Drumbeat: February 7, 2010

Racking up miles? Maybe not.

Within a few years, a driver who pulls up to the gas pump may pay two bills with a single swipe of the credit card: one for the gas and the other for each mile driven since the last fill-up. That may be the result of what many transportation experts see as an inevitable revolution in the way Americans pay for their highways.

The flow of the gas tax pipeline that has poured cash into one of the world's premier highway systems has slowed as some people drive less and others choose more fuel-efficient vehicles. Maintaining that aging network and tackling the rush-hour congestion afflicting most cities will require billions of dollars.

Gas drilling in Appalachia produces a foul byproduct

A drilling technique that is beginning to unlock staggering quantities of natural gas underneath Appalachia also yields a troubling byproduct: powerfully briny wastewater that can kill fish and give tap water a foul taste and odor.

With fortunes, water quality and cheap energy hanging in the balance, exploration companies, scientists and entrepreneurs are scrambling for an economical way to recycle the wastewater.

Wastewater from drilling has not threatened plans to develop the nation's other gas reserves. Brine is injected into deep underground wells in places such as Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma, or left in evaporation ponds in arid states such as Colorado and Wyoming.

However, many doubt the hard Appalachian geology is porous enough to absorb all the wastewater, and the climate is too humid for evaporating ponds. That leaves recycling as the most obvious option.

A fracking quandary for EPA

IF THE United States is going to curb its greenhouse gas emissions, it desperately needs a replacement for the high-carbon coal that fuels almost half the nation’s electricity. Unfortunately, there are downsides to all the alternatives, from nuclear power, which carries a high cost and emits toxic waste with no place to store it, to wind turbines, which also have a high cost and require extensive transmission lines to link windy areas with cities.

Now new deposits of natural gas previously locked in shale formations are making that fuel look like a possible transition to a low-carbon future. Federal and state regulators have to ensure, however, that the rush to exploit this new source of gas does not cause severe environmental damage. The US Environmental Protection Agency could have been an effective referee over this process. Yet the gas industry managed to slip into the 2005 energy bill an exemption from EPA review of the special drilling that shale formations require. Congress should repeal that provision.

US GAS: Futures End Higher On Cold Weather Expectations

Natural gas futures ended higher Friday on forecasts for cold weather that is expected to drive demand for the fuel.

Natural gas for March delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange settled 9.9 cents, or 1.83%, higher at $5.515 a million British thermal units. The front-month contract climbed as high as $5.598/MMBtu in earlier trading.

Meteorologists were predicting cold winter weather that can stoke demand for gas to heat homes and businesses. The National Weather Service is forecasting below-normal temperatures across the Midwest, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Feb. 12-18.

Turkey requests Iran, Russia to revise ‘take-or-pay’ conditions

Searching for ways to increase sales amid a contraction in natural gas demand, Turkey has asked Russia and Iran, two of the country’s biggest natural gas suppliers, to revise their “take-or-pay” conditions.

Turkey’s natural gas consumption has dropped noticeably in the past few months. This contraction followed hikes in gas prices during 2009. The government, therefore, does not take kindly to paying money for unused gas.

Iran discovers new oil, gas fields

Iranian Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi announced two oil and gas fields have been discovered respectively in western Kermanshah and southern Fars provinces.

Soumar oilfield with 475 million barrels of in-situ crude oil reserve, 70 million barrels recoverable, and Halgan gas field with the daily production capacity of 50 million cubic meters of gas have been recently discovered, the Mehr news agency reported.

Peak Oil Exploration Stocks

In the absence of takeovers, exploration group valuations are starting to look stretched at current oil prices. Tullow's stock is trading at a 2% premium to net asset value while the rest of the sector is trading at a modest 12% discount, based on an oil price of $79 a barrel, according to UBS research.

In such a shifting competitive landscape, further share price rises will depend not only on the independents' ability to maintain recent exploration success rates and control costs, but also much higher oil prices

Crude Oil Leads A Broad Selloff

"A lot of people piled in [the oil market] at the beginning of the year, and at the beginning of this week," when investors held a more-optimistic economic outlook, said Andy Lebow, senior vice president for energy with MF Global in New York. "There's a sense of uneasiness about … how robust the recovery's going to be."

The main concern this week was that tentative signs of economic growth will evaporate if governments begin to dial back stimulus measures. In Europe, investors fear Greece, Spain and Portugal will need deep spending cuts and other punishing fiscal measures to bring debts under control. The U.S. is grappling with its own deficits, making a repeat of last year's stimulus spending unlikely, while China began restricting lending last month to prevent high inflation.

Nature inadvertently produces its own oil spills

Then where do oil and gas in U.S. waters come from? A report from the National Academy of Sciences published in The Economist found that petroleum exploration and extraction causes 1 percent of the total, while spillage from ships accounts for three percent.

Thirty-one percent comes from land runoff including leakage from our vehicles, boats and power lawnmowers. Where does the rest originate?

A whopping 61 percent comes from "natural seepage." Just like the La Brea tar pits in California, oil and gas arises from petroleum deposits below the seabed. Ironically, offshore drilling reduces pressure and actually decreases levels of natural pollution in the ocean.

Iraq plans to become OPEC's top oil producer

Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein Al Shahristani said his country would steadily increase oil production over the next seven years.

Al Shahristani said this would make Iraq the world's top oil producer over the next six to seven years.

Arctic climate changing faster than expected

"(Climate change) is happening much faster than our most pessimistic models expected," said David Barber, a professor at the University of Manitoba and the study's lead investigator, at a news conference in Winnipeg.

Models predicted only a few years ago that the Arctic would be ice-free in summer by the year 2100, but the increasing pace of climate change now suggests it could happen between 2013 and 2030, Barber said

Black Carbon a Significant Factor in Melting of Himalayan Glaciers

The fact that glaciers in the Himalayan mountains are thinning is not disputed. However, few researchers have attempted to rigorously examine and quantify the causes. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist Surabi Menon set out to isolate the impacts of the most commonly blamed culprit -- greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide -- from other particles in the air that may be causing the melting. Menon and her collaborators found that airborne black carbon aerosols, or soot, from India is a major contributor to the decline in snow and ice cover on the glaciers.

"Our simulations showed greenhouse gases alone are not nearly enough to be responsible for the snow melt," says Menon, a physicist and staff scientist in Berkeley Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division. "Most of the change in snow and ice cover -- about 90 percent -- is from aerosols. Black carbon alone contributes at least 30 percent of this sum."

New errors in IPCC climate change report

The United Nations panel on climate change is facing fresh criticism today as The Sunday Telegraph reveals new factual errors and poor sources of evidence in its influential report to government leaders.

Climate change research bungle

The research institute run by the head of the UN’s climate body has handed out a series of environmental awards to companies that have given it financial support, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.

Arizona Renewable Energy Standard Under Attack From Right

Arizona was one of the healthy energy states, with a requirement for 15% renewable energy by 2025. But now a Republican state representative in the Arizona state legislature is challenging the right of the Arizona Corporation Commission to set a requirement that utilities add more renewable energy, with a bill that would strip them of the responsibility.

China's edge in renewable energy

In the United States, power companies often face the choice of buying renewable energy equipment or continuing to operate fossil-fuel-fired power plants that have already been built and paid for. In China, power companies have to buy new equipment anyway, and alternative energy, particularly wind and nuclear, is increasingly priced competitively. Interest rates as low as 2 percent on bank loans — the result of a savings rate of 40 percent and a government policy of steering loans to renewable energy — have also made a difference.

As in many other industries, China's low labor costs are an advantage in energy. Although wages have risen sharply in the past five years, Vestas still pays Chinese assembly line workers only $4,100 a year.

Irish OceanEnergy and US Dresser Rand start partnership on innovative wave energy technology

Under the agreement, Dresser-Rand will develop and supply the turbines needed to transform wave energy into electricity using the OceanEnergy Buoy (OE Buoy). A scaled version of the OE Buoy has been tested in Atlantic Ocean waters during two years at a government test site on Galway Bay. The concept is the result of 7 years of research and development. An important characteristic of the device is that it only has one moving part: the turbine.

This is an original, simple and radical change when compared with other wave energy generators that usually have multiple parts in motion. The OE Buoy is hollow. It has a chamber inside. The bottom is open to allow the flow of ocean water inside in one direction: up or down. It is also open on top where the turbine is placed. It transforms the energy from the waves moving vertically inside the buoy which displaces the air within the chamber. The displaced air is used to move the turbine to generate electricity. Here is where Dresser-Rand turbines are used, the only moving element of the OE Buoy.

Ireland hopes to generate 600MW of electricity with these OE Buoys deployed on its coast. This will be enough energy for almost half a million homes.

Nuclear renaissance could stall, Canada group says

Expectations of a sharp rise in nuclear generating capacity over the next two decades are likely overblown, a Canadian think tank said on Thursday, disputing conventional wisdom that a nuclear renaissance is in full swing.

Standing in the way of new construction are costs that can run up to $10 billion per new reactor, competition from other, cheaper, energy sources, the problem of safely disposing of nuclear waste, and concern about the spread of nuclear weapons, the report said.

"On balance, a significant expansion of nuclear energy worldwide to 2030 faces constraints that, while not insurmountable, are likely to outweigh the drivers of nuclear energy," it said.

In D.C. area, outages, snow plowing conspire against normal week ahead

"We think it will be Tuesday or Wednesday before people can think about getting to work," said Sean T. Connaughton, Virginia's secretary of transportation.

It might be almost as long before power is restored to thousands of homes and businesses after the heavy snow and high winds conspired to topple trees across power lines throughout the region. Streets impassable even for utility companies' massive vehicles amplified the challenge.

Riding the Rails, Until the Weather Caught Up

When the powerful Mid-Atlantic winter storm grounded all flights and shut down highways in the Mid-Atlantic region, Amtrak’s Capitol Limited, bound for Chicago from Washington, seemed to offer 115 passengers the perfect cozy alternative as it sped through the snow-swept countryside on Friday night.

But around 2:45 a.m. on Saturday, the train made an unscheduled stop just outside the former coal-mining town of Connellsville, Pa., 57 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. There, downed trees and power lines blocked the Capitol Limited, stranding and infuriating passengers who said they were not updated about the situation.

Electric Motors, Made to Order

Tailoring electric motors for duty in vehicles has necessitated the development of new materials, sophisticated electronic controls and some clever design variations, said Heath Hofmann, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Zoom Replaces Missing Vroom

As more hybrid and battery-electric vehicles enter the marketplace, though, the maxim is being transformed. Returning to a role in propelling vehicles that largely disappeared decades ago, electric motors are attracting attention from automakers, who see the need for hybrids and E.V.’s to have personality and character that parallels their brand’s image.

Toyota tells dealers it'll send them plans for fixing Prius brakes

Toyota sent a message to its beleaguered dealers Friday night saying they would be getting details of a plan this week to deal with brake-system problems on the 2010 Prius. But there was no word on what that plan might be, or whether there would be a recall.

Centralia, Pa., coal fire is one of hundreds that burn in the U.S

Approximately 200 underground coal fires burn in about 20 states, according to Glenn Stracher, a researcher at East Georgia College in Swainsboro, Ga., A separate tally shows 112 fire sites in 21 states, according to Office of Surface Mining data analyzed by Dr. Stracher and fellow researcher Ann Kim.

Centralia, Pa.: How an underground coal fire erased a town

There's not much left of the northeastern Pennsylvania coal town these days. Even in the early 1980s, some two decades after the underground fires began, more than a thousand people called Centralia home. But as the poisonous gases continued to seep from fissures in the ground, and as the sudden sinkholes threatened to cast people into the smoldering depths, the town emptied out.

Low-flow toilets have improved

I’ve become immersed the history and recent technological advances of the toilet. (For instance, did you know the derivation of the word? It’s from the word toile: “French for ‘cloth’ draped over a lady or gentleman's shoulders whilst their hair was being dressed, and then … by extension … the whole complex of operations of hairdressing and body care that centered at a dressing table.”

That helped me understand something that has puzzled me since childhood: the difference between eau de toilette and perfume

Green firewood: A chimney sweep's view of danger

A Fairbanks chimney cleaner has given the News-Miner photos of some of the most creosote-clogged chimneys he's recently seen in hopes of preventing death by chimney fire. It's a problem Charlie Whitaker says is getting worse as dry firewood gets harder to come by in the city. Besides clogging chimneys, wet firewood has been blamed for a good part of Fairbanks' intractable winter air pollution problem.

Rebate on solar water heater cut to $750

(Honolulu) The rebate available to homeowners for installing solar water heaters has been cut to $750 from $1,000 because high demand is depleting the amount in the ratepayer-funded program, officials said yesterday.

Electricity rates going up

February residential electricity rates will rise for customers of Hawaiian Electric Co. and its sister subsidiaries because of higher fuel costs. Hawaiian Electric Co. said the typical 600-kilowatt-hour bill for O'ahu residential customers will rise to $148.23 from $145 in January. The effective rate for electricity in Honolulu is 23.60 cents per kilowatt hour, up from 22.66 cents last month.

All-electric car appears as city gets charged up

Nissan's new all-electric vehicle, the Leaf, made a quiet appearance on Friday, showing off its nearly silent motor as it rolled about the Reliant Stadium parking lot and signaling what the city hopes may be the start of an electric movement on Houston's streets.

“With ongoing research and development of wind, solar and electric fuel sources, we are on the cusp of becoming the alternative energy capital of the world,” Parker said. “It is fitting that the city be a leader in increasing public awareness of environmentally friendly transportation alternatives like the Leaf.”

Shtokman postponed 3 years

A press release from the company confirms that a final investment decision in the project's pipeline part will be taken in March 2011, while the decision on the LNG part will be taken before the end of 2011, newspaper Vedomosti reports.

Pindiites face low gas pressure

The low pressure of Sui gas again hit many parts of the Rawalpindi City making it difficult for the residents even to cook their meals.

They urged the concerned authorities to address the problem as dealers of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) selling the gas in black and charging from Rs150 to 170 per kilogram while many using firewood and kerosene oil as alternatives.

Tajiks Buy Into State Power Plant Initiative

With the Tajik government desperately seeking funds to finish a pet project of national importance, the people appear to be buying into the country's dream of being an energy exporter.

Government officials, religious figures, and citizens have been lining up behind the presidentially inspired effort to generate enough cash to complete the long-unfinished Roghun power plant by issuing shares in the state company directly to individuals and organizations.

Find the best energy deal as price war looms

About 8 million households will benefit from a surprise decision by British Gas to cut prices by an average of 7pc last week – but it still makes sense to check that your fuel bills are as low as possible.

Green light for show homes to sell eco-town project

One hundred "eco-show homes" are to be built to allow people to "test drive" green living as ministers try to convince the public that controversial eco-towns can work.

This week the Housing minister, John Healey, will announce the start of building work on the properties in towns near to the four sites earmarked for Britain's first zero-carbon developments. Work will start next year on a further 10,000 eco-homes that will be for sale in the areas.

Decision on Shtockman postponed

The development of the giant Russian offshore gas field Shtockman in the Barents Sea has been postponed. The Board of the Shtockman Development has voted to delay investment decisions until next year.

Zhengzhou-Xi'an high-speed rail starts operation

XI'AN: A high-speed railway linking central China city Zhengzhou and northwestern city Xi'an, went into operation Saturday. The 505-km Zhengzhou-Xi'an high-speed railway, the first of its kind in central and western China, cut the travel time between the two cities from former more than six hours to less than two hours, said local railway authorities Saturday. The train traveled at 350 kilometers per hour, said Long. A total of 14 trains would be traveling between Zhengzhou and Xi'an every day, said Long.

Minivans drive up auto sales growth

China's automobile market continued its robust growth in January, with sales surging 84 percent from a year earlier, heavily boosted by minivans, China Passenger Car Association said on Friday.

Rao Da, the association's secretary-general, said a total of 1,218,722 cars, sport-utility vehicles, multi-purpose vehicles and minivans were sold last month, an increase of 84.2 percent year-on-year and 5.1 percent from December.

Shandong's efforts to clean up clogged waterways prove futile

The Eastern Route of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project, one of the world's largest water projects, has been delayed by about five years due to problems associated with water pollution, officials in east China's Shandong province said on Friday. Construction of the Eastern Route of the project, which aims to divert water from China's rainy south to its dry north, is now expected to be completed in 2013.

Ukraine to Buy 8.5 Billion Cubic Meters of Gas in 1Q

Ukraine will import 8.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russia this quarter because of freezing temperatures, said Ihor Didenko, first deputy chief executive officer at NAK Naftogaz Ukrainy.The country will keep its plan to import 27 billion cubic meters from Russia in all of 2010,

Iran's Azadegan Oil Field Output at 40,000 bpd

Daily output at Iran's Azadegan oil field has reached 40,000 barrels per day (bpd) and will soon hit 50,000 bpd, Deputy Oil Minister Seifollah Jashnsaz was quoted.

"The daily output of the Azadegan oil field reached 40,000 barrels following an increase of 13,000 barrels after the completion of seven new wells," Jashnsaz, who also heads the state National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), told the semi-official Mehr News Agency.

Power Import From India To Start Thru' Kushtia Border

Ramkrishnapur under Bheramara upazila in Kushtia has been primarily selected for setting up of 250KV power sub-station aiming electricity import from India.

Within a few years a driver who pulls up to the gas pump may pay two bills with a single swipe of the credit card: one for the gas and the other for each mile driven since the last fill-up.

Living in a state (NC) that already has some of the highest fuel taxes in the region, with some of the poorest roads, I can see this idea not being well recieved. Also, the disparity between rural and urban drivers would need to be addressed. Living in a rural area, we are already seeing the lions share of revenues going to major projects in more populated areas.

This would indeed be an indirect subsidy for EVs (I'm not opposed to that), until they figure out how to tax vehicles that never fill-up at the pump.

Another question: What happens to paying cash for fuel? Will we be required to have special govt. issued credit cards to drive? Will our drivers licenses double as a mileage (location) tracking device? Installing tracking devices in every vehicle will be expensive and invasive. Who'll pay to modify the pumps down at BillyBob's Shop'n Go? Some suggestions to offset costs by adding fees to drivers licenses will really hurt Granny, who only has a license to drive to market once a week and church. Will there be penalties for weight? Heavy vehicles create more wear on roads. How much will this affect the price of goods and services?

I agree, this would not be received well. How about putting the weight of the vehicle into the formula also? Large vehicles cause road damage.

Another question: Will these funds go only to maintenance and repair or will we see these monies going to fund new projects and expansion? Will some of these funds go to mass transit, getting more folks off of the road? Will the effect of these "fees" be to force more folks to use mass transit, requiring more investment? Shouldn't people in areas that have mass transit as an option be required to pay more if they choose the option to drive? Many live in areas where they have no option but to drive. Should they pay the same rate?

Then again, some people to choose to live in a far-flung suburb where they must commute an hour each way to their job rather than live where they have access to public transit. We should be encouraging people to live along transit corridors, not subsidize suburbs of cheap McMansions that are clearly unsustainable. Yes, this probably means less square footage of living space per resident, but this is coming anyway.

Adding on to the existing gas tax is obviously a more efficient way of collecting the money, (plus a higher registration fee for heavier vehicles) but of course it is more politically viable to make this as technologically complex and inefficient as possible, as well as create a new bureaucracy to administer it all.

Taxing people by mileage, as if we were indifferent to whether they consumed at a rate of 10 mpg or at a rate of 30 mpg has to be the dumbest idea I've ever heard.

You tax the fuel itself, to reward low users and penalize high users....

If the fuel is electricity off the grid or home owner solar,it might be much easier to tax mileage than consumption.And if we really do switch to an electric fleet someday, road taxes must still be collected.

This idea is political suicide. Bill Clinton lost his only election as govenenor, due largely to a small increase in the car tag fee.

Well, better political suicide than universal actual suicide through geocide.

"(Climate change) is happening much faster than our most pessimistic models expected"


The canary is lying on the floor of the cage, gasping out its last breath, and we are still debating whether we should even consider getting out of the mine, and noting that anyone leading us in such a direction would be committing "political suicide."

What a very sad lot we are. We pretty much deserve the sh.t storm descending upon us, but our kids and the rest of life on the planet don't.

Note that the above article does prove that the denialists were right about one thing--the IPCC report did have some wild inaccuracies; it's just that most were in the opposite direction than they supposed.

I've know of two politicians who commited polical suicide, only to be re-elected. One was London's major Ken Livingstone who introduced the congestion tax, the other was BC's premier Gordon Campbell who introduced North America's first carbon tax on gasoline. Both were written off as political losers before the elections. I think voters are willing to elect people with guts.

Ask the avg. person on the street what is the most important issue to them? They are likely to answer jobs or the economy. The Dems. offered higher taxes and more government spending. They lost the last three seats up for election; two governors and one senator. There is a tea party movement after the Boston Tea Party when the British thought all that was needed was more taxes; then the Americans said "No." People were against tax increases then as they are today. The government needs consistently greater amounts of money to satisfy its needs for cash. This leaves citizens with less net worth as the government wasted money on bridges to nowhere, wood chip ethanol, and crying "global warming" in a crowded theater. The lows for tonight are expected to 5-15 degrees Farhenheit in the DC metro area. Some homes are without heat. There is more snow in the forecast for Tuesday. In LA some worry that if the heat goes up another half a degree they might perish, they have never known frostbite. There have been times of continental ice sheets, and ice free polar regions in the past, none of this has been proven to be linked to carbon emissions.

Frugal, rainsongs answer is a pretty good summary of why what works in Canada and the UK doesn't work here. On this side of the border/pond we have some pretty entrenched anti-government anti-tax sentiments. Given that some problems require collective action, and revenues for the government, I don't think we are going to fare too well. There is just a huge amount of resitance to anything that might support taxes or regulation. In the meantime we are letting our government be bought by big monied intersts.

On this side of the border/pond we have some pretty entrenched anti-government anti-tax sentiments. Given that some problems require collective action, and revenues for the government, I don't think we are going to fare too well.

And that is unfortunately true. The future is probably going to be a lot less than fun for people living on the southern half of the North American continent. I don't see governments putting any viable solutions in place. A lot of non-viable ones, yes, but nothing that will actually work.

On the northern half, it is probably going to be much more survivable, higher fuel taxes notwithstanding. More energy resources and fewer cars make a lot of difference.

Do we think people will prefer that the roads not be maintained?

When people discover just how much control realtime tracking will give governments over where, when, for what purpose, and by what route they are allowed to travel, they may come to regret bitterly not choosing to just live with maintaining the roads out of general taxes (even despite the implied generous subsidy.) After all, power-hungry government bullies rarely let good data (or crises) go to waste irrespective of what promises they made when they started collecting the data, and arrogating more power for themselves is of course always "in consumers' best interest even though they don't realize it".

It wouldn't really be such a big huge deal to have the burden drift to general taxes - for example maintenance of city streets, which account for a great deal of the mileage, is already paid for out of property taxes.

A lot of places are looking at this very hard. One successful example is Singapore, which has an Electronic Road Pricing scheme in effect. If you want to drive on the priced roads in Singapore, you have to have a $150 "In-vehicle Unit" affixed to the lower right corner of the windshield. It accepts cash cards which are debited to pay for your driving. They use a lightweight version of this to pay for parking. You can also use the same cash cards on public transit.

The system is intended to implement congestion pricing to discourage people from driving in congested areas. Singapore is extremely congested and does not want people overusing the roads. They have a very sophisticated mass transit system they would prefer people use.

With more modern technology, they could use global position system sensors to locate your car and wireless networking to debit your credit card as you drive along. They could also use it to charge for parking. They could vary the driving and parking charges depending on where you drive and at what time of day. And if someone stole your car, they could find it in about 5 seconds. However, if you're robbing liquor stores, you might want to walk or take the bus.

I doubt that Americans would like it because they consider roads and parking to be some kind of free resource that they can overuse to their heart's content without paying for. It's another Tragedy of the Commons situation.

The system is intended to implement congestion pricing to discourage people from driving in congested areas. Singapore is extremely congested and does not want people overusing the roads. They have a very sophisticated mass transit system they would prefer people use.

Of course despite example like this we are very confident that if the price of oil went high again people would stop using it and the price would fall. Even with and example where a true substitute is available we find the need to significantly artificially increase the cost of using and automobile.

I think people have way underestimated the global addiction to the auto. Sure we may slow our purchases of newer cars many are not kept anything close to their useful lifespan but thats not the same as stopping driving.

Re: Gas/tax

I haven't refreshed for hours so I'm sticking this here....

Were a tax to be based upon "miles" and, especially, weight, I'd be in big trouble since my old 1 ton 4X4 sucks gas and weighs a lot. But it is a ranch truck that is hardly used on the highways and the odometer doesn't work. And, I store a lot of gas since I'm in the boondocks.

Here's what I'd do: I take all the jerry cans and fill them up using my wife's Corolla which is light and isn't driven that much either. So, my approach is, screw them.


The big problem in this country (USA) is the government doesn't govern. It acts like a nagging nanny while simultaneously allowing massive thefts and frauds to take place. Nobody in charge does the heavy lifting of explaining that the country (world) is running out of fuel and that steps must be taken to rectify the situation.

Nobody is in charge, period. "Nobody here but us chickens!"

What will work is conservation. Not electric cars, not congestion pricing, not gimmicks, but a strategy to use less that has the power and majesty of the state behind it. This means the roads will not be fixed to the level they might be in the 'perfect world'. This, in fact is the idea, to shrink the road system and shrink auto usage at the same time. This means either voluntary reduction in the amount of car use, which can be done by direct taxes or by other means such as gasoline/road use- rationing.

The easiest means that cuts to the chase ... is a large gas tax. Ten dollars a gallon would be a good place to start. Twenty would be better. A gallon of gas should cost at least as much as a gallon of hot coffee at 7- Eleven. Today, that is $11 a gallon.

$11 gas would cut out a lot of 'idle driving'. $25 gas would eliminate it. The government could demand a 50% fuel reduction within a time period at the end of which the price of fuel driven upward by taxes until the required fuel savings manifested themselves.

Make no mistake about it; if the US doesn't reduce its fuel consumption substantially - by at lease half of what it uses now - national bankruptcy will reduce the country's fuel consumption by half of what it uses now. There is no other choice, there is no other way.

Don't believe me, just sit back and watch what rising real oil prices - real comparing the price of fuel relative to the price of the same amount of human work - do to the rest of our economy ... and UK's economy, the Eurozone's economy, China's economy, Japan's, etc.

Conservation is the only way the US can regain control of its monetary policy, away from the current Middle Eastern oil producers who are now mimicking Wall Street's blatant cash grap. OPEC fears conservation, it will put them out of business. Gaining control of our own economy also removes the grip that Westexas's 'Iron Triangle' has on domestic policy.

If Americans knew what was at stake - a future that is not 'futuristic' but still somewhat plentiful as opposed to a dystopic social and economic breakdown - the citizens would clamor for a high tax. Compared to some alternatives - nuclear war, famine, pandemic, increased crime - a tax is a bagatelle!

I'm convinced that Americans, in general, have bought the Reagan-omics version of getting something for nothing. Jimmy Carter tried to use reason and common sense. He got booted out with a story of "Morning in America" that was based on wishful thinking. We are still wishing and much prefer it to reality.

True. One of those places where congestion/road pricing is seriously being considered is the Netherlands. It would basically cover the entire country but the pricing mechanism (during congestion) would probably only be necessary in the busier part of the country (which is a large part).

An often heard argument against the system is privacy related. People worry that the government will keep track of every vehicle. In theory this could be possible but this is not the case in the proposed form of congestion/road pricing. The vehicle would simply send aggragated information to the organisation handling the sending out of bills. The On Board Unit in the vehicle would calculate the costs on it's own taking in consideration the characteristics of the car, the time of day, the location (via GPS) and so forth. Nonetheless, the concerns around privacy are there and won't go away. After all it's true that no guarantee can be given that privacy won't be harmed in the future.

Another essential part of the plan is to use all the funds that are collected through road pricing directly for the road infrastructure. The idea is that this would increase support for the plan. Right now, the government is collecting around 18 billion euros from road users while investing a mere 2 billion in improving the road infrastructure. Still i'd have to say that our road infrastructure is one of the best i've experienced.

It currently isn't certain if we'll actually have the new system, people are wary of large projects initiated by the government due to bad past experiences. Besides, i'm not sure if this is the right time to start a major project like this.

18 to 28 inches of snow in the mid atlantic states. how many home owners shoveling the sidewalk then going on the roof to clear their solar PV? and thousands without electric. if you got grid tied solar PV you aint got not solar panel output without the grid. no back up there. but if you got your wood burning stove at least you can warm your house. i missed the snow this time in extreme northern nj. but single digits over night. i got the "cat" stove cranking and spanking. the only solar power i'm getting is the brilliant morning sun through the bay windows. have you reduced your lifestyle today? does your bug out bag contain stone knives and bearskins? are you emotionally prepared for the great die off? 99.999% of current human population gone. "it's all good"

i got this off eureakalert.org:
Public release date: 5-Feb-2010

Contact: Jack Reardon
Inderscience Publishers
Renewable oil companies

The entry of oil companies into the realm of renewable energy could present major obstacles for the development of a sustainable economy that is not based on carbon resources, according to a report in the International Journal of Green Economics.

Jack Reardon of the Department of Management & Economics, at Hamline University, in St. Paul, Minnesota, explains that how the transition from carbon to renewable proceeds will depend on whose values are solicited and whose voices are listened to in the process. He suggests that should the large international oil companies (IOCs) endeavor to enter this arena in a significant way that will present a possible obstacle to the transition that will preclude the emergence of democratic, distributed and green economics based on wind, solar, and other renewable resources.

Ideally, green economics will see a switch from an energy intensive and consumption-focused society economy that perpetuates poverty, gender inequalities and environmental degeneration to one of sustainability that circumvents the carbon-based energy regime. If, however, present trends continue, then by 2030, global energy demand will increase 45%, with China and India accounting for just over half the increase and oil consumption will increase from 85 million barrels per day to 106 with all of the projected increase from non-OECD countries and four-fifths of the projected increase from China.

Given such an unrelenting addiction to fossil fuels, it will not be a surprise if energy-related carbon dioxide emissions and the release of other atmospheric greenhouse gases will increase 45% by 2030. "Arresting this unsustainable and potentially catastrophic increase is a central focus of green economics," says Reardon.

Given the monopolistic and powerful positions adopted by the oil companies since the beginning of the modern oil age in the nineteenth century, it is almost inevitable that their entry into the renewable arena will not be without problems. "A palpable lesson is that if oil companies enter the renewable industry, the latter could potentially be transformed along a hierarchical and centralized structure, which contravenes the widely dispersed and readily available nature of renewable energy sources, particularly wind and solar," Reardon fears. He suggests that now is the time to "map a democratic and equitable transition."


"The changing structure of the renewable industry – implications for a green transition to sustainable energy" in Int. J. Green Economics, 2009, 3, 367-381

I thought of killing myself, says climate scandal professor Phil Jones

THE scientist at the centre of the “climategate” email scandal has revealed that he was so traumatised by the global backlash against him that he contemplated suicide.

Professor Phil Jones said in an exclusive interview with The Sunday Times that he had thought about killing himself “several times”. He acknowledged similarities to Dr David Kelly, the scientist who committed suicide after being exposed as the source for a BBC report that alleged the government had “sexed up” evidence to justify the invasion of Iraq.

In emails that were hacked into and seized upon by global-warming sceptics before the Copenhagen climate summit in December, Jones appeared to call upon his colleagues to destroy scientific data rather than release it to people intent on discrediting their work monitoring climate change.

Jones, 57, said he was unprepared for the scandal: “I am just a scientist. I have no training in PR or dealing with crises.

...Jones has temporarily stood down as director of the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia. He fiercely defends the unit’s science — “I stand by it 100%” — but now accepts that he did not treat Freedom of Information (FoI) requests for the data as seriously as he should have done. Jones believes that the unit was maliciously targeted with multiple FoI requests by climate change sceptics determined to disrupt its work.

If Phil can't stand the heat he needs to stay out of the kitchen. No pun intended.

Yes but who turned up the heat and why?

Former UK government advisor, Sir David King, blamed a foreign intelligence agency directly live on BBC News (he didn't say which one...) but I can't find a text version of this off-hand.

He is quoted as saying though


He even suggested that British intelligence may have knowledge of who is behind the campaign.

"It is a security issue. We are talking about something that the British Government among others believes is putting our people at risk".

Sir David said the situation has become so serious that the public risked dismissing “the greatest danger civilisation has ever faced” because of a few mistakes.

"When cigarette manufacturers paid lobbyists to try to discredit the scientific theory that smoking causes lung cancer, they used the argument that it wasn’t a proven fact. Well it wasn’t then, and nor will it ever be, but would you now bet against it? We have built many successful enterprises by going with the balance of probabilities that science deals us. And in the case of climate change, the scientific probability that the world is warming, and that humans are the chief cause, is overwhelming."

Notably here David King is a firm believer in imminent Peak Oil (despite what he had to say in public when in office) yet he still believes that climate change is ultimately the greater threat.

Edit: For balance here's an earlier report that's not sympathetic to his claims


It was the Russians. Or possibly the Chinese. No, wait, it was the Americans. Yes, our very own version of Inspector Clouseau is on the case of the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit.

Yesterday Sir David King, Tony Blair's former chief scientific advisor, told this newspaper: "It was an extraordinarily sophisticated operation. There are several bodies of people who could do this sort of work. These are national intelligence agencies... there is the possibility that it could be the Russian intelligence agency." However, King goes on to suggest that the expense of such an operation would be too great for the entire Russian state to undertake: "In terms of the expense, there is the American lobby system, which is a very likely source of finance, so the finger must point to them."

And why is it that Sir David thinks that the Kremlin joined forces with unspecified "American agencies" to leak emails from the UEA's Climate Research Unit? He claims it was to undermine the UN's Copenhagen climate Conference (as if it hadn't been doomed anyway).

Ghung, How brave and tough you are!

Geez roy, is Phil a buddy of yours? Maybe you need to explain to him the advantages of a thick skin when you saddle a bronk as big as climate change. I hope he learns from this, dusts himself off and moves on. I really do. We need all of the great brains on this predicament that we can muster. The dark forces are already declaring victory over this thing. It doesn't matter how "brave and tough" I am, but those who are at the forefront of this debate damn well better be. A lot depends on it.

FoI are vital to a democracy. The tone of Jones statements leads me to believe that he does not show FoI the respect it deserves. Mr. Joens, like all government employees works for the people. An FoI requests should have the same respect as a request for a report by your Boss.

Also, at this point in time, it has not been proven if the emails were leaked by an insider or "hacked". Before we conclude a crime was committed in their release, we should let the judicial process finish.

The tone of Jones statements leads me to believe that he does not show FoI the respect it deserves.

He's showing the situation the respect it deserves:

But he pleads provocation. Last year in July alone the unit received 60 FoI requests from across the world. With a staff of only 13 to cope with them, the demands were accumulating faster than they could be dealt with. “According to the rules,” says Jones, “you have to do 18 hours’ work on each one before you’re allowed to turn it down.” It meant that the scientists would have had a lot of their time diverted from research.

A further irritation was that most of the data was available online, making the FoI requests, in Jones’s view, needless and a vexatious waste of his time. In the circumstances, he says, he thought it reasonable to refer the applicants to the website of the Historical Climatology Network in the US.

He also suspected that the CRU was the target of a co-ordinated attempt to interfere with its work — a suspicion that hardened into certainty when, over a matter of days, it received 40 similar FoI requests. Each applicant asked for data from five different countries, 200 in all, which would have been a daunting task even for someone with nothing else to do. It was clear to Jones that the attack originated from an old adversary, the sceptical website Climate Audit, run by Steve McIntyre, a former minerals prospector and arch climate sceptic.

“We were clearly being targeted,” says Jones. “Only 22% of the FoI enquiries were identifiably from within the UK, 39% were from abroad and 39% were untraceable.” What irked him was that the foreign applicants would all have had sources closer to hand in their own countries.

“I think they just wanted to waste our time,” he says. “They wanted to slow us down.”

Phil Jones: The leak was bad. Then came the death threats

There is a certain mis-direction and spin being put on this story. Had Professor Jones provided the initial information asked for freely, a lot of those FOI requests would have gone away. By subverting the local FOI officer and the University Administration to break the law (as the e-mails clearly show and the ICO recognize) and in failing to make his data available so that his conclusions could be checked (there is some evidence they were wrong) he brought this largely on himself. The British press are having a field day over these issues, and while he has my sympathy for the stress that it is imposing on him, it should not be forgotten the impact that his cabal and their actions have had on other scientists who were working in the field and whose results did not agree with his.

The intent of the FOI requests was to get information so that his conclusions could be verified. When he refused to even give the names of the stations that he was using as his sources of data what do you expect people to do? This "trust me" attitude which we are told we should adopt when dealing with these climate scientists is becoming more clearly and evidently wrong and dangerous. The whole basis for the actual average global surface temperature values is being legitimately challenged. Don't you think, since we're going to be spending trillions of dollars and betting our energy future on this (and the British Government is already discovering some of the down sides to that) that we should be able to have full confidence in the data that is being used to create that record?

This "trust me" attitude which we are told we should adopt when dealing with these climate scientists is becoming more clearly and evidently wrong and dangerous.

All the data and code you could ever want are available online. You can analyze them to your heart's content. If you find anything that contradicts the currently accepted science, write up a paper and submit it to a peer-reviewed journal.

For inspiration, check out Tamino, for example Hottest Year and Arctic Analysis.

The more you use the word "cabal" the less respect I have for you. Be it your site or not.


W.Va. geologist indicted for role in alleged scam

By Jake Stump
Charleston Daily Mail

BARRACKVILLE — An established West Virginia geologist is one of six men who have been federally charged with defrauding investors of more than $3 million.

Ray Garton, 58, of Barrackville, was indicted and arraigned in U.S. District Court in Lexington, Ky. after investigators uncovered an alleged scheme that cheated investors who bought shares in oil and gas drilling programs.

Garton is the curator of the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey Museum in Morgantown. He also operates a company in Barrackville called Mammoth Geophysical, which provides geophysical and scientific services to oil and gas explorers.

Last year, Garton helped craft a legislative resolution that made the Megalonyx jeffersonii the official state fossil of West Virginia.

Note: Shortened by Gail. We can't quote whole articles.
Geologist pleads guilty

If there is a per page charge for FOI requests, this can cut back on a lot of frivolous or harassing requests. Where I live, New York State in the USA, the standard charge is 25 cents a page. This charge can be waived for good reasons, but it is up to the requester to show why he cannot pay and that the request is for the public good. And appeal that, if he is denied.
If they don't have such a system in Britain, they should. And if you're getting a lot of requests, then the job should be handled by a secretary, even a part-time or temporary one. If the scientists are working in some kind of university program, the university should already have someone who is responsible for handling FOI requests.

Over the years, I have requested data from Phil Jones, and Michael Mann. In the requests I showed that I had looked in the obvious places for the data and hadn't found it. I also showed that I had read the relevant literature and therefore that I wasn't wasting their time. In all cases I was very surprised at how quickly both men responded, generously giving me access to their data.
18 hours per request (3 days of work) times 60 requests = 180 days = more than half a years labor of very expensive, highly trained personnel. Who's paying for this when research budgets are only being cut? Only 22% of the requests were from within the UK whose taxpayers fund CRU.
Jones is saying that many (all?) of the requests were referred to the website of the Historical Climatology Network in the US (lots of excellent data here, I'd check here first for available data before I'd bug anyone and take their time, and I would certainly be sure to mention that I had looked here or wherever else is appropriate if I wrote to Jones or Mann with a request). Telling someone to look themselves in the most appropriate data archive is not denying a FOI request.
If I'm looking for Canadian or American data, I check the appropriate Canadian and US archives, I don't take CRU's time. That would either be rude or silly or both.

Telling someone to look themselves in the most appropriate data archive is not denying a FOI request. If I'm looking for Canadian or American data, I check the appropriate Canadian and US archives, I don't take CRU's time. That would either be rude or silly or both.


In American, politicians whine on FoI request all the time. They whine because they do not like, not because it is hard to comply. Some simple rules to make them much easier:

1) Your business phone, email account is for business. NEVER have any personal mails go to the account.
2) You have a business email and phone, make sure ALL business communications use them, not your private emails.
3) NEVER write anything in email, that you would not like to read and explain in open court.

If you do this, when you get requests, FoI is easy to comply with, just sort for key words, and do data dump to people who ask for information. Let them priortize. It is very easy.

I have been responsible for complying with supoena/discovery that took several large boxes to send to the attorney's. Since we new we were clean, we simply got a temp, showed the the file cabinets, told them to make copies. It was very easy, and did not cost that much. People getting cute with public information or people trying to game the system are creating the work.

He needed to realize that he was breaking the law by ignoring the FoI requests. The main reason he is not facing criminal charges is that the time limit for charges have expired. His behavior was both illegal in legal terms and unethical in scientific terms. Just because he thought he was morally superior doesn't mean his actions were justified.

There is a typical symptom of groupthink , which is a pervasive problem with the entire climate change debate.

Dude, let's get a bit of perspective here:

He also suspected that the CRU was the target of a co-ordinated attempt to interfere with its work — a suspicion that hardened into certainty when, over a matter of days, it received 40 similar FoI requests. Each applicant asked for data from five different countries, 200 in all

I think that anyone who was subjected to this kind of 'attack' would actively look for ways in which to avoid the hassle of having to waste time on this.

The 'legality' or 'ethics' of Jones' actions regarding the FOI requests has nothing to do with any question of the science itself.

Jones is a public servant. He has a budget running into the millions or tens of millions per year. It is not an 'attack' to ask someone to do his job. People using his research are suggesting we divert trillions of dollars to new energy sources based largely on his research. His department spending a few 10,000's or 100,000's of pounds complying with the law is not unreasonable.

Also, Britian is a democracy. If the law is flawed, he should contact his member of parliment to fix the law.

Also, FoI request is a matter of law, not science.

Our oil companies make hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars a year in profit. They use lots of public lands and so should have some of that same respect of servitude. Yet, where do we see any good public data available at the snap of a finger coming from these companies that will allow us to strategize on the future of 100X trillions of future dollars.

Given the money they rake in and your ratio of 10,000 or 100,000 pounds expended on FOIA per tens of millions of grant money, I would suggest that the oil companies can afford ONE BILLION dollars that they could dump into a nice web site that would allow us to look at all the oil data. :) Yes, that is the payback we are looking at based on your 100:1 ratio.

(also see my rant below this one)

Yet, where do we see any good public data available at the snap of a finger coming from these companies that will allow us to strategize on the future of 100X trillions of future dollars.

There is the BP Statistical Review of World Energy available if you want to prioritize your spending.

However, the problem with using oil company data is it does not tell us what is going on in Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran, Venezuela or other major players in the world oil market. Most of the world's oil reserves are held by the world's National Oil Companies, and they are not really forthcoming in providing us with useful data.

We need the CIA to get their data for us.

Follow this link. You can see where these FOI requests came from - they are from a group of people deliberately trying to waste the time and money of these scientists. Any manager worth his salt would try to find if there were ways to avoid having to comply with vexatious time wasters.

Freedom of Information requests are a well known tactic to disrupt and wear down the opposition.

Lawyers do the same thing routinely with sub peonas. Ask for difficult to produce information that no legal clerk will ever bother to look at, but the effort to gather teh information will exhaust the resources of the other side. The additional burden in cost and time will make them more open to settle before trial and drain money & energy from any possible appeal if the dispute does go to trial.

Given the rampant and continual abuse of FOI, minimal responses are called for. This are NOT "requests for a report from your boss", many FOIs are the opposition trying to wear you down and exhaust you while playing "got cha".


The problem is that the climate skeptics do not live in the real world. They act like a bunch of prima donnas that need everything handed to them on a silver platter.

Steve McIntyre of the ClimateAudit website is one of the most annoying of the nits. He carries around this attitude of being this super-smart mathematician, who was recruited specifically by the great economist Paul Samuelson of MIT:

Paul Samuelson made an offer to Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit to get a full scholarship for PhD in mathematical economics at MIT when such offers were rare; this was one of the observations I mentioned to argue that Steve McIntyre has been an unusually good mathematician since he was young

So McIntyre preens around with this laurel of great potential, yet realizes that he has not accomplished anything in life but to make money as an opportunistic mining executive. Thus, his stab at fame as the slayer of academics. Wow, what a great accomplishment.

McIntyre needs a dose of reality. If the climate research institutions get money from various government agencies, the agencies ought to be prepared to put it in their grants that the data should be delivered back to the government. The government then needs to hire some database dweebs to maintain the repository so that when some FOIA request comes in then the agency can help fulfill that request. Data becomes entropic if it is not maintained, and the only way that it can be maintained is through money. Academic researchers are not great at everything they do and would at least benefit if they had some help in maintaining the data sets. It appears to be a full-time job.

McIntyre knows he is putting a chokehold on these scientists, and the public has no idea what kind of pickle that they are in. Research is supposed to be a supportive type of endeavor, and if one research group struggles a bit, some other group can pick up the slack. Yet, people have to support themselves. Whereas McIntyre has some huge investment cushion he is living on.

So lets put this in the perspective of getting data from the oil companies. As Rockman has clearly pointed out, the oil companies themselves are not subject to FOIA requests yet apparently we can get all the data we want ... from the government agencies. Apparently, if I talk to a librarian at a Texas agency, they will give out that info:

And, as I clearly pointed out, all this data is free. You want to find out every little detail about every well in Texas that has ever been drilled and produced. I can send you the address of the Texas Rail Road Commission in Austin. A lady by the name of Kathy mans the front desk Just tell her what you want and she show you how to find it...for free.


Now see we have a huge double-standard here. The expectation for oil data is that some government agency will supply all the data we will ever need and the original oil companies are off the hook. But you say that they were never given any grant money to begin with. How gullible do I look? Of course they have had every conceivable break over the years and owe the government big time with all the data that they have gathered. At this point data like this is no longer a competitive advantage, and what we can do with the data could answer the penultimate question of our lifetime. It is at least as important as what McIntyre thinks he will get out of his own crusade.

Yet, individual research scientists are expected to hand over every little bit of data on demand, as if they were citizens asked for their papers in some fascist state? These are temperature records after all. Why can't McIntyre fund his own temperature collection? Temperature is free and it is just sitting there in the air; it is not buried under the ground. Or he can do his own paleoclimatology research.

I know I am going off the deep end on some of these remarks, but is it only me that sees this huge hypocrisy between the attack on climate scientists and the virtual imperviousness to any transparency on the part of the oil companies? The governments should take responsibility for helping these scientists out.

Like I said, they screwed up the funding in the first place by not establishing a long-term strategy on how to maintain the data. All the climate skeptic ballerinas are prancing around with concern because they think they have accomplished some kind of gotcha. And people wonder why these email memos were filled with such distaste and sarcasm.

...the agencies ought to be prepared to put it in their grants that the data should be delivered back to the government. The government then needs to hire some database dweebs to maintain the repository so that when some FOIA request comes in then the agency can help fulfill that request. Data becomes entropic if it is not maintained, and the only way that it can be maintained is through money. Academic researchers are not great at everything they do and would at least benefit if they had some help in maintaining the data sets. It appears to be a full-time job.

Yes. Funding to professionalize the care of the data - and, if necessary, to seize critical secret methodologies by eminent domain (even, say, to seizing the entire Matlab organization if for some off-the-wall reason significant results are irreproducible in a timely manner any other way) from their owners and publish them fully and openly - is an absolute political (not so much scientific) necessity.

There are now serious proposals to expend or redirect countless trillions of dollars and countless trillions of hours of people's time all across the globe, based on sometimes-secret meteo data and on the results of processing it with sometimes-secret trust-me methodologies. With far more at stake than with any previous data-set in all of world history, any secrecy whatsoever is simply utterly unacceptable. No sane, serious person ought to expect such a vast economic (and civil-rights) reallocation to come about without the supporting data and methodologies being subjected to exhaustive, expensive, extensive examination not just microscopically, but electron-microscopically - and over and over again far past the point of uttermost tiresomeness. After all, modern society enforces fairly harsh rules for scientific studies even for the mildest medical drugs, where the implications are many orders-of-magnitude smaller. And given the stakes if one of the more dire scenarios would turn out to look solid after such an examination, the examination needs to occur yesterday, any and all relevant intellectual property "rights" be utterly damned.

Now, this is all in some sense very unfair to scientists who may have signed on long ago for quiet careers in an interesting backwater, who never signed on to become experts in, say, data traceability. Conceivably it could turn out unfairly for some commercial software suppliers as well. But the stakes are so awesome that, well, tough noogies. [It might well also be unfair to some university bursars salivating at potential commercialization profits from some publicly-funded algorithm or other, but in most countries virtually every science-research department has become so utterly an appendage of the government that everything they come up with ought to be fully in the public domain, period.]

OTOH, the scientists are really not in a position to be capable of handling the existing requests much less likely near-future ones, so the data and methodologies need to be put immediately into someone else's hands who has the capabilities. And given all the various stakes, let the expense of doing so be damned.

Agree completely. And that is why we need the same set of principles applied to oil industry data. The stakes are much too high for us to be duped by cornucopian projections without the complete set of backing data.

Bayes Rule plays into this:

Impact of Negative Outcome =
Probability of real climate change * Loss due to calamity +
Probability of no climate change * Wasted manpower in preparing for climate change

The risk analysis side of this is pretty subjective.

Impact of Negative Outcome =
Probability of unexpected drop in unexpected supply * Significant productivity loss +
Probability of stable supply * Wasted manpower in trying to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel

Interesting topic for a post.

Much of the data is already archived. For example, the NCDC has been collecting the US temperature data for decades. They have also been involved with efforts to improve the quality of the data, since each station time series is likely to have problems after years of operation by different people in changing environments and locations.

But, while you are at it, the denialist need to provide similar openness as well. For example, John Christy and Roy Spencer have yet to explain in public exactly how they derived their equation for the processing of the MSU channel 2 data which becomes the UAH TLT product. The Idsos who run CO2Science.org have used raw temperature data, ignoring the most obvious corrections. Why aren't these guys held responsible for their lack of precision?

E. Swanson

Get your free climate data and code here, no FoI action required.

Actually Paul you've been sold a crock there by the likes of climate-audit who push that 'give us the secret data' meme. In fact the world is awash with publicly accessible climate data reporting a myriad of environmental effects. I myself have downloaded quite a lot of it and done analyses on it to 'see for myself'. Analysis methods are published both in the scientific literature and in source code from various labs. Anyone can do their own analysis - copying the code of others or better yet writing their own code - and compare their results with what has been published. Indeed, many people have done just that, and there are several 'open source' climate studies going on concerned with producing open code repositories that can independently 'validate' the work of climate scientists.

The problem with the climate audit approach of trying to 'microscopically' audit some research publication is that it is based on the assumption that the publication is some kind of 'gold standard' that must be tested for absolute purity. However science is fundamentally progressive and while this microscopic examination is going on another 3 or 4 or a dozen new papers will have been published by the original and other scientists in the field - each paper incrementally moving the scientific understanding and knowledge base forwards and refining the results presented previously. We saw that with the original criticism of Mann's "hockey stick" - there are now dozens of publications with different "hockey sticks" arising from various datasets and various methodologies. And in that sense, any scientific result is 'preliminary' - subsequent work will improve the results or modify/replace the interpretation as the case may be - and the REAL validation occurs when a scientific result turns out to reappear in multiple studies, especially when those studies take very different approaches and utilize very different sources of data.

It is in that final sense that AGW has been so strongly validated in the scientific community - whether it is global temperature measured by historical weather station data (what people usually associate it with), pre-historical records, ice cores, ice sheet extent, frost-free days, spring thaw days, lake ice, animal migration patterns, satellite measurements of ice sheet melt, or for that matter the fundamental physics of planetary radiation and 'greenhouse gases' - just about any research area that is impinged on by climate factors has observed changes that are consistent with the effects of 'global warming'. That is why you don't get many scientists who actually work in those areas who actually doubt that it is happening, and that it is 'more than the ordinary' sort of variability that occurs naturally.

The other side of the problem is of course what to do about it, if, as seems most likely, we has fossil-fuel burning humans are responsible for it. That's something for the oil and coal companies to think hard about (and something of interest to readers of TOD I'd say).

I'd suggest that your claims of spending trillions are not realistic - in any case if you think about it we're going to have to spend trillions anyway over the next few decades to replace the existing energy infrastructure. Far better to plan on spending it on non-oil / non-coal infrastructure than on trying to squeeze out the last bits of fossil fuels don't you think?

It is in that final sense that AGW has been so strongly validated in the scientific community...

Perhaps, but I think you're choosing to miss the point that it this validation means not one whit in and of itself with respect to taking any sort of action. No, just the visible short-run consequences of acting look to be so pervasive that the validation has to be perceived widely as above reproach - especially since definitive short-run consequences of not acting simply do not exist (hence all the shouting over every petty bog-standard regional hot spell, cold spell, drought, or rainstorm), and longer run consequences exist only as abstract scenarios of a distant future.

In other words, as I already said, we're discussing the political aspect, not a scientific one. And however unfair it might be to researchers who signed up for something else entirely, it simply leaves no room for even the appearance of hiding even the most trivial item, because everything will be examined and dissected at electron-microscope level whether you, or I, or anyone else likes it or not. To grasp the point, think of the sheer mad pettiness of some of the rules about gift-giving to politicians, to the point of creating legal fear over family birthday presents for crying out loud (and never mind that the Lobby drives a fleet of trucks through those rules every day.)

As to the trillions, I repeat part of a quote from the intro to Monbiot's Heat:

“When you get your 80% cut, what will this country look like?”.

I hadn’t thought about it. Nor could I think of a good reason why I hadn’t thought about it. But a few rows from the front sat one of the environmentalists I admire and fear most, a man called Mayer Hillman. I admire him because he says what he believes to be true and doesn’t care about the consequences. I fear him because his life is a mirror in which the rest of us see our hypocrisy.

“That’s such an easy question I’ll ask Mayer to answer it.”

He stood up. He is 75, but looks about 50, perhaps because he goes everywhere by bicycle. He is small and thin and fit-looking, and he throws his chest out and holds his arms back when he speaks, as if standing to attention. He was smiling. I could see he was going to say something outrageous.

“A very poor third-world country.”

That's only tiny little Britain, and already it's trillions, plus untold human misery, right there...

BS !!

Both the US and UK could (and should) have IMPROVED qualities of life with a 80% reduction in carbon emissions (for the UK) and higher (say 87%) for the USA.

Nuclear power (with some but minimal carbon emissions) would be necessary. As well as:

MUCH better insulated houses and fewer m2/ ft2 per person.
Fewer m2, ft2 of retail
reduced private vehicle use
MUCH less space for cars and more for people
Transportation would be by electrified rail, bicycles and walking (see walkable neighborhoods)
Solar hot water heating and supplemental solar space heating
HV DC and pumped storage to balance out loads, nukes and renewables, FF used only at extremes (extreme bitter cold, or extended summer heat wave, a bit of NG for peaking occasionally)
Durable, high quality and repairable goods
Widespread use of heat pumps with methane (some from biomass, some NG)
Some space devoted to growing giant trees for a few centuries (redwoods, sequoias, Sitka Spruce, American chestnut, sugar pines, etc.)

Longer, healthier and happier lives are not a bad thing !

Best hopes for moving towards a BETTER future !


''''''''''There is a typical symptom of groupthink <--(Wikipedia definition) , which is a pervasive problem with the entire climate change debate.''''''''''

Wikipedia is probably the best example of 'group think' that is possible, and Wikipedia fails big time as a reliable source of anything. It is controlled by special interest clubs and gangs. Ever wonder where their money sources come from? Who finances Wikipedia?

Wikipedia is probably the best example of 'group think' that is possible, and Wikipedia fails big time as a reliable source of anything. It is controlled by special interest clubs and gangs.

Hey, just watch what you say! We Wikipedia editors might track you down and put a horse's head in your bed.

As I sit here watching yet another winter storm materialize (actually 2 storms converging on Kansas City preparing to dump another 6" of snow), my mind wonders about global climate change, city and state budgets and the upcoming income tax season.

Global climate change - Someone I spoke with on Friday(Russian lady) said that northern Russia has actually been warmer than usual and the lower latitudes have been colder. This winter of 2009/2010 has been the coldest and snowiest in KC from my 45 year memory. I think the Mid-Atlantic states would also agree.

City and State Budgets - These budgets are already strained. This winter is making these budgets even worse since snow removal on main roadway arteries is pretty much mandatory (forget about the side streets).

Income Taxes - Will the trend in fewer income taxes continue this year leading to further pressure on city and state budgets? This appears inevitable with lower employment in most states. Will the federal government be forced to "bail out" states that can't reach a budget to support the infrastructure and people of their jurisdiction?

Food for thought.

It is when, not if, that we see massive cutbacks in local & state government services and payrolls, followed sooner or later by massive cutbacks in federal government services and payrolls.

Question: Is this a slow economic death spiral or are we witness to the formation of the "perfect societal storm"? Exciting/depressing times, depending on your POV!

Bigger Numbers. Read a little further through the Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly report and jobless rates that are already way too high for comfort, only get higher.

The real numbers?

Like all developed economies, the US has arrived at its method of counting the unemployed over many years and via some controversial choices.
As a consequence, the headline unemployment rate, the one that's still stubbornly close to 10%, is in fact a rather narrow measure.
To be counted in that oft-reported tenth of the labour force you have to be out of work, and have actively looked for a job in the past four weeks.
It's the four weeks requirement that cuts out a lot of people who would undoubtedly like a job, if there were any jobs to be applied for, much less secured.
Don't worry, the Bureau does count those people - it just doesn't count them in the official unemployment rate, the one that gets reported first and most frequently by journalists battling for space and air time.
Instead, they get defined as things like "marginally attached" or "discouraged" workers.
This allows the Bureau to offer "alternative measures of labour underutilisation", which, to the untrained ear, sounds like awful gobbledygook and unemployment by another name.
And if you take the widest of these measures, which in plain English counts everyone who doesn't have a full time job, and blames that on economic reasons (as opposed to blaming it on being sick, old, or in training) then America's "labour underutilisation" rate went past 17% at about the time its "unemployment" rate hit 10%.
A rate of 17% presents everyone with a picture of an American economy where more than one in six people who want a job, can't get one.
The actual literal rate could sweep upwards to 21, 22, or 23% with a hairs breath of interruption in energy flow. Those are the Great Depression initial unemployment numbers in that range. Crash test approaches. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8499693.stm

Technology destroys the Price System, as this pivot point in history will play out.
Pretty simple really.
Elimination of purchasing power has made the system dysfunctional, and using something like an abstract concept like money... does not work now because this economy does not need people for 'labor' and is not based on scarcity, Adam Smith, template economics of class/caste.
Green economics eliminates jobs also. It is only a buzzword scam idea. It is pointless to continue many types of wasteful so called 'jobs' anyway.

In the past year, both Britian and Portugal has had a failed bond auction. Greece is like to have a failed auction in the next 12 months. The odds are very low that the federal government will be able to bail out the states again. State and Local governments need to budget very conservately this year.

Actually the federal government was motivated to implement many programs in 2009 to bail out the states, although they were not specifically labeled as such. So far, there is no direct state bail out program, and there may never be (as least in the next year or so).

In most ways the situation for US states is much worse than the Euro country risk problem we heard so much about last week. However here in the US the general solution for the states is for increased federal spending, funded by nothing more than new fiat money. Of course the states will also be left to cutting back some too, as the political will isn't there just to bail out everyone (just most everyone).

The ECB has basically held the line on its money base for the last 6 months, while $1 trillion more in US dollars have been circulated by the Federal Reserve. Euroland may also not want to bail out it states in full, but it does not compute than in the long run that the dollar could possibly gain value against the euro - when so many more have been printed up already, with many more yet to come.

If you haven't seen Ilargi discussion on who's worse off, US or Europe, it's worth a peek. Don't miss the comments on this topic either. Good thought experiment.


It's just a question of who drives off the cliff first in the Grand Prix of Debt Race.

USSR: circa 1990

I read the article and I while I agree with much there are many points where the wrong conclusion is reached, probably because the impact of new fiat money from the Fed and IMF is not being fully considered.

Basically the Euro sitaution is not as dire as currently believed, unless you think the ECB, IMF, will do a complete about face in the bailout policies they started almost two years ago. Remember the Fed was glad to extend $550 billion to help Europe's banks last year. What makes anyone think they will do lesser now?

Also deflationists seem to be glossing over the fact that the IMF has printed up $300 billion in new money, the Fed a $1 trillion in new money - and the ECB zero new money since last July. How can a currency become worth more when you are issuing trillions more relative to another?

How can the IMF print money?

Very easily, they just electronically add SDRs to each country's account:

IMF Injecting $283 Billion in SDRs into Global Economy, Boosting Reserves

SDRs can then be converted into other currencies, and is mostly used to cover balance of payment deficits.

In addition, the IMF can also loan countries money directly. It would not be surprising at all to see the IMF lend money to Greece and Portugal, thereby ending the so called crisis for now. Usually loans are made from the actual assets of the IMF, which are loaned out. However the $300 billion mentioned here is an outright creation of new fiat money by the IMF.

"# “Going to the IMF” brings with it a great deal of stigma. European governments are unwilling to take such a step as it could well be their last.
# The IMF is supposed to provide only “balance of payments” lending. That doesn’t fit well when a country is in a currency union such as the euro, which floats freely and does not have a current account issue, and the main problem is just the budget.
# Greece and the other weak eurozone countries need euro loans, not any other currency. If the IMF lent euros, that would be distinctly awkward – as this is what the European Central Bank (ECB) is supposed to control.

Europe Risks Another Global Depression


Mileage Tax Nonsense

The only reason that mileage taxes are being considered is the lack of political will to raise gas taxes. Add just 20 cents/gallon and all budget shortfalls disappear.

Mileage taxes do not encourage buying more efficient cars as gas taxes do, so they are poor public policy.

I resent driving mainly on city streets (maintained with property taxes) and the tax revenue going for the highways that the Suburbanites use.

Increase the gas tax to cover city streets (reduce property taxes). If gasoline demand falls (as it will) just increase the gas tax some more.

Do mandate that EVs and new cars get a tamper resistant computer chip to aid in collecting taxes (and raise the tire tax), so that in 20 years, we can start collecting mileage taxes.

For myself, I do not see how they can tax the mileage on my 1982 M-B 240D. Devoid of computers and can run (in daylight hours) without electricity after starting.


There is no such thing as a tamper resistant computer chip if you have physical access to it.

If one cannot operate the car without it, it is tamper resistant.

And it can be placed where a cutting torch is required to remove it and any tampering is clearly visible (say put a hologram on the chip and the access to it).

Make it a felony to possess such a hologram, or modified chip. Fines worse than finding red dye diesel in a truck tank.

Not tamper proof, just tamper resistant.


You wouldn't have to remove it, you'd just have to access wherever it stores the miles driven. Even if it's some sort of proprietary interface it wouldn't be too long before someone makes a tool to access it and able to change the miles driven since last fill up variable. Since every vehicle would have one of these chips, lots of hackers would have an interest in defeating them.

Of course if you have physical access to it. You can tamper with your electric meter if you break the seal. You can simply peg the wheel with a toothpick then pull it out a day or two before the meter reader comes around. But if he notices the seal is broken you are in big trouble.

You can pot a computer chip and make physical access impossible. You can seal the entire electronic package. It is then tamper proof, unless of course you physically chip into it. But obviously someone would notice.

Yes it is possible to design and build tamper proof computer chips. That is to make it obvious if it has been tampered with. And if the penalty was a little jail time....

Ron P.

Actually it is very challenging to get this right and if prior experience is any guide, it won't be right at first, and for a long time after.

Making a tamper resistant chip is not the challenge. It is making sure that the data that goes to the reader actually comes from the chip. If they even bother to use encryption, then likely there will be the same single key that can't be updated in every single chip. Only one chip needs to be cracked in that case. This is what has allowed game consoles and DVD players to be cracked.

One also has to make sure that the data the chip collects is real. What happens if bigger tires are put on?

Security is usually hard and expensive. Fraud is usually tolerated in exchange for cheaper security. Getting this balance right is yet another challenge.

Now, using a GPS chip you can track the true distance traveled over ground, and using a communications chip you can relay this information to a wireless network in real time. Add a few check stations that look for cars not sending their location to the wireless network - and take a picture of their license plate, and you have a system that is very hard to beat.

Of course, this means that Big Brother knows where you are driving all the time, which a lot of Americans would have a problem with. In other countries people would just be told to shut up and pay their taxes. If they don't like it, they can take the train.

Surely a petrol tax is a mileage tax???

Come buy a litre of petrol from my local petrol station here on the south coast of England. It will set you back £1.12 which is over $7 a gal.

The thing is, although it raises cash for the gov, I don't think there has been any significant decrease in miles driven...

The thing is, although it raises cash for the gov, I don't think there has been any significant decrease in miles driven...

I'm willing to bet that your country's drivers would burn a lot more fuel than currently if the price was £0.50/litre instead of £1.12. Price does matter and it matters a lot. The same applies to US drivers. If the price was $7/gallon, Americans would burn a lot less fuel.

"If the price was $7/gallon, Americans would burn a lot less fuel."

Frugal, one can only dream.

That being said, it seems unnecessary to devise measures such as the ones mentioned here .. the big Invisible Hand has already put on a latex glove (did you hear that giant snapping sound?) and is rubbing in a little lube. Whether it occurs by inflation/deflation or by wage stagnation against the increasing cost of necessities, what will inevitably happen is that the total cost of owning and operating a private motor vehicle will increase relative to the common person's purchasing power. Whether it's PO that drives prices high, or unemployment that keeps 20 out of every 100 from driving anymore, or US money becoming worth less (or just worthless), it matters not .. the end result will be the same: fewer vehicles being driven shorter distances by fewer people.

The problem with waiting for the invisable hand to do the job, is that the lions share of the currency will be sent overseas to the oil exporters, and the nation as a whole will be poorer. If we just taxed the da$#ed fuel instead -as in common in the EU, at least much of the expense can be recycled locally -either as government programs, or cuts in other tax rates. Wouldn't we be better off with a carbon tax, and no (or very low income taxes), we could have the right incentives -and the size of government we deem correct.

And that's got to be the best way to encourage efficiency and conservation. As AFBE said if we use less then just tax it some more. Not that if will be done but it is what ought to be done. Give the transit users, the bike riders, the carpoolers, and the smart trip combiners a break. If that's what we believe is best for mitigating our multiple areas of overshoot. It is a means of having the profligate user contribute.

Use gas taxes for cities, automated toll systems for highways, and let the counties deal with rural roads (dirt, gravel, paved) with any tax method they need above a modest gas tax split.

If you indexed the highway tolls for vehicle type and wait, over-the-road-trucking would die its much-deserved death without further action.

Electric cars have to get their batteries removed for reconditioning at a pace similar to oil changes in cars.

That is where you can lay a tax on EV's that is commensurate with mileage and road use (and misuse).

Easy to implement and does not require a surveillance society.

it seems i did manufacture some solar power today. readings off my central inverter at 10:am est feb 7th 2010: 1889 watts, time online 3hr 4 min, total so far 3.06 kwh, array reading 341.7 volts @5.9 amps. so it looks like i'll make enough juice to run my dishwasher. well, i guess i aint reducing my lifestyle today. but...i got's the "cat" stove running. my huge living room at a comfortable 69 degrees F and spill over into dining room and bedroom. plus all that "free" sunlight streaming in the bay windows. and i dont have to shovel snow! "it's all good"

i got this off eurekalert.org:
"Public release date: 4-Feb-2010

Contact: Kathy Graham
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
New ORNL system provides hybrid electric autos with power to spare

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Feb. 4, 2010 -- An advancement in hybrid electric vehicle technology is providing powerful benefits beyond transportation.

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have designed, fabricated and demonstrated a PHEV traction drive power electronics system that provides significant mobile power generation and vehicle-to-grid support capabilities.

"The new technology eliminates the separate charging mechanism typically used in PHEVs, reducing both cost and volume under the hood," said Gui-Jia Su of ORNL's Power Electronics and Electric Machinery Research Center. "The PHEV's traction drive system is used to charge the battery, power the vehicle and enable its mobile energy source capabilities."

Providing more power than typical freestanding portable generators, the PHEV can be used in emergency situations such as power outages and roadside breakdowns or leisure occasions such as camping. Day-to-day, the PHEV can be used to power homes or businesses or supply power to the grid when power load is high, according to Su.

The charging system concept, which is market ready, could also be used to enhance the voltage stability of the grid by providing reactive power, Su said.

The Power Electronics and Electric Machinery Research Center is DOE's broad-based research center helping lead the nation's advancing shift from petroleum-powered to hybrid-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The center's efforts directly support DOE's Vehicle Technologies Program and its goal to provide Americans with greater freedom of mobility and energy security while lowering costs and reducing impacts on the environment.


ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.

NOTE TO EDITORS: You may read other press releases from Oak Ridge National Laboratory or learn more about the lab at http://www.ornl.gov/news.Follow ORNL through Twitter, RSS, Photos and Video.

There are 5 Weather stations in Greenland reporting temperatures above 40 degrees F today:


Global Wierding!

At this moment it's 49 °F in San Jose, CA and Narsarsuaq, Greenland.

Another record high in the UAH ch05 mid-troposphere global data at 252.780. This is warmer than any temperature b/w October 10th and March 28th in the 20 year baseline period (~1979-1999). INCREDIBLE!

I asked where Leanan was yesterday and nobody responded. The main reason I visit this site is for her Drumbeats. Other staff here are very strong supporters of Big Oil interests and I think they are using this site for that purpose. I guess I'll be checking back in a few days and see if she comes back...

It was posted (by Gail?) a few days ago that leanan took some time off. Maybe she's at Mardi Gras! Hope she gets some rest.

We should probably ALL be at Mardi Gras. My wife and I have been acting very schitzed this weekend..

Alan, You got any room on your couch?

If you're still on the site, could you include a link for this disturbing data? (And I miss Leanan, too.)

Some days one might freeze to death in Greenland if it were not for ocean currents and carbon based fuels:

This week's forecast: http://www.weathercity.com/gl/kangerlussuaq/ shows temperatures below zero, not 40 degrees in Greenland.

Temperatures in the teens in Richmond, VA last night and 6-10 inches of more snow forecast for the Washington D.C. area where we are having the third snowiest winter on record. More taxpayer waste; spending billions on trying to lower the world's temperature.

Yet globally, January 2010 was the warmest January in the satellite temperature record:

UAH Globally Averaged Satellite-Based Temperature of the Lower Atmosphere, Jan 1979 - Jan 2010

Snow in winter. Shocking, simply shocking!!

And no one is hoping to lower global temps any time soon, just keep them from going through the roof because of the hundreds of billions of tons of GHGs we are dumping into the atmosphere.

hundreds of billions of tons of GHGs we are dumping into the atmosphere.

To be a little more precise, we dump about 8 gigatons of carbon annually into the atmosphere/ocean system. The total mass emitted since the mid-19th century is somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 teraton, of which perhaps half has dissolved into the oceans.

The Climate Prediction Center's Teleconnections page shows that the Arctic Oscillation is in extreme negative territory while the North Atlantic Oscillation is negative and decreasing.

Pardon the extensive quote, but the CPC's description of the NAO makes for fascinating reading in the context of this winter (emphasis mine):

One of the most prominent teleconnection patterns in all seasons is the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) (Barnston and Livezey 1987). The NOA combines parts of the East-Atlantic and West Atlantic patterns originally identified by Wallace and Gutzler (1981) for the winter season. The NAO consists of a north-south dipole of anomalies, with one center located over Greenland and the other center of opposite sign spanning the central latitudes of the North Atlantic between 35°N and 40°N. The positive phase of the NAO reflects below-normal heights and pressure across the high latitudes of the North Atlantic and above-normal heights and pressure over the central North Atlantic, the eastern United States and western Europe. The negative phase reflects an opposite pattern of height and pressure anomalies over these regions. Both phases of the NAO are associated with basin-wide changes in the intensity and location of the North Atlantic jet stream and storm track, and in large-scale modulations of the normal patterns of zonal and meridional heat and moisture transport (Hurrell 1995), which in turn results in changes in temperature and precipitation patterns often extending from eastern North America to western and central Europe (Walker and Bliss 1932, van Loon and Rogers 1978, Rogers and van Loon 1979).

Strong positive phases of the NAO tend to be associated with above-averagel temperatures in the eastern United States and across northern Europe and below-average temperatures in Greenland and oftentimes across southern Europe and the Middle East. They are also associated with above-average precipitation over northern Europe and Scandinavia in winter, and below-average precipitation over southern and central Europe. Opposite patterns of temperature and precipitation anomalies are typically observed during strong negative phases of the NAO. During particularly prolonged periods dominated by one particular phase of the NAO, anomalous height and temperature patterns are also often seen extending well into central Russia and north-central Siberia.

The NAO exhibits considerable interseasonal and interannual variability, and prolonged periods (several months) of both positive and negative phases of the pattern are common. The wintertime NAO also exhibits significant multi-decadal variability (Hurrell 1995, Chelliah and Bell 2005). For example, the negative phase of the NAO dominated the circulation from the mid-1950's through the 1978/79 winter. During this approximately 24-year interval, there were four prominent periods of at least three years each in which the negative phase was dominant and the positive phase was notably absent. In fact, during the entire period the positive phase was observed in the seasonal mean only three times, and it never appeared in two consecutive years.

An abrupt transition to recurring positive phases of the NAO then occurred during the 1979/80 winter, with the atmosphere remaining locked into this mode through the 1994/95 winter season. During this 15-year interval, a substantial negative phase of the pattern appeared only twice, in the winters of 1984/85 and 1985/ 86. However, November 1995 - February 1996 (NDJF 95/96) was characterized by a return to the strong negative phase of the NAO. Halpert and Bell (1997; their section 3.3) recently documented the conditions accompanying this transition to the negative phase of the NAO.

The CPC's statistical approach toward seasonal climate forecasting seems to have a lot of explanatory power.

-- Jon

Great information, Jonathan s., thanks! I presume you're implying that all of this has nothing to do with Global Warming, which may or may not be the case. Your contention that all this constitutes an explanation, though, ignores the fact that there are no explanations here, only observations. I don't see any reasons provided for these remarkable fluctuations. It just falls into the catagory of "these things have happened before, so how can we blame GW?"
Which may be the case, what we are seeing this winter may have nothing to do with GW. But this pattern is certainly contributing to the rapid melting of Greenland, the poor thing is even melting in the dead of winter! Adding more fresh water to the N.Atlantic, likely inhibiting the thermohaline circulation even further. Not what we need! So even if this doesn't constitue evidence of GW, it certainly isn't helping. And if pointing all of this out is an attempt on your part to "debunk" Global Warming, then give it up already - human-caused Global Warming is a fact established by many, many observations and laboratory experiments, in addition to basic facts of physics which have been well established for over 100 years.
And, Jonathan, if I have misinterpereted your intentions, then please accept my apologies. I'm sure my remarks are on-target to others. And I do appreciate your information!!

I don't think there are many that don't think climate changes are taking place. The question is what are the causes of the change. Is it primarily AGW caused by Green House Gasses? Is it AGW caused by something totally different? Or is it something totally different, like "normal" climate change.

The article from Science Daily quoted above is interesting. About the melting of the Himalayan Glaciers it says:

"Our simulations showed greenhouse gases alone are not nearly enough to be responsible for the snow melt," says Menon, a physicist and staff scientist in Berkeley Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division. "Most of the change in snow and ice cover -- about 90 percent -- is from aerosols. Black carbon alone contributes at least 30 percent of this sum."

I think arctic melting is some sense similar. It is something that (as I understand it) hasn't shown up in climate models, to nearly the extent that it is happening. So the question becomes: what is causing the melting? It will be interesting to see if the meetings in Winnipeg this week shed more light on the subject. If the outcome starts sounding like "carbon black" or something else, it may help explain why the current climate models are doing so poorly at predicting what is actually happening.

it may help explain why the current climate models are doing so poorly at predicting what is actually happening.

Just to be clear, current ice models underestimate the actual melt rate; black carbon is making the already bad situation much worse.

Temperatures on the Tibetan Plateau -- sometimes called Earth's "third pole" -- have warmed by 0.3°C (0.5°F) per decade over the past 30 years, about twice the rate of observed global temperature increases. New field research and ongoing quantitative modeling suggests that soot's warming influence on Tibetan glaciers could rival that of greenhouse gases.

"Tibet's glaciers are retreating at an alarming rate," said James Hansen, coauthor of the study and director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City. "Black soot is probably responsible for as much as half of the glacial melt, and greenhouse gases are responsible for the rest."

Black carbon deposits on Himalayan ice threaten Earth's 'Third Pole'

Yup, and all of this has been very thoroughly discussed by professional climatologists at www.realclimate.org , for any who care to look. Black carbon (soot, essentially) does play an important exacerbating role in icy places due to albedo feedback, but it can't account for very much of the average global temp increases on non-icy lands, nor in the atmosphere and in non-polar oceans.

Of course, if one just wants to continue to opine that no one knows what is going on with these issues rather than actually looking into the studies of those who spend their lives working to find out, I guess that's one's prerogative.

I have worked a fair amount with models. When they don't explain something big that happens, then I get worried. Is the model really the right one, or did it leave out some important variables?

By the way, I think there are really two meta models of what is happening now:

The first meta model is the limits to growth model. It says we are reaching limits in every direction, including peak oil, limited water supplies, and investment capital for resources. There really is no escape. Building electric cars or whatever at best will prolong things a bit. Pollution issues, including CO2 are one of the limits of this model, but solving them is likely not be make a significant difference to solving our overall problem. Lack of energy (George Mobus post last week), and lack of investment capital (Dennis Meadows talk), are likely the limiting factors. Problems with the financial system are likely to play a major role. I have subscribed to this meta model a long time--this is a link to a post of mine from April 2007.

The second meta model of what is happening is loosely based on what the IEA has been trying to put forward. This meta model says that AGW is the predominant issue, and the we have the power to significantly reduce its effect, if we move away from fossil fuels and reduce our use of these fuels. This can be done with relatively little pain using wind turbines, solar PV, more efficiency, and by voluntarily reducing use of coal, oil, and natural gas. If these things are done, we can continue with close to BAU, for a long time.

I think this second model is not right. It remains to be seen exactly how "not right" it turns out to be. It is a model that allows politicians to look like they are doing something without talking about peak oil, or mentioning how severe our problems really are. There has been a lot of push from behind on this second model. I think there is more than a small chance that this model will fall apart. Certainly a lot of the latter part of meta-model is wrong--the easy moving away from fossil fuels while continuing with close to BAU. But it may also turn out that the AGW GWG part of the meta model does not have as much predictive power as claimed.

My view would be that even if the AGW GWG model does have as much predictive power as stated, the other limits we are reaching are just as immediate, and are likely to be at least equally important. Solving AGW GWG likely doesn't "buy us much"--it just leaves us with all of the other limits to deal with, and the distinct possibility of a crash in the not too distant future. In fact, if the first meta model described above is really the right one, and if energy availability is really the limiting issue, it may very well be that voluntarily cutting back on fossil fuels could make things worse (from the point of view of those alive today), by advancing the date of the crash. This probably needs more study--theoretically a slow decline is also possible, but it is something to think about.

Limits to Growth(overpopulation plus rising global expectations) is certainly happening but there really isn't a lot anyone can do about it.

A reallocation of the world's resources is happening which the OECD should not contest--they don't have the moral right to monopolize them or the military strength to secure them.

GW is real but given the speed of human thought it seems to be creeping up on us(though accelerating). In fact climate change has destroyed a number of human cultures in the past such as the Maya, Indus and Moche(Peru)civilization.


The one very limited resource which is threatened by climate change is the biological fertility of the earth.
It's degradation will trigger wars and massive immigration and the whole world will suffer an extreme mass extinction.

It is possible to live without 'stuff' but not without a reasonably healthy biota.

Yes, I've long thought black carbon was not getting enough attention as an accelerator of snow/ice melt. Of course CO2 is the main threat to climate, BC only complicates the picture. But it ought to be easier to control, I think it is mostly due to low tech practices, such as burning argricultural wastes, and poorly designed combustion equipment (including older diesel).

Gail, I wish I could agree with you statement that most people accept the reality of climate change. I guess you haven't seen a George Will editorial on the subject lately. But there are lots of people who seem to agree with his viewpoint that, because the highest average worldwide temp was reached in 1998, this is evidence that the world is cooling, therefore GW is over. Total rubbish, of course. But it plays well with people who identify themselves as "Tea Ba...er, Tea Partiers" and their ilk. Unfortunately most people are more persuaded by their "beliefs" than by objective evidence. And people like that will never change...
Maybe they'll get their wish and we'll be saying "President Palin" in three years. (Vice-President Scott Brown, of course...). That'll fix everything!!


Thanks, I also thought the CPC information was great and wanted to share it. I'm not trying to imply anything other than that we should pay attention to the work of the CPC as it seems very relevant. The phenomenon that is being 'explained' is why it is warm in Greenland at the same time that it is cold on the US East Coast and in Western Europe -- the subject of this subthread. No explanation is provided by the CPC, nor do I have one, for why the NAO is currently negative or what accounts for the interannual variability of the NAO. Statistical approaches, like those of the CPC, generally do not provide this kind of insight.

As far as climate change goes, I'm trying hard not to contend anything after being flamed off-line yesterday. I had my say on climate change in this comment and don't need to say any more.

If anyone is in doubt, let me make my personal view perfectly clear:

Everyone should work to reduce their consumption of fossil fuels and everything else -- NOW!

Here is my set of positive suggestions:

  • insulate your home
  • buy only energy efficient appliances and vehicles
  • buy organic food
  • reduce your travel
  • work to build community
  • work to inform others of your beliefs
  • practice compassion

I hope that many readers of this site can agree with the sentiments and suggestions above. And I'll be happy to receive any constructive input on how I can do better to communicate my concerns to a broad audience.

Best hopes for civil discourse,

-- Jon

This matter is discussed here somewhat:
Citation: Francis, J. A., W. Chan, D. J. Leathers, J. R. Miller,
and D. E. Veron (2009), Winter Northern Hemisphere weather
patterns remember summer Arctic sea-ice extent, Geophys. Res.
Lett., 36, L07503, doi:10.1029/2009GL037274.

You can buy a copy from the Geophysical Research Letters website if so inclined.
Or Wunderblog had a good discussion awhile back, month or two?

Thanks for pointing to a scientific paper on the subject. Too bad it's behind a paywall.

That's another of my pet peeves. Tax dollars fund a tremendous amount of research but we have to pay as individuals to look at the results. Does anyone else have a problem with that?

Best hopes for truly open access to scientific data and results.

Journals have costs, how do you expect them to be met? Do you expect typesetters with family to work for free? Editors and reviewers do work for free and it can be a problem finding people able and willing to do so. How is expensive grade paper, inks, printers and postage to be paid for? Limited run printing of technical material is damn expensive. We're not talking Harry Potter books.
You may be able to purchase a community library card at your local university, who will have copies of many journals.
Here in Canada, there are a whole set of Canadian Journals of various sciences that had some federal government support, therefore the journals were deliberately free open access or available to anyone at very cheap cost. Harper's government has cut all such funding, therefore the journals have to charge more for access to break even and open access is lost. Have you written your government demanding that they fund any such open access national scientific journals?
In my lab, we are now trying to find funds to make any of our journal articles whose results are directly obvious to the public "open access" ie free on the web. It's about $1000 an article to cover the printer's costs in this case. We can only afford to do this for broad audience papers, not very technical statistics papers.
If you can find an email for a journal article's author, you can write to them asking for a preprint for personnel study. Some journals allow authors to do this (but not all as there are copyright issues).

I do appreciate the difficulty and expense of making scientific articles and results available. It should not be incumbent upon the individual scientists to take up this burden.

I am hoping that in the future we will see more journals listed in the Dicrectory of Open Access Jornals. I will admit to ignorance as to who pays for the software infrastructure that puts those journals on-line. But I agree with you that those of us interested in open access to scientific data and results need to communicate more effectively with our politicians and with the decision makers within scientific agencies. I would rank "openness and usability" as key issues that need to be addressed.

Best of luck with your journal publications.

-- Jon

I expect publicly funded research to be available to the public. Printing costs, journal costs and the like costs should be in the grant request.

If privately funded, i have no expectations.

Well, just get the NSF and NSERC to accept that. I agree it's a great idea. Start your campaign and make it so.

While you're at it, follow WebHubble's suggestion above, demand that any organization, any business, including oil companies, that have ever received any public funding or subsidy should be making any data freely available on request as your tax dollars paid for it, right.

Regarding the NSF, I have written up extensive final reports as a principal investigator and that went right into the NTIS archive.

I can easily dig my stuff up via: http://www.ntis.gov/search/index.aspx
$40 for the microfiche, and $60 for on-demand paper, it looks like they might have digital for more recent research

I could have easily placed all the data I had in there as well, if they wanted it as the terms of the grant. As it is, all sorts of algorithmic statistical processing codes went in there. I imagine I would be immune to a FoI request because I delivered the final report. For practical reasons, I didn't incorporate all the Monte Carlo simulation data because that would be insane.

What the heck am I missing? There is a practical system in place and it works if the terms of what gets delivered are spelled out.

Dear WebHubble

My understanding is that people are being asked many years after the fact for raw data,and possibly for intermediate data, not just for final reports which are in publicly available as journal articles. If the rules are changed for grants to deposit data and a depository is funded and made available, that's one thing. But these are retroactive demands, and no funds are being supplied in order to meet them.

For instance, my understanding (I could be wrong) is that Ray Bradley, Mike Mann and Jonathan Overpeck got subpaonaed by James Inhofe for every piece of scrap paper they wrote in their careers. This is equivalent to you being dragged thru the mud because you didn't include all your Monte Carlo simulation data. Never mind that it would be insane to include that amount of data, you clearly had to be hiding something. Sarcasm off.

But if we're going to have to be dumping all our scrap paper, can you imagine the size and the expense of such a repository? The bad science done because we will quit following crazy ideas because someone might see how crazy or how dumb we are some someday? Note to non-scientists: wacky stupid ideas are mostly just that, but sometimes they're gold about 5% of the time.

I agree 100%. Retroactive demands are typically impossible to meet.

I agree 100%. Retroactive demands are typically impossible to meet.

Yes. I remember when a co-worker got a divorce. His wife went the hosile lawyer approach. Had to come up with reams and reams of data to prove how his/their net worth changed with time. This sort of thing can be just intolerable.

I can remember it being done right (for the time). As a grad student I workeed with seismic data, NOAA had a site for managing the data (I dated a girl who did it as her job). Managing large amounts of data requires a lot of effort. And I can bet that the transition from analog (film seimograms) to digital must have been pretty painful. Not the sort of thing you want to saddle a guy who has been hired to analyse data with, especially if the FOI was passed since he was hired.

I think it is the part "if the terms of what gets delivered are spelled out."

I think that what is expected to be delivered is undergoing a cultural change in science - and at different rates in different branches.

"I could have easily placed all the data I had in there as well, if they wanted it as the terms of the grant."

As you pointed out, you did not place all your data there. Now imagine dozens of FOI requests and hundreds of emails demanding that you produce that data 30 years later. Imagine being called a liar and a fraud if you cannot produce *all* that data - 30 years later. That is what is going on at CRU.

The rules of the game are changing. In the end, it will be for the better. But it is a rough transition, full of ad-hom attacks.

It will only get better if everyone is treated fairly and evenly.

But we know that won't happen. The ones with money can bear the brunt of the cost and the ones that can't will get pushed out.

The sad part of all this is the data is still there, buried in ice cores or in other various records, not in just one archive. It would have been different if someone was asking for some formula that a scientist had written on a napkin, and then he ate it instead of revealing some deep dark secret. The truth is still out there and just give a grant to someone else to do the research, if so much is at stake. This is peanuts.

Agreed, I will trade for more openness in exchange for less of a "war on science".

Yes, yes, yes. here's another example of the partial privatization game screwing us. Thats my biggest problem with real climate "look at the papers". They are almost all behind paywalls. Thats fine for official researchers, as there professional dues, and organization memberships cover these things. But, if we need to get diligent lay people involved (because otherwise doubters will claim scientific fraud), we have to remove the barriers to entry.

Thats my biggest problem with real climate "look at the papers". They are almost all behind paywalls.

Of course, one can always go to the local university and access all of these publications for free. But it's so much easier to click on some random blog and read about the GREATEST SCIENTIFIC HOAX EVAR !1!!!!!!1111!!

Only if one is a registered student, which is hardly free. Otherwise they may charge just for entrance into the library, and they may charge again for online access - or there may well be no printed copies and the journal forbids online access except to registered students and faculty. And just for security reasons (rape, robbery - not so much terrorism) it's not like decades ago when (in some places) you could just walk in. And the tiny department library that actually carries these arcane journals will not be open to you as an outsider except for a few hours on some weekdays only, if at all. And it may be a very long drive indeed from where you live. This is why I argued so, ummm ... heatedly ... that everything should be made openly available, and that the journal publishers, which never served any useful purpose at any time I can recall (if for no other reason than that no serious researcher could afford to wait years while they dilly-dallied over an important paper, so everyone went with preprint sources while the library served as a musty archive of outdated curiosities), ought to have been relegated to the garbage-dump of history ages ago.

IOW nice snide try, but no cigar.

Only if one is a registered student, which is hardly free.

Hmm, well at the University of Washington, at least, anybody can just walk into any of the libraries and do their thing. I did this a few months ago for a journal in the Fisheries and Oceanography library.

It's about $1000 an article to cover the printer's costs in this case.

Printer's cost? What is this, the bleeping twentieth century??? Almost every paper has, for decades now, been made available in preprint form (decades ago they were mimeographed.) Take the preprint that's already been written up on the computer and distributed, and post it on the Web. The journal-publishing outfits are all absolutely, utterly superfluous by now, they need to die and never, ever be heard from again.

How about you look at fees charged for open access like here http://www.agu.org/pubs/authors/pub_fees/index.shtml
I'm currently publishing a paper in GRL 14 page units at $142.50 /unit = $1995 US
I break copyright law like that and I'll never publish in a AGU journal again and I might have to deal with their copyright lawyers. You sign away copyrights when you publish.

I break copyright law like that and I'll never publish in a AGU journal again...

Exactly. That's why I suggested that maybe it's time to leave the twentieth century, destroy such publishers utterly and stomp their remains into dust - and maybe, on further reflection, it's high time that for all taxpayer-funded research, any and all copyrights and patents produced are to be held by the Federal Government and kept open to all comers. As a taxpayer I see no reason whatever to pay twice. What are those parasites doing with the $1995 anyhow??? Not paying the peer-reviewers for their time...

MHI Signs MOU with PBMR Pty on Development of Small-size Nuclear Power Generation Plant

Based on the MOU, MHI will initially study the area for possible collaboration in the design of 200 MWt (megawatts thermal) plant

A Critique of the Canadian Think Tank (Centre for International Governance Innovation) Report That Claims There Will be No Nuclear Energy Revival Before 2030

I looked over the 40 page overview (have not found the full report/study)


The report is broadly biased in what is included and how it is presented and the conclusions are wrong. The report can be summarized - "we think that nuclear power will develop slowly up to 2030 but then in case it does not let use push for legislation to make sure it does go even slower."

They say that there will be little net nuclear power added but do not have a breakdown of which nuclear reactors will be shutdown and when. There will be no more German reactors shut down as the politics have shifted.

They also say that maybe China will generate 5% of electricity from nuclear power. They do not also then quantify that amount as 70GW in 2020 and 160-200 GW in 2030. Those would be significant additions.

Projections for 2010-2014

2010 9 new reactors, 6.2 GWe (shifted the two Canadian Reactors to 2011)
2011 11 new reactors, 9.3 GWe
2012 10 new reactors, 9.92 GWe
2013 12 new reactors, 13.08 GWe
2014 14 new reactors, 13.63 GWe

by 2014 the world generation should be about 3120 billion kwh.

500 billion kwh will be comparable to added generation from solar and wind power. Wind generated about 260 billion kwh in 2008.

I also detail how they are wrong about thorium and breeder reactors.

The report tries to also claim high prices for world nuclear build as the major factor in preventing more nuclear build. they also claim that lack of subsidies for nuclear will prevent it as well. The report does not look at prices for nuclear build in China and South Korea or Russia or India. Most of the future world nuclear build is on order for Asia. So any failure for world wide nuclear build has to look at the prices in Asia.

This is like saying there will be no growth in human population from now to 2030 and only looking at the birth rate of europeans and americans while ignoring African and asian birth rates.


excerpt from China's edge in renewable energy by Keith Bradsher THE NEW YORK TIMES

* China's biggest advantage might be its domestic demand for electricity, which is rising 15 percent a year. To meet demand in the coming decade, according to statistics from the International Energy Agency, China will need to add nearly nine times as much electricity generation capacity as the United States will. As a result, Chinese producers of generating equipment enjoy enormous efficiencies from large-scale production

* In China, power companies have to buy new equipment anyway, and alternative energy, particularly wind and nuclear, is increasingly priced competitively. Interest rates as low as 2 percent on bank loans — the result of a savings rate of 40 percent and a government policy of steering loans to renewable energy

* China's low labor costs are an advantage in energy. Although wages have risen sharply in the past five years, Vestas still pays Chinese assembly line workers only $4,100 a year.

* The Chinese government charges a renewable energy fee to all electricity users. The fee increases residential electricity bills by 0.25 to 0.4 percent. For industrial users of electricity, the fee doubled in November to roughly 0.8 percent of the electricity bill. The fee revenue goes to companies that operate the electricity grid, to make up the cost difference between renewable energy and coal-fired power.

Given endemic delays of nuclear I won't be surprised if the new capaicty additions will fall short of the projections given.

There are only a few factories in the world that can make the extremely strong construction that is needed for the nuclear reactor. Besides, in a lot of countries new reactors will only replace the old ones.


The very heavy forging capacity in operation today is in Japan (Japan Steel Works), China (China First Heavy Industries and China Erzhong) and Russia (OMZ Izhora). New capacity is being built by JSW, Shanghai Electric Group (SEC) and subsidiaries in China, and in South Korea (Doosan), France (Le Creusot) and Russia (OMZ Izhora and ZiO-Podolsk). New capacity is planned in UK (Sheffield Forgemasters) and India (Larsen & Toubro, Bharat Heavy Electricals, Bharat Forge Ltd). In China the Harbin Boiler Co. and SEC subsidiary SENPE are increasing capacity.

12+ heavy forging sets per year now
About 40 heavy forgings set per year by end of 2012


Japan Steel Works 14,000 t x 2 600 max
4/yr set now and 12 /yr in 2012

MHI Nil, uses forgings to make RPVs double
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI) will spend JPY 15 billion ($138 million) to double its capacity to make nuclear reactor pressure vessels and other large nuclear components by 2011. However, it does not have its own forging capacity. Also MHI will triple production space and add processing tools at its factory in Akashi, Hyogo Prefecture. The company aims to reduce the time to make a reactor vessel from three years to two, and to triple annual sales to 600 billion yen in ten years from 200 billion yen in 2007.

South Korea
Doosan 13,000 t
17,000 t 540

China CFHI 15,000 t, 12,500 t 580tons max 3/yr now and 5/yr by 2012
Harbin Boiler 8000 t
Shanghai (SEC) 15,000 t? 600 2.5/yr now and 6/yr in 2012
China Erzhong + Dongfang 12,700 t 600 3/yr in 2012

China's heavy manufacturing plants can make about seven sets of pressure vessels and steam generators per year, a doubling from 2007, but this is projected to rise to 20 sets per year by 2015.

India L&T 15,000 t ?
600 (in 2011)

Bharat Forge 14,000 t

Europe Areva, SFARsteel 11,300 t 250
Sheffield 10,000 t 15,000 t 500
Saarschmiede 8670 t
ENSA Nil, uses forgings to make RPVs

USA Lehigh 10,000 t 270

Russia OMZ Izhora 12,000 t 15,000 t 600 2/yr now , 4/yr in 2012
ZiO-Podolsk ?, 4/yr in 2012

Russia's main reactor component supplier is OMZ's Izhorskiye Zavody facility at Izhora which is doubling the production of large forgings so as to be able to manufacture three or four pressure vessels per year from 2011. This represents a RUR 12 billion ($430 million) investment. OMZ is expected to produce the forgings for all new domestic AES-2006 model VVER-1200 nuclear reactors (four per year from 2016), plus exports. At present Izhora can produce the heavy forgings required for Russia's VVER-1000 reactors at the rate of two per year and it is manufacturing components for the first of two Leningrad II VVER-1200 units and for Novovoronezh II, as well as Belene's VVER-1000. These forgings include reactor pressure vessels, steam generator shells, reactor internals, and heavy piping. It shipped steam generator shells to ZiO-Podolsk for finishing.

Which countries and which reactors are getting shutdown now to 2020 ? 2030 ?
How many added versus how many shutdown ?

advancednano, thanks for your update. So they are working on it. Peak delivery of Uranium could become a problem.

Which countries and which reactors are getting shutdown now to 2020 ? 2030 ?
How many added versus how many shutdown ?

I don't know exactly. I read that in Europe 70% of the nuclear reactors has to be replaced in the next 25 years. Also a lot of gas and coal electricity generating plants has to be rebuilt. The maximal lifespan of an electricity plant is mentioned to be 50 years.

Reactors are getting extensions to 60-70 year plant life.
Half of US reactors have licenses extending to 60 years.

Here is a list of the age and power levels of world reactors.

Look through the IAEA database of reactors

Operating extensions in Europe

Even longer extensions contemplated in the USA

Increasingly dependable and emitting few greenhouse gases, the U.S. fleet of nuclear power plants will likely run for another 50 or even 70 years before it is retired -- long past the 40-year life span planned decades ago -- according to industry executives, regulators and scientists.

With nuclear providing always-on electricity that will become more cost-effective if a price is placed on heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions, utilities have found it is now viable to replace turbines or lids that have been worn down by radiation exposure or wear. Many engineers are convinced that nearly any plant parts, most of which were not designed to be replaced, can be swapped out.

"We think we can replace almost every component in a nuclear power plant," said Jan van der Lee, director of the Materials Ageing Institute (MAI), a nuclear research facility inaugurated this week in France and run by the state-owned nuclear giant EDF.

"We don't want to wait until something breaks," he said. By identifying components that are wearing down and replacing them, he said, suddenly nuclear plants will find that "technically, there is no age limit."

"We think we can replace almost every component in a nuclear power plant,"

replacing the components is a kind of rebuiling the plant.

But that is what the regulatory and licensing and business economics turn into the rational choice.
The utility rebuilds it piece by piece in place where it is allowed to do so. Then they do not have to go through the excessive delays and costs of getting the permits for a "new build".
The new build might have the potential for more efficiencies, but because of the years of delays it makes more sense to extend what you are already allowed to do.

The first two "new reactors" in the USA of the 21st century are completions of old reactors. Tennessee Valley Authority completed Browns Ferry reactor and is finishing Watts Bar reactor and may complete two Bellafont reactors.

The other day someone mentioned Bucky Fuller's book The Grunch of Giants.


This is a fantastic book and it spells out, better than anything I have read, that we do not need to waste any more time trying to figure out the next killer app. or new tech. We have the technological know how at this point in history to create a high level lifestyle, say that of the average middle class American in the 1970's, for everyone on the planet. It is not possible only because we have too many historical prejudices in place.

What we need to engineer is a new way of structuring humanity. Those of you focused on hashing out the technological details need to read this book and realize that the work is, for the most part, already done, has been for ages.

What would be worth you time and brain capacity to discuss and solve is why hasn't it been implemented?

Once you understand this it makes all the 200, 300, comment long threads discussing the details (social networking for wonks?) over and over seem rather silly. Doesn't it.

Fuller like many others, got his information from the Technocracy technate design and Technocracy movement. Like J. Fresco and others, he then took the main guts out of it and presented it like he was a minor genius. But, lets not confuse where his ideas came from, at least the worthwhile ones.
A problem though.
He kept things connected to a Price System.
So maybe he was not so creative after all?
Because anything connected with that method is doomed... kind of like the Kurzweil's and the Singularity people and their efforts to 'monetize' the future. Is it really brilliant, or just recycled nonsense from the past? Technology destroys the current system... soon because Neo-classical economics no longer work, and will not work in the future except as a kind of nightmare.

I am not talking about Fuller although I don't believe he " took" anything from the Technocracy movement.

I am talking about the fact that we have all the technology we need to implement massive efficiency gains and conservation, raise the quality of life of mankind, (or I should say equalize out the quality of life) addressing population and all. Fuller has some great ideas but I am in no way limiting this to him, his inventions, nor anything from technocracy.

Whats missing is not technology in fact I would argue that how we applied it is what got us into this mess.

As I said we need to redo the supersystem under which humanity is structured and there I agree with you that the price system, the monetary system is the biggest element of that.

Sorry, and yes I agree that the 'operating' system we use is the problem.
The Mystery of Money

I'm a long time fan of all things Fuller.

Very frequently I hear or read of my artifacts adjudged by critics as being "failures," because I did not get them into mass-production and "make money with them." Such money-making-as-criteria-of-success critics do not realize that money-making was never my goal. I learned very early and painfully that you have to decide at the outset whether you are trying to make money or to make sense, as they are mutually exclusive.

Modern free market capitalist economics as practiced in the US, doesn't now, nor ever has, made any sense other than as an exploitative mechanism for concentrating resources and wealth in the hands of a small minority to the detriment of the many.

Fuller understood this at the most fundamental of levels.

I had Fuller as a professor (Future of Man, UCSB), or more apropatly a guest lecturer.
I would not be so enamored, as he was a technocopian, and bitter, and in my humble opinion, out of touch.
I know I'm going to get flack from this, but I wasn't impressed.

Gas explosion at power plant in Connecticut. Breaking Now.

CNN says "mass casualties"

More at


Dozens of injuries are reported at a power plant explosion in Middletown Sunday morning.

The explosion happened around 11:30 a.m. at the Kleen Energy Plant on River Road.

Reached by phone, plant general manger Gordon Holk said he was enroute to the plant, and did want to speculate on the number of injured. He said the plant is a 620 megawatt gas-fired power plant.

People Durham, Wallingford, Middlefield, East Hampton and as far away as Madison and Old Saybrook reported feeling the explosion. Black smoke was seen billowing the plant along the banks of the Connecticut River.

Mutual aid was called in from the surrounding towns Durham, Haddam, Middlefield, Cromwell and Berlin. Lifestar has been called to the scene to transport the injured.

Stay with www.nbcconnecticut.com for more information on this breaking story.


MIDDLETOWN - Witnesses and emergency response authorities said as many as 100 people were injured and an undetermined number may have died when a massive explosion, which homeowners more than 10 miles away and mistook for an earth quake, blew up a power plant being built on the Connecticut River in the southern section of Middletown.

An hour after the explosion and what is believed to be the Kleen Energy Systems plant on River Road, emergency rescue personnel were continuing to arrive by vehicle and helicopter. Helicopters were airlifting victims to area hospitals.

Neighbors of the plant said as many as 100 employees may have been working there when the explosion took place. Confirmed information about damage and injuries from authorities was difficult to obtain.

A resident of East Hampton almost directly across the river from the plant said he heard a load booming explosion at about 11 a.m. Immediately afterward his house was hit with a concussion that caused him to believe someone had driven an automobile into his home. The concussion interrupted services at a nearby East Hampton church, causing parishioners to speculate that the area had just experienced an earthquake.

Other witnesses said they felt the concussion as far away as North Branford and Durham.

A neighbor of the plant said there were quantities of natural gas on the site.

A witness looking at the destruction from across the river in Portland said the main plant building seemed to have been substantially leveled.

State police fire and explosive investigators were rushing to the scene at around noon Sunday, as well as state police urban rescue crews, which would search rubble for victims.

Further edit: Live coverage at http://www.cnn.com/video/flashLive/live.html?stream=stream1

Unconfirmed reports that gas line pressure testing may have been underway at the time. Between 100 and 300 people reported onsite at time (shift change about time of explosion apparently).

Occidental Petroleum replaced 200 percent of its BOE production in 2009. 73% of its production is liquids.

Branson warns that oil crunch is coming within five years:


I find it interesting that the well-worn topic of Peak Oil has recently been found some attention at high level meetings and spoken by some powerful people.

Who? When? Where? Enquiring TODers want to know!

Branson warns that oil crunch is coming within five years:


"The next five years will see us face another crunch – the oil crunch. This time, we do have the chance to prepare. The challenge is to use that time well," Branson

He is probably at least five years wrong in his prediction and an appeal to politicians or businessmen on this issue is like appealing to a witch-doctor or snake oil sales group.
Its like listening to Bill Gates discuss economics... really pointless.

The incredible replenishing natural resource "Natural Gas". When I first found out about P.O my concern turned towards NG. At that time we only had 57TCF in recoverable reserves.


Now 6yrs later according to EIA we still have the same amount.


Is this because of an increase in consumption of legumes? Can someone verify this mathematical impossibility?
Canada and the Us has been using 6TCF/yr and this does not include the oil sands.

Mathematical impossibilities do not matter in government.

Additional Corn Ethanol Plant Capacity Can Now Replace The Cellulosic Mandate:


But what is more important is that the cellulosic ethanol mandates are so far from being economically met, that the EPA lowered the 2010 requirement in the mandate from 100 million gallons to 6.5 million gallons. And, with the new rules issued, if the cellulosic mandate fails to meet its objectives (frankly, no seed company has invested a dollar in switchgrass genetics as compared to about $1 billion/ year in corn) corn ethanol, as long as it demonstrates the new GHG requirements could REPLACE the cellulosic requirement.

I found an article from Scientific Amarican that may answer the magic increase in reserves. They are including shale. No mention of economic factors or at what price NG has to be at for this to be feasible. I believe we are really down to our last few years of reality reserves.

Making biofuels from food is morally objectionable.

I would imagine that even some Iowa farmers are disturbed by the idea of burning food crops for energy. OTOH, a market for ethanol gives the farmer's corn crop some additional value.

Cellulosic ethanol is currently more expensive at $2.35 per gallon cost than corn ethanol at $1.70 per gallon. The acreage of switchgrass in the US is much larger than the acreage of corn so the potential is larger than it is for corn.

The government is investing in the future.

Actually, in this case it might be true(ish). The advances in shale gas were not really expected. Although it is not yet certain how it will play out, if does seem like the improvement in extraction technology is going to buy us some time. And that latest deep drill just off Louisiana (deep water something -we did discuss it here), shows we still have at least some more conventional gas deposits available. So I don't find flat -or even increasing reserves to be incongrous. Of course the resource is still finite, so we will run out eventually. But perhaps we have a decade or two before it becomes a big issue.

Plenty of gas, but what to do with the foul byproduct?

Fracking a horizontal well requires huge amounts of water - up to 5 million gallons per well, compared with 50,000 gallons in some conventional wells.


Congratulations to Alan from Big Easy and all the other, now celebrating, long suffering fans of the New Orleans Saints. It was a great game.

It was a great game! I feel sorry for the players in between possessions. How do they remain focused and warm when they're just standing or sitting for all that time?

Also, think about the poor team owners. Apparently they have reached a point of not being able to capitalize on the big game to any greater degree. So, word is they may go to pay per view, and charge $150 a pop. Also, when that happens all playoff games will be $50 each. The NFL ticket for all the games, the playoffs and the Super Bowl are estimated to be $995. in 10 easy payments of 99.50 every other week, when introduced in the year 2014.

That sure seems like a lot, doesn't it? Apparently though the ads will still run, and there will be many more ads between plays. The NFL owners have set a target of 40 billion a season in revenue by the year 2014. Wow, 40 billion!

They are also talking about selling what are in the planning stages of what are called 'hi-jacking ads'. During the Super bowl, certain ads will hi-jack your set and play at random times during other broadcasts and on other channels for up to 45 days. Now that really seems like too much, doesn't it?!