Drumbeat: March 17, 2010

The Peak Oil Crisis: 2014 – The Year of Transition

The key remaining question of the peak oil crisis is just when world production is going to start on an unstoppable decline. A few years ago those analysts who were deeply enmeshed in the problem were saying that 2011 or 2012 looked like the fateful year. But then the unexpected happened -- a great recession came along and the demand for oil plunged. Although global oil production set a nominal high during the great price run-up back in the summer of 2008, production soon fell away as the deepening recession cut demand by some 4 million barrels a day.

As prices collapsed in the winter of 2008-2009, OPEC got its act together and cut production dramatically, leaving the world, or at least a few OPEC countries with what is known as spare productive capacity --- oil wells that are ready to produce, but have been shut down because there is no market for their product.

Iran tightens petrol rations as economic sanctions loom

Iran has announced it will cut the volume of its cheap petrol ration by 25% to 60 litres per vehicle per month from 21 March.

Currently, each vehicle is allowed a quota of 80 litres of fuel at 10 cents a litre, with any amount needed on top of that priced at 40 cents.

INTERVIEW - Oman to keep gas output steady in coming years

MUSCAT (Reuters) - Oman LNG plans to keep its liquefied natural gas output steady at around 8 million tonnes a year for the foreseeable future but is ready to use its spare capacity to increase production if needed, the chief executive of Oman LNG said on Wednesday.

The non-OPEC Gulf Arab country is unlikely to cut gas production further, despite sagging global gas prices, and Oman LNG expects the market to recover in the next two years.

US Gulf oil lease sale attracts $949 mln high bids

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A central Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sale Wednesday drew $949.3 million in high bids, with strong interest shown in both deepwater oil and shallow water gas tracts, the U.S. Minerals Management Service said.

Lower gas prices pose threat to drillers: LNG imports could also depress price

The prospect of falling prices for natural gas may take some of steam out of a recent pickup in activity in drilling and oilfield services in Canada, a report by investment dealer Raymond James said Wednesday.

Demand for drilling services has been recovering after a drought of several years and peaked in mid-February with 71 per cent of the rig fleet active, analyst Andrew Bradford said in the report.

Suncor greeniest of oil sands operators, study finds

CALGARY -- A part of Suncor Energy Inc.'s oil sands operation was ranked the most environmentally-friendly compared with eight of its competitors, according to a new study by an organization often critical of the industry.

The Pembina Institute released a report on steam-assisted gravity drainage projects Wednesday morning. SAGD, or in-situ, projects drill for bitumen in northern Alberta, rather than use more aesthetically unattractive mining techniques.

British movie blasts Alberta oil sands

Canada's oil sands were the target of a major public-relations offensive in Britain yesterday with the nationwide premiere of the film Dirty Oil, narrated by Canadian performer Neve Campbell, and the simultaneous release of a World Wildlife Fund report claiming a host of global ills --including four million child deaths annually from poor sanitation and other causes --could be prevented by diverting the billions being invested by oil giants in Alberta to UN health programs.

Nestle says drops palm oil supplier after report

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Nestle, the world's biggest food group, said it had stopped buying palm oil from Indonesia's Sinar Mas due to concerns about rainforest destruction, following a similar move by consumer goods firm Unilever.

Nestle's announcement came after Greenpeace released a report on Wednesday which looked into how the company was sourcing palm oil.

More Firms Join Desertec Solar Project

Desertec – the ambitious $550 billion dollar project to generate electricity for Europe and North Africa through large solar collectors arrayed in the Sahara desert – took a step closer to reality this week with the announcement that the Arizona-based solar manufacturer First Solar had joined the project.

”We believe that North Africa is ideal for renewable energy technologies,” said Pia Alina Lange, a spokeswoman for First Solar in an e-mail message. Ms. Lange said the company would contribute utility-scale photovoltaic technology and expertise as part of the project.

Debunking the Myth of Peak Oil - Why the Age of Cheap Oil is Far From Over

If I may, I would like to rebut or add a little objectivity to the flood of “Peak Oil” articles circulating around. When I see another crisis looming in the balance, and dramatized articles that warn of the “Dangers of Peak Oil,” I must question the validity or how this will effect the world, the USA, and you and I personally, and if indeed a crisis is at hand.

"Neuroframing" the global warming issue won't win converts

I share the belief of Rose and others at the symposium that global warming is bad and we should do something about it. But I’ve always disliked “framing” as a strategy for influencing the global-warming debate. Framing is just spinning, and neuroframing is spinning plus brain scans.

First of all, we don’t need MRI studies to tell us that we’re emotional, complicated creatures. Moreover, many people already view environmentalists as self-righteous and manipulative. This is a framing problem that neuroframing may exacerbate. The message is that environmentalists will go to extraordinary lengths—seeking guidance from cutting-edge brain science!--to help the dim-witted public see the world in the same enlightened way that environmentalists do.

App helps shoppers make greener food choices

To use the app, users use their mobile device's camera to scan the barcode on a food item. This calls up details about the product on their cell phone's display. The information could include the location of the farm where it was raised or grown, as well as its nutritional value, pricing history and other data.

China in "great leap forward" for gas

(Reuters) - China's burgeoning gas demand has been a key driver for a swathe of projects to supply the clean-burning fuel -- but the speed at which it will shift away from coal and oil could still catch markets by surprise.

From Guangzhou's small eateries to porcelain mills on the city's outskirts, from its bus fleet to its shiny high-rise apartments in Beijing, gas is taking over from dirtier alternatives as the fuel of choice to cook, heat and transport.

Aluminum smelters in Inner Mongolia are shifting to gas from crude, and power generators in east China have dumped oil for gas.

After a tripling in consumption in the past decade, gas is set for a similar jump by 2020 to make up nearly 10 percent of total energy use, from the present 4 percent.

Rare anger as Nigerian youths hit streets

(CNN) -- Thousands of Nigerian youths took to the streets Tuesday in a rare display of public anger over issues ranging from infrastructure failings, fuel shortages and power blackouts that reflect growing pressure on the country's ailing president.

India: Public Outrage over Cooking Gas Crisis in Orissa

Bhubaneswar: People in Orissa are facing acute cooking gas crisis, which compounds their problems to a considerable extent. They are already suffering from a power crisis in the state during the scorching summer.

The cooking gas crisis has been attributed to the unauthorized sale of domestic LPG cylinders for commercial use. Most restaurants, food-cart owners, fast food joints and hotels use domestic cylinders to save cost.

SIEA gets tougher..less power to those with outstanding bills

SOLOMON Islands Electricity Authority (SIEA) is taking tougher action against customers with huge outstanding bills.

The authority said it is doing this because it needs money for fuel for its generators.

Solomon Islands Water Authority (SIWA), the biggest debtor with an outstanding bill of $16 million, is the first to be targetted.

In a public notice, SIEA said since SIWA is unable to pay up, it is restricting power supply to them.

OPEC Not Threatened By Russian Shipments to Asia

VIENNA — Russia's rising crude shipments to Asian markets via the Pacific Ocean pose no threat to Middle Eastern producers' position as the largest suppliers to the region, OPEC members including top exporter Saudi Arabia said Tuesday.

Soaring oil demand from China and other developing Asian economies will absorb rising production from Russia and Iraq over coming years, Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters in Vienna, where the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meets Wednesday.

Offshore Energy Industry Bets on Central GOM

The offshore energy industry continues to show interest in the Gulf of Mexico's Outer Continental Shelf, with 67 companies submitting 642 bids on 468 tracts that are being offered offshore Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama in tomorrow's Minerals Management Service Central Gulf Sale 213.

"The industry's interest in tomorrow's Central Gulf oil and gas lease sale demonstrates the importance of the deepwater Gulf to future energy development," said MMS Gulf of Mexico Regional Director Lars Herbst, who will preside over tomorrow's lease sale in the New Orleans Superdome.

Russia may introduce export duty on timber - minister

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia may introduce export duties on timber if the United States and European countries introduce protectionist measures on oil, Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev said on Wednesday.

Saudi's Arabtank boosts fuel storage at Yanbu

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's Arabtank Terminal (ATTL) is boosting its oil storage capacity at the Red Sea coast port of Yanbu by 580,000 cubic metres, industry sources said on Wednesday.

The new storage facility will take capacity at the terminal to 851,200 cubic metres, of which more than 90 percent is expected to be designated for oil products.

"This will be for oil mostly, and it will be segregated ... which is for both clean and heavy oil products," a source familiar with the project said.

UK needs energy accord to attract investment-RWE

LONDON (Reuters) - UK energy supplier RWE npower, has called for an agreement between the government, energy companies, and end-users to end uncertainty over investing in renewing Britain's ageing energy infrastructure.

Ivanhoe drips red ink

Ivanhoe Energy posted a wider-than-expected quarterly loss, hurt by lower benchmark crude oil prices.

Hopkins details plan to truck natural gas

FAIRBANKS Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins and local business leaders detailed a $250 million project to truck natural gas from the North Slope to Fairbanks at public meetings Tuesday.

Japan: Eco-cars go by, gas stations go under

The spread of eco-friendly vehicles could spell doom for about two-thirds of the nation's 40,000 gas stations in the next decade, and, according to one observer, even render some rural communities uninhabitable.

More than 2,000 gas stations have been closing down annually in recent years, but this figure looks set to jump as more drivers opt for green cars that run on less fuel--or none at all.

US asked to assist Pakistan in civilian nuclear technology

ISLAMABAD : President Asif Ali Zardari Tuesday called upon the US to assist Pakistan in civilian nuclear technology to help the country overcome its energy crisis and bridge the trust deficit between the two countries.

Nuclear Plan Faces Fallout From NGO

An environmental group on Tuesday condemned lawmakers’ decision this week to approve plans to build nuclear power plants in Indonesia.

Hikmat Soeriatanuwijaya, a campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said it was too early for the country to go down the nuclear path.

“It is not the time yet” for Indonesia to turn to nuclear power to anticipate the energy crisis as fossil fuels are depleted, he told the Jakarta Globe on Tuesday. “We can try to seek other solutions because Indonesia is rich with renewable energy.”

Wanted: 500 employees for first nuclear plant

ABU DHABI // Building nuclear power plants is comparatively straightforward. Staffing them is the real chore.

That was the message delivered yesterday by Ali al Zaabi, the head of the programme management office with the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec).

Obama’s Nuclear Blind Spot

The Obama administration has embarked on a high-stakes gamble: devoting billions of dollars to an expansion of nuclear power in the hope of winning Republican votes for a climate bill. But in its eagerness to drum up bipartisan support for one of the hardest sells on Obama’s policy agenda, is the administration turning a blind eye to the financial risk?

Mastery of rare-earth elements vital to America's security

Karl A. Gschneidner Jr., a senior metallurgist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, today cautioned members of a Congressional panel that "rare-earth research in the USA on mineral extraction, rare-earth separation, processing of the oxides into metallic alloys and other useful forms, substitution, and recycling is virtually zero."

The Case Against Biofuels: Probing Ethanol’s Hidden Costs

In light of the strong evidence that growing corn, soybeans, and other food crops to produce ethanol takes a heavy toll on the environment and is hurting the world’s poor through higher food prices, consider this astonishing fact: This year, more than a third of the U.S.’s record corn harvest of 335 million metric tons will be used to produce corn ethanol. What’s more, within five years fully 50 percent of the U.S. corn crop is expected to wind up as biofuels.

Green renewables plunge 60% on emissions jitters

UNCERTAINTY on emissions trading and the drop in value of renewable energy certificates has caused investment in renewables in Australasia to fall by more than anywhere else in the world.

U.K. Says Carbon-Capture Projects to Add 100,000 Jobs

Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s government said carbon-capture and storage projects may add 6.5 billion pounds ($10 billion) a year to the U.K. economy and create 100,000 jobs by 2030.

Methane May Be Building Under Antarctic Ice

BALTIMORE — Microbes living under ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland could be churning out large quantities of the greenhouse gas methane, a new study suggests.

In recent years scientists have learned that liquid water lurks under much of Antarctica’s massive ice sheet, and so, they say, the potential microbial habitat in this watery world is huge. If the methane produced by the bacteria gets trapped beneath the ice and builds up over long periods of time — a possibility that is far from certain — it could mean that as ice sheets melt under warmer temperatures, they would release large amounts of heat-trapping methane gas.

New report reveals the environmental and social impact of the 'livestock revolution'

Global meat production has tripled in the past three decades and could double its present level by 2050, according to a new report on the livestock industry by an international team of scientists and policy experts. The impact of this "livestock revolution" is likely to have significant consequences for human health, the environment and the global economy, the authors conclude.

Sorry, it's Malignant: Why Scientists Need a New Approach on Climate Change

The doctor takes the time to explain why she thinks you have cancer, and the level of confidence she has in the test results. She explains the biological process of cancer, what's known about how it starts and how it spreads. Don't let your senses deceive you, the doctor warns. You may feel okay now, but this disease will kill you if nothing is done, and we've got to start fighting this right now.

Then she walks out without telling you what your treatment options are.

This is essentially what the scientific community has been doing to the public about climate change.

Alaskans fear for their way of life

Alaska's congressional delegation sponsored the legislation to settle a decades-old federal debt to Native Americans. In 1971, the federal government gave Sealaska rights to 375,000 acres in the Tongass National Forest as part of a deal with 13 native-owned corporations to settle land claims and make way for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.

Sealaska says it wants to protect native villages by swapping adjacent land for land farther away.

The proposal allows for timber operations on up to 75,000 acres. It includes 250 sites throughout the sparsely populated region — sacred burial grounds and ancient hunting camps Sealaska would use for educational purposes and other spots where it plans tourist lodges and electricity-generation projects using tidal energy.

Orange officials sue couple who removed their lawn

Some Southern California cities fine residents for watering their lawns too much during droughts.

But in Orange, officials are locked in a legal battle with a couple accused of violating city ordinances for removing their lawn in an attempt to save water.

Genetically modified foods get U.S. traction, global debate

For more than a decade, two opposing views of the technology used for genetically engineering crops have fought for the hearts and minds of the world's farmers.

At best, they've come to a standoff.

Food shortage 'the next global challenge'

Climate change, rising fuel costs, water shortages: now experts are warning Australia's food producers have a new crisis to consider: Food Insecurity.

China drought leaves millions short of water

Millions of people face drinking water shortages in southwestern China because of a once-a-century drought that has dried up rivers and threatens vast farmlands, state media reported Wednesday.

The drought has gripped huge areas of Guizhou, Yunnan, and Sichuan provinces, the Guangxi region, and the mega-city of Chongqing for months, with rainfall 60 percent below normal since September, the Global Times said.

Welcome to ecotopia

It may come as somewhat of a surprise that I suggest utopian fiction, and especially a sub-genre called ecotopian fiction, as an avenue for us to engage with an ecologically-sound future. Obviously it's not the only way to imagine humanity's long-term survival on Earth - there is a great need for detailed technical and scientific blueprints - but for those of us who struggle to read non-fiction, ecotopian fiction may provide more accessible glimpses of possible futures.

Why Conservative Christians So Often Fail the Common Good (Part 2)

We want now to offer some possible ways to resolve the riddle, posed in part 1 of this article, of why so many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians -- people who clearly honor the Bible -- so often disregard the two requirements that are central to the biblical vision of the kingdom of God, namely peacemaking and justice for the poor.

Most of the answers to this riddle are rooted in the fact that millions of conservative Christians in the United States read the Bible through a variety of American perspectives that are utterly foreign to the biblical text. And they read the Bible in this way because they so often identify the kingdom of God with the United States of America. Based on that conviction, many confuse the principles of the Bible with the principles of the Constitution, biblical morality with capitalism, defense of the Christian religion with militarism, and fidelity to the kingdom of God with patriotism. Indeed, they often view the Bible as a manual on how to live one's life as a good American. With those convictions, it's no wonder they read the Bible through distinctly American perspectives.

Maybe we're the problem

Paul Lazarsfeld, the great sociologist who died in 1976, co-authored an article naming this problem more than half a century ago. Too much information, he said, can lead to "narcotizing dysfunction."

In other words, a voting public besieged by a plethora of details and inside baseball will just feel helpless and apathetic. We might know a lot, and that makes us feel good, but we let knowledge become a substitute for action.

Climate change's Hail Mary

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The horse trading over climate change law is in full swing, and Senators are trying to appease interests on both sides of the aisle.

In the next couple of weeks, lawmakers are expected to unveil an unprecedented proposal that combines more oil and gas drilling with a cap on greenhouse gases and a tax on gasoline.

OPEC Agrees for Fifth Time to Leave Quotas Unchanged

(Bloomberg) -- OPEC, content with oil prices exceeding $80 a barrel, decided for the fifth time since 2008 to keep its production limits unchanged, even as some members voiced concern that supply may be too high.

Ministers from OPEC’s 12 member countries agreed to stand by the output quota as expected at their meeting today in Vienna, according to Libyan delegate Shokri Ghanem.

Oil Rises After OPEC Says Demand Rising, U.S. Pledges Low Rates

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rose for a second day after OPEC officials said demand is growing and U.S. Federal Reserve authorities repeated their pledge to keep the main interest rate near zero.

“OPEC says demand is increasing; this is positive for oil,” Roland Stenzel, a crude and carbon trader at E&T Energie Handelsgesellschaft mbH, said from Vienna. “Low interest rates will keep the economy on track.”

Phil Flynn: You've Got A Friend

When your down and troubled and you need a helping hand and nothing oh nothing is going right. Just close your eyes and think of Ben and soon he will be there to brighten even your darkest night. You’ve got a friend! The Fed has been the oil bull best friend but is that friendship going to start to become a little strained. With a better than expected jobs report and dissension within the committee the possibility of laying the groundwork for change is in the language in the much debated Fed Statement is rising. Let’s face it oil has been dependant on Fed policy and for all intents and purposes it has been a one sided relationship. Now with the Fed feeling pressure to change the language about rates staying low for an extended period oil bulls may have their dreams of $85 or $90 dollar barrel oil squashed despite the illusion of their peak oil fantasies. Oh yes there are some that are betting on a change in the language even though the majority think things will not change but any hint of a softening in Fed resolve will be a big blow to oil bulls.

Crude Oil Is Poised to Test $90 a Barrel: Technical Analysis

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil may head toward $90 a barrel if it breaks a resistance level at $82, according to a technical analysis by Auerbach Grayson, a brokerage in New York.

Charles Maxwell Predicts Oil - $75, in 2010

Weedon & Co., oil analyst Charles Maxwell, was on Pimm Fox’s, Bloomberg Radio Show on Friday. Charles Maxwell thinks that $75 a barrel, will probably be the average price for oil this year for these reasons:

'Shale creates uncertainty'

Shale gas has created insecurity in what used to be a safe market, a top Statoil executive said today.

Jeff Rubin: Does Canada really want to be an energy Superpower?

A lot of things go along with being an energy superpower — a super currency, for example. Eight years ago, when oil cost barely $20 per barrel, the Canadian dollar fell to almost 61 cents against the greenback. With oil now reaching four times that price, the currency is nearly at par with the U.S. dollar, and tomorrow, when oil prices are back in triple-digit range, the Canadian dollar will trade at a healthy premium.

Like it or not, Canadians had better get used to the fact that their money has turned into a petro-currency.

Pakistan, Iran sign deal on natural gas pipeline

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan has signed a deal with Iran paving the way for the construction of a much-delayed pipeline pumping Iranian natural gas to the energy-starved South Asian country, officials said on Wednesday.

The $7.6 billion project is crucial for Pakistan to avert a growing energy crisis already causing severe electricity shortages in the country of about 170 million.

Angola may open oil bids round in 2011-minister

VIENNA (Reuters) - Angola could re-open a bidding round for oil exploration next year, Oil Minister Jose Botelho de Vasconcelos said in an interview in Vienna on Tuesday.

"The signals sent by the economy last year led us to withhold some bidding rounds," he told Reuters. "We have a process that was suspended in 2008. We hope to re-open it at the right time, maybe next year. 2011 could be better."

Iraq Will Increase Oil Reserves, Al-Shahristani Says

(Bloomberg) -- Iraq will increase its estimate of crude reserves, Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said.

The level “is going to go higher, we’re revising it now,” al-Shahristani said in Vienna today.

Nigeria says bombing will not stop amnesty program

YENAGOA, Nigeria (Reuters) – Bombing by Nigeria's biggest militant group in its oil delta this week will not derail an amnesty deal meant to restore security to Africa's largest energy industry, government and security sources said on Tuesday.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) detonated two bombs outside a government building in the oil city of Warri on Monday as officials met for talks about implementing the terms of the amnesty.

Reliance Said to Be in Talks to Buy Atlas Shale Asset

(Bloomberg) -- Reliance Industries Ltd., the owner of the world’s largest fuel-making complex, is in talks with Atlas Energy Inc. to invest in the U.S. natural-gas producer’s shale assets, a person familiar with the negotiations said.

India Said to Propose Sovereign Fund for Oil Assets

(Bloomberg) -- India, with $254 billion of foreign-exchange reserves, may create a sovereign wealth fund to help state companies compete for overseas energy assets with China, a government official said.

The oil ministry has formally asked the finance ministry to set up a fund using a part of the reserves, the official said, declining to be identified because a decision hasn’t been reached. The size of the fund is yet to be determined, he said.

Hyundai Heavy to Win 79% More Oil, Gas Orders in 2010

(Bloomberg) -- Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. expects to win at least 79 percent more oil and gas equipment orders this year as the world’s biggest shipyard reduces its dependency on shipbuilding.

“There is a chance we could exceed our order target” of about $4.2 billion, Kang Chang June, executive vice president of Hyundai Heavy’s offshore and engineering division, said in an interview at the company’s Ulsan, South Korea headquarters yesterday. Net income from the division is expected to be similar to last year’s figure of 300 billion won ($265 million) to 400 billion won, he said.

Voser Says Shell Must Control Spending as Industry Costs Rise

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Executive Officer Peter Voser said industry costs have started to rise and the company will use technology to control spending as it invests $100 billion to boost production.

“Costs have not come down as much as we hoped for, and some of them are now rising again,” Voser said in an interview with Bloomberg Television broadcast today. Shell’s challenge is to be “more speedy in terms of technology implementation.”

Coal Beats Solar as Analysts Favor Peabody While Subsidies Drop

(Bloomberg) -- Wall Street’s contribution to the debate on how to curb global warming: Buy coal, sell solar.

Peabody Energy Corp., the biggest coal producer, is rated a “buy” by 79 percent of analysts, while 44 percent recommend First Solar Inc., the largest maker of thin-film solar panels. The Stowe Global Coal index of 38 coal producers has gained 3.8 percent in 2010, and the Bloomberg Global Leaders Solar index of 38 solar module and component makers dropped 17 percent.

While investors including T. Boone Pickens and Warren Buffett are pushing cash into green technologies, the tilt toward Peabody and away from First Solar is the widest in two years. It reflects a sense that government support for reducing air pollution may be waning, said Kevin Landis, whose Firsthand Alternative Energy Fund outperformed the solar index this year.

N.Z. Coal Imports Jump to Three-Year High as BlueScope Buys

(Bloomberg) -- New Zealand coal imports climbed to the highest in three years in the fourth quarter as BlueScope Steel Ltd. brought in Indonesian supplies to feed its plant during strikes at local mines.

On the barrel

Publishing houses have thrived on the wickedness of oilmen and their mucky trade. About a hundred years ago Ida Tarbell’s 1904 trailblazing dissection of the business methods of John D Rockefeller led directly to the US government breaking up the Standard Oil monopoly. In recent times Lisa Margonelli took us to the people, pipelines and the politics that bring us fossil fuel.

When Tom Bower turns to the driving force of our economies, the book is always worth a look.

Khosla Says Clean-Energy Investors Should Beware of IPO Rush

(Bloomberg) -- Investors should beware of stock offerings from clean-technology companies this year that lack a long-term technology edge and rely too much on government aid, said Vinod Khosla, the biggest U.S. investor in green startups.

“There will be Googles in this business, but before there is a dot-com rush, investors should ask questions,” Khosla, 55, said in an interview. “My objective is that good companies get funding and that, with the bad ones, people know what questions to ask.”

Obama's High-Speed Rail Support is Too Little Too Late For A Peak Oil World

I can never decide which is sadder: the Obama Administration’s token 12-15 billion dollars for national railways, or, the greenblogger, transportblogger, and mainstream media’s belief we’re pursuing a new rail policy. The United States has for years been piled high with unfunded rail projects, just waiting for a green light. But the 12-15 billion allocated so far will, at best, provide nothing more than seed money for mega projects like high-speed rail while neglecting the myriad smaller projects across the country. In the same way the Obama Administration has no energy policy, they have no transport policy.

Africa’s Largest Wind Project Advances

Kenya’s Lake Turkana Wind Power project – set to become Africa’s largest wind farm – looks to be back on track after securing financing through a new shareholding structure.

China Surpassed U.S. as Biggest Investor in Renewable Energy

(Bloomberg) -- China replaced the U.S. as the biggest investor in renewable energy for the first time in five years as the Asian nation raced to meet rising demand for power and reduce carbon emissions.

China invested $34.5 billion in wind turbines, solar panels and other low-carbon energy technologies in 2009, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said today in London. The U.S. spent about half as much last year, or $18.6 billion, slipping to second.

Offshore Wind a Boon to the Shipping Industry

With ocean-going trade slackening amid the global recession, shipping companies and shipyard operators in Europe are finding the offshore wind industry to be a welcome ally in weathering the bad times.

In a deal struck earlier this month, for example, the shipping giant Maersk has agreed to lease about 100,000 square meters of its Lindo shipping facility on the Danish island of Funen — about 10 percent of the total area of the shipyard — to Skykon Offshore, a maker of wind turbine foundations.

Navy’s Energy Reform Initiatives Raise Concerns Among Shipbuilders

The secretary of the Navy’s announcement last fall of several initiatives to wean the sea service off fossil fuels has generated excitement but also some trepidation among energy researchers and defense contractors.

Much of the hope for reducing the Navy’s oil dependency rests on the shoulders of the biofuel and renewable energy sectors, both of which are in their nascent stages.

Scientists worry that the Navy’s ultimate goals, including sailing a green fleet in 2016 and powering half of its energy needs through alternative energy sources in 2020, are too aggressive.

The Parable of the Electric Bike

Imagine an electric bike. Zipping through the city. Surging up hills without gasping for breath. Riding in business dress and arriving fresh and dry. Healthy, moderate exercise. No traffic jams. Free parking. Huge load-hauling potential. Near-free fueling. Zero emissions. Breeze in your face. Appealing! So, why haven't they caught on? In this five-part series, Alan Durning looks at the future of electric bikes in the Northwest.

A Compostable Chips Bag Hits the Shelves

One of the obvious environmental downsides of eating chips is the packaging. Billions of bags hit dumpsters every year.

To address this, the chip giant Frito-Lay has just introduced what it is calling the first “100 percent compostable” chip bag, for its multigrain SunChips brand.

Ruling Will Let Farms Harvest Modified Beets

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday said farmers could harvest their genetically engineered sugar beets this year, ruling that the economic impact would be too great if the crop were to be destroyed.

The judge, Jeffrey White of the United States District Court in San Francisco, also ruled that the environmental groups, including the Center for Food Safety, waited too long to request that the crop be yanked from the ground and barred from the market.

Nearly all sugar beets planted are genetically engineered and the crop accounts for half the nation’s sugar supply.

Duke’s Rogers Says He Invests Assuming Carbon Rules

(Bloomberg) -- Duke Energy Corp. Chief Executive Officer Jim Rogers said he makes investments expecting that the power company’s carbon emissions will become regulated.

“Every decision I make today I make it with the assumption that there’s been carbon legislation in the U.S. and there’s a worldwide treaty,” Rogers said today in a television interview at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference in London. A U.S. law isn’t likely this year, he said.

UV exposure has increased over the last 30 years, but stabilized since the mid-1990s

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA scientists analyzing 30 years of satellite data have found that the amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching Earth's surface has increased markedly over the last three decades. Most of the increase has occurred in the mid-and-high latitudes, and there's been little or no increase in tropical regions.

...The primary culprit: decreasing levels of stratospheric ozone, a colorless gas that acts as Earth's natural sunscreen by shielding the surface from damaging UV radiation.

Can behavior save enough energy to save earth?

While Congress dickers over a bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Rep. Brian Baird, D-Wash., is taking an outside-the-box approach.

Baird wants his colleagues to understand how much behavioral changes can reduce energy use. No wonder. He's a licensed clinical psychologist and author of two books in his field.

Bolivia summit to seek global climate change referendum

LA PAZ (AFP) – An alternative "people's conference" on climate change in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba in April will seek to advance an international global warming referendum, organizers said.

"The only thing that can save mankind from a (climate) tragedy is the exercise of global democracy," said Bolivia's United Nations Ambassador Pablo Solon, a key organizer of the summit.

Govt ads banned over climate change claims

LONDON (AFP) – Advertising watchdog has banned two government adverts for overstating the threat from climate change, it said on Wednesday.

Climate Change: In Canada, No News Is Bad News

UXBRIDGE (IPS) - Canada's climate researchers are being muzzled, their funding slashed, research stations closed, findings ignored and advice on the critical issue of the century unsought by Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government, according to a 40-page report by a coalition of 60 non-governmental organisations.

"This government says they take climate change seriously but they do nothing and try to hide the truth about climate change," said Graham Saul, representing Climate Action Network Canada (CAN), which produced the report "Troubling Evidence".

"We want Canadians to understand what's going on with this government," Saul told IPS.

China invested $88 billion in railroads in 2009

We have a "Rail Gap" (like the missile gap of the 1960s) and we need a "Rail Race" (a la space race) with China !


Best Hopes for Doing the Right Things, for whatever reason,


The NYT article also mentioned China said Wednesday that, separate from its stimulus program, it would spend $123 billion to provide universal health care within two years instead of 11.

Unfortunatly we have a budget deficit gap a healthcare gap and an intelligence gap too.

American brain drain.

Whatever happened to Americas first rate school system.
Not colleges...,
but first rate elemantary, middle, and high schools???

I know what happened in California...,


I know what happened to me after PROP 13. The job I applied for with the State Energy Office and almost finished qualifying for vanished as the result of the hiring freeze. There went several months of effort and the chance at a career in renewable energy...

E. Swanson

It was only a problem in that it addressed the symptom, and not the problem. The problem was that real estate taxes were enacted for a farm economy where value of land was presumed to be a predictor of income. Using that as a primary revenue source for states, counties and cities (and especially schools) has always been a problem.

The true problem is TANSTAFL: There Ain't No Such Thing As Free Lunch.

We are now finding out that the higher the precentage of revenue coming from real estate, the greater the discomfort of the populace, and the more likely there will be a taxpayer revolt, ala Prop.-13. Texas just went through a lot of chucking and jiving, trying to solve that problem. The end result is that homeowners, who had elected people who promised lower r/e taxes, have not seen much reduction, and businesses have seen large increases in their tax. Of course, businesses can always pass that along to customers in prices, but homeowners cannot.

Good luck avoiding paying for services...


Whatever happened to Americas first rate school system.

It has slipped to second rate status, according to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) which is coordinated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), with a view to improving educational policies and outcomes.

Of the 30-odd OECD countries surveyed by the PISA tests, the US was below average and ranked 15th in reading literacy, 24th in mathematics, and 21st in science.

The #1 country in all three categories was Finland. Other countries which consistently ranked in the top ten in all three categories were Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Japan and South Korea. Note that half of those countries are former British colonies.

It is noteworthy that the top countries spend considerably less on education than the US.

I blame it on football. The US spends too much of its education money on football, while the top ranking countries spend their education money on education. Their children don't have much time to play football in school because they are studying so hard.

Britain itself did much better than the US, but lagged its former colonies in all categories. I theorize this is because its former colonies took an elitist system designed to educate British upper-class snobs and applied it to all of their students. (The "No child left behind, or they get flogged" principle).

As a former public schoolteacher, I have a few theories as to why the U.S. lags so badly behind other countries in education while simultaneously spending more per pupil. (Hmmm... spending more money per capita while producing worse outcomes... what does that remind me of --oh, right: healthcare.)

1. Cult of Self-Esteem. John Vasconcellos, a state senator (and idiot) from my neck of the woods (CA) is largely credited with starting this trend some 25 years ago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Vasconcellos
Basically, proponents assert that students will perform better once they have achieved a phony sense of accomplishment, based on no actual achievements. This is in sharp contrast to the traditional method of: (a) first achieving something through discipline and hard work, and then (b) feeling justifiably good about it. Add to this the self-defeating "victim" mentality of certain demographic groups, and you have a recipe for non-achievement.

2. School budgets largely being siphoned off to pay bureaucrats, reward political appointees and campaign benefactors, and sometimes outright waste. Google "Belmont Learning Center scandal" and "LAUSD graft/corruption" and you'll quickly see what I mean. The money is there, but it is NOT being spent on teachers, books or children.

3. Lack of classroom discipline and fear of parental lawsuits. The former in some ways is a direct consequence of the latter. I witnessed a colleague have charges brought against him for breaking up a classroom fight. Administration and principal backed the students, local newspaper painted it as a racially motivated "hate crime", and teacher was forced into early retirement. There were not too many attempts to suppress *any* disruptive behavior after that, and I quit soon after myself. Rather tough to teach when students are routinely assaulting one another and you cannot do anything about it, no?

Huge school districts will probably end up as relics of the days of plenty. Look at the recent school closings in Kansas City and Detroit.

The future will be internet based schooling, there is no need to bus thousands of students to a school where they do worksheets on paper and sit in front of a teacher.

At $100 per person, that universal care leverage probably includes vaccinations and perhaps antibiotics and occasional gen prac visits. But that's not a bad start. If the US wants universal care, why don't we start small with things that every person should have access to, before getting to the level where we argue about abortions and facelifts?

It is clear that the Republicans do not want universal health care. They are just fine with 40 million uninsured (and spending 33% more/capita on healthcare than any other nation (Switzerland is #2 in spending, #3 in life expectancy; USA is #1+ in spending and #34 in life expectancy)).

They could have started with "the basics" (Universal Childhood vaccination was Clinton's first policy in office), such as universal free vaccination, free orthopedic care (broken bones), free cancer screening (with free Stage I cancer treatment, but not Stage II, an incentive to catch it early & cheap), free TB treatment, free diabetes screening, etc. But public health is one of the programs that Republicans traditionally target for cuts (despite the excellent economic payback for society).

I am reminded of a Norwegian living nearby who was saddened to see so many poor people with obvious disabilities that resulted from poor or no healthcare. Disabilities that hurt their ability to earn a living. I "saw" it to, but it seems so "normal" I needed an outsider to point it out.

Best Hopes for fewer $ and better healthcare,


And for their part, Dems appear unwilling to start small and reform versus redoing all in one big push, which we know will go badly. Who would not support childhood vaccinations and flu shots for all? Year one: Require all insurers to cover them at 100%, with the gov't picking up the uninsured.

Provide universal HCSA via pre-tax dollars, with multi-year carryover. Require automated point-of-service cost coverage analysis BEFORE treatment -- none of the back-and-forth nonsense that ends up in "explanation of benefits" which really means "excuse for non-coverage".

Next year, pick up antibiotics and such for acute illnesses, free for kids. Adults get fractional coverage and can use their HCSA for the rest.

Next year, pick up orthopedics and publicly affecting chronic illnesses (like TB), and screening for diabetes and cancer.

Make the plan be to revisit the previous plans each year to see how it's working, and tweak as needed. Fund anti-corruption aggressively, to drive cost out of Medicaid and the new plans as we go.

Edit: One more thing -- no coverage for any of this in ERs. People shouldn't go to ERs for colds and minor issues. Cover those via urgent care and doc offices, not hospitals.

Once you get up to expensive treatments, public care comes with an IRS rider -- if you've skated without insurance but make a lot of money, guess what? You get to pay it back over 10 years. If you're broke but you win the lottery next year, guess what? You get to pay it back right then. If you're broke and get broker, then in 10 years you're in the clear.

I'm a pretty solid conservative, but not pedantic about most reasonable plans. Let's work as hard to cut graft and costs as we do to add entitlements, and I'll meet you halfway.

When Republicans have a majority, lets do ZERO on healthcare. When Democrats have 59 or 60 Senators, lets go VERY slow, step by step. year by year. Until Rs get a majority again of course.

What you advocate could have been in the 2002 State of the Union speech.

But public health is one of the programs that Republicans traditionally target for cuts (despite the excellent economic payback for society).

We spend 17% of GDP on healthcare. Reducing that to 11% AND improving outcomes (life expectancy, infant mortality, amputations from diabetes, etc.) would free up[ more than enough money to close the rail gap and renewable energy gap with China. But it would hurt Republican economic interests and campaign contributions.

Best Hopes for fewer $ and better healthcare,


Maybe we should emulate Europeans. They do everything better. They have a similar standard of living on half the energy. They have better cities. They have better mass transportation, better healthcare.

If not, emulate the Japanese...,

Anything European would be a step up from what we have now.

Forget about Republican or Democratic cr*p. They are stuck in a hardcore left right paradigm. They are idiot-logues.

The middle of the bell curve needs to try to reclaim the country and fix it.


It costs a family approx. 100 dollars per month for total coverage....no user fees or surcharges. It varies a bit from province to province. You may have to wait for non emergency stuff, but serious things get done immediately. My wife suffered H1N1 complications this winter, we went to our Doctor's clinic and then she was admitted to hospital within 1 hour. She was in for 3 days and 4 nights. Cost? Nothing beyond our premiums. She has also been a type 1 diabetic for forty years, no problems and excellent coverage. In the states she would be denied.

Our drugs are 1/3 of the US versions, in fact, there is a big business of US citizens traveling to Canada for their medications.

Gouging is gouging. That is what is happening under the US private insurance schemes. However, there are trade offs. It takes a long time to get an MRI, for example, but the last time I checked our life expectancy and overall health is still one of the tops in the world.

This fight was fought in the 40s...thanks to Tommy Douglas. The doctors went on strike to battle it, but they do okay with the system. Their wages are posted should you wish to see what they make. It does come under attack from those who wish to play both ends, but it is against the law for provinces to pay for procedures that can be done at hospital. A dire emergency and no beds....you will be flown to a facility where you can be treated.

Our health system is our most treasured asset, despite what you may hear from fear mongers with a vested interest in seeing it denigrated.


You may have to wait for non emergency stuff, but serious things get done immediately

Trade offs always have to be made. It's a trade off worth making if you're poor or middle class. Waiting for elective surgery..., who cares, it's the emergency that really counts. And who wants to go bankrupt because they caught something unfortunate.

Besides, for all this talk about how the Republicans don't want to ration medical care..., they ration medical care..., BY PRICE.

That's a tradeoff.

Our health system is our most treasured asset, despite what you may hear from fear mongers with a vested interest in seeing it denigrated.

It reminds me of when some clown wrote in an editorial that if Stephan Hawking had to rely on the British Medical system, there's no way he'd be alive right now.

Which brought about a defense from Hawking who said he is ALIVE because of the British system.

Idiot-logues are blind.

I use the same hospital as Stephen Hawking.

When I had a detached retina I had surgery within 48 hours of the diagnosis, by a world class surgeon. Saved my sight. Free at point of delivery. Aftercare service is a bit patchy, and the food is dreadful. (That is provided by private contract).

The NHS is the worst health service in the world, apart from all the rest :).

The UK is broke, good luck funding the welfare state for much longer.

As opposed to the glowing example of success that is free market worship gone wild over the past couple decades in the U.S. Welfare costs may sink the UK but the USS USA is already resting comfortably on the ocean floor in some good measure due to its for profit health care "industry"...

good luck funding the corporate welfare state for much longer

imagine if the "free" market bailout funds went instead to directly preventing and treating disease

it's easy if you try...

The funds didn't exist for that crony capitalism either, they were borrowed from China. But don't worry, the UK will crash and burn long before the U.S.

Thankfully the UK enjoyed years of welfare state rollback and reform under the brilliant leadership of Thatcher and so shouldn't sink too quickly. The worst welfare states of Europe like Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg... should all been in flames well before the UK. The ridiculous French even provide vacations for welfare recipients. France is going to fry.

Your insights are so brilliant that I can't understand why you waste your time at TOD. Surely the Wall Street Journal has a place for you.

Yeah, Thatcher was an idiot. It was under her they started to emulate us..., Live Fast, Die Hard..., and young.

Let's burn through the North Sea in high gear.

rollback and reform under the brilliant leadership of Thatcher

There's just no hope. The witch burned through the richest endowment this country will ever have. Chicago School economics allowed the raiding of everything that was of worth in this country. A bankrupt shell is all that is left here. For god's sake get some glasses and look around you.

But, the U.S. will crash harder.

Better to borrow and spend, then tax and spend...,

But don't worry, the UK will crash and burn long before the U.S.

I don't know. It looks more like a simultaneous crash and burn situation to me.

The real problem the Brits have is that they followed the American example in decontrolling their banking system. What's worse, they let their banks invest in the US subprime mortgage market. Big mistakes.

Not so much subprime that is the key, but tranched investments and derivatives of all sorts. I think you can rest assured that London (and Dublin) have plenty of well-earned blame in the world-wide markets.

I think Britain will crash earlier and worse because its energy situation is more precarious, as is the food situation, and FIRE is a bigger part of the overall economy.

Borrowed public money shouldn't be used for ongoing expenses like healthcare any more than it should be used to backstop private debts.

How about we set clear priorities and spend what we have coming in, and then stop?

Health care can be either fixing people after they are broken, or keeping people from breaking themselves in the first place.

We are not much better than the US in this respect, unlike many parts of Europe, but we do put some money into keeping people healthy, through diet, exercise, vaccination, education and monitoring to catch disease early when it is economic to fix.

I do not know how much my operation cost, maybe £30,000. I will pay that back in taxes before I retire, and if I was blind now, I and my family would be costing the state money, not paying taxes.

Keeping the dying alive for one or two more years of miserable existence is, unfortunately, the modern way.

The UK maybe broke, but it is very comforting to know I have excellent health care available, free at the point of delivery from initial GP surgery through to hospital and out-patient care. Also dentistry and opticians. Oh and back-care, sports injury therapist, psychiatry ...

We may be broke, but one thing is certain: money will be found to keep the 'free at the point of need' system in place. The benefits to the economy are huge too. Yes, taxes pay for it but employers don't need to stump up directly for employee health insurance and they benefit with (supposedly) healthy workers.

I gotta say, when I see video clips of US hospitals (like in Michael Moore's film) showing obviously very ill people being ignored because they have no insurance it makes me weep.

The UK is broke, good luck funding the welfare state for much longer.

Canada isn't broke and it has universal coverage.

Perhaps the U.K. is broke, but the National Health Service wasn't the primary culprit.

Pretty soon you'll have energy exporting countries and broke countries, it seems.

Paleocon, I share your assessment. There does appear to be a decidedly clear correlation between energy and public finances.

Countries that export other things (minerals, agricultural products, some manufactured goods) won't necessarily be on the broke side of the balance sheet, while their exports cover net energy imports.

Canada exports all of the above (energy, minerals, agricultural products, some manufactured goods). However its big advantage in the financial meltdown was that it didn't let its banks lend money to people who couldn't pay it back. As a result, none of its banks went bankrupt, all are fully solvent, and most are making good profits.

It's running a budget deficit at the moment (after several years of surpluses), but nothing near the size of the US deficit.

Australia the same ... for similar reasons, of course. And has a universal health system (mix of public and private insurance).

Republicans don't want to ration medical care..., they ration medical care..., BY PRICE.

yeah, what i cant figure out is why the dems are deaf and dumb on the subject. we hear it all the time with no or little response from the dumbs.....er... i mean dems. they must be afraid to acknowledge that health care is rationed. the repugnicans are better at propaganda, the tactics of the cia. the facists are winning.

I would add that the greatess threat to the canadian healtcare system is the US one. Every canadian doctors dream to make as much money as the US, and as government to par them as much as in USA. If the USA had a decent universal healtcare system, this would ease the pressure on the canadian system too.

You may have to wait for non emergency stuff

Yeah ... like a year and a half (true story, friend of mine currently waiting for knee surgery). If I needed an MRI I'd be driving to Seattle for it tomorrow, rather than waiting up to a year.

Our system is better than the US but hardly great. There are better models elsewhere. Our system is also consuming a steadily increasing share of government revenue. It's hard to see it continuing indefinitely. Nor will it survive the end of growth.

There are better models then the Canadian system..., but for us, the Canadian system would still be a giant step up.

Yes indeed! I`ve spent quite a lot of time in Europe---you can go almost anywhere without a car. Unlike the US! The trains in Sweden and France and Norway are great! Also Germany and Italy...

My advice? Emigrate! I did! Stop beating your head against a wall! Stop craving health insurance and good public transportation! Stop wishing you could travel around without a car. Just leave. Find a way to get out and choose a country that you would like to live in. Look for a job there. Try it. You`ll make new friends. You will still see your family sometimes. (Actually I rarely do but since they are always rabidly defending the US I don`t mind seeing them only rarely...our political differences actually make me glad I see them so rarely!) Stop sighing and wishing!

You guys sound like me before I left the USA.

YOu remind me of starving people with their heads pressed against the window outside of a warm busy restaurant. Watching the others eat while they suffer. Come on in the water`s fine!

I'm with you & like your encouragement to emigrate. I'm only 1/2 way there as I live in southern France as much as I can but keep coming back to US to be with kids & G-kids etc. Can't talk to them about US collapse for many reasons. But I believe with you that "things" are better in the "old country". Trains etc Bigtime better. France is wanting to expand their southern corridor rails to get the rubber-tired rigs off the Autoroutes between Spain ans Italy. Admittedly some of the reasoning is it'll be more pleasant driving for the summerime tourists from N. Europe.
I think IMO their whole mindset is way more conservative than ours ( US ) and so the degeneration of the Mortgage Industry did not and so-far, has not destroyed as much credit and wealth ( inside their own economies ). We had to talk to the local mayor to be allowed to buy land in Fr. even tho we had the €'s without borrowing.
I'm retired now and am not competition in the job market but still wonder why they would want the likes of me to be another medical-insurance grantee.
I'd like to hear more details about your emigration experience, thanks.

I'm also moving to France in August, to work in Lyon ...but for me it is a move back there after 12 years in the US (and almost 20 years out of France). There are a lot of nice things in France but you have to be aware it is more a bureaucraty than a democraty and working there tends to be a nightmare because of the rules (written and non-written) and regulations. It is really hard to get things done on time but if you are retired it shouldn't be a problem.
Apparently you have to deal with the law that limits land/house buying by non-EU citizen but it should still be fairly easy specially in the present market... It's at least easier than in Switzerland for example where you would be limited to 1000 m2 of land space even if you have billions of dollar to spend (like members of the Saud family).
Anyway, in small town and villages, the mayor can be very useful or a major pain...in that case go to the next village, there is plenty to chose from.
If you are allowed to immigrate, which is sometime difficult (but somewhat less than from Europe to the US) you will automatically receive all the health care and other associated benefits. Not that long ago there was an article about some rich American celebrities who had kids in France... and automatically received child benefits (around 200 $/children per month) which they really did not needed or asked for.
It is true that French tends to be far more conservative, but mostly in the good sense (not changing things just for the sake of change or to make a quick buck) but again they can also be blind to really useful improvements. Try speaking about setting a air heat-pump and most will tell you stories from the early 80's when some tried it and were disappointed, so won't consider it again. Final criticism of my dear country for the day... French like to set up temporary solutions for as long as possible... temporary being anything lasting 99 years or less.

Actually, the trains in The Netherlands and France are quite good too. (The UK, a bit less so, too many of the wrong kind of leaves and whatnot.) But the trains, trams, and whatnot take you only where they take you. It may seem like everywhere, but it's hardly so.

It's also not directly related to living in or out of the USA. You can readily get to most of New York City without a car too (the major exceptions are mainly in Staten Island and some outlying parts of Queens), and the transit system is generally much closer to 24/7 than most in Europe, where they often shut down to a nearly useless skeleton service at midnight. The real requirement is not to live in a particular country but to live where there are wall-to-wall people, and to be content to travel only to other places where there are also wall-to-wall people, and to be content to travel only at those times when everyone else wants to travel. It's called mass transit for a reason, and for that same reason it's ineffective across much of the USA, which mostly lacks the right sort of dense masses.

Rs & Ds are just people. I am a fairly serious D. I spent about 1 1/2 hours today talking with a solid R. We did just fine, one on one. He is concerned about PO; he is concerned about the amount our country nspends on health care. In fact, he sounds in many ways more like a D that I do!

And, he agreed with me that if people like us could sit down and put to paper our best ideas, we could come up with some dynamite solutions to many problems.

The difficulty is that the polticical Ds and the poltical Rs are all frightened that if they work with the other side, their constituants will vote them out of office! It is the career politicians who are the problem here, and 'paid political announcements.' This system of 10 second sound bites has to go!


To Alan's point about GDP: Note that it is in no government's interest to actually lower health care costs or insurance premiums as these all contribute to the rise in GDP that everyone takes as a healthy sign of economic growth! We are between a rock and a hard place in thinking increasing GDP is a good thing and then adding in defensive costs to the figure to gives us the illusion of growth. On the other hand it is a good thing it is just an illusion. Real growth would have eaten our resources more drastically than actually happened.

We live in a very strange world of our own creation.

Question Everything

Dems appear unwilling to start small and reform versus redoing all in one big push, which we know will go badly.

and the R's are willing to do what ?

(i mean besides tell us what americans want)

R's are willing to wait for mid-term elections. There was a more bipartisan effort, but little came of it obviously.

hell yeah, they are willing to wait: forever.

and the R's are willing to do what ?

Corruption, just like the Dems.

Nothing that changes the status quo

And Americans need to eat better, lower on the food chain, and exercise more.

There, preventative medicine.

I just reformed healthcare and saved us a fortune.

Just heard yesterday on the radio.

Child obesity has become such a big problem - we are seeing teens who have diabetes, knee pain etc. They were saying we will have the first generation whose life expectancy would be lower than their parents (that without taking into account peak oil, agw etc).

Who would not support childhood vaccinations and flu shots for all?

I can only speculate, but presume it could be a NIMBY way to reduce population overshoot. I would also assume no official would ever say so publically, just as the economic advantages of war are never discussed, either.

Who would not support vaccinations? People who think vaccinations cause autism or MS or ADHD or some other disease.

A liberal Democrat friend wouldn't get her kids vaccinated. One got whooping cough as a result.

I would certainly support health care reform if any actual reform of America's health care system was on offer. Instead we have a proposed law that will deal with the fact that people can't afford health insurance by forcing them to buy it anyway, and in the process transferring billions of dollars from American families to a corrupt and obscenely profitable health insurance industry.

Currently, if I recall correctly, America pays more money for health care per capita than any other nation on earth, while our life expectancy is dead last among industrial nations, our rates of infant mortality are on a par with those in Indonesia, and the number of deaths per annum directly resulting from health care (iatrogenic deaths, fatal drug side effects and misprescriptions, nosocomial infections, etc., etc.) is higher than that for cancer, heart disease, or any other cause. The alleged "reform" won't do anything about any of this; it will simply guarantee that more Americans pay more money to a failed industry. That's the elephant in the room of the health care crisis, and to my mind, at least, it's gone well past the point that a partisan analysis makes any sense of it.

Medicare pays a bit under 97% out as insurance payments/benefits (and pays "below market" levels). Private insurance pays out 3/4ths in payments/benefits.

A good 20+% spread right there (30+% when lower prices for Medicare are included).

More public health, less ER and intensive care is one way forward.

Public option and later single payer is another.

Best Hopes for buying a policy through Medicare before age 65,


Lets take a real look at the current bill. Tax increases take effect immediately. Most reforms take effect between 2016 and 2020, Congress has never been known to re-visit a piece of passed legislation to make further changes. Have they? The real reason for the rush on passage is the need for revenue. The winners are: Insurance companies, employers who will be allowed to eliminate plans. Drug companies whose profits have been guaranteed. For profit hospitals. he few sops to the people will be taken away when the rules are written by the agencies after passage of the outline currently in Congress.

Why are the Republicans so adamantly against it, then? Whose interests are they representing in your scheme?

They're just against anything that might make Obama look successful. They have said as much. That is their one and only policy objective, that and hoping for a good midterm election, as paleo pointed out.

I'm not fan of the dems, but the repubs have been extremely harmful to country in just about everything they have done and have not done have prevented.

I just wish Obama had pushed this through when they had 60 votes and the policy was a bit better. He should have known the repubs had no interest in supporting anything he has to offer, no matter how republican the bill actually is.

Let us talk about the one thing Washington can do in a Bi-Partisan Way:


The fight started on the first stimulus/spending Bill. The money went 2 to 1 to democratic districts. So 500 billion democrats, 250 Republicans. Bi-Partisan, would have been 500 billion/500 billion. This pork would have helped the Republicans win re-elections. Cutting out the Republicans was a political calculation by the Democrats. Nothing More.

The Republican retaliated by fillibustering everything in the Senate, Health Care included. The Republican would have opposed any Obama bill, not just this one. AND, the Democrats are not saints either, they continued to load up health care bill with pork in Senate.

Both sides talk of principals, but really it is about controlling the distribution of gov't spending, and getting re-elected.

And making absolutely sure the other party does not accomplish anything that could be perceived as progress in the eyes of voters.

This is not health reform, it is insurance reform, in effect, protecting the insurance companies from losing a revenue stream.
If we wanted heath reform, we would follow the rest of the first world, have universal health care, live longer, and do it for half the price.

Our govt. is hopelessly corrupt.

Yes, but mostly because the people have allowed private corporate interests to overwhelm the system.

The Zeitgeist doesn't seem to help either. Firstly, having elections every two years actively works against any reform agendas that take some brewing, and secondly, since when is 59/100 not a majority? Seems ludicrous (from the outside anyway) that a Senate majority of 50%+1 cannot determine all the program and business of the Senate, including the speed, amendment, and passage of legislation - have they no sense of self-determination (let alone respect) as an august elected chamber?

And not all that much reform. The first step in any real reform will involve throwing the insurance companies under the bus. Might be by establishing single-payer for most things -- that's the Canadian and British models. Might be by substantial regulation on coverages and premiums -- that's the Swiss and Danish models. Every industrialized country in the world except the US has at some point decided to do it.

Personally, I think the Dems moved too soon on this. The situation has to be "ripe" for reform to move forward. Medicare is a case in point: by 1965 the large majority of the elderly did not have health insurance, having either been denied coverage by insurers or priced out of the market. Almost everyone had a relative who had suffered because they couldn't get insurance. My own guess has always been that by 2015 the cohort aged 55-64 was going to be in the same situation, and would precipitate the crisis that led to reform.

They were in control of the white house, the house an the senate. What would have been a "riper" time. They moved way, way too slowly, obviously. They pandered to the repubs who had no interest in doing anything but stalling it till it withered on the vine.

To me, the critical mistake was putting the stimulus before health care. I believe if Obama would have pushed health care first, it would have passed by May of his first year.

An harder to explain mistake is Harry Reid and reconcilation. He should have gone straight to reconciliation for health care, like Bush did for two of his tax cuts.

"should have gone straight to reconciliation for health care"

You got it right, there.

The stimulus thing was needed as an emergency measure. I was upset that they dumped healthcare in before energy/climate was done. Now I suspect we won't get either -or what will make it through will be so much sausage as to be nearly useless. Once it was clear the Republican whole strategy was to make it impossible for the dems to do anything, and hope the voters would be fed up with dems that can't do anything, they should have gone to reconciliation. The whole supermajority thing is a dangerous anomaly anyway. We've seen how it works, every Senators vote becomes crucial -which basically gives free reign to special interest demands. I won't vote for it unless you include this here pork for my district/state! The result is that by the time you bribe enough votes the legislation is pure garbage. The parlimentary system at least allows a governing party to design and implement a coherent strategy, ours simply doesn't allow that to happen.

The common aspect in each of the gambits you mention is that started off with a populist mildly-left slant, but ended up with verbage straight from corporate interests. Climate led directly to a carbon credit scheme promoted by investment banks. The recent healthcare plan panders to the insurance and drug providers. And stimulus was 100% to banking interests, and to this day nobody can prove any negative impacts would have been felt to the mainstreet guy that didn't happen anyway.

Obama's problem is he picked every item as a campaign issue, and is following up by picking every battle while in office. He won't say no to anybody, including the lobbied interests who help write each bill.

It doesn't take too much pressure to convince the Repub Senators to go against him...when all the constituencies seem to be negative to some degree (including left-leaning states like Mass). Repubs are hoping their voters will remember healthcare and forget the stimulus debacle by election time.

The 2015 time line seems reasonible. Obama/Media talked about price controls, so what did the insurance companies do? Push through huge increase of up to 40% or more. They will likely try huge price hikes again next year. These hikes combined with bad economies should be enough to largely kill the individual insurance market. The bad economy and HUGE price hikes will also cause many business to elimate insurance. To me this is the classic Death Spiral, where health insurance has dropped below critical mass.

Congress has never been known to re-visit a piece of passed legislation to make further changes. Have they?

how 'bout tax laws ?

"Congress has never been known to re-visit a piece of passed legislation to make further changes. Have they?"

All progressive legislation, the major stuff--social security, medicare, medicaid--gets "fixed later." So argues Steve Benen.


But Medicare also pays out efficiently in graft and over-payments. They also cover vastly expensive coverage options well beyond what private insurance does.

I have zero love for health insurance companies from personal experience and despise today's employer/insurance arrangement, but my limited personal exposure to Medicaid indicates it is incredibly inefficiency run.

It is worth noting that Repubs are against the current plan, while the insurance industry is for it. Apparently Repubs aren't always the only corp-pandering party.

For the middle and upper classes, HCSAs should address most common medical needs (including vision and dental, which are rarely insurance-covered well). It's silly to have insurance of any sort between the patient and ordinary health visits -- it's not insurance, but an inefficient shared-account savings program.

Insurance should be actuarial. HCSAs should address routine needs. Welfare should address those who cannot pay. Public health should address those processes which are necessary to prevent mass illnesses. We don't need one program to do all the above.

It's not that Republicans don't care to make insurance companies happy, it's that the Democrats are the ones that are doing it.

If the Dems favor it, the Repubs must be against it, and vice versa.

Indeed. Although in this case, I think the Repubs are looking closely at the polling figures. While a substantial majority of US voters favor reform, only a bit less than 50% support the current reform legislation. The Repubs are playing a tactical game, stretching things out, positioning themselves to be able to say that they opposed it vigorously when they campaign in the Fall, and have either its passage or defeat still fresh in the voters' minds. It may be a winning tactic, unless voters start asking, "But we want real reform, what's your position on that?"

I haven't looked at numbers in detail, but suspect that a single-payer health insurance system would benefit the voters in red states more than those in blue states, and that the blue states would be, if you followed where the funding came from overall, subsidizing the red states.

Listen to Paleocon, especially the actuarial bit.
There is no reason we shouldn't have single payer. No one can convince me that there is not one actuarial algorithm that will work for the average person in the country. Differences between actuarial algorithms amonst different insurance providers are meaningless. They only compete as to how to rip you off. If there were differences, they would be asking you even more private details about your life, but they don't because no one would give it to them.
Try to find a histogram of insurance payouts against likelihood. Or medical costs against likelihood.
As Paleocon suggested yesterday, you can't find it because it is scary fat-tail.
I wrote about insurance here:

I used the example of earthquake insurance and you can see that a tipping point is reached whenever a new unexpectedly big earthquake occurs. This has everything to do with fat-tail statistics, and I think health insurance is very fat-tail.

Medicare pays a bit under 97% out as insurance payments/benefits (and pays "below market" levels). Private insurance pays out 3/4ths in payments/benefits.

For the conservatives it's all about 'profit'. Any system that restricts 'profit' in anyway is socialism.
There is a simplistic corollary also; that without profit, there is no innovation and no growth.

Of course, this isn't even close to being true .


It's hard to imagine society at large profiting post Peak. Instead we will see the flip-side of capitalism,
bankruptcy and ruin-- the precious 'freedom to fail'.

God save the USA.

Medicare patients benefit from cost shifting onto privately insured patients. If all patients were on Medicare that'd create a big problem. Already lots of doctors refuse to take Medicare patients at all due to lower pay-outs. If they were all on Medicaid then lots of doctors would shut their offices due to low pay-outs.

Well said, JMG. I wholeheartedly agree.

I would add that the incremental approach is fraught with potential dangers, not least of which is that enacting a mandate without consumer protections or limits on rate increases is a recipe for disaster.

I've never understood the argument that "the market" is better at providing health care than "the government". It assumes that the amount of government waste is much greater than the amount of private profit. And, as we've seen, when insurance companies get in financial trouble (and can't pay out claims), the government is expected to step in and give them money. Which they then use to give themselves bonuses.

Ultimately, the problem is capitalism itself (IMHO), not politics.

Capitalism IS politics today, IMHO.

When "the market" is insurance companies, and tax-incented employer programs, and "the gov't" is the other option, it's a contest between waste and profit. If you have individuals paying and choosing their own care, with backstops where prudent and tax incentives accruing to the individual as well, you can have efficient decisions.

You must have alignment between payer and recipient, and competition between providers, and between any insurance companies, to have efficiency and value. Today, employers and insurance companies negotiate the deals, with second-hard concerns about value to the recipient, who pays the bill but has few choices overall. Or for Medicaid, the gov't determines care levels (politicians and lobbyists do), while the taxed public pays without input on value or cost and the welfare public recipients receive without concern of cost.

I do not necessarily disagree.

However, all you've done is list some of the things that would need to change for "the market" to be better at providing health care. Something similar could also be done to list some of the things that would need to change for "the government" to be better at providing health care. You really haven't made the argument of why one form is better than another form.

Capitalism (to me) means providing a good or service with the intent of creating the most profit that you can for that good or service. I still don't see any arguments about why capitalism ("the market") is more efficient or provides more value or is in some way better at providing health care than "the government".

Actually, I do disagree with one thing:

Capitalism IS politics today, IMHO.

I disagree with this statement completely. If Capitalism were politics, then there would - presumably - be political camps that were pro-Capitalism and anti-Capitalism. While there may be some anti-Capitalists in the U.S., their numbers are miniscule and none hold political office. Money is God, and Capitalism is the Religion of Money.

IMHO, of course.

What is the chief end of man?
A: To get rich.

In what way?
A: Dishonestly if we can; honestly if we must.

Who is God, the one only and true?
A: Money is God. Gold and greenbacks and stock - father, son and the ghost of the same - three persons in one: these are the true and only God, mighty and supreme; and William Tweed is his prophet.

- Mark Twain, The Revised Catechism

You must have alignment between payer and recipient, and competition between providers, and between any insurance companies, to have efficiency and value.

Economic theory says there are a number of preconditions required for a market to function efficiently (first year PhD students in economics spend a lot of time showing that all the preconditions are necessary). One of those preconditions is that there is one price for a service. When my daughter was in the hospital with kidney stones, I got an explanation of benefits that showed what the cost would have been to me as an individual, and what it was for the insurance company: $48K for me, $17K for them. I can't think of any efficiencies of scale that would let them do the treatment for a third of the cost, and I assume that the hospital is not taking a loss on insured patients. It seems to me to be remarkably unfair that uninsured individuals pay a price that much higher.

Would you support regulation of health care providers that says that they must charge everyone the same price?

Sure, including the Gov't. Note that Medicaid limits notoriously drive the cost-shifting you describe.

I think every procedure at every clinic should have openly available pricing, and your insurance coverage for each of those should be clear and available as well, and your visit cost should be explicitly stated before exam/treatment -- even before you book the appointment. Before long there'd be an iPhone app where to enter what you need to have done and you'd find the 5 cheapest and/or nearest options.

As for single-payer, why not have the individual be that single-payer in all cases? Then the discussion shifts to how to provide the individual with necessary funds for his level of care, and providing incentives toward less costly vendors and procedures where possible. Personal HCSAs supported where needed by negative income taxes (and recovered where warranted through future income taxes) could do this, using a vehicle that is already well-mechanized at the state and federal level, and with clear visibility into personal wealth situations.

Mark, if by "capitalism" you mean the bizarre unfree-market system we've got in the US these days, no argument. It's as though somebody dared us to come up with a system of political economy that combined all the worst features of robber-baron capitalism and Soviet bureaucratic socialism, with none of the benefits of either -- and we managed it.

Health care is probably the best example (if "best" can be used in such a context). It's as completely noncompetitive, dominated by huge bureaucracies, and insulated from the consequences of its own malfeasance by layers of government regulation as the worst sort of socialism, and yet it's run for profit by corporations as a business scheme. You have to hand it to Americans -- when we put our mind to it, we can achieve what nobody else has ever done -- or would ever want to. :-(

Yes, JMG, that's the "capitalism" I'm referring to (unfortunately, it's also the "capitalism" that we've been exporting to other countries).

Great definition: "a system of political economy that combined all the worst features of robber-baron capitalism and Soviet bureaucratic socialism, with none of the benefits of either".

My view of the world is always colored by looking for the goals or objectives of something. In the case of U.S. Capitalism in regards to Health Care, our goal (based on the decisions that have been made over time) is not to provide great health care - it is to provide maximum profits for providing health care (and regulatory capture is a necessary ingredient in maximizing profits). In that, we've been a big success. And, of course, this applies to other areas and not just health care.

We are achieving our objective. I think there is disagreement in whether maximum profit is a good objective to have. However, belief in the "free market" is our sacred cow (or, perhaps, our sacred elephant in the room). It is an inseparable part of "The American Dream", and we dare not challenge our beliefs in wealth and power for fear that we will lose both.

In regards to Health Care, our goal ... is not to provide great health care - it is to provide maximum profits for [pretending to be] providing health care. In that, we've been a big success. And, of course, this applies to other areas and not just Health Care.

Excellent observation regarding the Mindless Machine that we otherwise refer to as the Lunch-is-Free Market (free for some).

Folk are finally starting to understand that the Invisible Hand is not tied to an invisible intelligent designer. Instead it is handcuffed to a cash register.

We outsource socialism.

From The Medicalization of Life

Here's a question that's not being asked in the health-care debate: How much medical care do we want in our lives? It's something we should be discussing.

...the most fundamental life events -- birth and death -- increasingly involve more and more medical care. Why should you care about this increasing medicalization of birth and death?

Simple. Because it exemplifies the medicalization of life. Everyday experiences get turned into diseases, the definitions of what (and who) is normal get narrowed, and our ability to affect the course of normal aging get exaggerated. And we doctors feel increasingly compelled to look hard for things to be wrong in those who feel well.

Medicalization is the process of turning more people into patients. It encourages more of us to be anxious about our health and undermines our confidence in our own bodies. It leads people to have too much treatment -- and some of them are harmed by it.

And it's big part of the reason why medical care costs so much.

This is a big part of the problem. Every skin blemish, every ache and pain, is a problem to be treated by a specialist with an office full of high-tech equipment and a raft of prescription meds to throw at you. Just another instance of "Disaster Capitalism" at work. The only way we are going to beat the medical industry (notice, I didn't say "healthcare") is to turn our backs on it.

I believe your initial statistics are correct, unsure of the last mix of unintended deaths, but disagree about the bloated insurance industry as failed. It is a resounding success, creating untold wealth for itself.

What is often overlooked is that the delivery side of healthcare, separate from the industry, functions to give Cadillac treatment and expertise to the wealthiest at the funding of the rest of us. A variant on socialize the costs, privatize the gains. Our vast system enabling exporting world class physicians from publicly funded teaching hospitals, the entire nationwide array of first class hospitals a short drive apart, the public funded R and D, EOR's providing training, experience and techniques on a level in the past only generated by war, nursing and support disciplines of unheard expertise and experience, function to provide the level of service few of us will ever afford. Yet without this base, it would all come crashing down. I think most of those with insurance intuitively realize this, certainly the wealthiest, and are loath to either throw the baby out with the bathwater, or allow patient expansion which may dilute their service.

Nates post a while back on "Medical Dark Matter" addresses the issue pretty well in my mind. http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6186

Eat like an okinawan, and exrecise.

At minimum, eat like a European, NOT LIKE AN AMERICAN,

and exercise.

I'm not Republican and I don't like Obamacare.
Forcing poor or lower middle class people to buy healthcare insurance is not my idea of decent system.

I despise insurance companies and don't trust them.

I think we're better off with nothing than Obamacare.

If we ate less processed junk and exercised more, and if necessary, quit (heavy) drinking and smoking, we'd all be much better off.

And if food grew on concrete, no child would starve. You live in a dream world.

Bottom line is, we should accept the shared responsibility to ensure each child gets a reasonably decent opportunity to survive and thrive. Many parents of blameless children make poor decisions regarding the children's health, from choosing to start a small business on a shoestring when they cannot afford health care, to getting addicted to drugs, to getting fired from a job where the employer provided health care. We need to disregard all the ancient Calvinist "blame the children for the faults of their parents" crap and simply provide automatic healthcare for all children based ONLY on level of illness / injury. The only smart and simply way to do that is for state governments to operate the health INSURANCE system. And as long as they're doing that, then they may as well extend the coverage to everyone.

I despise insurance companies and don't trust them.

Then 'In God we trust' when having no health insurance and suffer a heart attack or stroke.

If we ate less processed junk and exercised more, and if necessary, quit (heavy) drinking and smoking, we'd all be much better off.

Yes. The problem is 'if'. And for a lot of people exercise isn't fun, but terrible.

A (somewhat) contrarian bet is that the obesity crisis is played out. Of course, the effects and costs will linger for some time. But if what is happening is truly happening, then a number of conclusions can be drawn:

1) the obese die early in a failing healthcare system, thereby removing themselves from the population
2) people eat less because they don't have money...i mean, seriously don't have money, like not even going to mcdonald's to buy a big mac meal
3) even middle class and educated people either don't buy insurance cause they can't afford it, or because they don't want to buy it...which will make them double down on eating right, quitting the bad habits, and exercising

So it's possible that we'll get healthier not because of a robust economy and functioning healthcare system, but in fact because of the opposite.

In this corner..., a Dem

In that corner, the Repubs.

Under the Senate bill, really poor people (below poverty line) will go on Medicare and pay nothing.
Single people making more than 50k get hit the hardest at 15% of income. Families do much better. The premium increase as you move toward 65, when you go on Medicare.


The only alternative that really controls costs is the single payer--put everyone on Medicare but then you would be nationalizing health care as is normal in most countries.

Profit-minded medicos hate Medicare for that reason, but rampant cost inflation in HC industry is bankrupting the whole system.

How about subsidizing gym memberships or transfering a small % of protein subsidies to fruit and veg...


Gym memberships? subsidize bicycle sales and see health levels and economies rocket!

What is need is not cheap bikes, but secure bicycle parking, bike paths, bike turn lights/bike boxes @ intersections, bike lanes, showers @ work, etc.

See plans for Pennsylvania Avenue, DC as an example.


Best Hopes,for More Bicyclists,


This morning I momentarily inconvenienced a petrolhead in a coupe with genital enhancement tailpipes as I was cycling my yellow Moulton APB down my street which is a rat-run.

He managed to get wheelspin twice in making up the 100M to the back of the queue to the next junction, shortly before I glided past.

(Translation available on request :)

What we need to do, is knock down our cities and re-build them so they are foot friendly, and mass transportation friendly.

Over an appropriate period of time, yes. Done in the short term, what is the economic and energetic cost?

I LOVE your list of bike related needs Alan,

But did you happen to enlarge the photo in the link you provided? If you do you will see what happens to bike lanes that are attached to the vehicle roadway without any protection for the cyclist.

In the distant background of the bike lane, you can see a large straight-truck with cones on its corners double parked (assumed its making a delivery) taking up the full bike lane... so what does the cyclist do then?

Attempting to pass on the right is a cyclist's verion of russian roulette on wheels, as you never know what will happen (opening car door, delivery person with a hand truck... etc etc.)

Attempting to merge with traffic on the left, can be almost as suicidal. Cyclists are often invisible to motor vehicle drivers (either through inattentiveness, blind spots, poor cycling practices etc). Also, very often road rage sets in and the motor vehicle driver is unwilling to remain behind a cyclist who is legally taking up a full lane, and either dangerously passes the cyclist, or essentially forces the cyclist off the side of the road.

If we want to press for cycling paths - lets get them designed to provide some measure of safety from the SUV's, delivery trucks, and just about any other fast moving heavy hunk of metal.

I realize the research shows that segregated lanes cause an increase in cycling accidents at vehicle intersections, but there must be ways we can design around that. (see this wiki page for quick references)

Also, in trying to incentivise cycling to create a social change imperitive, many new road cyclists are so afraid of vehicle traffic, that the cycling lanes (into which many a motor vehicle tire drifts) are simply not enough safety to bring enough new cyclists to begin to self-reinforce the change.

Cyclist are not guilt free either - greater cycling education, training, and road law enforcement (i.e. on cyclists running stop signs/stop lights) are needed as well

So, to make a long post short, how about we add to your list:

What is need is not cheap bikes, but secure bicycle parking, bike paths, bike turn lights/bike boxes @ intersections, bike lanes, showers @ work,etc.

- SAFER bike paths (and more of them)
- increased cyclist education
- increased cyclist 'rules of the road' enforcement
- increase enforcement of the 'sanctity' of existing bike lanes

We were able to create a social change with bluebox curb recycling to the point there is a social stigma in NOT recycling, can we do the same with cycle-commuting???

I would add (and near the top of the list) enforced speed limits of 25 mph on city streets.

Bicycling has bloomed in New Orleans since Katrina and our 25 mph speed limit (35 mph for divided streets) has been a major factor in making it happen safely :-)


What is need is not cheap bikes, but secure bicycle parking, bike paths, bike turn lights/bike boxes @ intersections, bike lanes, showers @ work, etc.

I agree.

Currently most of my local US/California/Los Angeles society is 99.9% car-centric: Car parking, car lanes, everything designed to give preferential treatment to cars.

I do see that some public transit is getting increasing accomodations: Light rail (Gold Line extention, for example [http://mta.net])

It is a nice dream that public opinion would sway to the point that measures would be put on ballots, and the majority vote for, starting to shift such that bicycling gets increasing accomodations.

What is really needed is to prohibit the automobile within urban areas. Yes, that cannot be done over night but make it a goal. There will be an excruciatingly slow increase in bike traffic just doing what you are talking about. Boulder, Colorado has most of these things and one can get to about anywhere with a bicycle path or lane but the vast majority of people still take their cars into the city. Bicycle use has increased but the increase in the number of commuters has overwhelmed that statistic.

I was commuting to work by bike 35 years ago. Nothing much has changed in all that time.

Make cities where the walker and the biker are king of the road and you will start to make some progress.

Electric cars are a diversion. One of the biggest problem is the auto itself, regardless of what is used to propel it.

Getting rid of your car is when you begin to get in shape despite yourself. Just walking to the bus stop for most people would be represent a massive increase in their amount of exercise. When I got rid of my car living in Frankfurt, Germany, my health increased dramatically within a month.

Getting rid of the car is at least a twofer. It would cut our carbon output and decrease our health care expenditures.

For those who need some kind of assist for medical reasons, an ebike might make sense.

But I digress. We have probably run out of time to avoid disastrous global warming.

Good post! See the thing is there are some big time silver bb's which do not require a lot of money. Esp. if we begin to see the car as the intruder and people as the main reason for needing thoroughfares. One other benefit is pedaling down a country lane at a good clip or slow talking with some folk I never would have met while stuck behind the wheel.

I'll tell you right now: as long as I can help it, I will never get rid of my car.

Peak oil, global warming or not. If more people ride bikes, buses and trains, that's less traffic and more oil for me!

I bring this up to show that it's not as straightforward as everybody might think.

Well yeah. There are a a whole bunch of folks who feel thataway. The vast majority I'd wager. But, but it's peak oil so..there really isn't anybody competing for peak bicycles. Starts first crank every time. (so far) :)

To the gulag !

subsidize bicycle sales and see health levels and economies rocket!

Agree with the first, but not with economies rocket.

Re Shale creates uncertainties

Statoil's prospects to sell liquefied natural gas have been hit by the growth of shale gas in the US, which is drastically cutting the country's reliance on gas imports.

In recent days LNG ships departing from Statoil's LNG terminal in Arctic Norway processing gas from the Snoehvit field have been sent to Great Britain and Spain, rather than the US.

Michelsen anticipated general demand for LNG to expand in Europe and fall in the U.S.

"LNG imports to Europe will increase perhaps because the US will take less," he said


During the report week, net Canadian imports were 10 percent higher than the same week in 2009, partly aided by flows from the new Canaport Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal in Nova Scotia. The pace of deliveries of U.S. LNG imports in recent weeks has also increased considerably in comparison with this time last year. Sendout from U.S. LNG import terminals has averaged 2.0 Bcf per day during the first 2 months of the year, compared with 1.1 Bcf per day during the same time period in 2009. A greater number of LNG cargoes are being directed to the United States following production increases in countries such as Russia and Qatar.

Projected 2010 US imports of LNG for the rest of the year may be double that of 2009. Yet we keep seeing stories about dwindling US imports of LNG. Have they all been asleep for the last few months?

And, of course, the reason cargoes are being diverted to Britain is because we are in dire need of it. On that subject though it's a nice spring like day here and UK gas demand is projected to be below normal for the time of the year. Haven't seen that for a long time. Flows on the Langeled pipeline are almost back to normal and Long Range Storage is currently NOT being drained. Fingers crossed it all stays that way this time!

In the above-mentioned quote, the EIA is wrong about the location of the Canaport LNG Terminal. It is located in Saint John, New Brunswick, not in Nova Scotia.

They are also wrong about US production figures by a few Billion cubic feet per day according to some (cherry picked samples scaled up supposedly) so what's the location of an LNG terminal between friends :-)

I note also that the EIA weekly storage report would be reporting that US storage was close to the lower limit of the 5 year range were it not for recent import increases.

However from your link it seems that Canaport have problems with unit conversion.

Canaport LNG has a maximum send-out capacity of 1.2 billion cubic feet (BCF) or 28 million cubic metres of natural gas per day.

Hmm, my Windows 7 "improved" calculator tells me that 28 mcm equals 0.9888106682016805 Bcf. It seems that Canada can magically get an extra 20 percent of gas just by converting to Imperial/English units!

Yes, it seems they have a slight problem with unit conversion. 1.2 BCF -> 33.98 million m³ (1.2 * 0.028316).

Just as well they are not involved in anything important where accuracy matters :-) Find it difficult to believe that no employee has ever noticed that glaring error on their front page before.

It seems that Canada can magically get an extra 20 percent of gas just by converting to Imperial/English units!

If you do the conversions and return to fundamental units you'll find out the root cause of this error -- the extra 4 oz in an Imperial pint.

Best Hopes for pints of stout served in the correct amount. (Those missing 4 oz can leave a body thirsty!)

-- Jon

Canaport LNG has a maximum send-out capacity of 1.2 billion cubic feet (BCF) or 28 million cubic metres of natural gas per day.

That's a very peculiar conversion error. The number of 28 million cubic metres is probably the original, since Canada is on the metric system. However, that is closer to 1 billion cubic feet than 1.2 billion cubic feet.

One thing I can think of is that, for some reason, they converted cubic metres of liquid LNG to gallons of liquid LNG, and got confused between American gallons and Canadian gallons. The Canadian gallon is 20% bigger than the American gallon so that could account for the discrepancy. Alternatively, they could have gotten confused between tonnes, short tons, and long tons of LNG.

Obviously they don't care about what the result is because otherwise someone would have noticed. It must have been some newbie in Canaport's PR department who did it. The younger generation of Canadians has no idea how the imperial system works, and most Americans are unaware that Canadian imperial units were different in size than American units.

Hi Claude,

It is located in Saint John, New Brunswick, not in Nova Scotia

Of course, prior to 1784, they would have been right. :-)


Of course, prior to 1784, they would have been right. :-)

Hi Paul,

As you are no doubt aware, prior to Canadian Confederation in 1867, there was a considerable "Irredentia" movement afoot in Nova Scotia to bring the lost chickens (New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island) back under the wings of the mother Province. Precedence had been set in the case of Cape Breton Island, its own province after the influx of many United Empire Loyalists in 1784, yet annexed in 1820.

In fact, the Dominion of Canada was a by-product of this reclamation effort. Maritime Union, a more palatable and political correct name for 'Nova Scotia Irrendentia', was being discussed by the local premiers in Charlottetown in 1863 when a Canadians delegation showed up and invited themselves to join the discussions. Why? They were at wits end as to how to break the political deadlock and stalemate racking the Province of Canada and to guard against Fenian incursions.

The rest, as they say, is history.

The original Nova Scotia Charter of 1623 granted the province all lands lying between New England and Newfoundland and included what is now the State of Maine and Quebec's Gaspe Peninsula. Likewise, it has been long understood that should anything happen to the American Union, most Nova Scotians would welcome the good folks of Maine home.

Kennebunkport, we luv ya!



Hi Tom,

Your knowledge of Canadian history is far more robust than mine. I need to refresh my memory on a lot of this; for example, I came across this account of the "Aroostook War" between Maine and New Brunswick, which I had completely forgotten (http://www.upperstjohn.com/history/northeastborder.htm).

Few outside Nova Scotia know this, but there's a secret movement to return the great state of Maine to its rightful owners. Nova Scotia Power has already purchased Bangor Hydro and is in the process of acquiring Maine Public Service.... ya better watch out, CMP, 'cause you're next.

Hang on Dick Stacy ! We're a'comm'n to rescue you! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COmDN6BVIQE)


Nova Scotia Power got Bangor Hydro, but alas, Hydro Quebec is on the verge of swallowing New Brunswick Power.

Power and Politics

There is an 'irredentia' undercurrent among Quebec nationalists and intellectuals that longs for a return of the boundaries of La Nouvelle-France including all of Labrador, l'Acadie (Acadia), Ille St. Jean (Prince Edward Island), and Ille Royale (Cape Breton Island).

Looks like power plays (political and electrical) are mimicking memes unspoken yet still extant.

One of the reasons why us Maritimers are rightfully wary about the prospects of a peaceful transition should Canada ever divide.

Then again, if we get Stacey, we'd have a PR weapon no one could resist!!

O how I miss those episodes of Country Jamboree. Sigh... :-)

Toronto firm behind big underwater power transmission project

Generating 20 per cent of America's electricity with wind, as recent studies proposed, would require building up to 22,000 miles of new high-voltage transmission lines. But the huge towers and unsightly tree-cutting that these projects require have provoked intense public opposition.

Recently, though, some companies are finding a remarkably simple answer to that political problem. They are putting power lines under water, in a string of projects that has so far provoked only token opposition from environmentalists and virtually no reaction from the larger public.

“The fish don't vote,” said Edward M. Stern, president of PowerBridge, a company that built a 65-mile offshore cable from New Jersey to Long Island and is working on two more.

See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-a...

And speaking of things underwater ....

Wave and Tidal Power Development Status

Proponents of wave and tidal power say these renewable energy technologies have great potential but still must prove themselves before they can be widely deployed.


Wave and tidal energy have two significant advantages over other renewable resources. First, ocean tides are predictable and regular. Second, wave energy could be more abundant than tidal energy, while being less intermittent than wind or solar power.

However, wave and tidal energy installations also face some disadvantages. Primary among these is that fact that conditions along coastlines or on the ocean surface can be hard on wave and tidal installations. Generation assets must be built with operational hazards – such as crashing waves and corrosive salt water – in mind.

See: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/03/wave-and-ti...


Hi Paul.

I'm a bit skeptical about this project. As I wrote in the G & M comment section this morning, building a 2,000 MW line from NYC up to the 45th parallel is one thing, but the line is useless if it is not connected to the Quebec grid! The closest 735 kV substations are located at Des Cantons, west of Sherbrooke, or in Saint-Césaire, near Montreal. Estimates for the Quebec part of the line range between 400 and $500 million, according to this news report from two weeks ago.

Even if Hydro-Québec (HQ) goes ahead with the plan, I expect they wouldn't be over-zealous in pushing for it, especially since the power to be transmitted would come from Nalcor, Newfoundland's utility. In the late 1990s, HQ tried to reinforce its transmission grid after the 1998 ice storm by building a 735 kV link in this area, between Des Cantons and Hertel substations. The National Assembly even passed an Act to suspend the normal environmental impact process and HQ got into a messy legal fight with the local residents, who wanted to preserve green zone (agricultural) lands and protect the tourism industry. The act was declared ultra vires and the whole process took over 5 years to complete. It was messy. More recently, the same thing happened with Ultramar's (part of Valero) gasoline pipeline between Lévis and Montreal. It's getting tougher to build energy infrastructure in southern Quebec.

On top of that, TDI's project faces a lot of political hurdles:
1) the project is geared towards bringing Lower Churchill power to New York City, bringing no benefit to Quebec customers
2) Quebec ratepayers would end up with a $500 million bill -- and probably more, since serial compensation would be required at various substations across the southern part of the Quebec grid to maintain reliability
3) the strident anti-Quebec ramblings of Newfoundland premier Danny Williams (Williams is even more unpopular in Quebec than climate-denier Stephen Harper)
4) HQ already has its own merchant lines project for a 1,200 MW HVDC line from Des Cantons to New Hampshire in partnership with NStar and Northeast Utilities, which makes them less likely to spend a lot of goodwill to build the TDI-Nalcor line.

Personally, I wouldn't be surprised at all if a group of citizens decided to fight the Quebec part of the power line for no other reason than to piss off Mr. Williams.

Hi Claude,

I was asking myself this question when I read the article and came to the same conclusion. This power is unlikely to originate in Ontario which will be in deep do-do as its nuclear fleet limps into retirement, so that leaves just Hydro-Québec or, more correctly, as you point out, Nalcor. That's a huge leap of faith !

It would be unwise for the United States to count on increased power exports from Canada, for many of the reasons you touched upon. Messy indeed !


Monthly crude oil report with EIA data:

Back to the 2004 future, but with double the oil price

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending March 12, 2010

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 13.9 million barrels per day during the week ending March 12, 15 thousand barrels per day above the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 80.6 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging 9.0 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 3.8 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.4 million barrels per day last week, down 64 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 8.8 million barrels per day, 401 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 608 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 163 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 1.0 million barrels from the previous week. At 344.0 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.7 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories increased while blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 1.5 million barrels, and are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 0.2 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 2.5 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

It was pretty much what was expected.

Earlier in the morning, The Department of Labor's Producer Price Index (PPI), a measure of wholesale inflation, fell more than expected in February, and core PPI, which excludes fuel prices, came in on par with analyst estimates.

This data supported the notion that inflation is under control for now. On Tuesday, the Fed kept a benchmark interest rate unchanged, near zero, also citing low inflationary pressures.

"The Fed can keep printing money like it's going out of style," said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst for PFG Best.

Overall oil demand was indicated to be up 3.5%, which is explained by the reflexive bounce back talked about by memmel, and/or what I said about the US economy overly-liquidating inventories of all kinds in the first half of 2009. For example, gasoline demand is up 1.3% over last year - despite higher unemployment year over year.

However the most striking part of the report is the fall in imports. While the 400,000 bpd in crude imports doesn't sound too great, keep in mind there is also concurrently a 300,000 bpd drop in product imports - or total import drop of 700,000 bpd. Since demand is up 600,000 bpd, all of a sudden the oil supply/demand sitaution is 1.3 million bpd worst than last year.

This is a huge swing, and as I have mentioned before, it will eventually result in US oil and product inventories falling to minimum operating levels - possibly as early as the summer driving season. No wonder OPEC doesn't seem very concerned about cheating, Iraq having no quota, and Russia pumped up to near maximum output.

Also please note that, for various reasons, the oil supply increase mentioned in the above post has been mostly concentrated these last three weeks in the West Coast area - geographically isolated from the rest of the US oil and product distribution system.

Spring is arriving with record flooding and drought. We're 4 to 6 weeks ahead of spring work schedule, warm and dry, while a third of the nation looks to record flooding.

"One-third of the U.S. faces the possibility of “historic flooding” in coming weeks, especially the upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa, government forecasters said...

Climate change is also being blamed for a long-term trend toward severe flooding, according to an Interagency Climate Change Task Force report issued today."


Fiji has yet to assess all the damage from an "overwhelming" typhoon over last weekend. It brought a 23 foot surge to islands not much higher. As a one time visitor there, I am saddened for the lost island villages. A sharpened piece of old rhe-bar and a rubber band were all the technology they needed for dinner. Another cat 5 streams to Australia, tho it is expected to weaken before landfall, you have to wonder about whether another might head for the Persian Gulf as last year.


Ah, but it is just weather, halfway around the world, no need to get up.

Looking ahead what might be expected in the Caribbean, "Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) in the Atlantic's Main Development Region for hurricanes were at their highest February level on record" http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1444

So what, you reply. We didn't even have an accurate thermometer till the digital age, and besides, El Nino will blow em apart before they hit land.

According to the latest polling data I've read, "environmental" concerns have dropped off the US radar. Climate change is yesterday's issue, the only one marking concern is water pollution. What else can you say. On one end, no one can sell anything, the other, no one can find work. Those in the middle keep their nose to the grindstone, fearing the pink slip.

From today's stories posted above: "Orange officials sue couple who removed their lawn"

In one of the most consistently Republican counties in the States, we see can see the true nature of Republican 'conservatism': conformism to the point of idiocy.

Southern California was in a drought. I don't know, we may still be in a drought.

Some cities took draconian measures before this years El Nino to force people to conserve water.

In Azusa California, people are or were only allowed to water their lawns on certain days of the week.

and some stupid Orange county city, REAGAN COUNTRY in California, wants to force these people into court to fine them and possibly force him to serve jail time for removing his lawn and replacing it with wood chips...???

But, I don't think our drought was officially lifted yet...

Was watching one of those home-buying shows, and was entertained to see the young couple ready to move-up to a $500K house, and a couple of the options had dead-brown lawns. Funny to pay $500k for your little slice of the American Dream and get a dead yard as part of the bargain. Hmmm...maybe having a big yard in a desert isn't a great idea?

Depends whether the County thinks that dead grass is preferable to woodchip and low-water plants and ground-cover. And fake plastic grass always looks good ... from a distance, and if you squint a lot.

Meanwhile, we (in Australia's cities and towns) have had such 'draconian' water restrictions in place a long time - and in fact they are essentially permanent. I haven't watered the lawn for years, and no-one else has either - and they remain acceptably green most of the time, except during the height of summer. Watering them would now be seen as profligate waste.

Perhaps the couple being sued should have simply stopped watering the lawn ... and seen how the neighbours (and County) worried about their 'values' then. Perhaps a trip to the real world rather than Disneyland might help them as well.

This story is much, much more important than we realize. This enterprising couple, concerned about the future of their newborn, found out a way to reduce their water usage while keeping their yard decent looking - leading to reduced costs and likely increased availability for the city as a whole. And all of this, in Southern California. Of course, I couldn't help but to notice their huge ass SUV parked in the driveway. Nevertheless.

And how were they rewarded? By being charged with violating a statute that makes absolutely no sense in the world in which we are rapidly headed.
And do you think the city officials are going to reconsider the law? Not a chance.

God help us all.

The law says the lawn must be covered with "living plants." So they could plant a vegetable garden. It would probably tick off the neighbors just as much, but it would be within the law.

It does seem like a really dumb law, though. In Phoenix, many houses have "climate appropriate" landscaping. Gravel, paving stones, cactus and other desert plants. No grass. It looks very nice, and I imagine it's low-maintenance, too.

I'd plant my entire lawn with skunk cabbage or stinkweed (not even sure if either of these smell all that bad but they sound like they should)- I'd plant such a lovely lawn to look at and hope the downwind neighbors enjoyed the view of my "living plants" as well...

Probably dandelion, sandburr, nut grass, and crabgrass would get the message across just fine too.

yes ! - good thinking... anything that might spread billions of annoying seeds - just to "spread the wealth"

Of course then these yo-yos would be out pouring bags of weedkiller on their formerly golf course quality lawn trying to restore it to its former "glory"... and they'd probaby contaminate the groundwater in the process...

Wouldn't work.
The city would change the law...,


I would go Kudzu.

Orange county California is the product of "white flight," and this dude's surname sounds ethnic.

but, Im sure it's just a coincidence....

In Phoenix, many houses have "climate appropriate" landscaping. Gravel, paving stones, cactus and other desert plants. No grass. It looks very nice, and I imagine it's low-maintenance, too.

I did that with a chunk of the back lawn. Unfortunately most of the stuff sold as "cactus" is of tropical origin, and was totally killed by a couple of 30F mornings. Two of them are now tomatoe plants, and I'm waiting to see if the others make it or die.

I have never been to California but for those of us with enough rainfall to support a lawn may find the clippings a perfect compliment to mix with the saved bags of leaves from the previous fall. The equal, by weight, combination of the two makes wonderful compost.
Unfortunately the lawn in my front yard collects cigarette butts from passersby so I leave those clippings there.
Tobacco Mosaic Virus in my tomatoes and potatoes is just too awful to contemplate to justify the risk.
Plus by keeping up "appearances", I think, is important these days to avoid the exact type of attention those poor folks are encountering.


your comments and many others are being deleted shortly after you post them. This comment will go as well I am sure but you might see it first before it vanishes. I assume they are being deleted intentionally.

Re: China in "great leap forward" for gas


And they plan to get to 300 bcm/year by 2020. Good luck to them with that. Or perhaps bad luck for everyone else...

...any ideas where they might get this gas from -offshore perhaps? Or do they have vast untapped shale reserves like the US? Or perhaps imports -LPG?


A pipe to Siberia or the Caspian would be obvious. Politics though, I suppose.

The Turkmenistan-China pipeline began operation this past December. There are stubs into Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Should reach capacity of 30 bcm/year by October. The pipline connects to the West-East pipeline in China, which can't handle that much gas at present. A second West-East pipeline capable of moving 30 bcm is already under construction, scheduled for completion in 2011. There are long-term plans to expand the capacity of all of these.

The China natural gas article caught my eye this morning: China in "great leap forward" for gas. That article mentions a tripling of demand in the next 10 years.

State energy giant CNPC earlier this year revised up its China gas demand forecast in 2020 by half to 300 billion cubic meters (bcm), equivalent to three quarters of the amount of oil it now consumes.

China undoubtedly has a large indigenous endowment of natural gas and they are developing it quite rapidly. But they are also planning on importing more and more. To provide some perspective on the rapid development and total quantity of gas we're talking about, let's review the historical data with a couple of charts from the Energy Export Databrowser:

On the left we see the picture of massive growth, the "great leap forward" in the title of the article. On the right we see the same growth curve but get some perspective by putting it on the same scale as US consumption. With four times our population I have no doubt that the Chinese will soon reach the levels of consumption anticipated by CNPC which would still be less than half of what the US consumes.

The real question for me is "How much of that demand will China meet with imports?" From the article:

The start of long-term gas deliveries from Qatar, Indonesia and Malaysia will double imports of liquefied natural gas by 2011. These will surge even further in coming years, after firms like Qatargas, Shell, BP and Exxon Mobil sealed supply pacts with Chinese firms worth over $100 billion.

Piped gas from Turkmenistan and Myanmar will together amount to 20 percent of China's demand, or 40 bcm, by 2015.

I have posted twice previously on the problems with developing nations signing 30-year contracts to deliver natural gas to China:

I think this topic -- China's 30-year contracts with developing nations for future delivery of natural gas -- is worthy of some serious investigation. As oil becomes expensive, the rush toward natural gas will only intensify and these 30-year contracts will be seen as oppressive by nations struggling with their own energy issues. They will also be seen as threatening by other developed nations needing to import LNG.

UK, Are you listening?

Happy Exploring!

-- Jon

UK, Are you listening?

Nope. Of course we ain't listening! We haven't bothered having an energy policy for the last twenty years which made sense, what makes you think we will start now!! ;)

..we are in the brown-stuff up to our necks. But hey-ho! Didn't really like being warm this winter anyway..

Coming up shortly (live video at link)

Bernanke to Testify on Fed Bank Supervision Powers


Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will testify alongside former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker at a House Financial Services Committee today on the Fed's role in bank supervision. Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) will hold a hearing that is set to examine the "link between Fed Bank supervision and monetary policy."

WTI just went over $83. Now pulled back just a bit to $82.82

If it holds above $82.50 (apparently that's a resistance level) we could see a further substantial increase. See link uptop Crude Oil Is Poised to Test $90 a Barrel: Technical Analysis. I note the Bloomberg article says $82 is the resistance level but the talking heads on Bloomberg tv said $82.50 earlier.

I've never accepted that there is any point in technical analysis in the oil market. Too many big players with vested interests. That said, I ain't got much good to say about technical analysis full stop. Load of mumbo-jumbo if you ask me.

Technical analysis for predicting price moves in oil markets is unconvincing to me. In fact, a lot of what passes for fundamental analysis is questionable, too. Especially regarding oil stock levels. What has been working for me in terms of my own luck regarding investments in NYMEX is simply to pay attention to the big picture analysis of overall global oil production.
Another thing I've watched is the arbitrage spread between NYMEX and Brent. For more than a year now I've been hearing over and over that oil demand is weak here in the U.S. But I don't think that's the most important thing. I think what really matters is whether or not demand is strong enough to keep sucking up what production has been available since OPEC cut production last year. Apparently it has been strong enough because NYMEX has been continuously priced higher than Brent for almost the entire previous year. This indicates to me that there has been steady incentive to ship Brent to North American markets.

My own analysis is that oil prices will trade within a channel between around $75/brl and $85/brl with a high likelihood of short term moves to the upside over the remainder of the year. I think that prices will have to move into the vicinity of around $85-$90;brl and stay there before we see a renewed recession risk because the most vulnerable parts of the economy to high oil prices are already dead.

That's an interesting point. The figure used around here in the last couple years, as I recall, was about $80 to trigger another dip in the recession.

Well, here we are near $83. Should we expect a new crash soon?

Or, as you say, should we expect the recession-triggering price to keep sliding northward as the most oil-dependent parts go the way of the dodo?

I think many were surprised at the power of "demand destruction" (meaning no one has any money to buy anything at about any price) when it finally kicked in. Now perhaps we will be surprised again at how high the price can go in the wake of some of that destruction?

Demand destruction could just as well be people cutting out unnecessary conspicuous consumption to save a bit of $$$$. Only 42% of driving is commuting and shopping, after all. vmt_by_purpose.png (PNG Image, 616x420 pixels)

Yup! $50 - $60 - $70 oil, all had their list of casualties. $80 is killing off its share, they just haven't been tallied yet, lost in the tsunami of 'background' business failures.

I suspect one casualty of $80 oil will be the oil refining business ... which may be keeping a lid on prices. So far, the $84 price level seems to be the ceiling or upper bound. Let's see if oil can jump above that!

I personally don't think it will do it. The world is a lot poorer now than it was a couple of years ago.

Re: The Case Against Biofuels: Probing Ethanol’s Hidden Costs, up top.

Leanan's bear-baiting me again. So Mr. Runge, Professor of Applied Economics and Law at the University of Minnesota has listed every possible negative he can dream up about ethanol.

I graduated from the University of Minnesota so I know that it is a pretty mediocre place and it is not home to the best and the brightest in either professors or students.

The Professor is talking about stuff he has clearly not well thought out. And he chooses to take the side of the argument that is not in Minnesota's interest. I would expect this from California universities but California has no monopoly on stupidity. Needless to say Prof. Runge is not very popular in rural Minnesota which pays some of his salary.

Minnesota is as prosperous as it is partly because of strong support for ethanol and the rural economy. Minnesota is one of the few states with mandatory ethanol blends for gasoline. Iowa rejected it again last month. Iowa too is relatively more prosperous than the rest of the country currently due partly to ethanol. The unemployment rate is about 6%, better than Minnesota's. But Iowans aren't much smarter than Minnesotans when it comes to acting in their own self interest. For that we have to give Texans the prize.

Professor Runge writes as though there is no hidden cost case against crude oil, which of coarse there is. For every item he cites such as subsidies, environment and such the case against oil is even stronger, yet he ignores it.

I have refuted most of the items he lists many times. Calling corn food for example. Blaming corn for nearly every ill that befalls the poor of the world is silly. If the poor had money to buy food, they would not buy corn, but wheat or rice.

I'm tempted to refute everyone of his supposedly hidden costs for ethanol with another list of hidden costs for oil and there are more than for ethanol.

How about hidden costs like Wars for Oil Security for example? How about 4300 American dead and thousands injured? How about the collapse of the economy in 2008 when oil went to $148? How about the Strategic Petroleum Reserve which ties up up about $56 Billion of taxpayer money all year, year after year? How about the Oil Depletion Allowance which shelters oil income from taxation? How about the other drilling incentives which Obama has proposed abolishing and that would bring in $36 Billion over the next 10 years? How about a stagnating economy with huge deficits largely due to paying for imports of crude oil?

The list goes on and on. Professor Runge is a dufus and the above average people of Minnesota know it including those in Lake Woebegone.

He condemns the power of the corn lobby. The corn lobby represents states that grow corn and stand to benefit from ethanol use. There are a lot of them, so I would hope they are powerful.

How about the oil lobby? Who do they represent? Texas, Alaska, California and a few other states. But with declining American oil production they mostly represent oil exporting countries both OPEC and Non OPEC.

It is the power of the Corn Lobby that saves us from the Oil Lobby and economist/lawyers like Professor Runge.

"eyes roll"

careful, the Corn has ears!

Link up top: Iraq Will Increase Oil Reserves, Al-Shahristani Says

They will have a meeting and decide what their proven reserves will be. That is how all OPEC nations do it. I am not surprised that they do it this way because this is how they have been doing it for about a quarter of a century. What really shocks me however is that all the agencies that track proven reserves take these numbes as the gospel truth. Then the mainstream media picks up these number and tell us such things as: Saudi Arabia holds one quarter of the world's proven reserves. Or: Three fourths of the world's proven reserves are controlled by Middle Eastern Nations that really don't like us.

While it is true that they don't like us very much but they have no more reserves than their production would indicate. That is, the more oil a nation has to produce then the more oil that nation does produce. That is just common sense.

The world, in the nest two to four years, will be informed that those great OPEC reserves are a myth. That will be the shock felt around the world. Non-OPEC nations have slightly less than 300 billion barrels of reserves. Opec nations have slightly less reserves than non-OPEC nations.

Ron P.

Opec nations have slightly less reserves than non-OPEC nations.

Oil reserves???

North Ameica-210Gb
South America 112 Gb minus Venezuela OPEC 88Gb
Europe 15 Gb
China 18 Gb
FSU(Russia, Kazakh.etc.) 128 Gb
Non-OPEC Total= 414 Gb

Middle East 775 Gb(almost all OPEC)
Africa 117 Gb (Nigeria, Algeria,Libya, Angola?-OPEC=98 Gb
plus Chavez
OPEC Total=961 Gb


Non-OPEC Total= 414 Gb

Middle East 775 Gb(almost all OPEC)

Could it be true, with OPEC producing only 42% of the oil ?

Of course oil reseerves. That was the subject of the link up top and the subject of my post.

Middle East 775 Gb(almost all OPEC)
Africa 117 Gb (Nigeria, Algeria,Libya, Angola?-OPEC=98 Gb
plus Chavez
OPEC Total=961 Gb

Majorian, tha's my flipping point. Just as Iraq is now holding a meeting to decide what their proven reserves will be, OPEC held meetings, mostly in the mid to late 80s, and decided what their proven reserves would be. They then published those figures and now the entire world believes them. Apparently you do also else why did you tell me what those figures were. I have been following published oil reserves for ten years and know very what they are.

I, and several other people on this list, have been trying for years to tell people that those published proven reserves are pure fiction. And still...

But as far as non-OPEC reserves are concerned, OPEC says they are 267,702 million barrels.

What are OPEC's proven oil reserves? At the end of 2008, OPEC had proven oil reserves of 1027383 million barrels of crude oil, representing 79.3 per cent of the world total of 1295085 million ...

The site is down right now but if you do a google search on [ OPEC Proven Reserves ] the above blockquote will be at the top of the list.

Anyway if you subtract OPEC reserves from their world total yu get 267,702.

Yes, if you count Canadian tar sands as proven reserves, your figure is probably correct. That adds about 150 billion barrels to the total. But the flow from those sands will never be more than three or four million barrels per day. They now produce about 1.2 mb/d and hope to get to 4.1 mb/d by 2020 but I seriously doubt that will happen.

So not counting the tar sands non-OPEC has slightly less than 300 billion barrels of oil reserves and OPEC has slightly less than that that, regardless of what they number they decided on at their meetings.

Ron P.

My figures are from the EIA based on World Oil, BP, etc., which I guess are better than OPEC. Frankly, I believe they at least agree pretty much
Notice the EIA estimates doesn't seem credit the Orinoco deposit
as reserves, though USGS goes.

My total shows that OPEC has twice the reserves of non-OPEC. I happen to believe the proposition that the Persian Gulf is the greatest oil bearing geologic strata in the world, unfortunately. Why am I wrong in thinking so?
Colin Campbell in a 2006 article is cited as saying that the Middle East has 51.8% of the reserves(378Gb for the Big Five), but of course adding in Algeria, Libya, Venezuela and Nigeria you would be well above 51.8%.


Darwinian, you seem to believe that OPECs reserves are less than non-OPEC. Can you put a number on it?
Maybe 413 Gb?
I see here on TOD a lot of people decrying bogus ME estimates but I'd like to see some back up.

Also to be fair do you think tar sand reserves are really the same as Saudi oil reserves?

It's a different animal.

Majorian, I have the greatest respect for Dr. Colin Campbell. After all, as I say below, he also believes that those vast OPEC reserves are a myth. He has Saudi Reserves over 100 billion barrels below what Saudi claims. But even those estimates are too high. He has Kuwait reserves at half what Kuwait claims but one of the most valued authorities in the oil patch, the Petroleum Intelligence Weekly, puts Kuwait reserves at only 48 billion barrels, 6 billion barrels less than Dr. Campbell.

Sheikh Ali also confirmed to Al-Wasat newspaper that the state's proven oil reserves have fallen to 48 billion barrels, as reported last year by Petroleum Intelligence Weekly, down from an announced 100 billion barrels. However, he said Kuwait has additional probable reserves of around 150 billion barrels, especially after recent discoveries.
Kuwait Times: Kuwait plans big shake-up in oil sector

But here is the kicker. Only half of those reserves are proven. Kuwait proven reserves are only 24 billion barrels, less than one quarter of what they claim.

Petroleum Intelligence Weekly reported that official confidential Kuwaiti documents estimate reserves of Kuwait were only 48 billion barrels (7.6×10^9 m3), of which half were proven and half were possible.
Wikipedia: Oil Reserves

Hey, Kuwait is quadrupling its Proven Reserves! I have big news for you Morjorian, all those other OPEC Middle Eastern Nations are doing the same thing. But only the OPEC Middle Eastern Nations, all other Middle Eastern Nations, Oman, Syria and Yemen do a far more accurate estimation of their proven reserves. Which begs the question, if OPEC Middle Eastern reserves are so damn high, why not other Middle Eastern Nations???

Ron P.

Calm down and least try to make a logical case, Darwinian.

For example, Norway has reserves of about 30Gb and Bakhtiari gives Iran around 35 Gb in reserves. In 2007 Iran produced 4 mbpd and Norway produced 3.2 mbpd.
Similar, right? Except Iranian oil production is creeping up year-to-year and Norway's is falling.

The obvious conclusion is that according to Peak Oil theory a country which is running out of oil reserves should produce less oil over time.

All these MENA countries were increasing production, at least according to the EIA prior to the 2008 crash. This is not the story in non-OPEC countries, which we all know are declining at a pretty high rate(5%?).


Therefore if Peak Oil theory is true, MENA/OPEC countries have more conventional oil reserves than the ROW.

Besides, the USGS thinks so too. They say the Eastern Hemisphere has 85% of the light crude in the world--and they're not talking about the FSU.

For example, Norway has reserves of about 30Gb and Bakhtiari gives Iran around 35 Gb in reserves. Similar, right? Except Iranian oil production is creeping up year-to-year and Norway's is falling.

Good Gravy! Not similar at all. BP gives Norway 8.172 billion barrels of reserves, Oil & Gas Journal gives them 6.68 billion barrels and World Oil gives them 6.693 billion barrels. These same firms give Iran 138.4, 136.15, and 137 billion barrels respectively. So they are not remotely similar. EIA: World Proved Reserves of Oil

The obvious conclusion is that according to Peak Oil theory a country which is running out of oil reserves should produce less oil over time.

In most cases that is exactly what is happening. Norway, GB, Mexico, USA, and many other countries are declining.

Six OPEC countries and the year they peaked and amount in thousands of barrels per day.

Country   Yr.   At Peak   2009 production
Libya	  1970    3,318   1,650
Venezula  1970    3,708	  2,239
Kuwait	  1972    3,283	  2,350
Iran	  1974    6,022	  4,037
Iraq	  1979    3,477	  2,391
Saudi	  1980    9,900	  8,250
All these MENA countries were increasing production, at least according to the EIA prior to the 2008 crash. This is not the story in non-OPEC countries, which we all know are declining at a pretty high rate(5%?).

No they were not. Anyway any country can increase for a short period of time even though it is well past peak. The US increased for a short period of time when Alaska came on line and is increasing now due to a lot of new projects in the Gulf of Mexico. The USA will never get even remotely close to its peak of 1970 however.

And non-OPEC countries are not declining at 5% per year. Non-OPEC peaked in 2004 at 42.068 mb/d. In 2009 the figure was 41.615 bp/d. That is a drop of one percent over five years or a rate, so far, at .2 percent per year. Really, I don't think you follow world oil production at all or you would know better than that.

Therefore if Peak Oil theory is true, MENA/OPEC countries have more conventional oil reserves than the ROW.

That is a non sequitur. OPEC may have more reserves but if so, only slightly so. But there is nothing in any production growth charts that makes that inferance.

Besides, the USGS thinks so too. They say the Eastern Hemisphere has 85% of the light crude in the world--and they're not talking about the FSU.

The USGS has never surveyed the Middle East. They produce the exact same numbers as those countries claim to have. They simply take their word for it. That is what this debate is all about!

Ron P.

BP gives Norway 8.172 billion barrels of reserves, Oil & Gas Journal gives them 6.68 billion barrels and World Oil gives them 6.693 billion barrels. These same firms give Iran 138.4, 136.15, and 137 billion barrels respectively.

And to clarify why Iran's production is not much higher than Norway's:

Iranian production peaked at 6 mbd in 1974, but it has been unable to produce at that rate since the 1979 Iranian Revolution due to a combination of political unrest, war with Iraq, limited investment, US sanctions, and a high rate of natural decline. Iran's mature oil fields are in need of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques such as gas injection to maintain production, which is declining at an annual rate of approximately 8% onshore and 10% offshore. With current technology it is only possible to extract 20% to 25% of the oil in place from Iran’s fractured carbonate reservoirs, 10% less than the world average. It is estimated that 400,000-700,000 bbl/d of crude production is lost annually due to declines in the mature oil fields.

Norway, producing about 3 mbd, seems to have a higher reserve than 6-8 Gb.

Since 1985, the Persian Gulf/ArabOPEC has increased production faster than the Rest of the World.
If you look at the time since 1970, PG have been growing at a slower rate than ROW.

According to PO theory the faster your production rises
the further you are from Peak.

The 1975-1985 period screwed up the PO rule for the Persian Gulf and the FSU 1990-1995 period screwed it up a bit for the ROW.

The r2 statistic for PG production 1970 to 2009
is .2 versus .9 for ROW. If I run the PG statistic for 1985 forward the r2 increases to .92 and the r2 for ROW reduces to .81.

But again comparing PG growth rate versus ROW growth rate
from 1985 to 2009 shows that PG has grown faster by 30% than ROW.

Based on the slopes from 1985 it looks like the PG will Peak after ROW(which is what experts like Campbell say).

The PG from 1970 to present produced 270 Gb of oil so the remaining probably needs to be much more than 270 Gb.

OTOH, the ROW looks very flat in the last 10 years, probably at Peak and since 1970 ROW has produced 600 Gb.
If we are at ROW peak there is not much more than 600 GB and the experts estimate less.


OPEC minimum of 270 Gb PG + 200 Gb Venezuela, Libya, Nigeria, Angola, Algeria =470 Gb(Non-PG OPEC which has rising production)
versus ~414 Gb ROW per BP Global.

Majorian when you stated that Norway had reserves of 30 GB and Iran had reserves of 35 and stated that non-OPEC production was declining by 5% per year, I knew you knew absolutely nothing about world oil reserves or world production. Now I am sure of it.

The 1975-1985 period screwed up the PO rule for the Persian Gulf and the FSU 1990-1995 period screwed it up a bit for the ROW.

First of all, there is no such thing as a Peak Oil Rule. Second Middle East production dropped almost 50 percent from 1980 to 1985 due to the Iranian-Iraqi war and the Tanker Wars that resulted from that war. In other words the drop, and subquent rise was all political and had nothing to do with geology or depletion.

The same is true for the FSU. The Soviet Union collapsed causing their oil production to collapse. Then as Russia recovered from that collapse their oil production recovered also. Just like the collapse and recovery of Middle East production in the 80s the FSU collapse and recovery in the 90 had absolutely nothing to do with geology or peak oil, it was all politics.

Gad! You should learn just a tiny bit about reserves and the history of world production before you go spouting off about some non-existant Peak Oil Rule.

Ron P.

Ron P,

You stated that OPEC was running out of oil reserves and I challenged you with references and on a theoretical basis.
I used Norway for North Sea 28 URR in my example to illustrate the point and you caught me on that and I used Bakhtiari's 35 Gb for Iran to make the point that since Iran is increasing production it is logical that they are not past Peak.

All you've proven is that you don't know how to make your argument and are responding with a big fat ad hom.
(I get that a lot here, what with the nukers and the ethanaughts).

I was hoping you were up to job of proving or at least showing some basis of your claim that PG reserves were less than 50% of the stated amounts.

But exploring the subject threatens your fixed idea that the OPEC Arabs must be the greatest liars in history(bigger than Texas liars?) and will soon be sucked dry.
This seems improbable given that their fields are the largest in the world. The US is still producing a phenomenal amount of oil 40 years after Peak.

Colin Campbell in his newsletter has the Middle East Peaking in 2020 in regular oil production withe the Middle East portion of regular oil production growing
to 47% in 2030. The ROW peaked in 2005.


But rather than to debate this, you score points by calling names. It does you no credit.

You stated that OPEC was running out of oil reserves and I challenged you with references and on a theoretical basis.

Apparently you never read what I write you make up something and then say that I stated it. I never stated that OPEC was running out of reserves. I wrote that in my opinion non-OPEC had 300 billion barrels of reserves and OPEC had slightly less. I never stated that they were running out.

I used Norway for North Sea 28 URR in my example to illustrate the point and you caught me on that and I used Bakhtiari's 35 Gb for Iran to make the point that since Iran is increasing production it is logical that they are not past Peak.

According to the EIA (my link above) all Europe has only 15 billion barrels of reserves and the North Sea does not have 30 billion barrels of ultimate recoverable reserves. Good God man, do you know when to stop? And you know the subject was OPEC inflated reserves! Bakhtiari's whole point was that the claim of 136 GB of reserves was inflated. And Iran only hopes to increase reserves. They have been on a six year plateau after slightly increasing production earlier. They are far far from their peak of over 6GB hit back in 1974.

I was hoping you were up to job of proving or at least showing some basis of your claim that PG reserves were less than 50% of the stated amounts.

I did prove, beyone a resonable doubt, that their reserves are inflated. There is no way to prove what they actually are. But unlike you I did not have to make up a lot of untruths to do it. Read this TOD special thread on Saudi Arabia's so called proved reserves. What is true for Saudi Arabia is true for all other OPEC Middle East Nations.

Saudi Arabia's Crude Oil Reserves Propaganda

Or Gail's thread:
The Disconnect Between Oil Reserves and Production

And there are several other special threads on The Oil Drum making the same case. Just about everyone has made the same point I made over and over again. I stated nothing that just about every reputable person who posts on TOD agrees with. John Michael Greer, on this very thread, stated he also agreed. Anyone who had deeply studied OPEC claims of reserves knows this, I stated nothing new.

I don't really like the tone of your comments. You cannot discuss things on a rational level like everyone else that responded to my post, and everyone that responded to ACE's and Gail's special threads in the above links. There is no reason to get nasty and there is certainly no need to make up a lot of untruths when attempting to make your case.

Ron P.

But exploring the subject threatens your fixed idea that the OPEC Arabs must be the greatest liars in history(bigger than Texas liars?) and will soon be sucked dry.

Arabs are known for their exaggeration, so they say. Don't call them liars. I think on TOD few would disagree about their inflated reserves.

The US is still producing a phenomenal amount of oil 40 years after Peak.

The reason for that is explained many times here, especially by Rockman. Without that maybe they would produce about 3 mbd. Still a lot.

I made a table of BP reserves revisions >10%, interesting things showed up. There are 175 instances; many nations are repeat offenders, some of whom are probably rank pretty high on the world corruption index. Very fond of Great Leaps Forward: Vietnam, Thailand, Angola. Many are small fry in the greater scheme of things; a chart of overall world revisions shows the OPEC bump pretty plainly; incidentally downward revisions later bring the world total back to the previous trend that showed in the early 80s.

Iraq's biggest revision? 45.76% - in 1982. Something called "Other Europe & Eurasia" went from 68.0 bbo to 2.1 bbo in 1998, a 96.84%
drop - this has to be a revision of BP's regional definitions somehow, haven't looked at this in depth yet. It really screws up attempting to make graphs.

EDIT: That weird drop seems to be the result of various components of the FSU having series that begin in 1999. USSR was only listed under "Other Europe & Eurasia," in other words.

Happiest revisers: averages, usually 1981-2008 but sometimes series begin later, eg FSU members as I mentioned above.

Russian Federation	3.34%
Canada			3.57%
Malaysia		3.59%
Kazakhstan		3.74%
Ecuador			3.82%
Iraq			4.01%
Gabon			4.98%
Venezuela		5.00%
Qatar			5.01%
Yemen			5.42%
Sudan			6.58%
Thailand		6.62%
Angola			7.01%
Brazil			7.42%
Azerbaijan		8.32%
Equatorial Guinea	8.33%
Vietnam	                18.52%

Wonder what the deal is with Vietnam.

Trust me,
Darwinian needs to take a deep breath.

Leduck, that is not the type of post you should post on Drumbeats. If you have a problem with my post then please post it in the form of constructive criticism, not snarling cynicism. Such comments say something very profound about you Leduck, whether you realize it or not... and you probably do not.

Anyway as I said, I and many others on this list, some of them TOD editors, have been trying for years to hammer home the point that those vast OPEC reserves are pure fiction. Now if you do not think so, then please post your reasons for that doubt, along with your estimate of what OPEC reserves really are.

Others who believe that those vast OPEC reserves are a myth are Matthew Simmons, Colin Campbell, Jean Laherrère, Ken Deffeyes and dozens of others who have written books and essays on peak oil. Should they take a deep breath also. Do you have knowledge that these geologist and researchers on peak oil do not have?

Ron P.

Hot under the collar....???

It was just a joke.

I remember you from the discussion about neo-malthusian, over population thing.

I do not disagree in any way that there is something fishing going on with OPEC reserve numbers.

I don't have to look up any numbers to know that.

All I need to know is that they once their reserves had a certain value..., I'll call X.

Then one day all these OPEC countries (some not all in the same year) increased thier reserves to a new number..., I'll call Y.
and despite the fact that they keep producing oil every single year, Y never goes down. Even after decades of pumping oil..., still, Y stays the same.

Clear indication something is wrong.

I understood your point.

I based that comment on an earlier thread. It was an inside joke for me. Lighten up.


It was just a joke.

I do not disagree in any way that there is something fishing going on with OPEC reserve numbers.

That is what I understood from: "take a deep breath". The more I realise what the consequences are from the cheating that is coming from OPEC (and others), the more times I need a deep breath, preventing stress building up too much.

Ron, I don't claim membership in the same class as the peak oil writers you've named -- these were the guys from whom I originally learned most of what I know about the subject, for heaven's sake -- but you can add me to the list of peak oil writers who recognize the hallucinatory nature of OPEC "proven reserves" claims. I wish I could write science fiction half as imaginative as a Saudi press release!

Thanks John, coming from you that means a lot.

Ron P.

Finally someone starting to question peak demand.


Obviously if the supply is not there this demand will not be met but I'd argue the intrinsics of demand are correct in this report. Intrinsic peak demand if its coming at all is a future even probably well after population peaked assuming the world follows the path of lower birth rates as wealth grows.

I'm not saying this demand will be met but I think its a good and realistic report on the demand side which is pretty dang rare these days.

There's some discussion of that report in yesterday's DrumBeat.

If one uses trade imbalances to account for offshoring or the movement of demand overseas via globalization that would have been accounted for locally if manufacturing had stayed then even the great flattening of demand in the OECD fails to happen. Obviously its hard to partition that exactly but any reasonable attempt results in fairly steady demand growth.

ELM Proven False!

According to the BLS, via CNN, there will be 240,000 more truck driving jobs in the US in the next decade:

13. Truck drivers, heavy and tractor-trailer
2008 employment: 1.79 million
2018 employment: 2.03 million
Minimum education or training: Short-term on-the-job training

I just don't get the connection. What are you talking about?

Ron P.

I think he means ELP not ELM. Economize Localize Produce.

I figure he means that the creation of all those oil-burning jobs would be mutually incompatible with ELM (westexas' export land) projections of oil available (<snark>and since the government is always right according to all the folks here who want it meddling more and more and without restraint in every detail of life, the BLM numbers must invalidate ELM.</snark>) Maybe your snarkometer got jammed by the testy exchanges upthread.

Sorry, I thought the sarconol tag was implied.

The government is saying that Semi truck driving is a growth industry, adding 24,000 new positions a year. Since the government is smarter than us, this means that WT's thesis is false, since there will obviously be enough oil available to support those jobs.

Hot Dog,
I'm glad Westexas was wrong, I was starting to getting really nervous for a while there.

Whew! - I was worried!

It seems like Whipple and others like recently scientists from Kuwait don't think that there will be a peak until around 2014 due to the recession. But, didn't peak oil cause that recession? The U.S. peaked in 1970. However, it wasn't until 73-74 that we ran into trouble. When you're at the peak you're producing the most you've ever produced. The `60s was a period of profound economic growth and expansion. It wasn't like, as we approached the peak, we experienced recession and lost jobs. That was a few years after the peak. Is Whipple an oil cornucopian? I though that we peaked in May of 2005-- maybe just barely higher in July 2008-- and now, years later, we're in a massive recession. Why would the peak be in 2014?

Peak Shmeak....
We'll know for sure when we hit peak when it's been in our rear view mirror for several years.

What matters to me is that we are on a plateau that is ignoring price signals.

When will we end up in terminal decline.
Exact date of peak is academic and to me..., immaterial....

The US sufferen no oil shortage when we peaked in 1970. We were importing oil well before we peaked and there was plenty to import so there was no problem. And the recession a few years later was not related to the US peak. It was the Arab oil imbargo in 73 and 74 that caused all the problems.

We are still experencing the peak that first appeared in 2005. We are still on that peak plateau. Why did the recession not appear until three years later? Well there are several other factors to consider. The price did not hit maximum until 2008 and the economic collapse happened about two months later. Also there were the banking collapse and the housing collapse. All were probably related but they happened in their own due time.

Everyone has a guess as to when the peak will happen. My guess is that it has already happened but we still have not fell off the plateau. I expect that to happen in 2011 or 2012. Could be in 2013 or 2014 however but I don't think so.

We should not concentrate too keenly on the monthly peak, or even which year will eventually prove to be the peak. The peak, the (so far) five year peak is right now. The question now is when will we drop off that peak?

Ron P.

It seems like Whipple and others like recently scientists from Kuwait don't think that there will be a peak until around 2014....
Posted by Deuterium

I read the Whipple article, and he is not claiming that the peak will be in 2014. He's saying that that is when we go off the edge of the plateau we've been on the last few years; 2014 is when he expects the effects of peak to start hitting hard.

Antoinetta III

Deuterium: you are exactly right. We more or less peaked in July 2008 if you are using monthly production figures and include unconventional. At the very best, we are on a plateau and will never produce significantly more than that figure, about 74 million mbd.

Nobody wants to bring themselves to admit it, because it would imply that we would have to start changing BAU ASAP. So you'll always keep hearing that the peak is just a few years away, until it becomes impossible to deny.

Don't lose confidence in yourself just because X person or nation says that the peak will be in Y year. They are almost always wrong. Don't trust them! Follow where your own critical analysis, given the best available data, takes you. Don't discount your instincts either.

According to EIA data, in 2009, the world crude oil production was 72,260 m/b/d. The following is the data from 2004 to the end of 09.
2004 72,476 m/b/d
2005 73,719 m/b/d
2006 73,435 m/b/d
2007 72,931 m/b/d
2008 73,690 m/b/d
2009 72,260 m/b/d
2008 was the price peak of plus $100 wti oil. If we can only tell peak oil from the rear view, the data above would put the crude oil peak in 2005 now. If there isn't more than 73,719 m/b/d produced in any calendar year going forward, we will have additional data. The issue is not who is right about the future. The issue is how to mitigate damages if the forgoing data proves to be the beginning of a permanently declining trend. Westexas has shown the rough correlation that exports decline about twice the rate of crude oil productions. If this export trend remains, or gets worse, the production declines are the amplified.

So the happy face TOYota shows in its cutesy ads is coming off.

It is a cold and irresponsible act on Toyota’s part, a decision that was not necessary from a business standpoint and that completely disregards the wave of human misery it is setting in motion.

And while its recent ad campaign thanks customers for their loyalty, it has little to offer in return.

California is one of the key reasons that Toyota is the wealthiest carmaker on the planet.
Toyota is paying the state back with the foulest form of ingratitude.


Toyota isn't stupid. They recognize that California has been a poor place to do business for some time, and will likely get worse.

If you want to tax businesses to pay for healthcare and schooling for illegal immigrants who only pay sales taxes, as well as an overpriced and bloated pension and university system, this is exactly what you will get. Not to mention if everybody believes that their 2000 square foot homes are going to be worth 1 million dollars, and are quite confused and astonished to find out that they aren't.

Mind you, I'm no conservative either. Both liberals and conservatives in California (and the whole nation) are off their rocker.

Toyota isn't stupid.

You are absolutely right, stupid they are not, but being a good corporate citizen sometimes means looking past the bottom line and return something back to the communities who have built your business for you.
Maybe stupid could be said of the customers who buy the perception that TOYota is anything more than vicious, corporate foreign entity whose only purpose is to maximize their profits.
Especially those on this site, who should know better.

Where's the matching rancor for GM and its role in NUMMI?

I can't imagine why anybody would try to manufacture in CA for anything labor intensive and portable.

In the article Bob clearly points out:

What has not been made clear to the public is that for many years the plant has been used primarily to produce vehicles for Toyota, not General Motors. A report prepared for a state commission that has been seeking to avert the plant closure noted that “G.M. accounted for only 10 percent of the plant’s production last year and an average of 15.4 percent between 2001 and 2009."

Plus a little item like government mandated BANKRUPTCY occured for GM.
The forces that helped cause GM's fall from #1 are clearly now being applied to TOYota.
They are finding out that being #1 comes with considerable adversity.