Drumbeat: April 26, 2010

Depletion of fossil energy resources

Depletion of global fossil oil resources has been the theme topic of the world economic and political circles over the past decades, particularly in consumer countries in Europe and America. This has also been a source of great apprehension in those countries. The heart of their discussion is about the alternate sources of energy when the fossil oil resources are used up? Of course, how the alternatives can be exploitable, while being economically cost-effective, are the key factors in coming up with conclusion and making decision on the part of consumers.

Over the past several decades, the consumer countries have been weighing up the use of other resources, or substitutes, such as solar, water, wind, nuclear. Although huge research works have been done, it sounds a serious steps has not been taken yet; mainly because there have been gigantic amount of this noble energy carrier, namely the oil, and it has been rather cheap and comparing with other substitute resources being highly cost effective. So all this have made weak incentives for the use of other resources.

EIA to revise 2009 natgas production data Thurs

NEW YORK, April 26 (Reuters) - The U.S. Energy Information Administration said Monday it will revise gross natural gas production data for all of 2009 when it releases its EIA-914 report on Thursday.

Earlier this month, EIA said it planned to revamp its methodology for calculating gross natural gas production, beginning with its February report due out on April 29.

Norway pushes its own 'Dash for Gas'

Current concerns about energy shortages and future supplies, carbon emissions and trading, et al, have thrown lots of attention on wind power, other renewable energy sources and the potential of nuclear power generation.

But what about natural gas? The world seems to have fallen out of love with a lower carbon source for power generation and other uses with reserves in hand for another 250 years of consumption.

Oil rig sinking puts 'bad boy' industry in spotlight again

The industry is inherently dangerous and accidents such as the latest one in the Gulf of Mexico can never be eliminated. However, Manouchehr Takin of the Centre for Global Energy Studies said: "Perhaps I'm biased. But accidents like this one will amplify the image of the industry as a bad boy. That is unfair, I think. We still need oil and gas."

ConocoPhillips asset sale revealed

ConocoPhillips's banking advisers today revealed details of the assets the oil giant is selling in the US and Canada as part of its $10 billion sale programme to shore up its finances.

The Houston-based company is divesting properties in the Permian basin in New Mexico and Texas, the Wind River basin in Wyoming, the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma, and Western Canada, according to the website of Scotia Waterous, the oil and gas merger and acquisitions division of Scotia Capital, which is advising ConocoPhillips in its asset sale.

Petrobras capital plans may face delay

Brazilian state-owned Petrobras may face delays in its capitalisation plan because certifying the value of barrels to be used in the oil-for-shares plan could take longer than expected, Credit Suisse said today.

Can Biochar Help Save the World?

On Earth Day, we looked back on a year in which James Cameron's Avatar, a film about environmental crisis and restoration, swept box offices around the globe. What if there were a real-life answer to help solve the real world problems of climate change, peak oil, and global food security? Would you want the leaders of the G8 and the G20 to know about it and endorse it? This Earth Day, The Huntsville Project launched to inform the global public about biochar, one of the most promising developments in our fight against climate change. At the new website, http://www.newcarboneconomy.info, you can find out about biochar and sign the petition.

Fighting against food waste

Each year people in the UK throw away 8.3 million tonnes of edible food. If that food wasn't wasted the carbon emissions saved would be the equivalent of taking one in four cars off the road. As well as household food waste, retailers and commercial operations bin a huge amount of food that is past its sell by date – but still perfectly edible.

Creating Climate Wealth

In this dinner address, Branson offers insight into why he founded the Carbon War Room, which along with Earth Day Network, hosted the gala in the Ronald Reagan Building. He believes that capitalism -- "if properly monitored" -- can be a force for good in protecting the planet. He notes that mechanisms established decades ago to protect the planet no longer work and too often, globalization increases the gap between rich and poor.

Adaptation, Habituation, Consumption and $9/Gallon Gasoline

Human beings resist change until there is no other choice, and then they adapt and habituate rather quickly.

What Works, Maybe: Individual Options

Like global climate change, peak oil represents a predicament, not a problem. There is no politically viable solution to either of these great challenges. Political solutions require economic growth, forever, and therefore no significant sacrifice on the behalf of the electorate. Further, the industrial economy is underlain by the assumption of growth: The industrial economy grows or it dies.

Greenland Gears Up for Oil Search

Oil, one way or another, promises to transform this barren ice mass.

For years, many Greenlanders and scientists have blamed the burning of oil and other fossil fuels for rising temperatures that have caused Greenland's huge ice cap to recede and its building-size offshore glaciers to crack apart.

Yet the slow-speed meltdown has also helped create a huge opportunity for the oil industry, opening more of this North Atlantic island's coastal areas for exploration and making it possible for boats to navigate and for drilling rigs to be planted in new offshore regions.

Starting around July, U.K. oil company Cairn Energy PLC is set to drill the first exploration well in Greenland in a decade, which analysts say may turn up sizable quantities of crude.

Norway, Russia Discuss Arctic Border Dispute

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived in Norway Monday for a state visit during which the two countries were to discuss a long-running dispute over their maritime border in the Barents Sea, believed to contain vast oil and gas resources.

Since 1970, Norway and the Soviet Union, and then Russia, have contested a 176,000-square-kilometer area of the Barents Sea straddling their economic zones.

Global oil demand to increase by 5 mn bpd: Kuwait

Global oil demand will increase by five million barrels per day in the next five years, and China and India will lead the growth in emerging markets, the Kuwaiti oil minister said at the opening ceremony of the 18th Middle East Oil and Gas Conference in Kuwait City on Monday.

"The fastest growth will be in Asia, where consumption is expected to account for more than 30 per cent of the global demand," Xinhua reported quoting Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

API: U.S. Well Completions Down 24% in 1Q

The estimated number of U.S. oil and natural gas wells and dry holes completed in the first quarter of 2010 -- 7,663 -- was 24 percent lower than 2009, halting an uptick in completion well activity that began in the second half of 2009, API's first-quarter drilling estimates indicate.

"This drop in drilling activity was somewhat unexpected. Looking at the rig activity, we expected first-quarter completions to at least maintain their fourth-quarter 2009 level," said Hazem Arafa, director of API's statistics department. "Upon closer inspection, we noticed that a considerable uptick in permits and rig activity occurred closer to the end of the first quarter. We therefore expect this increased activity to result in an uptick in completions in the second quarter."

Saudi has 4m bpd to spare

Saudi Arabia has close to 4 million barrels per day of spare oil production capacity on hand, Saudi Aramco chief executive Khalid al-Falih said.

Days After Rig Explosion, Well Is Pouring Thousands of Gallons of Oil Into Gulf

NEW ORLEANS — Officials expect to determine today or Tuesday whether they will soon be able to stop oil leaks coming from the deepwater well near Louisiana or will need months to stem the flow of what is now about 42,000 gallons of oil a day pouring into the Gulf of Mexico.

The response team is trying three tacks: one that could stop the leaks within hours, one that would take months and one that would not stop the leaks but would capture the oil and deliver it to the surface while permanent measures are pursued.

Chavez dismisses 'Cubanization' accusations

CARACAS, Venezuela -- President Hugo Chavez dismissed a retired general's warnings about a growing Cuban presence in Venezuela's military, accusing the officer Sunday of helping opponents portray his government a pawn of Fidel Castro.

China's draft oil-pipeline protection law details pipeline companies' responsibilities

BEIJING (Xinhua) -- Chinese legislators Monday started discussing for the second time a draft law on the protection of oil and natural gas pipelines which spells out the responsibilities of pipeline companies.

According to the draft, companies must take safety measures while constructing pipelines and ensure the quality of materials.

Russia teaches EU a lesson in its Ukraine gas-for-naval base deal

This deal illustrates how Russia deploys hard political and economic power in a way that the EU can never match. Economically speaking, Ukraine is on its knees right now. The prospect of cheaper gas was too enticing to refuse. The Kremlin spotted its chance and went for it.

Iran Says Total, Shell Can Be Replaced in Major Projects

Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps said it can fill the gap in the country's energy sector left by Western oil firms pulling out in the face of U.S. sanctions, the Iranian Labour News Agency reports on its Web site.

IRGC Brigadier General Yadollah Javani, told the ILNA: "Today the revolutionary guards are proud to have the ability and know-how to easily replace large international firms. For example, we can replace Total and Shell in Assalouyeh big projects."

Inequity in power outages

It seems that Pakistan’s politicians and civil servants seem to have not entirely grasped the concept of the phrase “public servant.” Judging by the unequal way in which electricity blackouts seem to have been divvied up in urban areas, one imagines that they feel that it is some sort of euphemism for ‘ruling class.’

Colombia faces gas shortages on El Nino

BOGOTA (Commodity Online) : Colombia is facing acute shortage of natural gas mainly on droughts caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon.

The phenomenon sent dam levels across Colombia to historic lows, are forcing officials to evaluate deficiencies in the natural gas sector.

Kunstler: A Still Moment

George W. Bush was onto something in the fall of 2008 when he remarked apropos of the Lehman collapse: "...this sucker could go down."

It's my serene conviction, by the way, that this sucker actually is going down, right now, even as I clatter away at the keys -- perhaps in slow motion, so that not many other bystanders have noticed yet, and the few who have noticed are mostly too crosseyed with nausea to speak.

Herman Daly: Money and the Steady State Economy

We need not go back to the gold standard. Keep fiat money, but move from fractional reserve banking to a system of 100% reserve requirements. The change need not be drastic–we could gradually raise the reserve requirement to 100%. This would put control of the money supply and all seigniorage in hands of the government rather than private banks, which would no longer be able to live the alchemist’s dream of creating money out of nothing and lending it at interest. All quasi-bank financial institutions should be brought under this rule, regulated as commercial banks subject to 100% reserve requirements. Credit cards would become debit cards. Banks would earn their profit by financial intermediation only — i.e. lending savers’ money for them (charging a loan rate higher than the rate paid to savings account depositors) and charging for checking, safekeeping, and other services. With 100% reserves every dollar loaned to a borrower would be a dollar previously saved by a depositor, re-establishing the classical balance between investment and abstinence.

1905 San Francisco: Great City, Low Energy Consumption

A 13-minute film of a cable car/trolley ride down Market Street in 1905 San Francisco reveals much about energy consumption.

Wind, solar groups push U.S. renewable energy standard

(Reuters) - U.S. industry executives from the wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal and biomass sectors pushed on Tuesday for a federal renewable energy standard, which they said would foster growth and create jobs.

Tough UK energy regulation decisions for green future

(Reuters) - Britain faces tough choices on the level of energy sector regulation needed in order to provide secure, affordable, and sustainable energy supplies in the future.

Energy regulator Ofgem called for radical energy sector reforms last week, presenting five policy packages of various levels of regulation, aimed at encouraging long-term investments in energy security, such as gas storage, and renewable energy projects such as wind and back-up power plants.

Mayor's green-energy goals could be in jeopardy after electric rate battle

The recent fight over electric rates in Los Angeles exacted a political toll on Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and executives with the Department of Water and Power, eroding their influence in the wake of their feud with the City Council.

Although both sides have taken steps to make amends, the dispute could have a lasting effect on one of the mayor's original 2005 campaign promises: securing at least 20% of the city's electricity from renewable fuel sources by Dec. 31.

THINK's Ten Myths About Electric Cars

WASHINGTON -- On the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, Richard Canny, CEO of pioneering electric car company THINK, is setting the record straight on electric vehicles. Here are Canny's top 10 EV myths, busted.

How Bjørn Lomborg deceives the public

As you sift through the piece, you will see that his "key environmental measures" relate almost exclusively to the health and well-being of humans. And, this is what he uses to build a three-fold strategy to deceive the public. First, he equates human well-being with the well-being of the planet as a whole largely ignoring declines in the functioning of the very ecosystems that support human life. Second, he knows that humans are particularly eager to hear good news about themselves, especially when it is wrapped in rhetoric that makes it appear that we are not undermining our environmental support systems. Third, he accuses those who call for blanket curtailment of practices such as the burning of fossil fuels of having no concern for the poor.

Bill McKibben, and his latest prognosis of 'Eaarth'

Bill McKibben came to the Festival of Books to talk about “Eaarth,” his new book about civilization’s need to learn to cope with a dire environmental reality, but the talk Sunday pivoted more on the crucial point of hope. As in, do we have any?

Water emergency in the West

Change comes hard to Western water policy. The Prior Appropriation Doctrine, interstate compacts, groundwater law, the “law of the river” — all of these seem set in stone in the minds of the region's policymakers. Of course, the West's rivers aren't bound by such a static existence. Indeed, they are changing in fundamental ways, opening a wide chasm between our water policy and our water sources. This is particularly true for the Colorado River Basin.

Climate scientists are predicting a 10-to-30 percent reduction in flow for the Colorado — a stark contrast to the rosy assumptions that underlay the Colorado River Compact when it was signed 88 years ago. Researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography recently predicted that Lakes Mead and Powell have a 50 percent chance of going dry by 2021. These days, Lake Mead is at 45 percent capacity and Lake Powell is at 57 percent capacity.

Farther south, water shortages are predicted for northern Arizona communities, including Flagstaff, by 2050. The Central Arizona Project, which provides water to Phoenix and Tucson, may run short of water as early as 2012.

And farther downstream, Mexico is looking at a disaster along its stretch of the river due to inadequate flows, prompting one Mexican official to declare, “We are clearly on a collision course with a catastrophe,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Crop institute for protecting Mother Earth

In an effort to brace the looming perfect storm, a confluence of crises involving climate change, food security, energy crisis, poverty and population explosion, ICRISAT works with strategic partners to meet the challenges of semi-arid agriculture, especially in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Scientists develop farming systems resilient to shocks, buffering crucial resources like water and nutrients and adapting crops to warmer temperatures and new pest patterns.

Towards this, ICRISAT does research on a range of farming systems to develop options that poor farmers could quickly deploy.

Experts link biofuels to food shortage

The increasing use of biofuels could drive millions of people in the developing world deeper into poverty and hunger, warns a leading humanitarian organization.

London-based charity Action Aid denounced that vast fields in Africa, South America and India are currently dedicated to the production of biofuel crops such as wheat and corn, instead of food for local communities, leaving thousands at risk of starvation.

Future of cellulosic ethanol remains uncertain

"You just can't get the financing," said Arnold Klann, who runs California-based BlueFire Ethanol, which is also planning to build a cellulosic plant.

"Besides BlueFire there's quite a few other companies as you're well aware that are all trying to build their first plants," Klann said. "And each one has different barriers, but fundamentally the least common denominator in all those barriers, whether they're technical or whatever, is the financing."

Klann said banks consider cellulosic plants too risky. There are small, pilot cellulosic plants operating but nothing on an industrial scale. Klann said lenders aren't willing to finance them because they're not sure a large facility will work.

Pakistan: Ethanol and bio-diesel could help in achieving import substitution

LAHORE: Provincial Minister for Population Welfare Punjab Neelam Jabbar Ch. has said that the government is paying full attention to develop the alternative fuels such as ethanol and bio-diesel to overcome the energy crisis in the country.

While talking to various delegations, Neelam Jabbar Ch. said that the world was moving about new fuel technologies and Pakistan could not afford to lag behind and be continued on traditional energy sources.

Shell says Middle East needs to solve "gas puzzle"

KUWAIT (Reuters) - The Middle East needs to solve the conundrum which leaves it sitting on 40 percent of the world's gas reserves and yet suffering from a supply shortage, a senior executive from Royal Dutch Shell said on Monday.

Natural gas demand in the region was growing at such a rate that by 2015, total consumption in the Middle East would be close to that in major European economies, Malcolm Brinded, Shell's executive director for international upstream, said in a speech at an industry event.

Middle East gas demand was rising at around 5 percent per year, a rate similar to growth in China, he said.

"Domestic demand is growing, fuelled by economic growth, low gas prices and a gradual switch from oil to gas for power generation. As a result, some Middle East countries face natural gas shortages," Brinded said.

Oil industry buys time to perfect solar: author

Alberta's massive oilsands deposits will become a key ingredient for world peace, a stabilizing force in energy markets which are becoming increasingly dominated by nationally-owned firms doing the bidding of their home governments, predicts a researcher and author.

"The sands are a calming, stabilizing force in the world, offering energy security. Perhaps this suggests a kind of fortress North America vision, but what it means is we can't be held hostage," said Alastair Sweeny.

Peak oil: Why industry and government should sit up and listen

As CCS potential is brought into question, Jeremy Leggett, chairman of Solar Century, raises the question of why industry and government should see peak oil as a serious risk issue.

The energy complex

While the world is built on energy, a move away from finite fossil fuels to greener, renewable sources of energy is coming. This has the scope to be transformative at the national economic level for resource-rich countries and at the corporate level for those firms that can provide scalable energy solutions and develop new technologies.

Wind power gets high

Creighton never expected to become a military contractor. He got interested in energy for off-the-grid locations after spending a semester abroad in India as a Wisconsin undergrad, where he was overwhelmed by the poverty. “I’ve always been fascinated by the process of development,” he told me. “Where does wealth come from?” It was clear to him the economic development and the availability of energy went hand-in-hand. Later, he studied the idea of peak oil and investigated ways to produce energy with the fewest inputs and the lowest environmental impact. That led him to airborne wind.

Oil: A tale of two cartels

Last week the price of oil once again breached the 18-month barrier to touch $87, sparking fears of another oil price spike, widely anticipated since the Davos face off between Europe's oil majors and the Saudis early this year.

The price spurt of oil followed the US energy department's decision to raise stock by an additional two million tonnes creating record stockpiles of 356.2 MT, a 7% rise in US inventory over the five-year average stocks. The build-up was due to International Energy Agency's consumption forecast of 86.6 million barrels, up by 1.8% from last year. The IEA's revised estimates was possibly due to a sharp 28% jump in imports of oil by China in January, a reaction to “peak oil” fears set off at Davos.

Why Fuel Economy Still Matters

When ever something isn’t in a state of crisis, it’s easy to forget how ugly it can get and how quickly it can get there. When it comes to gas prices, we should all know better by now.

I’m not a strict disciple of the Peak Oil crowd, but even a skeptic has to admit that their contentions are often nicely supported by the facts. As benign as oil prices seem to be at the moment, the potential for a resumption of the price increases experienced for most of the last decade is all around.

Common Sense in Energy Storage Investing

Oil prices are foremost in our collective consciousness because we all buy petroleum in minimally processed form on a weekly basis. While the changes are less obvious, prices for every major commodity have been following a relentless upward trend for decades with no signs of moderation. In other words, the world's appetite for everything is growing faster than the ability to produce anything. We're careening toward a commodity cliff at 180 miles an hour and nobody seems to notice because we can't take our eyes off the gas gauge. The problem isn't just peak oil; it's peak everything.

Oil above $85 on signs US economy improving

"Stronger-than-expected data on order intake and U.S. home sales have kindled hopes that the economic recovery of the world's largest oil consumer is gaining momentum," said a report from Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

Gains by the dollar, however, were helping to cap oil prices by making crude more expensive for investors holding other currencies.

Cost of gas stays flat in last 2 weeks

CAMARILLO, Calif. - The average price of regular gasoline in the United States was virtually unchanged over a two-week period, dipping only .42 cents to $2.85.

Oil Contango Soars as Oklahoma Tank Farms Brim With Crude

Oil storage costs are soaring to the highest level in four months as tanks in Oklahoma brim with near-record crude inventories.

Oil for delivery in June cost $1.95 a barrel less than the July contract as of April 21, the biggest gap since Dec. 15 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The premium for further-out delivery, or contango, mirrors the expense of stockpiling. It emerged after inventories jumped 5.8 percent in the week ended April 16 to 34.1 million barrels in Cushing, Oklahoma, where traders make deliveries for futures, government data show.

Inventories are near the record 35.7 million barrels on Jan. 1 as Canadian imports rise refineries shut for maintenance. Supplies are so plentiful that West Texas Intermediate, or WTI, oil costs less than Brent crude in Europe, a lower quality crude. Brent cost more than WTI three times in the past year.

Iraq oil exports via Turkey resume after sabotage

BAGHDAD—Iraq's Oil Ministry says it has resumed crude exports through the Turkish port of Ceyhan after repairing a key northern pipeline sabotaged last week.

UK energy production down 6% in 2009

London – Total energy production in the UK in 2009 was 166.8 million tonnes of oil equivalent, 5.8% lower than 2008, according to the Energy Trends and Quarterly Energy Prices report by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

According to the official data, between 2008 and 2009 coal and other solid fuel consumption fell by 14.2%, while consumption of oil and gas fell by 3.5% and 7.2%, respectively. Primary energy consumption fell for the fifth consecutive year, and at its fastest rate since 1980. Coal production last year – including an estimate for slurry – was 1.0% down on 2008 at 17.9 million tonnes. Deep mined production was down 7.1% while opencast production was up 3.6%. Imports of coal in 2009 as a whole were 12.9% down on 2008 at 38.2 million tonnes.

Quebec Minister Mulls New Law to Attract Oil, Gas Investment in Province

Quebec wants to build its nascent natural-gas industry by crafting a new law to make it easier for producers to operate in the province, Natural Resources Minister Nathalie Normandeau said.

Normandeau plans to introduce legislation in the fourth quarter to regulate oil and gas production, she said in an interview in Montreal. While Quebec doesn’t yet produce oil or gas commercially, companies such as Talisman Energy Inc., Forest Oil Corp. and Questerre Energy Corp. have begun exploring in the province.

BP Oil Well Leak May Take Months to Close After Rig Sinks

BP Plc said it may take months to drill a well to stop an oil spill under the Gulf of Mexico that threatens to become an environmental disaster.

BP and Swiss drilling contractor Transocean Ltd. began using remote-controlled vehicles yesterday to try to halt the 1,000 barrel-a-day leak. If that doesn’t work, BP may need to pump heavy fluid into a relief well to stop the flow of crude from the seabed.

Iran seeks to woo foreign money as sanctions loom

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran is cutting red tape and easing ownership rules to encourage foreign investment in stocks and bonds, state television reported on Monday, as the major oil producer faces further U.N. sanctions over its nuclear work.

Press TV, citing a senior official, said Iran had adopted new regulations to facilitate investment in its capital market.

Shell, BP, Exxon Among Oil Companies Said to Face U.S. FTC Probe, WSJ Says

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, BP Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and other oil companies are being investigated by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over employee compensation practices, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the situation.

The investigation of whether the companies colluded to curb employee wages has been open for several years and includes as many as 12 oil companies, the newspaper said, citing the people. The FTC may never file a lawsuit, the WSJ said. Calls to the FTC’s public affairs office for comment went unanswered.

Korea Electric Loss Narrows on Lower Costs of Fuel Imports, Stronger Won

Korea Electric Power Corp., supplier of most of the country’s electricity, posted a quarterly loss, prompting expectations the government will permit a tariff increase.

Tougher environmental laws pose challenge for mining industry

The one industry that has been a sure-fire generator of sales and property tax revenue and high paying jobs stands imperiled by a confluence of tighter environmental laws and demand for renewable energy facilities that could impact mining output or push some mining operations out of California altogether.

China National Nuclear Starts Building $2.8 Billion Power Plant in Hainan

China National Nuclear Corp., the country’s biggest operator of nuclear power plants, started building a 19 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) generator on the southern island province of Hainan.

The first of two units will start electricity output by the end of 2014, the company said in a statement posted on its Web site today. The plant, a joint venture with top power producer China Huaneng Group Corp., has a capacity of 1,300 megawatts, China National Nuclear said in August 2008.

Enel Signs Preliminary Accord With Inter RAO on Kaliningrad Nuclear Plant

Enel SpA signed a memorandum of understanding with Inter Rao Ues OAO for cooperation in the nuclear power industry, according to a statement released at a meeting between Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and company executives outside Milan today.

How geothermal power could be the key to cleaner fuel

As the world's biggest geothermal energy conference begins in Indonesia, Katrín Júlíusdóttir, Iceland's Minister of Energy, Industry and Tourism, explains how geothermal energy presents significant opportunity for renewables.

When the going gets tough, the tough grow food

Now the leadership is coming from the bottom up. Community and neighborhood organizations are being formed to promote our local businesses, energy conservation, water conservation and fresh local food. Sustainability is being written into policy for local governments. I hope there is a trickle-up effect for these good ideas. The one bright spot at the White House is the victory garden has returned to the south lawn.

Grapes of Wrath

How much trouble does climate change mean for agriculture? Just ask the wine industry.

High level of interest shown in on-farm climate change issues

INCREASING numbers of farmers are being grilled by customers about how they are working to combat climate change, according to the Farming Futures group.

The industry-led organisation, which aims to help the farming sector deal with environmental changes, said a quarter of those quizzed had been asked about their green credentials in the last year.

Statoil plans to reduce oil sands carbon emissions

The aim is to reduce emissions by more than 40 per cent by 2025.

In addition, the company is planning to develop its oil sands activities step-by-step. The initial five-year phase will be the start-up and operation of a demonstration pilot facility.

Dollars and Daggers in California’s Energy Battles

In California, a state where government-by-ballot-proposition has been raised to a high art, energy companies are pouring millions of dollars into efforts to protect their interests. The one that has gotten the most attention so far is a push to derail the state’s landmark 2006 law to combat global warming.

Three Texas oil companies have made donations of hundreds of thousands of dollars in an effort to get the measure on the November ballot.

Developing nations want global climate accord by 2011

CAPE TOWN (AFP) – Four major developing countries meeting in South Africa on Sunday called for a global, legally binding agreement on climate change to be finalised by next year at the latest.

Environment ministers from Brazil, South Africa, India and China met in Cape Town to discuss on how to speed up a process of finalising a global agreement that would require rich nations to cut carbon emissions and reduce global warming.

Senators scramble to keep climate bill alive

As thousands of activists rallied on the National Mall on Sunday for federal legislation to curb global warming, Obama administration officials and leading senators worked behind the scenes to rescue a climate bill that appeared close to flat-lining over the weekend.

By day's end, supporters said its prospects were brightening slightly, with the Republican coauthor of the legislation, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, again discussing it with Sens. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).

Thousands Gather on the Mall for Earth Day

Tens of thousands of people gathered Sunday on the National Mall in Washington to observe the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and to urge Congress to pass climate and energy legislation.

Can forests thrive in the world of carbon trading?

CNN -- So few forests remain in the tiny country of Armenia that the World Bank has warned it could one day become a desert.

For more than 15 years the Massachusetts-based Armenian Tree Project has been replanting the country's forests lost during its energy crisis in the early 1990s.

Recently the group, like many similar organizations, has considered raising funds by selling carbon credits.

But questions persist over whether applying carbon finance to forestry projects can be good for the environment as well as for the communities where the trees are planted.

Climate researchers slap Canada for lax emissions record

Canada gets special mention for its "unambitious" greenhouse gas emissions cuts in a report that says the planet is in grave danger of overheating.

The greenhouse gas reductions that have been promised by Canada and 75 other countries are so paltry that annual global emissions of carbon dioxide are likely to hit between 48 and 54 billion tonnes by 2020, say leading climate researchers.

Deep Antarctic ocean current found

SINGAPORE - Scientists have discovered a fast-moving deep ocean current with the volume of 40 Amazon Rivers near Antarctica that will help researchers monitor the impacts of climate change on the world's oceans.

A team of Australian and Japanese scientists, in a study published in Sunday's issue of the journal Nature Geoscience, found that the current is a key part of a global ocean circulation pattern that helps control the planet's climate.

Ice-covered volcanoes may answer climate change questions

Eruptions from mountains such as Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull create rocks that offer scientists clues about global warming.

Admiral: U.S. at risk

Climate change and U.S. dependence on fossil fuels endangers national security, a retired Navy officer told a group of students, faculty and residents last week at LSU.

“Our U.S. military is held at risk because of dependence on oil,” Vice Adm. Dennis McGinn said Thursday.

Arctic Beauty in Black and White: Alaska Before the Effects of Global Warming [Slide Show]

Toward the end of World War II, the U.S. Navy began mapping an area of northern Alaska extending south from the Arctic Sea across the North Slope and down to the forested valleys south of the Brooks Range. In an effort lasting a number of years, surveyors flew low in a small plane, snapping thousands of photographs with a large-format K-18 camera pointed out the craft’s open door.

About 10 years ago, Matthew Sturm of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and his colleagues obtained the images, which were about to be thrown away. By repeating the Navy’s exercise and comparing the old and new photos, the team has documented dramatic changes in the vegetation of the now-warmer region.

Re: "Oil industry buys time to perfect solar: author " above

Alberta's massive oilsands deposits will become a key ingredient for world peace, a stabilizing force in energy markets ... "The sands are a calming, stabilizing force in the world, offering energy security.

Clicking on the link I get " Sorry, this story is not available."

I would really love to hear what this "author" said.

That's weird. I just checked it again, and it works fine for me.

It's working now.

Same old nonsense - complete lack of understanding of the problem, too many bad assumptions. Complacent wishful thinking.

My favorite part is when he remarks:

But he believes the worst is over as the oil sands companies get serious about environmental improvements.

"The tide has begun to turn for global warming after the revelations of so-called Climate-gate in Britain," he said, and the failure of major nations like China and India to sign on to Copenhagen carbon dioxide reduction accords.

What does that have to do with Peak Oil ??? Does he mean to suggest that climate change is the reason we are going off the energy cliff soon? That Peak Oil and climate change are just a political problems (myths)???

Yet another article designed to keep the sheeple fat, happy and consuming. Bahhh!

I'm not so sure about that. I think that guy genuinely believes what he says.

I think we're witnessing the tedious process of "waking up" so to speak. I think most of these people really believe what they are saying, but have not yet looked deeply enough into their own assumptions. The media is just as confused (and also under the influence of the same culture)and prints it without reasonable fact checking.

Rewind, repeat, over and over again.

I think that guy genuinely believes what he says.

My sentiments exactly Aardvark. I think that is the case in the vast majority of cases. When some analyst like Michael C. Lynch gives his opinion that there is no peak in sight, he actually believes that crap. People find all kinds of reasons for believing what they deeply desire to be true.

Ron P.

Works fine for me too. Anyway:

"There are a trillion barrels of oil in the sands when you include what is possible with SAGD (steam assisted gravity drainage), since most of the deposits can't be mined from the surface. That is more oil than Saudi Arabia, but few people seem to understand what the sands represent, and how massive they are," said Sweeny, who is now on tour to publicize his book.

And I doubt that Sweeney understands how much oil will actually be produced from the oil sands.
Athabasca Oil Sands

This would mean that Canadian oil sands production would grow from 1.2 million barrels per day (190,000 m3/d) in 2008 to 3.3 million barrels per day (520,000 m3/d) in 2020...

That is an increase of 2.1 million barrels per day in ten years. (Though higher oil prices may have increased this estimate slightly since 2008.) This will be a key ingredient for world peace and a stabilizing force in the energy markets... Yeah right! Lotsa luck fella.

Ron P.

That is an increase of 2.1 million barrels per day in ten years.

Where would they be in 2015, Ron? Recall, the US Military envisions a 10 MB/d shortfall in 2015. Doesn't the US Military include the Athabasca sands in their totals? I mean, they must know about them, wouldn't you think?

So... the shortfall in 2015 will be 10MB/d, and in 2020 it will be, what? I'd say, from the military figures, about 22 MB/d. And that 2.1 MB/d increase, if the Generals and Admirals are assumed to be totally stupid or ignorant, would be less than 10% of that! Great! Welcome to our new, peaceful World, where everyone drives a Hummer and oil flows freely!

And, here I was worried about an oil shortage. I am so relieved.


Exactly Ron. No understanding of the critical role of the "rate" of production. Not even an understanding of the absolute amounts involved (2 million barrels per day to the midwest - what about the other 18 million barrels a day for the rest of the country... what about the the rest of the world - will tar pits save their industrial society too ???).

Unfortunately, this delusion is shared by very intelligent, but uninformed people at all levels of our society.

Combining thoughts, and ideas... given the ELM model, and the rapid depletion of such exporters as Mexico of late, doesn't it seem that the only real impact of these fields will be on the country in which they are located. And, concomitantly, that it will be, more or less, every man (Nation) for himself (itself)? We will all have to make do with what we have as we enter the race to the bottom!


Canada has to first get out of NAFTA --- that we can do with only 6 months notice. Mexico never ratified the energy part that Canada accepted requiring us to NOT cut the percentage of our production exported. Silly on our part but reversible.

Yes, that pretty much sums up how I see it too.

On the surface there appears to be no effort at international recognition of the problem. Not even parades or a annual circus like climate change gets. Instead, all the nations jockey for strategic position in a very public way.

The middle east is a festering carbuncle ready to pop. The debt bubble is unraveling.

Like Tonu said, Canada and Mexico don't have to play nice either...

Collapse of trust, collapse of trade... to what fraction of current "normal" before we begin to get desperate?

Jarad Diamond's "Collapse" paints a realistic and frightening picture of how fast and dramatic it could all be. Current desparation may later seem the good old days. We makes our choices, and we takes our chances...


At least with his figures we can assume that for the next 830 years we will have an oil supply from tar sands. Yay US!

1 trillion barrels/3.3 million barrels a day/365 days in a year.

On a side note, if the figures are even sorta corect, then we could see the future as having a rosy pink lining for someone needing to drive his pickup truck down to the desert of New York to get some cactus juice for saturday night bingo.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future, with less fossil fuel usage.

His numbers are somewhat whacked.

The actual proved reserves in the Canadian oil sands are about 170 billion barrels. At 3.3 million barrels per day, that would give Canada about 140 years of supply.

However, if Canada supplied the entire US market, it would be only 25 years of supply to the US. There's about a zero percent chance of that happening.

Most likely, Canadian authorities will put a cap on production at around 5 million barrels per day, which would mean 95 years of production. That's great for Canada - at an average of say $200/bbl, it would amount to 1/3 of a trillion dollars per year for nearly a century.

It's less great for the US, since that is not nearly enough oil to keep the US running as the other exporters (notably Mexico) cease exporting. US domestic proved reserves will last less than 10 years at current rates of production.

Here's a question of a more practical nature for the general public I guess.

many UK energy suppliers provide a 2-3 year fixed contract on Gas & Electric supplies to domestic customers. These are priced above the current market rates from what I've search for over the weekend. My retired parents have just come off British Gas fix rate and are now going to pay approx double what they were paying under their old fixed price scheme.

Actually they will pay what I'm paying quite closly with my variable today's rate.

What they will go to though is a fixed rate until 2012 with BG as I cannot see any other deal better o nthe online web search sites.

I did see one rate for 2015 but that was for about 160GBP per annum more ( joint gas and electric).

So I think this signals to me that the current market thinks that the Gas and electric prices are going to be stable for atleast a year , then they are marking in a rise from then on until 2015.

As we have had recent Gas balancing alerts during this winter this suggests to me that I should do the same

what do you think?


I cant tell you what to do, but theres an additional wildcard here:
What if Icelandic volcano really lets go? (the other one, a bigger eruption)
That has the potential to make for a really chilly winter across Europe...

If youve had trouble balancing supplies the last couple of years, volcanic ash could really screw things up for you.

yes thats a scary one for this winter or next , and bit of local cooling could push the UK into a real, undeniable NG shortage ( I took note on gordon brown, PM, stating we had enough Ngas , when politicians get on the TV to reassure the public you know its bad!).

I still think the premium they want for fix rates indiactes they beleive gas supplies are going to get tight in 2 years time

I'm concerned over this year and I have noted there's no fixed price contract over 3 years to be had either.


Forbin -- Not sure how the do it in the UK but in the US NG suppliers offer fixed long term residential contracts based up the price of NG future contracts. So in essence the comsumer is playing the futures market whether realize it or not. This plans were very popular in Texas when first introduced as the long term trend in prices was rising. But later when NG well head prices fell folks were stuck with higher fuel prices then available on the market. Many weree not pleased. But that's how gambling works: for each winning bet someone else has to lose.

hi rockman,

same here actually , you can tie yourself into the fixed price contract and pay more if NGas drops in price than the variable rate ( I have noted elsewhere that this year we in the UK made more electricity with coal than gas) and thats why I stayed on the variable rate.

But the higher prices for the next three year contracts speak to me that the companies are betting on a price increase but not a hugh one - note what happend with BG and my parents they actually won the bet for three years (!), thats why as their current contract ends they've ended paying double or a bit more for the next 2 years , but at thats at my current price

hmm, maybe I should fix my prices - I don't see where the extra gas is comming from to drops prices for the UK , our own gas is running out and we don't have shale gas like the USA


Ian Marchant, Chief Executive of Scottish and Southern Energy, talks about gas prices at distressed price levels a couple of years after peak oil over at the UK Industry Task Force on Peak Oil & Energy Security website


(watch the video).

I'm about to get off natural gas for domestic heating by fitting a Sanyo ECO CO2 air source heat pump.

It is interesting to note that the last two articles are about how far ahead of the general populous and of most politicians the military is with respect to awareness of GW and PO.

The Alaska article, in particular, reminded me of an article from the magazine "The Archeologist" about how archeological sites, with remains of cultures from thousands of yeas ago, were being washed away as the ice that has always surrounded the mainland in the northern coast of Greenland was vanishing from warming climate.


Those who think that the dramatic changes taking place in the Arctic may be part of some kind of relatively short term natural climate cycle should take notice.

Thank you for that wonderful link.

Again, there was at least 2000 feet of ice sitting on north Idaho 13000(ish) years ago. The melting rate of that ice would be 1.8 inches per year(ish) IF the ice was just disappearing TODAY. However estimates are it took a little more than 1000 years for all of the ice to 'recede'. That is a melting rate of 2 FEET per year and happened WELL before I starting driving a car.

Define relatively short term for me please.

PS YES I believe in global warming climate change whatever you would like to call it. I also believe that we have contributed something to it. What I don't believe is that it will even be steady state enough for a 10 year prediction to be accurate. Yellowstone decides to blow again and predictions become useless. Even the Iceland volcano could, if it elects to blow for 2 years again, put enough stuff in the atmosphere to cool or warm the planet.

I'm not crazy (eff u Sting) or stupid. I have questions and I get answers like, Shut up you don't know what you are talking about let us that do tell you how it is. I get THAT from the government enough. I'd like it if scientists at least answered my questions with what they KNOW not what they think based on sitting in an air conditioned office running computer models for days on end.

When people start talking about making a gas I exhale every second of the day a pollutant I have a tendency to get nervous. I've seen the EPA in action. They scare me immediately and in a more life affecting fashion than something that could happen maybe sometime in the future.

Global warming science IS settled, the planet is over all warmer than it was 13000 years ago. The 'how much did humans add' is not. They are not the same thing.

What I don't believe is that it will even be steady state enough for a 10 year prediction to be accurate.

It's a pretty straightforward exercise to compute the equilibrium temperature for Earth and other planets (e.g., see How to Estimate Planetary Temperatures). Humans have introduced a large excursion in the global carbon cycle that will take a few centuries to equilibrate, and we can estimate, with considerable accuracy, what the final global mean temperature will be at the new equilibrium.

The perturbations you mention certainly will add some interesting wiggles to the relaxation curve, but the final equilibrium direction isn't in doubt: it will be a lot warmer.

Some of what they know is based on running computer models. More is not. The answers to your questions are not hard to find if you're honestly seeking the truth. Try the IPCC report, or realclimate, both of which will be easily located via google.

Yellowstone decides to blow again and predictions become useless.

And if it continues not to blow like it's done for the last hundreds of thousands of years, they're not useless.

But why am I bothering to reply? You're probably never returning here. After all, this site is about the future and you could be hit by lightning tomorrow...

But why am I bothering to reply? You're probably never returning here. After all, this site is about the future and you could be hit by lightning tomorrow...

None of our futures are known to us.

But what got me posting is that you have been here 4 weeks and the person you replied to has been a user for 2 years plus.

Having just watched a show explaining what they know about Yellowstone and the Lava tube that has been deemed responsible for the calderas that run a line ending at the current one. I would say we don't know when the next one will blow, but given plate techtonics we know it will be sooner rather than later. The information is in a show on Hulu called "How the earth was made" episode labeled Yellowstone.

Just because someone has questions on this site, does not mean they should be treated harshly.

Volcanoes are happening all the time on earth, in the past they have been more violent than they are now, but they still happen. There are a lot of global events that we can not predict more than saying that they will happen in a given time period, because they have happened in the past.

Yellowstone is expanding in some areas, IE the ground is rising, which means that there is upwelling in the magma chamber below it, a sign of a future eruptive event, so given that knowledge, we might just see an eruption in our near future.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future for all, and a civil world too.

Better hope not. Yellowstone isn't a volcano, it's a super volcano. If it goes it's The End, certainly for North American civilization.

I don't hope for it, but I understand that an ELE is possible as they are several of them in earth's past. Just because we have been in a lull between them does not mean they might not happen.

I know the event would not be good for anyone in most of the world, least of all the US.

Pray for it not to happen in our eon.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future.

@ ceii2000:

I've seen the EPA in action. They scare me immediately and in a more life affecting fashion than something that could happen maybe sometime in the future.

What actions scared you? Removing Lead from paints? Removing Tetra-ethyl Lead from ground vehicle gasoline? Reducing the amount of lung-damaging particulates emitted from diesel engines? Have you ever been to the parts of the rest of the World where thee are no or very lax pollution laws? I have...you blow you damn nose and your snot is black. You don't swim at the beach due to the raw sewage spewing from the pipes into the ocean. Trash is everywhere along the roads and in the lots.

Stop it with the BS talking points about the gas you exhale being a pollutant and the fact that the planet was warming in the past before the industrial revolution. All that disproves nothing about the fact that humanity's engines and industrial processes (and agricultural practices) are belching a huge increase in GHG into our atmosphere

The computer models are good, and are improving over time. How the heck else do you expect scientists to predict climate? Create 32 alternate Earths, geo-engineer differences in climate variables, sit back and wait 10,000 years for results? All models are wrong...some are useful.

@ dohboi:

Two signal decisions to look for to confirm that the U.S. DoD is actually really worried about PO:

1) The USN convinces Congress to fund nuclear-powered ships to replace the current FF-powered Guided Missile 'Cruisers' and Destroyers, as well as the LHAs/LHDs.

2) The USAF seriously invests in Distributed Mission Operations (large-scale, high fidelity geographically-distributed aircraft mission simulation and rehearsal)to the extent that it reduces its peacetime training flying hour budget by at least 50% from 2010 levels.

Until at least one of these come to pass, the stuff they feed you is pure greenwash.

Fast attack submarines aren't as good as cruisers/destroyers for "show the flag" operations but they are very effective naval vessels and there hasn't been a diesel powered sub in the US Navy for decades.

It's what you can't see that's most likely to get you.

Did anybody see the climate rally covered on TV? Maybe Earth Marines need to carry guns to get attention.
The Earth Day rally was incredible. Well over 100,000 people were in the crowd, well over 10x what the Tea Partiers delivered on tax day, so you can figure out which event the media fawned over.

I hope there were more 100000 but the concert didn't show the crowd size much. At the time people there were talking about several thousand.
Aerial shots would help or DC police/Park Service estimates.

Here's an estimate of 200,000 from somebody.

Here is a very important study, just out, on Chernobyl--


NEW YORK, New York, April 26, 2010 (ENS) - Nearly one million people around the world died from exposure to radiation released by the 1986 nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl reactor, finds a new book from the New York Academy of Sciences published today on the 24th anniversary of the meltdown at the Soviet facility.

The book, "Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment," was compiled by authors Alexey Yablokov of the Center for Russian Environmental Policy in Moscow, and Vassily Nesterenko and Alexey Nesterenko of the Institute of Radiation Safety, in Minsk, Belarus.

The authors examined more than 5,000 published articles and studies, most written in Slavic languages and never before available in English.

The authors said, "For the past 23 years, it has been clear that there is a danger greater than nuclear weapons concealed within nuclear power. Emissions from this one reactor exceeded a hundred-fold the radioactive contamination of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki."


I'd strongly recommend waiting for at least a couple of corroborating studies to be published before going anywhere with this. It's simply far too much at odds with every other scientific study so far published. eg this is from the World Health Organization website.

The Expert Group concluded that there may be up to 4 000 additional cancer deaths among the three highest exposed groups over their lifetime (240 000 liquidators; 116 000 evacuees and the 270 000 residents of the SCZs). Since more than 120 000 people in these three groups may eventually die of cancer, the additional cancer deaths from radiation exposure correspond to 3-4% above the normal incidence of cancers from all causes.

Projections concerning cancer deaths among the five million residents of areas with radioactive caesium deposition of 37 kBq/m2 in Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine are much less certain because they are exposed to doses slightly above natural background radiation levels. Predictions, generally based on the LNT model, suggest that up to 5 000 additional cancer deaths may occur in this population from radiation exposure, or about 0.6% of the cancer deaths expected in this population due to other causes. Again, these numbers only provide an indication of the likely impact of the accident because of the important uncertainties listed above.

Chernobyl may also cause cancers in Europe outside Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. However, according to UNSCEAR, the average dose to these populations is much lower and so the relative increase in cancer deaths is expected to be much smaller. Predicted estimates are very uncertain and it is very unlikely that any increase in these countries will be detectable using national cancer statistics .3

World Health Organization - Health effects of the Chernobyl accident: an overview

From their data, which still uses the controversial LNT model which many knowledgeable medical / nuclear safety personel consider to wildly over-exagerate future risk from a given low-dose exposure, the likely total death toll even remotely attibutable is closer to 10,000. Note that the common highest case exposures (200 mSv) of the local public population (eg. outside of emergency responders and plant staff) is the equivalent of 16 full body CT scans.

Also relevant

Chernobyl, where most people received radiation doses below 200 millisieverts, has been the first large-scale opportunity to test whether this assumption is true. The evidence from the Chernobyl Forum suggests it is not.

"Low doses of radiation are a [very] poor carcinogen," says Professor Brooks, who has spent 30 years studying the link between radiation and cancer.

BBC News - Chernobyl's 'nuclear nightmares'

I'm glad to see that this study includes the nearly forgotten "rectifiers," who died en masse from radiation sickness but were denied any health care by the Soviet Union: "Not related to radiation" was the official diagnosis.

For details, see Chernousenko's Chernobyl: Insight from the Inside, one of the grimmest books in my library.

I completely agree that the Chernobyl accident was a grim disaster. A reactor design which should never have been built, was put into a building with no containment capability, then operated in a very cavilier fashion, and then simply ignored when it went wrong, as it was almost sure to do.

However, the only relevance of this to nuclear power in North America or western Europe is as a grim object lesson in why we take nucler reactor management / safety very seriously, as we do. We have unarguably developed a long enough safety record in the nuclear power generation industry in these regions to be very confident that it is FAR safer than coal or even natural gas generated power. Even if, as I expect, another reactor in the west should do a serious meltdown occasionally, that statement will not change. There is simply no conparison between nuclear an coal generation as far as public risk is concerned, from any viewpoint. Present nuclear plants could simply grind their spent fuel to a powder and blow it up a tall chimney and STILL present less health risk to the public than coal generation. (Well, ok, that may be a slight exageration. Coal actually contains only about 10% of the radioactives per kwh generated than actual nuclear fuel used, but still, the comparison is apt.)

I'm open to the argument that in the widest sense of harm nuclear power is "safer" than coal and maybe natural gas, and I don't really think we have realistic options that don't include significant contribution from nuclear power. However, I'm afraid I really can't agree that "North America or western Europe...take nucler reactor management / safety very seriously" in the light of, say,


(that's relatively recent, in case there's an objection to citing older incidents as no longer representative). Hopefully we have much better basic designs than Chernobyl these days, and then we've been lucky no escalating series of events has occurred in the presence of the lackadaisacal attitudes to possible safety issues of those working with nuclear power. What's disturbing about these kind of incidents is that they aren't "necessary deceptions" to get nuclear power viable: whilst having an actually functioning "safety culture" might cost a little more in wages it's not going to noticeably change the economics of nuclear power, so there's no reason not to do them.

I think the world needs to build new nuclear power plants, but when doing it we need to assume that all the people working on the project will be lazy, cost-cutting and deceptive and ensure oversight that ensures they can't get away with anything, no matter how small.

However, the only relevance of this to nuclear power in North America or western Europe is as a grim object lesson in why we take nucler reactor management / safety very seriously, as we do.

This is why I get very nervous when a gung-ho nuclear enthusiast bitches about 'needless regulations' that are slowing down the development of nuclear power plants. I would like to see nuclear developed, but safely, and I have serious doubts we can pull it off both quickly enough and safely enough to keep some semblance of BAU.

There are regulations that are problematic.

US nuclear reactors are all subject to a significant annual tax that makes small reactors that could be mass produced and standardized uneconomical.

Safety regulations, on the other hand, are all pretty much good. A few with respect to very low-level waste are perhaps excessively conservative, especially when compared with the total anarchy on nuclear waste generated by coal power plants, but on the whole the safety regulations are sound and necessary.

Nobody likes to be treated unfairly. Nuclear waste from FF power plants needs to be regulated as strictly as if it came from a nuclear power plant. Then we have a level playing field and all is fair again.

Agree that it's a mistake to condemn nuclear power because of Chernobyl, but there has been a tendency for various institutions to understate the immensity of the catastrophe. Recent studies may be changing this, for example:

However, the only relevance of this to nuclear power in North America or western Europe is as a grim object lesson in why we take nucler reactor management / safety very seriously, as we do.


But instead of being alert and prepared for anything, the officers are asleep and unaware a fellow guard is videotaping these disturbing images shot at different times of the day.

Yup, they take that stuff super serial.

Do you know that Russia is about to build new reactor of this type?

You must mean Kursk-5. There were serious changes made to the design:


Chernobyl was not an accident. It was criminal negligence at the very least. A primary modification has been to prevent the emergency systems being bypassed.

It was also a pretty unsafe design. Graphite core with no containment structure. But ya.


A good read. Learned a lot.

"Environmental Consequences of the Chernobyl Accident and their Remediation: Twenty Years of Experience"

"Sorry to Bug You, but Everything Is at Risk"

This article just published in our morning free commuter rag, "The Red Eye", page 4. I nearly fell off my seat on the "L".

"I know there's already so much to be worried about: the economy, Icelandic volcanoes, the continued popularity of somebody named Justin Bieber. (Who is this guy? Why does his name appear everywhere now?)

At the risk of being the bearer of bad news, the U.S. military has issued a dire warning that has gone relatively unreported in the media, yet portends far more trouble than economic stagnation, volcanic eruptions and Bieber saturation combined." ....

more at this link....


Peak Oil on the same page as the social media news....

Even then, the alternative media got it wrong:

... surplus oil production capacity could end within two years with serious shortages beginning by 2015 and growing to as much as 10 million barrels a day.

The item seemed to imply that the shortages begin in 2015, and later grow to 10 MB/d. Actually, the Military report said the shortages begin in 2012, and grow to 10 MB/d by 2015... after that, the Military did not say how far they would go... Extrapolating from their figures, by 2020 the shortages will be no less than 22 MB/d.


" the Military report said the shortages begin in 2012, and grow to 10 MB/d by 2015... after that"

I think this starts the second stage in Samsam Bakhtiari's "Four Stages of Collapse."

Bakhtiari views the future in terms of four phases of transition, or, as he puts it, T1, T2, T3, and T4.

Fortunately for the world’s users of petroleum, the “hidden advantage” of Bakhtiari’s T1 is that worldwide oil supplies will remain almost constant during this initial phase. That is, new discoveries and production that is now coming on line will compensate for the production that is lost due to depletion.

T2, T3, and T4 will be, as Bakhtiari puts it, “more turbulent phases.”


I think we are also entering stage two in Orlov's model:

Stage 1: Financial collapse. Faith in "business as usual" is lost. The future is no longer assumed resemble the past in any way that allows risk to be assessed and financial assets to be guaranteed. Financial institutions become insolvent; savings are wiped out, and access to capital is lost.

Stage 2: Commercial collapse. Faith that "the market shall provide" is lost. Money is devalued and/or becomes scarce, commodities are hoarded, import and retail chains break down, and widespread shortages of survival necessities become the norm.


I think you have it right. It's enough to get anyone snarlin'!


Red Eye is not what I'd consider "alternative media". It's about as main-stream as it comes, albeit appealing to a slightly younger audience.

It has a circulation of about 200,000 copies daily, 6 days a week, free. Basic news, ads, movies, restaurants, music etc etc.

Mostly read on the train or the bus. But free at a lot of other places, like supermarkets and libraries. It's the "Cliffs Notes" of the Tribune.

Usually, the Monday column is reserved for Twitter news, which I find incalculably vapid - I was bowled over to read today's column, even if not 100% accurate. Unfortunately, it had a comic element which detracts from the seriousness of the topic.

The comments (only 2 so far) don't raise my hopes overly much.

I've been away from Chicago too long... didn't know that was part of the Trib.

Back in the day, I lived in Aurora and rode in to work on the CB&Q! Now I live in Plano, TX, and ride in on the Dart; we have a similar rag that is the down & dirty version of the Dallas Morning News, so I understand what that is.

And, being MSM, I suppose we can forgive them their trespasses.

I guess 2 comments are better than no comments; still, I agree that is disheartening. About par for the times, though.


continued popularity of somebody named Justin Bieber. (Who is this guy? Why does his name appear everywhere now?)

He is a kid who sings on a Youtube video, that went viral( that new term for anything that got big real fast online), He is the new sweetheart of the teen girl set, if you have never had female children you'd not know the addictions they go through.

Lucky for me, my first step daughter was into Dolphins and gymnastics and Ice skating, but they are expensive hobbies/sports.

Welcome to the Internet generation!

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future.

Yikes, Charles !
I am *so* glad my teenage years are far behind me ;)
I'm internet savvy enough to understand "going viral" but not interested enough to see what is "trending" on any given day of the week.

All it indicates to me is that we are proliferating the attention-span of a half-second on any given topic.

Peak Oil in 140 characters or less ???

Peak Oil means that you will have to do all your connections online. It also means u might have 2 do without chocolate and grapes n winter.

There you go 140 characters. Blog that on tweeterville. I hope you have a handle there, I don't.

I am sure I could txt it out to something better. But gades, why worry about it, if they can get that the chocolate is missing they might get the whole point in a second.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future, without the internet if need be.

So is the new business-as-usual scenario "another day, another dollar spent cleaning up the mess from failed experiments in developing remote and technically difficult oil resources?"

A money sink.

From: Oil: A tale of two cartels

Tony Hayward, group chief executive of British Petroleum, made heads turn at the World Economic Forum in Davos, forecasting a “supply challenge” for the energy industry, which would have to increase output to 100mbd — a new peak for oil from the current capacities of 83-84 mbd. He was strongly backed by Mr Peter Voser, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, who added to the scare stating that the industry would have to find up to $27 trillion to fund the investment in oil over the next 20 years.

Group Europe's claim was promptly refuted by Khalid al Falih, Saudi Aramco's chairman and chief executive. Dismissing claims of a shortage, the head of the largest oil producing corporation in the world said, that a third of his capacity was currently idle, and ready to add four mbd on demand.

He hit out at the price volatility and “misleading” rhetoric, that the world was weaning itself off fossil fuels, saying this did not give producers confidence to keep investing in production. “We don't believe in peak oil” , he told reporters later, dismissive of Europe's stark concerns.

So, does anyone care to take on the statement that Saudi Aramco is currently idling 1/3 of its capacity and is ready to add 4 mbd(!) on demand?

And the quote from Mr. Khalid al Falih, head of Saudi Aramco, "We don't believe in peak oil" is priceless. Thats going to rank up there with the dumbest quotes of all time one day. This quote will be, or should be, immortalized on the order of "Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." Breaking news... the chairman and chief executive of Saudi Aramco states that the oil supply is totally limitless and will never run out. You'd think he'd at least be smart enough to qualify with something like (in the next blah years)

Daniel Yergin Day (7/13/06)

"Rather than a 'peak,' we should expect an 'undulating plateau' perhaps three or four decades from now."

Mr. Robert Esser
Senior Consultant and Director, Global Oil and Gas Resources
Cambridge Energy Research Associates
December 7, 2005

"Contrary to the theory, oil production shows no signs of a peak... Oil is a finite resource, but because it is so incredibly large, a peak will not occur this year, next year, or for decades to come"

ExxonMobil Advertisement in New York Times
June 2, 2006

We in Opec do not subscribe to the peak-oil theory.

Acting Secretary General of Opec, Mohammed Barkindo
July 11, 2006

Global Cumulative Crude Oil Production Versus US Oil Prices
2002-2005 & 2005-2008 (EIA, crude + condensate)

Here are the average total global crude oil production numbers per day by year, versus average annual US spot crude oil prices:

2002:  67.16 mbpd & $26
2003:  69.43 mbpd & $31
2004:   72.48 mbpd & $42
2005:  73.72 mbpd & $57
2006:  73.46 mbpd & $66
2007:  73.00 mbpd & $72
2008:  73.71 mbpd & $100

Relative to the 2002 production level of 67.16 mbpd, in the following three period, 2003-2005 inclusive, the cumulative three year increase in production was 5,164 mb, versus a three year increase in oil prices of $31. 

But then we have the 2006-2008 data. 

Relative to the 2005 production rate of 73.72 mbpd, in the following three year period, 2006-2008 inclusive, the cumulative three year decline in production was 632 mb, versus a three year increase in oil prices of $43. 

"Peak Oil? We don't worry about any peak... we plan to go around the mountain, not over it."
-Ignorantly Stupid


Just have to figure out a way to go around the peak ;)

It is of course possible to solve by technology. Move with speed of light the time stand still and we could move around the peak. Move a little bit slower and time will start moving ...

"...UCLA economists Dora Costa and Matthew Kahn analyzed the impact of an energy-conservation program in California that informed households about how their energy use compared with that of their neighbors. While the program succeeded in encouraging Democrats and environmentalists to lower their consumption, Republicans had the opposite reaction. When told of their relative thrift, they started cranking up the thermostat and leaving the lights on more often...."

Interesting behavior.

The beauty of Hubbert's downslope is that it absolutely will happen. So ultimately the consumption addicts will lose. In fact that's one of the only things to look forward to about it.

Those fat, proud Americans who commute 60 miles in their SUVs are going to find out quickly that they, in fact, are neither rich nor particularly important.

So, does anyone care to take on the statement that Saudi Aramco is currently idling 1/3 of its capacity and is ready to add 4 mbd(!) on demand?

At least according to the Upstream article, I don't think that he said that they were prepared to add 4 mbpd of production, when demand warranted.

As I have noted several times, the three year cumulative shortfall in Saudi net oil exports from 2006 to 2008 inclusive (841 mb), relative to their 2005 net export rate of 9.1 mbpd, exceeds the total volume of oil in the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This decline in net oil exports was of course in response to "declining demand" circa 2006-2008, and this "decline in demand" drove US annual prices from $57 in 2005 to $100 in 2008.

This pattern of shipping less oil in response to rising oil prices was of course completely opposite from their 2002-2005 pattern of shipping more oil in response to rising oil prices. But this is a minor detail. All that counts is that we believe in non-depleting oil fields in Saudi Arabia.

Crude + Condensate Trends

I argued recently that it appears possible that the 2008 peak of liquid fuel production will be exceeded, even if Iraq does not increase production much (see also here). My argument was based on looking at IEA numbers and showing that whereas the decline in production in late 2008 came mainly from intentional cutbacks by OPEC, the subsequent recovery in production came mainly from non-OPEC sources. If OPEC were to restore their cutbacks, production would then go above the 2008 total.

The Upstream article left out something important (reported elsewhere) that was also said, otherwise known here by another name (Exportland 2.0):

Saudi Aramco CEO says Saudi crude export capability will fall by 3 mil b/d to under 7 mil b/d by 2028 if domestic demand growth continues.

While the Aramco chief may be understating how slow internal KSA demand will grow in the next 18 years, I take this as a growing chorus of admissions that the tide has turned and that we are on the down-slope of PO (as far as conventional oil goes) - and Exportland 2.0 is in effect.

Saudi Arabia’s energy demand will rise to 8.3 million barrels a day of oil equivalent in 2028 from 3.4 million barrels in 2009 unless the kingdom becomes more efficient, al Falih said.

The increase in demand may be cut by 50 percent through improved energy efficiency, he said.

He added: “If no efficiency improvements are achieved and the business is as usual, the oil availability for exports is likely to decline to less than 7 million barrels per day by 2028, a fall of 3 million barrels per day, while the global demand for our oil will continue to rise."


"Experts link biofuels to food shortage"

London-based charity Action Aid denounced that vast fields in Africa, South America and India are currently dedicated to the production of biofuel crops such as wheat and corn, instead of food for local communities, leaving thousands at risk of starvation.

Hmmmm ... AFAIK, wheat & corn are not used in India for biofuels. Only jetropha is used.

It's the land and the crop choices, then. Those fields of Jatropha would have harbored food or fodder otherwise. and that irrigating water was effectively feeding an ICE. A good choice?

I don't have much info on jetropha.

Wiki article claims otherwise.


Jatropha has the potential to provide economic benefits at the local level since under suitable management it has the potential to grow in dry marginal non-agricultural lands, thereby allowing villagers and farmers to leverage non-farm land for income generation....And since Jatropha oil is carbon-neutral, large-scale production will improve the country's carbon emissions profile. Finally, since no food producing farmland is required for producing this biofuel (unlike corn or sugar cane ethanol, or palm oil diesel), it is considered the most politically and morally acceptable choice among India's current biofuel options; it has no known negative impact on the production of the massive amounts grains and other vital agriculture goods India produces to meet the food requirements of its massive population (circa 1.1 Billion people as of 2008). Other biofuels which displace food crops from viable agricultural land such as corn ethanol or palm biodiesel have caused serious price increases for basic food grains and edible oils in other countries.

Robert Rapier has looked for jatropha in India and studied its potential. Start here:


Please don't confuse anti biofuel types with facts. Here is another article blaming rising meat prices on ethanol:


“Pork prices will continue to gradually creep up,” said Zack McCullen III, the vice president of swine production at Prestage Farms Inc., the fifth-largest U.S. hog farm. “If you look at futures this week, they look mighty good. I think they’ll definitely hold up for a while.”

Clinton, North Carolina-based Prestage, which produces about 650 million pounds of pork annually, cut its sows 10 percent last year, McCullen said. “Ethanol was the main driver in corn prices going up to historical levels,” he said. “Ethanol was the pork producers’ biggest problem.”

No it wasn't. It was overproduction of pork. Around here there has been mad construction of hog factories over the last few years. Within about 4 miles of my house I can count 5 new ones put up within the last 5 years.

When corn is cheap hog producers go nuts with expansion. Then they blame ethanol when corn prices go up. To say ethanol is more the cause of rising corn prices that increased meat production makes no sense. Both are contributing factors but meat producers don't want to admit their own demand is part of the problem.

We do not need all that corn based meat.

Better make ethanol from non "food" biomass but lack of financing is killing cellulosic ethanol among other things:


Klann said the obvious funder of last resort is the federal government. The Department of Energy has a program to guarantee up to 80 percent of a bank loan for a cellulosic plant, but so far DOE hasn't approved any loan guarantees for cellulosic construction. Even with the benefit of a federal loan guarantee, banks might still consider cellulosic ethanol too risky.

Charles Elfsten owns Ocean Pacific Capital in California, which has helped finance eleven corn ethanol plants. But when it comes to cellulosic ethanol, Elfsten said he's not interested in even a general discussion.

"We wouldn't waste the time," Elfsten said. "It would be about a 35-38 second conversation. No interest whatsoever, none. No reputable institution that lends money is going to lend money on something that's unproven. They're just not going to do it."

In contrast to cellulosic ethanol, corn-derived ethanol attracted a lot of banker support. Ethanol insiders say that's because making alcohol from grain is a century-old, proven technology. The cellulosic process is brand new, and that's casting doubt on whether it will ever become a reality.

Cellulosic ethanol is dead even if Jeff Broin doesn't know it:


Please don't confuse anti biofuel types with facts.

And we all know how "fair & balanced" you are when it comes to biofuels ;-)

I have had my own differences with X, but today I am firmly in his corner.

i do not believe in corn ethanol, or in biofuels in general, except as backup measures.

Anybody who knows anything much about her livestock industry in general knows that pork productionand prices are cyclical, and that the farmers respond in a big way to the price not only of corn but also soybeans and other feed inputs price changes.

Once you are up and running in the bacon business, your profits and losses are determined almost exclusively by the price of feed and the price of bacon.Everything else, except the capital investment, is peanuts compared to these two prices.

All the livestock management textbooks that I have ever owned, including some back into the early sixties discuss this problem-when feed is cheap, hog producers go wild and the wholesale price of pork crashes. Retail pork prices also decline quite a bit , but not nearly so much as wholesale prices.

Pork producers are without a doubt partially responsible for recent corn prices.If there were no ethanol industry, and no corn exports, the price of corn would crash, as it often does, when the beef and pork producers cut back thier production due to low prices.

The price movements of corn are no longer so tightly tied to the live stock industry as they once were nowadays, and this should help stabilize the price of corn-but unfortunately for everybody except the growers, at a higher average price.

Down he'a, we'uns calls that the "Story of the Georgia Chicken Farmer".

The Georgia Chicken Farmer watches the markets for chickens and when the price starts to rise, he cranks up a batch of chicks. Lo and behold, when the chicks reach market size, the Ga chicken guys find that all the other farmers did the same thing and the market is glutted, so the price drops. The Ga chicken farmers barely make a living or go broke, so the market glut subsides. Prices drop again. The remaining Ga Chicken Farmers start new batches of chicks and the cycle repeats.

Moral of the story? The only people making money on this are the companies who sell chicken feed...

E. Swanson

All that proves is that bankers are turds or don't you know that, x?

don't hogs get fed that distiller's grain whatever residue cellulosic pulp byproduct ?


Re: Deepwater Horizon Disaster

Some pics of the BOP

ROV attempts and fails to activate the BOP

And to get more of a sense of scale.

Thanks undertow for all your updates---I check Drumbeat for your updates on Deepwater, your posts are quite good.

I think it will a big component in future offshore debates, esp if it leaks to the coast by summer. Already I've been asked if I didn't think it was on purpose, that it's just too timely with all the other energy mishaps. No, it wasn't enviros the person was referencing, but rather the industry itself to jack prices.

doug -- the companies don't need excuses to "jack prices". They are free to offer their products at whatever price they want without any explanation for that price. And the consumers are just as free to not pay that price. Or put it another way: are you ready to pay more for gasoline than the pump price for the loss of the rig? Obviously not. Are you going to pay whatever it cost to fill your tank this summer or will you park your car till the prices come down? Probably not but you might make fewer discretionary trips.

Let’s try another angle: Devon drilled a $150 million dry hole in the Deep Water GOM last year. How much higher are gasoline prices today then they would have been had they not lost that money? I think you get my point. One more angle: I drill a well that costs $5 million but will only net to me $4 million by the time it depletes. So who’s going to send me my check for the other $1 million? You? The gov’t? The Pope? ExxonMobil?

The companies don’t need to give excuses for higher prices because everyone knows they are lying bastards and don’t care if the companies make a profit or not. In fact, most folks are happy to see ExxonMobil losing money. Guess what too? The oil industry doesn’t really care what the public thinks about them. Chevron can run as many commercials showing happy bunnies and deer roaming their oil leases and everyone will still call them lying bastards. They know, I know and you know it. All God’s children know it. In that sense the oil industry is immune to public sentiment: they can't hate us anymore than they do now so screw them. The PR guys wouldn't say that in front of the camera. They get paid for playing nice.

In particular I don't care at all about what the public or Chevron thinks. I don't sell gasoline, NG or any other product to the public. I sell oil to refiners and NG to the NG distribution companies at what ever price the market will bear. Same price whether that rig blew up or not.

I thought the comment was off the wall, like I said, at first I thought the comment was referencing sabotage along the lines of Abbey's Monkey Wrench gang.

I said the price of oil is worldwide, how would it help Transocean or BP to pay the price of the well, while the rest of the industry benefits...that won the argument. But he and I think many others are primed for an energy price increase.

Thanks for your input in these threads also. I recall your comment on the probability of having to drill an interceptor well early in the threads-seems more likely all the time.

doug -- hope you appreciated the playful sarcasm in my words. While I understand folks frustrations that lead to some wierd speculations I actually enjoy the stories. The ones that really get me chuckling are the tales depicting the great conspiracies of co-operation between the big oils. Having worked for big oil once and watched their general inability to conspire even amongst themselves in the same company tells you what I think of those theories.

There is a theory that people are more comfortable if someone is in charge.

I guess a malevolent Cabal is less scary than utter chaos.

Which feeds into one of my fave movie lines .. Prizzi's Honor, I think.

"You're in Organized crime?"

"Well, to tell you the truth, we aren't all that organized.."

Already I've been asked if I didn't think it was on purpose, that it's just too timely with all the other energy mishaps.

Wal ah heered that thar wuz 22 Jews that wuz sposed to be on that thar rig that day but they all called in sick. Ah thank that proves it wuz a konspiraci.

Ron P.

I asked if it could have been a planned accident the other day. I don't see black helicopters all over the place usually, most things have explainable reasons for happening.

My dad asked the question, after I was reading him some of the posts on here during the event, he has had time in the oil fields when he was younger, and knows a lot about the issue. But I don't think he really thinks it was a planned accident (spy novel fodder).

Everytime something goes wrong with buildings, and things man has made, be it mines, or bridges, you have to ask all those kinds of questions to have a better investigation, though most of the questions have a big NO as the answer, you still ask them.

Did someone plan on making peak oil happen? Would be a question I'd ask if I was writing a fictional mystery story about the events taking place now. I have written a story line where they do plan to make energy super cheap and then kill the golden goose to make it more costly only when they are the only people supplying it.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future.

Thanks undertow for all your updates---I check Drumbeat for your updates on Deepwater

Well it looks like the main stream media is starting to wake up more now.

WSJ: Halting Oil Flow Likely to Take Months

Capping the leaking oil well a mile below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico is increasingly likely to take months, government and industry officials warned Monday.

So for now, about 1,000 barrels of oil a day are still flowing into the Gulf, feeding a slick that has spread across hundreds of miles. Clean-up efforts gained momentum as calmer seas made work easier for 17 ships, some equipped with booms to corral the oil so it can be skimmed up.

Federal officials said they didn't know when the slick, which was about 30 miles off Venice, La., was likely to reach the coast but didn't expect landfall in the next three days. Coast Guard officials said preparations were well under way and equipment was in place to protect coastlines.

At the site of the catastrophic fire that sank the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon on Thursday, remote-controlled submarines had failed as of Monday afternoon to activate equipment on the ocean floor that is meant to shut off flow from the well.

Update from the Wall Street Journal

Oil Spill Likely to Reach Land in Days

The giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is likely to reach land as early as Saturday, despite massive containment efforts, a federal official charged with tracking the slick said Monday.

"We are anticipating onshore impact no matter what we do," said Ed Levine, scientific support coordinator for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, in an interview. "There is no way all of the oil is going to go away by Friday."

The slick of oil, unleashed after a deadly fire at a drilling rig last week, now stretches 80 miles across the Gulf and is 36 miles southeast of Louisiana.

Tow -- did you notice in the upper pic the robot arm is close to a control labled "SHR RAM CLOSE"? The SHR is short for Shear. The shear rams are two angled cutting edges designed to slice the drill pipe from both sides simultaneously. But as I mentioned earlier drill pipe is very tough. And if the thicker end of the DP (the "collars) are in front of the SR it's an even more difficult cut. If for some reason the pressure slamming the shear rams isn't high enough it won't completely cut thru the DP. And it gets even worse if it cuts only part way thru and the SR gets stuck in the pipe. That could prevent them from returning the SR to an open position and then reactivating it to complete the cut. If we're lucky they provide such details later.

Confirmation now that the Ocean Endeavor evacuated yesterday

Rig evacuated as precaution in Gulf of Mexico

(Reuters) - An offshore drilling rig owned by Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc that had been working near a rig that caught fire and sank in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico last week has been evacuated as a precaution, a government official said on Monday.

The workers were taken off the rig, the Ocean Endeavor, out of an "abundance of caution," Lars Herbst, an official with the U.S. Minerals Management Service, told a news conference.

And here's the slick from space

Tracking the Gulf rig oil slick from outer space

Satellite images have helped officials track the slick as it swirls around the Gulf. Here's the best, most recent image captured by NASA's Aqua satellite. It was taken Sunday:

Higher res pics at http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=43768&src=nha

Tow -- Just a guess but “abundance of caution” might be more than fear of the blow out damaging this rig but also the mental state of the hands. Nothing on a rig injures/kills faster than distractions. As I mentioned else where when there’s an injury/death on the rig the companies usually go to extremes to deal with potential mental health issues. Even shutting down an $800,000/day operation isn’t out of the question. Besides the distraction of the fire it’s likely some of the crew knew hands working on the burning rig.

And I bet every rig in the GOM had extended safety meetings after the blow out. Safety officers always like to take advantage of such incidents. We’ve all been know to let our minds wonder during the 50th or 60th time we’ve heard the same safety lecture. But when you know there’s a rig burning (and maybe men dying) it does get your attention. And from personal experience it makes for quiet meal times and extra calls home. In fact, I didn't think of it earlier but when a rig blows out/burns the unofficial word spreads across the coast very quickly as ship captains et al report some rig burning. Then there's thousands of frantic calls from family members to drilling contractors and the Coasties trying to find out who it is. Gotten a few of those calls myself. Usually hands on other rigs try to call home too but you can imagine how quickly the com system overloads.

Tow - I don’t remember if I mentioned a little communication method we sometimes employ when the situation starts to look a little dicey. As a pore pressure analyst I was always looking for trouble coming up the hole. And will tend to err on the side of caution. The great majority of the time nothing serious develops. More than once I’ve left my unit (typically something that looks like a small container box) and was asked where I was going. If it was one of those touchy moments my answer was something akin to whistling past the grave yard: “I’m going to get my car keys”. Can’t take anything with you into the escape capsule if it doesn’t fit in your pocket. Nice to be able to drive home if you’re forced to the bank in the middle of the night. And there were times I made that comment when there wasn’t anything wrong but felt like screwing with someone’s head. But only when that person deserved a harsh tease, of course.

Bet you lunch that when they saw the rig on fire every hand on the other rig went to his bunk room and put his car keys in his pocket.

Bet you lunch that when they saw the rig on fire every hand on the other rig went to his bunk room and put his car keys in his pocket

I can well imagine that...

Here's a map from the Hull Truth Boating forum. I note the proximity of the Ocean Endeavor and its position in relation to the slick.

CNN International is now finally giving this some serious coverage with slick movement predictions shown on the weather forecast. It really looks bad for the weekend :-(

Official Latest Coast Guard Slick Map at http://www.d8externalaffairs.com/go/doc/2931/531367/

Click to open full size in new window

Foreign Policy: "Your sustainable mantra -- organic, local, and slow -- is no recipe for saving the world's hungry millions."

    -- Political science professor Robert Paarlberg writes that all we need for another green revolution to solve world hunger in developing nations is better transportation, cheaper pesticides and fertilizer, and access to electric power. Gee, why didn't we think of this before?

So why is it that in India surplus crops get trashed because the hungry don't have enough money to buy enough calories?... maybe teach the corporate farmers to give away surplus food?

Giving it away free won't get it to market.

Dear TOD readers,

This is just a reminder to Seattle area folks that I'll be giving a talk on Peak Oil three times this week at Seattle Public Libraries in Ballard, Greenwood and Fremont:

This presentation uses the Energy Export Databrowser to examine current trends in oil production in various nations. After covering the basics of oil production profiles and our dependence on inexpensive liquid fuels, a brief detour is taken to emphasize the importance of data visualization and introduce the Energy Export Databrowser. Recent media headlines related to oil are then given as starting points from which to use the databrowser to explain the backstory behind the articles. The talk finishes with a look at global production statistics and an assessment of the changes, both bad and good, that will come with Peak Oil.

I just finished my final update of the slides for Peak Oil by the Numbers and have attempted to make them much more readable as a stand-alone presentation. The slides are up for grabs if anyone likes them.

Also, these talks would be a nice opportunity to meet any local TOD readers. I know there are some.


-- Jon

See you there!

A very nice presentation Jon. Good luck.
Only one thing: prepare yourself for the Renewable_fix_pack


Thanks for the advice but I'm giving this talk in functional in-city neighborhoods in one of the most liberal, eco-conscious cities in the USA (90% of electricity from hydro). I expect a very receptive audience who will be pleased to have some numbers to back up their lifestyle choices. These are the same folks that either watch or participate in the nude bike ride that leads off our annual Solstice parade (three blocks from my house).

Greetings from the Far Left Coast,

-- Jon

Ah damn, any other week and I'd be there, but I'm in Houston to speak at a conference.

Discussions over the last few days both here and elsewhere got me thinking.

What if the USA stopped being the consumer country that we have been all these years? What if we powered down to say half of what we use, or even 25% of what we use?

I know in my own life I have gone from using a lot, to using at least only 30% of what I used to use.

Where would that leave the rest of the world food wise, if all the US did was feed it's own population and no one else?

Questions to think about. When the rest of the world is comparing us to bad stewards of the global energy pie, what if we were to become users of less?

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future for all.

"What if we powered down to say half of what we use, or even 25% of what we use?"

Massive unemployment would be the result. Consumption = jobs.

"What if we powered down to say half of what we use, or even 25% of what we use?"

Massive unemployment would be the result. Consumption = jobs.

For a while. I'm noticing that it takes between 6 and 18 months of unemployment for people to decide It's Time to Do Something Different.

So, newspaper editor to homemaker, pressman to electrician, title company manger to bank loan officer, mortgage lender to non-profit manager, counselor to garden designer, etc. Some of these career choices may not stick, but hopefully by then the people involved will have acquired some flexibility in outlook.

Maybe folks are even more hard-headed in your neck of the woods and just sit around stubbornly until they are flat broke.

Some would argue that a planned, gradual reduction in energy use would enable individuals and the society to figure out alternative ways to make a living that did not require the level of consumption that we have today. After all, was everyone unemployed 100 years ago? What were people doing in San Francisco in 1905? Was there massive unemployment? Sure we have more people now but this does not mean we couldn't move to an energy use per capita of decades ago before, say, the interstate highway system, the destruction of the street cars in Los Angeles, the automobilization of everything.

But really now. We are going to have a reduction in energy use, one way or another. So one can argue that this is not a good thing or one can argue that we are going to have mass unemployment. But those arguments will only stop voluntary reductions; they won't do much to stop involuntary reductions when we start gaining momentum on the other side of the peak.

Much of our employment is make work anyway and doesn't really contribute much in the way of value to the things that people really need to consume. Most of our military industrial complex is just a fancy way to provide make work jobs through a keynesian approach to keeping our economy going. So we are already in the redistribution of wealth business. We just like to pretend that we are not in that business by including make work under the employed category.

Even with our fiat money system, we haven't figure out a way to keep everyone unemployed and we have a high level of unemployment right now.

So we can plan a way to take care of the basic needs of most of our people in a downsized world or we can continue bau where we keep the economy juiced up with massive make work government spending and lots of extremely complex financial instruments where we loan to people we know cannot pay back. Kind of like what they did in the Soviet Union but we do it with what we call credit.

I see no one has commented on Herman Daly's idea to gradually eliminate fractional reserve banking. The primary purpose of our current system is to make bankers rich. Helping anyone else in the process is just a happy coincidence but not really necessary.

Half of the Furniture Business is a waste of good furniture for something better to make the Jones' happy that we bought some like theirs. We have a couch that started to sag, on the seat sections, its a fold out and the bed part is just getting flatter, so my dad put a piece of plywood under the cushions to fix it up, to save money on getting another one. That and all the moving of things from in front of the front door was to much hassle.

We don't need closets full of clothes, we do it because we want new things. My dad has shirts that are decades old.

Sure things being repaired and not replaced will mean the Big Box stores drop out of the market faster than they do now, and maybe some mom and pops board up the windows and take up knitting in the retirement centers.

What about all those empty houses, why aren't they full? We have a ton of waste all over the place and that is just leading to the over use of energy. I know it ties into the limits on growth talks of other threads recently, but it is something we need to talk about more than we do.

In SF of 1907 there was a lot of work going on, after an earthquake in 1906.

More women are working now out of the home than in the early years of 1900, blaim that on the WWII need for women to go to work in the factories maybe, but also on the need to have two incomes to feed the buying needs.

My mom never worked outside the home after I was born, she had a job for a while after getting married, but my mom wanted to stay at home with her kid-later kids. Both my parents do housework, and have been doing it as a part of everyday life so long that I always thought that was the norm, till I got out in the world and found people didn't normally live like that.

Just because you might be unemployed at a paying job, does not mean you have to sit idle at home all day, there are tons of things you can do with your time. Some of them can lead to making money, or trade goods for barter and trade in a moneyless world. We need a seachange in our thinking.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future.

Reducing consumption means people buy less.

The problem isn't social, behavioral, or attitudinal. It's mathematical. All of the stupid and useless things we consume provide (pay for) an entire range of income producing jobs. Design, materials, production, systems support, packaging, marketing, sales, transport, retailing, waste disposal, etc. are all reduced in proportion to demand reduction. People won't find "other things to do" as far as employment because these jobs will evaporate, just as we have seen in recent years.

I know folks that have skills, motivation and have applied for many jobs. Many candidates for few jobs. What jobs there are are paying much less than previous ones. Staying home and doing housework or gardening doesn't pay the mortgage or health insurance. It's all about the numbers. Less stuff being sold means less money moving through the system and fewer jobs. Perhaps you need to take a hard look at how much of our economy is supported by discretionary/un-necessary crap.

I understand and agree with reduced consumption. If we hadn't begun this process years ago we would be sunk. My wife was in a real estate related job. Now, too many properties for sale, too few buyers, too many skilled people looking for anything else to do. 18 months of un/underemployment, but she's managed to stay busy, at 1/4 the income, which means she spends less, which affects many other people's income.....and so it goes.

"Maybe folks are even more hard-headed in your neck of the woods and just sit around stubbornly until they are flat broke."

This judgemental statement tells me that you really haven't looked realistically at how our economy works (or not).

Reduced consumption does result in fewer jobs/less income. It's called recession.

Yes, but a transition from a money economy to a household economy doesn't leave people at the bottom less well off. It might even leave people better off if the financier class doesn't get their cut of as many pies.

It's the transition that I worry about the most. Historically, it's the "transitions" that get ugly.

Let us say their compensation was cut in half, which would still be millions and, in some cases, tens of millions. How would that money get back to us? Just asking because I frankly don't know.

By never leaving people's pockets to begin with.

I've said it many times, wealth is not money and money is not wealth.

Wealth is concrete. It's what you have, and what you can do.
Money is one way to get there but it is not wealth in and of itself, just ask a Zimbabwean millionaire.

Your outline of the impacts of reduced consumption certainly appear to be correct and are in line with conventional economic thinking.

But I still wonder how all this would really play out despite what seems like irrefutable logic and economic principles.

Just one example. Let's say the recession continues indefinitely; it even gets worse with all the feedbacks you imply. Let us says 50% of home owners cannot pay their mortgages. In addition, home prices keep plunging until they are half what they are now, which in some parts of the country means they are 75% of what they were a couple of years ago. True, most people have a lot lower incomes because of decreased consumption.

But the stock of housing is still in existence. Accordingly, people who can't afford their homes now would be able to afford the same homes if newly bought even with much lower incomes.

The fact is that in my area I can afford a lot more home now than I could a couple of years ago and my income has not increased at all.

Existing assets under your scenario will be a lot cheaper and even some new assets will be cheaper under a scenario of reduced wages.

I am not arguing that less consumption will not result in reduced incomes and unemployment. On the other hand, a different economic system would result in more employment if we were not hung up on the 40 hours and greater week. Find a way to do a lot more work sharing without penalizing the employer and part of the problem can be addressed.

Part of the package, however, is that people will have to perform a lot more work that is not counted as part of the gross domestic product.

Part of the shortfall in income will have to result from people being more self reliant and less dependent upon others for food and other services. Another part of the shortfall will have to come from sharing.

Yes, the formal job economy will be not be sufficient for increased numbers of people. Recession may just be a permanent way of life.

If we have choices, maybe it doesn't have to be that way and we can struggle on with the same kind of economy we have always have had for several more years.

But just because less consumption leads to the bad things you talk about does not mean we can do anything about it.

Or not.

Your argument, however, will probably be persuasive for most people and certainly the policy makers. Not going to hold my breath waiting for the politician who says that a housing depression isn't all bad.

While I see the need for a steady state economy a la Herman Daly, I would like to see what kind of world that would be fleshed out a bit better in concrete terms.

And certainly this doesn't address places like China and India. They are still well below the U.S. in terms of per capita income. For them, the party is just beginning and are not going to let us take away the punch bowl.

As I commented above, the problem I see is getting from here to there. Most people are totally invested in BAU and are not likely to handle the transition well. Perhaps I underestimate our current level of adaptability.

I think the Tea Party thing is just the beginning. These folks say they want change, yet my perception is that they see change happening and are scared shitless. The last thing these folks really want is change. For the most part, they are doing well in the current system. Reduced consumption? Lower income? DRIVE LESS???

It would be interesting to question these folks about peak oil and climate change. It's my bet that their level of denial is virtually complete. I may be misjudging people, but the ones I have spoken to seem better at blame than change. This doesn't portend well in the near term transition to reduced consumption. Time is running out for any kind of orderly transition.

I don't know anyone that is a Tea Party person per se. I know people that don't like Obama, but they also don't agree with the Tea Party people either.

You are right that the transition is going to have the most impact because they always do. Falling 10,000 feet does not kill you, it is the moving to a complete stop that hurts the most.

What we don't have is the cheap land that we once had all over the place. Actually we have cheap land, but who wants to buy a chunk of land in the inner city? Just around here there are several places in North Little Rock Ark, that are city lots for under $15,000 most of them vacant, but they have city services, I don't know how many you could build small houses on though. By small house I mean under 1,000 SqFt, even under 500 SqFt, more like cottages. Build them in such a way as to not need AC and Heating as much as the others you see being built. But I don't have the money to buy or build.

It seems to me we need a seachange of ideas, Buying up land that is sold cheap, and building sustainable living arrangements on it, and selling/renting it for as close to cost as possible. Not looking for a profit, looking to reduce profits in such a way as to foster the power down ideals that we need to be using to have a better future.

Lots of hurting going to happen because everything is in such a mess and locked tightly into making a buck. Big Sigh.

BioWebScape designs for a better future.

Here's how it works at the bottom:

year1 income 1,000 rent 250
year2 income 1,000 rent 500
year3 income 1,000 rent 750
year4 income 1,000 rent 1,000
year5 homeless

And don't even get me started on credit scores

CEO -- The down side of powering down for us would be the millions of folks who are employed providing all those non-essential perks. Couldn't we do without half the restaurants? Half the mall outlets? Half the movie theaters? Half the gas stations (we wouldn't be driving as much)? Just drive down the street and count all the business we really don't need...at least as many duplicates as we have.

But eliminate those business and who houses and feeds the folks whose jobs have been eliminated for ever. And what of the trillions of $'s of commercial property that no longer have much value? Retrain those folks? Who pays for that traing along with their housing and feeding? And train for new businesses that replace the ones that were just closed to save energy?

We've built a trap for ourselves by shifting so much of the work force to not only service jobs but to many non-essential jobs. No matter how good that waiter/waitress is at that job you're not going to retrain them as a mechanical engineer building windturbins.

In addition, even if we attempted to switch many/most 'service' jobs to manufacturing jobs, the level of semi-automation we have achieved in everything from design, prototyping, testing, production, and even business services and customer services/relations, precludes our being able to find jobs for our excessive populations....the flip side to that coin is that there is a finite limit to the amount of stuff we need, or even want...added to the idea that un/underemployed folks won't have the money to buy the stuff they don't need.

We are stuck in the over-population and production automation traps we have set for ourselves. Like others have said, we could theoretically go back to a paradigm of local, manual labor with limited possessions, but it will be the transition that will cause turmoil and which will make the transition even harder and the post-transition lives even harder.

And that brings us full circle to the problem with that theory IMHO: local manual labor to make what? If we are using less energy we are buying less stuff (material goods and services). You can teach a waiter to shape wood into a funtional table. But who is going to pay the carpenter to teach him? And who will house and feed him while he trains? And who will buy him the tools and shop he needs to work? But here's the even more important question: who's going to pay him to make that table? Remember the basic premise: we are cutting back and buying less stuff. I'm not an economist but the model seems simple: we are acquiring less stuff to decrease our energy consumption. Less stuff means less value added to the raw materials. Less value added means less labor needed. Developing labor to create a product utilizing less energy is still wasteful if that item isn't needed. And if you don't buy the table how will the new carpenter survive? Powering down means all of society gives up equal shares of life as they know it or a large segment of society gets nothing. All the folks on TOD who will be able to continue their energy efficient and productive lives who are willing to give half their paycheck to that waiter for doing little or nothing of value please raise your hand.

Thought so. IMHO the pain is coming and will be heartbreaking to watch. And all that much worse to experience.

You're right and TPTB are doing everything possible to prevent it. I think Bernanke has decided that he simply will not be the Fed chairman to preside over a deflation. This is quite scary if you think about it.

But nature doesn't do bailouts. If only Hubbert was around to see this!

Rasies hand.

As I have said elsewhere I give over half my income to help 2 other people, one of them is unfit to work, at least can't in most jobs available here abouts.

If my living arrangement were to change, and I had more expenses that would change, but I don't know how much, as I don't know what those changes could be.

The thing that irks me the most, is that more and more people are realizing that change is afoot and less and less people in power are doing anything about it. Time to replace the powers that be with those that know more about the change and are offering solutions.

Instead of a chicken in every pot, maybe a nice shack to live in, and a piece of land to live off of for everyone.

Here's a fictional thought for you.
308 million people get one acre each. All we'd need is 500,000 square miles to plop those people down on. If they can't survive on the land, oh well. It'll go to the next newest person in the system, be they born or coming from outside. Families get land next to each other, or on hillsides so they can watch each other fall down(lol).

Nothing is going to happen we are all saved, the president promised.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future.

The trap is that the land prices have gone so high that few people I know can afford to buy anything. The old adage of them not making anymore land is true to a point, (volcanoes make more, beaches erode more away, geological forces make and break land all the time,) but in general we have basically the same amount as we started with in the USA.

As I pointed out above I know places in town that are dirt cheap, others that have the several 100 Thousand price tags on them.

I would have to say we need a leveling of the playing field before we can power down the amount of energy use. Everytime the government takes land for taxes or does so in an ethical and legal fashion, they portion it out to the most needy, but not to be sold, to be used.

Something along the lines of give a man a fish feed him for a day teach him to fish feed him forever. Give a man some land and give him some seeds and let him go on about his life. Instead of giving people a check every month, find some nice well watered (rain wise) land and give it to them. Detroit could be doing that with all that land they are reclaiming.

But we aren't a federal system only, this can't work because each state has their own rules and regs. The only way something like this will work is if a rich person is to buy the land up and then portion it out and give it away, free or at cost, rinse and repeat.

I can see the solutions, but can't make them happen. I am stuck in the world of fictional thought, where I can write all day about how things work out for everyone. But if I apply the same thoughts to everyone else, they always fight over the gifts.

Thanks for the thoughts everyone, just goes to show you, that an author can't think of everything.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future.

Maybe we can warn the rest of the world not to power up, just see what will happen when you are forced to power back down, look at the US as it fails.... Okay, never mind, just a thought.

The down side of powering down for us would be the millions of folks who are employed providing all those non-essential perks. Couldn't we do without half the restaurants? Half the mall outlets? Half the movie theaters? Half the gas stations (we wouldn't be driving as much)? Just drive down the street and count all the business we really don't need...at least as many duplicates as we have.

My local shopping strip has a lot of that, and more (20 coffee shops/cafes, 6-7 hairdressers, two small supermarkets, ten clothing stores, etc). It's been there since about 1860, and it seems to bubble along - there is never an empty shop in the strip, and hardly any changes either.

So at some level, they are all "needed" - at least sufficiently to make a return on their investment (and a wage for the owners), to continue to exist and operate.

The article up top about Grapes is a good one.

As a gardener, I have noticed that some plants just don't do as well as they once did in my yard, but I don't have measurements of the pasts weather conditions, I don't keep a garden journal, which is something that you should do and lots of people tell you to do, I was to lazy I guess.

I like beer better than I like wine. But the story does make you think about how we have depended on some things so long that we are starting to see a change that can't be ignored, even though it still is being ignored.

One more sign that the future is not set in stone. If you like wines, my advice is to buy them now, in a few years you might not be able to get them anymore.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed future for all.

Herman Daly.

I will re-post this on today's drumbeat.


Please don't.

One, if you want to post a link to today's DrumBeat, then don't post it to yesterday's. Wait until today's DrumBeat goes up.

Two, look up. This story was posted up top yesterday.