets, energy companies are increasing bond sales at the fastest rate since October as investors snap up the notes of companies with rising profits while the overall pace of debt issuance slows.

Demand for oil will peak by 2030 – BP chief

GLOBAL demand for oil will peak within the next two decades, the chief executive of Europe's largest oil company has said. Tony Hayward of BP said the plateau would be reached between 2020 and 2030 as falling demand from developed countries balanced growing demand from developing nations.

BP said it was the first time Mr Hayward had put a date on peak demand, following a range of predictions from other bodies.

His comments also suggest Mr Hayward now thinks the peak will come earlier than he had previously thought.

Ofgem Considers Gas Regulation to Protect U.K. Supply

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. energy regulator Ofgem recommended “far-reaching” measures to protect energy supplies, including dismantling the liberalized natural-gas market, after the recession cut funds for utility investment.

“The credit crisis is taking a serious munch out of this sector,” Ofgem Chief Executive Officer Alistair Buchanan said today on a conference call. “There are tremendous market pressures on discretionary market spend.”

Falklands oil plans anger Argentina

Argentina has lodged a protest with the UK over London's plans to begin offshore oil exploration off the north coast of the disputed Falkland Islands.

Nigerian militants promise strike on Shell line

LAGOS, Nigeria – The main militant group in the restive Niger Delta says they will attack a Royal Dutch Shell PLC pipeline already hit in recent days by saboteurs.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta issued a statement Tuesday saying they would attack the Trans-Ramos pipeline after it is repaired. The group criticized government officials who blamed the pipeline's rupture Saturday on thieves trying to steal crude oil.

The group says that no thief "breaches pipelines with explosives as was done in this attack."

Statoil to Evaluate Listing Retail and Fuel Business

(Bloomberg) -- Statoil ASA, Norway’s largest oil and gas company, started an evaluation of the ownership of its gas station and transport fuel business that may lead to a stock listing at the end of the year.

UK To Struggle To Meet Green Energy Targets

BRUSSELS/LONDON - Britain could struggle to hit its target of getting 15 percent of its energy from renewable resources within the next decade, according to a UK government report submitted to the European Union.

Interim targets for the next six years will cause even greater problems, causing Britain to fall behind its EU neighbors.

Kenya: Jatropha Farmers Walk on Slippery Ground

As the international oil price rallied towards $150 a barrel in 2008, the developed world turned its attention to idle land in Africa, with numerous European NGOs introducing oil plants like jatropha to farmers saying it could be the continent's next big thing - a likely principal export and an alternative fuel that could improve the speed of industrialisation in a continent with eyes on the middle-income status.

Such was the excitement in Majiwa, a remote village in the outskirts of Bondo town in Nyanza Province when the international NGOs came knocking in 2006.

With the encouragement of Mr Tor Steiner Rafoss, one of the international bio-diesel agents, the villagers formed the Nam Lolwe Jatropha Caucus for the purpose of pooling resources to promote cultivation of the hitherto foreign oil plant. Mr Rafoss donated seeds to start the jatropha project.

Years since, the hope for a better life among the farmers is fading. They are asking about the promised "ready market" for the wonder plant.

Iran says ready to send enriched uranium abroad

TEHRAN (Reuters) - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday Iran was ready to send its enriched uranium abroad in exchange for nuclear fuel under a plan the West hopes will stop the material being used for atomic bombs.

The U.N. nuclear agency has brokered a proposed deal under which Iran, which denies seeking nuclear weapons, would send its low enriched uranium abroad in exchange for more highly enriched fuel to produce medical isotopes.

"We have no problem sending our enriched uranium abroad," Ahmadinejad told state television.

Senators Warned of Terrorist Attack on U.S. by July

WASHINGTON — America’s top intelligence official told lawmakers on Tuesday that Al Qaeda and its affiliates had made it a high priority to attempt a large-scale attack on American soil within the next six months.

In a Renewable Energy World, Is There an Alternative to Growth?

One of many conservative talking points against climate change of late has been that that environmental campaigners are tree-hugging, humanity-hating Luddites. So they really couldn’t have asked for a better present than the latest liberal think-tank report on climate change: “Growth isn’t possible,” cries the New Economics Foundation, in a 145-page jeremiad that compares humanity to an overweight hamster.

It's Resistance Now Or Never!

The other thing a global economy had to have if it was going to work was a plentiful and cheap supply of oil. If the world is not now on the downside of the Peak Oil curve, it's close enough for government work in the US, China, India, Russia, the EU. Rulers in these developed and developing countries have begun to act along those lines. For instance, the US won't be getting out of the Middle East anytime soon because it is a major source of a dwindling world oil supply. US military presence there has nothing to do with politicians' silly bleatings over "underwear bombers" or terrorism. And for another instance, economic nationalism, in the form of US tariffs on Chinese steel to give one example, is the wave of the future. Globalization cannot withstand the end of free trade or oil-driven trade, but it faces both simultaneously. It will crash and burn as a result.

A US soldier or two, away from the harrowing places they have been sent to secure oil, when given time to consider, have probably wondered why their government has contracted with Blackwater (now Xe)-type mercenaries at 10 times the price to pull duties once assigned to them. It is completely absurd on its face. The product of a hidden agenda is always absurdity. Globalization, which seeks privatization of all things, is that agenda.

Brazil uproar over massive Amazon dam plan

BRASILIA (AFP) – Environmentalists, indigenous groups and British rock star Sting have denounced a government plan to build the world's third largest hydroelectric dam in the Amazon river basin, which they claim will devastate the region.

The government of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Monday approved the 11 billion dollar Belo Monte project on the Xingu river that will flood 500 square kilometers (193 square miles) and supply 11 percent of Brazil's electricity.

Learn to save money and cut greenhouse gas?

A team from the University of Oregon’s Climate Leadership Initiative developed and tested the Climate Masters at Home program. It is modeled after Extension’s Master Gardener program and will now be delivered by the OSU Extension Service in Lane County.

“The first class we offered in Lane County helped participants reduce their annual greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20 percent — nearly two tons per person,” said Sarah Mazze, climate education director for UO’s Climate Leadership Initiative. “We believe those results are achievable for anyone taking the course and that means significant savings for people’s household budgets.”

House Ag Chairman Backs Bid to Block EPA Greenhouse Gas Regs

A trio of House lawmakers yesterday introduced a bill to block U.S. EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases, marking the latest in a string of bipartisan attacks against forthcoming climate rules.

California Sets Up Statewide Network to Monitor Global-Warming Gases

SAN FRANCISCO — California is preparing to introduce the first statewide system of monitoring devices to detect global-warming emissions, installing them on towers throughout the state.

The monitoring network, which is expected to grow, will initially focus on pinpointing the sources and concentrations of methane, a potent contributor to climate change. The California plan is an early example of the kind of system that may be needed in many places as countries develop plans to limit their emissions of greenhouse gases.

Industries sue to void California's low-carbon fuel regulations

The suit by the oil and trucking industries alleges that the rules discriminate against corn ethanol and Canadian crude oil. A state official calls the suit 'shameful.'

Let me see if I have this correct. The same Obama who said he was going to put the coal industry out of business is now promoting "clean" coal plants.

And Dem Rep's from NH are asking Obama if we can have an energy bill that doesn't "hurt our economy" with Cap and Trade.

The role reversal is confusing me, but I am glad to see it. My inclinations tend to be against expressly destroying major industry and taxing others to a slow death.

As someone here said the other day:

"Clean Coal! If they'll buy that, they'll buy anything!"

My inclinations tend to be against expressly destroying major industry and taxing others to a slow death.

Kinda like being against using chemotherapy to curb the strong growth of a brain cancer because it might kill off a few healthy cells as well.

The same Obama who said he was going to put the coal industry out of business is now promoting...

Please post the URL for that statement Tsra because I really do not believe Obama said any such thing.

Where you got this nonsense was from what Obama said about new coal fired power plants!

Hot Air, get your fill

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted....

The only thing I’ve said with respect to coal, I haven’t been some coal booster. What I have said is that for us to take coal off the table as an ideological matter as opposed to saying if technology allows us to use coal in a clean way, we should pursue it.

There has been no role reversal Tsra, Obama's position today is exactly what it has been all along.

I personally am not a coal booster. I think it is responsible for many millions of respiratory deaths as well as much misery from respiratory diseases throughout the world. But we will never get off coal until it is all gone. We, in the United States, will continue burning coal and China will continue building about two new coal fired plants each week. Coal is killing us and it will continue to do so.

Ron P.

Ron, then candidate Obama stated that his agenda was going to bankrupt operators of coal fired plants via cap and trade as follows:

"So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted."

On Youtube at:


Washington Post Reference [oblique]


The Washington Post reference was sourced as from a transcript provided by an outfit called "Newsbusters" at


Ron, then candidate Obama stated that his agenda was going to bankrupt operators of coal fired plants via cap and trade as follows:...

R W, I know what he stated about building new coal fired power plants. That was all about the proposed tax on the emitting of greenhouse gases. In fact that was the link I posted! There is no dispute about that. What I stated was that he never said that: "he was going to put the coal industry out of business..." That is not the same thing!

Now if you have a link where he states he is going to put the coal industry out of business then please post it.

Next time please read the post... and reply... before replying with something totally different than the matter being discussed.

Ron P.

Obama was controversial during the primary season, because he supported clean coal and corm ethanol. He had regional political reasons for doing it, but he had always ben in fovor of both. A lot of liberals and environmentalists simply chose not to believe him.

Ron, if you were looking for a direct quote, there isn't one.

However, consider the impact of what Obama did say. If it is going to be prohibitively expensive to operate a new coal plant the costs of operating an older plant are also going to be high when you consider the trade value of a carbon unit as one of the inputs of production. Higher if you consider that the older plant may not be as efficient.

Except for the looming peak in oil production which will make it politically imperative to use whatever energy sources are available, the impact, over time would be the to put the coal producers out of business. Since that is the intent, that very foreseeable consequence should not be be a surprise or IMO a matter of debate.

If you google: Adlai Stephenson, "The Educated Citizen" 1954 you will find a speech that he gave at Princeton.

Stephenson notes, as our founding fathers noted, if we are not well educated, and if we do not engage fully in the political process, our republic will fail.

Our Republic has failed for a long time. In place of education we have the well of public information poisoned by those who control the Two-headed Political Party in the USA.

VP Henry Wallace wrote an article in the NYT about the "syndicalists" who were actually wealthy fascists would poison our minds with lies based on ancient fears and prejudices, and thus control us.

I read several books a year, at the age of 51, and have done so -- plenty of non-fiction as well as fiction -- and some people who hear me say that I've read a book recently look at me like I am crazy.

We are surrounded by an electronic drug that is worse than booze, crack cocaine, tobacco or heroin. "Dis-info-tainment teaches us when to be afraid and how to define our fears and then to support militarism as a solution. This is the heart of fascism.

We are wired into this drug at all times -- smart phones, computers, television and radio all keep us from thinking and turn us into passive followers. We are learning to be full of rage when cued to do so, and lethargic and compliant when the fascists need that.

Peace is war and war is peace. Coal is clean and clean is coal.

We now believe absurdities that enable us to mind-less-ly perpetuate atrocities. We have essentially declared war on our own habitat and upon most of the people in the world.

Political leadership keeps playing the DC Soap Opera. Most of the American people are too jazzed on entertainment to care at all. This is perfect for the Two Headed Fascist Party. The rest are kept at the business of rolling a rock up the hill only to watch it roll back down and then obediently start rolling thew rock up hill again.

The Global Resource War is never named, of course, but the main focus of our political leadership is to manage that war.

We have fully converted into a "totalitarian democracy" or "inverted democracy." (Google "inverted democracy." Some good reading there...)

These false democracies survive by controlling the population through fear, emotional dependence upon authoritarian leadership, and manipulation of very deep prejudices or beliefs.

And so it goes.....but how will it go?

VP Henry Wallace wrote an article in the NYT about the "syndicalists" who were actually wealthy fascists would poison our minds with lies based on ancient fears and prejudices, and thus control us.

Next threat to Amazon's $9.99 books? Rupert Murdoch. He looks like such a cheerful fellow too!



But, looking on the bright side, despite all his power, he too will end up as worm food...

Smoking cigarretes is a leading cause of death in the US after obesity. Smoking cigarettes is legal even though it is known to cause cancer and emphesema. Now some want to claim that coal is bad for the lungs? I do not believe it. In China where the environmental laws are more or less anything goes is seeing a rapid rise in income, jobs, and longer life spans.

I do not believe expensive energy will create jobs and prosperity any more than I think tripling the price of food will eliminate hunger. Lower food and energy prices create prosperity.

In the sun belt rooftop hot water heat collection panels might allow people to reduce their energy costs and have a relatively high EROEI these have been used in other parts of the world with a good return on investment.

Hydroelectric dams have very low operating costs. There are numerous hydro sites not being utilized, especially in Alaska. There are hydroelectric dams north of the Arctic Circle. Electricity might be used to smelt aluminum or create nitrogen based fertilizer along with other industries and jobs dependent on cheap electricity. Hydroelectic dams are the number one source of renewable electricity in the world. Brazil gets about 80% of its electricity from hydroelectric dams. Dams may also be used to store water from heavy rains for use in later dry spells, especially where rain falls in only a few months of the year.

Al Gore wanted to blow up the Glen Canyon dam because a chub fish was not doing well. The dam has a capacity of 1300 megawatts and stored Colorado River water for Utah, Arizona, California, Nevada, and Mexico. Gore wanted to blow up renewable clean energy and claim he was for clean energy too.

Smoking cigarretes is a leading cause of death in the US after obesity. Smoking cigarettes is legal even though it is known to cause cancer and emphesema. Now some want to claim that coal is bad for the lungs? I do not believe it. In China where the environmental laws are more or less anything goes is seeing a rapid rise in income, jobs, and longer life spans.

Surely you jest! If nothing else I'd suggest going to see a Body Worlds exhibition and take note of the color of the lung tissue of every single cadaver, Man, woman or child young or old the lung tissue is the same color. In case you're wondering, they should be pink, not dark gray! I don't know if they've stopped using Chinese cadavers but when I went all the cadavers were still Chinese. Must be a genetic mutation that all Chinese people have gray lungs.

Can you provide me with a link to Al Gore saying he wants to blow up Glen Canyon Dam? I know nothing of this dam being from the UK.

Glen Canyon Dam is on the Colorado River upstream from the Grand Canyon, and is sort of a counterpart to the much-better Hoover Dam downstream from the Grand Canyon. Hoover Dam was built in the mid 1930s while Glen Canyon was built during the late 1950's-early '60s. The large body of water that backed up behind Glen Canyon is known as Lake Powell.

Full details here:

In the early 1980's I visited both Hoover and Lake Powell. At that time with the water level at dams at maximum, surplus water thundered over the spillways of both dams. You could feel the ground shaking a quarter mile away. Both Lake Powell and Lake Mead (the body of water behind Hoover Dam) have shrunk massively due to the ongoing drought of the last decade, combined with exploding water usage in Phoeniz, AZ and Las Vegas, NV. I just happened to be at Hoover Dam yesterday and took the pics below. The white lime "tub ring" represents the high water level about 8-10 years ago.

Note that while the vertical drop in level is about 20% of max, the VOLUME of missing water is far more, due to the very shallow slope of the shores of many of these artificial lakes upstream from the canyon. [Think of the vertical profile of the lake as an inverted Hubbert curve.]

TDI, thanks for the info and great pictures. But what Undertow asked for was a link, or anything, supporting the statement by Rainsong that Al Gore wanted to blow up the dam. I think he just made that crap up. Just as Tsra1983 made up that crap about Obama saying he was going to put the coal industry out of business.

Some people just make up junk that has no basis in fact. Then they expect that no one will call them out on it. Well, it won't work. If you have a dramatic statement to make, about what some public figure said about this or that, then you should be prepared to supply supporting evidence of such a statement. Otherwise you will gain the reputation of being nothing but a blowhard.

Ron P.

A lot of environmentalists/outdoor enthusiasts have wanted to blow up Glen Canyon Dam. It has nothing to do with chub fish, it has everything to do with drowning one of the most remarkable canyons on the planet.

Here is one with Al Gore stating it might be necessary to breach/blow up five dams:


During the year Al Gore ran against George Bush, Bush stated Al Gore wanted to blow up a hydroelectic dam to save some fish.

There is a web site stating environementalists wanted to blow up the Glen Canyon Dam may have been after environmentalists succeeded in getting large scale water releases along the Colorado River to try to improve conditions for the humpback chub.


They lost alot of water and a number of fish in the process.

Confusion may have resulted when the writer recalled a separate event when Gore was interpreted as stating it might be necessary to blow up a number of hydroelectric dams to save salmon.

Yep - it always starts innocently enough as character assassination on "environmentalists" for wanting to save one stupid fish - ah who cares...

And then it's one stupid bird - ah who cares...

One stupid mountaintop in W.V. - ah who cares...

One stupid aquifer in the plains - ah who cares...

The ecosystem of one entire ocean, an entire rainforest, an entire river basin...

They are just stupid little pieces of this gigantic - nearly infinite - planet.

I read crap like this and wish Toto's Earth Marines were around to blow them all up...

And lest we forget - a pissing match over water rights in the Klamath River killed over 30,000 adult Chinook salmon in 2002 - one of the largest adult fish die-offs documented in the US.

Ah who cares - they're just a few stupid salmon...

One dam or five what is the difference? It seems worse he would have wanted to breach five dams if that could save some fish.

A sheet of ice larger than Canada has formed over the Arctic Ocean this winter. 18,000 years ago there was ice a mile thick covering Canada. How did your ancestors survive that climate change? Did they move south or north?

I'm not sure I understand the question - but I'll give it a go (maybe I'm interpreting it correctly)...

On second thought - after re-reading your climate change paragraph I'm really not sure what you're getting at...

A next ice age is coming perhaps - I certainly can't dispute that given how cold it has been so far this winter - I wish my ancestors were smarter and had moved even further south (originally from Scotland)...

As for the dams - there have been a good number of dams removed over the past years in an effort to restore rivers to a more natural state but I don't think there have been any "big ticket" items like Glen Canyon.

I seem to recall a movement to remove the dam at Hetch-Hetchy as well - but it's estimated that restoration of the valley (a second Yosemite) would take 100 years...

A sheet of ice larger than Canada has formed over the Arctic Ocean this winter.


February 3, 2010
Despite cool temperatures, ice extent remains low

Despite cool temperatures over most of the Arctic Ocean in January, Arctic sea ice extent continued to track below normal. By the end of January, ice extent dropped below the extent observed in January 2007. Ice extent was unusually low in the Atlantic sector of the Arctic, the one major area of the Arctic where temperatures remained warmer than normal.

Rainsong, "breach" is not a synonym for "blow up". The dams are on the Snake River not the Glen Canyon dam on the Colorado. And the controversy is all about saving the salmon that spawn in the Snake River. And... from your link!

Gov. George W. Bush of Texas, the presumed Republican presidential nominee, has already declared his opposition to any breaching of the dams. By contrast, Vice President Al Gore, the likely Democratic nominee, has refused to comment directly on the issue.

Try getting the story straight once in awhile.

Ron P.

Well said, begger! That's what you get for reading several books a year (I read several a month, mostly non-fiction, and try to enlarge that. Plus many mags, a number of them peer review types in the hard sciences. I'm not a scientist, but I try to stay informed. Information is what frees our minds, and keeps us free!

Keep up the good work!


I have maintained a pace of one serious book a week average for fifty years-and I am still in awe of what I don't know.

Recently I have fallen off to one serious book about every two weeks to make time for the internet and another nine semester hours of computer science,sociology and humanities.

People who know me simlpy accept me now as an eccentric batchelor with his nose in a book.Better that than a beer mug or tv set in thier opinion.

I don't think my former professional colleagues, who are responsible for shaping the minds of our youngsters,average as many as four serious books a year.

Well said.

I also read avidly on multiple subjects. It means I don't get to be in a position of power to influence people as an expert on one tiny discipline. The flip side is that I do tend to be able to converse with everyone and have a broad understanding of the world. A formal graduate level education isn't what it used to be IMHO for the very reason you state. Many stop broadening their minds after they get the degree.

Citizenship requires a strong commitment to life long learning. This requires significant reading and discussion as a start.

Schools need to teach students to learn for a lifetime.

However, schools -- even good ones -- are almost always trumped by that crack-cocaine electronic media. Mainstream media obscures truth and stifles inquiry. People learn immediate gratification and can only imagine living in a way subservient to large corporations and the increasingly authoritarian government that is the security arm of fascism, along with private mercenary armies.

By the way, William Catton argues that over-specialization is a deep flaw in our culture which allows people to avoid thinking about the consequences or impacts of our species at all.

This over-specialization also creates the perfect environment for "pick pocket culture" -- for example "financial products" are set up by banks -- Goldman Sachs and all -- as instruments to defraud people who have little or no recourse when they discover that their money has been stolen.

We in the so-called developed nations have devolved into "Homo Colossus" according to Catton. Our numbers are too great and we consume and pollute like giant monsters.

We are unable to manage the complexities of our so-called developed societies and have created toxic materials and weapons with which we can only destroy ourselves.

My guess is that if some small remnant of humanity survives the next couple of decades it will be because of some sacred or profane "miracle." The notion that any of us can survive through planning and cunning is simply absurd. Toxins do not care if we garden or have lots of guns and ammo.

Our habitat was in general quite nice for 10 or 11 thousand years.

Our habitat looks to be quite inhospitable for decades or centuries again.

This last war -- the one we are permanently engaged in -- will leave none of the opposing forces standing victorious. No one can win.

"The higher that the monkey climbs, the more he shows his tail."

Will evolution continue after we finish this war? How will it do so? Interesting to speculate.

Great post. Tell me more about Catton, perhaps I should add him to my reading list.

Will evolution continue after we finish this war? How will it do so? Interesting to speculate.

Evolution goes into high gear when new niches open up. New niches open whenever there is either rapid changes of environment, or extinctions of important species. Nature will have lots of holes to fill in.

There have been many books written about peak oil and what we are doing to the earth but by far the best and most important of all is Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change. I have read it several times. It was written in 1980 and every word is just as pertinent today as it was the day it was written. And there is just not many books you can say that about.

Ron P.

Excellent post, and quite succinct. Thanks!

My inclinations tend to be against expressly destroying major industry and taxing others to a slow death.

My inclination is to be against a major industry poisoning us to a slow death.


My inclination is to be against a major industry poisoning the climate to a slow death.

The same Obama who said he was going to put the coal industry out of business is now promoting "clean" coal plants.

tsra, where did you ever get the idea that Obama was going to put the coal industry out of business?

Barack Obama comes from Illinois. Every statement I have seen coming from him has indicated that he favors use of "clean coal" for producing electricity.. which is a priority for the largest coal producing region in the US (Obama's 'home state', of Illinois).

The idea of "clean coal" is hugely promoted by the governor of Montana, a Democrat. He and the President seem to think that, somehow, without creating a totally negative EROEI in the process, coal plants can capture all of their carbon emissions, and be emission free, or something like that. I don't know the miracle process they propose... can someone enlighten me on that?


"He and the President seem to think that, somehow, without creating a totally negative EROEI in the process, coal plants can capture all of their carbon emissions, and be emission free, or something like that. I don't know the miracle process they propose... can someone enlighten me on that?"

They don't think that at all. They just need an excuse to not get medieval on the coal industry. Its a way of appearing to be concerned about the climate, while at the same time giving money to a climate-destabilizing industry.

If they want so called clean coal, don't use this as an excuse to allow the building of any more plants in the mean time which are not capable of being "clean". When will they every learn? When will they ever learn? As in "where have all the flowers gone?"

Shut down all coal. Come back later when you can actually demonstrate an economic method of sequestration. But that will not save the mountain tops of West Virginia and Kentucky.

I voted for Obama but I must say that he is a farce, a fool, and a scounderel. Just like the rest of them.

It is all about trying to maintain the growth machine which is a fool's game.

I will say "amen" to the comment about POTUS... except the fool part. That he almost certainly is not.

IMO, he knows what is coming, and won't comment. Sort of a "don't ask, don't tell" about Planet Earth? If he told the truth, it would frighten the real fools who believe we can continue with BAU forever. Meanwhile, in their fevered attempt to sustain the unsustainable, the fools lay waste to the landscape, pollute the water, and foul the air. Thereby making the trip down the cliff as unpleasant as possible.

Funny. Earlier today I was feeling pretty good. Nothing like reality to bring ya down, eh?


Re: House Ag Chairman Backs Bid to Block EPA Greenhouse Gas Regs

Looks like the "Garden Club" environmentalist Democrats are having their say. You know, those who want the environment to be great for humans, but don't really want to face the long term problems, such as climate change or over population, especially if it's going to cost them money (or their job).

E. Swanson

I'm not surprised at all, given the angst about mid-term elections. I thought the Dems would let the Reps take first crack at that though, so they could simultaneously decry their environmental stance while choosing the rare opportunity for bipartisan support. I guess they had too many phone calls yesterday to wait.

NOTHING will happen that will upset key campaign supporters or the masses of voters before mid-term elections -- the fun part to watch will be when voters are on the opposite side of corporate donaters, like with financial legislation.

the fun part to watch will be when voters are on the opposite side of corporate donaters, like with financial legislation

Depends on what one calls fun methinks.

However, there's no real evidence that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions would be reduced by forcing truck traffic onto the rails, says Noël Perry, managing director and senior consultant with FTR Associates. In fact, it's quite the contrary -- most freight currently moving by truck would consume more energy if converted to a 100% rail move, he points out.

This statement goes directly against what Alan Drake has been saying, i.e, that trucks use 8 times more fuel per ton-mile than trains. There's something wrong with the above article.

Did you read the whole thing?

He doesn't deny that rail is more fuel-efficient.

100% rail? It would indeed take more energy if you had to run a railroad track to every location that uses semis today!

Of course, if rail were the preferred option warehouses and such would be on rail sidings, rather than on highways as they have increasing been of late.

And as for emissions, a coordinated shift to electric rail would make that argument even more tilted in favor of rail.

Larger, heavier trucks are a scary thought, not to mention the already heavy damage to highways. Smaller, lighter trucks should be the requirement instead.

According to Ed Tennyson, the current 80,000 lb weight limit on trucks "just appeared" in the final draft of a transportation bill after the House-Senate conference without any formal hearings, cost-benefit analysis, etc. although it had been a talking point for years. No fingerprints.

The increase has been very costly since the damage trucks do is proportional to either the 4th or 5th power of the axle weight (I have found references to both 4th & 5th).

That this consultant advocates increasing them again shows that he is a shill for the trucking industry IMHO.

One legitimate argument is circuitry, that rail travels more miles to get from A to B (due to slopes and fewer rail miles). A 5% penalty against rail vs. truck appears to be about right.

I read the linked article and looked for links from there, and the claim appears to be without ANY analytical support. Is it based on the energy cost of building 100,000 miles of rail branch lines ?

There are at least two active rail lines in the streets around New Orleans, and these were once common. Small locomotives with one to three cars would creep along city streets at ~7 mph to deliver goods to warehouses or pick up goods from factories. 6th Avenue in Gretna has a couple trains per day.

WalMart has built ALL of their regional warehouses for truck deliveries exclusively. AFAIK, they are 100% truck delivery. In a post-Peak world, those regional warehouses will need to be relocated or a rail spur run to them. Trucks may still do most of the runs from the regional warehouses to the individual stores, but some stores (such as the WalMart 7 blocks from me) could be served by rail (from corner of building to existing track is about 150'. It is further to loading dock). Google Earth address would be around 700 St. Andrew or 1900 Tchoupitoulas.

Yes, trucks (or mule drawn wagons for the doomers) will be needed for some local deliveries. Hopefully short enough to allow battery trucks to do it.

Best Hopes for no more than a 99.35% modal share for rail vs. truck (*NOT* 100%),


In my neck-o-the-woods we have an underground Coal mine in the early stages of planning and development.

THere is of course a giant backlash in the process of being whipped up, but I've taken it upon myself to drum up numbers to backup a push to make sure it goes by rail to port rather than truck if it goes through in large part because our local short line railroad is a hairs breath away from complete abandonment.

I'm sure folks here will appreciate the numbers... so I'll just paste in what I've learned. Long story short, because of the distance and grades dealt with in our scenario, trucking is actually more fuel efficient, but if road wear/repair is taken into account, or, god forbid, someone grows a brain and electrifies the thing, then it becomes a no brainer.

Relevant Capacities:
Panamax: 76,000 metric tonnes (83700 short ton)
Rail coal car: 91.6 tonnes (101 short ton)
Small coal truck: 18 tonnes (20 short ton)
Large B-Train coal truck: 44 tonnes (49 short ton)

Train from Buckley Bay, BC: 115km (71.5 miles)
Train with 30km Coal Spur: 145km (90 miles)
Nearest truck unloading for Train: 15km (9.3 miles)
By Road (Hwy4): 94km (51 miles)
By Road (Comox Lake): 117km (51 miles)

Time and Speeds
Train Ave Speed Loaded: 20kph (12.5mph)
Train Ave Speed Unloaded: 22.5kph (14mph)
Estimated Time for Train roundtrip (Buckley bay): 11 hours
Estimated Time for Train roundtrip (Coal Spur): 14 hours

Weighted Averages Train Ave Fuel Use (Loaded/Unloaded)/(Buckley/Spur):
Coal Spur: 30KM (Loaded 85/Unloaded 30) 20.6% (17.51/6.18)
Courtney ->PK: 50KM (60/40) 43.4/34.4% Buckley (26.04/17.36)/ Coal Spur(20.64/13.76)
PK->Cameron: 20KM (80/30) 17.3/13.7% (13.84/5.19)/(10.96/4.11)
Arrowsmith: 30KM (103/30) 26/20.6% (26.78/7.8)/(21.22/6.18)
Alberni 15KM: (85/50) 13/10.3% (11.05/6.5)/(8.76/5.15)
Buckley Bay Loaded/Unloaded/Average : 77.71 / 36.85 / 57.28
Coal Spur Loaded/Unloaded/Average : 79.09 / 35.38 / 57.23

Fuel Efficiency
Average GP38 Train Fuel Efficiency: 216L/hour (57 USgal/hr)
3 GP38 Pulling 30car Train Fuel Efficiency: 647L/hour (171 USgal/hr)
Small Truck Fuel Efficiency (NRCan): 0.328 L/km (7.15mpg)
Large B-Train truck Fuel Efficiency (NRCan): 0.59 L/km (4mpg)

Fuel Consumption per roundtrip
Train from Buckley Bay: 7,117 Litres (1,880L US gal)
Train with Coal Spur: 9,058 Litres (2,392.9 US gal)
Small Truck through Hwy4: 61.6L (16.2 US gal)
Small Truck through Comox Lake: 76.8L (20.2 US gal)
Large B-Train truck through Hwy4: 110.9L (29.3 US gal)
Large B-Train truck through Comox Lake: 138L (36.5 US gal)

Trips to Fill Panamax:
Train (30 cars): 27.7
Small Truck: 4,222
Large B-Train Truck: 1,727

Roundtrip Fuel Consumption To Fill Panamax:
Large Truck Delivery to Buckley Bay Railhead: 24,869L (6,570 US gal)
Train From Buckley (with truck fillup): 197,141 + Truck = 222,010L (58,648.8 US gal)
Train from Coal Spur: 250,907L (66,282.6 US gal)
Small Truck through Hwy4: 260,075L (68,705 US gal)
Small Truck through Comox: 324,250L (85,658 US gal)
Large B-Train Truck through Hwy4: 191,524L (50,595 US gal)
Large B-Train Truck through Comox: 238,326L (62,959 US gal)

Those calculations are only for one ship of course. *

If we take into account the minimum amount the mine is allowed to produce in a year (200,000 tonnes) or the amount the company has stated (1.5 million tonnes) then it very much becomes a logistical balancing act. *Note that the Ministry of Environment Certificate being sought does not have an upper limit on annual production.

Relevant Capacities:
Minimum Annual Production (BC Min. Env.): 200,000 tonnes
Stated Annual Production: 1,500,000 tonnes
Panamax: *76,000 metric tonnes (83700 short ton)

Panamax loads per year
Minimum: 2.6
Stated: *19.7

Transport Trips
Train Minimum: 72
Train Stated: 545.7
Small Truck Minimum: 10,977
Small Truck Stated: 83,173
Large Truck Minimum: 4,490
Small Truck Stated: 34,021

Trip rates for annual production (for train includes buckley/coal spur routes) and fuel consumption:
Train Minimum: 2 per day 36 days / 1 per day, 72 days : 512,424L/652,176L
Train Stated: 2 per day 272 days or 9 months / not possible) : 3,883,746.9/4,942,950.6L
Small Truck Minimum: 30 per day everyday (1.3 per hour): 676,183L / 843,033L
Small Truck Stated: 227 per day everyday (9.5 per hour) : 5,123,456.8L / 6,387,686L
Large Truck Minimum: 12 per day everyday (1 every 2 hours) : 497,941L / 4,694,898L
Large Truck Stated: 93 per day everyday (3.8 per hour) : 3,772,929L / 4,694,898L

Surely the driver costs for trucks is as significant as fuel usage? A train would seem to need far fewer support employees for such routine trips.

And who want to dance with a couple hundred more coal trucks on the local highway every day?


There is no smiley face or snark on or off after that 99.35 % figure.Surely you are either joking or else perhaps you refer to some time in the far distant future?

I'm all in favor of rail myself but I can't even imagine building that much track or reorganizing our lives to that extent in any sort of realistic time frame.

To hit 83%-85% would take at least 15-20 years and several AIGs # worth of investment. I can extend that to 90% with more time and money but after that my crystal ball gets cloudy.

Our lives and built infrastructure will change dramatically post-Peak Oil.

Servicing farmers will be where the last diesel trucks will go IMVHO. But having a rail line within 10-12 miles of most farmers (not ranchers) is doable since we once did that in places like Iowa and Ohio.

Best Hopes for the first 80%,


# An AIG is the amount of money required to bail out one insurance company.

A Soviet solution to rural access was the Elektrichka (EMU, Philly's SEPTA has some EMUs for example#). EMus can operate singly (most Soviet EMUs operate in multiples of 2, minimum 2 car "train") or in trains.

The Soviets (and now Russians, Ukrainians, etc.) used them for flag operations (stop when flagged by someone on wayside, like Alaskan RR today) or at minimal stations (bus shelter-like with 3 dirt parking spaces where road crosses track).


Best Hopes for Sustainable Transportation,


# The SEPTA EMUs speced by Ed Tennyson 45 years ago are now being replaced. He is of the opinion that they could be refurbished and used for a start-up elsewhere for another 25-30 years.

. . .(or mule drawn wagons for the doomers) will be needed for some local deliveries

I am reminded of 20 Mule Team Borax, but it occurred to me that we could put unemployed lawyers to work hauling wagons, and maybe create a new brand: 20 Trial Lawyer Team Borax. It's possible that John Edwards may yet be able to make a meaningful contribution to society.

+1 on the lawyers, and I will up the ante with anyone drawing a pension from Congress, now and forever including those with survivor benefits. Toss in the lobbyists and board members from any firm that got TARP and I think we got a winner!

It would indeed take more energy if you had to run a railroad track to every location that uses semis today!

If we must invest in infrastructure, rail is better than highway. Of course, we cannot have rail to every location where trucks go (every address on every street), but to every destination (every city, many blocks)? Perhaps.

IMO trucks will be local, and hopefully running on electric power themselves in the future. To which end, investment in locally diverse electrical distribution infrastructure will be important as well.

You have the right idea about location of warehouses. When I was young, there were local warehouses on many downtown blocks, permitting jobbers to receive freight shipments and transship close by. Smaller trucks were common then... not the huge 18-wheeled monsters we think of today.

We will certainly see major shifts in the transportation paradigm. Hopefully there will be a more gradual change, but I fear we have waited so long that we are going to be in trouble for a good while.

And, with oil past peak, our ability to redress the problems we have seen coming for so long has been impaired already. Would that it is not too dire.


If course, we cannot have rail to every location where trucks go (every address on every street)

This is actually becoming a serious problem.

The Internet, which many people view as sustainable commerce, is pretty hard on our infrastructure. It means products being shipped from door to door...which means heavy trucks traveling on roads that weren't designed for them.

OTOH, larger trucks are more fuel-efficient (assuming they don't run empty a lot), so banning heavy trucks may not be the answer, either.

I suspect what will turn out to be the most sustainable model is something like the Sears mail order business of old. The kind where you picked up your purchase at the office in town, rather than it being delivered to your door. After all, most people go into town regularly anyway - to go to work or school or church, to check the mail or go shopping. And if they don't go that week, their neighbors probably will.

I believe that the average UPS delivery truck weighs less than the average garbage truck. Roads are designed for garbage truck loads virtually everywhere.

After having lived for over a month without garbage pick-up, I can attest that it is an essential service. None-the-less, I agree that depot pick-up is likely to become more common.


The UPS delivery vans used to pickup and deliver individual packages are not very heavy-scarcely any heavier than some suvs when empty.Not even close to the same league as a garbage truck.

Thier big trucks are generally less heavily loaded than most other trucks due to the nature of the load-you can't pack individual packages in like boxed furniture or coal , etc.

I don't know whether UPS is a net fuel saver for the economy but they deliver to us cheaper than we can go to town-even out in our part of the boonies the driver has several stops in the general area.

UPS can optimize its route. Think of the gas used if all the individuals receiving package descended upon a central depot. So, actually, this model makes sense. Other than how the packages got to the UPS central points in the first place. But that gets us back to the rail issue.

But it's not like people make extra trips. At least, as I recall it, growing up in a rural area without UPS service or door to door mail service. We picked the mail up in town, but never went to down just to pick up the mail. We were going there anyway.

It's not just the weight - it's the volume. Of course local streets are designed to support the occasional delivery truck, school bus, garbage truck, etc. What they aren't designed for is the volume of heavier vehicles.

That's for sure Leanan - the secondary and local streets don't stand a chance around here.

Even the interstates are being absolutely pulverized by the ridiculous volume of truck traffic (more and more as double trailered loads) between the northeast and Canada (Montreal etc.). They just don't show the continuous destruction over long stretches because they are being perpetually repaired to enable the truck traffic to continue.

Thank you NAFTA.

Every shopping mall that has loading bays could be served just as well by a rail siding too. And just as there are light utility trucks, there can be light duty locos pulling light cars for light duty.

Missing from the story up above:

Ofgem Considers Gas Regulation to Protect U.K. Supply

is what OFGEM (the gas regulator) had to say about security of gas supply!

The BBC and FT currently say this: "The UK could face power shortages in the years ahead,"

This is a watered down version of what was printed earlier in the day, then they were saying an energy gap in the 2015/2016 timeframe, now they are quoting the Energy Minister as saying he is confident supply needs would be met, even though they are already not being met - such blatant lies! - it looks like somebody has been 'leaning' on the providers of web based content, too bad they can't recall all the printed newspapers!

UK long range gas storage continues it's ~max rate decline!


How does this curve compare to years past? Is this year worse that the barely-squeaking-by of a year or two ago?

Xeroid - that is what long term storage is supposed to do during the winter. We can draw down at current rates for another 6 weeks, which should see us through as long as we don't have a cold, late spring. (I give that about a 50% probability).

As far as I can see, the system is being run for maximum profit, that is with the smallest margin of supply reserves the regulator will allow.

However, it is a brittle system. A single point of failure that could (and nearly did 3 years ago) cause shortages in the event of say, a fire destroying the main control systems, taking 6 months to rebuild.

If we got another cold snap, lasting a week or more, we would be facing shortages, and more contracts interrupted.

The Ofgem report is almost a verbatum repeat of a government funded study I read online 5 years ago - even to the date of the first energy shortage - 2015.

plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

British natural gas bills have risen an estimated forty percent in one of the worse winters in years.


England has the South Hook LNG terminal and plans for a gas pipeline from the continent.

Companies are prospecting for shale gas in Poland. The United States may cut back construction of LNG terminals as there are large volumes of shale gas in reserve.

No Help in Sight, More Homeowners Walk Away

New research suggests that when a home’s value falls below 75 percent of the amount owed on the mortgage, the owner starts to think hard about walking away, even if he or she has the money to keep paying.

In a situation without precedent in the modern era, millions of Americans are in this bleak position. Whether, or how, to help them is one of the biggest questions the Obama administration confronts as it seeks a housing policy that would contribute to the economic recovery.

Double dip, here we come?

The latest local unemployment numbers are out for December. In my county, the rate jumped above 12.3% and according to a news report, the rate for Charlotte, NC hit 12.6%. Here's a nice graphic. The highest I see on the map is over 17%. And, around here, the highest unemployment usually hits in January due to the winter weather.

E. Swanson

I should have bookmarked the article read over the weekend to link here, but anyway Leanan it was saying Banks are now going after people for the losses they have taken on foreclosed homes. Only certain states, like California have statutes protecting the homeowner. But if that owner refinanced, then the banks can go after the people for losses even in California. So people need to consider the repercussions of making that kind of decision. Not only could there be a huge settlement against them, but also there is the obvious loss of credit worthiness.

S'okay, I posted this link last week.

CNN has this article today.

I think it's pretty obvious that you need a lawyer before you walk away, or even agree to a short sale. Doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, but you need expert advice.

Creditworthiness isn't as much of an issue, IMO. Most of these people either have lousy credit anyway, or will be saving so much money they won't need to borrow.

Yes, I would have stopped paying my mortgage months ago if I didn't have any assets the bank would take. When I lose my job, which may take a few more years, I will stop paying immediately and maybe hide cash in pre-paid credit cards (I also am thinking about coffee beans). The next step is to declare bankruptcy and start with a clean slate which would take another 2-4 years after I stopped paying the mortgage. If you live in a non-recourse state, then I think you can walk away with a job and assets.

Thanks for posting it again. This time I saved it for my wife to read.

From that article linked on Double Dip, is this:

Mr. Tal and Mr. Grauman noted that almost 2 million U.S. mortgages are more than 90 days delinquent, and most will end in a foreclosure. Some 2.3 million properties are already in foreclosure or seized by banks

When considering the fallout from 2.3M foreclosures, what would another 2M do to the economy? They claim it would reduce valuations of real estate another 5-10%, but that seems like just the tip of it.

More people are electing to keep up with their credit cards and let their mortgages slide apparently.

The percentage of consumers delinquent on mortgages, but current on credit cards rose to 6.6 percent in the third quarter of 2009 from 6.3 percent in the previous quarter and 4.9 percent in the same quarter a year earlier, a new study developed by TransUnion showed.

The trend first emerged in the first quarter of 2008 when it was at 4.3 percent, Chicago-based TransUnion said.

As the trend accelerates I think this lends weight to the double dip thesis too.
Let the house go, buy the day to day stuff with the last of the savings, and plan B is 1)getting a job in the next while or 2) moving on to a)rental b)friends c)familly d)street

As for the Jobs, jobs, jobs to pull us out. I don't see too many more stim packages. The Treasury auctions are already trending toward the shorter term b/c the longer rates are steepening just like one would imagine if lenders were beginning to doubt the viability of US sovereign debt down the road. I also think that by the time our default crisis hits the international scene there will be a lot of lender fatigue from Greece, Portugal, Spain, UK ect.

The whole picture is starting to even worry the cheerleaders from Wall Street so it's got to be gettin serious.

The EIA's new Monthly Energy Review was issued on the 29th. The averages for 2009 show that consumption of distillates, residuals, and jet fuel all contracted; these account for 67.8% of the total product supplied reduction. 40.1% of the contraction was distillates; 64.6% of this was in the transportation sector, using the October number for consumption by sector as a reference; thus 25.9% of the total reduction was in distillate use in transportation, i.e., trucks.

61.3% of the residual fuel contraction was also in transportation, another 7.7% of the total. That's 33.6% of the total drop accounted for by commercial transportation, to say nothing of jet fuel, 15.1% more for a total of 48.7%. Driving? Motor gasoline consumption increased 12.8 kb/d, with the size of the vehicle fleet contracting no less.

How much coverage the US media is giving to the near-bankruptcy of individual states and cities in the US? It seems that apart from the Federal debt and deficit monster is not the only fiscal problem. I have been reading some shocking reports about individual states' solvency. The 13 Trillion debt number is only the Federal debt is it not? Or does it include the states/cities debt as well. I am just having a hard time getting my head around these numbers.

It's getting some. But I think it's generally assumed that if things get really bad, there will be another federal bailout.

State and local governments generally hit their low point after a recession ends, so the fact that they're hurting now is not seen as a particularly worrisome sign. Yet.

Leanan, Do you think the recession is ending? I think it is just the respite before a bigger storm.

I honestly don't know. I could see it going either way at this point. Or continuing in the current twilight zone.

FWIW, there's more stimulus in the pipeline. Dunno if it will actually be signed into law, but it's in there.

My comments on the topic follow:



It would probably be difficult, outside of some Scandinavian countries I suppose, to find examples of local, regional and national OECD countries that don’t have budget problems. Here in Texas for example, the City of Dallas and the State of Texas are both looking at severe budget crunches next year, and the only reason the Texas state budget is currently balanced is because of federal stimulus money. And of course, we all know about the federal budget problems.

So, we have numerous local, regional and national governments that are basically basing their budget forecasts on the assumption of a near infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite fossil fuel resource base--while I believe that the reality is that oil importing OECD countries can look forward to getting a declining share of a declining volume of global net oil exports, with oil importing non-OECD countries taking an increasing share of a declining volume of global net oil exports.

Europe is in debt too:


School Crisis In Nevada; Governor Seeks To Cancel Collective Bargaining With Schools Because The State Is Broke

State Budget Director Andrew Clinger said today that the shortfall has been formally calculated at $881.4 million, which would necessitate a 20.2 percent cut in state spending between March and June 30, 2011.

If we get defaults on state and local debt, it seems like the defaults will fall through to insurance companies and other financial institutions, because they often invest policyholder supplied funds in this debt. Some of this debt is supposedly guaranteed by "monoline" bond insurers, but as a practical matter, they are way to small to actually pay for more than a small number of entities defaulting at once. There is no backup insurance for these monoline bond insurers, either, that I am aware of--unless the federal government or someone decides to bail them out.

Today's award for irony goes to:

The folks who are burning diesel fuel to haul snow by truck to Vancouver for the Olympics, since Vancouver is too warm and lacks enough snow...

In defense of Vancouver. It's worth noting that only the events at the Cypress Mountain venue are affected. (Snowboarding/Freestyle mostly). And most of the snow they're moving is just being pushed down from the top of the skihill.

The actual Alpine and Bobsleigh Cross Country, etc. style events are being held at Whistler and have an abundance of snow thanks to record snowfall in the late November/early December period.

The irony is certainly not lost though.:)

Why have Winter olympics in Vancouver? The daily Avg low never falls below 32F and in Feb the Avg low is 34F or higher. No Irony simply another Olympic political circus.


Why? Bread and circuses, that's why. Mind you, as ever, most of the bread is going into the pouches of those already well supplied. And, as ever, the 'conservative, free enterprise' politicians in charge of the province and country and their private enterprise allies enjoy nothing more than swilling at a trough full of taxpayer dollars.

But as for average temperatures, those are taken a few feet above sea level, whereas people ski several thousand feet above sea level on the sides of what are known as mountains.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending January 29, 2010

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 13.5 million barrels per day during the week ending January 29, 163 thousand barrels per day below the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 77.7 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 8.6 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging 3.5 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.4 million barrels per day last week, up 559 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 8.4 million barrels per day, 1.4 million barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 926 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 438 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 2.3 million barrels from the previous week. At 329.0 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.3 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories increased while blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 1.0 million barrels, and are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 2.9 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 0.7 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask the readers of TOD of anyone knows of any companies who are hiring new grads in Mechanical Engineering in Canada. I have been told that I have to go where others are less willing to go, such as North Saskatchewan, North B.C. or even the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

I want nothing more than to begin putting my dues in, to get my hands dirty and actually build/produce something with my own knowledge. I think it would be a great experience to prepare myself for a zero growth world.

Anyways just thought I would ask again, thanks.

Rony, just because others are less willing to go somewhere doesn't mean the place isn't worth going to. When I finished my Ph.D, jobs in my area were very tight. Much to the loud pity of my friends and superiors, I took a job in Saskatchewan. You know what? The job's great, much better than anything available on the coasts, ie BC or back east, and I'm trying to settle permanently here.

Go for it! Remember when it's 40 below, there are no bugs and the riffraff gets kept out ;^)

Go for it! Remember when it's 40 below, there are no bugs and the riffraff gets kept out ;^)

I'll second the "Go for it!" However I've been to some fabulous places where it was the bugs that kept the riffraff out...

Here's a picture of me in an undisclosed location in Brazil the "Borrachudos" (biting gnats) would eat most humans alive but after a while they do seem to grow weary of biting you or there is some form of immunity that develops...I've done the minus 40 too I'll take the bugs ;-)

I'd rather have the 40 below than the bugs ;^) You ever tried blackflies Magyar? They crawl under tightly sealed clothing and chomp. Crawling in your ears and leaving welts that you can't scratch is particularly bad....drives you insane.

You ever tried blackflies Magyar?

No, I haven't tried those. I've only heard of them. Fortunately there aren't any in Brazil ;-)

Hey, maybe the blackflies are edible...how do they taste?

OK, I just did a Google on Black flies and guess what they are: A black fly (sometimes called a buffalo gnat, turkey gnat, or white socks) is any member of the family Simuliidae of the Culicomorpha infraorder.

That is the same family as the Borrachudos I was talking about so I have tried them and become immune to them. You get to keep the minus 40!


That's the great thing about northern Canada. You can get 40 below in the winter and then crazy bugs in the summer. Blackflies are bad. Mosquitoes are bad. Deer flies and horseflies are the worst though. Those buggers can bite through jeans.

Not the least of the reasons I moved to Vancouver ..

In northern Minnesota, you can be pedalling a road bike at 20 MPH and a cloud of deer flies will keep pace with you buzzing around your head. They won't land and bite, but it feels freaky.

Where I live in New Hampshire USA, we get both: brutal winters AND terrible blackflies, deerflies and mosquitoes in summer! We've got it covered! :-)

Yes, "live Free or Die! I used to live up in Connecticut and would get up in your neck of the woods every once in a while. Beautiful State.

Well now I live about 30 miles from here.

Still get the bugs, no snow, just the occasional hurricane. Winter is our normal dry season and we've had couple major floods this year already, We had flood warnings yesterday as well.

I love it!

I'd second this recommendation. I've lived in Saskatchewan most of my life and I'll tell ya, it's not as bad as advertised. Sure it gets cold in the winter, but it's balanced by other things. Good long summer days, abundant fishing and hunting opportunities (if you're into that), short commutes even in the largest cities. Saskatoon has a good university (disclaimer, I work there) with interesting research going on. Lots of local agriculture. I eat a mostly local diet and don't feel constrained by it. Few natural disasters to worry about. Seems to have decent post-peak attributes, if you don't mind the cold (you get used to it).

Jeez I sound like an ad. Ok, back in my hole.

As a graduation present to myself, I took off 6 weeks to drive around the continent. $2,200 saved up and budgeted. My two of my three most memorable events were in Saskatchewan and Manitoba close to SK (Flin Flon).

I got in a fight with a drunken Indian (First Nation) in La Ronge (he was beating his wife and she called for help) and I declined to be pressed into service (citing my citizenship and mentioning the causa bella for the War of 1812) in Flin Flon to fight forest# fires.

In retrospect, I wish I had volunteered to fight fires, but being pressed ...

# If one can call 8' tall trees "forests".

Moose Jaw was interesting for the people and wish I had more time for Regina.

Best Hopes for Canada,


Allan - LaRonge is a pretty thuggish town by anyone's standards, sort of like Fort Mac....

It seems that the U.S. propaganda machine has been beating on Toyota relentlessly, much more than is justified by the perceived problem involved. I once owned a Ford escort that did exactly the same thing, the mat would lodge against the pedal and the accelerator would stick. Could it be that the U.S. is putting pressure on Japan to purchase more Treasuries? Check out this link:


I can't find the post, but someone recently came to just the opposite conclusion (WNC Observer?). They were positing that the media (U.S. propaganda machine?) is not covering the Toyota story for fear of losing the ad revenue stream.

Sorry about the link. I found it at From the Wilderness Peak Oil blog: http://mikeruppert.blogspot.com/ Second article down by Rice Farmer. "It Begins: Japanese Post Bank Urged To Diversify Away From Government Bonds" (and into Treasuries). The Toyota brake issue seems to be an inflated club with which to pummel the Japanese into sacrificing more of their savings for the Empire.

Dopamine, we own a Mazda Tribute that did the same thing while going up a windy mountainous road. Tribute's quickly accelerate if the pedal is down and I was unable to slow the car much with the brakes full on, so my quick thinking wife switched off the ignition and I pulled over to the right shoulder. Once we realized it was simply the dumb carpet matt, we pulled it off the floor and got rid of it. Not worth saving the original flooring to have that happen again.

But, if that's all it is, then Toyota should just tell their customers to toss the carpet mattes. I agree, what a bunch of hype over a common problem.

It's not all just a carpet mat, and apparently on some with keyless ignition there is no key to turn "off". Somebody said certain nmodels won't even let you shift into neutral under load. Some simple regulations would cure all this -- always, always, ALWAYS have an "off" switch, always have brake application drop the throttle to zero (or a tad above, for hill starting, but way less than braking ability), and always allow shifting to N.

i had a '68 impala with a throttle that would stick when making a lh turn from a dead stop. the problem was with the motor mounts which would allow the engine to rotate and cause the linkage to bind. chevy recalled some of those years later. hell, we didnt know anything about any recalls, we just took a wild ride.

As I understand it, there is an "off" switch. You have to hold it down for several seconds (presumably so you don't accidentally turn your car off while driving). But people don't know how to use the switch, they don't read the manual before driving the car, and even if they did, they don't remember when the car is accelerating out of control.

won't even let you shift into neutral under load

I hadn't thought about that, the pressure on the gears won't allow them to disengage, even though the lever is moved to neutral

ALWAYS have an "off" switch

Like motorcycles, by law they have to have an off switch on the right handlebar.

I think I used Velcro for a while to keep the mat in place and later just tossed the mat.

This situation is a lot like our situation with the national budget – pedal stuck to the floor, ignition locked, can’t shift into neutral under load and over the cliff we go. Maybe we issue a recall on Washington and Wall St. or at least get the Japanese to buy more treasuries so we can enter the gorge at maximum speed.

Yeah I was thinking the same and if all that wasn't enough now we got that brake recall thing too. Guess that means mitigation's out.

more yellowstone earthquakes:
" Quakes continue to rumble Yellowstone
Written by CJ Baker
Tuesday, 02 February 2010
A swarm of mostly imperceptible earthquakes continues to shake Yellowstone National Park in what is now the park’s second-largest on record."

post peak oil means stone knives and bearskins. have you reduced your lifestyle today? die off is in everyone's future. perhaps many will go all at once. no one gets out of here alive.

how much military does a society need? when does a military cost more than it's worth?

if you divided the cost of the iraqi war and occupation continuing to
now and beyond by iraq's known and proven oil reserves, what price per barrel is the result? is that the true price of a barrel of oil?
is it worth it? any one want to make a graph?

happy motoring is dead. it just doesnt know it yet. JHK sez so, so it must be true.

"it's all good"

On February 9th, NASA will launch the Solar Dynamics Observatory, which will maintain a close watch on several features of solar activity, especially with regard to its polarity and the space weather it sends our way. It has been theorized that the sun’s polarity could flip and solar storm activity increase substantially as we approach 2012. No doubt they want to keep a close eye on our fusion reactor over the next few years.

It seems plausible that changes in gravitational pull could upset crustal relationships resulting in greater frequency of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. I guess we’ll find out soon enough. Here is a movie link about the new satellite: http://www.youtube.com/nasaexplorer#p/a/u/0/BthDupBQXpQ

I believe gravitational pull is a function of mass and distance. Hard to see either of those changing much on any human timescale.

Kurdistan may hold 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and is being sought as a possible source of natural gas for Europe: