Drumbeat: March 11, 2010

John Michael Greer: Barbarism and good brandy

Think of it this way. The individual photons that heat the planet Mercury each contain, on average, the same quantity of energy as the individual photons that heat the planet Neptune. Is Neptune as warm as Mercury? Not hardly, and the reason is that by the time they get out to the orbit of Neptune, the Sun’s rays are spread out over a much vaster area, so each square foot of Neptune gets a lot fewer photons than a corresponding square foot of Mercury. The photons are less concentrated in space, and that, not the quantity of energy they contain, determines how much of the hard work of heating a planet they are able to do. There are stars in the night sky that produce photons far more energetic, on average, than those released by the Sun, but you’re not going to get a star tan from their light!

This may seem like an obvious point. Still, it deserves restatement, because so many contemporary plans for using solar energy ignore it, fixating on the raw quantity of solar energy that reaches the Earth rather than the very modest concentration of that energy. A habit of comforting abstraction feeds that sort of thinking. It’s easy to insist, for example, that the quantity of solar energy falling annually on some fairly small fraction of the state of Nevada, let’s say, is equal to the quantity of energy that the US uses as electricity each year, and to jump from there to insist that if we just cover a hundred square miles of Nevada with mirrors, so all that sunlight can be used to generate steam, we’ll be fine.

What gets misplaced in appealing fantasies of this sort? Broadly speaking, three things.

ANALYSIS - OPEC may face Iraq challenge sooner than expected

DUBAI/LONDON (Reuters) - The storm brewing on OPEC's horizon over future Iraqi oil output could engulf the producer group sooner than it would like.

OPEC was unlikely to discuss Iraq at its meeting on March 17 but it may need to do so within a couple of years.

"There's only one issue, but it's a big one. It's a tsunami. Iraq," said Leo Drollas at the Centre for Global Energy Studies.

After years of sanctions and war, Iraq is exempt from the output targets OPEC uses to set supply levels.

But as Baghdad embarks on an unprecedented oil industry development, OPEC will at some point need to bring Iraq back into the fold to prevent millions of barrels of new oil supply undoing its work to balance markets.

Drilling starts on Saudi ‘supergiant’ Manifa oil project

Saudi Arabia is pressing ahead with the biggest offshore oil development in its history, despite having about 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of idle crude production capacity.

Development of the “supergiant” Manifa oilfield, containing an estimated 10 billion barrels of reserves, is “on time and on budget”, said Mohammed al Abdulkarim, the manager of the Manifa project for Saudi Aramco, the national petroleum company, on the sidelines of the DrillTech conference in Abu Dhabi.

According to a statement on Aramco’s website, oil production from Manifa will start in 2013, two years before the project’s scheduled completion. Manifa is one of several oil developments the kingdom is pursuing to maintain its production capacity at the record 12.5 million bpd reached last June.

Shale gas could supply 100 yrs of consumption

HOUSTON (Reuters) - The natural gas shale boom in North America has more than doubled discovered gas resources and can supply more than a century of consumption at current rates, an IHS CERA study released Wednesday said.

As recently as 2007, it was widely thought that natural gas was in tight supply and the U.S. would need to import gas, said Daniel Yergin, chairman of IHS CERA.

But a long-lasting "shale gale" has squashed that outlook, he said at the annual CERAWeek conference in Houston.

Ecuador Oil Min sees no OPEC production change

QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador Oil Minister and OPEC President Germano Pinto said Thursday that OPEC has no need to change output policies at its meeting on March 17 and sees oil prices stable in the range of $70 to $80 a barrel for the rest of 2010.

"Right now there is no change planned for (OPEC) production policy," Pinto told reporters.

Iran Oil Fund to Expand If Crude Stays Above $65

(Bloomberg) -- Iran, holder of the world’s second- biggest oil and gas reserves, will add to its oil stabilization fund if crude prices remain over $65 in the coming 12 months, the deputy central bank governor said.

“As long as the price of petroleum is over $65 per barrel Iran will gain extra petroleum revenue, which will find its way into the oil stabilization fund,” Hossein Ghazavi said in a phone interview from Tehran late yesterday. He declined to comment on the current balance of the fund, which is aimed at providing protection for the economy should oil prices slide.

FACTBOX - China in Central Asia: latest investments

(Reuters) - Energy-hungry China is stepping up its presence in former Soviet Central Asia by handing out billions of dollars in loans, snapping up energy assets and building a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan.

Below is the list of recent Chinese investments.

ExxonMobil plans 4% spending boost

US supermajor ExxonMobil will increase its capital spending nearly 4% this year to $28 billion as it evaluates new fields around the world, but it cautioned that the global economy remained unsteady.

Venezuelan president says government not to blame for energy crisis

President of the Republic Hugo Chavez Frias rejected accusations by industrial sectors in the country blaming his government for the energy crisis and he called them irresponsible for the recent comments by the leaders of Fedecamaras [Venezuelan Federation of Associations and Chambers of Commerce and Industry].

The president asked for understanding from the country's different sectors during the ceremony to see off the Venezuelan team that will travel to the South American Games.

Mindanao now under state of calamity

President Gloria Arroyo on Thursday placed Mindanao under a state of calamity as the region continued to reel from the effects of the El Niño weather phenomenon. Defense Secretary and National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) Chairman Norberto Gonzales proposed to President Arroyo on Wednesday the declaration of the state of calamity in Mindanao to counter the effects of El Niño in the region.

Now, that's how you treat the 'won't pays'

Spare a thought for three protest leaders in Mexico who've been jailed for contesting electricity charges. Not sent a final demand, mind, nor had their electricity cut off - sent to jail. It happened after residents of the state of Campeche in the east of Mexico refused to pay electricity bills, which they claimed were unreasonably high.

Is Saudi Aramco laughing off clean tech?

Saudi Arabia faces a conundrum on renewables. It is a wealthy country thanks to its oil exports, and its own domestic economy also benefits from heavily-subsidised oil, which is used in electricity generation. But i does share some common interests with the renewable energy industry - and not just building the odd solar plant.

Because of its role as the swing producer of the world’s oil, Saudi Arabia is more responsible for keeping oil prices high than any other country.

Without Opec’s production quotas - even with compliance levels falling - it’s widely believed oil prices would be much lower than they currently are. That almost certainly would have made the slump in renewables investment that began in 2008 much worse.

Nukes in my backyard

(Fortune Magazine) -- Long left for dead, the U.S. nuclear power industry appears poised for a comeback.

President Barack Obama earlier this year announced an $8.3 billion loan guarantee to help the Georgia utility Southern Co. build two large reactors, and he wants to triple the amount of federal loan guarantees for plant construction to $54 billion. Obama hopes a slew of new plants will create jobs and lots of affordable, clean electricity.

The problem: Even with the help of loan guarantees, full-scale nuclear power plants remain insanely expensive to build (conventional plants start at $5 billion, industry executives say).

Some industry players, such as Toshiba, Hyperion Power Generation, and NuScale Power, think they have a better idea: small, distributed units designed to power the equivalent of a midsize town.

How to provide relief to rural Americans, create jobs, and lower emissions ... all at once!

Who does that leave out? Who doesn't have upfront capital and doesn't live in a city with money to spend on PACE? You guessed it: rural homeowners.

This matters for several reasons. First off, rural homes -- over 20 percent of which are manufactured homes -- are substantially less efficient than their urban and suburban counterparts. That's why, even though their homes are generally smaller and their electricity is generally cheaper, the average rural household pays $200-$400 more a year on energy bills than comparable urban households. And given that they make roughly $10,000 less per year, that's not chump change.

Second, rural Americans are precisely the ones most politically hostile to climate action, which they see as a liberal political program that primarily benefits cities and coastal elites. Direct energy benefits to rural homeowners could help change the political landscape and ease further action.

James Howard Kunstler in Cleveland

Sunday, March 14 - The incisive social critic known for "The Long Emergency" and "The Geography of Nowhere," a widely taught book on suburban sprawl, makes a rare appearance to discuss his ideas, and his first novel, "World Made by Hand," which debuted to mostly strong notices in 2008.

Sprawling Misconceptions

James Howard Kunstler doesn’t think highly of libertarian newsman John Stossel. Assuming this is what Kunstler is talking about (see No. 2), you can’t blame him. Stossel defends suburban sprawl and accuses its opponents — like Kunstler — of forcing lifestyle choices onto others “by limiting where they can build.” The fallacy of this view has been pointed out about 100 times. For the 101st time: sprawl — an umbrella term for the pattern of development seen virtually everywhere in the United States — is not caused by the free market. It is, rather, mandated by a vast and seemingly intractable network of government regulations, from zoning laws and building codes to street design regulations. If Stossel wants to expand Americans’ lifestyle choices, he should attack the very thing he was defending, namely, suburban sprawl.

It’s odd that self-described libertarians such as Stossel are so slow to grasp that government planning makes sprawl ubiquitous. You would think that libertarians would instinctively grasp the deeply statist nature of suburban development. First of all, with a depressingly few exceptions, virtually every town in America looks the same. That is, it has the same landscape of arterial roads, strip malls, and residential subdivisions, accessibly only by car. Surely, given America’s celebrated diversity, you would also see a diversity of places. As it turns out, all but a few people live the same suburban lifestyle. Government, as libertarian assumptions would predict, is the culprit.

Are "More Jobs" Sustainable or Necessary in the Post-Peak Oil World?

What was required for a growing economy, that was supposed to uplift all of modern humanity, is at root a false notion for the manipulated public: the overwhelming majority must work for others to enrich the few so that all of society benefits through unlimited expansion. This problematic profit-scheme is failing to hold up, what with general economic uncertainty on the rise (apart from “Hope”) and the advanced depletion of easily extracted, cheap oil.

To put even greater pressure on our bankrupt (in so many ways) system, the ecological crisis is knocking at the door ever more threateningly, demanding not mere policy adjustments but a radically different approach to treating the Earth and all its people and species.

How Your Twitter Account Could Land You in Jail

The raid occurred just as the protests were starting, but even as Madison and Wallschlaeger were arrested, the information flowed from the other tweeters without a blip. "A comms facility was raided, but we are still fully operational please continue to submit reports" stated one subsequent tweet.

The real-time updates were available to anyone who followed the feed, allowing protesters to see the theater of operations and add information to the picture. It was as if the demonstrators had gotten their own helicopter. Tin Can Comms sent out messages such as "SWAT teams rolling down 5th Ave towards Schenley" and "40 cops, w/ bus, headed towards friendship park." The police knew they were being outflanked, but could do little against a decentralized foe: "SCANNER JUST SAID: BE ADVISED WE'RE BEING MONITORED BY ANARCHISTS THROUGH SCANNER," noted one Tin Can tweet.

...Madison calls the arrest an attempt to "stifle dissent" and says his actions were "perfectly legal." His lawyer, Martin Stolar, calls them "absolutely protected speech." Madison also points out the irony that last June the State Department asked Twitter to delay scheduled maintenance so as not to interrupt Iranian protesters tweeting from the barricades.

The curious story of Chinese oil refining

The narrowing gap between current and forward crude oil contract prices in recent weeks has been been widely attributed to two things.

OECD oil storage, the story goes, is falling and oil stored at sea is also widely believed to be declining - both paving the way for Asian demand growth to really kick in, in terms of prices. Yet it’s not completely clear cut: crude inventory volumes are mostly a pretty opaque affair, and the all-important Chinese demand for crude and products is particularly fuzzy. In fact the IEA pointed out in November that uncertainty over demand for, and storage of, refined products in China was such that it made the entire worldwide demand outlook rather challenging.

Now, Olivier Jakob of PetroMatrix makes a strong case that, far from using up its product inventories, China is awash in product - so much so that it’s exporting it.

Oil near $82 as traders eye weak US demand

Oil prices hovered around $82 a barrel Thursday in Europe as traders weighed stagnant U.S. crude demand against a gradual global economic recovery.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for April delivery was up 20 cents to $82.29 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 60 cents to settle at $82.09 on Wednesday.

IEA’s Oil Demand Forecast Will Be Little Changed, Tanaka Says

(Bloomberg) -- The International Energy Agency’s global oil demand forecast will likely be little changed this month, as economic uncertainty in developed nations overshadows emerging-market growth, Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka said.


There is an assumption many on this Earth share: one that says the world revolves around money. It doesn’t. It revolves around oil. Cheap oil. And without it, the gears that run this current globalized economy will come screeching to a halt. Over the last few decades, we were warned about a time when the demand for petroleum would outpace supply.

Unfortunately, this time will soon come: it’s called peak oil.

Natural gas industry charged with making case to policymakers

The emergence of natural gas shales could extend U.S. energy supplies for decades and help address climate change concerns, but the industry faces what one executive called a “promotion challenge” in convincing policymakers and the public of the fuel’s benefits.

The industry must do more to make the case, oil and gas leaders said Wednesday at the CERAWeek energy conference. That means dispelling what they consider myths about the ability of renewables to quickly replace fossil fuels and about environmental dangers of new natural gas extraction techniques.

No ‘crude expropriation’ of BP gas field

MOSCOW - A top Russian official said Thursday there should be no ‘crude expropriation’ of a huge Siberian gas field owned by a unit of British energy giant BP amid a dispute over its license.

The dispute over the Kovykta field — seen as a potential source of energy to China — should be resolved amicably, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

India Seeks Partnerships With Rosneft, Gazprom for Russia Areas

(Bloomberg) -- India will seek stakes in Russia’s oil and gas fields in partnership with Rosneft Oil Co. and Gazprom OAO during Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s visit to New Delhi, a government official said.

The South Asian nation wants stakes in fields in the Yamal Peninsula, East Siberia and the Sakhalin-3 project for state- owned Oil & Natural Gas Corp., the official said in New Delhi today, asking not to be identified before the talks.

Russia may invite India ONGC to energy projects-govt

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia is considering inviting India's state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp to develop oil and gas fields in Russia, the government said on Thursday, ahead of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's visit to India.

BP wins foothold in Brazil with £4.7 bln deal

LONDON (AFP) – Oil giant BP said Thursday it will pay US firm Devon Energy $7 billion (£4.7 billion) for assets in Brazil, Azerbaijan and the Gulf of Mexico.

The London-listed firm will pay US firm Devon Energy in cash for the assets, the group said in an official statement, which announced the "broad-ranging deal."

"BP today announced a transaction that will deliver a material exploration position in ... deepwater offshore Brazil and significantly enhance its position in core strategic areas," the company said.

The Brazilian assets will mark the British group's first foray into the emerging market country.

Brazil Lawmakers Pass Bill to Boost Some States’ Oil Royalties

(Bloomberg) -- Brazilian states and cities that don’t produce oil would get a bigger share of revenue raised from offshore output under a measure passed by the lower house.

Shell confirms shift away from oil sands

EDMONTON - Royal Dutch Shell's apparent change of investment emphasis away from the oil sands could put future Canadian projects in jeopardy.

In yesterday's edition of London's Financial Times, chief executive Peter Voser said future oil sands developments would be "very much slower."

Shell shelved long-term planning in late 2008 for new projects, and has not revisited the decision.

Alberta’s Tar Sands and the Dead Duck Trial

In an Alberta court, the oil sands giant Syncrude Canada has entered the second week of a high-profile case brought by federal and provincial prosecutors over the widely publicized deaths two years ago of 1,600 migrating ducks that were trapped in the toxic sludge floating on one of the company’s vast tailings ponds.

Insisting that the failure of its bird-deterring air cannons doesn’t constitute a crime, Syncrude has pleaded not guilty.

Texas earthquakes may be linked to wells for gas mining

Saltwater pumped deep into the earth in a natural gas mining operation offers a "plausible," though not definitive, explanation for small earthquakes in Texas in 2008 and 2009, scientists say.

Middletown Building Official Declares 6 Major Buildings At Kleen Energy Power Plant Unsafe

MIDDLETOWN — - The owners of the Kleen Energy power plant, extensively damaged in a Feb. 7 natural gas explosion that killed six people, face a substantial rebuilding project.

Six major buildings at the site have been declared unsafe by Middletown's building official, John Parker. These include the plant's central core — the power block building that houses the three turbines, the generators and the pair of 220-foot high stacks that make up the heat-recovery system.

Toyota could face criminal charges related to safety recalls

Toyota could be the first automaker to face tough penalties enacted after rollover recalls involving Ford autos and Firestone tires in 2000.

Oil Execs Chortle as Obama Admin Promotes Renewables

HOUSTON -- Renewable energy is being praised in Washington, but it is generating snickers here in the nation's traditional energy capital, where oil, gas and utility leaders are gathered for a major industry conference.

The Lithium Chase

For many years, few metals drew bigger yawns from mining executives than lithium, a lightweight element long associated mostly with mood-stabilizing drugs.

Suddenly, the yawns are being replaced by eurekas. As awareness spreads that lithium is a crucial ingredient for hybrid and electric cars, a global hunt is under way for new supplies of the metal.

China Idles 40% of Windpower Turbine Output Capacity

(Bloomberg) -- China is idling as much as 40 percent of its wind-turbine factories following a surge in investment driven by the government’s renewable-energy goals, the vice president of Shanghai Electric Group Corp. said.

Prices of turbines have tumbled more than 30 percent from 2004 levels in the world’s third-biggest windpower market by generating capacity because there are “too many” plants, Lu Yachen said in an interview in Beijing today.

Developers Lament Loss of Federal Wind Subsidies in Canada

The Canadian Wind Energy Association is expressing disappointment with the federal government’s recent decision not to expand or extend the so-called ecoEnergy program — which delivered subsidies to renewable energy developers — in its new budget.

Solar power could provide 10% of US energy: report

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States could source 10 percent of its electricity from solar power by 2030, a report said Tuesday, winning support from a US lawmaker who wants to boost the number of US solar panels.

The report, produced by the independent environmental group Environment America, was presented to Congress with backing from Senator Bernie Sanders who in February introduced legislation to install 10 million solar panels across the United States within a decade.

Solar Prospectors Chase Italian, Israeli ‘Gold Mines’

(Bloomberg) -- Olivier de Vergnies quit managing family fortunes at Dexia Private Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. in 2008 to run a New York start-up at 100 Wall St. that’s trying to tap riches in solar energy.

The chief executive officer of two-year-old Prime Sun Power Inc. is hiring hundreds of workers to build solar plants in Italy, where he can sell electricity for about six times the price paid to coal- and natural gas-fired generators.

Los Angeles Electric Rate Linked to Solar Power

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles averages more than 300 days of sunshine a year, and it often seems as if environmentalists outnumber rattlesnakes in many parts of the sprawling city. It would seem, then, that solar energy would be a thriving local industry here.

But that has never been the case, and experts cite cost as the main reason.

Now, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the largest municipal utility in the United States, is poised to pass a roughly 5 percent rate increase on electricity use. The proceeds would be earmarked for renewable energy purchases and programs, including one that would repay people or businesses that use solar panels to contribute to the power grid.

California Utility Regulators Not Quite Ready for Fuel Cells

While Google, Wal-Mart and other corporations have embraced fuel cells, California regulators have turned down requests from the state’s two biggest utilities to install the technology.

In a preliminary decision, an administrative law judge with the California Public Utilities Commission found unwarranted an application from Pacific Gas and Electric and Southern California to spend more than $43 million to install fuel cells that would generate six megawatts of electricity.

Coffee, an alternative fuel? "Car-puccino" runs on espresso

The car, averaging 56 espressos per mile, has a system that converts used coffee grounds into flammable gas.

More maize ethanol may boost greenhouse gas emissions

In the March issue of BioScience, researchers present a sophisticated new analysis of the effects of boosting use of maize-derived ethanol on greenhouse gas emissions. The study, conducted by Thomas W. Hertel of Purdue University and five co-authors, focuses on how mandated increases in production of the biofuel in the United States will trigger land-use changes domestically and elsewhere. In response to the increased demand for maize, farmers convert additional land to crops, and this conversion can boost carbon dioxide emissions.

The analysis combines ecological data with a global economic commodity and trade model to project the effects of US maize ethanol production on carbon dioxide emissions resulting from land-use changes in 18 regions across the globe. The researchers' main conclusion is stark: these indirect, market-mediated effects on greenhouse gas emissions "are enough to cancel out the benefits the corn ethanol has on global warming."

City sets out healthy amibitions for local food

Bristol City Council has launched its first ever Food Charter, setting out its ambitions for healthier and more locally produced food.

The charter aims to promote Fairtrade and locally produced food, encourage people to get their ‘five a day’, and deal with the impact of Peak Oil and the challenges it presents our food supply.

Increasing Yields and Decreasing Fertilizer Waste on Subsistence Farms

A new agricultural technology that cuts nitrogen fertilizer waste in half while increasing rice yields is spreading quickly in Bangladesh and is being investigated by 15 other nations, including more than a dozen in sub-Saharan Africa.

The water-energy nexus

Available water, says Simmons, is increasingly brackish or saline, which is energy-intensive to convert to drinkable water.

And energy - particularly some newer sources, such as solar thermal and shale gas, are extremely water-intensive:

Simmons is not alone in this view. At the CERA Week conference under way in Houston, the water problem was addressed in a panel on Wednesday.

Cyprus conflict closes leaders' eyes to water shortage

Water has been rapidly disappearing in Cyprus since the 1970s, but conflict between Turkish and Greek communities means fixing the problem is not high on the political agenda. The BBC's Alex Bell finds that Cypriots are now struggling for control of land that is slowly dying.

No longer the great white north

The future presents lots of things to worry about -- melting glaciers, giant asteroids, Iranian nukes, peak oil. The smart futurists, however, know that nothing is as scary as the declining birthrates in western countries like Canada. Without people we won't have workers, and without workers we won't have an economy.

Arctic 'doomsday vault' growing

A "doomsday" vault storing crop seeds in an Arctic deep freeze is surpassing 500,000 samples, to become the most diverse collection of food seeds in history.

Set up on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard two years ago, the vault aims to store seeds of all food crops deep beneath permafrost to withstand threats ranging from a cataclysmic nuclear war to a mundane power cut.

How Green Is My Mansion?

MITCH KAPOR, the software mogul and philanthropist, has given millions of dollars to environmental groups.

Now Mr. Kapor wants to build a 10,000-square-foot house, complete with a 10-car garage, in Berkeley, Calif.

When the house won planning approval earlier this year, many neighbors were surprised — not so much by the size of the house, or by its sleek design, but by the fact that, under Berkeley regulations, the house will qualify as “green.” In Berkeley, building proposals are evaluated on a “green point” scale, earning credit for such eco-conscious features as low-flow shower heads and insulation. A house with more than 60 points is labeled green, regardless of its size.

Noel Kempff project is 'saving the forest' by forcing destruction elsewhere

It is the ultimate greenwash nightmare. A tough international deal to curb emissions of greenhouse gases is passed in Mexico later this year. Companies then meet their targets not by cutting their own pollution but by buying into hundreds of forest "conservation" projects round the world. But those projects then fail to deliver real benefits for forests or staunch the flow of carbon into the atmosphere.

Some big-time green groups prosper but the planet burns.

UN is not working, says Sarkozy

French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday demanded a revamp of the United Nations and urged negotiations under a small group of countries to accelerate efforts to fight climate change.

Sarkozy, in a speech to open a one-day conference on fighting deforestation, stood by the UN, saying there was "no alternative strategy" to a forum that gave all nations, rich and poor, a voice in a global arena.

But he said changes to the UN were way overdue.

Industry slow to sell biocharcoal climate merits

LONDON (Reuters) - Industry has struggled to commercialize a charcoal technology which some say could reverse the effect of manmade carbon emissions, as countries fail to implement incentives and technical problems nag.

Questions about research slow climate change efforts

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The violent threats are not what bother Michael Mann the most. He's used to them.

Instead, it's the fact that his life's work — the effort to stop global warming — has been under siege since last fall. That's when Mann suddenly found himself in the middle of the so-called "climategate" scandal, in which more than 1,000 e-mails among top climate scientists — including Mann — were obtained illegally by hackers and published on the Internet.

Japan weakens climate bill after industry pressure

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan watered down legislation to fight climate change on Thursday after weeks of wrangling within the government over plans for an emissions trading system that has met stiff opposition from industry.

The climate bill, set to be enacted by parliament by mid-June, said the government would consider using emission caps per unit of production in the planned trading scheme, which would allow rises in emissions when output grows.

Emissions figures don't stack up: professor

THE Rudd government ramped up the environmental benefits of its botched $2.45 billion home insulation scheme by grossly overstating the cuts in greenhouse gas emissions that could be achieved by households, expert independent analysis says.

Greenhouse gas limits to change ops

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. - In June, the air station will know how much it needs to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and that could lead to some big changes in station operations.

The Department of Defense is expected to soon release reduction goals for military bases after President Barack Obama tasked all federal agencies to establish new greenhouse gas policies in an executive order, released Oct. 8, 2009.

Bicycles on Pennsylvania Avenue


At a Rails to Trails conference in New Orleans, I talked to the woman in charge of planning new bike routes in DC. With a maximum effort to support bicyclists, and $10/gallon gas, she estimated that the % of bike commuters would jump from 2% to 30% over time (almost a decade to get full response in ridership after conditions improve).

Best Hopes for more Bicyclists,


More bikes is a good thing, but not at the expense of rails as I'm sure you know Alan. :)

It should be Rails and Trails. Why do so many people die a year walking on the railroad tracks? Because that is the easiest place to walk on what is the shortest, flattest path for their journey. Putting a path next to the rail would be a literal lifesaver.

Bike lanes on roads are still vulnerable to driver error. Trains very rarely leave the rails.

The wind impact of trains isn't all that much different from a large truck, and one knows exactly where the train is going to be.

It is time to put in paths next to rails instead of replacing them.

True enough where putting the path along a railroad line is practicable. But this is not in contradiction to, or even in competition with, improving city streets. We need to do both (for example "complete streets".) The nearest rail line is often quite far away, so even if there is a path along it, and even if that path happens to be of use on a leg of particular trip, the rider still needs to be able to reach it. And for this sort of thing to scale up enough to matter, people need to be able to reach the many places in the city that are nowhere near rail lines.

Note that one major way to improve city streets at the mere stroke of a pen would be to repeal right-turn-on-red outright. It would simplify things from the current "red means stop except when it doesn't", which sorely confuses some folks who are unfortunately very simpleminded. When turning right, they stare steadily to the left and stomp on the gas at the first opening, so there is never any point during the traffic-light cycle when a pedestrian coming along the sidewalk from the right (or a cyclist on a path coming from the right) can cross (reasonably) safely.

"It is time to put in paths next to rails instead of replacing them."

I would like to see this also, but my understanding is that American railroad companies do not like this idea at all.

On "rails-to-trails":

Converting unused rail lines to trails is better than losing the right-of-ways permanently, but I think these corridors should be retained as possible rail lines again, when automobiles become more expensive to use, and rail becomes much more economically attractive.

“Peak Oil Period” to Be Attained By 2014, Alarm Scientists

New matter of concern, as brought into light under recent researches conducted by Kuwait University and Kuwait Oil Company, is the concept of “peak oil”. Published in the journal “Energy & Fuels predicts” it has been concluded after studying the ability of producing crude oil in 47 oil producing countries globally that the peak oil period is nearing and will be reached latest by 2014.

This is being reported by several news agencies. I found four links to this story already and I am sure there will be many more. I think this is big news. The below link gives much more detail than the first one, above, that showed up with News.Google.

World crude oil production may peak a decade earlier than some predict

They estimated that worldwide conventional crude oil production will peak in 2014, years earlier than anticipated. The scientists also showed that the world's oil reserves are being depleted at a rate of 2.1 percent a year. The new model could help inform energy-related decisions and public policy debate, they suggest.

And these scientists worked for Kuwait University and OPEC member Kuwait Oil Company. I will say it again, this is big news!

Ron P.

It's also the top story in yesterday's DrumBeat.

Yes, a very good article. I was surprised there wasn't more discussion yesterday. Maybe the reason, I tried to get to the article a second time and it was unavailable, behind some kind of a pay wall. The article was very well done, lots of math and some eye popping graphs. Indeed, the conclusion is that 2014 will be the year that world production begins to decline. Best from the Fremont

I think they're just having bandwidth problems. I got a 404 the first time I tried it, but got through the second time.

The direct link to the paper is here. There are PDF versions as well.

I was surprised at the lack of interest, too. There wasn't much interest from TOD staff, either. I think it's because most of us think peak oil is in the rear view mirror now.

I think it's because most of us think peak oil is in the rear view mirror now.


Perhaps it is because they think OPEC is still lying. The report was done by Kuwait University and the Kuwait Oil Company. The calculated when each nation would peak and guess who peaks last, well almost last anyway. They have Iraq peaking last in 2036 and Kuwait peaking next to last in 2033. That is a joke, for Kuwait anyway. Burgen is in steep decline and they were looking at C02 injection a year before Saudi decided to try it.

And they still have Kuwaiti reserves at 101.5 billion barrels. And, they are still using those same inflated reserves for all other OPEC nations. So giving them latitude for all that OPEC nonsense, when does that indicate that crude oil will probably peak. My guess is about two years ago, or perhaps 5 years ago.

Ron P.

I commented on this yesterday, and it deserves a repeat. IMO, Iraq is being set up to produce far more per day, and will likely achieve the targeted 12 MB/d during 2010-2014; for those four years, production will grow until it reaches that peak. At that time, catastrophic depletion will begin in the Iraqi fields, and the final peak will be in 2014, as predicted.

Without Iraq being overworked, we would already have seen peak, and with Iraqi fields pumping at a rational rate, would be in an extended plateau, perhaps as long as 2017 to 2020.

In any case, whether in 2014, as predicted by the Kuwaitis, or in 2017, or as late as 2020, we will see TSHTF. The best advice to anyone today, and that which I myself am taking, is, "make the most of the next 4 years... after that it will be too late.


Zaphod you are going to have to either tell us what you are smoking or justify your Iraq production forecasts a bit more. You are predicting that Iraq will add on average 2.5mb/day of production every year for 4 years starting now. That's complete fantasy land.

See link uptop ANALYSIS - OPEC may face Iraq challenge sooner than expected

The consensus among analysts is that it would take around 5 years for Iraq to boost output by between 1 million bpd and 1.5 million bpd.

But output gains could surprise OPEC in their speed.

"You could be looking at 1.5 million barrels in two years," said a senior executive at one of the oil firms involved in Iraq. "That could make a huge difference to the supply and demand balance. Is there going to be that kind of demand pick up in that timeframe?"

Iraq's deals call for foreign firms to boost output potential to 12 million bpd in seven years, which would leave it snapping at the heels of Saudi Arabia's capacity of 12.5 million bpd.

Even the most wildly optimistic figures don't come anywhere near your delusion. I'm sorry to put it as strong as calling you deluded but that's the only way I can describe your belief. Perhaps you are just believing it because you want that 4 years to cling to? If you've some specialist knowledge that supports your wild claim then please post it!

I didn't say they would do it, but that it was something that must be done for the Kuwaiti prediction of peak in 2014 to be even possible. And, IMO, if they did it, it would be by forcing such incredible production that the depletion rate would be huge! By 2014, they would reverse as fast, or faster, than a run up to 12 MP/d (dropping < 2.5 mb/d per year). And, that would be the final crises.

It is the Kuwaiti prediction that makes me believe that something is up at the production level. And, 2014 represents the 'first' predicted timeframe for PO by a major producer. Since we know that 2005 was the first 'peak' (for crude oil), and 2008 the second (total liquids), we know that production must come up to that level for there to be a third (final) "peak" for oil. The only unknown in production would be the level for Iraqi new production. That has to come as I have outlined. Not a prediction that it will, but seeking a reason for the Kuwaiti claim, and marrying it with all other knowns.

"There are things that we know. There are things that we don't know. There are things that we know we know, and that we know we don't know..." This is one of those things.

Additional thought:

Of course, the cost of driving production that high will be large as well. This helps to explain the continued price level - the production companies KNOW what it will cost them to 'hyperventilate' (my own use of that term) in Iraq, and have factored that into current pricing. Watch where prices go during the next four years, and imagine the levels when that final 'peak' occurs.

Again, the confidence expressed by the Kuwaitis, and by the Iraqis must be bolstered by some assurance they have received from the production people that those numbers are not impossible. Even an increase to 9 mb/d may be enough to postpone 'peak' for 4 years.

The fly in this ointment has to be the danger of terrorist attacks on the Iraqi fields and infrastructure, especially on the western companies involved. IMO, one or more such attack is almost certain, though I am certainly not rooting for that in any way shape or form.

So, I am taking my own advice and making the most of what little time we have left, be that 6 months, 1 year, 2 years or 4 years. And, past 4 years, I cannot plan. In any event, the fall from peak will create a gradual decline, ala Greer, and at the end there will be a new, sustainable future. Not by choice, but by necessity. It will, as I have said before, be neither better nor worse than the present paradigm. It will be different, and it will be what those who survive make of it.


Again, the confidence expressed by the Kuwaitis, and by the Iraqis must be bolstered by some assurance they have received from the production people that those numbers are not impossible.


Even if you contracted Blackwater to gas the entire Iraqi population then installed Halliburton as corporate dictator with Dick Cheney in personal command of the entire resources of all US Oil companies, then I still don't believe you could be producing 12mb/day from Iraq by 2014.

Clearly there are some people who want to blow as much smoke as possible for as long as possible. I suggest not inhaling in this case.

Again, the confidence expressed by the Kuwaitis, and by the Iraqis must be bolstered by some assurance they have received from the production people that those numbers are not impossible. Even an increase to 9 mb/d may be enough to postpone 'peak' for 4 years.

No, this is wrong, dead wrong. First of all an increase to 9 mb/d in 4 years is impossible. That is an increase of 6.6 mb/d over current production or an increase of 1.65 mb/d per year for four years.

But where you are most wrong is that these figures must be bolstered by some assurance from their production people. Honestly, they express absolute confidence in their reserve numbers also. OPEC says, with absolute confidence:

At the end of 2008, OPEC had proven oil reserves of 1,027,383 million barrels of crude oil, representing 79.3 per cent of the world total of 1,295,085 million barrels.
What are OPEC's proven oil reserves?

By the same token we could say: "The confidence OPEC nations express in their reserve numbers must mean they are getting some assurance from their reserve managers that these numbers are possible."

Those massive OPEC reserves are nothing more than a gross exaggeration. Simply because they express great confidence in those numbers is no guarantee that they are true. The same must be said about Iraqi potential production numbers.

Ron P.

By 2014, they would reverse as fast, or faster, than a run up to 12 MP/d (dropping < 2.5 mb/d per year). And, that would be the final crises.

Craig, if Iraq ever could make 12 mbd their recoverable reserves are so high, that normally they won't decline that soon and fast.

So, I am taking my own advice and making the most of what little time we have left, be that 6 months, 1 year, 2 years or 4 years

No reason for being so dramatic. There is still a lot of 'low hanging fruit' available for demand destruction.

It's an assumption that any producer regardless of reserves would simply dump the entirety on the market.

One thing is becoming clear is the Middle Eastern producers are living Peak Oil and in the process taking advantage of those in the OECD who choose not to understand it.

Having reserves available allows a country to reduce volatility. The entity that can appear to assure this can claim a premium for his or her oil.

The only reason for a producer to dump would be to put competitors out of the oil business. Not likely as a majority are past peak - the Middle East understands Peak Oil, remember - and are pretty much out of the business of subsidizing OECD and developing nations' commerce.

subsidizing commerce is the only reason for low oil prices and enlarged consumption. Much more returns are to be gained by holding supply off the market.

If the Iraqis could develop 12mbpd capacity, it would hold production to a level similar to today's and keep the balance as 'spare capacity'. It would manipulate the market and keep prices high and the dollar hard ... and let the austerity fall where it may.

Give me 10 years.. i need 10... then my son will be old enough to use a sword and be able to beat up smaller less powerful people with his hands :)

Sources? Details?

How can they get that much oil out of the country? Why will the Kurds and others suddenly decide that quick cash is all they need, versus autonomy? Why won't Al Queda, Iran, and others who are happy with a continuing morass simply keep production down?

Recent news says the goal is 10M in 10 years....and since when has any project even managed to match long-term projections, let alone beat them?

If they do get to 12, it'll be bad news indeed, because that means there is a very high oil price providing the incentive. No way $100 per barrel will do it.

Can you refute Colin's projections from here?

If they do get to 12, it'll be bad news indeed

Right! Again, I did not predict they would. I said the only way the Kuwaiti claim of PO in 2014 could come to pass would be if they did. And, if that was being planned, the cost could be a factor in the sustained price of oil today. And, if they did, what would follow would be worse.

Just trying to be the cheerful optimist, as usual!




Good point about Iraq. In a similar fashion, I anticipate increasing Texas production to 10 mbpd, and incidentally, I have a date with Julia Roberts this weekend, and most people think that I look like George Clooney, only better looking.

I wonder how things are going back on Planet Earth?

When Texas gets to 10MBPD, California will be pumping 10.5.

Yup, And that new Super-Super Giant oil field that has been discovered under Minnesota with 5 trillion barrels of recoverable oil at only 1000 ft depth and under 8000 psi pressure.
They will just drill the wells and hook them into the new pipeline to the 16 new refineries nearing completion in Wisconsin, Iowa, North and South Dakota and the well pressure will push the light sweet oil all the way to the refineries without the need for mechanical pumping.
Oh, Yes, And on this news Government Motors has announced that they will be reviving the Hummer brand with a new 900 HP turbo diesel engine for it.
Whew, we are all saved.

Don't forget New Hampshire! Now that we've finally reached the creamy abiotic oil beneath our granite shell, we are poised to be a world energy power! Though prices are clearly headed down the toilet with all this oil coming on the market next year...

I commented on this yesterday, and it deserves a repeat. IMO, Iraq is being set up to produce far more per day, and will likely achieve the targeted 12 MB/d during 2010-2014;...

Really now, you actually believe that Iraq will be producing 12 mb/d by 2014. If I had it I would be thousands, and give ten to one odds that this will not happen. Even the report by Kuwait University and Kuwait Oil Company, listed above, predicts Iraq will not reach peak until 2036 and produce 8.494 mb/d at that peak. I regard that as being wildly optimistic.

I believe that by 2014, if peace breaks out in Iraq, they will still be producing less than 5 mb/d. And apparently even the wildly optimistic OPEC predictions of the Kuwaiti folks agree with me.

The link again: Forecasting World Crude Oil Production Using Multicyclic Hubbert Model

Ron P.

Hey, Ron. I'm smiling, but not blushing. (see posts above)

My comment was strictly based on, if there could possibly be a new peak in 2014, it would have to come from fields known and ready to be exploited. That would be Iraq. And that it would take the whole 12 mb/d for that to happen, and that it would take at least until 2014 (I did say 2017 to 2020 were likely extended dates, also, and more in line with news items release from Iraq. I don't really think that 2017-2020 would be a new peak, but rather the maximum for a plateau of production at or near 86 mb/d.

It just seems strange that shortly after the Iraqi announcements of production contracts, Kuwaiti scientists suddenly come up with a 2014 peak date. The Iraq production figures into that projection, and I don't buy into their stated figures (2036 at 8.494 mb/d) for Iraq. If Iraq produces significant numbers in a short period of time, it will be costly, and provide cover for the reality that peak has passed. The best they can come up with, using what I believe to be 'promises' by the Iraqi oil people to juke up production, is only 4 years off, but it is still 4 years off. That is better than admitting 2005/2008, isn't it?

Anyway, I have been trying to come up with any rational explaination for a number of facts, including steady price in the $80/82 range, sudden Kuwaiti claims of 2014 peak, IEA and EIA predictions and the like, and this is the only scenario that would fit the facts.

Of course, they could all be making things up and lying. Who knows?

I am still making 6 month plans, with my 'long range' being 2014 and very tentative, and hopeful. Remember, hope springs eternal... and eternity is a very long time!


2014. . .

As I noted yesterday, it's a little curious that world crude oil production stopped growing in 2005, and in fact has shown a cumulative shortfall through 2008, relative to the 2005 rate, even as annual oil prices went from $57 to $100.

But let's look at 2013:

Sam's best case is that by the end of 2013, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Norway, Iran and the UAE will have shipped about half of their post-2005 cumulative net oil exports.

I've always thought that it would be around 2014 before most of the world stopped denying that peak oil was even possible and started admitting that it has already happened. This would seem to be a milestone along that path.

i don't think the world will ever admit peak oil. as it gets increasingly obvious that the peak is in the past, they will spin it just like the mass extinction and global warming: "things are getting worse, but we still have time to reverse the problem if we do policy X."

i can't find one example in all of history of any culture embracing the idea that any resource has peaked. even today you can't talk about peak whales on TV without some right wing nutjob shouting you off the screen.

american oil production peaked in 1970, and the terminal decline is so obvious, but if any politician or TV person says it's terminal, they'd get fired. how is the world peak any different?

Hi bmcnett,

re: "i don't think the world will ever admit peak oil."

Agreed, though perhaps for different reasons.

"The world" doesn't understand what "peak oil" actually means. Even people that understand, don't understand (i.e., the emotional difficulty of "it.")


re: "if any politician or TV person says it's terminal, they'd get fired. how is the world peak any different?"

And here's the beauty of our simple project. Namely, to direct the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to do a study of "peak" - to include impacts and policy options - very crucial sections, BTW, for those who hold the opinion that "peak" is, indeed, past. (We can still get in some better ways to respond.)

Check out our petition and suggestions for action at www.oildepletion.wordpress.com. Or, better yet, shoot us an email.

This is a way for the facts to be put on the table - before the American public and the world.

Politicians and TV persons don't have to do a thing.

They just have to report on the news as delivered by the authoritative scientific body of the US.

There wasn't much interest from TOD staff, either. I think it's because most of us think peak oil is in the rear view mirror now.


Measured by dollars and cents - which is what most people use to measure things in the USA and elsewhere - the oil peak took place over ten years ago.

In the interim, nothing much was done - cars got bigger and more plentiful, more roads and suburbs were built (and how), China became 'middle class' and there was more energy- sucking growth everywhere.

The price got high enough and businesses started failing. Still nothing was done. When critical elements in finance broke and the world went into recession nothing was done. A market- induced price spike killed fuel demand world wide and still nothing was done. Trillions were spent trying to revive economic growth, GM and Chrysler were 'salvaged' and still nothing was done.

Nothing was done to cut consumption. Nothing.

The sovereigns which immersed themselves in debt to stave off complete collapse are now teetering and still nothing is done. One day ... a domino that is critical to the world's economy will fall. The rout will be on - away from risk, from credit, from 'investments' ...

and nothing will be done.


Because nothing CAN be done. Nor ever could have been.

Damn, and I did an advanced search on "Kuwait Oil Company" and still didn't find it. I assumed that would be the words that most interested people. I did not participate in yesterday's drumbeat, I was too busy reading and commenting on the link Gail posted yesterday about Richard Heinberg's essay.

Anyway this link was not posted yesterday. It is quite long and has comments from the scientists themselves, copied and pasted below. The entire report from the scientists themselves is published on page 2 of the link below. Turns out this research was done last year but apparently the results were only published this year.

Kuwaiti Scientists Say Peak Oil Will Arrive in 2014

“Forecasting is not accomplished by consulting a crystal ball or a mystic of some sort, but by appraising the past, inspecting present conditions, and projecting these into the future based on the best available information. It is well-known that the ultimate oil recovery of any field in the world is only determined when the production management decides to abandon the field for good. This does not occur until the projected oil revenues fall below expected costs and human ingenuity is unable to reverse this relationship.”

“Therefore, it is not a sin to acknowledge that the economic production life of any field is almost impossible to predict efficiently. Hence, forecasts should be flexible to adjustment whenever additional information becomes available or as conditions change. Even though it is inevitable to preclude the possibility of minor inaccurate forecasting results, still it is of paramount importance that the forecast be conducted. Without the forecast, a valid decision or public policy debate on a national or global scale cannot be made.” —Nashawi et. al, 2009

This report, from a member of OPEC, gives the dates all major oil producers will peak, including OPEC nations. I think it is way too optimistic in predicing the peak of OPEC nations, (2026), though it has Angola peaking this year. It says non-OPEC nations peaked in 2006.

Ron P.

OK, this confirms why I had this impression of "déjà vu". When reading the article, I was thing: this is hardly news.

Well, perhaps if you can read between the lines, this is indeed big news. They are saying, though they still give OPEC vast reserves, that OPEC nations cannot produce enough oil to delay the peak beyone 2014. They are saying, though OPEC does have vast reserves, don't count on OPEC to produce vast amounts of oil!

Edit: I take it all back. Looking at their charts they have OPEC producing 53 mb/d of crude oil in 2026. I was wrong, this is not news at all, they are still blowing smoke.

Ron P.

I think it is news that a paper out of Kuwait is acknowledging peak oil, and, they've given it date, 2014, 3 1/2 years off. I'm not sure anything like this has come out of OPEC before. The line has always been, relax, nothing to worry about. I would agree, however, peak has likely already occurred. Best from the Fremont

Perhaps the daring young 22-year old that broke the IEA Whistle-Blower story needs to make a trip to Kuwait.

I can hardly wait for this news to be covered by the AP or Reuters...,
Better yet

but I wont hold my breath

We all know that likely Peak is behind us, but to have OPEC people actually post comments and papers about Peak Oil is the thing to think about.

They likely know it is in the Past as well, and have decided they can't hide that fact much longer, so a best guess rosy outlook of it having a few years left, gives them a Face Saving out. If in 3 years the rest of the world really sees the decline, all they have to do is say, OOPS our numbers were wrong.


Indeed, this year we've seen a slow, but steady stream of fairly high-level articles entering the mainstream consciousness concerning Peak Oil. It is an interesting development and one we need to keep our eyes on...which with Leanan around will not be a problem.

Well, this is all well and good for us on the oil drum..., but when is the average joe going to know?

Judging from "average Joes" I`ve known.....this type of person will know and fully understand about peak oil when he drives to the gas station and finds a handwritten "Sorry, no gas" sign taped to the pumps. I`m not kidding either. Most people just have NO CLUE and really don`t want to think about it either until their stupid car and everyone else`s becomes a big piece of inert metal sitting on the road. THEN they`ll turn their attention to the next step, but only then. It is how we are wired (most of us). I think our brains were just formed like that through many millions of years of interaction with only the sun. Why think about tomorrow? Just live day to day.....

Moreover, for average Joe SUV and Jane McMansion to learn about peak oil is perhaps not the ideal scenario. Even if they understood peak oil, would they think it through? Would they reduce their consumption and have fewer kids? In other words, voluntary poverty and voluntary reproductive failure, for the benefit of all?

Unlikely. More likely they would begin hoarding oil and buying guns and survival gear. I think TPTB understand this, so they are keeping mum and seeing for how long they can extend and pretend.

TPTB probably believe peak oil can be mitigated by alternative energies and economic growth can continue unabated. I doubt there is some sort of grand conspiracy related to Peak Oil.

I don't think so. Remember the IEA whistleblower story from a few months ago about how the US was pressuring the IEA to use their most optimistic estimates as their "most likely" estimate for the date world oil production peaks? The US would not be pressuring the IEA to lie if the US chapter of TPTB thought that peak oil wouldn't be a problem.

When his house gets taken by the Gov't so they can move him to a camp to save him and everyone else from having to drive to the store to buy food. (sarcastic remark, bad joke, or sick humor, take your pick).

I have no clue when John and Martha Doe will realize the things we talk about on here. I do know that a lot of other forums have been talking about getting to a safe place for a long time. All the hippies that still are hippies have had kids and influence and slowly people are seeing things like no jobs in their areas, 16 million people marginally unemployed, and the news blasted from space about things vast and wide to be careful about.

Bits and pieces are growing all over the world, while other bits and pieces are trying to hang onto BAU, it is a mixed bag out there.

So all we can do is guess when things get nasty enough to alert 100% of people, But once you reach X% you will have done a good job of making it widely know enough to see changes easier.

BioWebScape designs to for a better fed future.

I thought this was a pretty big deal too. They put a lot of effort into validating and leveraging the Hubbert curve as a predictive tool. That Kuwait let the investigators put their findings out suggests that Kuwait feels it doesn't have much to lose by spooking the markets.

I imagine we will see OPEC members fragment around what to say on peak oil, with the actual reserves of individual members and their perceived ability to bluff about reserves being the key drivers in what they say and when they say it.

This result may not be a big paradigm shifter, however. Consultancies like CERA are already out in front of this issue proclaiming, among other things, that the 'peak oil story' is contributing to supply scarcity to a greater degree than any fundamental factors. Add the 'peak oil demand' meme to that, and you have muddied the waters enough to direct attention away from fundamental scarcity of oil.

It has been fascinating to watch this process unfold. I hope it doesn't go from fascinating to horrific...


What I find quite interesting is that it is very "un-CERA-like". There are some powerful folks that are not totting the party line here....why now?

If one believes the statements made in the 3 articles above:

1. ANALYSIS - OPEC may face Iraq challenge sooner than expected
2. Drilling starts on Saudi ‘supergiant’ Manifa oil project
3. Shale gas could supply 100 yrs of consumption

then we will be a washed in oil in 2014 rather facing peak oil as others advocate. Some experts are now saying that oil may cost $20/b rather $200/b as previously believed.

There are numerous articles in TOD discussing the issues with Iraqi oil, the Manifa project, and shale gas and the conclusions are far from those given in the articles above. For example, who will believe that Iraq ever is able to pump 10 Million barrels of oil per day? Why would Saudi Arabia work on the expensive Manifa project if they claim to have 4 Million barrel spare capacity now?
Shale gas for 100 years? If oil is plenty, as claimed above, then gas is less used but if there is peak oil then gas will also peak well before 100 years.

We have already discussed your #1. Iraqi can probably produce more than their current production of 2.4 mb/d but I doubt that they will be at 5 mb/d even a decade from now. By 2014 they will not be producing more than 4 mb/d and that is very optimistic.

Manifa will produce a maximum of 900,000 barrels per day but not by 2014. By 2014 Manifa will likely be producing no more than 200,000 bp/d. That is not a game changer. Anyway, Saudi production in its major fields is declining by 500,000 to 1,000,000 barrels per day. Manifa will not even get them back to even.

Shale gas is not oil and has nothing to do with peak oil. I have no idea why you even mentioned shale gas.

No, we will not be awash in oil by 2014 even if one believes your 3 articles.

Ron P.

Drilling stopped in 1960 and ultimately Manifa was
mothballed in 1985, or put on indefinite hiatus, because of
the heaviness of its crude ...

...Manifa’s oil is heavy. How heavy? Measuring 28° on the
American Petroleum Institute gravity scale and containing
2.9 percent sulfur...
...estimated 10 billion barrels of crude reserves...


Sounds great. If they got it all, that is about 116 days supply of sour crude, and at what cost? And at what EROEI? No one in the MSM seems to question why it was not already being exploited if it is so great.

People must have no idea the volume of oil being used every day, and when they hear about Manifa being a huge field they buy into the cornucopean crap, imagining that this one field will make everything okay. If it was economically sound at $20 a barrel, it would have been exploited at that rate. What do you suppose the cost will be per barrel?

Meanwhile, Yergin and CERA proclaim 100 years of NG from shale, and while they did say, "at present rates of use," they did not mention that there were environmental issues to recovery, or that shale gas play had a serious downside in that it plays out so quickly.



I notice that the ScienceDaily report on this remarks on a variant of the Hubbert model
at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100310134255.htm

However, recent studies show that the model is insufficient to account for more complex oil production cycles of some countries. Those cycles can be heavily influenced by technology changes, politics, and other factors, the scientists say.

The new study describe development of a new version of the Hubbert model that accounts for these individual production trends to provide a more realistic and accurate oil production forecast.

Just wondering if any of the gurus think this is significant.


This variant probably just skews the area beneath the curve more to the left (greater early production) but the area beneath the curve is still constant. What does this mean for the right side of the curve?

Solar -- I'm not sure if I get their point. First, to be a little picky there is no such thing as a Hubbert model per se. Hubbert simply plotted the field distribution based on production rate for the US. From that he projected PO for the country. His plot is simply that...a plot of data. His projection is just that...his projection. Every oil producing area can be plotted likewise be it a county in Texas, the US, the western hemisphere, the entire world. Each unique area has its own distribution. Lump two different geologic provinces together, especially two areas developed under very different time frames, and any projections becomes, at best, confusing, and at worst meaningless. Consider an extreme case: Texas vs. Deep Water Brazil. Texas has a well established PO many years ago. Obviously DW Brazil has a PO many years in the future. The same might be true for Iraq. So when the say they have "new versions" of Hubbert I suspect they are just pointing out the obvious: including US production history in a projection of other areas only confuses. If one wants to see a global projection then you have to take each region separately and then combine. But that's not so easy: anyone have a good idea of future DW Brazil production rates? Many have projections of this number but remember what Hubbert did: he took PAST production trends and plotted them and then projected a future. Without a well established historical trend which has advanced far enough to show the declining trend you pretty much can't project anything. Back to Brazil and Iraq: if there isn't a consensus of the future production increase profile how can we project the decline trend that will follow the future increased production which we can't define today.

UK gas down on less demand offsetting supply issues

"Everything's held up on Norwegian flows, but the weather is milder than it has been. We just have to get through this spell of Ormen Lange being down and the system being short," one gas trader said.

National Grid forecast Thursday gas demand to be 365 million cubic metres (mcm) a day due to milder weather, around 35 mcm/day lower than for Wednesday demand.

Dutch flows via the BBL pipeline were also up to 29 mcm/day after falling to zero briefly on the previous day due to an electrical fault at the Bacton receiving gas terminal.

But Norwegian flow via the Langeled pipeline was still around 42 mcm/day compared to its capacity of 70 mcm/day after a power outage disrupted production at Shell's (RDSa.L) large Ormen Lange gas field that feeds into Langled. [ID:nLDE62A0E8]

There is a puzzle about flows on the Bacton BBL (Netherlands) pipeline. The National Grid site shows flows have returned to normal (as Reuters reports) but the BBL real time data shows that flows are still only half normal rate. See http://info.bblcompany.com/CurrentFlow.aspx

Bacton IC pipeline has just switched to import mode I see http://www.interconnector.com/

Also looking at the weather there seems to be heavy snow in the area of the Ormen Lange processing facilities which feed the Langeled pipeline. And the forecast seems to be for it to continue snowing for several days. It is starting to look like there are some design issues with this facility as there seem to have been many weather related outages. Anyone have any more details on why the system breaks down when it snows?

UK Long Range Storage now down to 12.8%, Medium Range Storage at 14.8%. Days until breach at current average withdrawal rate 14 days...

A quick check of European Storage reveals that both French and Belgian storage is also getting low (but not yet as critical as the UK). Based on Monday's data it is likely that both French and Belgian storage is now almost 80% depleted.

UPDATE: Shell: Problem Resolved; Restoring Ormen Lange Output

LONDON (Dow Jones)--A technical problem that delayed the restart of Royal Dutch Shell PLC's (RDSA) Norway Ormen Lange field has been resolved and full production is being restored, the company said Thursday.

Production at the Ormen field which has a maximum capacity of 70 million cubic meters of gas a day was interrupted Wednesday after a brief power outage. The company began to ramp output back up to normal levels Wednesday night but experienced a subsequent technical problem during this process Thursday morning.

"We experienced a technical problem in the start-up phase that has now been rectified, and we are now restarting," said Kirsten Smart, a Shell spokeswoman, told Dow Jones Newswires.

The company wasn't able to give any guidance on timing to restore the field to full production levels.

So first attempt to restart apparently failed so they are trying again. How reassuring.

I'm curious as to whether shortages in our PADDS will be as easy to see coming, and whether the same relatively unconcerned attitude by those in positions of responsibility will be seen as well?

Are you going to do a day-by-day countdown when supplies get below 10 days?

The US came quite close to running out in 2003 and that was shown in the weekly EIA reports


Hopefully Shell can get its fields back online and the UK will have an unexpected spring heatwave. Then there will be no need to do a countdown...

I notice that the latest attempt to restart Norwegian production has so far resulted in even less supply at the UK end. Flows now down to 20 mcm/day (from 70 normally and 40 earlier today) according to latest data.

Thanks for all of the updates!

And the latest update...

Flows on the Langeled pipeline returned to the full 70 mcm a few hours ago but there has been a slight drop down to 65 mcm/day in the last hour or so. As long as Shell can keep that pipeline filled for a couple of more weeks we should be safely in to warm enough weather to be ok until at least next winter. I hope anyway...

With a UK general election coming up (probably May 6th) I think this issue and UK energy security in general will certainly be raised in the campaign.

Edit: Looks like Langeled flows have dropped off again. On this wobbly supply chart rests UK energy security :-(


Detroit: the last days


I read in stunned horror. This really has been blanked by the mass media.

The statistics are staggering – 40sq miles of the 139sq mile inner city have already been reclaimed by nature.............Property prices have fallen 80% or more in Detroit over the last three years. A three-bedroom house on Albany Street is still on the market for $1................Law and order has completely broken down in the inner city, drugs and prostitution are rampant.......

Is anyone at TOD on the ground there? It this Newspaper sensationalism or is it really that bad? How come this is getting very little MSM attention.

My immediate thoguht is that it is turning into a post apocalyptic commune!!!

Unable to buy fresh food for their children, people are now growing their own, turning the demolished neighbourhood blocks into urban farms and kick-starting what is now the fastest-growing movement across the US


I suppose Detroit is a preview of coming attractions. . .

The bottom line, IMO, continues to be that most developed countries cannot afford the current size of government, whether it be local, regional or national. Even after huge proposed budget cuts, the governor of Illinois wants to borrow something like $5 billion, but the legislature is paralyzed.

I think that the "Thelma & Louise" moment--as various governments race each other to the fiscal edge of the cliff--is the point at which various governments have difficulty in borrowing enough money to maintain their spending, especially in their own currency on the national level, and then we have the central bank monetization issue.

This decline started a while ago. Detroit is just the latest, and to date largest of the urban ghost towns we'll see:

http://www.forbidden-places.net/urban-exploration-gary-indiana-ghost-town Peak Steel.

This is an interesting web site (now in book form).

"Forbidden Places, exploring our abandoned heritage "

Whenever I hear of a great place or a terrible place I like to go to Google Maps to check it out. Type in the town and state. Then click and drag the little yellow man icon to the little map in the corner that shows streets with Street View in blue or type in the address. Up pops the street view. Then I take a look around and up and down the street.

I usually find that reports of hell and utopia are grossly exaggerated.

It's kind of fun to look at places where you use to live or work to see how they have changed. Not all streets have Street View but many in cities do. Even small towns in North Iowa have some Street View. Not all countries have it yet either.

Google is working on it. I like going to foreign countries that have Street View. A virtual trip is almost as good as the real thing and free is the right price.

Let me know if you find a timestamp on any of those Google Earth views, as I'd like to find one.

Gary ... looks beat up. But still a few cars running around.


good points WT. However, look at this story from today's WSJ "Credit Market Springs Back to Life"
Here we go again.

BBC News America ran a piece on Illinois yesterday. A buddy of mine is a tax attorney here in Chicago and was quoted saying something on the order of:

"It's possible to dig a debt hole so deep that no realistic amount of tax increases and service cutbacks will dig you out."

To me that perfectly sums up the situation for thousands of municipal governments, many of the states, and of course the federal government. When the time comes to invest heavily as a matter of critical national and state strategic policies (that time has long since come of course) into transitioning our energy mix for a sustainable future, peak oil will have (has?) knocked the legs out from under the fiscal viability of our government.

In an interview with Paul Ingrassia on CNBC this morning they were talking about California going bankrupt. I thought that there was no provision in the bankruptcy code for a state filing bankruptcy. In any case, a link to the CNBC interview and a link to a summary of an article by Ingrassia:

Is California the next GM?

Institutional Investor Special Report: The Coming Crash -- A Trillion-Dollar Pension Crisis Looms Large Over America

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - March 11, 2010) - As the U.S. slowly pulls itself out of recession following the worst financial debacle in more than 70 years, another potential crisis is looming on the horizon. The country's pension system -- both public and private plans -- faces trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities and has little hope of ever being able to meet them.

In Institutional Investor magazine's March cover story, "Collision Course," Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Paul Ingrassia and Staff Writer Imogen Rose-Smith take an in-depth look at what General Motors' historic bankruptcy has to teach about the looming pension crisis, while pointing to alarming parallels between GM and cash-strapped California, whose pension crisis may already have arrived.

I think that we are headed for a civil war of sorts--between current and retired government employees on one side and private sector taxpayers, who frequently have much poorer benefits, on the other side.

Ch.7 is for individuals and businesses, for discharge of debts. Ch.11 is reorganization of businesses. Ch-13 is reorg. for individuals. Ch. 9 is restricted to municipalities, and is a reorganization protocol. Ch. 12 is for farmers and fishermen. Ch.15 is for cross-country bankruptcy. I don't know of any provision for state bankruptcy, which makes sense since the State is sovereign in the USA.

The problem with bankruptcy of a state is that the state does not have the ability to print money. Strange problem... the just stop paying, I guess. Illinois, as I recall, did issue vouchers once... sort of like their own money? Of course, no one would take them in payment for anything.

Right now, according to freedomarizona.com, 46 of 50 states are bankrupt. Wikianswer says:

there is no authorization for states to do so under the United States Code.

Municipalities are explicitly authorized to declare bankruptcy 11 U.S.C. 109:

"(C) An entity may be a debtor under chapter 9 of this title if and only if such entity-
(1) is a municipality;
(2) is specifically authorized, in its capacity as a municipality or by name, to be a debtor under such chapter by State law, or by a governmental officer or organization empowered by State law to authorize such entity to be a debtor under such chapter;
(3) is insolvent;
(4) desires to effect a plan to adjust such debts; and
(5) (A) has obtained the agreement of creditors holding at least a majority in amount of the claims of each class that such entity intends to impair under a plan in a case under such chapter;
(B) has negotiated in good faith with creditors and has failed to obtain the agreement of creditors holding at least a majority in amount of the claims of each class that such entity intends to impair under a plan in a case under such chapter;
(C) is unable to negotiate with creditors because such negotiation is impracticable; or
(D) reasonably believes that a creditor may attempt to obtain a transfer that is avoidable under section 547 of this title."

11 U.S.C. 101(40), in turn, defines municipality as a "political subdivision or public agency or instrumentality of a State."

Given that municipalities are explicitly authorized to declare bankruptcy and states aren't, a bankruptcy judge would most likely conclude that Congress intended not to make bankruptcy relief available to states.


Congress has no say in the matter. States rights are superior to Congress, and states have sovereign immunity (if they choose to enforce it).
Wikipedia: "In Hans v. Louisiana, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Eleventh Amendment re-affirms that states possess sovereign immunity and are therefore generally immune from being sued in federal court without their consent. In later cases, the Supreme Court has strengthened state sovereign immunity considerably. In Blatchford v. Native Village of Noatak, the court explained that

we have understood the Eleventh Amendment to stand not so much for what it says, but for the presupposition of our constitutional structure which it confirms: that the States entered the federal system with their sovereignty intact; that the judicial authority in Article III is limited by this sovereignty, and that a State will therefore not be subject to suit in federal court unless it has consented to suit, either expressly or in the "plan of the convention." "

All a state needs to do is decide not to pay something, since nobody can sue. They may suffer in bond markets, but really there is nothing anybody can do to force them to pay.

Even the Fed probably can't -- the stick the Feds always use is withholding funding. That limitation has been reinforced in 10th amendment case law.

And that is why contract with states is riskier than most people believe. That is why insurance on state bonds is so important to investors.

Most states, in order to enable dealing with contractors, have specific laws on payments, enforcement and the like. However, even then payments need to be approved by the legislature, in most cases.

Does anyone know how the derivitives market and insurance plays into this? AIG was the big player there, I believe, Is there still a huge risk pending?


Paleocon & Zaphod:

Under the US constitutional system, states retain sufficient residual sovereignty to be able to do sovereign default. They don't need to "file for bankruptcy" or obtain any court's approval, they simply need to declare that they are not going to honor their debts.

Of course, that promptly and certainly kills their chances of borrowing ANY more money for at least the remainder of the lifetimes of everyone now living. . .

The one exception to the above is that the Supremes probably would rule that states have to pay their obligations to the FedGov, so they can't get out of those.

But there may be state level laws against such things. So lenders can go to the state supreme court and get some justice.

Depends on the makeup of the court, I'd say. Past courts would say the feds would get stuffed too. That's the point of the association of sovereign states.

I actually think any state can secede if worst comes to worst. The Feds can't really do anything to stop it, except make them sorry afterward by declaring war, which worked last time.

Actually, the states could call a constitutional convention, and draft an amendment that either lets selected states out or terminates the union entirely. This provision was placed in the constitution by the original convention, because they wanted the states to have a mechanism to replace the constitution or terminate it altogether without interference from the federal government.

This is something that is not taught in the schools, and to my knowledge I am just about the only person that ever mentions it in public. I don't have much trouble imagining why. . .

A state cannot go bankrupt, but it CAN default, and thereby make borrowing costs for all its fellow state and municipal governments intolerable. That's the nuclear weapon that at some point a state will brandish.

The federal government's reaction will be to nationalize the state debts, for the second time since Alexander Hamilton first did it. The feds would want some massive concessions in return, thus ending what shreds of autonomy the states now have.

Question is whether the quid pro quos from the feds would be helpful, e.g. slash your pensions by 50%, or irrelevant, e.g. invest in green jobs and universal healthcare.

California is a big state..., We'll just invade a few smaller states with lots of resources.

Maybe if we get big and strong enough..., we'll take on Texas.

Forget invading Texas..., you have very little oil left.
We'll just send you half our population.

the dumber half

Can't resist! Sorry.

::deep breath, tongue deeply into cheek::

We'll miss ya.



Rumors of our death are greatly exaggerated.

California’s controller, John Chiang, said the state’s cash receipts were $480 million over guesses made in the budget in February.

It’s the third month in a row the state exceeded estimates of cash receipts


Yes but that is the only way forward. They wouldn`t stop building things otherwise. Only when they can`t eat anymore........

As discretionary spending contracts. . .


Vegas Blues: Mayor May Fire Workers, Then Rehire at Fewer Hours

Here's an idea for weathering hard times in Sin City. If municipal employees won't work for less in Las Vegas, let's fire everyone and rehire them as part-timers.

That's what Mayor Oscar Goodman came up with on Wednesday as a way to deal with a $70 million budget gap and avoid the chopping block for 146 city workers. Vegas has been hard hit by the recession as penny-pinching consumers avoid the gaming tables. "I'm trying to save jobs -- if it's a strong-arm tactic, so be it," Goodman said, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "If it's legal, I'm going to propose it to the council."

... point at which various governments have difficulty in borrowing enough money to maintain their spending

Looking back in recent history, what characterized the trigger for governments unable to borrow further:
- Argentina 1999
- Russia 1998
- Mexico 1994
- Greece 2010

This might be insightful for understanding when we expect to see countries stumble as ELM 2 becomes more apparent.

We are about 4 hours northwest of Detroit and don't get down there very often. There are some very nice areas of the city, yet it is generally in serious decline as your post outlines. Here is a recent article on the situation. http://www.fastcompany.com/1571975/farming-the-city-in-order-to-save-it-...

The Michigan State Land Policy Institute is working on ideas to help sort this out....though it is probably going to require a complete reinventing of this economy over decades. http://www.landpolicy.msu.edu/ The auto industry missed their "second curve" and put all of their eggs in the old FF auto basket, which collapsed. There is now a lot of work on transitioning to electric vehicles and reusing some of the automotive technical expertise to retool. Ford is actually doing pretty well in this new normal despite what you read. It is a mixed bag with some prospering and others in total collapse. The city is downsizing.

West and northern Michigan are in much better shape and growing. People are still spending here too which supports many of the businesses including ours. The economy up here is definitely recovering, though it is hard to say for how long given our debt overshoot. Interesting times!

where do you live? I'm from Charlevoix! Small world...

Yes it is...and as Jeff Rubin says "our world is about to get a whole lot smaller." In Benzie County.

ah, good to see things are ok back home. Northern Michigan really is a great place.

Jim, I'm originally from Cheboygan county and I was wondering if there were any links you could refer me to regarding the economy in northern Michigan.

I'm curious because my folks are still up that way, and all I hear from them are how the schools are being cut back and the building trade has slowed to a crawl.

Is the economy up there shifting away from the nearly complete dependence on tourism that was present when I was growing up? I could see renewable energy, localized agriculture, and waterborne shipping as growth industries in that area.

Thanks in advance!

Wolverine - I was in Traverse City today and there are two huge construction cranes working downtown right now so while the economy is still weak, things are happening. I am in the recreation and tourism business and we are up this winter so that is good and we had a record July last year...though overall LY business was down. Things are slowly recovering but we still have a pretty high unemployment rate. Probably the best way to keep track of this is by following the Traverse City Record Eagle on-line. http://www.record-eagle.com/news

Lots of talk about localization and agriculture and the Traverse City based Michigan Land Use Institute is doing some great work on this. http://www.mlui.org/

We also have a Grand Vision process that is looking at a lot of local issues such as food, energy, transport, affordable housing, smart growth, etc. http://www.thegrandvision.org/ In fact, I was at a Grand Vision energy meeting this morning. Lots of peak Oil aware people and good things happening.

It is true that the schools are cutting back and we are dealing with some of the same problems of over commitments as in other communities but it is nothing like Detroit. Our area is actually growing a bit and electrical energy growth in our area is still at about 2% annually.

It is probably not a lively up in Cheboygan county though but do not get up there very often so I am not up on this.

I am in Detroit. http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/PRI-De-Permaculture-and-Resilience-Initiative-Detroit/183237338284?ref=sgm

Anyone wanna meet sometime?


The Economist magazine did a piece along these lines in the 2009 Christmas issue. Whilst perhaps not as alarmist as this piece in the Guardian, it paints a challenging picture. Maybe Detroit will become a role model of restructuring a US town into a smaller, more densely organised 'town' - with a correspondingly higher liveability index? Maybe the next musical genre will be born here - No-motown.


The Ethiopians can just take it back if they need to.
They'll have the infrastructure and the skills.
As a move in a longer game it may be smart.
But is it vastly unjust to many small land owners? almost certainly

I don't know. That sounds like a recipe for tribal warware between the 80% African American population of Detroit an the Ethiopians.How are they all going to travel over to Detroit wihtout VISAs to get into the country and what were they doing there before the US was colonated by Europe? What skills do they have that could possibly be of any use in Detroit? It's hardly a livestock herding city. Finally I don't think the small land owners in Detroit will care much as there is plenty of abandoned areas.


I was thinking those skinny long-horn cattle could be a tourist attraction.

what a silly article. I have friends in Detroit. I was there last month in fact. They make it sound like it's the wild wild west. It's not at all, in fact, it's not even as bad as the Bronx was in the 1970s.

And yes, I'm talking Detroit proper, not the 'burbs. It's an impoverished city, not a scene from Braveheart.

Detroit is, to a certain extent, undergoing the necessary contraction now. This will strengthen it in the long term as it downsizes, and death rates and emigration increase; thereby making those still in Michigan who can somehow land a decent job all the better off with a reduced total population. Of course, the process itself isn't pretty to watch. And there are alot of racial and class issues that nobody wants to talk about.

However, which place, in general, would you bet on to at least survive post-peak in some civilized form? The Upper Midwest, or the desert towns of L.A., Phoenix, and Las Vegas?

Don't cry for Detroit.

This will strengthen it in the long term as it downsizes, and death rates and emigration increase

Increase? Got any info on that?

Yes, I am. Nobody ever seems to pay attention when I post on Detroit, tho, so I don't bother much. All you outside the city seem to have it all figured, after all.

Law and order has completely broken down in the inner city, drugs and prostitution are rampant and unless you actually murder someone the police will leave you alone. This makes it great for filming – park where you like, film what you like – but not so good if you actually live there.

This is utter and complete tripe. I live in a "desolate" area of Detroit. There is a hardware store, five fast food joints, a potato chip factory, a US post office, a dollar store, three churches, a local grocery store... etc., all within a five minute walk.

And that $1 house? It'll cost you a minimum of 20k to replace all the windows and doors, heating system, fix walls and floors, clean up the lead and/or asbestos, replace the roof, seal the basement, replace all the fixtures, sinks tubs and plumbing... Fix it up? And, there are likely many thousands of dollars in back taxes and old water bills attached. $1 house my fat butt.

We got our house for $0, plus $5k in old water and taxes and another $10k in costs. And that would be three times higher if we didn't do it all ourselves and with the help of fabulous neighbors. And that's with a house that was in pretty good condition over all.

You wanna know what's what in Detroit? Don't ask a guy who is just passing through and is LOOKING for a story. Ask us, those that live here.

You want to know about crime? I've yet to actually see any. I will admit I've seen the police pick up a guy from a home in our area and I've heard a few gun shots. That's it. Been here seven months.

Detroiters are some of the most polite drivers I've ever seen. There are two things they ALL do, though: they don't allow you to merge and they tailgate. Always. (Well, a lot of them do.) But they actually drive well other than that.

People have virtually nowhere to buy fresh produce. Starbucks? Forget it.

This is false. It is a misrepresentation of the fact that there are no chain grocery stores within city limits. There are numerous local markets, though, that have all the same stuff you do. The difference is that the large chains leaving has reduced competition and driven up prices significantly.

But some of us are doing something about that. From just a few thousand gardeners a few years ago, there are now 11,000 in the Garden Resource Program Cooperative alone, and growing rapidly.

What I have seen is my neighbor, Mark, with his brothers chipping in a bit, putting in all our windows, and doing most of the work on fixing about 40% of the plumbing. For nothing. Here's what he's doing with his time:



What are we doing?

What are other people doing?





And so much more.

Things are not great here, but people passing through tend to only see the empty lots and crumbling houses.

You wanna know? Ask me or someone else who lives here.


I'm sure Detroit won't get you killed as long as tensions don't flare as quality of life further decreases, if you have an incident that sets off Rodney King style rioting you're going to want to be as far away as possible.

If we lived in an ideal world you wouldn't have to worry about those things, but we don't live in an ideal world. If something were to happen in that area you could be taking your life in your hands. I'm sure your neighbors are very nice and helpful but it's not them you'll need to worry about.

Re ClimateGate -- "Wirth says the organization would be aided by adding more scientists to its full-time staff. Yet he also criticizes what he called "K Street (Washington) PR firms … who are hired to examine every (detail) of the IPCC report and find problems and then get them out into the public domain."

"It's not a fair fight," Wirth says. "The IPCC is just a tiny secretariat next to this giant denier machine."


I have great respect for Tim Wirth, and I think he knows what he is talking about here.

I have also heard many in the denier camp argue that the IPCC is a huge conspiratorial cabal, that you can't get funding, can't get published, etc. etc. etc. if you don't 'get on board' with the anthropogenic global warming agenda. Peak Oil and AGW fissure along ideological lines before a scintilla of evidence gets examined.

He is being way too nice. Right now there is a primitive hate campaign against climate scientists. Here are some of the grotesque lies being spread around by the "objective" and "free" media: (1) the CRU withheld precious weather station data (not true it was not re-distributable thanks to the stupid rules of foreign met services and has nothing to do with the CRU and this has since been remedied with no impact whatsoever), (2) the CRU and its ilk are suppressing information about a cooling trend in the last 12 years (a stupefyingly retarded claim not based on a single shred of observational evidence, the last 10 years have been the warmest decade on record and 1998 was an El Nino outlier that will probably be eclipsed by 2010). So the IPCC is not the only target.

Just one more dig re: the shale gas hype. From above: "The London-listed firm will pay US firm Devon Energy in cash ($7 billion) for their assets...in Brazil's Deep Water play." I was consulting for Devon when the SG bubble began to burst in late '08. First of all, I've probably never worked with a more competant group of folks in my 34 years. But the pressure placed on public companies to increase the asset base y-o-y is tremendous. In the summer of '08 the SG exploration group pushed the drilling department to contract as many rigs as possible no matter the cost. In less than 6 months Devon paid over $40 million in penalties to drop 14 of their 18 rigs in the Texas SG plays. The Brazil assets were a huge part of Devon's future. Now these assets are gone and perhaps in the not too distamt future so will Devon. The only assets remaining are their SG acreage and a Canadian tar sand field. Difficult to be too optimistic about either in the sort to mid term (see Shell Oil above backing away from the tar sands).

There is a huge amount of proven NG in the shale gas plays. Economic viability varies significantly from one basin to another. As NG prices rise so will activity. The plays will continue to be driven by the public companies IMHO. But the lessons learned by Devon isn't going to lost on the rest of the players anytime soon. Even if we see a significant jump in NG in the next year or two we might not see the mad rush we saw back in early '08. The hype will return but will be a bit more difficult for many to swallow.

On the Curious Story of Chinese Oil Refining uptop it appears

China became a net refined products exporter in December

with a somewhat mixed picture for the last few months due to an upswing in demand and normal refinery maintenance. After some digging around yesterday I had come to suspect what Oliver Jakob is telling us in the article.

China is setting up to run the product stream from craddle to grave, including heavy and sour refining capacity. It seems they haven't raised the allowable price for refined products in quite awile (even as crude prices have risen) but Sinopec is apparantly paying refiners to export

This would seem to improve the current accounts picture over domestic consumption, something I think the state council would favor, to better position the Chinese economy for the coming interface of declining supplies and notional demand.

I like how "No longer the great white north" talks about real issues such as peak oil and then goes on to extrapolate on present demographic trends. The article assumes that despite these problems, immigration will continue. As I mentioned in the comments the other day, they are using the low fertility rate as a reason for mass immigration. It's hard to predict future fertility rates, personally I believe they will increase as cost of living decreases and more people transition to a much more rural way of life and ponzi-scheme entitlement programs melt down.

I don't know if those airlines will be in operation come 2030 to bring in those Chinese that take away jobs from Canadians. It's quite likely there will be some immigration though, they won't be Chinese but more than likely they will be Americans.

I think they'll be dressed like this.

Nice Oil Sands, we'll take them!

Ah yes the vaunted EROEI of boots on the ground.

Trouble with Masdar

There are a number of reports in the German mass media about an overall failure of the Masdar project in the UAE.

I've looked for similar reports in the English Google News but there don't seem to be any.

Interesting. I hadn't heard a thing about it. Google Translate suggests it's a Dubai World kind thing - no money, and can't borrow any?

Actually "overall failure" is too hard a word, they are rather writing about serious problems. Some members of managing staff have been replaced and the emir has required some weeks break to "rethink" the whole project.

Problems seem to be interconnected to financial problems in Dubai; however I read comments of some german folks who live down there and don't have firm belief in the projects success. One woman wrote they have been pouring money into all kinds of developments for decades, be it new mosques all over the place, or insanely expensive hotels, but there hasn't been a process of natural growth, based on experience.

Today I found reports in English from end of february, maybe overlooked them yesterday.

Tact, I have read, is for people who aren't witty enough to enjoy sarcasm.

So, as Leanan has apparently decided that the Drumbeat readership must be treated with tact, I'll try again to draw attention to the article posted above which undermines the incessant, purely speculative, doomer porn posted here.

The headline reads: "Increasing Yields and Decreasing Fertilizer Waste on Subsistence Farms"

Some of the story's content:

"The new technology is fairly simple. Rather than applying urea, a nitrogen fertilizer, to the soil surface in tiny granules, the urea is compacted into briquettes and placed several inches below ground.

"These briquettes release nitrogen slowly, dramatically reducing the amount of fertilizer washed away by rain or absorbed by the air. The technique has raised rice yields while limiting the amount of the nitrogen available to weeds, curbing herbicide use.

"“The farmers are using nearly 40 percent less urea, and yet they are producing nearly 20 percent more rice,” said Amit Roy, the president of the International Fertilizer Development Center, a nonprofit research group that helped develop the technology, known as “urea deep placement.

"The use of urea briquettes in Bangladesh began in earnest in 2007, when rising global energy and commodity prices caused the price of chemical fertilizers to nearly triple in the space of a year."

In sum, lower fossil energy requirement, higher food production and increased employment of human labour. What lies behind this response to scarcity as communicated by a price signal: just some little grey cells.

I'll try again to draw attention to the article posted above which undermines the incessant, purely speculative, doomer porn posted here.

I await, with abated breath, this new technological development that will save the world and debunk all the incessant, purely speculative, doomer porn posted on TOD.

The new technology is fairly simple. Rather than applying urea, a nitrogen fertilizer, to the soil surface in tiny granules, the urea is compacted into briquettes and placed several inches below ground.

Ehhh...okay... a new way of applying urea will correct the peak oil problem, correct the huge deficits that cities, counties, states and nations are running, will raise all those falling water tables, stop the extinction of species, keep rivers from running dry, stop the clear cutting of rain forest and dry forest, and stop the population explosion in its tracks.

Whew! Thank goodness for technology. We can all sleep better tonight.

Ron P.

Aren't you the fellow who repeatedly posts predictions that food supply goes into decline in tandem with declining oil supply? And that employment of labour will follow suit. Maybe you meant everywhere except Bangladesh. Oh, and those other countries that are going to adopt this new technique that evidently increases production with less fossil fuel based inputs and more employed labour.

The population explosion is already ending, and, as the demographer, Philipp Longman, unhappily points out the structure of the world's population has put homo sapiens on course for a population implosion. http://www.amazon.com/Empty-Cradle-Birthrates-Threaten-Prosperity/dp/046...

But then I suppose you might choose to look at population structure much like CERA looks at the structure of oil supply.

There certainly are problems with overcutting of trees, though in Canada we hear a great deal about a forestry sector plaqued with falling demand for its products. I would agree that efforts to reverse the loss of forest cover in many countries need to continue and intensify until those places get on the same track as North America and Europe where forest cover is expanding. Mind you, I don't expect that you will see much point in these efforts, since you've already convinced yourself that we're all going to hell in a handbasket the day after tomorrow anyway.

Ditto for water tables and biodiversity. Debt is a manageable problem, though I don't doubt that US debt is a marker of an ongoing redistribution of wealth worldwide, with the US as the big loser and greater Chindia as the big winner.

The thing about all these seemingly intractable problems that you articulate is that they have all originated and/or gotten more severe in a world of expanding oil supply.

I'll happily take my chances with a declining supply of fossil fuels. Especially as this holds the promise for a change in ideology as profound as that which occurred in the course of the industrial revolution.

If only there was a supply of nitrogen close by.......

If only we could warm the globe to increase rainfall......

And this will allow some other kinds of cells to get together and make a whole lot more of themselves.

It's great to hear about these kinds of things, but increasing food supply is kind of the problem to the solution, isn't it?

Yawn. Wake me up when the Bangladeshis learn to use condoms and birth control, and when I get my electric car.

Until then, Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Kuntsler VS John Stossel???

Why Kuntsler? He's not a petroleum geologist. Let's see Stossel pick on ASPO....

John Stossel is a retard.... What does he know? He has a what...??? A B.S. in journalism or pshyciatry or something like that. The man thinks population growth is still a good thing.

Stossel is a joke!

Re: "John Michael Greer: Barbarism and Good Brandy," above -- there's an interesing discussion on Stuart Staniford's blog.


He [Greer] has been trying to argue that there are fundamental physical barriers to society surviving the transition away from fossil fuels, and getting horribly snarled up.

Now, I am not a working physicist, but I may well be the nearest thing that will admit to reading the Archdruid - I trained in Physics, have a PhD in the subject, and then went into Computer Science. But the points at issue are pretty elementary here, so let me try to straighten the Archdruid out, and at least place something in the record for anyone that might be confused by his arguments.

In short, there are no fundamental physical barriers to a non-fossil-fuel based economy - the main problems are social, economic, and practical, not issues of physical law.

To this, reader "none" responds,

Greer if anything understates just how diffuse alternate technologies truly are - none currently returns more than it consumes. Everything you (and your 2004 references) believe is an "alternative" source floats on a vast floor of hydrocarbon energy, much of which is not even recognised. Those studies which purport to show positive net energy have simply excluded large chunks from the necessary life-cycle analysis. Just enumerate the energy cost of the factory to make the truck to mine the silicon ore, the energy to make the truck to transport that ore to another factory and its construction and operating energy cost, the energy to design, fabricate, transport, construct, operate, maintain, repair and recycle the cells. All of that is currently powered by hydrocarbon. Now plug that entire supply chain back into its own energy output and try and maintain "business as usual" in a world that until now didn't have to do *any* of that and is struggling with hydrocarbon depletion.

Meanwhile, our consumption of that energy must grow exponentially....

So I respect your point about thermodynamics, but I'm giving this one to Greer.

These sorts of disagreements (discussions?) between largely aligned "experts" have mixed value. On the surface they seem to indicate fundamental issues with a logical construct, but on closer inspection the differences are nuances of perspective and semantics.

Both parties should know that the question isn't really one of fundamental physics -- it's of practical logistics. Cheap, highly concentrated energy can tolerate a plethora of collection, conversion, transport, and utilization sins of efficiency. Expensive, diffuse sources are much less forgiving, and getting from point A to point B in a given timeframe with only the contents of our toybox is the logistics exercise.

It's not appropriate to require bootstrapping from zero (a common argument against alternatives), though it's an interesting exercise to identify where transitions from fossil to renewable will be required. Today there is a lot of energy, plenty of manufacturing capacity, buildings, and expertise to have plenty of options. 10 years or 50 years from now those choices may be more limited, but that's the value of the exercise -- to indicate how much can be accomplished given a set of initial circumstances.

If we start early, we have uneconomic energy investments. If we start too late, we may have society crumble before enough alternatives come on-line. Hopefully there is a wide sweet-spot in the middle where the necessary innovation and industrial scaling can occur. The question with each passing day is how deep the energy trough will get, and how low the sustainable plateau on the other side will be.

And, overshadowing all, the real issue is population. Without peak population, there is no scenario for success. That's not physics, or engineering, or logistics, or thermodynamics...it's very simple exponential math.


Both parties should know that the question isn't really one of fundamental physics -- it's of practical logistics.

That's barely different from the quote from Staniford above.

But Greer knows that too. Staniford isn't really teaching Greer much, he's just painting a the same scene from another angle.

Greer is understanding the economics of the situation in the context of the present social/economic system, Staniford is betting that the current system has the ability to adopt. Greer is saying that the adaption is limited by the type of economics that dense energy inputs creates. It makes a conversion improbable.

Its a fine but important distinction.

I think Greer has it right.

Redcoltken, thank you for getting the point of my essay -- or one of the points, at least. Of course it's possible to concentrate diffuse radiant or heat energy into a form that's concentrated enough to drive steam turbines, or what have you; that's been done repeatedly starting in the 19th century. The problem is that concentrating energy costs energy; converting energy from one form to another costs energy; and when you start off with a diffuse energy source to start with, the result is a system that is hard to justify economically and may not get much past the breakeven point on EROEI. Thus my argument that when you've got diffuse energy -- for example, sunlight -- the most effective and economic use of it is for the sort of low-grade heat that cooks meals, heats water, and provides other very necessary services, sparing remaining supplies of highly concentrated energy for uses where that's necessary.

I agree with much of what you wrote. However, I think Stuart is correct regarding thermodynamics. The efficiency of conversion based on temperature differentials applies most directly to heat engines, such as devices which use a working fluid like steam, FREON or air. Other devices, such as PV, could in theory provide much greater conversion efficiency, since the resource, sunlight, has a rather high temperature equivalent. Thus, PV panels don't need concentration to provide electricity.

The energy captured by PV panels can be increased with tracking and single axis tracking is all that's required. There are higher efficiency PV systems, such as multi band gap devices, which can take advantage of concentrators, either cylindrical or parabolic, but, as you note, these cost more to construct and thus may have a lower EROEI. In either situation, the fact that the solar energy resource represents a low entropy source, even though it is a diffuse resource.

That said, I've repeatedly noted that the best use for solar is to match the resource with the demand, which is low temperature collectors for space and water heating. For these uses, I think solar is already less expensive than electricity. The problem is the lack of understanding amongst the public regarding the impending problems we on TOD know all too well. The reasons for this have been widely discussed, but the lack of political and economic pressure to adopt any of these solutions continue to elude us.

E. Swanson

Taylor's Maxim:

The EROI of any bounded system is less than one.

This was postulated to get past these circular arguments currently under discussion. It's not so much a statement about thermodynamics as it is about scope, perspective, or relative time horizons.

Interesting quote, but rather misleading. When calculating EROEI, setting the boundary is part of the problem. If you assume that all the energy potentially available from uranium is already within the boundary, then converting that fossil energy to other useful forms will indeed give less energy than was originally contained within the available material. But, the amount of energy available from uranium on a mass basis is very large, compared with fossil carbon fuels, thus the available resource might be used for centuries. The energetics for thorium appears even better.

Setting the boundary for solar and wind at the top of the atmosphere, the flow of energy into the bounded system implies a near limitless resource. One would need to set the boundary to include the entire solar system to make the claim given in your quote. Within the Earth's biosphere, the EROEI of solar thermal, PV, wind and hydro. can exceed 1. After all, plants and animals have been taking advantage of that for millions of years and that included mankind until very recently on a geological time scale. These facts do not imply that it's possible to continue today's massive levels of energy consumption by industrial societies using just the renewable energy sources...

E. Swanson

Isn't this almost a tautology of the second law?

Almost is correct. But for those not familiar with the 2nd Law,(or believe they are familiar but don't really understand it), it brings to light, or hopes to force one to think about the real boundaries of our energy use. And therefore, bring to cessation the seemingly nonsensical arguments back and forth about which energy source is better.

As stated above, radioactive resources may appear to defy this principle, yet the very description confirms the Maxim. It is really a matter of time horizons. Then we can depart into the contemplation of metaphysical philosophies and practices. But for the pragmatic employment of resources and technologies bounded by the pertinent time frames we could look at the EROI of uranium or thorium. Short of the exhaustive summation for the all the construction materials, inputs (must include human energy also), energy costs to extract and process the feedstock*, operation and maintenance of a facility to utilize the radioactive resource, I would add the energy costs to ethically store and maintain the waste product.

How long would that be for the safe half life? 10,000 years? And what are the total energy costs for that purpose?

* It is at this point where we start to exasperate ourselves in the whole energy input analysis and thereby establish a reasonable boundary. I call these "orders of analysis" because the amount of information required as we expand the boundary field appears exponential. Therefore I propose (or maybe its been done?) a qualifier for EROI calculations based on simple orders of magnitude:

EROI0 - a process uses x amount of energy, x0=1

EROI1 - a process produces x1 for y input of energy

EROI2 - EROI one with the first "layer" of inputs and outputs included, think of an arithmetic series formula... I'll save the math for another day.

And if U-238 can be used the calculation changes again. But that would be a MIRACLE.

I hope you are forgot your smiley face...

The energy "content" in uranium includes the decay potential of both the 235U and the 238U. In most of our power plants, we use uranium with higher than normal concentrations of 235U, which can fission. Some of the 238U becomes 239Pu, which also can be used in a fission reactor. So, a breeder reactor can be operated to produce 239Pu, which would then be recycled into more fuel. But, the 238U is consumed in the process, ie., once it's gone, there won't be any more uranium to replace it and the process stops. Sorry, there are no miracles in science...

E. Swanson

Paleocon, I don't claim to be an expert when it comes to physics; I'm not a physicist, and I don't even play one on TV. My argument, rather, centers on what you're calling practical logistics, and I'm discussing under the slightly broader heading of economics; it's just that the difference between diffuse and concentrated energy sources is crucial, it seems to me, in making sense of why energy projects that try to concentrate diffuse energy sources tank so consistently.

The take-home point, which I don't think Stuart got, is that we've got a range of mature and highly effective technologies for using the diffuse energy in sunlight as a source of heat -- solar space heating, solar water heating, and the like. If these are deployed sooner rather than later, they could free up a good deal of concentrated energy for the sort of transition you're suggesting here. Mind you, I don't think that will happen in any organized way, but the more resilience gets built into society by way of decentralized energy tech of the sort I'm proposing, the less traumatic some aspects of the approaching decline and fall are likely to be.

Quite true.

The only energy that is concentrated enough and can be used for the longer duration is nuclear. But they need to put enough reasearch into Generation 4 reactors to make them commercially viable.

I doubt it.

As the Uranium concentration in the ores continues to sink, this is one area where the 'diffusion' that Greer is describing will be what helps Fission tank, while the economics are already pretty rough, and it's too great a gamble for most gamblers who are using their own (as opposed to taxpayer) money.

At least with the diffusion of Sunlight, you're just making your rooftops out of something else.. you don't have to tear up great swaths of earth for every watt.

With Gen 4 you can either use piled up nuclear "waste" or thorium.

It's too late. But, it's still fun and uplifting to see the development of alternatives. It's like getting a glimpse of the forms of energy that 1 billion humans 100 years from now will somehow have to base their society around. That is, if what we build now survives the collapse, and if the humans that remain have some knowledge about how to operate them. If not, solar panels and wind turbines go the way of the Roman aqueduct.

Dunno, there's still an open question if the situation is "hydrocarbons required" or "hydrocarbons required to be profitable while participating in the PV supply chain in today's world of capitalism and inexpensive fossil fuels".

Nicely put.

Price influencing choice raises its inconvenient head again.
Supply and demand isn't spoken here. It would mess up the graphs.

Stuart Staniford Vs John Michael Greer

Stuart Staniford didn't write anything that would convince me that solar energy can replace fossil fuels and maintain our current standard of living.

I think none came up with a perfect rebuttle to Staniford's response.


I would add..., there is NO permanent solution to our entropy problem that ignores growth.

none's statement that "no alternative currently returns more than it consumes" is, at best, an educated guess. Granted there are a lot of questions about studies like the one's Staniford linked to, but pretending like these controversies are easy to resolve on one side or the other is pretty arrogant, in my opinion. Whether or not wind and solar can provide positive net energy without a fossil fuel infrastructure (some biofuel, but not too much, should also be allowed to figure in) is really an open question that is incredibly difficult to answer right now. Actually, it's THE open question...

I can't picture people not using any fossil fuels to make PVs. Windmills..., ok..., solar thermal..., sure..., but not PVs.

I doubt PVs will ever do any heavy minning or maintain our complex way of life.

As Amory Lovins pointed out so long ago in "Soft Energy Paths", the important issue is matching the energy source with the demand. For example, it's down right stupid to use PV for low temperature space or water heating when solar thermal collectors can provide most of the need. Methane and other hydrocarbons can be produced from biological sources and these may be used to power the sorts of machines which are used for mining. As a WAG, I suspect that the energy consumption for this sector is a small fraction of present oil production.

As often noted, building enough solar thermal electric or PV production in the desert to supply the gigawatts of electric energy we use would use a rather small land area. Matching that supply to demand is the problem which needs to be solved, since the supply is intermittent and subject to interruption by weather. The same is true for wind energy, although spreading the wind generators over a wide area lessens the disruptions. The ultimate question is whether these systems can be installed before the fossil fuels run out and who will pay for it...

E. Swanson

There is nothing that can maintain our complex way of life. Assuming you mean our so called standard of living. And that's a good thing. The question, what kind of life can we have using substantially sources of energy not directly from fossil fuels.

I can't picture people not using any fossil fuels to make PVs. Windmills..., ok..., solar thermal..., sure..., but not PVs.

Is this just your intuition, or what? Are you making a limited engineering argument or a macro-economic/systems theory argument?

PV manufacture is a lot LESS fossil fuel dependent than those other things in the sense that a greater proportion of the manufacturing process for PVs uses electricity as an energy source rather than direct thermal processes. (The exception for PV is the cover glass, which could be done with charcoal.)

There is no engineering obstacle to powering heavy equipment with electricity, just look at locomotives. Power for mining could also be supplied by hydro or concentrating solar thermal. Possibly at a certain point a lot of material could be recycled so PV could be less dependent on mining anyway.

Now, that said, I agree it is far from certain whether such processes will actually be economic or scalable or politically manageable if the EROEI for PV solar turns out to be low. And whether it is possible to get there from here while dealing with energy descent and societal collapse is a whole different and much bigger ball of wax. But it seems like a lot of people have this intuitive opinion that there are some kind of engineering obstacles to PV powering its own manufacture, and I think that opinion is born largely of ignorance of the PV manufacturing process.

Some of you will like this:
Cleveland Transforms Mall into Giant Greenhouse

One of Cleveland's biggest malls is making a serious expansion to their food court. In fact, when all is said and done, there will be food growing from all of the mall's walls.

That, my friends, is what I call adapting to a changing environment...Kudos to Cleveland. Let's see if the idea takes off in other cities.

Malls may be an extreme case for growing crops, but I do think it points to the future, as more agriculture goes indoors. It has so many benefits. You don't have to worry about weather related disasters, like high winds or frost damaging the crops. Water lost to evaporation is reduced greatly. You don't have to spray pesticides. There's a guaranteed harvest every time. It sells for more because its organic. What's not to like?

Just need to knock out some ceiling and wall and replace with glass so you don't have to waste so much energy on artificial lighting.

Yes, Kudos to Cleveland. Let's hope this can really be the start of something.

Worldwide Oil Subsidies Could Top $500 Billion

Last month, the preliminary report was released, “Analysis of the Scope of Energy Subsidies and Implementation of Phasing Out” written by researchers from the International Energy Association (IEA), World Bank, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The report has found that the world could spend in excess of $500 billion each year to subsidize fossil fuels.


Speaking of agriculture, here is a fascinating article about a new type of colonialism in Africa.

I can see it now: people dying of famine while food from their land is exported. Happened in Ireland.

Yep, that's exactly what will happen. Those with power and money will eat, those without will not.

Yes, I fear that is all too true.

jimmy cracks corn and i dont care, except when he calls other people "nahzee". defcon 1 indeed!

so all this talk of china and REE. yet they can sell 10% cadmium trinkets in dollar stores (mine, refine, manufacture value added product, ship to usa). same thing with 6 month old electronics. all stuffed with REE and dirt cheap. i read here on TOD about peak lead. how about peak cadmium? the FDA wants folks to throw out cadmium trinkets but batteries that contain cadmium are recommeneded to be recycled. how about a campfire about the virtues of recycling? why doesnt the archdruid do a post about that? he's starting to sound like jimmy, a real doomer. "there's nothing you can do!"

"Feds recall more children jewelry in cadmium probe
Associated Press Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Federal regulators expanded their efforts Thursday to go after children's jewelry that contains high levels of the toxic metal cadmium by telling parents to throw away "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"-themed charm bracelets."

and...have you reduced your lifestyle today? if not, have you reduced someone else's? and what of our "poor" uhmerikan billionaires? reduce wages and benefits for the working class and eliminate soc. sec. it's the only way to avoid PO.

"in terms of the international scorecard, the United States still boasts more billionaires than any other country -- 403, or nearly 40 percent of all billionaires. New York, similarly, has more billionaires than any city on the globe.

>>>>>But America's billionaires have not rebounded from the recession as strongly as other countries' billionaires.<<<<<<

The United States "is not doing as well as the rest of the world in coming back," publisher Steve Forbes said. "

"no one gets out of here alive"-greetings from the humungus

"it's all good"-anon.

Recent mentions about how Detroit and other cities are handling their blight, made me blink when I was doing something else this afternoon. I was looking for a listing on the house a nieghbor moved out of and then put up for sale. Went to a site listing all the houses in my city, North Little Rock, Ar. and started from the lowest to highest.

Man I wish I had some spending money handy, Lots for sale as low as $2,000. All I could think about was planting them full of edible plants and letting them go. There are a lot of vacant lots down in the blighted sections of the city, and only the city knows who owns them all. Just waiting to be useful again, or reverted back to forests.

Though in Cyprus is getting hammered to the point that soon most of the land that used to be able to support plants will be dead and have to have a lot of rehabilitation work to restore it to any bit of green.

BioWebScape designs for growing a better future.

Try www.zillow.com, you can probably find the listed price for all the properties in your area. Watch out, it can be addictive. And don't spread the word too far or else you will be descended upon by carpet-bagging Canadians. People up here can't believe the apparent bargains in the U.S. right now. If they could, they would buy up most of Scottsdale!

But Scottsdale is in an arid region and Little Rock is in a more water fed region. With work you could grow as much in Arizona, but you don't have to start from so low when doing the same here abouts.

But the 2 bedroom 1 bath house cross the street is selling for 59,900, A bit over priced, but I know the owner he needs the money for helping on his new home, Though he was not hurting much before, with enough credit or cash to buy 2 boats and 2 suvs all while being a single guy, but he has a good paying job.

Next time I have the money saved up, I'll buy one of the raw land plots, just to add to my growing space.

BioWebScape designs for a better future.

Bullish Trump presses ahead with $1.6bn golf course in Scotland


Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead!

I have a question about energy, light and mirrors. With a perfectly designed collector array, it is theoretically possible to concentrate the sunlight falling on an area into a small area, which gives you X amount of energy, with a high exergy. Simply letting the sunlight hit the ground gives you the same amount of energy, but with a much lower exergy. Concentrating diffuse heat to get get concentrated heat (for example, by using a low temperature differential stirling engine to power an incandescent lightbulb) is an extremely expensive and inefficient process but I do not see any theoretical (only practical) losses with a concentrating solar system in concentrating energy to get high exergy.

The same goes for wind; wind is produced by small temperature differentials (on the scale of heat engines). In a sense, when a windmill is deployed, you are tapping directly into the work produced by a very large, very inefficient heat engine. This energy is diffuse, but because it is kinetic energy, not heat, there is no penalty for concentrating it which is why a windmill can capture kinetic energy from the air flowing over the blades and concentrate it into a shaft. This is my biggest problem with Greer's argument. I agree with him in practice; the practical limitations of CSP and wind power will prevent them from being a pancea, but the energy flows they tap into are not "diffuse" in the same way a low temperature differential is a diffuse energy flow.

The kicker is the energy/resource commitment (emergy, in the Odum lexicon) to enable you to "harvest" the incoming exergy, be it wind or solar or whatever.

As I always tell my students in my energy and sustainability classes - DO THE NUMBERS. What is the EROEI?

Alas, most folks are either terrified by numbers, or don't even understand that it matters.

Among other factors, this is why I believe we are f**ked. The citizenry at large hss NO concept of the issue, and ZERO skills to evaluate the numbers involved. Qualitative pie in the sky bullshit overwhelms actual reality to most people.

Oh well.

Greed has absolutely no bounds whatsoever. What has happened to this country? Its dispicable!

We have merchant accounts. I won't say with whom so I don't get sued. But they arbitrarily charged my wife's account 107 dollars every quarter without her consent and without notifying her, but once she called them on it they were more than willing to stop any more charges from occurring, but refused to refund the 642 dollars she's been charged so far.

We made the mistake of presuming they wouldn't STEAL money from us because we had entrusted them with our checking account to draw monthly fees, just as we trust them to also place charges we accept into that same account. But STEAL they did. There is no other word for it.

And I know the game. Charge all the merchants that take large ticket items, which is what they did, then stop charging those that call them to complain, but continue to charge those that don't bother to check their statements or make a fuss about it. The result for them: Millions, maybe even billions of dollars for NOTHING. The merchant never authorized those charges and gains no benefit, except to be bilked. It's criminal behavior, but doesn't fall into the category that prosecuters can pursue. So it just ends up being a money making scheme.

There is no moral compass any longer. As we move farther down this post peak oil trek, more and more of this type of criminal behvior is going to occcur. The haves will get ripped off more and more often to pay for the mishaps of business in a shrinking environment.

Read your statements folks. Don't let those treacherous #$*&^%)* take you. Be on the lookout for schemes, shake downs, phoney charges. Humans are like Hyena. The only difference is they leave you alive to realize later you've had a chunk bitten out of you.

What has happened to this country?

If you are referring to the U.S., I'll tell you what's happened. More or less, diminishing marginal returns from complexity in a society with a huge defense establishment at the end of the age of oil.

Yes, I am referring the land of the Hyena, the U.S. But maybe its everywhere. Canadian Customs charged the recipient of something I sent, then threatened all sorts of action against my company if I didn't also pay the same charges. So maybe bilking people is just what humans do to each other. When possible and effective, just rip each other off. Are we not suppose to be more than just animals though? Aren't we suppose to have some sense of fair play? If we are so superior to animals, then why is it our behavior doesn't reflect that idea? Are we in fact just the equivalent of large insects?

It's what some humans do to each other.

Tests show that animals who are normally sociable to each other will turn to savagery when overly stressed or forced to live in too crowded an environment.

Civility can happen, but it's a choice, supported by a well-kept environment. (Not just 'eco' environment alone, but 'conditions, surroundings')

It's a choice corporations have absolved themselves from, as they claim their sole interest should be profit motive. Convenient for the Humans that get to carry the persona of these organizations in proxy..