Drumbeat: February 15, 2010

Virgin's Richard Branson takes on peak oil

But it’s not just the powerful backing from Branson and company that is suddenly giving heart to those warning of peak oil. They also point to signs that even the British government is opening itself up to the possibility of an oil drought.

"Some people see peak oil (as an) imminent and high probability threat, others say that demand will peak first,” Chris Barton, the British government official responsible for planning the country's energy security, said Wednesday at an event to mark the release of the report. “So who is right? Well, we don’t know who is right, but we do recognize that the risk of rising and volatile oil prices is real.”

In the highly polarized debate over peak oil, researchers blame the poor quality of data available to them and a lack of transparency from oil producers and corporate interests as the main reasons for why the picture remains clouded.

“It gets worse for where it really matters, such as the big Middle Eastern producers and the OPEC countries,” says Steve Sorrell, the chief author of a separate report last year by Britain’s biggest research center on sustainable energy systems, which claimed conventional oil production is likely to peak before 2030, with a significant risk of a peak before 2020. “It’s also certainly the case that those industry bodies that do have the data may deem it not to be in their interests to be fully transparent.”

Why Natural Gas Vehicles Won't Decrease Oil Dependence, Part IV

There was a remarkable divergence in 2007 from the usual Residential-NGV spread. From 1990-2000, the spread averaged $2/MMBtu. Natural gas prices were 50% dearer to the residential customer than the NGV customer. Then, in 2007, the spread widened to $6, or 75% dearer than NGV prices. The EIA doesn't offer the data for 2009 yet.

Even with this 50% difference, though, for the majority of the states in Figure 1, the differential between gasoline & CNG obtained via a Phill would vanish, and it would actually be more expensive per mile than gasoline. When you couple this with decreased range, slightly increased maintenance, about $5,000 more expensive car costs, a couple of $'000 on the Phill, the long recharge times & the volatility in the residential gas price, I'm not sure where the value for the residential customer is.

Environmentalists launch low-carbon 'churches in transition'

Christian Ecology Link have launched a support network for "Churches in Transition”, part of the Transition Towns movement, and has held a major national conference on the transition to low carbon lives.

At their bi-annual gathering in Scarborough this weekend, 50 participants from across the Christian spectrum came together to explore the implications of climate change and ‘peak oil’.

IPCC errors: facts and spin

Currently, a few errors –and supposed errors– in the last IPCC report (“AR4″) are making the media rounds – together with a lot of distortion and professional spin by parties interested in discrediting climate science. Time for us to sort the wheat from the chaff: which of these putative errors are real, and which not? And what does it all mean, for the IPCC in particular, and for climate science more broadly?

Rate of ocean acidification the fastest in 65 million years

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new model, capable of assessing the rate at which the oceans are acidifying, suggests that changes in the carbonate chemistry of the deep ocean may exceed anything seen in the past 65 million years.

Demand for Oil Set to Rise Anew

NEW YORK — Chinese oil demand is once more growing fast, rebel militants are threatening to attack pipelines in Nigeria, and tensions are again rising in the Gulf. Recent headlines are increasingly making it seem like 2003 all over again.

In recent times, oil has taken a back seat while the world has focused on the recession. As economies slowed, oil demand fell for two consecutive years, the first time that has happened since the early 1980s.

Now, as much of the world emerges from recession and as geopolitics and threats to energy supplies return to the fore, oil consumption is expected to rebound again, driven mostly by Asia and the Middle East.

But the market is better equipped to handle the stresses this time around.

Aramco to inject CO2 into biggest oilfield by 2012

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - State oil giant Saudi Aramco plans to inject carbon dioxide into the world's biggest oilfield by 2012, a year ahead of previous plans, a government official said on Monday.

The giant field Ghawar pumped 5 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2008, more than half of top oil exporter Saudi Arabia's output. The kingdom announced plans last year for a pilot project to pump the climate-warming gas into the field to both improve production and reduce emissions.

Gains in Global Wind Capacity Reported

The Global Wind Energy Council, a trade association based in Brussels, estimates that wind power capacity grew by 31 percent worldwide in 2009, with 37.5 additional gigawatts installed, bringing global wind power capacity to 157.9 gigawatts.

China accounted for a third of the new capacity, and the Chinese market experienced more than 100 percent growth.

Mass transit for Motor City

DETROIT (CNNMoney.com) -- Can Motor City combat its economic ills by becoming Rail City?

Along Detroit's Woodward Avenue, a downtown stretch that seems permanently stuck in the "emerging" phase of business development, community leaders are hoping a new light rail system will help spark a renaissance. The city plans to break ground this year on stage one of a $420 million project: the first modern, mass-transit initiative in a city long synonymous with automobiles.

Canada's dirty secret

Conventional oil sources are dwindling and Canada's tar sands may provide a solution. But at what cost?

Euroland, the Horror Movie

Europe is a sad case, really poignant, because it became such a darn nice corner of the world after the convulsions of the mid 20th century. Who, for instance, can spend two weeks walking the lovely ancient streets of Bruges or Orvieto, or Lisbon and not fall to their knees in overwhelming despair on return to the slum of Kennedy Airport? Europe rebuilt itself so beautifully after the war while America became a utopia of overfed clowns riding in clown cars around the plasticized cartoon outskirts of our ruined cities. Europe had wonderful public transit while America let its railroads rot away. European men went about their business in grown-up clothing while Americans men dressed like five-year-olds and got flames tattooed on their necks as though contemplating a barbarian invasion of Akron, Ohio.

But history, that prankster, in the awful melodrama of industrial capital's demise, now seems to have backed lovely, reformed Europe into a corner as an early object-lesson in the agonies of de-complexifying and re-localization. The monetary union seemed like a great idea as long as the members appeared to play straight in the revolving credit racket. Europe had never been so peaceful and happy for so long. But the financial crisis has opened a yawning black hole in the operating system, and into it has been sucked all the elaborately constructed abstract markers of wealth -- in the form of credit-gone-bad -- and now the sad truth is that there really isn't enough wealth to go around. Places like Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland have to return to their previous condition as narcoleptic economic backwaters. Either that or Germans and Frenchmen have to work an extra seventeen hours a week to prop these places up, and somehow that seems unlikely to happen.

Kurt Cobb: Climate change deniers and our human nature

The reason such sloppy critiques of climate science have gained so much traction with the public has less to do with their scientific logic--which is almost nonexistent--and more to do with human psychology. Humans tend to be heavily influenced by recent events and by their social milieu. For example, they tend to give more credence to something they heard last week at a party with friends than something published in a scientific journal last year even if it was given broad media play. Hence the effect on the public mind of the not-so-coincidental release of the above mentioned hacked emails right before the Copenhagen climate summit--and the ongoing viral campaign on the Internet, perfect for getting people to transmit disinformation person to person: "I read on the net that..."

Climate Catastrophe: Surviving the 21st Century

The scale of human and physical resources needed to turn our current suicide economy into a green economy is daunting, but absolutely necessary and achievable. The only viable roadmap for survival-an 80-90% reduction in fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050-means we must force a drastic reduction in military spending (current wars and military spending are costing us almost one trillion dollars a year). We must tax the rich and the greenhouse gas polluters, and bring our out-of-control politicians, banks, Federal Reserve System, and corporations to heel.

At Shared Offices, How Green Is My Work Space

Hunched over their computers on a recent afternoon, two brothers were sketching plans to build a green roof for an elementary school in Brooklyn. One row and three desks away, a woman was working on an environmentally friendly fashion project, a little black dress that can be worn 365 ways.

Nearby, an information technology consultant was briefing a client on how cloud computing could save her money while also saving the environment. And in a corner toward the end of the long room of desks and chairs, a young man was surrounded by stacks of jeans mailed in to his company for repair and reuse.

Saudi Arabia Says Peak Demand for Oil Is an ‘Alarm’

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia must be “very serious” about any possible peak in oil demand, which is an “alarm” for OPEC’s biggest exporter to diversify its economy, a Saudi oil ministry adviser said.

Saudi Arabia is making a push into renewable energy and is starting its first carbon capture project, Oil Ministry adviser Mohammad al-Sabban said today at the World Economic Forum in the Saudi city of Jeddah. The country will start injecting carbon dioxide into Ghawar, the world’s largest oil field, in 2012, he said.

Oil demand in some developed industrialized nations is contracting, partly as a result of the economic slowdown. Those concerns are different to so-called “peak oil” theorists who say oil production has already reached maximum levels and will inevitably decline.

Saudi Arabia Pumps 8 Million Barrels a Day Now, Official Says

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia is producing about 8 million barrels of crude oil currently, and has excess capacity of about 4 million barrels a day.

Saudi Arabia’s Debt Rating Raised to Aa3 by Moody’s

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia’s credit rating was raised by Moody’s Investors Service, which cited “strong” government finances that have withstood volatile oil prices and the global recession.

BP sees steady 2010 oil price

Oil is set to hold in its current range during 2010, although some upwards movement could be possible, oil major BP's chief economist Christof Ruehl said today.

"We would expect oil prices for the remainder of the year in the current range, perhaps with a slight upwards drift but no dramatic spikes," Ruehl said in an interview with Reuters Insider television on the sidelines of an industry conference in London.

Mining industry warns of another energy price spike

The Industry Taskforce for Peak Oil and Energy Security is predicting a sustained rise in the oil price to more than $100 within five years.

This is a perfectly reasonable assumption, particularly because new sources of oil – such as deepwater Brazil and the freezing tundra of Siberia – are very expensive to develop. Each barrel of oil produced in the future will be more expensive to get out of the ground. It is clear prices will have to rise. However, it's not just oil that is likely to see price rises over the next decade. It looks likely that virtually everything is going to get more expensive.

The global population is expanding rapidly and, in plenty of cases, gentrifying too. So demand for everything from toothpaste to packaging to foodstuffs is going to rise significantly over the next decade.

Delivery due

It was a seductive story for the new millennium. Popularised in the heady days before the financial crisis by Jim Rogers, the author and investor, the so-called commodity super-cycle promised a period of spectacular demand for commodities of all kinds following the emergence of a big new industrial power.

This, it was claimed, was what happened with Britain in the 19th century and the US in the early 20th. So now it was China's turn to drive the cycle. "If history is any guide," said Mr Rogers in a widely quoted statement that fired investors' imaginations, "this bull market is going to last until between 2014 and 2022 and everything is going much higher."

Global warming and population pressure added a twist to the argument by reviving interest in the catastrophe theory of the economist Thomas Robert Malthus, who argued in the late 18th century that the world's food supplies would run out. Further impetus came from "peak oil" theory, which held that the rate of oil production was about to go into terminal decline.

Yet a compelling tale in 2007 about strong demand and short supply looked like snake oil in 2008 as commodities crashed, with the notable exception of gold. Even after their recovery in 2009, most commodity prices are still well short of their peaks. With prices wobbling again as investors have become more risk-averse over the past month, faith in the super-cycle is being put to yet another severe test.

Oman Sees Rising Oil Output on Hard-to-Develop Fields

(Bloomberg) -- Oman, the largest Arab oil producer that’s not a member of OPEC, aims to raise crude output to about 900,000 barrels a day by using new techniques and technology to boost the rate of recovery from its deposits.

The country will reach that level as a long-term plateau for oil production within two years, Nasser bin Khamis al- Jashmi, under-secretary in the Oil Ministry, told reporters today. Oman expects to pump about 860,000 barrels of oil a day this year, up from 812,000 barrels a day last year.

Natural Gas Producers: Is There Profitless Prosperity Ahead?

Today I want to try to make the analogy to the semiconductor industry, which is one I have followed more closely over the years. Semiconductors have proliferated in recent years, with very strong unit growth in all segments. On top of very robust demand, the supply has gone up as well, and Moore's Law has continued to rule.

While it may surprise you, worldwide semiconductor billings are very near their all-time high, which is well above the bubble high from 2000. If you look at the earnings, though, in the industry, it is clear that only a handful of companies have been able to prosper. Most have endured what many have called a "profitless prosperity", where everyone is busy working but not making money.

Shipping Adds 32% as Boats Await Coal From Newcastle

(Bloomberg) -- The fastest expansion in world trade in three years is clogging up ports from Australia to Brazil, driving a 32 percent jump in charter rates by December.

Gazprom Moves to Methane Output

Gazprom started coal-bed methane production in Russia after U.S. success in developing unconventional fuel reserves spurred global interest.

BP weighs $1.3-billion oilsands deal

LONDON–British oil major BP PLC is in talks to pay about $1.3 billion to buy a majority stake in a privately held Canadian company with large reserves of Alberta oilsands deposits, the Sunday Times reported.

U.K. Issues Gateway License for Gas Storage Under Irish Sea

(Bloomberg) -- The U.K. Department of Energy and Climate Change issued a license to Gateway Storage Co. to build a natural-gas storage site in salt caverns under the Irish Sea as the country seeks to increase its fuel reserves.

Russia is Focus of Oil And Gas Acquisitions

Russia accounted for 10 percent of total worldwide mergers and acquisitions in the oil and gas exploration and production sectors, consulting firm Wood Mackenzie said in a report published Friday.

A total of $16 billion was spent on M&A by Russia firms, more than 10 percent of the total $150 billion worth of deals conducted in 2009, up significantly from the $2 billion spent in 2008, said Luke Parker, a researcher at Wood Mackenzie who contributed to the report.

Moscow cuts export duty as prices dip

Russia will cut its oil export duty by around 6% to $253.60 per tonne (7.9 barrels) from 1 March to reflect a fall in crude prices, the country's Finance Ministry said today.

E.ON Says U.K. Power Prices Must Reflect Cost of Backup Plants

(Bloomberg) -- E.ON AG, the second-largest power producer in Britain, said U.K. energy prices must reflect the cost of backup supply as the country boosts output from renewable sources.

Utilities need to keep running gas-fired plants because sources of alternative generation such as wind can fluctuate, E.ON’s Director of Regulation and Energy Policy Sara Vaughan said in a telephone interview. The battery technology that’s used to store power from wind remains in its infancy, she said.

Iraq mulls over Kurdistan expense claims

Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said today the federal government could end up paying exploration and extraction costs of oil companies working in Iraqi Kurdistan but not their profits.

India Ministry Seeks Monthly Change in Fuel Prices

(Bloomberg) -- India’s oil ministry recommended that auto fuel prices be freed from government control and revised monthly to reduce losses at state-owned refiners including Indian Oil Corp.

The coalition federal government is seeking political consensus on freeing gasoline and diesel prices, as recommended by a panel, an oil ministry official said in New Delhi today, asking not to be identified because the decisions aren’t final.

Renewables can ensure energy security

Peak oil has been around for a while now. Energy specialists in India, specially those working in the renewable energy space, are now talking the same about coal: not quite peak coal but an increasing likelihood that coal will not always be available to run power plants.

Will this mean that development as we know will come to a halt, given that energy production and consumption are regarded internationally as a major cause for climate change? For India, a net importer of fossil fuel, including gas, and increasingly of coal, energy security is a compelling reason to go green, G M Pillai, director general, World Institute of Sustainable Energy (WISE) believes.

The public transport dilemma

There is a popular assumption that the great bulk of passenger trips in our major cities need to be shifted to public transport in order to deal with the twin issues of climate change and peak oil. It seems that each time a new road is proposed, there is an automatic presumption that public transport would be a better solution.

Yet this 'single solution' mentality is both improbable and unnecessary. The reality is that there is no single solution to the transport needs of Australia's major cities - all modes are important.

Massive lithium reserves could make Bolivia a key energy supplier

SALAR DE UYUNI, Bolivia - On the edge of an evaporated sea, where the cracked white earth spreads for hundreds of miles over a desolate horizon, wood scaffolding surrounds the first buildings of a project that could transform South America’s poorest nation into the world’s key energy supplier.

Beneath this high desert in the Andes is about half the planet’s supply of lithium, dwarfing all other known sources of the rare mineral, which has experienced a surge in demand in recent years. It is used in making batteries to power everything from cellphones to electric cars.

The Bolivian government is about to launch a multimillion-dollar pilot project to bore into the pristine salt flats and mine the briny liquid below for the valuable element. The US Geological Survey estimates at least 5.4 million tons of lithium could be extracted from the Salar de Uyuni, compared with just 410,000 tons of reserves in the United States.

Cities Prepare for Life With the Electric Car

SAN FRANCISCO — If electric cars have any future in the United States, this may be the city where they arrive first.

The San Francisco building code will soon be revised to require that new structures be wired for car chargers. Across the street from City Hall, some drivers are already plugging converted hybrids into a row of charging stations.

Electric vehicles key to EU energy policy, says Galán

Power companies have a key role to fulfil in the deployment of electric vehicles due to their responsibilities in ensuring power supplies and developing smart grids, according to Iberdrola Chairman Ignacio Galán.

GE Energy Finance Unit May Expand B.C. Wind Farm

(Bloomberg) -- General Electric Co.’s energy finance unit said it may double the capacity of a wind farm in British Columbia, increasing its bet on renewable-power in Canada’s westernmost province.

Nuclear ‘tweaks’ could be a deal-breaker

When is a “tweak” in a legislative bill a deal breaker?

Maybe, just maybe, when the change is to an already controversial section on nuclear power that’s part of the proposed Clean Energy Jobs Bill for Wisconsin.

Pinpointing Emissions at Their Source

SAN FRANCISCO — The recent Copenhagen climate talks faltered in part over how to verify that nations are actually reducing their carbon emissions. Likewise, the integrity of emissions trading markets, like the one under consideration by the U.S. Congress, will depend on the ability to accurately measure greenhouse gases.

That’s creating a burgeoning global business for Picarro, a Silicon Valley company that makes portable analyzers that take precise real-time measurements of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases. The machines also allow scientists to pinpoint the source of emissions.

Global Warming Skeptics Lambaste Plan to Increase Funding for Climate Change Research

Global warming skeptics are agog that President Obama is seeking to dramatically increase federal funding for global warming research in the wake of the Climate-gate scandals that have emerged during the last three months.

The federal budget for 2011 proposes $2.6 billion for the Global Change Research Program, a 21 percent boost over 2010. It will bring funding to a level higher than under any administration dating back to 1989 -- when global warming first attracted federal budget funds.

Greenland's glaciers disappearing from the bottom up

Water warmed by climate change is taking giant bites out of the underbellies of Greenland's glaciers. As much as 75 per cent of the ice lost by the glaciers is melted by ocean warmth.

"There's an entrenched view in the public community that glaciers only lose ice when icebergs calve off," says Eric Rignot at the University of California, Irvine. "Our study shows that what's happening beneath the water is just as important."

Greenland's glaciers disappearing from the bottom up
The underwater faces of the different glaciers retreated by between 0.7 and 3.9 metres each day, 

umm... 4 meters a day seems like too much. at this pace, by the end of the year there should be no glacier left.
edit: also, we're in february

I think they mean 4meters horizontally off the front, not 4M/day of the bottom (i.e. not thinning the glacier, but removong ice from the front). This .7 to 3.9 meters is counteracted by the ice flow, so the front retreats slower than that. But 4M/day would be about a mile per year, Jacobshaven has been retreating faster than that.

the article is fuzzy about that part. water doesn't melt ice "sideways", plus they use words like top and bottom.

the average of 2m per day of melting is more than a normal person's height. one year's worth of melting would be a 600 meters tall glacier, and that's a lot. maybe the bottom-up melting compensates with the sideways sliding of the glacier. it basicly says then when ice hits water, it's as good as gone

Baffin Bay between Greenland and Canada is the site of some recent oil and gas exploration license blocks. A number of oil companies will be there. I imagine the place was yet at risk from icebergs. I believe Greenland welcomed them into the area and is not hysterically worried about the loss of a few feet of ice.

For some reason everytime I look at your handle it morphs into 'moonbeam'.

I have trouble not reading OldFarmerMac as OldFarmersAlmanack.

rainey -- If you want to read about iceberg defense search the Canadian field "Hibernia".

I remember reading a PDF about Hibernia. They had to lay the well infrastructure flush with the ocean bed low enough to prevent the bottoms of icebergs from tearing the well head and pipes. Hibernia is off the coast of Nova Scotia a good ways south of Greenland. Thanks for the reminder. I had forgotten.

umm... 4 meters a day seems like too much. at this pace, by the end of the year there should be no glacier left.

Let us not exaggerate.

The underwater faces of the different glaciers retreated by between 0.7 and 3.9 metres each day, representing 20 times more ice than melts off the top of the glacier.

That is an average of 2.3 meters per day for the portion of the glaciers that are underwater. That represents only the tip of the glacier that is hanging off the main glacier which is on land. This is not an iceberg mind you. An iceberg is about seven eights underwater. The glacier has only the very tip in the water.

This is alarming enough without making it worse than it actually is.

Ron P.

When a glacier approaches the sea, the bottom of the glacier remains in contact with the ground until is well below sea level, held down by the weight of the ice column above that extends above sea level. This study found that these glaciers, in the middle of summer, had their contact point with the ground retreat at a rate of up to 4M a day because the warm sea water was penetrating deep under the tongue of ice, and presumably helped by the rising and falling of the tides. This is not the same as the whole glacier retreating at 4m a day.

Presumably in winter, some of this retreat will be reversed. It will take multi-year studies to find out that data.

Good point Ralph. More importantly a bit of logic: the leading edge of the glacier can't melt any farther back then the section in the sea. If the entire front edge were to melt in a single day you would only be missing that portion of the glacier.

But along those line I recall a strudy done many years ago about the Antarctic glaciers suddenly moving much faster towards the sea. The conclusion was that increased melt along the base was acting like lubricant and causing the increase. Could this increase met base melt be caused by AGW? Not likely. They calculated it would take 10,000 years for any surface temp change to be transmitted thru the very thick ice to the base.

I think this is one of the re-occuring problems with arguing AGW: other natural events causing changes that might look like AGW but are easliy disproved. That's why it's important IMHO for proponents to not overreach for AGW symptoms: if the deniers can take one inappropriate example out of 20 valid ones and prove it to the less the brillant world that it's not AGW we lose the argument with much of the public.

Could this increase met base melt be caused by AGW? Not likely. They calculated it would take 10,000 years for any surface temp change to be transmitted thru the very thick ice to the base.

Unless of course, this happens:


Interesting trekker...thanks. You might have seen about 10 or so years ago a volcano erupted below a glacier in Iceland and the resultant flood was dramatic to say the least. There were boulders the size of a small building carried away. Saw the film....quit a sight.

This is a common occurrence, as water first forms as lakes on the surface, and then drains to the bottom of the ice cap through fissures, transferring the heat from the top to the bottom.
But a volcano would, as your example shows, really speed things up.
This is a possibility in the Antarctic also.

It is being postulated that the increased flow of water to the base of glaciers is transmitting more energy from the surface. The water is the carrier, not the ice. Erosion and more warm(er) water are undermining the glaciers at a faster rate.

Antarctic glaciers are moving faster because the ice shelf holding them back is breaking off and floating out to sea. Google Antarctic glaciers moving faster and you will get dozens of web pages explaining this phenomena. And this is by global warming.

Ron P.

Ron -- I thought it was the other way around: the glaciers are moving faster and shoving the ice shelf out.

You say tomato...I say tomata...just messin' with you buddy.

You talk about AGW believers and deniers. I think a more important split is whether people believe AGW should be emphasized as an issue.

My personal belief is that other limits to growth issues are at least as important as AGW, and there is a significant chance that AGW issues will be trumped by other issues. So in some ways, whether AGW theory is true or not doesn't matter much.

I wish we could figure out terms which would distinguish:

1. People who think AGW theory is both true and important. I would think that a large share of these folks are ones who believe that BAU can continue, essentially indefinitely. It is a great theory for politicians, who want to "sell" the need for changes, without admitting to peak oil.

2. People who think AGW is overemphasized, whether or not the theory is true. It is one issue among many, and likely not the limiting issue.

3. People who think AGW is true and cataclysmic, but it's way too late to do anything about it.

Count me in that camp.

Well, it may not be too late, but we won't do anything about it in time.

However, it's not too late to try to adapt to the changes that are coming.

In order to easily adapt to climate changes you need to know what they will be - I expect climate change (man made or not) but will it be warmer, colder, wetter, drier, cloudier? - I suspect by the time it's obvious what the change for me is it will be too late to do much.

Because of the energy situation in the UK I would like it to become much warmer in the winter months - climate change doesn't have to be for the worse for everybody.

I would like it to become much warmer in the winter months - climate change doesn't have to be for the worse for everybody.

That might appear to be a nice outcome, but if even the moderate prediction of a 1-meter sea level rise by 2100 happens, much of the UK coast -- and low-lying agricultural land -- will be underwater.

if even the moderate prediction of a 1-meter sea level rise by 2100 happens

1) I can't stop it, the damage is already done
2) I live above 200 feet so it shouldn't affect me directly - even if I were to live that long
3) My problem is energy in 5 to 10 years, not flooding in 100 years - 100 years is a long time to make changes to avoid effects, 5 years is much too short for the huge investments required - only change to a more benign climate will do.

Because, let's face it, if it doesn't affect us directly, now, who cares?

That's why we are totally and utterly f**ked.

Homo "sapiens" my ass.

well, he won't be around 2100, won't he?

i wonder how much the average lifespan decreases if tshtf. no doctors, no pills, no hospitals, working for our food...
i guess it will be going back to 50-60 from the current 70+ or so (in the 1st world i mean)

Not necessarily. As I recall, the big wins that extended average lifespans were antibiotics and vaccinations (the combination of which massively reduced infant and childhood mortality), and better treatment of heart disease. None of those are terribly expensive. Anyone that lived past 5 or 6 could have reasonably expected to make 65 barring accidents, the average was lower because so many children died.

The germ theory of disease isn't going to vanish from people's memory. A basic understanding of sanitation can make things much better than they were in the past.

More likely these simple cures will be unavailable for many, and infant mortality will increase. Areas with low life expectancy tend to have high incidence of AIDS as well. Those who survive to the age of 5 will be more likely to live a full life. Those who make it through child-bearing years will likely do better still.

In a few generations aids will coevolve with us and become just another chronic disease-of course in personal terms a few hundred years is a long time.

In the meantime, aids is just another horseman, helping to keep our numbers down.

I'm not as hard hearted as these words imply,just trying to put things in a NATURAL perspective.

I think that public health such as clean water and treated sewage rank up there with vaccination and antibiotics. That knowledge, too, is hard to lose but the capital expense to maintain it with large population density is not trivial.

A civil engineer friend likes to assert that 80 percent plus of the increase in lifespan is due to what used to be called "public health engineering". I don't know where he got the figure, but it sounds about right to me.

But, of course, the key insight for both medicine and water & waste treatment was the Microbe theory of disease.

Yes, another unproven scientific theory. It had its deniers early on.

Google Innaz Phillip Semmelweis .

Sewage treatment should change, too, though. Grey water should be recovered, and human waste as well, if we're to adequately deal with water and nutrient shortages. Taking the nutrients to a landfill makes little sense, really.

How do aerobic home systems deal with disease pathogens? Seems like all the nutrients must get recycled by such systems (and of course by composting toilets as well).

Clean water is probably the most important aspect overall. If you stopped watering lawns and other wasteful activities you could probably cut the volume needed in half.

One must also consider that the notion that a general warming of the Earth would result in local warming may turn out to be wrong. Several model studies suggest that the THC would slow or stop as the result of global warming. That would tend to make the areas around the North Atlantic cooler. If that cooling is superimposed on top of a general warming some time in future, the net effect might be that the general warming is canceled. However, if the shutdown of the THC happens before the general warming kicks in, the net impact would be colder conditions. Sort of like what's happening now.

At my location, around 37 degrees North, we are about to experience another blizzard tonight. And there's another one (warning: graphics intensive) looping around from the North, a storm which was over us last week that went into the North Atlantic and took a westward track back over the Labrador Sea. There's another out there which looks to be about to do the same path, going inland to produce a Nor'Easter over the Great Lakes. This pattern has been repeated for a couple of weeks (or longer..I haven't been watching)...

EDIT: Jeff Masters at The Weather Underground wrote a commentary today about this winter's strange weather. Notice how warm Eastern Canada has been, a pattern which has been persistent since the end of December.

E. Swanson

Black Dog,

My heart goes out to you. Snow is great but the novelty wears thin once the shoveling and cold sets in.

Here in Nova Scotia, we're experiencing an extraordinarily mild winter. Other than snowfalls just after Christmas and around New Year's Day, it has been relatively dry and not very cold. 2010 January's snowfall measurement was down two thirds from normal.

Alas, our good fortune is coming to an end. Local forecast is calling for heavy snow tonight and tomorrow. Maybe as our weather deteriorates, normalcy will resume around the North Atlantic basin.

It's phenomenal that 49 out of the US's 50 states received snow last week. 2010 has been a winter for the books. Jeff Master's graphics says it all.

The Great White North went south with the snow birds. Whether it is an anomaly or a trend, time will tell.



A subtle yet important distiction regarding the difference of adapting versus adjusting.
An example may be; To avoid being totally colonized by the occuppiers, the First Peoples that maintained the core beliefs and practices of their culture choose to adjust in order to survive rather than adapt and perish. A lesson I am learning by the choices I make... MY CHOICE

4. People who think AGW is true and cataclysmic, but human species is not equipped to handle such long term problems and thus nothing serious will be done about it.

5. People who are only marginally better educated than a piece of belly-button fluff and couldn't give a rat's backside what happens to the planet so long as the X-Factor is on TV and they can cling to their spasmodic dream of becoming a 'celebrity'.

6. People who think a warmer earth is just a call for more air conditioning and don't have a clue about how it might affect the production of food (which they believe magically appears on grocery store shelves and has not relation to soil, water and weather).

believe magically appears on grocery store shelves and has not relation to soil, water and weather).

I've yet to see a box of wheaties growing on a tree. So obviously food is a product of industrial man, not nature.

Many people have never seen wheat growing in a field, or even apples growing on a tree. And when I remember turkeys and chickens on the family farm, or winter wheat on the acreage next door, I'm not visualizing the reality of vast agri-business farms or hanger-sized buildings full of poultry being grown like hot-house plants. So much of what seems obvious is habit of thought. Living as I do now amid half-a-million other people, supermarkets and public transport are nature.

Y'all have reminded of a 25 yo memory. Several of the ladies in the office had never seen a driling rig. So I took them on a little field trip to a rig I had running a couple of hours outside of Houston. They had just finished pulling cotton out the fields along the way. I stopped and grabbed a handful of spillage. A couple of ladies not only handn't seen raw cotton before but didn't realize it came from a plant. Who would have thought?

This happened with me just a week back in the office.

I showed some people green coffee - and said when you roast this you get the dark brown coffee seeds used to grind and make coffee. My small audience was stunned - they had nver thought of coffee as something that grew in bushes. And these are well educated people.

Well when I give people loofa sponges they are surprised to know they are grown in soil and are a squash family plant. But at least they usually think they come from the ocean (which some sponges do). However I don't much mind that they don't know about loofas!

But this I did mind - I had a fellow employee who would not accept from me any eggs or garden produce, she only wanted stuff from the store. I guess the eggs of commerical chickens come out of a different hole than the ones our chickens use!

Ahhh, Chicken eggs. Well the store bought ones, are they bleached? Or have they been specially bred to have sparkling white eggs? The first time I saw likewise as a kid, I reacted the same way. I think we are either programmed (or perhaps its natural) to associate white (as in eggs, rice, or bread) with civilized sanitariness, and off color as dangerous.

EOS -- Just remembered another one. Back after the embargo in the 70's a very educated fellow (a doctor I think) said he saw a problem with the planned SPR: if we bury all those millions of barrels of oil under the ground they would eventually rust and the oil would leak out. Two kinds of barrels: a volume measure and a steel drum.

I ate lunch a while back with some pretty politically astute friends. Somehow the the subject of energy came up and one of the ladies mentioned using batteries if we got low on fossil fuels. I replied that normally fossil fuels provided the energy in batteries. They thought I was crazy.

They are bred for the white color. There are genes to suppress the brown color. Wild jungle fowl have lightly tinted eggs. So neither the sparkling white or dark brown are the original colors. There are several breeds that lay very dark red brown eggs, one of them being Marans. http://tinyurl.com/ydk6mep There are also breeds that lay blue eggs called Aracauna. Native South American apparently had them ahead of the Spanish invaders. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Araucana If you cross a red brown Marans with an Aracauna you get a khaki color egg.

Also the white chickens used for meat are also bred to have lighter skin as it markets better, or so we have read. They are also no bred to mature in 6 to 8 weeks. A good percentage die before slaughter just because their legs and hearts can't take the fast growth. But there are also breeds that have black flesh and bones http://grocerytrekker.blogspot.com/2007/02/silkie-black-skinned-white-ch... Needless to say that wouldn't go over big in an American grocery store.

Probably more than you wanted to know. But the value of meat and eggs is the protein and other nutrition it gives us. We have had the luxury of being picky in this country. Those who can't give up being picky likely won't do very well in the coming times.

The color of eggs comment brought back a decades old memory that brings the discussion back to PO and globalization. While doing geology field work in N. Mexico I saw an amazing sight: a brilliant yellow field of small flowers in the middle of a near desert environment. They were marigolds. I researched why they were there. Turns out folks in the EU just love really bright egg yolks. Harvesting is very labor intensive…all handpicked. The flowers are dried, ground to powder and flown to the EU. It’s mixed with chicken feed and BAM! Bright yellow egg yolks for breakfast in Germany.

Perhaps we can adopt the marigold as the PO Flower: a reminder of how we fritted away our excess on such “critical” aspects of our lives.

What is a better way to get yellow yolks is to feed your chickens salad. Greens (collards, sorrel, kale, grass etc) as well as carrots, pumpkin all provide carotene which the chickens direct to their yolks. Sounds like a fudge way to get yellow yolks from industrial eggs instead of giving their birds a truly healthy feed. Our chickens get "salad" every day (they have eaten all the grass in their 1 acre enclosure) either from our garden or toss aways from a family run grocery store. Their yolks are beautiful.


Note that we not only frittered away our oil in transporting the marigolds, they also frittered away the labor of those field workers.

True oxy. Except they at least didn't fritter away the labor. This area could barely support cactus growing. The locals could hardly subsist from what I could tell. What ever little income they made from the maragolds was probably all they had. In that sense they would suffer greatly once the exchange ended as PO took greater hold.

In the sense of current need for employment you are right. I meant that in the larger sense of all the labor frittered away on meaningless production. Something is wrong in a world where people can feed their families, not from their own piece of ground, but by making unnecessary products for people a world away. Sometimes when I see some of the junk sold in this country I wonder what the person in China making that junk thinks of the people who buy it. Well it is a job that feeds their family for sure, but not what I would call meaningful work. I understand that many people are glad to get whatever work they can, but I just don't like the world being that way... well it is what it is (for now)

I agree oxy. I think one of the most difficult aspects of PO to deal with is how much of our society is employed in what many would classify as non-essential. But cut the non-essenial and what do you do with all those millions of newly unemployed? A real trap of our own greedy design IMHO.

Yep Rock, we are trapped and have no one to blame but ourselves (or unintelligent design?)

We get them busy feeding themselves and working together to build localized/individual energy systems. Jobless need not mean destitute.

500 billion would get virtually every household in the US at or near energy self-sufficiency.

See my very rough proposal on my blog. Look for Build out vs. the grid in the archives.


do they need to know?

our buying process must keep up with several hundreds small decisions on a daily basis, many of whom are not created by a plant or an animal. in today's world, you cannot have a rational decision based on analyzing all the facts because you simply cannot do so. sometimes you just have to ignore things, and end up with lead painted killer-toys. i definitely never saw that coming, and never in my mind would have thought to analyze where the paint from a simple toy came, and if it's poisonous.

some things simply "exist" out there for our pleasure. like cotton, and meat that grows in the supermarket.

Can't the same be said for a colder Earth?

I think AGW is true and important...and I do not think BAU can continue.

I think climate change might conceivably be more disastrous than peak oil. So much of our oil use is nonessential. If push comes to shove, we could ration the oil, prioritizing agriculture. We could also go back to a system where almost everyone is a farmer, with human labor substituting for fossil fuel use. (TPTB can call it a jobs program.)

Climate change may be much harder to adapt to. We can expect the climate to become extremely unpredictable before it settles into its new normal. And unpredictable climate is the farmer's worst enemy. This holds true for big ag as well as subsistence farmers or doomsteaders.

There's also the issue of how climate change will affect our transition to the post-carbon age. If sea levels will be rising drastically, does it make sense to build a rail line or nuclear power plant along the coast? Especially with resources/credit scarce - we are going to have to think carefully before building pricey new infrastructure.

During the drought in the southwest a few years back, it was just amazing, all the ways it affected energy. Hydroelectic plants couldn't generate as much energy. Nuclear power plants found their intakes high and dry. Coal barges couldn't make it eastward, because there wasn't enough water in the rivers to support them. Never mind the effects on farming.

We could also go back to a system where almost everyone is a farmer, with human labor substituting for fossil fuel use. (TPTB can call it a jobs program.)

I've always wondered about this. Would having a bunch of humanoids work a field instead of machines actually decrease the yield? Those machines which plant the seeds have got to be much more accurate at getting the seeds spaced correctly etc.

Interesting discussion perhaps?

Would having a bunch of humanoids work a field instead of machines actually decrease the yield?

Could be. But that's not really the point. The current system is not sustainable.

Amen. That is the point. Further, the longer we persist with unsustainable use of the soil, water, oil etc the less the world will be able to support in the future.

Small farms are much more productive per acre than large ones, in some cases up to 100 times. Humans can plant and tend (weed, etc.) much higher densities than can machines. This is true in Soviet Russia, Cuba or the United States.

1992 Census of Agriculture

The Dervaes family has produced as much at 6,000lb of food on 1/10th of an acre:

If we get busy, nobody has to starve...

"The Dervaes family has produced as much at 6,000lb of food on 1/10th of an acre:"

I didn't read the whole article but these kind of statements are dangerously misleading as it leaves out all of the acreage needed to produce the biomass inputs needed to grow all that food.

There is already a misperception that growing plants is magic, put a seed in the ground and something will grow every year, year after year. We need to constantly remind people that with ALL agriculture you get out what you put in.

I think climate change might conceivably be more disastrous than peak oil.

Peak oil deals with anthropocentric issues about life style of the largest population of large mammals on the planet. It will limit population, and its use will put the biosphere is sever stress.

Climate Change will be more significant.

"Peak oil deals with anthropocentric issues about life style"

Enough said. Hardly even in the same ballpark. With peak crude in the rearview, it is simply more immediate.

Peak oil does not kill off agriculture. AGW will put most of the current aquifer sustained agricultural zones under drought stress. People have to stop knee-jerking into a one main problem mode. Both fossil fuel depletion and AGW will screw humanity over. Both can be remedied with the same approach. I do not buy this "it's too late to do anything" nonsense. There is no evidence of a runaway methane feedback. Fossil fuels remain the primary sources of CO2. The induced temperature increase is driving more CO2 out of the oceans and more CH4 release out of the permafrost and clathrates. We can still stop the latter feedback. By 2100 it will probably be too late.

To my mind, the clear lesson of Peak Oil and AGW is this: after Peak, humanity will have continuously less energy to mitigate/adapt to the impacts of climate change. This is a formula for doom.

I think a lot of the people who dismiss climate change don't understand how dependent agriculture is on climate. They think it's no big deal. We'll just be growing corn in Alaska instead of Kansas.

It doesn't work that way. Our crops are tweaked to grow where we grow them. We can't just move them - especially north-south. The difference in day length would be a serious problem for many crops.

Jared Diamond points to this as one reason Europe colonized the New World, rather than the other way around. The east-west layout of Europe allowed domesticated plants and animals to spread easily across the continent. The north-south layout of the Americas discouraged that. In some cases, moving crops even 50 miles north meant they wouldn't grow.

Agreed. Jason Bradford sent me a study that shows in more depth how crop yields vary under various temperature changes. In short, yields go up for the first bit then dramatically decline.

In some cases, moving crops even 50 miles north meant they wouldn't grow.

Leanan, very interesting. I read that in Holland and England they are making more wine now from locally growed grapes. For most other crops this shift seems impossible.
Regarding AGW, yesterday on the BBC-news it was said that the IPC admitted that the last 15 years there was hardly an average increase in temperature. Because of diminished water vapour ?

the IPCC admitted that the last 15 years there was hardly an average increase in temperature. Because of diminished water vapour?

It's because 15 years of annual data are not enough to infer a statistically significant climate trend. You need at least 20 years, and preferably 30 years. Check out Results on deciding trends for details.

ok, Barrett. Then the IPC shouldn't shout this but wait. And if it stays the same in 2015(-2025), they can say it is because of less water vapour.

No need to wait; the instrumental record goes back to 1850:

Climate monitoring and data sets

I know, but I meant wait to see if what is going on the last 15 years will continue.

If you're interested in water vapor, climate models predict that it should increase as the surface warms; it's a positive feedback. Observation matches theory, for example Stratospheric water vapor in the 1981-2000 period shows a statistically significant increase of approximately 1%/year over altitudes 15-28km.

Wait for what? The highest global temps were just 5 years ago. With the El Nino going, 2010 is primed to set a new record, particularly with what little Arctic Sea Ice there is left (>80% decline) being swiss cheese (see recent news).

More to point, this last decade was the warmest since at least the last warm period, and actually far longer ago than that.

Most of the warmest years on record were in the last ten.

Also, scientific "statistically not .95 significance" does NOT mean no warming. AND, the year was cherry-picked to give the best possible spin.

Do you not understand what "trend" means?


Near term people will argue about the economy and energy -- which caused various problems, which was the chicken and which the egg, supply-side versus demand-side, politics versus physics, communism versus capitalism, etc.

Longer term, won't we see the same thing with climate changes versus the economy and energy? Factors will conspire together, and the additive or multiplicative sum of effects will determine where people live or die, industry thrives or fails, and economies survive or perish. Politics will always aim to put the blame on things we couldn't have changed, so as to divert blame from those who should have averted the worst of it.

When 10M people die from starvation and "treatable" diseases in sub-Saharan Africa as war refugees during a drought, will they have died from the war, the drought, the economic factors that drove the war, the political decisions by the IMF that drove their economy to ruin, the previously-available corn used as motor fuel somewhere else, or a corrupt UN and local power structures that sold off available food aid to bank money in Cayman?

As I've said before, a side-effect of complexity is obfuscation of causation and plausible-deniability. It'll be a long time before life is simple enough to speak beyond generalities and statistical probabilities. Rising water might be easy to peg on AGW/CC, but when it leads to death or suffering the contributing factors won't all be clear.

We can expect the climate to become extremely unpredictable before it settles into its new normal.

There is a good chance that the "new normal" will be highly variable. The paleoclimate proxies have shown the recent past (couple thousand years), be to uniquely consistient. So any new state is very likely to be very changeable. Makes optimizng infrastructure to climate a difficult problem.

I think the "new normal" will be the "old new normal" of cycles of ice ages and warm periods, but there's a fair chance we might skip one ice age if a goodly portion of the clathrates and permafrost go.

By and large, the Earth is in a cooling trend when measured over millions of years.


Agree pretty much with all Leanan's points.
It does not take much exaggeration of 'natural' region-wide weather variation to play havoc with agriculture in even a very few years.

"We can expect the climate to become extremely unpredictable before it settles into its new normal."

I am not sure though that climate could settle into 'a new normal' on any timescale relevant to our current civilizations.

I have been observing climate science now for 25 years.
I had a look recently at my old files, and digests of 17 years ago.
The science has always tended to be rather careful and conservative.
The situation then contained a massive potential threat, but looks a lot worse now.
We can only hope that human GH gas emissions are lower than projected in some BAU scenarios, and that natural' feedback mechanisms like water vapour concentrations will tend to mitigate and not increase net heat gain and will still provide enough snow fed river water.
Hopes for more resilience and fewer at-risk infrastructure.

Unpredictable climate


see Slide 3
Failure of climate regulation in a geophysiological model by James E. Lovelock & Lee R. Kump, Nature 369, 732-734, 30 June 1994.

So much of our oil use is nonessential.

Indeed Leanan, but it keeps the economy going.

If push comes to shove, we could ration the oil, prioritizing agriculture.

At the price of what ? Rising unemployment, civil unrest, chaos, wars ?

We could also go back to a system where almost everyone is a farmer, with human labor substituting for fossil fuel use. (TPTB can call it a jobs program.)

Like in the times when there were 1 billion or less people on earth. The salary for the labour would be food.

I don't doubt there will be civil unrest and wars. Though perhaps not as much as people think.

Gas was rationed during WWII, and during the '70s. It caused considerable inconvenience, but no widespread unrest.

Like in the times when there were 1 billion or less people on earth. The salary for the labour would be food.

In the long run, I think that's where we may be headed.

Gas was rationed during WWII, and during the '70s.

During the '70s there was 1 year in Holland with 'car free sundays'. That year there was about 5% less oil available.

Gasoline was not rationed in the US after the 1973 Arab/OPEC Embargo, as I recall. There were allocations in the form of limits on purchases based on the car's license plate, depending on either odd or even dates. I wouldn't call that a rationing system, since the impact would only hit people driving so much that they might use a tank in less than 2 days. The real problem resulted from the allocation of fuel to stations based on previous sales data. Since people stayed in the cities instead of traveling, the result was lots of fuel out on the Interstates, but not enough in cities, which further discouraged intercity travel. There were actual ration coupons printed, but things never got that bad, so the coupons were put in a warehouse. They may still be sitting there...

E. Swanson

Dog -- That’s exactly how I recall the situation. During the apparent shortage lots of stories about ships full of gasoline circling offshore waiting for prices to rise, etc. A few years later when things returned to normal calmer heads studied the sudden loss on inventory. The disappearance of 100 millions of gallons of gas overnight was in fact real. Where was it hidden? Turns out it was hidden in plain sight: in everyone’s gas tanks. Instead of filling up normally when they got low folks were filling up when they got down to half or so. When the estimated this volume it was almost a perfect match to that “hidden” gas.

And I watched a repeat of the same situation in Houston after Hurricane Ike: long lines at the stations. As I lived across the highway from the largest refinery in the western hemisphere distribution was not the problem. Had my tank topped off prior to land fall. Drove around town for several days watching folks sit in lines at empty stations. Tankers refilled the station ASAP. Within about 4 or 5 days the stations were full of gas and there few folks filling up: every one was still driving around with all that inventory. Not difficult to imagine the same event next time we have a feared disruption. Of course, if it is a real long term disruption we’ll have a whole different game at hand.

Yes, that was my recollection, too. The government rules allocated gasoline to stations on the basis of historical data, and when the crunch hit, people confined their driving to areas near home, so their local station ran out. If you were driving the rural roads somewhere in the less populous parts of the US, the stations had more gasoline than they knew what to do with.

And in urban areas, most of the missing gasoline was in the top half of people's gas tanks. It was an illustration of how badly rationing would work if it was actually implemented.

Little known fact: In WWII the US implemented gasoline rationing to reduce people's tire wear, not conserve gasoline. They had more than enough gasoline from domestic sources, but the Japanese had cut off access to the rubber plantations.

And Rocky knows y'all can thank us Texans for the East Texas Oil Field without which we might not have won the war.

I think for each "cataclism" we face there are several vectors, including a truth/belief continuum, an urgent versus important quadrant view, and a mitigation effort aspect.

I suspect AGW/CC is "true" to a large degree, and I think it's important, but I discount worrying about it because (1) it's more important than urgent ("too late" being part of the picture for causes, and "slow" for impacts), and (2) mitigation is unlikely, and any sensible mitigation steps overlap with causes that I believe to be urgent, important, and mitigatable (mitigable? "able to be mitigated").

The current direction of gov't actions seems backward at best. Personal action is about all we have at the moment, and changing lifestyles to require less energy, use it more efficiently, and be able to still afford it are the top of my personal list.

I believe there are financial, energy, and food aspects that will be "urgent" long before AGW/CC becomes the primary issue, though of course climate change could contribute significantly to food issues if I'm wrong.

My view: There is no global government, and therefore there isn't going to be an effective globally-coordinated response to mitigate AGW. Tragic, but true. Everyone had best be planning on how to deal with that reality.

1. People who think AGW theory is both true and important. I would think that a large share of these folks are ones who believe that BAU can continue, essentially indefinitely.

Huh? Based on what? I think exactly the opposite is true.

Huh? Based on what? I think exactly the opposite is true.

Right. But there are people who think emission reduction can actually be done and that will save us all. Infact most poeple think it is irresponsible to think any other way ...

Well, if it's real, it should be totally obvious that it's pretty damn important. Because it affects everything else -- like agriculture. Like whether coastal cities will survive. It might be important if the kinds of plants that grow in your region change. Massive droughts and floods and more frequent storms, might turn out to be important! It might be important if these things lead to large movements of refugees, and thence political and social instability, military conflict, crime and terrorism. Also see Leanan's comments downthread about the US Southwest. Gail, I don't get your attitude on this -- and you definitely have an attitude. This comment: "People who think AGW theory is both true and important. I would think that a large share of these folks are ones who believe that BAU can continue ..." almost makes me dizzy, it's so nonsensical. Truly, it borders on the flaky. Is that what you think people like James Hansen or Bill McKibben are working for -- continuation of business as usual? Really? What's with the weird blind spot here. Sheesh. AGW is at least as important as peak oil, which affects only our species, while climate change could affect all species. Duh!

What if BAU is necessary to fund active mitigation, but any active mitigation destrays BAU? Seems likely we're destined for trouble either way. A long, slow decline with a lagging transition to renewables might be the best we can hope for.

I think Gail is right that a lot of people thing AGW is real enough and important enough to spend a lot of money on, assuming that the money will remain available and the transition will be painless.

That might be true of the mainstream...but then, the mainstream thinks BAU will continue despite peak oil as well. We'll just drive electric cars, or invent new ways to get oil out of the ground.

My personal belief is that other limits to growth issues are at least as important as AGW

Depends: can they end civilization, or just alter it? (Hint: It's the latter.)

and there is a significant chance that AGW issues will be trumped by other issues

Supported by what? Nothing can trump a climate that won't support human civilization. How could it?

So in some ways, whether AGW theory is true or not doesn't matter much.

How? If projected effects are well beyond what is expected at 387 ppm, and decades, and even hundreds of years ahead of estimates, we obviously are massively underestimating ACC.

Given we know climate can change not just in a thousand, or hundred or even ten years, but in MONTHS (see new study on Irish lake sediments), how do you come to the conclusion that the fastest forcings the world has ever likely experienced is going to be anything other than catastrophic over possibly very short time frames?

This is THE big blind spot, that we have time just, well, because.

You're playing a very dangerous game of Russian Roulette. As an actuary, how do you not get risk assessment?


What the abstract says is

We calculate water-mass and heat budgets that reveal summer submarine melt rates ranging from 0.7±0.2 to 3.9±0.8 m d−1. These rates of submarine melting are two orders of magnitude larger than surface melt rates, but comparable to rates of iceberg discharge. We conclude that ocean waters melt a considerable, but highly variable, fraction of the calving fronts of glaciers before they disintegrate into icebergs, and suggest that submarine melting must have a profound influence on grounding-line stability and ice-flow dynamics.

So the article is talking about very high submarine summer melt rates that are two orders of magnitude (that is 100) times greater than surface melting. Presumably the upper end of the range only happens a few days a year.

Doesn't the melting sound like something changing water currents might cause?

Greenland is going to melt-- it is just a matter of how fast. The forcing is already in the system

I say we turn the whole North Atlantic into gin, add in a bunch of lemons and invite the world to the biggest piss-up of all time!

had3z,the article clearly states that the measurements of ice lost underwater were taken in summer.I don't think you can reasonably extrapolate that to all year.

A reduced sugar harvest in Brazil has caused a drop in ethanol production as sugar was diverted to use as a food staple. Brazil once boasted of being the lowest cost place in the world to produce ethanol; they were recently considering importing ethanol from other areas. The sugar ethanol energy return on energy invested is considered much higher than that for "advanced" biofuels.


Brazilian ethanol has been seen as superior to corn ethanol by some posters here. The main argument has been EROEI which is fallacious but I will not go into that again here.

Brazilian ethanol suffers from some of the same problems corn ethanol has. One of these problems is alternate usage for feedstock. In the Brazilian case the alternate usage, sugar, is definitely human food, but that is rarely mentioned in the anti corn ethanol argument.

Another problem is that Brazilian ethanol does not scale well. It looks good so long a near slave wage labor is available, but as Brazil becomes wealthier due to oil discoveries and other economic advances, cheap labor not may be readily available. Corn ethanol is less labor dependant since corn growing is highly mechanized in the U.S. even to the point of using satellite guided tractors to till the fields and not much of that is done anymore.

Planting is often monitored by computers. Computers are used in fertilizer application to vary rates as needed as the applicator crosses the field. Same thing goes for spraying herbicide. Combines also have computers that monitor yield and moisture content as the corn is harvested.

This technology enables increases in production if the market price is high enough. Corn production has increased from 10 billion to about 13 billion bushels in recent years and there is still a surplus.

Hog farmers complain about high corn prices but few quit because hogs are produced in factories which have high fixed costs and need cash flow.

The great hope of cane ethanol is largely illusory since its feed stock's alternate use is without question human food, it lacks scalability because of primitive production methods and it is subject to weather and feedstock market conditions just like corn.

x, With all due respect, it believe is obvious that your corn field precludes your ever understanding corn ethanol.

If you have sources for your comments on computer assisted corn cropping, I'd like to see them. I doubt that penetration is much more than a fifth of the acreage, if that.

The tractor/implement prices I saw this winter at the trade shows induced coronaries. There was one drill for direct seeding into hay and grass, but at only 7 feet width, I doubt much adoption. But to me, it was evidence of how we are shifting out of CRP.

Doug, I found this but the figures are a bit out of date.

USDA surveys in 1996 and 1997 indicate that about 10 percent of all corn farms in the United States are using some aspect of precision farming (Daberkow and McBride, 1998). Among precision agriculture adopters, 70 percent used some aspect of precision agriculture—grid soil sampling, variable-rate technology (VRT) for lime or fertilizer application, or yield monitors.

Thanks for the link. It surprises me, in light of the date, and even if the survey majority is simple yield monitors. Perhaps present practice penetration is farther along.

Malthus based his dictum on food supply. What scares me most about biofuels is that man is basically a lazy, shifless' skunk with an appetite for energy incalculably above that for food.

When the ethanol companies were going belly up they went to Washington to try to get greater subsidies. They had not realized opening too many distilleries would crash the price of ethanol. They cannot sell the stuff without mandatory usage requirements and government subsidies. There were other compounds available to reduce ozone in the atmosphere. Ozone caused smog to form in LA. Of course ethanol combustion emitted compounds proven to be carcinogenic in animals, but it was labelled clean energy in Iowa. ADM put some lobbying behind getting ethanol mandates. Obama was from Illinois and also needed support in the Iowa Caucus so he had to get behind supporting biofuels although it may not have been the best choice for the common good. The choice was made to make it illegal not to use ethanol.

Granted, "precision farming" covers a lot of practices. One of the simplest and cheapest to implement is a "lightbar" guidance system that can be used to manually steer a tractor or spray rig across a field, so as to minimize overlapping/gapping. An entry-level system can be had for less than $1500. As you note, the more sophisticated stuff can be hugely expensive, limiting its adoption by the small farmer. Farms in New England are not big users of these technologies but then we don't raise much grain up here and fields are smaller than they are in the Midwest or West.

Food is energy, the most primary energy. Obviously a quick look around the streets of America indicates that food energy is highly prized and overindulged in. If any human is hungry (really hungry) their appetite for food will far exceed their appetite for a ride in their car. Most Americans never having been really really hungry don't know how demanding their brain will be for food energy over all else if it is being starved. Good thing too, because while the human body can walk as well as drive the one thing it can't do is keep alive without its most primary energy, food.

Appetite is irrelevant.

In Niger in 2005, after a dryish and locust-ridden growing season, people were starving in hundreds of thousands, and dying of starvation. In the local town markets there was plenty of food.

The hungry couldn't afford the food.

Supply matched demand perfectly, as it always will, by definition. So if the crop is a bit short, and Daddy BailoutBucks wants fuel for his car, li'l orphan Gem will starve.

You describe people who are not given a choice. I am talking about people who have a choice. When Daddy BailoutBucks is forced into a choice he will choose food or die. Sometimes the tables do turn you know. Meanwhile some Americans are choosing food over housing and motoring by moving to tent cities. It has begun. The last thing you give up is food. http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-05-04-new-homeless_N.htm

He's not saying that an individual will choose fuel over food, he's saying that a society will choose fuel over food. And yes, that means the USA will as well.

There will be people driving ethanol fueled Hummers while others starve.

Bet you never saw any of these (youtube video) at any the trade shows! Certainly not an option for farming on the wide open plains but this article by EV World editor Bill Moore takes a look at them from the point of view of using them on urban/sub-urban farms. He starts by saying

An amazing amount of the world's food is grown in urban settings, according to John Readers in "Cities".

He reports that a 1990's survey of 100 cities in 30 countries found that one third of urban households in these metropolitan areas grow food, either for their own tables, to sell or both. From London, where some 16,000 tons of vegetables are produced within the confines of the larger metropolitan area to Shanghai, with a population of 14.2 million, which produces enough food to be self-sufficient in vegetables, while producing much of its own rice and meats, including pork, poultry and pond fish, urban agriculture is an important trend. Even the United States, he notes, "produces more than a third of the dollar value of its agricultural output within urban metropolitan areas."

He's not exactly a doomer but he's not trumpeting BAU either, outlining that urban farming may be much more important in the near future (ELP?) and even making reference to How Cuba Survived Peak Oil.

Alan from the islands

x, You are totally clueless about sugarcane ethanol production and you are even more clueless about Brazil and its society. As for your comments about corn I'll let someone else address that.

Cluelessness can neither be measured or compared.

A new week, and as indicated above, the Saudis are beating the "peak demand" drum again - this time complaining about about a miniscule 0.02% drop in OECD demand. I hope most readers of TOD find this as assuming as I do - first concering the tiny drop in demand in the middle of a major recession and second because of backworded concept of peak demand.

If anything, even US demand was on its way to outstripping supplies. Oil stored in tankers offshore is being drawn down at a rapid pace. What would have happened of this kind of oil bank didn't exist in a period of relatively stagnant demand?

Floating Storage Comes Down Fast as Contango Narrows

Crude oil and refined products stored in vessels at sea are believed to have dropped by 23 million barrels in January to a combined 115 million bbl, shipping data indicate. Crude oil volumes fell by 15 million bbl, mostly in the US Gulf of Mexico, while product stocks came down by 8 million bbl, especially in the North Sea. Crude storage end-January is estimated at 30 million bbl and product storage at 85 million bbl. Market talk claims that volumes are coming down further in February. (Friday, February 12, 2010)


Fortunately, OPEC has appeared to step up its exports in recent weeks, possibly because of the realization that the supply-demand situation was a getting a little too one sided - despite what the market prices were saying. In the short run, prices can and will be influenced enough for counter-trend moves. Presently, much worry about the Euro has caused a lot of speculators to bet on fiat money and not on physical assets like oil.

Is there an alternative explanation for what Saudi is saying? If Saudi are worried about peak SUPPLY, that's another reason for them to diversify away from oil production. And as for injecting CO2 into Ghawar, well I'll bow to the tech experts here but isn't that a way of increasing output from a declining field?

In which case, what the Saudis are SAYING is "peak DEMAND is a worry" but what they're DOING is acting on peak supply fears...

Thay are taking a big gamble here becasue if their card gets called on a recovered economy they are going to get caught with no clothes on and we'll find out for sure about that extra 4mbd.

Of course thats when they roll out the black toffee and complain that no-one wants to buy it then the market must be 'over-supplied'.

Simply put the Saudis are so full of shit that they should be supplying that soon and we can all start building lots of bioreactor for it

As soon as there is whif of a recovery the price will spike again and there will be nothing OPEC can do about it.


And the NYT story linked above says "Demand for Oil Set to Rise Anew." Should be an interesting couple of years.

What i'm looking forward to is a Staurt Vs Euan redux on the state of affairs of the Saudi mega-wells. It's been a few years since they did battle on that series of posts which I think were among the best article written here.

So I wait with baited breath on a new analysis and how things are shaping up a few years on.


Where's westexas?

The exportland model looks like it will get a very real world test this summer or next from the Saudis. The internal demand within SA is growing so fast that the Saudi oil demand will create new seasonal spikes that are likely to influence prices and supply around the world.

(Sorry if this has been posted already)

Saudi crude use could boost global demand
World's largest exporter may need to burn oil to meet growing electricity demand

"If Saudi Arabia keeps up with a recent trend of burning crude to support peak power generation, summer seasonality in global oil markets could become even more marked — and bullish — in the coming years," Lawrence Eagles, a New York-based analyst for the US bank, said.

Peak crude demand in Saudi Arabia could reach 900,000-1.2 million barrels a day in the summer of 2012 as generators burn more crude to make up for slower growth in gas output, JPMorgan said.


It is clear that they will be consuming more of what they produce:

High oil prices have boosted growth, government revenues, and Saudi ownership of foreign assets, while enabling Riyadh to pay down domestic debt. The government is encouraging private sector growth - especially in power generation, telecommunications, natural gas exploration, and petrochemicals - to lessen the kingdom's dependence on oil exports and to increase employment opportunities for the swelling Saudi population, nearly 40% of which are youths under 15 years old.


And a few million to help put pressure on Iran?
In Saudi Arabia, Mrs. Clinton was expected to meet with King Abdullah at his desert retreat outside Riyadh. Officials said she would raise the issue of Saudi Arabia offering guarantees to China that it would offset any disruptions in oil supplies that could occur if China were to support sanctions against Iran.

Supply and demand are linked by price. If another 10 mbpd were dropped on the market and all current production were to continue the price would crash to $30 or less and peak demand would be over. Everyone would drive more, fly more, consume more, etc. I don't think there is another 10 mbpd to be dropped on the market and if there was, significant current production would be stopped until the price recovered.

Exactly, paro. If the Saudis are worried about peak demand, why aren't they dropping the price to stimulate it?

The giant field Ghawar pumped 5 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2008, more than half of top oil exporter Saudi Arabia's output. The kingdom announced plans last year for a pilot project to pump the climate-warming gas into the field to both improve production and reduce emissions.

Yes, injecting CO2 into Ghawar sure looks suspicious as is the claim that this field produced 5 million barrels per day in 2008. Whatever numbers that Saudi Aramco throws around, I just divide that number by 2 to understand what they're trying to say. This would mean that Ghawar is currently producing about 2.5 million barrels per day and they're going to inject CO2 to attempt to arrest the decline.

....and they're going to inject CO2 to attempt to arrest the decline.

i seriously doubt that injecting 40 mmcfd co2 into ghawar will arrest the decline.

from one of the articles posted above:

The kingdom plans to inject 40 million standard cubic feet per day (cfd) of CO2 into the field, and has said this is part of the global push to trap emissions rather than because it needs to enhance oil recovery from the field.
The kingdom plans to inject 40 million standard cubic feet per day (cfd) of CO2 into the field, and has said this is part of the global push to trap emissions rather than because it needs to enhance oil recovery from the field.

there may be more truth to that than you give credit for. clearly, injecting 40 mmcfd of co2 barely amounts to a pilot project.

denbury resources claims a co2 utilization of 10-13 mcf co2 per barrel of oil produced, so this project could produce something on the order or 3-4,000 bpd, truely miniscule.


injecting co2 into a steeply dipping, low viscosity reservoir has not been particularly successful in enhancing recovery following waterflooding. the reason being that waterflood recovery in a steeply dipping reservoir is already high, imo. examples are lost soilder and wertz fields in Wyoming.

Do we really believe they're going to inject "just" 40 mmscfd Nitrogen? Of course the Saudis would play it down no matter what.

10000 cf of CO2 at standard temperature and pressure per barrel is 1.5 barrel per tCO2 which is rather low (most EOR is 3-8 barrels per tCO2.
So 40000000 cf of CO2 is 24000 barrels of oil per day.
A 500 MW thermal power plant could produce 48000 tCO2 per day, enough for 72000 barrels per day.

..most EOR is 3-8 barrels per tCO2.

do you have a reference for that ?

In Canada, a CO2-EOR project has been established by EnCana at the Weyburn Oil Field in southern Saskatchewan. The project is expected to inject a net 18 million ton CO2 and recover an additional 130 million barrels (21,000,000 m3) of oil, extending the life of the oil field by 25 years.

130/18=7.22 barrels per tCO2


I've seen 3-8 barrels per ton before but I forget where exactly.

i suspect that denbury is looking at more mature projects than weyburn. and of course the weyburn figures are projected utilization.

utilization , as presented by denbury, is a vague term. on an instantaneous basis we have bopd/tonne per day. the bopd is partly interpretive, iow, how much of the incrmental production rate is attributed to co2 injection ? assuming incremental production can be reliably estimated, how much of that increase is just a rate increase with no increase in ultimate recovery ?

defining utilization as incremental barrels of oil recovered per tonne of co2 supplied may give a different metric altogether.

i know of one uber-salesman who claimed every barrel produced after polymer injection was eor.

As has been extensively analysed at TOD and elsewhere, Gharwar is not in practice one field, but 4 or 5 supergiant fields which overlap. Each as different geology, extraction history, current extraction methods and levels of depletion.

The historically most productive fields at the northern end are now on their last gasps as horizontal superstraw wells are squeezed between the rising water flood and sinking gas caps. It is probably not this part of the field that they plan CO2 injection on, but I am happy to be corrected by the experts.

Lots of info here


Yes, injecting CO2 into Ghawar sure looks suspicious as is the claim that this field produced 5 million barrels per day in 2008.

An interesting question is when operators in the prior swing producer, Texas, started looking at CO2 floods. Based on the following article (looking at CO2 possibilities in the North Sea), it was in the early Seventies. Texas peaked in 1972. As I have previously pointed out, based on the logistic (HL) plots, Saudi Arabia, in 2005, was roughly at the same stage of depletion at which Texas peaked in 1972. And Saudi Arabia has yet to exceed their 2005 production rate of 9.6 mbpd (C+C), on an annual basis.

So, it appears--assuming that Saudi Arabia does not exceed 9.6 mbpd, on annual basis, in 2010--that Saudi Arabia will have shown five straight years of crude production below their 2005 production rate. Furthermore, if annual 2010 oil prices exceed $62, four of the five years will have shown year over year increases in oil prices. Note that this directly contradicts the 2002-2005 pattern, when Saudi Arabia aggressively increased production and net oil exports in response to rising oil prices.

And then we have Saudi Arabia looking at CO2 floods at about the same time, relative to a possible final peak in 2005, that Texas operators started looking CO2 floods, relative to the 1972 Texas peak.

No worries, Texas, like Saudi Arabia, has millions of barrels per day of "Excess Capacity."


In the early 1970’s, Chevron developed a plan for the first miscible CO2 flood in the Permian Basin, at the SACROC Unit. The SACROC Unit covers 50,000 acres and was formed to optimize secondary and tertiary recovery of oil in the Canyon Reef, a Pennsylvanian age reservoir. The reef has an average porosity of 4% and mean permeability of 19 millidarcies. It initially had 3 billion barrels of oil in place and has recovered 1.4 billion barrels to date. . .

In general it is acknowledged that using CO2 for tertiary EOR may add an additional 5-12% of OOIP to the anticipated total production.  The mechanism by which this occurs is perhaps best illustrated in the sketch below showing the classic configuration of an injector-well working in combination with a producer.

Q regarding flooding of reservoirs.

I surely understand why they flood them (increased output), but I am puzzled about why they use various substances ... like

- water flooding (free, at or near sea)
- nitrogen flooding (adding to to the EROEI calculations due to separation)
- CO2 flooding (new (?) but obvious in these times of AGW)
- air flooding ?(BTW, is this used/tested ? )

Over the years Oil Co's have had their time with trial and errors, so here is my Q:

Why are there still several flooding-methods out there- and not only one method concluded to be superior to them others (most cost effective)?

On another note- OPECs spare capasity said to be 6.5 mbd ( via TAE the other day)

Elwood knows much more about this topic than me, but water flooding is usually the first enhanced recovery step, and is generally referred to as secondary recovery. Nitrogen and especially CO2 are probably both characterized as tertiary recovery techniques. I think that nitrogen injection is actually pretty rare. I think that CO2 floods are generally used to try to mobilize more of the "left behind" oil after a water flood has taken place. The problem with air injection is that it would tend to oxidize the oil.

(As Rockman discusses below, which I failed to mention, air injection is used with firefloods, e.g., the THAI process, and of course then there are steamfloods. In any case, my personal definition of conventional production from oil reservoirs is that the oil can be extracted without heat being introduced. If you have to introduce heat into the oil bearing system, it's unconventional, IMO. And of course, GTL and CTL are separate topics.)

In regard to "One Best" method, engineers are dealing with different types of reservoirs and drive mechanisms, with widely different cost considerations.

Thanks, in regards to air, I was holding the Thai process outside my Q here.
But your suggestion that "air would oxidize the oil" is probably the reason why air is not used as an Oil-Exorcist.

Water, and I would suspect Nitrogen are introduced to increase drive pressure. I think CO2 would dissolve in the oil/water of the field perhaps altering the physical chemistry making is either easier to separate, or lower viscosity. Perhaps we have some TOD members who know?

CO2 dissolves in the oil and reduces its viscosity, which allows to to flow more freely and increases the ultimate recovery of crude oil. This technique, using substances that dissolve in the oil, is called miscible flood. Ghawar is already undergoing waterflood, but the two are complementary. Since CO2 tends to override the oil column, and water tends to underride it, injecting the two alternately can herd the oil toward the producing wells more evenly. This technique is called water-alternating-gas (WAG) injection.

Nitrogen doesn't dissolve in the oil - it is an immiscible gas - so all it does is increase the recovery rate rather than the total recovery amount. This was the situation at Cantarell (into which half the industrial nitrogen produced in the world was injected during its heyday). It just produced the same amount of oil faster, which caused a very steep dropoff in production rather than a more gradual one when it happened.

However, the fact that the Saudis are injecting CO2 into Ghawar does imply that the field is closer to going into a falloff in production than they are willing to admit. The technology is not cheap so they aren't doing it for fun. When this field finally does go into a decline, it may be very steep.

Nitrogen doesn't dissolve in the oil - it is an immiscible gas - so all it does is increase the recovery rate rather than the total recovery amount.

you are mistaken:

nitrogen is miscible in oil at a high enough pressure (minimum miscibility pressure). examples of miscible nitrogen recovery are ryckman creek and painter reservoir in wyoming and jay field in florida.

Let me qualify that: CO2 is more miscible in oil than N2. The projects I am familiar with used natural gas liquids (NGL), which are even better. You use what you have available. We had surplus NGLs available from nearby NG fields. The Texas CO2 flood projects use CO2 because they have vast CO2 fields in the area. There's N2 available in the air everywhere, but it's not as good.

...because they have vast CO2 fields in the area

What is this supposed to mean ?

It means there are large underground reserves of carbon dioxide gas in Texas, and these have been used extensively in enhanced oil recovery projects on old Texas oil fields.

I thought this was well known, but maybe it's not.

Thx- I have never ever heard of ready_to_use CO2 in the ground before, so add me to the DoKnow-list :-)

If CO2 dissolves in oil, and (some of) that oil is then extracted, presumably that means the actual CO2 storage of an oil well is lower than the amount of CO2 pumped into the well... because some of it comes back out again.

Interesting, and something the C-sequestration lobby should take into account (don't know if they do or not).

yeah, that is an interesting question, at some point cycling of co2 will no longer be economical.

we probably have an analog from waterflooding. every waterflood, at least onshore, ends with a scavaging phase where only produced water is re-injected, but when the game ends, all of the water is left in the ground.

in the case of co2 flooding, there will come a point where it is no longer economical to strip co2 from the production stream. will the operator abandon the project or just vent the co2 ? if industry has its way, the latter is probably exactly what will happen.

- air flooding ?(BTW, is this used/tested ? )

It seems to me that compressing air (20%+ O2) into hydrocarbons wouldn't be a good idea. Is BOOM! an issue with that?

Ghung -- That is actually the goal. But not for a boom but a sizzle. The O2 oxidizes (burns) some or the oil and the pressure from the resultant combustion gases repressurizes the reservoir and pushes the oil out. But booms were not out of the question. But not in the reservoir...in the surface equipment and pipelines. Turns out that compressed air is more dangerous the NG. If the compressed air comes in contact with enough hydrocarbons, like lube oil, explosions do happen. More then a few hands haven't survived the method. I found some fields in S Texas I think I could recover a 100 million bbls of oil...maybe more...using ISC. But folks I tried to talk into it were unable to understand the process (most complicated EOR IMHO) or were afraid of it (that death thing). But it's the only EOR method that could work for these particular reservoirs. If someone laid a CO2 line into the area that would work too. But not likely to happen.

At Cantarell they used N2 gas injection. If they pump high pressure air into a reservoir it will ignite as in fireflood testing. The current administration is looking into sequestering carbon dioxide from coal and natural gas power plants into geological strata. Depleted oil and gas fields have the porosity needed. Some parts of the country are underlain by ingneous or metamorphic hardrock with almost no permiability except along fractures and fault zones. You can't store away exhaust gas in a granite pluton.

Interesting, Rock. A fire can burn only as fast as you add air. A controlled injection of air, just keep an eye on your pressue. I've seen high pressure hydraulics go boom when the air wasn't purged. A slow burn would be easier to manage, And it seems like all of the O2 would have reacted before the oil leaves the well. How many marginal wells are there that could be made profitable with this method? It seems like a cheap way to improve EROI.

I am probably beating Rockman to the punch here, but injecting air into any formation which is highly saturated with salt water is going to create corrosion. Oilfield tubulars can be bought with corrosion resistant properties, but if you have already cemented casing in place, you can run a liner, but you cannot replace the casing cemented in place. IIRC, one "fire flood" in E Texas, Wood County, used glass lined pipe, probably fiberglass lined, as the means to inject a gas with an increased concentration of oxygen. That project was abandoned as too costly, especially with the 12 gravity oil it produced. Of course, it was an experimental project funded with DOE dollars. (The tanks had to be heated to move the oil, even in that normally warm area.)

Ghung -- I'm a true believer in ISC EOR. Studied it for 10 years. But got tired talking myself blue in the face convincing operators. I had case studies of ISC projects in S. Texas and N. La. that proved to be extremely good EROI. But as you say management of the fire front is very complicated. But if you plan properly it can be done. The field I wanted to try was only 450' deep. Texaco had done an ISC pilot project in this field in the early 60’s. Initial field rate dropped from 2000 bopd to less than 100 bopd in just 2 years…extreme pressure depletion drive. Texaco injected air into just 2 of the 100 wells in the field and pushed rates above the original 2000 bopd. And then the stopped the injection and rates dropped like a rock. I identified 100’s of millions of bbls of stranded oil in these reservoirs.

Due to the nature the only other EOR applicable if N2 or CO2 injection but no source gas is available. Color me frustrated all to hell.

paal -- Not all EOR methods can be applied to every reservoir. The first consideration is the reservoir drive mechanism....what is the nature of the force pushing the oil out of the ground. At one end of the spectrum you have pure water drive: the oil is pushed out as the water below it pushes it out. This maintains a fairly constant pressure. The other extreme: pure pressure depletion. Here the water cannot flow through the rock. The oil is pushed out by the reservoir pressure which depletes quickly as the oil is recovered. Like letting the air out of a balloon. The choice also depends upon the geochemistry of the rock. In some types of reservoirs if you pump water into not only will it not increase oil production the chemical reaction can completely shut off the flow of oil. Then there are logistical limits. CO2 injection might be the best method for a reservoir but if the nearest CO2 source is 1000 miles away it won't happen.

Air injection (in situ combustion aka fire flooding) is very complex so many companies won't try it. But it can be an excellent EOR for a pressure depleted reservoir.

Rockman- great answer. Thanks. Cheers to the rest of the pack as well :-)

In resent months there have been discovered some serious leaks from reservoirs on the Norwegian CS, some suspected to have been ongoing for more than 10 years, without noticing ... yikes. Doesn't bode very well for CO2-capture-storage under the sea floor at first glance.

PSA to investigate injector wells following Veslefrikk leak

Statoil conducted an investigation after discovering that cuttings and chemicals injected into the Utsira formation on Veslefrikk were leaking to the seabed. The company has no confirmation about how the injected cuttings and chemicals reached the surface, but has two theories.

Here is a Norwegian link with some pictures... looks like moon craters.


paal -- That sort of a problem isn't that uncommon. Whatever material you're injecting into a reservoir there a limit on the pressures involved. The factor is call "fracture gradient". I'm sitting on a drilling barge in S La at this very moment monitoring the pressure of the drilling mud we're pumping down hole. The pressure has to be high enough to hold back the rock but if it exceedes the frac gradient the drilling mud would be injected into the rock. And that can make for a very bad day. How bad can range from sticking the drill pipe in the hole (a loss of a few hundred thousands $'s) to loss of life. And even if you don't exceed the calculated frac gradient you can have natural fractures in the rock that will transport those fluids (even to the surface of the ground) even when you stay below the frac gradient. That might have been what went wrong for the Norwigians,

the holy grail for nitrogen, co2 and hydrocarbon gas injection is miscibility. at a high pressure, the gases and oil become miscibile, which means that there is no phase distinction between the components. gasoline in diesel is an example of a miscible mixture. gasoline in water is an example of an immiscible mixture.

miscible displacement is very efficient. rychman creek in wyoming and jay field in florida are examples of nitrogen miscible projects. buck draw is an example of a miscible hc gas injection project.

miscibility pressure depends primarily on the composition of the components and temperature. the more similar two components are, the lower the miscibility pressure. nitrogen generally has a much higher miscibility pressure than co2 or hc gases. but has the advantage of availability. in many cases nitrogen miscibility pressure exceeds fracture pressure.

i am not sure, but i believe canatrell was a gravity drainage project with nitrogen injected up-dip to displace the heavier canatrell crude oil down-dip to the producing wells without reaching miscibility pressures. hc gases can be used for the same purpose, but postpones gas sales.

air injection, or fireflooding, has just too many problems and not enough benifits for some cases. medicine pole hills field in north dakota is an example of an air injection project. that project was stopped about a year ago because of economics. the operator apparently still has plans to utilize co2 in medicine pole hills.

bottom line is:

1. announced 40 MMscf/d is not going to cut it to support pressure vs. 5 MMbbls/d-ish oil production, test?
2. that implies the field needs tertiary recovery support which in turns means that Ghawar is doing badly
3 parallel is with Cantarell which started nitrogen in 2000 and peaked... 2003!
4. there ain't no large source of CO2 in the neighbourhood
5. doing that for "environmental reasons" whilst producing 8MMbbls/d is mildly stupid
6. the notion of peak demand is like peak non-sense with the missus, attractive theory but unlikely to materialize

canatrell and ghawar are two very different animals.

canatrell is apparently a heavy crude gravity drainage project with nitrogen injected at a pressure below the miscibility pressure.

co2 injection in ghawar will undoubtedly be miscible. but, imo, the potential for greatly increasing recovery by co2 injection in ghawar is limited, because of the high recovery from waterflooding a steeply dipping low oil viscosity reservoir such as ghawar.

a supply of co2 for ghawar is another question entirely.

Interesting add-ons Elwood- thx.
The miscible property of CO2 is in the Ghwar case only used as an EOR ingredient, so the Climate is clearly not a driver for this action. Where does the insane (?) volumes of concentrated CO2 come from today? I mean - when people supposed to understand Carbon Captrure and Sorage mention the costs of this - they are talking of 1/3 costlier electrisity,give or take. This in turn tells me that industrialized separated CO2 is a very expensive affair ....

I wonder if you and Sam Foucher can prepare a chart showing when the Kingdom's excess capacity will exceed its actual production. You could call it CM, for Camel Manurization.

Housing Crash Crushes Suburban Ideal

As the nation's home builders try to claw their way out of the biggest abyss in the sector's history, the future landscape is beginning to look a bit different than they once thought.

All those "ex-urban" communities that were supposed to be the place to put shovels and money are falling victim to a changing demographic, or more accurate, a demographic that has been forced to change.

The underlying premise in the above article, appears to be--as usual--that we have infinite oil reserves, and it's just demographic factors (plus the recession) driving down ex-urban housing prices. For a different point of view, the End of Suburbia DVD trailer:


Among my upper-middle-class suburban friends, I'm seeing a new sort of awareness. Last year was "hunker down and survive". This year it's more "we have too much house", and "we need to choose between private school and a smaller house", and "I don't think my daughter needs an X5 and out-of-state tuition". Some, more at my level, are talking about taking in college students or such to help defray mortgage costs.

I also see a new focus on work-life...in terms of resiliency. Those who used to look for a "better salary" are now happy with multiple part-time jobs, even with a little less money and more work. The view seems to increasingly be that multiple modest income streams are better than one larger source. Everybody is talking about starting side-line businesses as "hobbies".

Another dynamic is learning not to work. After surviving a layoff, one couple says they learned they liked have a non-wage-earner at home, but couldn't afford it. Employed again, they're working to cut back on debt and lifestyle so one can quit on their own terms.

Downsizing your life by necessity isn't much fun, obviously. Choosing to shift your priorities, and making it your idea on your terms, seems to be more palatable. Maybe this will be the new face of "demand destruction"?

Those who used to look for a "better salary" are now happy with multiple part-time jobs, even with a little less money and more work. The view seems to increasingly be that multiple modest income streams are better than one larger source. Everybody is talking about starting side-line businesses as "hobbies".

I came to this realization about ten years ago. My primary income is from a former hobby. It is a big adjustment, but I have been better off than many folks who had all of their eggs in one basket and got laid off/downsized. There are issues. Part time or contract employees are often not eligible for benefits or unemployment.

"Multiple income streams" is the advice of a lot of those books on financial freedom. Agree that it makes more sense than ever in the current climate.

"Cheap is the new chic."

WT Excellent article. Thanks for bringing it up. I like the references to the different and rapidly changing priorities of Baby Boomers to Aging Baby Boomers to Gen Y.

Being a Baby Boomer with SS retirement over a dozen years away it is a source of concern that the system may well be crippled by the time my turn gets here so as matter of necessity I am making decisions to retrain and continue working with no thought of retirement. If you fundamentally accept the Theory of Peak Oil, which I do, you must act accordingly.


yeah, there was a time when shabby was chic, but now i think it has gone back to just being shabby.

Probably more than a few of those formerly two income couples have discovered that when they take into account the taxes, commuting costs, and all the expenses they had to incur because there was nobody at home with any spare time, the actual real money brought home by the other wage earner was actually pitifully small, and maybe not as much of a loss as they had realized.

Most people are going to be "aging in place", they just don't know it yet.

Some areas have higher real estate values than others. After retiring people used to sell their homes in high cost metropolitan areas and bought more affordable homes in Florida. The heating costs were almost non-existent and airconditioning was cheap. Now the hurricane insurance has driven costs up. The economy sank after intense real estate speculation. The unemployment rate spiked. For the first time in decades people were leaving Florida rather than immigrating to it. NC or TN may be cheaper. Quality dividend stock has been the mainstay of some older people; there is plenty of bad dividend stock that will not hold its value also.


HAZELTON, N.D. – A tiny North Dakota town's promise of cash and free land lured only one family from out of state. Now, Michael and Jeanette Tristani and their 12-year-old twins are trying to move from the town without a traffic light back to Miami.

Interesting to read how completely clueless this couple was to begin with.

Despite their problems fitting in, it sounds like the real reason they are trying to go back to Miami is to care for her aging parents. They said they tried to convince them to move to ND, but were unsuccessful.

I think this is more important than many people realize. Despite the mobility of modern Americans, when push comes to shove, people want to be where they have roots. You see this with retirees. When they first retire, they move to Florida or North Carolina or Hawaii. But as they get older and sicker, or become widows or widowers, they return to the northeast, where their families are.

Mike Ruppert moved to Oregon, then to Venezuela, preparing for peak oil. But in the end, he returned to unsustainable Los Angeles...because it was home.

"Michael Tristani came from his native Florida wearing gold necklaces and a Rolex and driving a Lexus. "

He was a grocery worker. She was in real-estate (which is where I assume the Rolex and Lexus came from). Their choice of a business to open was a coffee shop, in competition with an existing business. You'd think in a small town like that you'd be better off picking a desired service in a niche that wasn't already filled?

The most interesting comment to me, though was that for a sponsored-move program to work, ""...it needs to be no more than a 30-minute commute" from a larger city. The entire rural region lives on 30-60 minute work commutes. Such an area is no more sustainable than suburbia, except for subsistence farming it would appear.

There's not much subsistence farming going on in rural areas these days.

"Food deserts" are often found in rural areas. Places where there's no grocery store, because Wal-Mart has made it uneconomical to supply such places. People live off high-priced, unhealthy food bought in gas station convenience stores. The locals may pick a few mushrooms and fiddleheads, but wouldn't dream of keeping a cow instead of paying through the nose for milk, or driving 200 miles to the nearest Wal-Mart.

There seems to be a general long-term megatrend that is starting to reverse and unwind the mobility that has shredded extended families and led to people scattering thither and yon across the country. As you say, families are coming back together, and sticking together, people are staking out their home turf and staying there.

Many reasons and dimensions to this:

-Young people graduating and not being able to find jobs, so just continue living with Mom & Dad.

-Aging parents needing caregiving from their children, thus needing to be in closer proximity with each other. (The growing cost of nusring homes, etc. also plays into this.)

-The declining housing market, causing many people to now be "stuck" and unable to sell out and relocate.

-The declining economy: Why spend thousands relocating to a job that might be gone in months or even weeks, leaving one stranded in a new area with no personal network?

-Technology: The internet has opened up lots more geography-independent employment opportunities, so it is now more possible to live where it makes sense to do so for one's personal life rather than having to live at a place that is convenient to one's employer.

-Changing values: People and places one knows well are becoming more highly valued.

The media and scholars have noted pieces of this, but really haven't tied it all together yet. Expect to see this trend continue and intensify in the coming decade or two, and to eventually get noticed.

Ideally, you want to not just co-locate yourself with your family and friends, you also want this to be in a location that is well-placed to weather the changes we expect to see in the future. Unfortunately, many people will have to make difficult choices with difficult trade-offs. It may not be possible both live in your ideal post-peak retreat AND live close to your family. Some may be able to successfully convince at least some family members to relocate to your location of choice, and if this is possible, you had best get a move on with that ASAP. Others may decide that their location is so important that they are pretty much willing to just sacrifice their family ties and establish new roots; again, if this is your choice, you had best get moving, time is of the essence. Finally, some may decide that they really do need to cast their lot with their family and friends, and make their stand on their home turf. If that is your choice, at least give some thought as to how to position oneself and one's home for the long haul at that location.

He built a lot of social capital here - thats as valuable as cash at this point

A few years ago ND ran a contest to come up with a new state name to better differentiate themselves from SD. My two favorites were "Sascatchacold" and "Manitscoldhere".

re: Housing Crash Crushes Suburban Ideal

I think this illustrates that Peak Oil spells the end for the classical American car-oriented suburb. I hate the term, "sustainable" because it's overused, but it is true that that particular type of suburb is "unsustainable" in an era of limited, expensive, oil supplies.

There are "sustainable" suburbs, but they are more European than American: walkable communities, smaller lots, smaller houses, smaller and closer stores, and much better public transit.

You will need a higher population density - minimum 10 houses per acre - to support public transportation, and you need smaller communities concentrated around community stores, with no home more than a 10 minute walk from shopping, restaurants, and trams. You have to have all this because you won't be able to afford to drive everywhere.

It's quite different from the car-oriented, unwalkable suburbs that have been built in the United States in recent decades, but more like the "streetcar suburbs" that were built a century ago. Those old streetcar suburbs will probably be a lot more survivable in the 21st century than the ones built in the latter half of the 20th century. There will probably be a contraction of urban areas with the sprawling outer suburbs being abandoned in favor of the inner city and inner suburbs. The affluent will drive up prices in the inner areas and force the poor out to the fringes. Big cities will start to look more like Paris than Los Angeles.

Much of the doomerish stuff in the video is nonsense, but it is true that there are some jarring changes coming for the people who have come to thing of far-flung suburbs as "normal". In the historic context, everybody had to live in small, walkable neighborhoods because they couldn't drive. Many people have experienced some of these jarring changes already.

Looks like some burbs are at least making a try, inadaquate as it may be. I've now found ten PV systems in my neighborhood (several hundred homes), prior to November I hadn't seen any. Of course that does nothing about transportation, or water. But at least it means that some people are coming around.

What you really need to do is be able to step off the tram after work, pick up a baguette at the boulangerie, some meat at the boucherie, a nice bottle of wine at the wine shop, and walk home to make dinner. Of course, if you could do this you wouldn't be living in the US.

One of my nephews is living in Geneva, Switzerland, so he can do this. On the other hand, he has to park his car four blocks away from his apartment, so the tram, the boucherie, the boulangerie, and the wine shop are closer than his car. Naturally, he doesn't drive much.

This is really a much more survivable life style in the Post-Peak-Oil era than the typical American one. Also, he's working on oil developments in West Africa for a huge Chinese oil company, so his job situation is much more secure.

You know, rereading the above, it just occurred to me that it's getting to be a very different world than when I was a teenager growing up on the Canadian prairies and could fill up my V8 car for 25 cents a gallon. California was the promised land back then. I could go on, but it just gets weirder.

Here is an interesting piece of news from yesterday.

Is this how the welfare state starts getting dismantled ?

In Utah, a plan to cut 12th grade


Buttars has since toned down the idea, suggesting instead that senior year become optional for students who complete their required credits early. He estimated the move could save up to $60 million, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The proposal comes as the state faces a $700-million shortfall and reflects the creativity -- or desperation -- of lawmakers.

Schools face big budget holes as stimulus runs out

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The nation's public schools are falling under severe financial stress as states slash education spending and drain federal stimulus money that staved off deep classroom cuts and widespread job losses. School districts have already suffered big budget cuts since the recession began two years ago, but experts say the cash crunch will get a lot worse as states run out of stimulus dollars.

The result in many hard-hit districts: more teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, smaller paychecks, fewer electives and extracurricular activities, and decimated summer school programs. The situation is particularly ugly in California, where school districts are preparing for mass layoffs and swelling class sizes as the state grapples with another massive budget shortfall.

The French go through 13 grades, but then pass their Baccalauriat, which is at least equivalent to our Associate's Degree, and is actually more equivalent to a BA from all but the most elite US colleges. The simple fact is that most of those 4 years in US public high schools is a waste of time, as is most of the time spent in the middle schools. What Utah has in mind is a step in the right direction, but what we really need to do is to compress and intensify so that what we are supposedly expecting in terms of educational attainment by 12th grade now will be achieved in the future by 10th grade.

I don't think that many Americans realize that students in much of the rest of the world are working much harder than their kids. They are not wasting their time in school.

In Alberta, people with high school diplomas from elsewhere are often shocked that Alberta universities won't accept them. The universities expect the the students to have taken the introductory 100-level courses in high school.

Although it's superficially similar to the US system, the Alberta system actually evolved from a compressed system in which a diploma took 11 years, grade 12 was equivalent to first year university, and university was 3 years long. Then they upgraded it to a system that put everyone through 12 years of grade school, and extended university to 4 years. However, they didn't reduce the standards - in fact they raised them. grade 12 is still equivalent to first year university, and university starts with second year 200-level courses.

The standards are still increasing. The International Baccalaureate now is the gold standard that everyone wants their kids to have. High school is getting very, very competitive and university entrance standards are getting higher.

But I think in the US there's more a tendency to dumb down the school system. Alberta took advantage of its oil money to toughen it up.

"But I think in the US there's more a tendency to dumb down the school system. Alberta took advantage of its oil money to toughen it up."

Speaking as a teacher in my former life, I have to utterly and completely agree. My friends on Facebook complain a lot about their kids doing homework.

If they only knew what other kids do in other countries.


I get a little different take from two of the articles Leanan has linked. First, the CO2 discussion on Ghawar, or more likely some part of Ghawar, and the coal seam development drilling by the Russians. Both are high cost ventures, and of course, each project is easily afforded by those producers. They represent a far higher cost of getting the hydrocarbons out of the ground, however. One aspect not discussed in the CO2 flood discussion is the inherent corrosion problems with CO2. The kind of costs which can easily break an offset operator here in the US, but certainly not Saudi Aramco. Maybe they are starting so small to try and get some additional productivity and minimizing the corrosion problem, but at some point, this will become a serious problem.

Coal seam gas production had to be supported in the US by very generous tax credits over the early years, but now it generates a nominal return without those incentives at today's prices. (Price is what phased the credits out, not a stingy government.)

I think this speaks to what is often written about here - all of the low hanging fruit is gone. Beyond that, the folks who claim fabulous reserves are pursuing projects which are among the most costly of production alternatives. I don't know how everyone else feels about having one of the common hypotheses here being confirmed in real time, but it is frightening to me.

Seems to me that your "frightening" scenario is the best we could hope for -- increased marginal cost for a increased production base -- running ever harder to barely keep up. More likely is increasing cost for a decreasing total production base, where we run faster to get further behind.

And possible, but hopefully not probable, is a cascading collapse where economies can't even support the current marginal cost structure, and we have ever-lower prices with increasingly lower production, interspersed with super-spikes that wreck economies. In this scenario we stop running, slow to a walk, falter, and fall.

I know what we are eventually looking at, and what I had though would be a decline as we start to scrape the bottom of the barrel.

Coal seams generally have to be dewatered before they will give up gas, which really comes from the coal breaking down and releasing methane and other gasses. That dewatering is generally done by pumping, occasionally by finding a lower pressure formation below the coal and draining the water from the coal into it, but that methodology would come with experience, not at first blush. coal seams can be completed with directional drilling, but that substantiially increases cost and seems to make coal seam wells even more out of whack with economics much less EROEI.

Now, if Mexico was looking to marginal production to increase revenues, OK. They are desperate, or if they aren't, they should be. But KSA? Russia?

are we at peak stone knives and bearskins? what are you going to do when your bug out bag is empty?

can you make a a spear head from a piece of flint? do you know what flint looks like?

99.999% reduction of current human population. who's going to win that lottery?

WTSHTF expect to get killed for the stuff you have, even if it's just a stone knife and a bear skin. if you have more advanced stuff you are a target. no one gets out of here alive.

BAU....didnt the chinese have some cultural revolution where they forced geologists and accountants and lawyers and professors out to the farms to till the land?

could that ever happen in uhmerika?
imagine bernancke or giethner with a hoe weeding in the hot sun.

i read this article from AP. not even a mention of peak oil. i dont hear anyone mention peak oil. no one. not my boss or coworkers, not people i may dine with, nor clerks in stores, not the dentist or doctor, no one.

"Feb 15, 11:56 AM EST
Oil industry cautious on future
AP Business Writer
LONDON (AP) -- The oil industry expects a difficult road ahead as it struggles to recover from the global economic downturn and is forced to juggle rising demand from developing countries against requirements for cleaner energy."

"it's all good"

WTSHTF expect to get killed for the stuff you have, even if it's just a stone knife and a bear skin. if you have more advanced stuff you are a target. no one gets out of here alive.

I was not surprised in 2001 when I learned we were nearing Peak Oil. It was a sort of "oh that is happening now" moment. It didn't take long to realize that post Peak Oil most preparations would be useless as those with more willingness to use violence than I am could take anything I have. However having a skill (knowing what flint is and how to flake it) goes with your body, thus makes your person more valuable. However we won't be back to flint for a while as a ton of metal is here until it all rusts. Knowing how to sharpen a knife is a pretty good skill to have. Knowing edible wild plants. Knowing how to help in the birth of a baby. Knowing how to hunt and skin a deer, rabbit, rat. Having a useful skill could well be the only preparation that makes much sense if we descend into anarchy.

If Richard Duncan is right and the grid comes down at some point in the not to far future then anarchy will no doubt be right behind.

Knowing how to hunt and skin a deer, rabbit, rat. Having a useful skill could well be the only preparation that makes much sense if we descend into anarchy.

Oxi, I applaud your forethought but if TSHTF in the manner which you describe, the available wild game is going to go to zero in about two and a half weeks. We can't return to being a hunter gatherer culture -- not on a planet of 7 billion people. Whatever happens Post-peak, we won't be returning to the Paleo-lithic. There are too many of us and the "wild" resource base won't support it.

I followed this line of thought too.

Of course, the true-blue huntin'-fishin' type would say, well, if there's only one kind of animal left, and there's 7 billion of 'em, that's what's in season.

TV program I'd hate to see: "Survivor: after TSHTF".

Knowing edible wild plants. Knowing how to help in the birth of a baby. Knowing how to hunt and skin a deer, rabbit, rat. Having a useful skill could well be the only preparation that makes much sense if we descend into anarchy.

In other words, look at the Discovery Channel serie with Bear Grillis.

Regarding plan to pump CO2 into Ghawar:

What I've noticed in just the short period of time on this site, is the increasing number of super straws they've drilled into the northern region, contracting with foreign companies to drill the southern region, the increasing water cut, and now the plan to inject CO2.

Seems like they must be doing all these things due to concerns that the field is old and nearing a sharp decline. If production drops off like Cantarell, people better hope the Ruskies can continue to pump 10 mbd, and Iraq comes on strong.

Whatever happens, I certainly want to project that Ghawar and Russia do not drop off simultaneously.

Good going, Vancouver !

LEED Platinum Vancouver Convention Centre has North America's Largest Green Roof

Even if you had doubts that the “greenest Olympic games” were merely marketing buzz words, you have to be impressed that the implementation of the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Center (VCECE) expansion has surpassed the extremely ambitious sustainable initiatives that we first reported to you two years ago. The world’s first LEED Platinum certified convention center also boasts the largest non-industrial green roof in North America. During the XXI Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games, the center will serve as the international broadcast and media hub. The expansion tripled the square footage and functional capacity of the old convention center, which was a necessity to house 7000 media guests who will be broadcasting live to millions of viewers across the globe.

See: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/02/15/leed-platinum-vancouver-convention-c...


I mentioned a couple months ago that the UK government would be offering grants to replace G-rated gas boilers. According to this report, the programme has generated considerable interest.

Households warm to boiler scrappage scheme
More than a third of 125,000 vouchers made available to homeowners to replace inefficient boilers have gone

More than a third of the vouchers available under the government's boiler scrappage scheme have been snapped up since the scheme launched almost six weeks ago, according to figures out today.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change said that of the 125,000 vouchers made available, 54,578 have been taken, leaving about 70,000, which are worth a total of £28m.

The scheme, which was announced in December's pre-budget report and launched in early January, is designed to cut carbon and help people save money on energy bills.

Households with working boilers with the lowest "G" rating can apply for vouchers from the Energy Saving Trust, which they must put towards buying an A-rated boiler or installing a renewable heating system such as a biomass boiler or heat pump.

See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2010/feb/15/boiler-scrappage-scheme-vouc...


Peak demand? That doesn't even make sense. If you sell the oil for a penny a barrel, there will be near infinite demand. Obviously, the price is starting to get so high that people are looking for alternatives. And if enough people were to find alternatives (which I highly doubt until prices go much higher) then there will be a peak in demand. However, supply will follow demand since why create supply if there is no demand? Thus, peak supply will always go hand in hand with peak demand. So how is it really any different than peak oil supply?

In both cases, production is decreased and in both cases, the price got really high.

Thus, peak supply will always go hand in hand with peak demand.

Exactly! Seems pretty obvious the term 'peak demand' was created for those in denial about peak oil, so they don't look so stupid.