Drumbeat: March 23, 2010

In Response to California Fuel Regulation, Cargo Ships Chart More Precarious Routes

In an apparent effort to skirt a new clean-fuel regulation in California, an increasing number of ships traveling to and from one of the nation’s busiest port complexes — at Los Angeles and Long Beach — are abandoning a long-established shipping lane, choosing instead to travel along a riskier route that traverses a Navy weapons testing and training area.

The fuel regulation, established by the California Air Resources Board, requires that all ocean-going vessels within 24 nautical miles of the California coastline use a cleaner-burning diesel fuel, called lower-sulfur marine distillates, rather than heavy-fuel oil.

The board estimated that complying with the regulation would typically add $30,000 to a California port visit, roughly 1 percent of the typical fuel costs for a vessel crossing the Pacific Ocean. It is believed this added cost – as well as concerns that the cleaner fuel may increase wear and tear on ship engines – is behind the change in tack.

National security challenged by Arctic climate change

The Russian Security Council believes climate change in the Arctic will pose a serious threat to national security, a council representative confirms in a newspaper interview.

Talking to newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Yuri Averyanov, one of the leaders in the Security Council administration, maintains that Russia in 10-15 years will face serious trouble in its Arctic territories because of the melting permafrost.

Thousands of kilometers of pipelines, railway, roads and a big number of towns will be in danger following the melting, and the development will require the introduction of new construction regulations, Averyanov says. He believes that as much as 25 percent of all houses in towns and cities like Tiksi, Yakutsk and Vorkuta already in 10-15 years will become useless because of the unstable ground conditions.

The permafrost covers two thirds of Russian land territories and the changing climate could destabilize all building and engineering facilities in the area.

Russia and the Arctic: Parachuting In

Although there are a number of reasons why Moscow might want to assert its legal claim over areas of 'no man's land' - or rather 'noman's sea' - in the Arctic Ocean, one of the most important concerns the region's natural resources. In recent years there has been a great deal of speculation about supposedly huge quantities of oil and natural gas; one 2008 survey 'guestimated' that it holds as much as thirteen percent of the world's undiscovered oil and thirty percent of its undiscovered natural gas. Although these figures are highly speculative, Russia knows that they might potentially even understate what really lies there: huge areas of the East Siberian, Chuckhi and Barents Sea, for example, have not even been subject to proper geological assessment.

Although the Arctic does have some attractive 'niche basins' where deposits are accessible and could be tapped into with existing infrastructure, exploiting resources elsewhere would not be commercially viable. This is partly because such reserves are likely to be in deep waters remote from potential markets, but also because the harsh climate would make extraction difficult and dangerous. This is why, for example, the Shtokman field - Russia's massive natural gas complex in the Barents Sea - has been subject to so many cost overruns and delays since it was first discovered in 1988.

Over the coming decades it seems quite possible that the climatic conditions in parts of the High North will ameliorate, while technological progress will open up these remote areas for proper exploitation in the same way that energy companies are now drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caspian Sea and elsewhere at depths that were once considered unthinkable.

Petrobras to start Tupi pilot oil output in Oct.

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobras said on Tuesday it would move up the start of a pilot production run at its 5-8 billion barrel Tupi subsalt field to October, from December originally.

New oil investments need $60-$70 oil price-BP head

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - If oil prices fall below $60 to $70 a barrel for an extended period of time, it will hurt investments in developing new energy supplies, BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward said on Tuesday.

Oilfield Company Failed to Report Fracking Violations to EPA - Documents

One of the world's largest oilfield services companies continued to tell U.S. EPA it was complying with an agreement barring the injection of diesel fuel near drinking-water aquifers, documents show, after admitting to Congress that it had violated the pact.

Venezuelan Grid to Remain ‘Vulnerable,’ Eurasia Says

(Bloomberg) -- Venezuela’s electricity grid will remain “vulnerable” into 2011 as strained government finances delay the installation of generators and the maintenance of existing transmission lines, Eurasia Group said.

Energy Ministry Reduces 2015 Power Forecast

The Energy Ministry is rewriting its GOELRO-2 power plan, under which 20 percent to 25 percent less capacity will be built by 2015 than had been expected when the document was created four years ago.

The difference, of 61 to 81 gigawatts, is equivalent to three times RusHydro's capacity or six times that of Mosenergo.

Huaneng Power Says Rising Capacity Puts Pressure on Utilization

(Bloomberg) -- Huaneng Power International Inc., a unit of China’s biggest electricity producer, said generating capacity in the country “keeps increasing significantly,” putting pressure on the company’s power utilization.

Smart Water Meters Take Hold in California

Smart water meters are taking off in California, according to a forthcoming report from the California Energy Commission. More than half of the state’s water utilities have some smart meters in their service areas, according to the report, “Smart Meters and California Water Agencies: Overview and Status.”

Lon W. House, the report’s author, said in an interview that the number was likely to be “significantly” higher now because the report’s data was now over a year old.

Congress Should Stand By Cap-And-Trade, Hayward Says

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. lawmakers drafting legislation to curb greenhouse-gas emissions shouldn’t abandon a cap-and- trade program as the foundation of the bill, BP Plc Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward said.

“I profoundly believe that a cap-and-trade mechanism is the only way we will solve the emissions issue,” Hayward said today in a speech at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

Energy in Saudi Arabia: A Kingdom Running on Empty?

Saudi Arabia has the world’s largest crude reserves, and the kingdom's natural gas reserves are the fourth largest in the world at 267 trillion cubic feet. This should provide the country with a plentiful supply of fuel for its power stations, water desalination plants and petrochemicals facilities. So why, Saudi citizens might well wonder, are power generation plants frequently forced to shut down? Last summer, in fact, the state-owned power utility, Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), was forced to withhold electricity supplies for three-hour periods to industrial users south of Jeddah and elsewhere. The reality, experts say, is that Saudi authorities are struggling to keep up with increasing demand and strained capacity.

Last year, the country's installed electricity capacity was 39,242 megawatts (MW), leaving a reserve margin of around 3%, compared to a global average of at least 10%. And because electricity generation grew only 5.7% in 2008, the country's grid could not maintain supplies through the peak summer months, when air-conditioning demand tips the energy supply balance into the red.

Oil is partly to blame for Saudi's supply/demand woes. “The very fact that Saudi Arabia dominates the world’s oil markets mitigates its ability to take advantage of its gas endowment," says Justin Dargin, a research fellow at Harvard University’s Dubai Initiative (a joint venture between the Dubai School of Government and the John F. Kennedy School of Government). Saudis "have always tended to view gas as a useful by-product.”

Energy Execs Bullish on Oil, See Sluggish Natural Gas Market

Energy companies and oil service firms are becoming confident that oil prices will remain above $75 a barrel driven by demand in emerging markets, but they say that prices for natural gas could remain depressed amid a production glut.

Sustained higher oil prices, which settled at $81.25 a barrel in New York on Monday, are encouraging exploration and production companies to increase spending. The trend is evident even in capital-intensive projects such as the deepwater of the Gulf of Mexico and Canadian oil sands, which saw cuts the last two years as the economic crisis roared.

The dragon and the elephant in a contest for oil

The elephant appears to be trailing the dragon through the jungles of the oil world.

The state-owned Indian Oil Corporation is in talks to acquire Gulfsands Petroleum, a UK company active in Syria. It was only last August that Sinochem, China’s fourth-largest oil company, bought Emerald Energy, Gulfsands’s partner in Syria.

Is this a battle India can win? Is it a battle India should even be fighting?

Yemen's Big Concern

In 2002,Yemen’s oil production peaked at more than 450 000 barrels of oil per day. A few years later, in 2006, Yemen produced almost 390 000 barrels of oil per day (140 million barrels annually). Of this oil, 55 million barrels (40% of the production) were used by Yemen itself, and the rest – 85 million barrels – was exported.

Two years later, in 2008, Yemen produced only 305 000 barrels of oil per day (110 million barrels annually), and during the first 10 months of the year almost 40 million barrels were exported. If we assume that the country managed to export 50 million barrels in total throughout the year (which is doubtful, since oil production was declining), domestic consumption has risen from 55 million barrels to 60 million barrels (55% of the production) in two years. This is in line with figures indicating that domestic consumption rose by another 2.5 million barrels from 2008 to 2009.

Chavez battered by energy crisis

CARACAS, Venezuela (UPI) -- With no substantial rain in sight, the electricity crisis hitting Venezuela is creating an opening for political opposition to President Hugo Chavez.

El Niño in Venezuela: Hugo Chávez’s "Katrina" Moment?

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has been in power for more than ten years, during which time he has deflected numerous electoral challenges, a recall effort, a coup d’etat and even an oil lock out. A politically adroit statesman, he has demonstrated enormous staying power throughout all these political crises.

Yet, Chávez’s luck may have finally run out: a devastating El Niño-linked drought has recently ravaged Venezuela and the government has been forced to undertake conservation measures for water and electricity. Hardly amused, some are holding Chávez responsible for the energy crunch and the drought could exact a heavy toll on the Venezuelan president in September’s legislative elections.

What is causing Venezuela’s energy crisis?

Venezuela cuts power to 'heavy' electricity users

Dozens of hotels, restaurants, office buildings and other businesses went dark Monday after failing to meet a government target of reducing electricity usage by 20 percent amid a deepening energy crisis.

Caracas' state electrical utility announced that it shut off supply to 42 businesses for 24 hours to punish users that have not cut usage enough as required under government measures adopted last month.

Hotels warned guests to leave ahead of time, and restaurants were deserted and dark. Some business owners said they have done their best to conserve, and called the daylong blackout abusive.

Balochistan: Its Importance For The Iran-Pakistan-India Gas Pipeline

Balochistan, the size of Texas and that accounts for 44 per cent of Pakistan and 16 per cent of Iran’s landmass, is a strategically important area.

By virtue of its energy resources and its location, it is key to the energy supply to South Asia, including Pakistan. The country’s mounting energy crisis and the growing demand for energy security in the region have magnified Balochistan’s economic and strategic importance.

Pakistan: Energy crisis

With the summer fast approaching in many parts of the country, attention is once again turning to the country’s energy deficit and the need for more power in the years ahead. But the Iranian ambassador to Pakistan has expressed surprise that an offer to supply over 1,000 megawatts of electricity from Iran has not been fast-tracked. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in December 2008 between the two countries, however Ambassador Mash’allah Shakeri has complained that no one in Pakistan has tried to move the issue forward.

Tanzania: Power rationing spells doom or economy, analysts warn

The latest spate of rolling power blackouts in the country will have far-reaching consequences on the economy and reverse gains already made in boosting GDP growth and taming inflation to single-digit levels, a university don has warned.

Indonesia: Govt expects to remove electricity subsidy by 2014

The government expects to remove the electricity subsidy completely by as early as 2014 so that it will have more funds available to fight poverty and improve healthcare directly for the poor, a minister has said..

“We hope we can fully implement the economic tariffs for electricity by between 2014 and 2015,” Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Darwin Zahedy Saleh said in Jakarta on Monday.

Tajikistan looks to solve energy crisis with huge dam

It is the Tajik government's answer to decades of energy shortages.

Rogun hydropower plant sits 110km (68 miles) east of the capital, Dushanbe, on the river Vaksh. When it is finished, the planned 335m (1,100ft) dam will be the tallest in the world.

For a mountainous country with thousands of glaciers but no hydrocarbons, harnessing the power of water is the obvious solution.

Qatar on the Cusp

By bringing its vast gas reserves to the world, and turning gas into liquid oil, the tiny emirate is making some investors forget all about Dubai.

Shell Cuts Geelong Refinery Jobs to Stay Competitive

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s second-largest oil company, will conduct an “organizational restructure” at its Geelong refinery in Australia’s Victoria state that will result in the loss of 20 jobs.

2 kidnapped oil workers found dead in Nigeria

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) -- A trade unionist says two Nigerian oil workers have been found dead in the oil-rich Niger Delta region after being kidnapped 10 days ago.

A Nigerian Oil Workers Union official says the bodies were found Tuesday in the bush off the road to Sapele town, about 420 kilometers (261 miles) southwest of the capital, Abuja.

Is there Panic at the EIA?

Since the early 1980s, the EIA has been reporting on U.S. oil inventories. Lately, the EIA has come under fire over its weekly oil reports.

Within the last three years, several discrepancies were found in the amount of oil reported in storage. Let's take a closer look at one of those instances...

Nonresidential electricity market to be opened to some competition

If you own a business or run a government agency, soon you won’t have to buy your electricity from San Diego Gas & Electric.

Beginning April 16, nonresidential customers who now get their power from SDG&E will be able to buy electricity from one of a dozen other companies. The idea, called direct access, allows them to lock in prices or get a greater percentage of their power from the sun, the wind or underground heat.

Five myths about electric cars

Despite how many times they're told differently, some Americans persist in their belief that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Sorry, nope. And almost as enduring are the myths about the forthcoming electric vehicles. So let me use my bully pulpit here to dispel some of the more common rumors, half-truths and innuendos.

Book Review: Whole Earth Discipline

Whole Earth Discipline challenges the greens on four more holy cows: population, urbanisation, nuclear power and Genetically Engineered crops, and in reading this compelling and fascinating book I have had to do some serious re-thinking around these issues myself.

Our Obsession With Stuff Is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities and Our Health

A new book questioning our consumerism says we spend more on shoes and jewelry than higher education; more on ocean cruises than providing drinking water for all.

Entergy wants to keep nuclear option in Louisiana

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Entergy Corp's Louisiana power companies filed with Louisiana utility regulators last week to continue early development activities for possible construction of a nuclear power plant at the River Bend site.

Platts: China's Oil Demand Tops Record High in February

China's apparent* oil demand in February jumped 16.6% from a year ago to a historic high of around 8.5 million barrels per day (b/d) or about 33.28 million tonnes, according to a Platts analysis of official data just released.

February marked the sixth straight month the world's second largest oil consumer posted double-digit annual growth in oil demand.

..."Chinese refineries are running full steam, but the country, which also boosted its refining capacity through 2009, appears to be producing far more fuel than what the domestic market is absorbing," said Vandana Hari, Asia news director at Platts. The surplus has to either go into storage or show up as export barrels, she explained.

"News that state giant Sinopec began subsidizing exports by its refineries in February signals an urgency to get rid of stocks, especially if the company didn't want to reduce crude processing rates," said Hari. "It appears that going forward, we could see a continuing strong climb in China's crude imports and a waning appetite for product imports," Hari added.

A revised domestic oil products pricing mechanism adopted by the Chinese government at the beginning of 2009 encourages higher processing rates because it not only guarantees an estimated 5% margin for the refiners, but also factors in crude processing costs.

Why $3 gas won't be a problem

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The average nationwide price of a gallon of gas is creeping close to $3 a gallon, bringing back bad memories from the summer of 2008. If gas tops the $3 mark, will that kill the economic recovery? Or will consumers just shrug their shoulders and keep driving and spending?

European Fuel Oil Supply to Asia May Rise 13 Percent

(Bloomberg) -- European fuel oil shipments to Asia may increase 13 percent next month to as much as 4.5 million metric tons, even as rising freight rates pared profits for arbitrage between the two regions.

Fuel oil, used to power ships or burnt to generate electricity, is being shipped to Singapore, the world’s largest bunkering port, on falling demand in Europe and higher prices in Asia, according to a Bloomberg News survey of four traders involved in West-to-East supply.

Iraq's Divided Vote May Deepen Kirkuk Dispute

KIRKUK, Iraq (Reuters) - A dispute between Kurds and Arabs over Iraq's oil producing city of Kirkuk may deepen after a strong election challenge by Iyad Allawi's Arab nationalist Iraqiya to the Kurdish ruling bloc.

Preliminary results from the March 7 parliamentary election show strong Sunni Arab and Turkmen support has pushed the secularist Iraqiya list led by Shi'ite former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi slightly ahead of the powerful Kurdish alliance.

China says no to Pakistan link

A senior Chinese government official has revealed that the country has backed away from a plan to install a major gas pipeline from Pakistan to China, thus dealing an indirect blow to a recently-approved project to install a key trunkline from Iran to Pakistan.

Abu Dhabi’s Takreer Runs Ruwais Refinery Below Capacity

(Bloomberg) -- Abu Dhabi Oil Refinery Co. is running one of its two plants below capacity as the state-run company known as Takreer awaits supplies from offshore fields, an official said.

Qatar can add 5-6 mln T LNG capacity with revamp

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Qatar can raise its liquefied natural gas (LNG) capacity by 5-6 million tonnes a year by revamping existing facilities, Energy Minister Abdullah al-Attiyah said on Tuesday.

"We have the trains. We have the pipes we have the tankers. We have everything. So it is more of a flexibility with a small investment," he told reporters in New Delhi.

Chinese Oil Firms Cash in on Overseas Alliances

China's oil companies are increasingly finding the value of partnering with foreign firms in their push abroad, especially in areas where they have run into trouble trying to go it alone.

The most recent example of the strategy's success came Monday, when Australian energy company Arrow Energy Ltd. said it agreed to a $3.15 billion offer from Royal Dutch Shell PLC and PetroChina Co. The deal, if approved by regulators, would give PetroChina access to supplies of coal seam gas to feed China's growing hunger for the fuel as well as exposure to a technology of tapping gas trapped in coal that could increase China's own domestic natural-gas supplies.

Shell, PetroChina set gas exploration deal

Royal Dutch Shell PLC said Tuesday it had agreed to explore for natural gas with China National Petroleum Corp. in the southwestern province of Sichuan, the second deal between the companies announced this week.

Shell Teams Up With Chinese Companies on Gas Deals

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s second-largest oil producer, is working with Chinese companies globally as it expands the share of natural gas in its portfolio, Chief Executive Officer Peter Voser said.

Shell’s joint bid with PetroChina Co. for Brisbane-based Arrow Energy Ltd.’s Australian business is one example of such cooperation, Voser said at a media briefing in Beijing today.

Shell Shifts Balance Toward Gas With Arrow Takeover

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc moved a step closer to shifting the balance of its production in favor of natural gas over oil following a joint A$3.5 billion ($3.2 billion) acquisition of Arrow Energy Ltd.

The deal with PetroChina Co. will give Shell access to Arrow Energy’s holdings of coal-seam gas reserves, while conventional supplies are either declining or off limits in other parts of the world. Chief Executive Officer Peter Voser has described Australia as a “key growth” region for Shell.

Anadarko’s discoveries create challenges

Anadarko Petroleum’s unprecedented exploration success has left the US oil and gas producer with the challenge of developing a string of big projects on time and on budget. The company announced nine deepwater discoveries in 2009 - big discoveries in key areas, such as the US Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and along the newly found oil coast stretching from Ghana to Sierra Leone.

...At the least, the majors will seek partnerships with Anadarko to help develop these projects - a common way to spread financial, operational and political risk. But with the opportunities found by Anadarko increasingly hard to come by in a world of peak oil and resource nationalism, analysts say they position the company as a potential takeover candidate.

Occidental Tapping Phibro Trading Profit to Fuel Crude Search

(Bloomberg) -- Occidental Petroleum Corp., which pumps enough crude to fill a supertanker every 97 hours, is using profit from Andrew J. Hall’s Phibro LLC energy-trading unit to fund oil exploration.

Cairn Shares Rise on Greenland Plan, India Oil Output

(Bloomberg) -- Cairn Energy Plc jumped to a record in London trading after announcing the start of oil drilling in Greenland and forecasting higher output at its Rajasthan field, India’s biggest onshore oil deposit.

Enel Said to Seek 8 Billion Euros of Loans to Refinance Debt

(Bloomberg) -- Enel SpA, Italy’s biggest utility, is seeking to raise 8 billion euros ($10.8 billion) of five-year loans to refinance debt, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Enel plans to use the proceeds of the revolving credit to replace a 5 billion-euro facility due in November, said the people, who declined to be identified because the information is private.

British Gas staff vote for strike

Staff at British Gas have voted to strike after alleged bullying by management, and over changes to staff terms and conditions.

The GMB trade union said staff would take industrial action over what it described as "macho management".

Politics and Peak Energy

Economic success, growth, and an affluent (happy) consumer lifestyle directly depend on an abundance of inexpensive energy. Conversely, the quantity and type of energy consumed can have a very adverse effect on the surrounding environment and world ecological balance. It then follows that politics, the subject of governing civilized societies, is also directly dependent on the common denominator of energy, just at a time that we are facing the imminent and terminal decline of our prime energy source, oil, and ultimately all finite fossil fuels.

Yet, the advocates of different positions, for instance, climate change (man made or not), or economic development and stimulus proposals based on continued growth, do not factor in the difficult, if not impossible, transition and immense challenges facing us as we enter the second half and decline of the short, 200-year fossil energy age. Without energy to make things happen, nothing grows, moves to a new place, or expands. Bodies wither and die, civilizations contract and collapse. Yet there are leaders and experts who would lead us to believe otherwise; that finite does not mean what it says. Oil supplies about 40% of our total energy and fuels 90% of our transportation. In addition, we have come to depend on thousands of petroleum-based products from lubricants to plastics. There may be plenty left but it’s getting harder to find and steadily more expensive in terms of input energy and wealth required for extraction from remaining unconventional sources.

Peak oil? Global warming? No, it’s “Boomsday!” … Population Explosion Means Balancing Budget Could Force 41% Cut in Social Security & Medicare Soon

Population growth. Yes, population is the core problem that, unless confronted and dealt with, will render all solutions to all other problems irrelevant delaying tactics to the inevitable. Population is the one variable in an economic equation that impacts, aggravates, irritates and accelerates all other problems.

Newcastle Coal Exports Fall 24%; Ship Queue Shortens

(Bloomberg) -- Coal shipments from Australia’s Newcastle port, the world’s biggest export harbor for the fuel used in power stations, fell 24 percent last week while the number of vessels waiting to load declined.

Valero CEO says EPA rules will freeze investment

PHOENIX, Az. (Reuters) - The U.S. refining industry will freeze investment in anything beyond maintaining operations if the Environmental Protection Agency moves to regulate carbon pollution, the chief executive of Valero Energy Corp said.

Bill Klesse, also chairman of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, said late Sunday at the industry trade group's annual meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, that such regulation would increase costs for an industry already struggling with low margins and sluggish demand amid a slow economic recovery.

Is UCG The Next CSM?

One might be forgiven for assuming the coal seam methane (CSM) industry suddenly sprung up in the world about two years ago, beginning with BG's failed attempt to acquire Origin Energy ((ORG)) and most recently evident as Royal Dutch Shell and PetroChina attempt to take over Arrow Energy ((AOE)). In each case, and all cases in between, the holy grail is CSM assets sufficient for conversion to liquid natural gas (LNG) for the purpose of export to Asia. But the reality is the BG bid was simply a wake-up call to the investment market. CSM has been recognised as a source of natural gas for a long time.

Lack of policy hurts refinancing

A KEY adviser to the federal government on the impact of cutting carbon emissions says unclear energy policy is threatening $9 billion in debt that power stations must refinance in the next five years.

Richard Wagner, the head of the investment banking at Morgan Stanley, which last year wrote a confidential report on the proposed scheme's effect on coal-fired generators, said yesterday that uncertain carbon policy would pose a ''significant challenge'' to heavily geared generators seeking to refinance.

Colorado Increases Renewables Requirements

In a bid to propel his state to the forefront of the new energy economy, Colorado’s governor is expected to sign one of the most aggressive renewable energy requirements in the country on Monday afternoon.

The new law requires 30 percent of large utilities’ electricity to come from renewables by 2020. The previous requirement was 20 percent by 2020.

Activists call for Laos dam to suspend operations

HANOI — The largest hydroelectric project in Laos, which began selling power to Thailand last week, should suspend operations until it has fulfilled its obligations to local people, activists said Tuesday.

Executive Shakeup at Nanosolar

Nanosolar, a prominent solar start-up in Silicon Valley, said on Monday that it had replaced its co-founder and chief executive, Martin Roscheisen, with Geoff Tate, a veteran of the chip industry.

China to Build 28 More Nuclear Power Reactors by 2020

(Bloomberg) -- China, the world’s second-biggest energy user, approved the construction of 28 more nuclear power reactors under a revised target for 2020 to meet rising demand for clean energy and accelerate development of the industry.

Each of the one-gigawatt reactors will cost as much as 14 billion yuan ($2.1 billion), Mu Zhanying, general manager of the state-run China Nuclear Engineering Group, said in an interview in Beijing today. One gigawatt is enough to power 800,000 average U.S. homes.

Toshiba, Bill Gates’s TerraPower May Develop Reactor

(Bloomberg) -- Toshiba Corp. and Bill Gates- controlled TerraPower of the U.S. may jointly develop a small- sized nuclear generator to tap rising demand.

Toshiba and TerraPower signed a non-disclosure agreement in November to exchange information on the design and engineering know-how, a Toshiba spokesman, Keisuke Ohmori, said by telephone in Tokyo today.

Chevron Testing Solar Technologies

The oil giant Chevron has transformed an old refinery site in California into a test bed for seven advanced photovoltaic solar technologies, which the company is evaluating for use at its facilities worldwide.

On Monday, Chevron is unveiling 7,700 solar panels installed on 18 acres in Bakersfield, the capital of California’s oil patch. Called Project Brightfield, the plant will generate 740 kilowatts of electricity to power nearby oil operations.

Any excess electricity will be fed to the power grid.

France to Scrap Carbon Tax, Wants an EU-Wide Levy, Fillon Says

(Bloomberg) -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy is scrapping a planned tax on carbon emissions, three days after the ruling party was defeated in local elections.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon told members of parliament of the Union for a Popular Movement that any carbon tax should be imposed throughout the European Union to be effective.

Fossil Fuel Interests Paid for Danish Study Critical of Wind Power. Does It Matter?

A widely circulated report published last fall by the Center for Political Studies, or Cepos, a Danish research group, concluded that the country’s wind energy figures were incorrect.

While it generally recognized the oft-cited statistic that Denmark gets roughly 20 percent of its electricity from wind power, the report argued that only an average of around 10 percent of the country’s electricity needs were actually met by wind power over the last five years.

U.S. Bolsters Chemical Restrictions for Water

The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Monday that it would overhaul drinking water regulations so that officials could police dozens of contaminants simultaneously and tighten rules on the chemicals used by industries.

Andrew McKillop: Low hope for low carbon

Overcapacity of wind power and solar electric power manufacturing capacities is now widespread in many countries, even in China and India, as the "low hanging fruit" of the best sites, the biggest subsidies, the largest public support and acclaim is used up -- and oil prices although rising are still far behind the peak attained in 2008. As the economic rationale declines, huge new green energy ventures shift toward ego-trips for politicians, and become purely prestige. Chinese vice minister for Industry and IT, Miao Wei, described massive wind farms in China as essentially "vanity projects," March 11, 2010 in part due to probable rapid wear and tear of turbines increasingly located in hostile locations, such as China's dusty deserts, and increasingly in deepwater offshore wind-farms ever further from land.

When the Lights Go Out Across the World

SYDNEY—If the world’s public is suffering from Climate Change “fatigue”—given the recent “climategate” scandals and disappointing results from Copenhagen—it has not hurt interest in Earth Hour, rather it has invigorated it, says Earth Hour Executive Director Andy Ridley.

Clean-Technologies Investment Should More Than Double, EU Says

(Bloomberg) -- Investment in cleaner technologies in the European Union should more than double to 8 billion euros ($10.8 billion) a year for the bloc to meet its carbon-reduction targets and boost energy security, the EU energy chief said.

Spending should increase from the current annual goal of 3 billion euros and focus on projects such as solar- and wind- energy plants as well as carbon capture and storage, Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said.

CO2 Market Rift Over Hungary May Shrink Trading, Investors Say

(Bloomberg) -- The United Nations carbon market, the world’s second largest, is at risk of shrinking until regulators close a loophole that allowed Hungary to sell credits that aren’t valid in Europe.

The European Commission couldn’t stop ministers in Budapest from unloading UN emissions offsets -- surrendered once under Europe’s cap-and-trade system -- to traders planning to resell somewhere else, according to the International Emissions Trading Association. Some of the credits ended up back in Europe, bringing spot trading of UN credits to a standstill last week.

DOE, USDA, and NSF Launch Joint Climate Change Prediction Research Program

The U.S. Departments of Energy and Agriculture and the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced the launch of a joint research program to produce high-resolution models for predicting climate change and its resulting impacts. Called Decadal and Regional Climate Prediction Using Earth System Models (EaSM), the program is designed to generate models that -- significantly more powerful than existing models -- can help decision-makers develop adaptation strategies addressing climate change. These models will be developed through a joint, interagency solicitation for proposals.

Obama's healthcare victory clears path for climate change bill

The chances of US climate change legislation passing this year received a major boost after President Obama secured victory in his historic battle to pass healthcare reforms late last night.

The successful House vote on the legislation following over a year of intense and fraught negotiations will clear a path for the administration to turn to its next large piece of administrative business: climate change.

Iceland's eruptions could have global consequences

Like earthquakes, predicting the timing of volcanic eruptions is an imprecise science. An eruption at the Katla volcano could be disastrous, however — both for Iceland and other nations.

Iceland's Laki volcano erupted in 1783, freeing gases that turned into smog. The smog floated across the Jet Stream, changing weather patterns. Many died from gas poisoning in the British Isles. Crop production fell in western Europe. Famine spread. Some even linked the eruption, which helped fuel famine, to the French Revolution. Painters in the 18th century illustrated fiery sunsets in their works.

The winter of 1784 was also one of the longest and coldest on record in North America. New England reported a record stretch of below-zero temperatures and New Jersey reported record snow accumulation. The Mississippi River also reportedly froze in New Orleans.

Environmental Refugees and Global Warming

ScienceDaily — Climate change and environmental degradation are likely to trigger increased migration in Sub-Saharan Africa with potentially devastating effects on the hundreds of millions of especially poor people, according to a paper in the International Journal of Global Warming.

Environmental changes are especially pronounced in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), explain Ulrike Grote of the Institute for Environmental Economics and World Trade, at the Leibniz University of Hannover, and Koko Warner of the United Nations University Institute of Environmental and Human Change in Bonn, Germany. Today, degradation is a serious problem for 32 countries in Africa, and a third of a billion people already face water scarcity.

World Has Underestimated Climate-Change Effects, Expert Argues

ScienceDaily — The world's policymakers have underestimated the potential dangerous impacts that man-made climate change will have on society, said Charles H. Greene, Cornell professor of earth and atmospheric sciences.

..."Even if all man-made greenhouse gas emissions were stopped tomorrow and carbon-dioxide levels stabilized at today's concentration, by the end of this century the global average temperature would increase by about 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 2.4 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels, which is significantly above the level which scientists and policymakers agree is a threshold for dangerous climate change," Greene said.

Five feet of seawater to flood Florida's coastline over the next 100 years, scientists warn

Over the next 100 years, rising global temperatures are expected to cause seas to rise five feet in the vicinity of Florida, swamping the state's coastlines, pushing salt into underground wells and potentially flooding the Everglades with seawater, a group of top Arctic scientists warned.

Compare that to the average sea level rise worldwide over the past 100 years: just under 8 inches. The warning came at the end of the State of the Arctic Conference in Miami last week, where 450 scientists from 17 countries gathered to discuss climate change and anticipate its effects.

Has Global Warming Slowed?

Global warming has neither stopped nor slowed in the past decade, according to a draft analysis of temperature data by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

The analysis, led by Goddard director Jim Hansen, attempts to debunk popular belief that the planet is cooling. It finds that global temperatures over the past decade have "continued to rise rapidly," despite large year-to-year fluctuations associated with the tropical El Niño-La Niña cycles.

Well...as a birthday present to me, Toyota sent me an newsletter on the latest hybrid vehicles...and there in the middle, they drop the "PO bomb"!! I guess admitting Peak Oil can be a lucrative marketing strategy.

Toyota Unveils Compact Hybrid Concept, Reveals Plan for Prius Family


Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., (TMS) unveiled the FT-CH dedicated hybrid concept at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The FT-CH is a concept that addresses Toyota's stated strategy to offer a wider variety of conventional hybrid choices to its customers as it begins to introduce plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in model year 2012, and hydrogen fuel cell hybrid vehicles (FCHVs) to global markets in 2015.

"Within the next 10 to 20 years, we will not only reach peak oil, we will enter a period where demand for all liquid fuels will exceed supply," said Jim Lentz, TMS president. "A century after the invention of the automobile, we must re-invent it with powertrains that significantly reduce or eliminate the use of conventional petroleum fuels. One of many alternatives is through what is commonly called the electrification of the automobile. By far, the single most successful example of this has been the gas-electric hybrid."

[My emphasis]

Many happy returns.

That was in Toyota's press release, from the North American International Auto Show back in January.

Ah...did we pick up on it at the time of release?

Of course! Mentions of peak oil don't go missed here. Even if I happen to miss them, someone will post them in the comments.

This got huge play in the peak oil/environmental/climate change blogosphere.

Guess I'm getting old and senile. Need to change my moniker to Dragonfly46....I've hung around here for 5 years...wow...time flies.

It's interesting that they're saying that directly to the consumers, though. I got the feeling their previous comments on it were aimed more at investors.

Like I said, it could be a lucrative marketing strategy for Toyota. Tell people gasoline will only get more expensive and then push their fuel efficient vehicles. That type of advertising is OK with me since it is based upon truth.

Regarding speaking the truth: a fresh Norwegian survey concludes that Toyota Prius uses 27% more fuel - than Toyota claims in their brochure.

All other brands uses on an average 17 to 19% more than stated. Only Honda Accord used less than stated , 3% that is.

Source : Norwegian language alert, but a translator will reveal my claim : http://www.dn.no/dnBil/article1864586.ece

(Checks reading) 327 mi. little under half a 10 gallon fill still on gauge, currently60.9mpg

It's probably a 5 year mile mile stone for many of us.

It was March 24, 2005 then Rolling Stone published James Howard Kunstler's The Long Emergency

The Oil Drum's first post was March 22, 2005. That would make yesterday our five year anniversary.

Quite the modest celebration, then :)

Congratulations and many thanks for the effort!

Nice to see Toyota admitted to PO.

I suspect that the recent bad PR (sudden acceleration stuff), has made it pretty tough to sell Toyota hybrids right now. So maybe they think that at this point in time the only prospects are the peak oil aware.

I suspect that the recent bad PR (sudden acceleration stuff), has made it pretty tough to sell Toyota hybrids right now.

Apparently the Prius is still being regarded quite well.

"J.D. Power Study: Toyota Prius Is Most Dependable Compact Car"

And the Prius already has a brake-accelerator interlock. Its recall was due to anti-lock brake feel/operation after hitting a sharp bump.

That only affected the 2010 models. I am supposed to bring my 07 in with the floor mat (currently not in the car), which will either be OKed or replaced.
I have no doubt they are reliable and safe vehicles. But once you plant a meme in the public mind, it is really hard to get rid of it. The bad media attention clearly functions as a "brandicide". I think it will take years to rebuild the brands reputation. Perhaps they will have to rename it -the old Pevia Van got a poor safety rating, and was renamed after the redesign.

FORD, Found on road dead. I know there are others out there, but for a long while most US car makers had a bad rap for being the underdogs to Toyota. When I was a Courier I drove a Toyota T-100 on a state wide route and loved it. But I also had driven an Aspire which was made by Ford and loved it as well. I remember once having to load it up so tightly packed with mail that the car was way over loaded, but I refused to go back to base and get a van to put the load into.

A friend tried to bet the Mail Clerks that I could be able to do it, but they claimed they didn't want to take his money. Later that day he asked me, with a smile on his face, If I had gotten all that mail in there. I said, Yeah and I have room to spare. Which was the same comment I told the Mail Clerks when I finally took them all the mail carts back.

But I have moved so many times that I really know how to pack things. It's one of my favorite memories of those days.

Toyota will have brand loyality amount those that want to believe it is still a good car company, just like Ford and Gmc and all the others over the years had loyal followers.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future.

Fix Or Repair Daily

Or, when I lived near Rutland, VT:

Found On Rutland Dump

This is what Nissan's Ghosn said recently ...


Problem with oil is, if you cut oil, there is no transportation. I remember the war of 1967, when there was an embargo by the Arab countries on Europe, you see the streets empty, and all of a sudden the whole transportation is paralysed. This may come back again! The only way to avoid this is making sure that transportation does not depend on one commodity. And the only way is electricity.

Jim Lentz has been quite open about peak oil for some time now:

The video above, recorded in November last year, has Jim saying that peak oil in the 2017-2020 neighborhood is a 'house-view at Toyota'. This surprised the interviewer - 'I don't know if I've ever heard an auto executive say that so directly before!'.

I missed yesterday’s Drumbeat and I am sorry that I did. I was too busy reading and posting on yesterday’s Tipping Point thread. I did check Leanan’s headlines, a couple of times in the AM, to see what important headlines had been posted. But apparently sometimes in the PM this headline was posted:
Oil reserves 'exaggerated by one third'

I am of the opinion that this is the most important headline that has been posted on Drumbeat since its inception. The gross exaggeration of oil reserves has finally made the mainstream media. While it is true that Sir David King pointed this out years ago, this is the first time, to my knowledge, that it has been picked up by MSM.

"The IEA functions through fees that are paid into it by member companies and has to keep its clients happy," he said. "We're not operating under that basis. This is objective analysis. We're not sitting on any oil fields. It's critically important that reserves have been overstated, and if you take this into account, we're talking supply not meeting demand in 2014-2015."

King estimates that reserves have been overstated by from 300GB to 500GB. I have stated several times, on this list, that I believe reserves have been overstated by at least that amount. I OPEC reserves have been overstated by at least 500GB. Other members of this list have expressed similar opinions.

I apologize for posting this a day late but I think it is critically important that TODers realize the importance of MSM finally posting something about those massively exaggerated reserves.

Ron P.

Adding to that....headlines with the words may, could, might, etc. are seldom found in Leanan's list.

TOD info usually involves concrete statements, facts, data, and far more credibility than other blogs.
"King estimates that reserves have been overstated by from 300GB to 500GB." An estimate to chew on.

Thank you.

I guess all this is why the stock markets are going crazy?

Party on, dudes!



Market up
Carnival Cruise lines up
Oil down

Everything is great

Those Democrats are so clever -- rescued us from the claws of the Woeful Wun.

If only.

One thing about the article on the reserve overstatement is that it is based on a peer reviewed journal article. It can be found here for $19.95, but many readers will have accounts where they can get it for free.

It is called "The status of conventional world oil reserves—Hype or cause for concern?" by Nick A. Owen, Oliver R. Inderwildi, and David A. King.


The status of world oil reserves is a contentious issue, polarised between advocates of peak oil who believe production will soon decline, and major oil companies that say there is enough oil to last for decades.

In reality, much of the disagreement can be resolved through clear definition of the grade, type, and reporting framework used to estimate oil reserve volumes. While there is certainly vast amounts of fossil fuel resources left in the ground, the volume of oil that can be commercially exploited at prices the global economy has become accustomed to is limited and will soon decline. The result is that oil may soon shift from a demand-led market to a supply constrained market.

The capacity to meet the services provided by future liquid fuel demand is contingent upon the rapid and immediate diversification of the liquid fuel mix, the transition to alternative energy carriers where appropriate, and demand side measures such as behavioural change and adaptation. The successful transition to a poly-fuel economy will also be judged on the adequate mitigation of environmental and social costs.

Perhaps we can have an article about the peer-reviewed article.

A review would be most welcome. I'd like to do more work collating the multitude of forecasts that have piled up over the last 10 years, too.

Another interesting thing I discovered looking at peaks from 30 years ago was price, something I usually don't focus on too much in the present. But: using the EIA series for FOB crude (only one that reaches back into the 70s) price peaked in Feb 1981 at $36.93/bbl, declining to $31.88/bbl in Oct 1982. The recent corresponding peak was $123.34/bbl in June '08; if the decline in price had followed the same pattern as was obtained in the early 80s the Dec '09 price would've been...$106.47/bbl! Yet I've shown pretty conclusively that US demand has declined much less this time.

Those folks in BRIC really mean business about building economies. We should compare growth in the OECD in the 60s to get an idea of how far they can go, which obviously is a lot, but what the rate will be is the big question.

I mean to throw together an article about the B in BRIC, namely Brazil. This talk of them as the next North Sea is seriously in question, I believe. UK and Norway were a magnitude more restrained in the consumption department, for one thing. Much of the Brazil miracle to date is actually ethanol; I was surprised at how fast their production was growing in the last decade. Even if they go nuts with their subsalt the forecast is for them to personally consume an awful lot of the gains.

I apologize for posting this a day late but I think it is critically important that TODers realize the importance of MSM finally posting something about those massively exaggerated reserves.

...and also it is critically important that TODers acknowledge that it is a British scientist and a British leading broadsheet!! ;)

You see, we do get some things right over here. But then again our situation is perilous to say the least so perhaps we are ahead of the curve on this one because it is no longer possible to pretend that we are sitting cosy. Not with the recent natural gas problems over winter and the obvious fact that North Sea oil and gas is seriously depleting.

Looks like the UK squeaked by another year -- still 3000 GWh in long-term storage, and the draw-down has stopped. Barring a really bad late freeze, I would think you're home free.

The 2009/10 winter started off with high storage levels, and ended up with about 5% of that left. I'd call that precision planning and optimization. Or dumb luck that there wasn't one more cold week somewhere in there.

We've got a few relatively mild days fairly guaranteed now and as long as the Langeled pipeline stays up we should be able to avoid drawing down much on storage and hopefully top up slightly. However the US GFS has the weather breaking down again at the weekend with northerly winds and possible snow.


I'll be keeping an eye on that forecast (and I guess so are National Grid) to see how it develops. We can sometimes require large storage draws even in April if we get stuck in airflows from the North and East.

Rune also has a series of posts coming up soon looking at the situation in more detail. The fact that our domestic production was apparently down 17% in January 2010 compared to last year doesn't help...

Is the Telegraph considered a respectable paper over there?

I can't really tell. Some of the articles they run seem kind of "out there."

Yes. It's a "broadsheet" often referred to as The Daily Torygraph as its political views usually coincide with those of The Conservative Party.

The Telegraph is a VERY respectable newspaper.

It is the biggest selling broadsheet (serious) newspaper in the UK.

It tends to align itself with the Conservative Party and is commonly referred to as "The Torygraph".

It is the voice of Conservative England.

It is a broadsheet, so it is not gutter press. However, it (like most the rest) has dumbed down a lot these last 30 years. I rate none of the UK papers as worth reading for their technical content, the Independant comes closest on 'controversial' topics like PO but that has also dumbed down recently.

Yes. The Daily Telegraph - and its sister paper, the Sunday Telegraph - are considered to be respectable newspapers. Basically the big 4 broadsheets are the Daily Telegraph (right wing), The Times(right wing, centre) The Guardian(left wing) and the Financial Times (the business paper). There is also The Independent (Independent). Originally 'broadsheet' referred to the large, old-fashioned paper size, compared with the small sheet 'tabloid press'. Now days 'broadsheet' is taken as a reference to the 'seriousness' or 'quality' of the paper and the (often self-proclaimed) statement that they are reporting on the important issues of the day.


Do those categories mean anything any more?

The Guardian hardly seems "left wing" as I understand the term. And what is "right wing" in England? Anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-cooperation, anti-life? Or something more sensible?

Better yet, tell who owns/runs them (Rupert Murdoch? Roger Ailes?)

It always seemed the more left wing of the British Press. Less celebrity news and pics of Posh Spice with no makeup.

Leaving opinion behind, I walked halfway across London when I visited trying to find this 'gastropub', supposedly one of the first, called the Thunderbird. The Guardian's offices are within a pint's glass throw from there. Not that I'm advocating throwing pints at anyone mind you, not least the Guardian offices, but the pub is worth the visit.

HA -- Actually I felt for some time that the Brits will effectively serve as our point man in the future PO world. The worst should be hitting home there anumber of years before the US. Unfortunately for the Brits the point man seldom survives the first shot.

But thanks none the less.

Don't worry we'll all be on strike and/or at war with Israel by then after we expel the local Mossad Head this afternoon!

Britain expels Israeli diplomat over Dubai passport row

The UK is to expel an Israeli diplomat over the use of 12 cloned British passports in the Dubai murder of a Hamas leader, the BBC has learned.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband will make a statement to Parliament later.

Israel has said there is no proof that its agents were behind the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January.

BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen said the person to be expelled is likely to be the London head of Israel's secret service, Mossad

America's too closest allies fighting a war against each other…???

Who would the U.S. side with???

It's hard for me to ever picture the U.S. ever siding against Israel for any reason. After all, when Israel tells us to jump, we always ask, "how high???"

Sorry UK

Some of my family is Jewish

I'm just too honest for my own good.

The Jerusalem Post doesn't seem to think so this time.

Obama has crossed the line

Recent hostile outbursts by the US gov't must be viewed in the context that the US-Israel relationship has been on a downward spiral since Obama.

I recommend a stiff drink before reading the "Talkback" comments section on the Jerusalem Post by the way.

I recently read that Obama is actually "Oh Ba'al Man" and today that "the uk is dhimmiestan and their only real actions are those expressing their venomous hatred for jews" but you can never know where these comments originate I suppose.

I was amused by the "sponsored comment" though

Temper temper...

Yet another apartment in Britain is now vacant!

Why not take the opportunity to check out some UK rentals?

Israel is right..., we did cross the line. And, to punish us, I think they should stop accepting our financial support.

Announcement now official. Statement in parliament now.

UK Conclusions in brief summary from statement

All 12 UK Passport holders innocent victims of passport theft and not implicated in the killing of Hamas member.

UK had no advance knowledge of operation

Only link found is to Israel

Concluded this was a sophisticated Mossad Operation.

Concluded Israel was responsible for misuse of UK Passports

Britain takes this very seriously

Therefore have instructed a member of the Israeli Embassy staff to leave.

UK Conservative Party says it supports the expulsion and further emphasises Israel should realise that UK political parties are united in supporting this decision. Liberal Democrat Party now also making a statement of "full support".

Other countries continuing their investigations and UK police investigation ongoing.

To me the interesting question is why Mossad chose to make the hit so public, or are they getting sloppy? Assassins on tape and readily detected ID forgeries...unmistakeably clear trail.

It almost smacks of a rush job, where Israel didn't have time to get fake ids via a less messy channel, or perhaps the UK has closed a previously open avenue for fake credentials and Israel is sending them a message too?

I assume that every major intelligence service has mechanisms to create false credentials, probably with the tacit or overt blessing of the sponsor gov't -- how else can you run MI6 and the CIA?

On the larger point, why does anybody care that Israel killed a known militant, except maybe Dubai? Perhaps the banking interest ties between Dubai and London are stronger than the anti-terror focus of the West?

It's all bizarre.

Israeli Ambassador to the UK just gave official response: "We are disappointed". That seems to be it - no Israeli retaliation. Even more bizarrely the Israeli ambassador appeared to me to be trying hard not to smile too much and looked cheerful. Maybe he doesn't get on with the expelled Mossad chief?

How do you think the US government would react if they had used stolen/cloned American passports? It's such a blatant passport issue (and as you say with enough film of the events to make a complete series of a Mossad "24") that the UK had to react.

I assume the CIA gives them passports all the time, and vice versa. The goal would be provide the necessary cover without unduly compromising your citizens.

Here identities are stolen all the time. Would suck to have yours be used for an international hit or a terrorist trip, wouldn't it?

They better find a guy that looks like me, or else they'd know it weren't me in a minute.

Hair over 8 inches down my back and I always wear shorts, and almost all the local police guys know me on sight. (sometimes for the right reasons and sometimes for the wrong reasons, but they do know who I am).

Now I know a few homeless guys and even a few gals, who don't carry ID mostly because they can't get proof of who they really are, or because the system scares them.

007 would have to work really hard to blend in around here most days.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future (when more people might be considered homeless)

The photographs on the cloned passports (below) were fake. Still I wouldn't want to be travelling internationally - no matter how different I looked.


Some supposed "expert" on tv said that some of these people are Mossad instructors and not normally active - that's very surprising he claimed. No idea if that's true but it's all weird.

Obama's foreign relations are sophomoric -- he praises and criticizes superficially, without bothering to dig into the details, and often commits social gaffs because his people aren't very good at managing affairs of state. Hillary isn't actually the best person for the job in dealing with Israel or Arab nations, either, given her first-lady history alongside Bill.

Given a fairly soft position against long-term adversaries and luke-warm support for friends, it is not surprising to find that both will take new liberties. What will Obama do when Iran announces they have the bomb, when Israel has clearly stated such a situation is unacceptable? Is that a black swan I see on the horizon?

Looks like the Brit govt. is being forced to catch up some with its voters, given present election campaign and all. Certainly most countries outside the US have had about enough of Isreal's stupid antics regarding the Palestinian issue. Isreal needs to figure out that it's not invincible, simply lucky and has a good friend who's leader is finally a little smarter than a stump.

Like I support the survival of Isreal as a nation and all that, but fail to see how that translates into an absolute demand for assimilation of the entire city of Jerusalem and eviction of the former residents. Get a clue before the US does.

As always there is his side, her side, and the truth, but assimilation worked pretty well for those who chose it long ago, and "refugee" status for the masses has served the needs of politics on both side for decades. Israel can't remain democratic and grant citizenship to Palestinians who would quickly out-populate them. Arabs don't want the situation settled or they would have assimilated the Palestinians themselves decades ago (when the numbers were small).

Some numbers: back in 1948 there were 600K-800K Palestinian refugees exiting and about that many Jewish refugees entering. And about 150-200K assimilated Palestinians.

Today there are perhaps 4M refugees (some say up to 7M), within Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, etc. There are about 5M Jews in Israel, and about that many in the US as well.

This goes back to the eternal conflict discussions from yesterday -- overbreeding then taking territory by force is a long-standing approach at every scale. The whole Palestinian conflict is compelling and perpetual because it is such a symbolic view of our real problems -- too many people, too little land.

Note that Lebanon had multiple peaceful but broadly ranging factions living together successfully....for a while, and it wasn't run by Jews. It sucks to have multi-national power plays within your backyard, especially if you're relatively powerless yourself. Just ask Vietnam, Belgium, or the provinces of Georgia.

Other than a vague whiff of possible genocide, I fail to see the point of your discussion.

The point is that there is never going to be assimilation into Israel, or into Arab countries, as the magnitude of the real issues grow greater with each passing year (and each additional birth). The only possible result short of a major drop in fertility on one side or the other is the status quo, or a major military event. I would not bet against Israel anytime soon, so a military event will likely make things worse for the Palestinians.

Also, that it sucks to be stuck in the middle of a multi-national power play. The bulk of the Palestinian people are powerless to determine their futures or fates. All they can choose to do is have more children to share their fate with.

I thought the US strategy was to negotiate a completely separate state for Palestinians, not "assimilation". And the "multi-national power play" stuff went away with the "cold war", or do you refer to neighbouring moderate "powers"? My understanding is that if the Isrealis relinquished territories occupied in the wars of the last half of the 1900's, including 1/2 of Jerusalem, then the Palestinians would shortly settle down and the issue would basically go away in a few generations. Am I way off?

I'm no expert on the region but the local factions and regional powers (with possible support by other actors) did a pretty good number on Lebanon. In the Palestinian situation it seems to be their own militant-leaning leadership, Israels (militant-leaning) leadership, and the combination of Arab unwillingness to re-settle refugees while supporting their more militant elements.

I don't think the issue will go away if Israel gives up land, as there won't be enough land, and the desire for the rest of Israel will remain. On the other hand I don't think Israel will give up that city. In their view they had to fight for all they already were "given", the Jewish immigrants from Arab states were often driven out and their wealth confiscated, and if they give up land they get little in return. It seems to me that the current situation is unfortunately a reasonably stable and successful state, only with some miserable aspects.

I think the problem will go way in a few generations only when populations are reducing on all sides, and there is land, food, and wealth for all. Otherwise there will always be cause for friction.

Note that the Trail of Tears was a century and a half ago, and Indians are still not assimilated in the US, despite little strong animosity. Ethnic memories and behaviors have a longer half-life than mere generations.

Jerusalem is like Mecca. It holds a power of religion so strong that very little else can get through the thinking process.

I've often thought that it would be simple to slice everything up is some neat design and assign one part of to one side and the other part to the other side. But It would not work. The whole mindset (mess) is based on a very old problem, "Our God gave us this land" and each side holds it as the truth.

I don't think there is anywhere else in the world that has the history that this region has, and with that history you have an inbred problem that will brew until one side can no longer raise a hand to stop the other from taking all the land as their own.

If you were to add to the mix a state like Iran that could say they have a Nuke in their hands, you would see the burning match being thrown into the dry tender and vaporized Gasoline ready to go boom.

I had friends that grew up in the area, and had been there for generations, Though they were christians by faith, they were arab by language. They moved as a whole family to the US to get away from the strife.

The mess could have been solved a long time ago, maybe, but I don't think it can be solved without something radically happening to both sides of the divide.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future (peace for all and food on every plate and water in every glass)

Israel can't remain democratic and grant citizenship to Palestinians who would quickly out-populate them.

Indeed, imagine having a democracy where majority rule was actually in place? Unthinkable.

Indeed, imagine simplistic "solutions" to all the world's problems.

Actually it is unthinkable, which is why most functioning, or even semi-functioning, democracies have constitutions or Basic Laws of one sort or another. Otherwise 51% quickly discover that they are free to loot, oppress, or otherwise mistreat the other 49%. Then you've got mob rule which eventually leads to civil war or partition (as with India and Pakistan, where the self-identified groups couldn't or wouldn't get along with each other either.) Given the level of hostility between Israelis and Palestinians, it seems just possible that partition is the least-worst and least-deadly option for the time being.

I don't disagree - the creation of a fully sovereign Palestinian nation (with ownership of good land and water rights, etc) - based on a UN agreement ... not decided solely by Israeli interests - is probably the least-worst solution now. Goodness knows how you divvy up Jerusalem, though.

I was just rather bemused by the writer's notion that "democracy" is equated with unhindered Israeli numerical and political control - but I guess Israeli/Zionist ideology runs deeply through the Western psyche. The tragic mistake of course was the creation of a state based on a single religion (and ethnic identity) having a monopoly - it's been a disaster in just about every way for the Palestinians (and it hasn't been a pool-party for the Jewish side either, just quietly).

Whatever happens, the Israeli Jews are not going to be weak in the face of the majority population of non-Jews. It is simply ignorant to posit an accomodation which will not protect minority rights in this context. Especially if that accomodation is a single political constitution for all the ground in question.

A contiguous non-Jewish territory does not exist. Non-Jews live in disconnected enclaves. There is no Mason-Dixon line. Nor could there be one unless hundreds of thousands of Jews were removed from dozens of linked settlements, linked to each other, to continguous Israeli territory and to the State apparatus. The real picture of the 'Palestinian territories' is one of semi-autonomous remaining enclaves and areas of concentrated populations of Palestinians. From enclave to enclave the Palestinians move with permission of the State power or not all.

Partition is the simplistic non-solution. The state Zionists, that faction of Jewry which seized control of the Zionist movement with the impetus of the Holocaust and who in bitterness and fear replaced God with the State of Israel, whose elected voice today is Netanahyu, know this. They know partition will not work. There is no viable second State, only a series of reservations with limited power and certain economic dependence. They have made this the reality on the ground.

The state Zionists will play the two state, two-step waltz for as long as necessary, primarily to amuse and distract politically important opinion in USland, and to some extent in old Europe.

On the ground they will practice colonisation of more territory, violent repression and oppression. They are caught in the inescapable logic of the idea of a Jewish state. It is they, not the Palestinians, who stand in the way of a pluralistic and democratic accomodation.

Stand with them if you will and with your non-solution that will never be, if that will assuage your conscience, though I don't know how it will unless you maintain an idea of the Palestinians as subhuman, deserving of their disenfranchisment and diminishment; I stand alongside those who do not equate Judaism with the State of Israel, with those who prefer democracy and pluralism to militarism and apartheid, with the oppressed, remembering that to do so was the primary ethical injunction of one very notable Jew in particular, as well as that of Judaism before it was infected by despair and fell into Holocaust theology.

Here is a book by an American Jewish theologian and scholar which helps to clarify the issues at hand.

"Judaism Does Not Equal Israel: The Rebirth of the Jewish Prophetic"


Universal democracy would destroy Israel. Since Israel is a Jewish state for the Jewish people they're never going to go for that. There are quite a few Muslim countries under Shariah law, the Palestinians could move to one of them but I'm not sure they're really wanted anywhere.

If democracy is going to destroy a state, then that state should be destroyed. In this case it should be destroyed through constitutional reformation. Jewish identity with the State of Israel is doing no one any good, including Jews, whose deaths and injuries in the cause of the State are of lesser consequence that the moral injury they suffer as oppressors.

Partition is not possible. Oppression may be sustainable for some time yet, at least as long as the US continues to support the state Zionist project. I don't know how long that will be.

Nobody will be free until a constitutional accomodation is made, though many Jews will maintain the pretense of freedom.

So all those Muslim countries under Shariah law should be destroyed? The Jewish people must have a land of their own, they are safe no where else and know this. The Jews built Israel starting in 1948, it is their home now as it has been for millenia. Democracy does not work, it only works when everyone can agree. This time they have nuclear weapons, there is no reason for Israel to fail.

I think Israel is doomed.

And the reason is peak oil.

Sure, they might go nuclear before they go. But that won't change the outcome. Though it could make it pretty unpleasant for the rest of us.

I said, "If democracy is going to destroy a state, then that state should be destroyed." I don't know on what basis you apparently conclude that Shariah law and democracy are incompatible. I don't know that Shariah Law, Rabbinical law, Canon law, and secular law, all with a constitutionally based jurisdiction cannot coexist within a democratic state. I do know that constitutions generally reflect the power relations of the constituent groups.

It is perfectly conceivable that Jews will have a 'homeland', even as a minority population, within an Israeli/Palestinian state. Frankly, I don't see any other way out for them.

I think Jews have already experienced that kind of "homeland" for a minority.

I think it was called Auschwitz ...

Universal democracy would destroy Israel.

Universal democracy would destroy the USA.

What's sauce for the goose ...

What do we mean by "democracy"?
Do we mean that people should be free to go where they please and live as they please?

In that case, the USA must allow millions of Mexicans from that failed state down other to cross the border freely and take up residence inside the USA wherever they please and live as they please, including converting whole states into Spanish only states, etc.

Worse yet, the USA must allow millions of Cannucks ... (just kidding)

That is why I had the caveats of good (including contiguous) land, and good water, so that a viable Palestinian state was achievable. And as I said, the establishment of a Jewish state after the Holocaust was - while at some level understandable - disastrous long-term, as subsequent history has clearly demonstrated. The idea of a Jewish monoculture in that part of the world was dubious and parlous from the start.

Monocultures continue to be very ordinary indeed. Those countries that maintain it and celebrate it are boring and dull as dishwater ... almost all Asia (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China I guess - it's a long list) plus lots of Europe, where being the same as everyone else is highly valued. Australia is an incredibly multicultural country, and better for that by several orders of magnitude I would suggest. And other places are too - USA, Canada, France and Britain to some extent, also a long diverse list.

My wife teaches in an elementary (primary) school of about 450 pupils - there are nearly 80 nationalities represented there - and this is not unusual. The country is still majority Anglo-Celtic, particularly in political and financial power of course, but the primary school I attended in the 1960s was entirely "white" - now it also has about 100 nationalities. This is fantastic - the level of ethnic tension here is absolutely tiny, despite the general conservatism of the populace at large.

Multiculturalism has been sold and bought very successfully indeed, by successive governments. Makes us interesting. I don't think Israel is (or ever will be) "interesting" in the same way, despite the huge range of countries its people come from.

"Obama's foreign relations are sophomoric"
As opposed to W's????

Outside Israel, the O man is still the most popular US pres in a long time.

But I do think he should just cut all aid to Israel and tell them they can do whatever they damn please.

Outside Israel, the O man is still the most popular US pres in a long time.

If he was outside of the US he would be popular with me too!

Actually, according to a recent poll i saw, Obama is more popular in Israel than Netanyahu.

and often commits social gaffs

O is certainly not perfect, but even so... more 'social gaffes' than W??? Dude set the bar so high for gaffes, verbal screw-ups, and Freudian slips, O would need a mile-high ladder to reach that sucker!

My favorite demonstration of W whitehouse brilliance was just prior to an official visit to Viet Nam the trip was announced on a white house website with a picture of both country's flags.

Dingbat and company posted the flag of the no-longer-existing South Vietnam.

Idiots in a timewarp.

What will Obama do when Iran announces they have the bomb,

Odds are the same thing once other nations announced they had "the bomb" - invoke the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction.

But if MAD is bunk, then is not the whole idea from the 1950's of the peaceful atom bunk and no one should have any fission power plants or reactors for science that way no one can have bombs.....right?

when Israel has clearly stated such a situation is unacceptable?

And why are you worried about what some other nation says?

Is that a black swan I see on the horizon?

Could be the same black swan as 'Saddam is building a bomb' back last decade. Say - was that a swan or just something else?

Israel has a habit of doing what they say they will do, and they have said that a nuclear Iran is an unacceptable threat to their nation. Iran has a habit of speaking broad threats toward Israel, while funding and supplying Hamas for decades, but nobody really knows what they'll do because they often don't do what they say.

Any military exchange between Iran and Israel is likely to bring the world of oil to an end. Is that a reasonable risk? The UN is obviously impotent in this and all other conflicts. The US will be "skewered" politically if Iran claims nukes, as the US will:
1) Have failed to prevent the nuclear Iran it said it would prevent, with a weakening in they eyes of friend and foe, or
2) Have to take military steps itself to rectify the situation, or
3) Have to live with the repercussion of any Israeli action on the Arab world

MAD only works if both sides don't want to see the end of the world. Eventually one side will. Any suicide bomber would fit the bill. Do you think LA is safe from proliferated nukes? How hard should the US work to prevent further proliferation?

Israel has a habit of doing what they say they will do,

And? Why is that BO's or America's problem?

Iran has a habit of speaking broad threats toward Israel

And I've seen claims that such is based on poor translations. Do you speak Farsi and know?

I can find all kinds of crap said by various people in 'leadership' roles in various nation-states VS other nation-states. Doesn't mean it is official policy. So where exactly are you getting this idea?

Plenty of mention of various attack plans of the US Army war college VS other nation states. Matter of fact I believe one is an attack on Canada. Rather official - US Army War college they are. Yet I doubt I'd find many people who'd buy that because this plan exists that the US Right now is planning to go after Canada.

The UN is obviously impotent in this and all other conflicts.

And the UN gets it 'power' from where?

The US will be "skewered" politically if Iran claims nukes

When it comes to nukes, the US long ago was 'skewered'. The "law of the land" has clauses that if you have fission weapons and havn't not signed various international paperwork you are not 'spose to get money from the US.

Can you prove that the various laws the US has on the books WRT fission power/weapons have been followed?

Have failed to prevent the nuclear Iran it said it would prevent

And what LAW was this? Why do you hate America so much that you want America to play policeman?

Have to take military steps itself to rectify the situation

What situation is this? Various sources claim they have no such fission weapons program at this time. Is your position that the US should do something because some other nation state says the US should?

Have to live with the repercussion of any Israeli action on the Arab world

And this is different than the present situation how?

MAD only works if both sides don't want to see the end of the world. Eventually one side will.

So where's the effort to make sure no sides do? Why not 'no one should have any fission program of any sort because humans are just not responsible enough'?

With your expansions and baiting, this is getting long.

Israel has a habit of doing what they say they will do,

And? Why is that BO's or America's problem?

Because what they say they will do will cause us great problems, and we have a deep and long alliance.

Iran has a habit of speaking broad threats toward Israel

And I've seen claims that such is based on poor translations. Do you speak Farsi and know?

And I've seen claims that they say one thing in English and another in Farsi. All I can go on is what I see in the press, and it says their leadership speaks more nonsense than Biden even. The better question is, which actually speak for the power structure of the country, and the military?

I can find all kinds of crap said by various people in 'leadership' roles in various nation-states VS other nation-states. Doesn't mean it is official policy. So where exactly are you getting this idea?
Where have they officially said they welcome Israel as part of the Arab world and wish them well?

Plenty of mention of various attack plans of the US Army war college VS other nation states. Matter of fact I believe one is an attack on Canada. Rather official - US Army War college they are. Yet I doubt I'd find many people who'd buy that because this plan exists that the US Right now is planning to go after Canada.

If the War College starts funding cross-border missile strikes and insurgency, I would worry more about it.

The UN is obviously impotent in this and all other conflicts.

And the UN gets it 'power' from where?
Nowhere. That's the point. It has value as a sounding body for impotent nations to give them room to blow off steam, and for powerful nations to insult each other. That's about it.

The US will be "skewered" politically if Iran claims nukes

When it comes to nukes, the US long ago was 'skewered'. The "law of the land" has clauses that if you have fission weapons and havn't not signed various international paperwork you are not 'spose to get money from the US.

Can you prove that the various laws the US has on the books WRT fission power/weapons have been followed?
No, but why would I care to? We have prejudiced trade against India, though China and Pakistan got nukes as well. Seems like our allies fare worst in this regard?

Have failed to prevent the nuclear Iran it said it would prevent

And what LAW was this? Why do you hate America so much that you want America to play policeman?
The first law of leadership (and parenting, by the way) is not to issue an order you know will not be obeyed. It undermines your authority. It should simply never have been said. I'm not a big world policeman guy -- I think armies are to break things and kill lots of people, not to stand around as targets.

Have to take military steps itself to rectify the situation

What situation is this? Various sources claim they have no such fission weapons program at this time. Is your position that the US should do something because some other nation state says the US should?
The international watchdog agency charged with watching such things says they are getting closer, and continue to have a weapons focus. I'm not saying we should or shouldn't -- I'm saying we shouldn't say we will, and then not.

Have to live with the repercussion of any Israeli action on the Arab world

And this is different than the present situation how?
This is the current situation. It's not a good one. The whole point of foreign policy is to influence the world toward your favor. Seems like we're failing at this. Back to the initial point.

MAD only works if both sides don't want to see the end of the world. Eventually one side will.

So where's the effort to make sure no sides do? Why not 'no one should have any fission program of any sort because humans are just not responsible enough'?
That's the point -- there isn't much effort to keep fission programs peaceful, nor to eliminate them. I'm personally not sure there should be, since less fission would cause huge problems in an oil-constrained world, and more fission would lessen the effect of an oil-related world incident. A nuke going off here or there would actually probably be less bad than the Strait of Hormuz shutting down for a year or two.

Here's to being careful with our words, and more careful with our actions.

With your expansions and baiting, this is getting long.

Most of the time when the nationstate being discussed is Isreal the discussion goes ugly fast in the same way religion talk does.

If you want to call it baiting, I'm not gonna stop you - because I can't.

will cause us great problems,

The desire to be at the slop bucket with all the other pigs over cheap energy will continue to 'cause issues' along with a monetary system based on interest and the growth needed to service the interest. That old one time energy rich hydrocarbons has fueled the growth that pays the interest. The lack of cheap energy hurts a model that many have benefitted from and don't want to abandon.

But lets have a thought game shall we?

Lets say "the masses" were to one day wake up to collapse.
And this game has a refrain:
who's to blame and who's going to be asked to be accountable?

Now, if the collapse comes from a poorly managed money system? (refrain)
What if the collapse comes from a poorly managed energy system? (refrain)
What if the collapse comes from a food collapse due to something that attacks crops? (refrain)
What if the collapse is due to war? (refrain)
What if the collapse is due to a solar mass ejection? (refrain)
What if the collapse comes about due to a lack of rain? (refrain)

If collapse is coming due to X and X would result in in-nation 'leadership' being called into account - would it not be better from the 'leadership' position to see if blame could be shifted or 'create' a different reason for collapse so that "the other" could be blamed instead?

Are you sure that what you are concerned about is not some form of 'pass the blame' game?

Seems like our allies fare worst in this regard?

Which "allies"? How do these "allies" treat the US nation-state? How does the US nation-state treat the "allies"?

Passing judgement as to who gets the short brown sticky end of the stick in relationships with "allies" is going to shed more heat than light in most cases.

It should simply never have been said.

This statement you seem to be hung up on - who said it when and was it backed up by law?

The US of A "leadership" says a lotta stuff.
Lets just go with Barbary pirates as it is comfortably in the past.
In 1785, Jefferson declared that tribute was "money thrown away" and that the most convincing argument that these outlaws would understand was gunpowder and shot.
Congress, in 1795, authorized payment of tribute.

So no payment and a statement of no payment, then payment. (later no payment with a song made about the non payment.)

So I don't quite understand why the hang up on what "leadership" says and that somehow THIS time the words mean something and will be followed.

For that matter, what makes you think that "leadership" will do anything that is a direct benefit to you vs their own benefit?

Here's to being careful with our words, and more careful with our actions.

Such applies to nation-states and to the posters no?

(and to be fair - the last time I paid attention the the bomb debate WRT Iran the IAEA had reports saying 'no' - this time I looked there are reports saying 'possible' so that is a change. Thus this little back and forth had some effect. But really - if MAD is a viable position, does it matter who has the technology? And if MAD is not, then why is Man not rejecting the idea of the peaceful atom from the 1950's as a failed experiment?)

If the War College starts funding cross-border missile strikes and insurgency, I would worry more about it.

And what if a nation-state is killing people in other nation-states without a formal declration of war per the laws of the nation-state?

How about a nation-state is faking passports and assassinating humans in another nation state?

What if a nation-state is flying over borders and attacking people in a different nation-state that is listed as 'an ally' or at least one there is no on-paper 'we are fighting' statement?

You express a concern about Iran funding X in nation-state Y. Do the other actors in your passion-play get a pass when they do similar or worse things elsewhere? Who in your passion play has clean hands?

Right now it looks like you have an axe you wish to grind with one nation-state but you are not willing to apply the same criteria to other nation-states.

I figure most nations carry out espionage and under-hand deals. Why wouldn't they?

Some here tend to give all of the US's enemies and adversaries, declared and otherwise, a pass while vilifying the US and its allies. I tend to think most people are more or less similar, but I worry about personality-driven regimes because they have a history of causing problems in the world.

If a nation-state doesn't want international actors playing in its backyard, then it has to expend specific energy to stop them. Who else will, the UN? If you're Pakistan or Yemen, too bad, you ain't got much leverage. Iran obviously has some decent options, so they use them.

The biggest issue I have with Iran is they do not seem to be playing their hand to optimum advantage. They could readily dig out all sorts of concessions for solar plants or sweetheart trades for oil, but they insist on choosing nukes. Why?

here tend to give all of the US's enemies and adversaries, declared and otherwise, a pass while vilifying the US and its allies.

- Just to be clear, that's the UK, right? Oh, and the Aussies I suppose. And Canada vilified? I suppose examples must exist, but really. I can only speak for myself I suppose, but I do my level best to hold each "side" only to account for its own actions proven in the historical record. There's plenty there to easily find. I have no problem with most individual Us citizens, but you REALLY need to put a leash on a lot of your political leadership.

most nations

But not all? So - where/who are these nation-states not 'carrying out espionage and under-hand deals'?

I worry about personality-driven regimes because they have a history of causing problems in the world.

Because the ones "under the rule of law" never bother the neighbors?

concessions for solar plants

I'm guessing that part of that reason is if you have a nation with blowing sand its a bit hard on traditional solar.

If somehow solar panels/heilostats could gather water to 'make the desert bloom' (water vapor from the 'cold night'/change the microcleiment) in addition to gather photons during the day there may be an incentive.

(Yea - a wet desert would wipe out that ecosystem. I'm not sure if that is a net good with more water vapor in the air or not via a water cycling desert space)

they insist on choosing nukes.

Because they want to follow in the footprints of the Shaw?

Or perhaps like Americans they don't think a solar budget is what they want to live on.

America can be seen as leading by example. If America is busy building fission plants and not solar - why should (as our example in the passion play) Iran be held to a different standard?

MAD only works if both sides don't want to see the end of the world. Eventually one side will.

That implies that you believe the widespread misperception that Iran is suicidally bent. All evidence is that they are actually pretty nonbelligerent. Sure they've given support to groups we don't like. But we've been funding Balukistani terrorists which and exceedingly popular in Iran (and actually once overthrew their elected government). Part of the problem is communication. Hyperbolic speaking is a trademark of Persian speakers. But fellow Persians know not to take it seriously. But, it makes for great fodder for foreigners with an anti-Iranian agenda. The only substantial group I see wanting to bring on the end of the world are Christian Millenarians (of which the US has a fair share).

Hyperbolic speaking is a trademark of Persian speakers.

And of plenty of people who are 'speaking to their core audience' as they know they will get a reaction and support.

Elected 'leaders', 'leaders' of various Churches, people who are 'in marketing', 'leaders' in various corporations, and the ever popular 'infotainment' market - one can find non-Persians playing the same hyperbolic game.

Every time the topic of 'Iran said this VS Israel' there is another round of 'them mean it/no they don't'. This time seems less heated than others tho.

Elections coming up in the UK (likely May 6). The wife of the leader of the Conservative party (tipped to win in the polls) now pregnant with third child.


David Cameron quoted as saying:

"I don't believe Britain is over-populated. I don't have any plans to reduce it.

"I would quite like to add to it, personally, by quite possibly one, at some stage in the future."

This is pushing my doom-ometer up a notch.

Rockman, As soon as I "discovered" Peak Oil back in 2007, I pointed it out to my older sister who, lives in the UK with her husband and two sons. She said something to the effect that more bad news is not what she needs or wants to hear. With the increasing frequency of PO related news in the UK (especially in her newspaper of choice, The Guardian), she actually mentioned the words Peak Oil to me the other day. Of all the BAU places, I've often thought that the UK is most likely to be the bellwether for post peak societies, what with all their declining oil/gas production, ELM and very high dependence on FF and imported food. This is getting interesting.

Alan from the islands

True Alan. As the old Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times. Other countries have or are currently dealing with the beginning of the end with re: to PO. But let's be brutally honest: most Americans could care less what Indonisia or other 3rd world countries will go thru. But England...they're like us...they count. And I think that's where this country will start paying serious attention: when the Brits start a serious and prolonged period of suffering.

I understand your sister's attitude. I had a day just like that yesterday: don't throw anymore crap at me...I'm already loaded up. But the sun came up this morning and it was time to deal with those new problems. It's unfortunate that we'll likely have to wait to see the Brits take a hard hit before we begin accepting the unacceptable. We have little time to start adjusting today let alone waiting another 5 years or so.

The MSM has lost nearly all creditability in the eyes of many including myself. If it comes from Fox, CNBC or any such TV source I discount it to zero immediately. Same for radio which I never listen too just like I don't watch television anymore.

As for newspapers and magazines, few read them and they are not much better.

So in view of the above I wonder if it matters much if they report the truth. When truth is lumped in with a long series of lies, it often is treated as just another lie. Many people can not tell the difference anymore.

If it comes from Fox, CNBC or any such TV source I discount it to zero immediately.

Yes, I picked up a new word "disinfotainment", which I have added to my active vocabulary. I think I probably first saw it on TOD, but I don't remember who deserves the hohour of first use.

Barring perhaps Keith Olberman, I'd give CNBC far more credit here. While many of their commentators lean "left" (for America, that is --keeping in mind that our so-called "lefties" are usually far to the right of your average European), you still get plenty of facts in between diatribes from Maddow, Schultz, Matthews, etc. Not so much on Faux News.

I almost hate to ask this, X. What DO you rely on for information?

Not TV, not magazines, not radio and not newspapers. Telepathy? Does that work?


News is just an abstraction. And as such you can't compare it.

I almost hate to ask this, X. What DO you rely on for information?

This is a good question. My answer, from a UK perspective, is the BBC (radio, TV, and mainly, the BBC website) for news. I do think that the BBC's analysis can get distorted by their requirement to be 'balanced', because that can lead in some instances to over exaggerating the weight of some arguments.

I regularly take the Times and Sunday Times. However, I am increasingly filing these under propaganda and fiction as, with the Internet, I can read and research other sources (and, yes, one has to be careful with those Internet sources), and so do a certain amount of fact-checking.

I regularly read blogs on the Environment and Climate, such as Guardian Environment, Nature Climate Reports, New Scientist, Climate Progress and Real Climate. It was reading those that led me to this site, and from there to The Energy Bulletin.

I spent quite a lot of time on David Mackay's site, Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air However, now he has become a government scientific advisor, the site is not being updated as much.

I also read a number of UK and US IT sites, The Register, ZDnet, Arstechnica, Wired, Macintosh sites and I still keep in touch legal matters relating to Data Protection, Information Security, Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations.

However, in my opinion, life is a journey of discovery of finding out the extent of one's own ignorance!

The best part of the BBC for news is the world service. Also, Radio 4 between 5.30am and 6.30 am. They regularly report farmers/academics with resource limit /PO slant. Later in the morning it degenerates into politics and name calling.


It's now possible to bypass much - nay, ALL - of what comes out of tv, magazines, the radio, and the newspaper, just by doing your own research over the internet.

Moreover, if you get your news from reading the NYT on the internet, you are not getting your news from a "newspaper" which is a a stack of papers better used to wash windows. You are getting your news from a media company (namely, The New York Times Company), which is publishing said news digitally. And if the source comes from the AP or Reuters or wherever - well then that's your source.

I second X: I get none of my news from cable, the airwaves, or print. It's all digital from the internet.

As far as the MSM: well yes as mentioned above much of what I get over the internet comes from the MSM. However, the internet gives you so much more control. On tv, you either listen or turn it off. If you have a magazine or newspaper, you still have the physical thing with you, which you must trash. On the internet, if you see something disagreeable, like a story about how "peak oil is a myth" or such, just one click, and you no longer have to view it, and you have the whole world at your fingers!

I too was surprised that this story did not get more notice. However, there was the rather important domestic story on healthcare hogging the headlines so I overlooked this monopolisation of the comments page by the good burghers of Team TOD USA.

With luck this story will move from the business pages of the broadsheets into the comments and review pages of the tabloid dailies and the weekend papers to give it widespread exposure, before we have the UK general election, which is now only about 6 weeks away.

However, there was the rather important domestic story on healthcare hogging the headlines

Wasn't it just utterly nauseating? The bloody American healthcare bill was all over the front page of the domestic BBC website, was top story through out the day on BBC TV news, (falling to third place on the evening 10pm news), was all over Sky news and ITV. The newspapers were all over it and the bloody talking heads on radio couldn't shut up about it. Hours and hours of Obama-care; on and on and on it went...

For pity sake! I DON'T CARE ABOUT AMERICAN HEALTH CARE!! Sorry, my good American pals, I love your country with all its quirks but seriously, I couldn't give a rat's backside about your health care bill! Christ, we have our own problems with our pubic services and there is a general election just weeks away. You would have thought that our news outlets would ease up on the Obama-fest and report something which actually matters to Britons!

HAcland - maybe the BEEB just had a slow news day? I guess for many Europeans it is simply baffling that a country as large and rich as the US does not already have an equivalent to the National Health Service. Having had personal experience of emergency care in France (bee stings), Portugal (surfboard-bashed ear!) and Italy (stitches in foot) I can say that I am a big fan of the 'free' medical cover we share and enjoy.

At least we did not have another dirge about Tiger Wood's plans for the next 24 hours.

Actually, I care more about Tiger Woods than I do about healthcare! The media overblows both, but they do that to everything.

Tiger Woods is a fascinating character. Study his life history (including that of his parents), his goals/ambitions, his successes, his wife/kids, his fans, his enemies, his impact on sport, and you will know more about the pulse of America than reading anything about healthcare.


Thats because you don't understand what it really means. It means Obama is a commie and thus we have not become socialist/commie now. So we are the new Soviet Union ... see thats not irrelevent ?!

Perhaps you should care HA: a local radio joker commented this morning: where will the Brits and Canadians go now for first class health care? Not that funny but the best I've seen so far.

You shouldn't believe everything you read about UK health care - if you are really ill you get world class health care. I speak from experience, most of the tax I paid in the last several years was spent on me this year, it's totally unsustainable but I am very grateful. The NHS is the UK's biggest employer.

In the UK we can go private if we want to for the baest possible service, in my experience of it over 40 years or so it's no better than the free (at the point of need) system.

I think the BBC went mad on USA health care 'cos the average brit can't believe how callous your society is - you have nearly as many people without adequate health care as the total English population.

How do you know USA health care is so much better - a large proportion of my US colleagues are quite sick people, even the young ones?

xeroid --that was a joke. Everyone outside the U.S. already *knows* the U.S. system is flawed and highly unequal.

Hey Rockman: Guess you westerners will just have to travel to Ontario now, eh? (2nd best cancer care clinic in N America by survival rate after one in Boston is in Toronto; top-notch brain surgery teaching hospital at Western U; McMaster, U of T, etc. etc.)

You should remember to put a smiley symbol after your jokes. ;<)

Not my joke lenny...just a repeat of the radio DJ. And I knew the Brits weren't in that bad a shape but a little dig from this side on the pond from time to time doesn't hurt...much.

Maybe the media should cover the purchase of 2,443 F-35 Lightning II aircraft at a honking price of $110 million a piece... Now that is a waste of money. We have over 9,000 nuclear warheads should someone want to invade, not to mention 80+ submarines and thousands of troops spread across the globe. All this talk about healthcare yet no mention on the vast piles of waste spent on killing others in the name of freedom!!! However, i do realize that if we don't spend all this money, the terrorists win.

Oh, calm down. We haven't even begun to try to kill people in any significant manner. Airplanes will come in handy if we choose to do so, though.

Personally, I think a lighter, more efficient F-16 would do fine for most applications. Most who need killing won't have an air defense system that works well anyway, and for those that do we'd have the stealth planes.

More seriously, I'm all about priorities. Seems like 2553 airplanes is better than 1 AIG, at similar cost. But Alan would say 1 AIG would electrify much of the nation's rail, which seems better. But it'll cost, what, 4 AIGs for healthcare over 10 years.

Pretty soon we're going to run out AIGs to spend. Maybe we should build a priority list just in case we someday have to pick and choose.

it'll cost, what, 4 AIGs for healthcare over 10 years.

This argument puzzles me. As I understand it, the US now spends about 16+ % of GDP on healthcare for only about 80% of its population, to get results which are statistically just slightly worse than Cuba and Romania, nowhere near as good as Canada which spends about 10% of (a smaller per-capita) GDP to cover 100% of its population. Overall, Canadians are far happier on average than US citizens with the services they receive, witness the mad rush back to Canada if a vacationer falls ill in the US, though agreed a very few very wealthy people might occasionally travel abroad in order to get immediate treatment when the doctors here decide a condition is not a top priority and the patient won't be harmed by queuing for a bit. So if the US takes steps to make its health insurance system more like that in Canada, how might that increase health insurance costs in the US?

125% * 80% coverage = 100% coverage
125% * 16% of GDP = 20% of GDP

Assuming a basic linear progression, which is perhaps on the low side since the ill are perhaps disproportionately represented in the uncovered 20%.

If the issue was cost, then the legislation would address that, but it doesn't. The system is working perfectly, generating a nice skim for insurance companies, hefty drug revenues, strong lobbyist payouts, and increasing centralization. The new legislation will help pick up the laggards and feed them into the revenue mill as well.

The better question is how Canada manages care and costs. Today Medicaid pays so little that it drives doctors to cost shift and to deny new Medicaid patients. I make more than my kids pediatrician, after his expenses (and that's not a lot), and almost as much as my wife's OB/Gyn, and he has to do rounds and late-night deliveries.

Perhaps Canadians hustle home because they'd have little US coverage without cash?

The better question is how Canada manages care and costs.

From what I can see, Canada uses three or four common-sense strategies.

1) It spends almost nothing on medical insurance administration. Really. Interaction with customers amounts to the cost of issuing a plastic health insurance card once every ten years. With doctors amounts to paying invoices and occasionally random auditing. And unitil 1996, this province didn't even have a consolidated G/L accounting system for its hospitals. (I know because I had a large hand in developing it in software on a contract. Only reason they did it was so they could help the individual community hospitals compare expenditures by category to help identify waste). BTW, insurance admin. in the US eats up about 20% of all medical expenditures, for no benefit.

2) It spends nearly nothing at hospital admissions trying to figure out who's "eligable" for a service. Doctors simply carry out whatever service their training has taught them, no questions asked esp. in emergencies. (BTW, most doctors I've interacted with seem to PREFER this rather than having to decide who gets drugged up and bundled into a taxi to nowhere because they can't pay).

3) The ministry of health maintains a staff of pro negotiators who negotiate bulk supply prices with the drug companies, and encourage / facilitate legal generic manufacturing. Hence US citizens buying their meds over the internet from Cdn. pharmacies.

4) Prevention, prevention, prevention. Free vacinations for anything worthwhile, widely promoted. Visiting professional nurses working in the community (my sister, an RN, does this). Promotion of healthy lifestyle choices, taxing of poor ones with revenues to insurer, eg. provincial govt. Strong support for whatever-its-called, the government-paid doctors whose job is to try to keep people healthy, etc. etc. etc. Last few years I was working as a non-employee contractor at a large company in a rural town of 50,000. The Victoria Order of Nurses came in and set up a very expert flu vacination clinic to which everyone on site was invited on their own schedule, for free. Just fill out an alergy history form, sign permission, get the shot, sit down for ten minutes, done. They also took over 1/2 the cafeteria for three days at a time twice a year and offered free blood pressure / blood sugar / cholesterol measurement / BMI calc. tests free to anyone who would stop in (I always did, as most others). This year I'm on a different contract, so I just made an appointment with my family doctor, dropped in, got blood pressure checked and a vaccination, five minutes. Free. Here there's 500,000 population, so the town has a single central clinic which does all colonoscopy tests, assembly-line style. My doctor scheduled my wife and I for tests there, the clinic set up appointments by phone, we went in together with no waiting, two specialists anesthetized us at the same time in exam rooms, we were out in two hours. Our doctor called three days later to say they'd removed a small polyp from me by testing showed it benign, no worry. Town just built a new 1.2 million sq ft hospital, all latest equipment.

5) All medical records are computerized on a central system. My doctor schedules me for a CT scan for a stroke I had, the next day he calls me in and has the scan images on the computer in his office. If he doesn't understand any part of the accompanying diagnostic analysis, he phones up the analyst right then and discusses, then perhaps re-schedules further tests if he wants. Free. If I want a second opinion, I just make my own appointment with any other doctor I want, no charge (though I've never thought it necessary).

Sorry Len, this sounds just too damn sensible. Maybe that's why us Americans don't believe it, among all the other sensible things we don't believe in.

Maybe I'll feel less depressed and cynical tomorrow.

What prevents fraudulent claims by doctors or labs, with or without patient collusion?

What keeps supplies and durable goods affordable, and supply companies from inflating costs?

How does home healthcare work, or visiting nurses, in terms of payment and scheduling?

How is end-of-life care handled?

What is the tort framework for malpractice, and who pays for errant procedure repair?

What prevents fraudulent claims by doctors or labs, with or without patient collusion?

As I said, statistics. The insurer / payer entity (provincial ministry of health) has the records of all the doctors for its 14 million residents in a single database, and can easily identify a fraudulent doctor's outlier billing patterns for audits. Almost unheard-of, though an occasional one gets into the news, perhaps once every few years.

What keeps supplies and durable goods affordable, and supply companies from inflating costs?

Hospitals are independent entities, mostly owned by municipal governments, universities or rarely, charitable organizations. They each make their own purchasing decisions, and with the new consolidated G/L, can compare their costs in great detail to averages of all hospitals. Doctors also are private independent businesses, usually working in clinic partnership businesses monitoring all costs to maximize profits.

How does home healthcare work, or visiting nurses, in terms of payment and scheduling?

Patient applies to ministry of health to qualify for visits, when qualified, all or most cost covered by ministry.

How is end-of-life care handled?

For-profit private seniors care apartment buildings and nursing homes, perhaps some charitable operated but rare. Works well, seniors are encouraged to stay as active as possible, eg. the last memory I have of my father as he was dying of bowel cancer at 88 is him happily out on my brother's ranch helping him set fence posts on a farm my brother was retiring to. Dad and mom had moved from the retirement home they'd built in interior BC out to a private seniors home in Alberta to be near my brother when mom could no longer drive safelty at age 84 and Dad was diagnosed with cancer. It was a beautiful setting for them, large gardens for mom to grow flowers, excellent private apartment well appointed, many other people their age to play cards etc. with, full-time nursing staff / cleaning staff / kitchen staff did all the work. The staff very unobtrusively monitored their whereabouts, eg. always had to be informed when taking them out for a day trip etc. Cost just a little more than their basic government pensions provided.

What is the tort framework for malpractice, and who pays for errant procedure repair?

Doctors pay for errors in legal framework if patient wins a lawsuit, but awards tend to be very reasonable, eg. provide little incentive for ambulance-chasing lawyers. Doctors maintain own malpractice insurance with private companies, but not a burden I've ever heard them complain of. Not sure if government has legislated settlement caps but that may be how it is controlled. In general, an incompentent doctor will be sued sufficiently that they can no longer practice and make money, eg. on the news last year was a case of a surgeon in the neighbouring province who consistently made errors and was sued to the point where he stopped practicing. The journalists point was that the hospital administration probably should have identified the problem sooner and pulled his credentials, but no lawsuit over that. Agreed, perhaps the more lenient process here might be allowing slip-ups more often but to date I've not heard anyone complain on it.

Much of this seems reasonable, and would seem to still be the case even if the individual paid by himself -- the docs/clinics don't care who is on the other side of the magic plastic card, really.

Are there standards of care limits or procedure delays that chafe non-urgent patients?

There seems to be significant differences in the legal/tort aspects, drug pricing, supply cost transparency, databasing, and centralized care guidelines.

In the US for each of those there is a lobbyist arm and complex regulations, and often a host of competing guidelines or plans for each vendor/insurer. Transparency is the most obvious lack across the board though -- opacity is necessary for inefficiency, greed, and graft to thrive.

Are there standards of care limits or procedure delays that chafe non-urgent patients?

Depends.... No system is without flaws, and this one also has a few.

a) I've never known my doctor (of 30 years) to not prescribe any test he thought might be helpful. X-rays, CT's, MRI, blood work, ultrasoubnds are some I've experienced for various reasons. I don't think he makes any extra by doing so (except for the xray, ultrasound and blood lab, which are part of the clinic in which he is a partner). And of course he may or may not choose to schedule a followup appointment, for which he bills I would assume. eg. on one occasion my doctor couldn't understand the result interpretation on a CT scan, so he immediately scheduled a re-scan, which was done within the week. The local hospital has two CT's connected to the emergency room and processing is routine. Many smaller communities do have to send their residents to larges cities to get eg. CT's or MRI's, though the province has at least one CT machine installed in a pair of trailers which travel around with staff to smaller communities.

b) Not uncommon to wait up to eg. 6 months for certain surguries, eg. hip replacements. I expect its a relatively low funding priority. Also my brother, who still actively ranches with horses, was / is quite upset because the Alberta system refused to provide him a (i think) titanium hip socket, instead offering one made of lesser material with no option to pay the extra himself. That bit can be controversial but I think is based on statistical evaluations of net benefit, which probably show the titanium socket to be little if any added benefit.

c) My son has a small steel sliver between the tendon and bone of a finger which occasionally bothers him. The doctor found it with an ultrasound when he went to complain of the occasional pain, and scheduled him to a plastic surgeon's clinic to have it removed. However, the clinic couldn't find the sliver with their ultrasound, so now he's gone back to the doctor for confirmation, which was done. I'm not sure what his next step will be, probably more detailed data sent to the clinic or something. I'd have thought central records should have resolved. Maybe its a difference of opinion on interpretation of the images? They'll sort it out.

d) My daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer two yrs ago, age upper 30's. The treatment process for her was first class. Snap, snap, snap. Quickly into surgerys for diagnosis and lump and lymph node removal. Excellent consultations on chemo and radiation with people she trusted giving straight advice (eg. convinced her to do both chemo and radiation when she thought her research indicated only radiation. either treatment optional based on her own decisions with consultations with several experts. She did 6 months of chemo and radiation and didn't miss a day of work, was never sick or anything, though she lost all hair for a while. (Only cost to employer was a voluntary contribution of a natural wig to help out). She's fine now, we don;t expect to hear of it again.

e) Ontario's a large place with a lot of small mining, logging and aboriginal communities in remote northern locations. My wife's family lives in a town of about 7,000 1,200 miles north-west of here (Brampton, suburb of Toronto). If their doctor decides a treatment is needed which isn't provided locally, the system pays to fly them down here for it. Many of their visits here are due to that, eg. brother-in-law having an orthroscopic surgery for a hernia. Often sent to Winnipeg in next province. My sister's granddaughter was born with a hole in her heart, fatal without immediate surgery. System paid for child and mother to fly to Toronto. Mother was set up in a nearby hotel while Childrens Hospital University of Toronto did the surgery, child is now a thriving teenager. HOWEVER, many aboriginal communities too small to support access to even rudimentary services and too remote to get to even regional hospitals do complain about their service (though proportionally a lot more is spent on them than average).

f) One problem with this system is that quality and timliness of service depend in part on whether you have a "family doctor" relationship or not, as all steps up the hierarchy of treatment must start with a GP's recommendation. Rural and remote areas often have trouble attracting GP's so not uncommon for new imigrants and young independents to not have a GP relationship when something happens. Their alternative is simply to present at hospital emergency, which has become something of a general practice clinic as a result, with lineups and long waits for non-critical care. They've now developed "walk-in clinics" (private medical business operations) to try to siphon this traffic out of the high-cost emerg. rooms, but hasn't worked too well. Problem is people are simply too complacent until a serious illness happens, eg. a single friend of mine recently imigrated from China went to a doctor in China on a trip back there and was diagnosed with a tumour in her abdomen. She immediately returned to Canada, but had no relationship with a GP so every step required multiple visits to the hospital emergency. After a month or two they got a GP in the next town to take her on and after that treatment progressed well, and it looks like she'll be fine now, but she was complaining quite loudly for a while. (I know, I used to drive her to most of her appointments).

I don't get why we need ANY manned aircraft. It seems the current wars are being fought with drones (predator/global hawk)very successfully, plus if they get shot down your not out a very qualified, highly trained pilot. I think we could shave huge amts off the military budget and still be able to defend our country. Any country other then China or Russia should be a piece of cake to invade and free their resources, i mean people, with our current inventory.

A shame...the Brits have national healthcare, but they now have have no oil or gas!

I'd rather have oil and gas.

where will the Brits and Canadians go now for first class health care?

India, of course, where the US health insurers are sending Americans now. It's the new outsourcing trend.

But the UK NHS is entirely staffed by Indian doctors and West Indian nurses. If it wasn't it would have collapsed 30 years ago!

Try telling that to the BNP.

Sounds like the NHS couldn't afford to hire locals because their wages were too low.

At least Griffin acknowledges peak oil as a very significant issue. More than I can say about New Labour.

"I couldn't give a rat's backside about your health care bill! Christ, we have our own problems with our pubic services"

Most unfortunate that you are having difficulties with your pubic services. Thank you for letting us know.

More importantly, what gives him the right to do anything with my butt?

The original report is here:

The status of conventional world oil reserves—Hype or cause for concern?

It's behind a paywall, but the price is reasonable compared to, say, CERA reports.

Also there is another great article, and much longer, on Sir David King's assessment.

Peak Oil back in the news

Of course this is a blog and not MSM but this article gives a much deeper explanation as only a blog can afford to do. MSM article must be short as not to take up too much space and not so long that the general reader loses interest.

Skeptics point out that total world oil reserves continue to grow. But this may not be a reliable indication of where we stand: Often, in nations that have seen a peak and subsequent decline in production, domestic reserves continued to rise right up to, or even past, the date of peak production. Why? Oil companies replace reserves of high-quality, cheaply-produced oil with reserves of low-quality, slow-, or expensive-to-produce oil or tar sands.

However the story has been picked up by the Sydney Morning Herald and that is the Mainstream Media.

Ron P.

The only comment I would make is that Peak Oil is about AFFORDABLE flow rates NOT reserves, so IMO Sir David doesn't understand World peak oil, let alone the effects of ELM on major importers like the 25 European nations importing ALL of their oil.

IMO there is no proof that world peak oil will occur at any particular % of depletion of reserves (even if we knew what the reserves are, which we don't!)

It is the lack of affordability that causes WORLD peak demand (and the excess of supply we are seeing) - if the world could afford $200 a barrel oil the oilco's would drill a lot more infill wells to boost flow rates/depletion as it would be profitable to do so.

IMO Sir David doesn't understand World peak oil, let alone the effects of ELM on major importers like the 25 European nations importing ALL of their oil.

Nonsense! Just because a man writes a paper on the importance of those greatly exaggerated reserves does not mean he understands absolutely nothing else about the peak oil debate.

Xeroid, I think you completely misunderstand the whole point David King is trying to make. Of course he understands that peak oil is all about flow rates. The point he is trying to make is that due to declining reserves, those flow rates will soon start to decline.

Most governments are not concerned about peak oil because they believe reserves are adequate to keep those flow rates increasing for decades. Actual reserves are of critical importance. If those massive OPEC reserves are exaggerated then flow rates will start to decline very soon.

So do not get hung up on flow rates only! Everything, reserves, ease and cost of extraction, the price of oil, ELM and even the availability of equipment and personnel are all important in determining flow rates.

Ron P.

Everything, reserves, ease and cost of extraction, the price of oil, ELM and even the availability of equipment and personnel are all important in determining flow rates.

Exactly, so talking about reserves as being the major factor in the timing of World Peak Oil shows me he doesn't understand.

We are not running out of oil, we are running out of affordable oil - knowing the SIZE of reserves tells you NOTHING about the price of profitable flow rates.

knowing the SIZE of reserves tells you NOTHING about the price of profitable flow rates.

You are dead wrong on that count Xeroid. If Saudi actually had 262 billion barrels of reserves, and the rest of those OPEC nations actually had the reserves they claim, we could conclude that we will have very cheap oil for at least two decades. They are phony. Because reserves are so low is why we are running out of cheap oil.

That being said, I just don't understand why some people get so upset when someone talks about reserves. Reserves have everything to do with flow rates, or future flow rates to be more exact. As for me I want to know everything there is to know about reserves, discovery rates, extraction rates, depletion rates, and everything else.

So when someone mentions that OPEC reserves are a myth others come out with "that don't matter, that don't matter. If you think it does then you just don't understand peak oil. Flow rates are all that matters."

Damn, that crap gets so tiring. If you feel a strong need to be critical of someone then knock the peak oil deniers, knock the cornucopians, for Pete's sake don't be so damn critical of those that are in agreement with us. Saying that Sir David King doesn't understand peak oil simply because he wrote an essay on inflated reserves just leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

Ron P.

Ron -- There is a method to normalize in ground reserves (I suspect you already know this) but unfortunately we're stuck with those big holes in our data base. You have to have a reliable (at least reasonable) future price deck, a valid operations cost, a fairly valid flow rate model (granted the most unlikely number we'll every get out of OPEC) and future development costs and time schedule. Put it all together and you can get Net Present Value. Granted classic NPV calcs require a discount rate. Such a choice varies widely but typically between 5% and 15%. But it's a way to compare the "value" of two different fields. Both A and B fields have 10 miilion bbls of recoverable oil. But due to different oil qualities and recovery rate field A has a net present value of $500 million and Field B a NPV of $200 million. Granted this is a somewhat sloppy way to compare the values of different fields but it does shed some light on the different value to the world's economy of "reserves" in various fields or countries.

But we can only guess what the required values really are.

i wonder if ksa is as focused on npv as yer typical public traded 'mercun company?

I want to know everything there is to know about reserves, discovery rates, extraction rates, depletion rates, and everything else.

That's right, Ron. How deep is the pool would be nice to know, as well as reserves contained. Just knowing there are some reserves there doesn't guarantee a profitable flow rate. I mean, during the 2007-2008 run-up, the Saudis drilled an estimated 500 wells in known fields, just to maintain the flow, much less increase it!

And, PO is very complex. It does involve reserves, and depth of the field, and terrain, and type of oil, and rates of discovery, and rates of depletion of existing fields, and so much more! Deniers and cornucopeans distort one figure or another, or invent oil [abiotically]. At least Sir David King gave a reasoned and fairly cogent statement about one such distortion. Bravo, I say! Bravo!


Peak Oil is about AFFORDABLE flow rates NOT reserves!


And the two have zero relationship to each other??

Are they linked ?
.. absolutely- but when I discuss PO with friends and acquaintances they point to those da***n known reserves and the fact that they still find "a lot of oil around"- thusly they just wave off the hazard over the next minute or so, and there it sits. And of course when oil start to dwindle there are always renewables in heaps and bounds to fill THAT gap, eventually.
Focusing on reserves as a method of understanding where and when things 'go belly up' doesn't lead anywhere 'short term' based on my experience ... anyway-

I have more success in conveying the message in focusing flow/ cost/ affordability.
Reserves in my world (simplistic put) are virtual until pumped, because they are not guaranteed in a dynamic world.

Paal, the above post shows the fallacy in your argument. You could point out that those "damn known reserves" are not a fact at all but a fallacy. You could point out that they are not really finding that much oil. You could point out that Tupi, with its 5 to 8 billion barrels of reserves would last the world from 3 to 4 months. And you could point out that Tupi is the largest field discovered since 1976!

Reserves, or rather the lack of reserves, are extremely important. I was very excited to see the David King paper published in MSM. To criticize that event and to say that David King does not understand peak oil, to my mind anyway, is totally absurd.

Ron P.

Ron :-) Did I point to those reserves ?
Oh yes I did, and what "we" found was that the reserves were more than the world had pumped over the last 150 years - nothing scary there - no no, not at all. The Reserve fallacy you know of (and I), but official numbers always beat me as a messenger. I could of course threaten them at gunpoint, but I feel it's not worth it.. not yet.

Long story short Ron- People know there are 'many decades' of oil left (reserves) and thereafter will bio/algae/electricity propel us further into the ....... whatever.

You know as I do- "PO is a state of mind". It's like a religion, only where 'religion' is swapped with thermodynamics and then some.

Not zero doboi but I think you know that. But not easy to quantify without the facts. I've mapped a series of old oil fields in the Texas coast that have a solid gold proven inplace reserve exceeding 1 billion bbls of oil. Unfortunately at current production rates it will take about another 100 years to recover just 10% or so of that oil. One field alone has 150 million bbl of oil sitting at only 4,600'. But the field is only producing about 220 bopd with an almost 0% decline rate. I'll save you the math: 1,800 years to recover the rest. But an audit by the best enegineering company in the land would prove that 150 million bbl reserve. I'm trying to develop a program to accelerate that recovery to something meaningful but I've yet to sell the idea to my owner. It seems to make economic sense at $70/bbl. But beleiving and getting it drilled are two different worlds in the oil patch.

member companies ? clients happy ?? what !

The IEA functions through fees that are paid into it by member companies and has to keep its clients happy, he said (Sir David King)

How well informed is Mr King actually? I mean most people involved in understanding the predicaments of oil know the history and tasks undertaken by IEA ( http://www.iea.org/journalists/faq.asp ) .- IMHO

I could accept one of those two "errors" as a journalist misprint, but not both !

Paal, the word "companies" is probably a misprint, or was a misquote by the reporter. The word was obviously supposed to be "countries". And in a way they are clients. The evidence that they must be kept happy was exposed by the whistleblower incident a few months ago.

The evidence that David King understands perfectly who the IEA is can be found in this TOD thread posted almost three years ago: Sir David King’s View on Peak Oil

As the Group will be aware, the UK Government works closely with the International Energy Agency (IEA) on oil resource and market issues. The IEA itself draws from a wide range of data, research and analysis in forming its views. The quality of its work is high, and I would endorse this as the most thorough and authoritative source for information on global energy market issues. It is appropriate therefore that I have drawn heavily on the IEA’s work in developing this note.

However feel free to nitpick and if you choose to believe that nothing he has to say has any merit because of a silly typo, then have at it. After all, that is as good an excuse as any to believe that there are no problems with the IEA's data.

Ron P.

Ron. I'm on your side of the net! and obviously I'm at the same side as Mr King's as well when it comes to core urgency to the issues in question: Stop BAU now and let's rearrange 'our' thinking...
As I read your Blockquote 'these' errors grew bigger the more I looked at them- so at least let's agree that Mr King's alert would reach farther afield without them, shall we?

I have been aware of those infamous 1988-90's OPEC artificial and sudden reserve increases for years now- but frankly I see no direct proof that they are actually wrong, in comparison to their actual production 20 plus years later- other than circumstantial evidences of cource.

I have been aware of those infamous 1988-90's OPEC artificial and sudden reserve increases for years now- but frankly I see no direct proof that they are actually wrong, in comparison to their actual production 20 plus years later- other than circumstantial evidences of course.

Are you serious? If those reserves, claimed by OPEC, are correct then OPEC has reserves to production ration of about 100 while non-OPEC reserves to production ratio is closer to 20. That defies all common sense. So your statement "in comparison to their actual production 20 plus years later" is clearly wrong.

And evidence that those reserves are inflated has been posted almost daily on TOD. Several articles have been posted here about Petroleum Intelligence Weekly's report that Kuwait's reserves are less than half what they claim, 48 billion barrels instead of the 101 billion barrels that they claim... year after year. (It is magic oil, every barrel produced is automaticly replaced by another barrel.)

Petroleum Intelligence Weekly: Oil Reserves Accounting: The Case Of Kuwait

Of the original reserves, 33 billion bbl had already been produced. Based on a conservative production average of 2 million b/d for 2001-05, a further 3 billion bbl would have been produced since then. The 48 billion bbl of remaining reserves is divided in almost equal portions between proven and nonproven.

And notice that only half of that 48 billion barrels is proven. The rest is probable.

And of course we know that Saudi Arabia will be pumping C02 into Ghawar in an attempt to stop the decline and they are exploring in the Red Sea under two kilometers of water and 7,000 feet of salt. That oil, if found, would be some of the most expensive oil in the world to produce. That doesn't sound like they have 262 billion barrels of proven reserves.

And I could go on and on with more evidence, most of it posted here on TOD.

Ron P.

I know your sentiment Ron from reading you over the years- and let it be said you are 'clear and firm' in your arguments, only problem you are sometimes(often?) too self-asserting. Ask yourself why IEA/ EIA still are reporting those 'wrong' official OPEC reserve numbers for the n_th year, are they stupid or lying or both? Anyway, whats their agenda? Who am I to believe as a regular citizen - Ron or IEA?

You claim that TOD has debunked OPEC's reserves daily for years- alright agreed- based on alot of stray (mostly) private opinions... but is it proven ... AS IN PROOF? 100% Redundant and Fail-Safe ? No it is not- these are ONLY circumstantial evidences- important yes, maybe true , but also maybe not? Someone need to force the truth out of the ground down there, but how and who?

To be sure we need some Authorities to come out of a cupboard and tell : Now listen up you lot ....... we have something to tell yeah... but it's not happening, not yet that is. Instead Rembrandt is telling me today there are 6-7 mbd in reserve capacity right now- on top of running production and counting? What to believe?

IMHO reserves are not the important factor- but flow/cost - this we have historical records of and understandings of (Recession).
After all you for one, know better than most people that reserves or speculations thereof didn't do anything, whatsoever, when it came/comes to future political decisions on behalf of society's path into the void ...

Ghawar is big, thats all I know. And many of the Gulf nations keep pimping the mantra : There is more where it comes from, much more... there it sits until further notice.

Ask yourself why IEA/ EIA still are reporting those 'wrong' official OPEC reserve numbers for the n_th year, are they stupid or lying or both? Anyway, whats their agenda? Who am I to believe as a regular citizen - Ron or IEA?

Paal, the EIA and the IEA both report almost exactly the numbers that OPEC nations claim. And when OPEC nations change their "proven reserves", the IEA and EIA change their figures to match. Now hell Paal, even a damn fool could see where the EIA and IEA are getting their numbers. Or did you actually believe the USGS actually did a survey over there? I sure hope that was not your belief. ;-)

So the question is whom do I believe, Kuwait, Saudi, UAE... or do I believe those who have actually investigated the situation, like Petroleum Intelligence Weekly?

His name escapes me right now but the Iranian who died a couple of years ago was a former oil official in that country. He used to blog about peak oil. He stated that Iran's oil reserves were grossly overstated by Iran. (Someone help me out here, you know his name.)

So who do I believe? Well I sure as hell don't believe those OPEC nations who had every reason to grossly overstate their reserves. But if the IEA and the EIA did any research of their own instead of simply taking their word for it, I might believe them.

Ron P.

did you mean:

Ali Morteza Samsam Bakhtiari ?

God aften Rune, nå begynner Paradise Hotel! Jeg sliter med Ron her ser du, han er en hard nøtt :-)

Yes that is him, thanks Rune.

Bakhtiari On Middle East Oil Reserves

Country    Oil & Gas Jnl. BP    Colin Campbell  Author's range  
Iran       132.5          132.5   69.0          35-45  
Iraq       115.0          115.0   61.0          80 - 100  
Kuwait     101.5          99.0    54.0          45 - 55  
Saudi      264.3          262.7   159.0         120 - 140  
UAE        97.7           97.8    44.0          40 - 50  
TOTAL:     711.0          707.0   387.0         320 - 390 

Of course the Oil & Gas Journal and BP basically report the exact same numbers that the OPEC countries feed to them. Bakhtirai says those numbers are inflated. The true numbers are approximately half what the countries themselves report. Petroleum Intelligence Weekly pretty much agrees with Bakhtiari. Now who do you believe?

Ron P.

I reckon this is for me : Now who do you believe?

If you have read my other replies here today, you will have noticed that "I don't care" who to believe. Because it doesn't matter in my brain anymore, it used to, but not any more. I have learned that the significance of reserves in real terms are slim to none and Slim just took the last bus out of town. only Oil Co's and their shareholders care about this quantity.

Sheeple and Politicians only worry about the price at the pump - because their life's are filled with "important" things to do - but they need cheap oil to get it done. Once this symphony of cheap oil is yet again disturbed-------- and perhaps havoc / recession 2.0 is declared we'll again get a focus on Peak Oil and more... But it will never be much talk about reserves. Those "are" plentiful anyway..

I reckon this is for me : Now who do you believe?

This their doomer theory(2007); that Saudi, Kuwaiti(really all Persian Gulf) production is going over a cliff NOW.


IMHO, it's not credible.
Ghawar is a huge field covering 2700 square miles.
Their favorite field is Cantarell, the second largest producer at peak but which covers only 48 square miles. Another favorite is Prudhoe Bay at 340 sq. miles.
The North Sea is has 40 oil fields spread over 100000 sq. miles but some believe there is a lot more waiting to be found under the 300 feet of seawater.
Their view is bolstered by the fact that supergiants produce about 1/2 the world's oil.

"Opportunities for investment in the North Sea are increasing," said Tholen. "Proven reserves may be down to 5.25 billion barrels, but there is probably another 20 billion barrels sitting in the ground."


Texas has a calculated URR of 60 Gb but is still producing 1 mbpd after a century(1901?) and 5 mbpd peak in 1970s.

The USGS says that 85% of conventional oil left is in the Eastern Hemisphere and I would guess that most is in the PG's mystery zone as Russia's oil production does see to be topping out(see ROW production).

Gotterdamerung(Twilight of the Supergiants).


IMHO, it's not credible.

But you gave no argument on why you think it is not credible.

Wait, wait, I am sorry, you did give a reason.

Ghawar is a huge field covering 2700 square miles.

I guess that settles it. I would like to see anyone counter that argument.

Ron P.

I guess that settles it. I would like to see anyone counter that argument.

Geology matters except to true believers, Darwinian.
The biggest oil field in the world isn't about to dry up and blow away.

Ghawar officially peaked in 1980 and according to the IEA who audited it in 2008 the decline rate was 0.3%.

As per the ‘audit report’ compiled by Fatih and his team, Ghawar produced 5.1 million bpd of crude oil in 2007, down from a peak of 5.5 million bpd in 1980 (when the field’s capacity was fully utilized in response to the loss of Iranian production following the revolution.) and a recent peak of 5.3 million bpd in 1997. The observed post-peak decline rate is thus a mere 0.3 percent per year. Ghawar is still at the plateau phase of production, the report underlined — and this must get steam out of the peak oil bogey — one can’t help assuming.

The IEA stressed that decline rates vary markedly by region, with the lowest in the Middle East and the highest in the North Sea. It said North Sea fields have declined 11.5% a year on average since their peak, while Middle East fields have averaged less than 3% a year


The IEA report also warned about the dangers of inadequate world oil production investment as well as verifying Ghawar's capacity (something for everyone).

So there is evidence that existing fields in the PG and OPEC, where at least 2/3's of the supergiants are NOT crashing whereas many ROW fields are.


Geology matters except to true believers, Darwinian.
The biggest oil field in the world isn't about to dry up and blow away.

Simply stating the size says nothing about peaking. No one is claiming it will blow away.

Ghawar officially peaked in 1980 and according to the IEA who audited it in 2008 the decline rate was 0.3%.

You are making that up. The IEA has never audited Ghawar and there has never been an official decline rate except those published by Saudi. And they said they had gotten the decline rate down from a hypothetical decliner rate of 8% to close to 2%. The IEA only has the data that Saudi gives them and Saudi gives them nothing.

The "audit" was simply going over papers published by engineers, like Simmons did, and looking at what little data Aramco published.

Saudi Arabia’s Strategic Energy Initiative: Safeguarding Against Supply Disruptions

Without “maintain potential” drilling to make up for production, Saudi oil fields would have a natural decline rate of a hypothetical 8%. As Saudi Aramco has an extensive drilling program with a budget running in the billions of dollars, this decline is mitigated to a number close to 2%.

And there has never been an "official" peak date for Ghawar. Simply stating the date when Saudi peaked and then cut their production dramatically because of the war, does not mean that was the year Ghawar peaked and it sure as hell does not mean that the decline rate can be calculated from that date.

The Wikipedia link you posted says Ghawar peaked in 2005 and is now declining at 8%. Your own links trashes your argument.

Also, I hav never stated that Ghawar, or other Saudi fields, are crashing. I argued that they are about to crash. Saudi says, in my link here, that they are declining by over two percent but without the their drilling program, (MRC wells), they would be declining by 8 percent. Sooner or later, likely sooner, the water will hit those horizontal MRC wells and they will crash.

Even the JPG in your post above shows Ghawar holding constant output until 2009. (It was posted on TOD Europe in 2007.) Then it declines slowly until 2013 when it finally crashes. As I said, you just make up crap that doesn't even match the links or graphs that you post.

One more thing from your Rigzone link.

The world will have to invest $26.3 trillion by 2030, or more than $1 trillion a year, to ensure adequate energy supplies, the IEA said. That is $4 trillion more than its year-earlier estimate.

Who is kidding who here. No one in their right mind thinks there will be more than one trillion per year, every year, invested in the oil patch.

Ron P.

The just released IEA report does not include Ghawar among the post-plateau fields, as production in 2007 was still less than 15 percent below the peak of 5.6 million bpd reached in 1980.

As per the ‘audit report’ compiled by Fatih and his team, Ghawar produced 5.1 million bpd of crude oil in 2007, down from a peak of 5.5 million bpd in 1980 (when the field’s capacity was fully utilized in response to the loss of Iranian production following the revolution.) and a recent peak of 5.3 million bpd in 1997. The observed post-peak decline rate is thus a mere 0.3 percent per year. Ghawar is still at the plateau phase of production, the report underlined — and this must get steam out of the peak oil bogey — one can’t help assuming.

The IEA report specifies that Ghawar has been developed in distinct stages, which have progressively raised the field’s capacity keeping the field at plateau. The most recent project involving the Haradh area in the southern part of the field was completed in 2006, tripling capacity to about 900,000 bpd. This has helped to offset natural declines in other parts of the field, the report agreed.

“The overall capacity of Ghawar is sustained by infill drilling and well work-overs to maintain flow pressure in various parts of the field. Reports suggest that enhanced oil recovery techniques are being used to boost capacity in the mature zones of the Shedgum and Uthmaniya areas, where extensive drilling programs have recently been undertaken,” the report added.


Love your invective, Ron.
Now produce your IEA audit that says Ghawar is about to crash.

Oh, that's right.

There is no such report, just Matt Simmon's 2005 prophetic book.

I've been waiting 5 years for the Big Crash in the desert.
Okay, I'll give you to 2015 for your Big Crash before calling bullshit.
Maybe you should do the same?

IMHO, it's not credible.Ghawar is a huge field covering 2700 square miles.

You forgot to mention that Ghawar in fact has 6 oilfields. Of course they started to develop the part where the most 'easy oil' is. If north Ghawar can crash ? (some say that happened a few years ago), maybe, IIRC Rockman wrote last year that the way of production there not necessarily leads to a crash.
And yes indeed, OPEC Middle-East countries still have a lot of oil, but an important part of it is in much smaller undeveloped fields and to bring them in production needs a tremendous amount of investment, especially because a lot of them are in remote parts of the countries. Only KSA has about 80 'small' fields, at least that is what I read.

I possibly mislead you with that 'wrong'-word !?
That word was aimed at your belief, namely the overstated OPEC reserves , which as you state IEA/EIA just take at face value from OPEC and propagate as the truth.
My point here was- I mean- if IEA/EIA don't believe OPEC on these numbers- would they have the nerve to report something else? And if so, what should they report? Hard to guess, I guess.

Iranian : Samsam Bakhtiari is also my man ... And his 4 T's impressed me at the time.

No, after following the PO-game some years already- I have come to that conclusion that : Reserves are hypothetical oil and oil in the shape and form of petrol, aviation fuel and diesel is real stuff. The Sheeple will only understand the latter- and that goes for Politicians as well. Pity but true.

if IEA/EIA don't believe OPEC on these numbers- would they have the nerve to report something else?

Why not ? The most easy to do is believe OPEC. Otherwise they have to publish what individuals say, which is risky. When the numbers are much different the only thing they have to do is blame OPEC. Besides, they want to backup their oil production rates in the future with reserves and nothing fits better with that than as high reserves from conventional oil as possible. They won't think a lot about that !

Instead Rembrandt is telling me today there are 6-7 mbd in reserve capacity right now- on top of running production and counting? What to believe?

Paal, I know what you are writing about. This was published by Rembrandt in 'oilwatch monthly' a few days ago. I respect Koppelaar and read a book about Peakoil written by him two years ago. But I doubt the amount of spare capacity and I have send Rembrandt an e-mail yesterday about what KSA is planning (CO2-EOR; Red Sea) and about OPEC cheating with production quota. I think most OPEC countries are producing at maximum capacity. Iran announced a few days ago to restrict their low tax gasoline with 25% to 60 liter per month. Apparently ELM is hitting hard. A former Saudi Aramco official said some time ago that KSA has not the reserves that they claim, and even if it is true they always stay the same. The reserves they claimed to have 20-30 years ago they have now also. More than strange. And there is a book from Matt Simmons written in 2005 that must have at least some truth in it.

Han, I can agree with you and Ron 'many times over'. But my value-point is : How would the knowledge of 100% TRUE, TRUSTWORTHY and OBJECTIVE oil reserves benefit this world ?

My findings so far ? No benefits at all- it simply doesn't matter. We, the world, will pump all there is roughly at a maximum pace at any given time from here "on and in" ... Norway, UK and more countries gave flat iron on their oil production, even when oil approached 30 dollar 2 years ago, and our Rulers perfectly well KNOW we are hearing the Siren-song on our domestic production. PO planning is a no-go solution. It's just how it works.

Han, I can agree with you and Ron 'many times over'. But my value-point is : How would the knowledge of 100% TRUE, TRUSTWORTHY and OBJECTIVE oil reserves benefit this world ?

You never watch Bloomberg tv do you?

Written by paal myrtvedt:
... How would the knowledge of 100% TRUE, TRUSTWORTHY and OBJECTIVE oil reserves benefit this world ?

It would allow a more accurate projection of the timing of global peak oil using Hubbert linearization.

How would the knowledge of 100% TRUE, TRUSTWORTHY and OBJECTIVE oil reserves benefit this world ?

It won't. Because trustworthy are only the proven reserves. It seems that OPEC works with proven+probable+possible reserves, no matter when their production peaks. So for the world there are always those probable and possible reserves, even when oilproduction goes down. Then lack of investment will be blamed for. The majority will never understand geological peak oil.
From my point of view: I would feel more relaxed if OPEC's proven reserves were much higher as it seems they are. So that in 10 years they can indeed produce 60% of world oil.

IMHO reserves are not the important factor- but flow/cost - this we have historical records of and understandings of (Recession).

For myself, I find the export rates from oil producting countries the most interesting datum.

Once all the countries that export reduce their oil exports, then it directly affects global consumption. ...Seems an easier datum to accurately measure and report on, too.

So my personal interpretation of Peak Oil is when export rates (globally available oil for 'others' to consume) no longer grows.

For myself, I find the export rates from oil producing countries the most interesting datum

Absolutely and point taken - Westexas baby rules ! This will only speed up the cost-bugger and the net will tighten.
But still, when this scenario kicks in, the reserves will still be an anecdote, IMHO.

I agree with Paal's sentiments. Here are two of the reasons why I haven't included reserves numbers in the Energy Export Databrowser:

  1. I don't trust the reserve numbers from BP
  2. I don't believe people make political or personal decisions based on reserve numbers

Would a person rather know their lifetime earnings? Or their income in the coming year?

Not surprisingly, I think that export rate arguments and the data/visualizations that make those arguments are the best place to invest my personal energies.

'Peak Oil' is not a theory. It's a phenomenon!

-- Jon

That doesn't sound like they have 262 billion barrels of proven reserves.

perhaps ksa believes in the finite oil theory ?

Re: World Has Underestimated Climate-Change Effects, Expert Argues

This article described a report which repeats the claims by various scientists that the IPCC has understated the severity of future impacts of Global Warming. Here is a direct link to the referenced report. They comment that even were it possible to stop emissions of CO2 today, leaving the level at today's 389ppm, the Earth's temperature would be more than 2C warmer than pre-industrial temperatures by the end of the century...

E. Swanson

Not sure if you can see this outside the UK but perhaps this is a consequence of climate change? One month's average rain fall in just seven minutes!!!


Thanks for this- and also 100 million Aussi(?) Dollars worth of damage in the very same 7 minutes I guess.

Don't confuse weather with climate change.Australia has a wildly variable climate anyway.

It is possible that global warming will make it even more wild.We just don't know at this stage.

But we sure are having fun experimenting with Gaia.Keep burning that coal like there is no tomorrow.

Pfft, the anthills we make into mountains. A mere spot of rain and some scattered hail stones - not even a funnel cloud, or an actual accumulation of hail, for chrissakes. Good grief, we get rain like that a few times a summer, and hailstones that size once in a blue moon, right here in the US Midwest. Best not to get caught at a bus stop when it blows in, but that can happen too.

Of course neither you nor the video told us that monthly rain in Perth varies from 0.36" to 6.6" (1 to 16 cm), so there's quite a range of choice - pick whichever month gives the most concise scary-sounding sound bite. A month's rain in one storm! Boo! Scared you, didn't I? Sometimes numbers are more revealing than scary twaddle. The number I found was 1.65". OK, granted, that's a strong downpour, but in the scheme of things... yawn.

The video does, however, leave the impression that the Perth authorities are woefully incompetent at building drains. Bog-standard government jobsworths I guess, we have them too. Cheeseparing when it comes to vital infrastructure, free-spending on ballparks and other mindlessly moronic urban bling.

Then again, for all I know it was nothing at all - in the US Midwest we get pictures of flooded streets somewhere every time a front comes through, which is often once or twice a week in late spring and early summer. Outsiders must surely think the whole place washed away decades ago, during the summer when broadcast TV first came into use. But usually it's just a hundred-foot swath down by the creek where some d*mn stupid fools insisted on plunking down their houses or businesses or even the whole "downtown".

Every time it rains hard, the fools are shocked, mind you, just shocked - and for the umpteenth time no less, since they seem always to be too stupid ever to learn the umpteenth-less-one time - that when it rains the creek rises! Blimey! (We don't actually say "blimey" around here but it conveys the idea.) As my lawyer might say if I had one, how could a reasonable person possibly anticipate that a creek or river might rise when it rains???

If you place the camera and frame the view very carefully to avoid showing the vast area where rather little happened, you get great psuedo-apocalyptic video every time, with which you can fill otherwise dead air time on a slow news day. The BBC video seems a bit self-indulgent in this respect, though I must say the cloud shot was really quite nice even if the rest was much ado about rather little. (The pictures from England back during the winter seemed mainly to be in the same vein: stupid people put buildings in stupid places down by the creek and are shocked at the consequences.) Boo!

by the end of the century...

Not to worry, we will likely have a worldwide economic collapse, driven primarily by the consequences of peak oil by the end of the decade. There will be plenty of empty space for the survivors to move further inland as the sea level rises.

(Half sarcasm, half serious.)

Ron P.

You can't complicate their models with variables like recessions, depletion and collapse.

They have a conclusion they can't budge from.

I believe in AGW..., but I think some people are a little too hysterical about the issue.

Peak oil does not determine your ability to grow food the way that AGW does. I guess if you don't plan on surviving peak oil then it does not matter about AGW. But peak oil is NOT the end of the world.

Peak oil does determine our ability to grow food! Without oil the industrialized farming in America would come to a screaching halt! All it is used for is the tractors, harvesters, transportation vehicles from the fields, packaging, transportation to the supermarket, and transportation from the local big box store to your home. To say nothing of lubrication of machinery, production of antibiotics and insecticides, delivery of insecticides, and clothing the farm workers.

Moreover, the peaking of oil will excaberate use of NG and coal, creating peaks in those commodities as well. And, when gas peaks we are in a world of hurt since that is the feedstock of commercial fertilizers. Of course, coal can be gassified and will last until the draining off of NG is complete and coal peaks as well. The idea that use of these two fossil fuels will continue at a level rate is absurd, since not only will reduction of available oil create a drain on them, but the addiitonal 3 Billion people predicted in the next 40 years will certainly be consuming even more!

We needed to begin planning for this 30 years ago. Today is a bit late. Now we have a crisis heading toward us at breakneck speed, and you say this is not the end of the world? Well, maybe the world, that is to say the earth, will survive. But it will certainly end the world "as we know it." And for many, no for most, it will be a very frightening, dismal happening. We will see millions, no make that billions, of very angry people, pointing fingers, laying blame, and shirking their own responsibility for what we have created for ourselves.

Sorry for the rant.

Strange species, homo sapiens. Wonder if they'll be missed.


According to the show "The World after people" (I think that is the name) was on History channel/ Hulu, Everyone else left will Love that we are gone.

But seeing what they suppose might happen, with all those things we have changed coming back to bite the rest of creation after we have gone Poofy! you kinda hope that some of us are around to try and fix some of the things we broke.

Most man made things disappear after a while, but plastic will be a around for a long time to come, and those stone hulks in Giza buried under the dunes, and some cave paintings in France.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future ( planting systems that might help the future remember us )

I completely agree with you.

I know that the "green" revolution is based on fossil fuels. The problem is that there is no return to the pre-fossil fuel level when vast tracts of aquifer irrigated farmland become more arid. And in regions with more rain you will have more extreme weather events that will ruin crops (this is not something that can be fobbed off: frost or too much rain at the wrong time will do in a wheat crop for example).

I am beginning to see some peak oil coverage on TV here in Ontario so maybe we will wake up in the next ten years. Dealing with peak fossil fuels (even coal and non-conventional sources won't prolong BAU by much) would go a long way in dealing with AGW even if we will be dealing with the current 100 ppmv CO2 excess for centuries and millenia.

The "Politics and Peak Energy" item made a good point today that should be expanded on when addressing the folks who are focused almost exclusively on AGW:

There may be plenty left but it’s getting harder to find and steadily more expensive in terms of input energy and wealth required for extraction from remaining unconventional sources.

All of that "input energy" used in extraction acts as a feedback to peak oil, accelerating the drawdown of fossil fuels, and at the same time as an additional feedback to output of CO2. They should be addressing PO, just as we spend so much of our efforts discussing climate change.


AGW is supposed to be something in the future with 2 C of global temperature rise that will "tweak" the current economic layout of the planet. Peak oil is a brick wall into which we are headed full speed that will destroy the current order. This is something that no politician can deal with because the idiots let it go unaddressed for so long.

The only reason that AGW is given the time of day is because it can be watered down with skeptic drivel. You can't hide behind complexity and variability when accounting for fossil fuels. Whatever is there has basically been quantified (even in Saudi Arabia regardless of subsequent lies).

Both peak oil and the faster-than-expected climate change will make us deal with reality. Since the solution to both is the same it is pointless to try to make it an either/or issue. I think the pain from peak oil will be here before 2020 so the current delusional nonsense will go away.

Last night I attended the premier of a new short film on the water cycle by Surfrider Foundation: The Cycle of Insanity, The Real Story of Water. The format they used would lend itself well to a peak oil film.

There is a very nice 20 minute video you can view on the real story of water at the link you gave.

It uses cartoons, music, and a female voice to do a nice job of telling our water problem--particularly California's problem. They offered some reasonable solutions (repaving with porous materials, reusing grey water, composting garbage instead of putting it down the drain, landscaping with native plants, and treating sewage until it can be used for drinking).

I couldn't help but notice how vulnerable California's water supply (and probably that of the rest if the nation) is to problems with energy supply. The approaches suggested would reduce energy needs (especially relative to desalination), but would still leave California with an energy-intensive system. If the water system takes 20% of California's energy (or was it electricity), it seems like it may be affected early-on by shortages of energy supply.

According to the CEC, it is 19% of electricity consumption. 10% for pumping and moving it around the state and 9% for all the things we do with it after we get it--washing, heating, disposing of it, cleaning it, etc. 40% of electricity is generated with natural gas.

The gardens in every yard, and well built rain catchments, and runoff control and gardens instead of lawns everywhere( had to repeat that one as it's right up my alley), is all good and fine. But getting the cities to make them happen. Detroit is going to be doing some rebuilding or rebulldozing, and other cities are going that route.

So folks if you live in a city that is redoing its wasted acres of houses and vacant lots, get out there and man the guns and tell them what they should be doing to fix things.

If you are near a place that might have a house farm going in somewhere, get out there and man the guns and tell people how they should be building it, or not building it, but if they must build it, then build it right the first time through.

It won't cure much but every little bit is a start.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future.

This is a graph from Nathan's Economic Edge illustrating another way why adding more US debt is not useful.

This is a very simple chart. It takes the change in GDP and divides it by the change in Debt. What it shows is how much productivity is gained by infusing $1 of debt into our debt backed money system.

Back in the early 1960s a dollar of new debt added almost a dollar to the nation’s output of goods and services. As more debt enters the system the productivity gained by new debt diminishes. This produced a path that was following a diminishing line targeting ZERO in the year 2015. This meant that we could expect that each new dollar of debt added in the year 2015 would add NOTHING to our productivity.

There may be correlation without causation, or addition drivers for GDP and debt independent of new debt. For example, the numbers might be "worse" than they should be because we took the hit on GDP but bailed out bad debt that should have just disappeared.

Still, the long-term trend is clear -- reduced marginal utility of debt.

What I have wondered is what the graph looked like from 1900-1960. During the "healthy" growth phase of high resource leverage, one would expect a much greater than unity gain. How that worked during gold standard and gold-indexed years would be very interesting to know.

It takes the change in GDP and divides it by the change in Debt. What it shows is how much productivity is gained by infusing $1 of debt into our debt backed money system.

The sensitivity of GDP to changes in debt cannot be measured that way. GDP can change without changes in debt levels, and some debt can change without affecting GDP. They are dividing differences over differences, when both quantities conatain a lot of other changing factors. Garbage in garbage out.

Link up top: Yemen's Big Concern is a perfect example of the ELM.

in 2008, Yemen was the country whose production decreased the most in relative terms - the oil production fell by a whopping 11.6%...

(in Yemen)... oil consumption increased by as much as 50% from 2001 to 2009, that is, during the same period that oil production declined by more than 30%. Consequently, from 2001 to 2009, oil exports declined by more than 50%!

And this is happening to virtually all exporting nations. Subsidized gasoline and other petroleum products are causing consumption while production is dropping. This is why, I believe, the crisis will show up well before the world realizes we have hit peak oil. Oil available to importing nations is well past its peak and dropping precipitously.

Ron P.

Yes, and as Jeff Rubin pointed out, the Saudis are heavily subsidizing gas to the point where it sells for as little as $.07/gallon (utility companies). Might as well call it free. Add to that an average birthrate of 4 per woman, median age of 21, exploding domestic consumption and... probably no net exports in 10-15 years time.

As can be seen in my power generation spreadsheet Yemen stands out on a global scale by obtaining 100% of their electricity from oil. At least Cuba and Iraq show some token diversification at 96.7% and 98.5%!

At a likely optimistic value of 35% efficiency for their power plants they would have used 23.4 kb/d for power in 2006. This is a 311.76% gain over 1990. Sounds like a lot, but it's actually fairly typical; also the scale for all nations is skewed, especially by the 74318.75% gain in Sri Lanka...average for all countries minus this and a couple of other absurd outliers is 198.58%.

2006 Yemen consumption was 133.4 kb/d, so 17.5% was dedicated to power generation. Not bad on the face of it, but as I said this is a rather optimistic percentage for efficiency; I'm still gathering data on world averages. As Magnus points out in his excellent article Yemen is a very poor country and I seriously doubt they're going all out on the latest refinements in generation.

The world can change very quickly. The Saudis can reduce the subsidies to their people. The birthrates are in the process of falling. If everybody around the world has to use less oil, then that includes the exporting nations.

Of course, I understand ELM, but it's quite impossible for the whole world to become net importers.

Oil available to importing nations is well past its peak and dropping precipitously.


This is a graph I would enjoy seeing, and seeing it get updated from time to time. Perhaps it is a suitable campfire topic?

Selfishly, it is my hope that such graphs would have more 'personal meaning' to the everday person, especially if the date of significant decline in exportable oil (maybe 25% down) was in the near future?

I worry that, since things like climage change, reserves, and such are hard to digest and often debated (daily on TOD), the exportable oil available, and estimates of decline in the near future, would help.

Mr. Flash, I don't have a graph but I do have the EIA numbers for OECD demand, which is basically the oil available to them at the price they are willing to pay. Now all OECD nations are not importers, Canada and Norway being notable exceptions. But their consumption is such a small percentage of the total it can basically be ignored. OECD nations are basically the importing nations of the developed world.

World Crude oil production, or C+C, from 2005 to 2009 was down 1,463,000 barrels per day. However OECD consumption for the same period was down 4,536,000 barrels per day, over 3 million barrels per day more.

EIA International Petroleum Monthly

Ron P.

A smoking gun on HFCS?

High-Fructose Corn Syrup Prompts Considerably More Weight Gain, Researchers Find

ScienceDaily — A Princeton University research team has demonstrated that all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain: Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.

..."Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn't true, at least under the conditions of our tests," said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction. "When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they're becoming obese -- every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don't see this; they don't all gain extra weight."

Editor's Note: In response to the above-mentioned study, The Corn Refiners Association issued a statement titled "Gross Errors in Princeton Animal Study on Obesity and High Fructose Corn Syrup: Research in Humans Discredits Princeton Study" (http://www.corn.org/princeton-hfcs-study-errors.html).

If you want truth, you call the Corn Refiners Association.


Time to fund some "skeptics" to smear the science. The metabolism is too complex too understand and there is natural variability.

What did Jesus eat?

"Last Supper gets supersized as art imitates life. Study finds food portion sizes have soared 69% in paintings of Jesus's last meal with his disciples"


Plate size had increased by 66%, while bread size had risen by 22%.

Jesus. Pardon the pun. ;) The fact that we have an International Journal of Obesity in the 1st place should be a tipoff that something's askew.

Wondered whether this would be a hockey stick with a blade stemming from the Industrial Era or Ray Kroc or ? but the abstract says the increase is linear.

When you said "bread" i first read it as "brain"... I could imagine brain size shrinking a lot with "American Idol" and "Celebrity Apprentice"

We do have a hockey stick in the diabetes incidence since the late 1970s. This is when the low fat hysteria and cholesterol phobia prompted rampant substitution of fats with corn starch (aka corn sugar). Instead of using heat resistant saturated fats in deep friers at fast food outlets they started using trans-fat forming poly-unsaturated vegetable oils. The "Super size me" documentary highlights the fact that this food damages health. That diabetes is showing up in teenagers at unprecedented rates says it all.

WDJE? The night of that painting, matzah. Drank 4 cups of wine, too.

In the video I list below, Dr. Robert Lustig points out that Ethanol and HFCS being the same thing in essence have some of the same toxic side effects. Ethanol impacts through the Brain and HFCS through the Liver, but the results are shocking to say the least.

But he also goes on to explain why nothing will be done about it, because unless there is a ground swell of public outcry the FDA and USDA will claim that it is not Toxic enough to warrant any changes. It will also get little play by those companies, that are not equal citizens to humans, because they have big bucks riding on HFCS being in just about everything that you might want to buy at the grocery store that has been through a few minutes of packaging and processing.

He mentions the Paleo-diet being high in fiber on the order of 300 grams a day compared to todays diets of a few dozen if that. There is a section where he talks biochemistry which is real interesting.

He explains that Fructose acts just like you are eating fat, so the Low Fat diet that is high in Fructose does you no good.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future.


IN my book the simpler you eat, the better. I try to do this with my family, but my wife intervenes and cheats. Her idea of home cooking is a $5 foot long or a Tombstone pizza! I've all but eliminated HFCS from my diet years ago.

An interesting tidbit about sugar is its role in cancer. Take a look at "Warburg Effect" on wiki. The amount of sugar in our current diets can't be helping in our fight against cancer, although population is too high, so maybe we should consume more!

Just an interesting twist on my name , my dads handle would be CEOSr1936, his birth year is a flip of mine in the last two digits. I got in the habit of signing all the documents with my intials as ceojr when I working in the mapping of the world company, had to write it out about 200 times a day at times, and I even stylized it with some neat script letters that I can't show online.

But anyway, I thought of my dad when you mentioned what your wife thinks of as dinner. My dad would make these Sub sandwiches back when I was in the single digits, He'd make the bread, buy hunks of meat and use the meat slicer to save money, and there would be meats, cheeses, lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayo, mustard and then slice it up 4 ways for each of us.

When we moved into this house, in my early teens, we'd have Pizza night, making the dough ourselves, slicing the onions, peppers, olives, mushrooms, and the 3 kinds of meat and the cheese and make pizza's almost every saturday for a long long time. We were a close knit family, putting together puzzles most nights, besides for royal rummy night on fridays, and cards night on saturdays, We'd can veggies and pickles, sauces and jams on the weeknights as the harvest came in. We'd watch a little TV but not very much really, mostly projects. We were only kept by babysitters once or twice when someone was sick or had to go somewhere we couldn't but those times were very rare. The mindset was if we could not do it as a family my parents did not do it.

Everyone worked on rebuilding the bathroom, and leveling the house, and several other projects. I was almost totally in charge of the garden though, my dad buying what I needed, until I had a job and spent my own money on things.

To many people these days don't stick around as families they are all off in seperate rooms or parts of the city, hardly do families play games as a group after a certain age, not all the time they are growing up.

But then as I have stated elsewhere, my dad is a trained chef and so am I, cooking at home is something that is almost the first thought of the day. Which reminds me I have 5 pounds of Catfish I need to broil up in one of my seasoning mixs. We traded a ride to someone for the 5 pounds of catfish.

Not all sugars are as bad for you as Fructose is, Lactose and Glucose are processed by more than just your Liver.

I'll wager that given a few more years will all the drought going on and water issues being so big, corn will fail more often, it is not as drought tolerant as other plants that we eat like Amaranth. Water is going to slice into our use of HFCS and the drivers in the media are pushing for more control over what you eat and are offered to eat.

The Internet is a wonderful tool for that informational push.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future with loads more cooking at home.

The Chinese Internet Great Firewall: Censorship or not?


In the Internet Age is censorship even possible anymore? Unlike MSM internet users create their own content through posts and comments. It seems to me that in order to censor the internet effectively there would have to be an army of monitors.

And even still code words could still be used that seem innocent but relay a clear message to those clued in. Even without censorship satire for example is sometimes misunderstood on the internet if it is not in a video. And then there is the world of double entendre:


Google's action angers China, divides Web users

Google's decision to move most of its China-based search functions from the mainland to Hong Kong opened a new phase in a two-month-long fracas pitting the world's most powerful Internet company against a government that tightly restricts the Web in the planet's most populous market.


Toshiba and TerraPower signed a non-disclosure agreement in November to exchange information on the design and engineering know-how, a Toshiba spokesman, Keisuke Ohmori, said by telephone in Tokyo today.

I sure hope Toshiba's personnel have read up on Bill Gate's history of "Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.".

If he runs true to his historical pattern, it means bad things down the road for these 'partners' (aka future victims).


I like the thoughts of smaller nuclear power plants. City sized would be great. People get all worked up over nuclear waste...i had a solution year ago...dump it in the Marianas Trench and forget about it! It came from the ground, it can go back in the ground!

Last night while watching last week's ABC Nightline shows over on hulu, I came across this piece about a Doctor talking about how HFCS High Fructose Corn Syrup and for that matter Sucrose as well are bad for us. There is a good video of his lecture on the topic called Sugar: The bitter truth,


Something to think about when we also think about where we are going in the coming years as far as our foods and where we are going to be getting them, and why something has to change in how we feed ourselves.

Peak Oil might just save our lives in this regard, because we will be forced to eat healthier than we have in over 30 years. Even though we might be starving, we will in reality be eating better foods when we can get them.

Now I have to thank my parent's for limiting my sugar intake as a child, and for forcing me to take my pills with Coca-cola which I now dislike (I hate taking pills, couldn't stand swallowing them, so I got really good at chewing them, so much so I have a very high bitter tolerance even though I don't eat bitter foods that much.) I take no pills if I can help it, preffering other methods to cure what ails me.

Sugar was one of the Sin Foods that the New World added to the world's mix of foods after 1492, along with a few others.

I know we have talked about obesity and health issues here before, and this video does show some interesting things along those lines.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future.

During and shortly after WWII in England, many health measures improved dramatically. Less meat, dairy and sugar and more exercise is better for most people.

Of course, no food at all and being worked to death isn't quite as nice.

Which of these the future has in store for any one of us is yet to be seen.

But I can be worked to death and still last a while on stored resources, as I am larger than most of my family. Though I also know what weeds to eat and when they show up at least around here. Some of my family and friends think I am rather an odd sort, I go around picking at plants in the wilds, in yards, leaves off trees, fungi and ants. Almost but not totally anything a Bear can eat a Human can eat. Once a neighbor told me he was going to find me one day face up in my yard after I ate something or other that was deadly, He just knew it would happen. I was trying to get him to eat Mulberry shoots, Or was it peeled Poke stems?

I am always on the hunt for new plants that have shown up in my area that I know are edible, and I am always trying new ones that I have never seen before (Yes I know how to do that and not kill myself).

Over 20,000 edible plant species in the world that were in the diets of peoples before us, so there should be something for everybody to munch on in some areas.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future (hopefully not being worked to death by some overlord)

Yes, I know some urban foragers, and I do a bit myself. But if everyone in any densely populated region were to turn seriously to foraging, every living thing in the area would soon be wiped out. At no time in the past has the planet ever sustained anything close to the present human population, and yet famines were common throughout earlier times. The next one may be the famine to end all famines.

Regarding the story about Chevron and their new solar PV installation at the Ker River facility. Why on earth would they do that? Just to reduce their GHG emissions or is this a tacit admission of Peak Oil? IOW this oil/NG is too valuable to use oil/NG to pump it out.

Alan from the islands

Rat's World... it starts here cuz I was a kid in Bakersfield, but it won't stop at Tehachapi...

Renewable Energy Catches on in Red America
by Michael Behar
ISSUE: Spring 2010,

Kern County, California, went Republican by 18 points in the last election. Now it's captivated by wind and solar power. Here's why.

Irie, mon

When I went to the link to read this article, I knew this wasn't the first time I was seeing this headline. Leanan linked to it in yesterday's DB. Long read and the best I could pick out of it:

But she considers her pursuit of renewable energy a civic duty to help Kern prosper in the long term. "This is a red, conservative-based county," she says. "We are not Berkeley. We are embracing renewables because they're practical." What is essential to Oviatt -- and to her bosses, the five elected members of the county board of supervisors -- is that renewable energy investments create jobs and boost tax revenue. If the icing is green, she says, well, all the better.

This can't be? I thought the conservative mantra was that renewables are too expensive, that spending on unnecessary renewables they will ruin the US economy. Ah! maybe that's the FF industry mantra and they just happen to funnel their propoganda through conservative mouthpieces.

Maybe one day people will wake up and think Alan Drakes Ideas are practical too. Who knows?

Alan from the islands

I'm Berkeley. It's a subversive thing. Took me a while to get the ball rolling cuz I left Bakersfield when I was 11. I'm working on Alan's thing now. "Soon" you will go from downtown SF -> LA by rail faster than by air. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_High-Speed_Rail

Show me a story like this from Alabama, Mississippi, or Louisiana and I'll be impressed.

Or would that be a sign of the apocalypse? Environmentalists picketing wind turbines, and every redneck's trailer decked out with a solar panel.

Wind Energy - Alabama Power

Alabama's potential for wind power generation is relatively small given the available consistent wind energy in our state. The U.S. Department of Energy classifies wind energy areas as classes 1 to 7, with seven possessing the greatest wind speed and wind density. Class 3 winds are considered to be the minimum required for effective wind power generation.

I can only guess Alan but a couple of possibilities beyond PR value: their electric rates are high enough to justify the expense and/or field operations like their's don't respond well to electical shut downs. Chevron may be a system that might allow them to be cut off during a demand surge. Turning back on such operations isn't that simple or fast. A two hour shut might take the better part of a week to get everything back up and running once power is restored.

My impression of the story about Chveron testing the solar PV panels at Kern River is that Kern River is just a convenient place to do such testing (It is in the desert, and they do use electricity from natural gas, so could theoretically reduce NG use somewhat with the solar PV panels).

Reading the article, I got the impression that Chevron was trying to get careful readings of how well the various technologies worked, to see if they would like to expand in that area--perhaps do a joint venture or buy one of the companies. After all, the quote was from Chevron Technology Ventures, which is the unit charged with looking into emerging technologies.

I doubt that there was any huge need to add the solar PV at Kern River. The Kern River field seems to be near the end of its life, so there is no real reason to be adding long term solar PV panels there. The electrical system they do have at Kern River--burning natural gas, using co-generation to provide both heat and power, and selling power back to the grid--is fairly inexpensive, especially with gas prices low. (See my Kern River post.)

Here is a quote from the article, "Five Myths About Electric Cars":

"Electric vehicles aren't really clean because they use electricity from coal plants. This one is undoubtedly true, in that battery cars are not "zero emission" on a "well to wheels" basis. Coal power is indeed dirty power. But, all things considered, EVs are still much better for our planet than gasoline cars. According to Sherry Boschert, author of the book Plug-In Hybrids: The Cars that Will Recharge America (New Society), EVs reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 11 to 100 percent (depending on the type of power plant) compared to internal-combustion cars, and 24 to 54 percent compared to hybrid cars. Even if all our plants burned coal, we'd still reduce CO2 by as much as 59 percent with people driving only EVs. Boschert's primary source was a study by the federal Argonne National Laboratories."

I am simply not buying this. If "all our plants" burned coal, and we *also* had to increase generating capacity to accommodate an entire new fleet of electric cars, this would have to be worse for the climate. Or am I missing something?

I think their argument relates to electricity as an incremental source of energy. If all cars could be converted overnight to EVs, the emissions savings from reduced oil use would more than offset the emissions growth from coal-fired electricity.

You might argue that there is a carbon footprint associated with building new power plants that needs to be considered. You have a point, but I'd be hard pressed to say how that stacks up to the carbon footprint of digging harder and longer to find oil. It could be a wash.

"If all cars could be converted overnight to EVs, the emissions savings from reduced oil use would more than offset the emissions growth from coal-fired electricity." How could this be the case? Coal is dirtier than oil, and EVs aren't *that* much more efficient than gas engines, or are they?

Probably somebody who usually does the math here will refine my calculations.

From memory, gas engines are about 15-20% efficient at best.

A good coal plant is maybe 30%, and grid-to-battery and battery-to-motion are each 90%+. That gives coal a 5-10% advantage.

So efficiency wise, coal to roll is better than gas to pass. Subjectively, coal is dirtier, so that will blur the savings some, but then wind and nukes will help pick up some EV load too.

EVs would be fine, if they were cheaper or gas were more expensive, and more range, and a fast-charge grid....

EVs are much more energy-efficient than an ICE car for several reasons:

A good coal power plant has an efficiency of 50%. If you assume 5% transmission losses and 80% charging efficiency and 90% battery-to-wheels efficiency, then you get 34% efficiency at converting BTUs of heat to BTUs of kinetic energy. Although a modern ICE engined vehicle has an efficiency of around 25-30%, that is with the engine operating at high power. Cars very rarely run at peak efficiency, because their engines are generally oversized (This is one reason why HEVs do so well; they have a small engine that is suitable for not much more than highway cruising while recharging the battery). A car also operates at zero efficiency when it is idling, whereas an EV will use next to no power sitting still. From a CO2 perspective, a BTU of coal is more harmful than a BTU of gasoline or diesel but the EV still wins.

A CNG parallel hybrid is probably the least environmentally destructive car possible with current technology. However, if you use a direct dollars-to-dollars comparison, the battery pack alone for one Chevy Volt takes the same amount of resources to make as approximately fifty bicycles and will not last as long, and will serve far fewer people while supporting an expensive sedentary lifestyle and placing far greater demands on the road system and power grid.

Who knew? Most US citizens think the economy could collapse, the gov't has no clue how to fix it, and the gov't is too big.


It's Faux News, so it's got to be true.

And water is wet and the sky is blue...

A New Peak Chile Pepper

First it was Cantarell tanking. Now there is more bad news for Mexico and the Yucatan peninsula. The Habanero is no longer the hottest chile pepper around. The new champ is the Bhut Jolokia, a hybrid found growing in India.


(via Boing Boing)

Interesting News an hour ago.

CBC west coast announced 120 native and environmental groups have vowed to block new pipeline from oil sands to Kitimat in an effort to stop any tanker traffic on BC Coast.

They can do it, too.

It's not a new plant though, It has been around for a while, but only having been recently labeled the hottest in the world by those guys in funny hats with that book with the same name. Which as an author I find kinda sad that if I do something real special and they say they didn't see it happen then it didn't happen, even though I know it did. It is like a kind of social media website these days with everyone wanting to get listed in that book by the funny hat guys.

It's just as bad as people wanting their 15 minutes of fame on TV or these days it being You-tub (LOL, it was a typo, but I'll leave it.)

Once a long time ago I ate a pepper because the kid said it tasted sweet, one of bright pepper bush kinds they grow in flower beds. After a while I think I forgot the feeling of being sick and I can't remember what it felt like eating that itty bit, because something in me said don't trust the kid, but being a kid myself the peer pressure was rather great. I think it taught me to not bow to peer pressure, which I never did in later years. I don't even think I was 10 yet when I nibbled that pepper.

Now all we need is someone to make ice cream out of it, and then you'll have it made.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future. ( more power to sweet peppers )

Funny - just yesterday I stumbled upon a large Chile forum where everone seems to be growing the Bhut.


And ofcouce India is weaponizing the Bhut.


UK petrol prices top £1.20/l pre-budget

We will probably get another few pence/litre from taxes at the budget also. Add VAT on top of this, naturally, and while we are at it, this will probably lead to a few more pence from the oil companies (who can blame it on the budget for those that can't count). Not forgetting, of course, that we pay it all from our wages after tax - a nice double-whammy.

Transport is becoming a privilege of the rich. Based on a 25 mile commute each way, a standard car will cost just over £2000 per year in fuel. Two wage earners per house probably means over £4000 per year in fuel, or £5000 out of your gross earnings just to get to work. Then add in your recreational milage on top. Obviously this does not account for the cost/servicing of the car either. Now I am aware that cars were never cheap, but this will not have to go much further before it is not worth one earner going to work unless you can ride-share.

Now before anyone starts on the time-to-buy-an-EV story, you may consider that if you are concerned over £5k, then a £30k electric car (even if the fuel was free) may as well cost a million.

On a related subject, does any one know of a study of the costs of petrol on other consumer goods in the UK? Is the effect of transport prices on goods on shelf a minor or major factor? Anyone know? Any truckers here?

That's around 12k mpy, depending on vacation time, just driving to
work. In the US, a survey said driving to work was only 28% of total
driving. A 12k/yr commute must be unusual in the UK, where avg miles
driven (total driving) is around 2-3k less than in US, ie 9-10k/yr. Your car only averages 27mpg - how about a 50mpg diesel?
The real problem is the weak pound - petrol price at 1.20 has just
exceeded the high of mid-July '08, whereas euro countries are still
15-17% below those levels. The pound at that time was worth 2usd.

Fair point about a weak pound.

My car averages 33 mpg on non-motorway runs. I have driven many eco-diesels over large distances and never got higher than 40 mpg on average - so in my opinion many of these headline figures are misleading.

And again you have to take into account the price and impact of the new-ish car itself, which cannot compare to not getting it in the first place. Smacks a bit of the 'all you need is a new XX' mantra - fill in the blanks.

- (Fueled) Transport is becoming a privilege of the rich. -

Too true.

Funny that the americans winge about high gas prices reaching a shocking $3 a gallon. We pay the equivalent of nearly $7 in England at the pump.

Oilman Sachs said he'd rather have oil and gas than healthcare. Frankly, I bet not at those prices he wouldn't.

On average, UK drivers are paying around 6% of income for gasoline,
compared to ~4% for Americans, who pay hardly more than in the 1960's, when the US was a net oil exporter.

NotSoCertain, however, is using a US-style 500g+ (1900l+) a year
which is around 10% of average income. He is living the Chinese
driving experience - except they're only using 150g a year.

Despite articles, such as from yesterday which indicated US vehicle miles fell in Janaury, reports continue to support the idea that a sustained pickup in gasoline demnad has occurred in the last two months. As I have been saying for weeks, US oil demand will pickup in the first half of 2010. After that, I hesitate to make any predictions - until we see how high the price of oil goes this summer.

US weekly gasoline demand up 1.4 pct - MasterCard

3:00pm EDT
NEW YORK, March 23 (Reuters) - U.S. retail gasoline demand rose 1.4 percent in the week to March 19, according to a MasterCard SpendingPulse report released on Tuesday.

Gasoline demand averaged 9.656 million barrels per day last week, up from 9.523 million the previous week, the weekly survey showed.

Year-on-year, gasoline demand rose by 1.8 percent for the week.


"Our Obsession With Stuff Is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities and Our Health"

I was amazed and horrified to find out there is an anxiety disorder in the US called Compulsive Hoarding Disorder, and roughly 3 million people suffer from it.

"Compulsive Hoarding a mental disorder marked by an obsessive need to acquire (and failure to use or discard) a significant amount of possessions, even if the items are worthless, hazardous, or unsanitary."


I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that the continuous marketing of "stuff" has led to anxiety disorders, compulsive shopping and other obsessive behaviours.

There are several "reality" shows that deal with this. From the fairly light-hearted Clean House to the grim Hoarders.

I'm not sure it's marketing or our consumer culture that causes it, though. For some people, yes. It's "retail therapy," buying stuff to fill emotional needs, and the inability to resist a "bargain." But for others, it seems to grow out of deprivation or fear of poverty. They grew up in the Great Depression, or had parents or grandparents who did, and they are unable to throw anything away because it they might need it some day, or they think it can be fixed up and sold. (Or, in the case of peak oilers, they fear that one day Wal-Mart won't have them any more. ;-)

The really serious cases don't seem very connected to consumerism at all. I watched an episode of Hoarders the other day where a woman was hoarding cats. People knew she was a soft touch, and dumped unwanted cats in her yard. She didn't want to take them to the shelter, because she knew they would be killed. So she fed them all. She couldn't afford to fix them, so they kept breeding. They took 40 cats out of her house, and had to put most of them to sleep. They found about 40 more that had died in her house, unnoticed. Under piles of garbage in the house and garage, in the attic under the insulation, inside the furniture. She cried when she found out; she had wanted to save the cats, but ended up killing them.

They had another case, where an elderly woman had filled her entire house with garbage and feces. She never let anyone in the house, including her grown children. She was sleeping on a table in the kitchen, because it was the only place with room to lie down. She tied herself onto it each night so she wouldn't fall off. One night she fell off anyway, and had to use her medic alert bracelet. They found her wedged behind the table, lying in piles of excrement. Apparently, the plumbing broke, and her house was such a mess she was ashamed to call a repairman. So she started using plastic bags as toilets...and just piled them up her house, until it was literally full of crap. Her children had no idea she had been living with no water and no electricity for years. She never told them.

Yikes !

I read about animal hoarding, and saw some of the results of cases when I used to volunteer at a local shelter.

I can see where the atomization of society has a lot to do with hoarding behaviours.

If, indeed, some cases have a physiological basis, it is certainly exacerbated by the social environment around us.

Possibly hoarding is something that has always been with us - but the ready availability of cheap, plastic junk and packaging material certainly makes it much easier to accomplish.

In regards to accumulating things "in case Walmart runs out" - I think it's a fine line between "preparing for the future", and "collecting due to anxiety".

I found myself collecting seeds. I have boxes of them. However, I do use them up - more so, since, obviously, they aren't going to be viable beyond a few years.

Maybe storing things is an ingrained reaction to preparing for an uncertain future - in the case of our distant ancestors, preparing for winter.

Maybe storing things is an ingrained reaction to preparing for an uncertain future - in the case of our distant ancestors, preparing for winter.

But for most of human history, it was pretty much impossible to hoard much. We were wanderers, who didn't stay anywhere long enough to accumulate stuff, and couldn't keep anything we couldn't carry. The way to bank "wealth" was to invest in the goodwill of your neighbors. Share your food today, and tomorrow, when they have food and you don't, they'll share with you.

Yes, but once we started making tools, I imagine the hunter would want to make, and keep, his own spear, or the gatherer might want to keep her own bag of special herbs, to carry along when they moved.

There was an ancient hunter body dug up a few years back, with a bag of herbs around his neck.

It isn't much of a stretch to visualise, as we become more sedentary, that keeping certain items may have assisted survival. Maybe a favorite paintbrush, or some special painting minerals, or a clan totem.

In thinking about our contemporary drive towards "self sufficiency", I imagine a lot of people find themselves in difficulty, but are ashamed to ask for help, or "be a burden".

Two thoughts:
1) Beware the phenomenon of medicalization. It's present in all fields but especially apparent in mental health.


2) What would the greens think about this? Is junk better off in somebody's home, out of sight, out of the fields and forests and oceans and relatively harmless, or in landfills and dumped into the sea?

Oh, I forgot. We are not supposed to produce anything, and everything we do produce we are supposed to "recycle," as if that used no energy and everytime we did it we get something better back.

It almost borders on the people who are packrats, they have a lot of things that they only store for a rainy day. But I have seen this disorder in the flesh.

My second wife's mother has things all over her house that have no use whatsoever. Plastic yogurt cups, stacks and stacks of them over a 1,000 of them. Shelves that have had food stored in them from 10 years ago or longer. A chest freezer that is used as a kitchen counter, It was unplugged before I met her daugther in 2001, it is still there in her kitchen full of whatever was in it, and it'll be there till she dies. Trisha was always worried that when her mother died we'd be stuck getting rid of everything, like the stacks of newspapers her mom has, they finally stopped growing because she stopped getting the paper. Trisha died last year, and Carolyn's two sons will have to deal with it, but I do pity them the task of the freezer.

I collect a lot of things for later use, but I will throw in the recycle bins a lot of things that aren't useful.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future