Drumbeat: May 5, 2010

Oil settles below $80 with rise in supplies

Oil prices fell below $80 a barrel today as the dollar gained strength and a government report showed that crude supplies rose more than expected.

Benchmark crude lost $2.77 to settle at $79.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the second day of sharp declines. The June contract fell by 4 percent on Tuesday.

The dollar gained again on the euro, which fell to a 14-month low against the dollar. Because oil is bought and sold in dollars, they often move in opposite directions. The value of the dollar dictates how much oil investors can afford.

But there are also signs that demand for energy is not as great as some had thought, which sank prices as well.

US carbon emissions fell record 7 pct in 2009 - EIA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. energy-related emissions of the main greenhouse gas carbon dioxide fell a record 7 percent in 2009 due to the recession, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

New tactic might seal leaking well sooner, BP CEO says

The runaway well spewing crude into the Gulf of Mexico might be sealed within as little as two weeks using a new, untested approach that has emerged in the last two days, BP CEO Tony Hayward told the Houston Chronicle today.

The method, which he called “top kill,” involves reconfiguring existing wellhead equipment to provide a conduit for pumping heavy fluids into the well. That would stop the flow and allow for a permanent seal, Hayward said during a visit to the BP operations center in west Houston that is headquarters for the spill response.

Richard Heinberg: China's Coal Bubble...and how it will deflate U.S. efforts to develop "clean coal"

The conventional wisdom in energy-and-environment circles is that China's economy, which is growing at a rate of eight percent or more per year, is mostly coal powered today and will continue to be so for decades to come. Coal is cheap and abundant, and China uses far more of it than any other nation. The country is trying to develop other energy sources fast—including nuclear, solar, and wind—but these won't be sufficient to reduce its reliance on coal. That's one of the reasons it is important for the U.S. to develop "clean coal" technology, which China can then begin to adopt so as to reduce the horrific climate impacts of its coal-heavy energy mix.

Most of this conventional wisdom is correct, but some of it is plain wrong—so wrong, in fact, that environment-, economic-, and energy-policy wonks are constructing scenarios for the future of U.S. and world energy, and for the global economy, that bear little or no resemblance to the reality that is unfolding.

US oil cuts challenge producers

Rising petrol prices in the US, the world’s largest oil consumer, will reduce the country’s fuel thirst for years to come, presenting challenges to oil exporters investing tens of billions of dollars to raise exports.

Fuel use would normally expand with the current economic recovery, but the rise would be countered by the US government’s green-energy policies and rising petrol prices, which encourage motorists to drive less and switch to more fuel-efficient cars, says a forecast by the Japanese investment bank Nomura Securities.

Sinopec, PetroChina sell oil at lower prices overseas

Sinopec and PetroChina, China's two oil giants, are reportedly exporting fuel at prices nearly 10 percent lower than their domestic retail prices, according to China Business News (CBN) on May 4.

...Meanwhile, weak domestic demand causes oil manufacturers to increase their oil export in spite of unsatisfactory profits. Statistics from General Administration of Custom shows that the total sum of export in March was 2.64 million tons, an increase of over 70 percent than the same period last year.

Moody's: Latin American oil companies need more investment to produce

State-run oil companies in Latin America face rising needs of capital investment and financing to increase oil and gas production as energy demand increases, stressed on Tuesday risk rating agency Moody's in a report to investors, Efe said.

Mexico cuts petchems crude runs, helps oil exports

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico has slashed the processing of crude oil at a major petrochemicals installation which has allowed state oil monopoly Pemex to divert supplies to export markets, company officials said on Tuesday.

Iraq Takes Extra Security Measures to Protect Oil Fields

Iraq has begun implementing extra security measures to protect oil fields in and around the south-eastern city of Basra, security sources announced on Wednesday.

Iraq's oil pipelines have frequently been attacked in the past. Last month, a bomb destroyed a section of pipeline linking northern Iraqi oil fields to the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

Bitumen opens new export road for Iranians

The boom in infrastructure development in Asia and the Middle East has opened a little-noticed outlet for Iran to strengthen trade ties with its neighbours, while increasing export opportunities for the region’s smaller oil producers.

The commodity involved is bitumen, a term for oil that is so dense and sticky that it sinks in water. It has often been a target of environmental protests over oil.

It can also be produced in petroleum refineries, where it may be called “refinery bottoms” or “asphalt”.

Pakistan wants better energy ties to Iran

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, (UPI) -- Islamabad wants to enhance its bilateral ties with Iran in oil exploration and energy development, a financial adviser to the Pakistani prime minister said.

Pakistan: ‘Coal reserves to resolve energy crisis’

HYDERABAD: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah on Tuesday said development of the country depended on coal-based energy as it generated cheap electricity and the government was making all-out efforts to use the available coal reserves for power generation.

The risks and rewards of offshore drilling

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The spilled oil lapping at Gulf Coast beaches and wetlands is one tragic result of offshore drilling.

As the administration's plans to expand drilling proceed, what do we get in exchange for putting more of our coastal environment, and the fishing and tourism economies that depend on it, at risk?

First, what we won't get

It won't make the United States energy independent: We simply use too much oil.

BP Provides States $100M for Contingency Plans

BP announced Wednesday that it has made $25 million block grants to each of the states of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida to help accelerate the implementation of Area Contingency Plans (ACPs). ACPs are approved plans that address the removal of a worst-case spill. They are designed to mitigate or prevent a substantial threat to sensitive areas.

Unified Command Activated for Florida's West Coast

In response to the possibility of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill affecting the West Coast of Florida, representatives from BP, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are meeting to plan a multi-agency response, the Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Center reported Wednesday.

Oil rig survivors recall a hiss before the blast

Minutes before the Deepwater Horizon exploded in fire, workers on the deck heard a thump, then a hissing sound. Gas alarms sounded and the rig shook.

Seawater and mud containing gas from the well spewed up through the crown of the derrick and rained down on the drilling floor; fumes reportedly moved into the “safe zones” where the electric generators are located. The generators raced out of control as they sucked gas into the air intakes.

Crews prepare to take oil contraption to Gulf

PORT FORCHOUN, La. (AP) -- A 12-man crew is making final preparations to take a 100-ton contraption to the Gulf of Mexico to help funnel out oil spewing from the bottom of the sea.

The 280-foot supply boat Joe Griffin was docked at Port Fourchon on Wednesday, but is expected to head out as early as late afternoon to the leak site about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast.

Va. governor commited to drill despite Gulf spill

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Virginia's governor says he remains committed to making his state the first on the East Coast to drill offshore for oil and gas, despite the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and wilting political support for new drilling.

Visualizing the Gulf oil spill in layers

Google Crisis Response has a series of images showing the Gulf Oil Spill layers. From the "current spill extent" and a map of closed fishing areas to satellite images of the spill - the layering graphic demonstrates the extent of the crisis.

A little context for the BP oil spill: It isn't the Apocalypse

In July 1979 The Washington Post dispatched me to the island of Trinidad and Tobago to cover the first collision of fully-loaded supertankers. The two ships in question, each more than 1,000 feet long, were loaded with a total of 3.5 million barrels of crude oil – enough to supply 20 per cent of the daily consumption of the entire U.S. at that time.

I knew something about oil. I had grown up in Louisiana around wells and derricks. As a reporter I had written about refineries, ridden tankers and helicoptered to offshore rigs. I figured the oil spill off Tobago would be the environmental disaster of all time. But guess what happened to that environmental disaster?

It never happened.

The BP Oil Spill Is a Game Changer for Alternative Energy

It could be the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history... and it's a game changer for alternative energy. In the near future, we can expect momentum and political will to shift decisively away from the mad quest for crude oil - here's why.

Perception of shortage hikes fuel costs

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Gas prices are going up, and they're going to continue to rise as the summer travel season inches closer.

But there's a new factor this year that will could force people to shell out even more: 5,000 barrels of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico every day.

Experts say that amount won't put a huge dent in gasoline supplies, but it creates that perception. Motorists worry that the price will rise, and fill up sooner, thus boosting demand and sending the price up.

Saudi Arabia: power versus oil

Saudi Arabia is at a crossroads. Electricity demand is expected to rocket over the coming years, creating the need for massive investment and expansion in its power sector. However, the Kingdom’s oil wealth and the resulting low oil prices, is encouraging an increasing amount of the country’s power mix to be oil-fuelled, a phenomenon which if left unchecked, has the potential to bite heavily into the country’s oil export potential, which remains the beating heart of the Saudi economy.

However, the Kingdom need not go down this path. Its wealth could be channeled into new nuclear build and the fact that the desert sun delivers around 7000W/m2 over an average of 12 hours a day, means that it has vast potential from the perspective of solar power. This could well enable Saudi Arabia to go on exporting energy long after it ceases to be one of the world’s largest oil producers.

Conoco Phillips withdrawal from Yambu project sends a serious industry signal

An interesting article on 4/29/10 MEED by Peter Salisbury "A false dawn for the downstream petrochemical industry". Conoco Phillips withdrawal from the $10+ Billion project, is a sure signal that the medium-term future of refining and petrochemical markets is not rosy. It is as well a confirmation that the company is still recovering from the 2006 outlay of $35.6 B to acquire Burlington Resources.

Saudi petrochem income to rise five-fold

New projects will ally with higher prices to boost Saudi Arabia's petrochemical earnings by nearly five times in 2015 as the Gulf kingdom is pushing ahead with a major drive to diversify its oil-reliant economy, according to a local study.

Saudi Arabia raises light crude prices to US, Asia

Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest state owned oil company, raised the official selling prices for all light and medium crude grades for customers in the US and Asia in June.

The company increased the formula price of its Arab Extra Light crude exports to the US the most, raising it by 35 cents a barrel to $1.70 above the Argus Sour Crude Index, the Dhahran based oil company said in an emailed statement today.

Russia-Ukraine gas dispute 'highlights need for EU diversification'

In January 2009, a dispute between Russia and Ukraine over the non-payment of gas bills resulted in 18 European countries suffering either a major reduction in or termination of their gas supplies from Russia transported through Ukraine.

Speaking in the European parliament on Wednesday, Slavtcho Neykov, the director of Vienna-based group, the energy community, said "At the risk of sounding cynical, the crisis was a sort of necessary medicine that consumers were forced to swallow in order to fully bring home to them the reality and importance of energy security supply issues.

Bribery scandal darkens South American unity conference

Between 2007 and 2009, Argentina imported over $1.225 million in fuel oil from Venezuela in order to address an imposing energy crisis. With these funds, according to accusers, Chavez’s government purchased agricultural machinery from Argentine companies which allegedly paid kickbacks to officials of Argentina’s government while Nestor Kirchner served as president. His wife, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, is currently the president of the South American republic.

Wash. fines BP refinery for safety violations

BLAINE, Wash. — The Washington state Department of Labor and Industries has fined the BP Cherry Point refinery near Blaine $69,200 for 13 serious safety violations.

The department said Wednesday that the petroleum refinery failed to follow rules for managing hazardous chemicals, including not routinely inspecting or maintaining safety devices such as pressure safety valves.

Inconvenient? You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

Get used to it, baby: if there were an easier available place to find new oil than a mile beneath the sea, they'd be drilling there. The accident in the Gulf of Mexico, however damaging it is already, however widely it may spread, is minor compared with what is happening, invisibly, above our heads. That's the message of Bill McKibben's new book, Eaarth, and what he's been warning about for over two decades.

Each era is unimaginable to the era just before, except to a tiny circle of visionaries such as McKibben. Some of these visionaries are misguided, but this author bases his diagnosis on scientific evidence, even when, as in this case, the evidence has momentous implications for our "way of life."

Greenland Oil Rush Looms as Exxon Eyes Cairn’s Bet

The potential rewards may justify the cost of Arctic drilling: Greenland’s waters could hold 50 billion barrels of crude and gas, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates, enough to meet Europe’s energy demand for almost two years. More companies are on the way. Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Statoil ASA were among bidders in this week’s auction of offshore drilling rights.

After six failed attempts by explorers in Greenland over the past 30 years the rush is on as global warming eases Arctic exploration and because of dwindling resources in areas such as the North Sea. For Greenland’s 56,000 inhabitants, largely dependent on shrimp exports, petroleum may also bring wealth and allow more independence from Denmark, which has held sway over the world’s largest island since 1721.

Groups challenge Shell's Arctic air permits

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Alaska Native and conservation groups have filed challenges to clean air permits the Environmental Protection Agency granted Shell Oil for drilling exploration wells in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.

"Shell's drilling threatens to pollute the air we breathe, and EPA needs to regulate the emissions more strongly," said Caroline Cannon, president of the Native village of Point Hope, in a prepared statement. Point Hope is an Inupiat Eskimo village of 713 on the coast of the Chukchi Sea, 330 miles southwest of Barrow.

Is China filling the gap in Iranian gasoline imports?

Iran’s oil minister may have considered the threat of gasoline import sanctions “a joke” last month, but a Reuters report on Wednesday suggests that the country’s motor fuel imports may have drop as much as 20 per cent in May, compared to last month.

Citing industry sources, the report says companies are pulling back from Iran, amid growing talk of sanctions over Iran’s nuclear programme.

Venezuela supplying 150,000 bpd crude to India

NEW DELHI, May 5 (Reuters) - Venezuela's Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Temir Porras Ponceleon said on Wednesday his country is currently supplying 150,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil to India and there was a potential to raise supplies.

India, Asia's third biggest oil consumer, imports about 76 percent of its crude oil needs.

Chile mulls private stake in state oil firm - report

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile's state oil company ENAP could open a stake to private investors to raise capital, Energy Minister Ricardo Reineri was quoted as saying by the Financiero newspaper, in a move that could raise tensions with unions at the firm and at state copper giant Codelco.

E.P.A.’s Plan to Regulate Coal Ash Draws Criticism

The Environmental Protection Agency issued a long-awaited proposal Tuesday to regulate coal ash, the toxic byproduct of burning coal to produce power. But the agency deferred a decision on whether to treat it as hazardous waste, drawing criticism from environmentalists who had hoped for a stronger stance.

Instead, the agency offered two alternatives, one that would regulate coal ash under strict hazardous-waste rules, and a weaker and less expensive option that would regulate it under the same framework that governs household garbage. The agency will choose between the options sometime after a 90-day comment period.

China Said to Seek Brazil, U.S. Soyoil Supply on Argentine Ban

(Bloomberg) -- China, the biggest user of cooking oils, told state-owned trading companies to seek supplies of soybean oil from Brazil and the U.S. as it kept an embargo on imports from Argentina, two company executives with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Fears That a Lush Land May Lose a Foul Fertilizer

Farmers are worried that treated wastewater may strip away some of the natural fertilizers that have helped make Mezquital Valley in Mexico so productive.

Oil spills, green entrepreneurs and the Icelandic ash cloud

The concept of Peak Oil has been used by many organisations and movements – notably Transition Town - as a reason to cut our dependency on oil. Personally, I am always a little wary of using the concept as it is incredibly hard to judge when the Peak Oil point will be reached both because of the secrecy around the level of known existing oil reserves and because of the speed at which new technology is developing.

A toast to those who leave free stuff at the curb

A teacher named Mike Morone in suburban Rochester, N.Y., understands this perfectly. He got his start recycling old computers and e-mailed me the other day to say he was now launching "Give Your Stuff Away Day." (giveyourstuffaway.com).

It's set for May 15.

Morone said he wanted to give people enough time to organize their neighborhoods, round up whatever might be lurking in the cellar or garage, then slap FREE signs on it all.

Nomura Boosts 2010 Oil Price Forecast by 18% to $85

(Bloomberg) -- Nomura Holdings Inc. raised its oil price forecast for this year to $85 a barrel from $72 as the global economic recovery gathers pace.

Saudi Arabia global oil exports to wane post-2010

"Along with China and India, we do expect Saudi Arabia to be one of the largest sources of global oil demand," says Amrita Sen, oil analyst at Barclays Capital. "And given Saudi's importance in the oil market as the swing producer, in the longer term, this can impact their ability to control the market at the margin. However, this is unlikely to have a significant impact this year, given the substantial spare capacity it is sitting on, though that buffer could get eroded sooner rather than later in the coming few years."

Statoil Profit Triples on Gain in Oil Prices, Output

(Bloomberg) -- Statoil ASA, Norway’s largest oil and gas company, said first-quarter profit tripled as crude prices and production gained.

Petroplus Sees ‘Better Days’ Ahead for Oil Refiners

(Bloomberg) -- Petroplus Holdings AG, Europe’s largest independent refiner, expects higher margins from turning oil into fuels such as gasoline and diesel as demand increases after the recession.

“We believe better days are ahead,” Chairman Thomas D. O’Malley said today in an earnings statement. Last year “was the perfect storm which negatively affected the world’s refining industry. Storms don’t last forever and it seems to have passed.”

Petrobras to Sell Argentine Assets for $110 Million

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-controlled oil producer, said it will sell part of its assets in Argentina to Oil Combustibles SA for $110 million, including a refinery, gasoline stations and inventories.

The sale by the company’s Petrobras Energia unit includes inventories of crude oil and other products for about $74 million, according to a Brazilian regulatory filing today.

Drilling for oil is more risky than it used to be

Even if you set aside the climatic impacts of using oil to fuel our civilisation, there are environmental risks associated with drilling for it and transporting it. But I'm not sure that many people fully appreciate that for the newer oil fields that are being developed, and proposed for development, these risks are potentially much higher. The fact that current industry practices have, on the whole, not led to major spills in the past couple of decades* is no guarantee that they reduce the risks to acceptable levels at these new, more extreme drilling locations. This is especially true when, in the absence of rigorous regulatory scrutiny, oil companies are tempted to take shortcuts that may not have led to disaster in the past, but could be catastrophic where the margins of safety are lower.

Sunken oil platform owner had safety concerns

DALLAS — Transocean Ltd., which owned the drilling rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, eliminated bonuses for top executives last year over concerns about safety problems at the company.

BP oil tanker said to be diverted from Gulf of Mexico

BP diverted an oil tanker to Europe from the Gulf of Mexico, where a spill from a rig leased by the company may disrupt shipping, according to a shipbroker with direct knowledge of the decision.

The vessel left West Africa in mid-April and is about 100 miles (160 kilometers) off the west coast of Jamaica, ship- tracking data collected by AISLive Ltd. show. The ship changed course and started heading east Tuesday, when it was still about 1,200 miles away from Houston, the data show.

Q&A: The Dome and the Well

BP and the federal government are working frantically on solutions for plugging and containing the spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But shutting off a gushing well that lies under 5,000 feet of water will require a delicate feat of engineering.

Slogans and Facts

In 2000, BP underwent a major corporate face lift, unveiling a new green-and-yellow sunburst logo and a fresh slogan: “Beyond petroleum.” The rebranding effort cost upwards of $125 million annually, but it soon propelled the company from the bottom of the pack to the forefront among competitors in the public’s opinion of its overall reputation and environmental responsibility.

BP’s Cleanup Uses Detergent-Like Chemical to Attack Oil Slick

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc is fighting the oil slick menacing the Gulf Coast with more than 150,000 gallons of a detergent-like chemical intended to blend oil and water.

The chemicals use the Gulf waves as a giant wash tub to scrub the oil from the water, eventually dropping it to the seafloor where deep-sea microbes will feast on it for centuries, said James N. Butler, a professor emeritus of applied chemistry at Harvard University who has studied dispersants.

Jeff Rubin: Oil disaster may prove tipping point for world oil production

What are the consequences of another Three Mile Island?

Will the unfolding environmental catastrophe from the ruptured Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico become deep-water oil’s equivalent to the Three Mile Island accident?

In terms of environmental degradation and economic cost, it’s already become much more. The real legacy of Three Mile Island wasn’t what happened back in 1979, though, but rather what happened, or more precisely didn’t happen, over the course of the next 40 years in the United States. Literally overnight, the near-meltdown of the reactor core changed public acceptance of nuclear power plants. No company in the U.S. has built a new one since.

Time to plan for peak oil crunch

The world may be basking in the warm glow of economic recovery, but some observers are warning of an unseen spectre, lurking in the background.

Just as the global economy has strengthened in recent months, so has the price of oil.

The warning bells are sounding.

Oil is not the enemy

When it comes to demonizing our most important hydrocarbon, environmentalists have found allies in the peak-oil movement. But the truth is that oil can -- and will -- play a key role in our efforts to create a sustainable energy mix. And we have more of it than we think.

Peak Oil Update: Why the US is in Dire Energy Straits

How's the oil supply looking in the US? Not particularly good, writes our good friend and colleague David Galland.

After a brief respite during the Great Deleveraging, as oil dropped to $35/barrel, it's been on a relentless climb back up. David dives into the supply and demand fundamentals facing America here...

Here Is The Homegrown "Revolution" That Could Save Us From An Oil Crisis

Shale oil and natural gas has long been lauded as a potential savior for the U.S. energy market, but many don't realize just how substantial reserves of these materials are.

What we have in the United States was either too costly or too difficult to acquire before, and now we have the tools capable of extracting the wealth of resources beneath our collective feet, according to Continental Resources.

They have put together a presentation detailing just how wrong we are about our hydrocarbon based future, and how we can hope to reap the resources within and from friendly neighbors like Canada and Brazil as well.

Oil falls to near $82 as US crude supplies rise

SINGAPORE – Oil prices fell to near $82 a barrel Wednesday in Asia after a report showed U.S. crude supplies rose more than expected last week.

U.S. crude inventories rose 3.0 million barrels last week, the American Petroleum Institute said late Tuesday. Analysts had expected an increase of 1.5 million barrels, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Inventories of gasoline and distillates also rose, the API said.

Oil Tops $100 for 2018 on Threat From BP Spill

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil futures for delivery in 2018 surged above $100 a barrel this week as the BP Plc oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico led the government to consider a halt in future drilling.

The oil contract dated furthest into the future jumped after President Barack Obama said no new offshore drilling leases should be issued until a “thorough review” of the April 20 rig explosion. The leak is pouring an estimated 5,000 barrels a day into the Gulf.

Somali pirates board oil tanker; warship en route

NAIROBI, Kenya—Somali pirates armed with automatic weapons boarded an oil tanker with 23 Russian crew onboard Wednesday, and a Russian warship was rushing to intervene, a European Union Naval spokesman said.

U.A.E.’s Bid for Caspian Gas May Weaken Russia’s Hold on Europe

(Bloomberg) -- The United Arab Emirates is tapping its $328 billion sovereign wealth fund to invest in gas-rich Turkmenistan, seeking fuel for its own use while potentially challenging Russia’s dominance as a supplier to Europe.

After Gulf Coast oil spill, scientists envision devastation for region

The urgent question along the polluted Gulf of Mexico: How bad will this get?

No one knows, but with each day that the leaking oil well a mile below the surface remains uncapped, scientists and energy industry observers are imagining outcomes that range from bad to worse to worst, with some forecasting a calamity of historic proportions. Executives from oil giant BP and other energy companies, meanwhile, shared their own worst-case scenario in a Capitol Hill meeting with lawmakers, saying that if they fail to close the well, the spill could increase from an estimated 5,000 barrels a day to 40,000 barrels or possibly even 60,000 barrels.

Amount of Spill Could Escalate, Company Admits

WASHINGTON — In a closed-door briefing for members of Congress, a senior BP executive conceded Tuesday that the ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico could conceivably spill as much as 60,000 barrels a day of oil, more than 10 times the estimate of the current flow.

The scope of the problem has grown drastically since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank into the gulf. Now, the discussion with BP on Capitol Hill is certain to intensify pressure on the company, which is facing a crisis similar to what the Toyota Motor Company had with uncontrolled acceleration — despite its efforts to control the damage to its reputation as a corporate citizen, the problem may be worsening.

New Orleans without seafood gumbo? Oil spill's unsavory toll.

New Orleans – The BP oil spill and its effect on state fisheries may soon force a rewriting of New Orleans menus from the seafood cuisine that the Crescent City is best known for to less distinctive fare.

Lisa Margonelli: A Spill of Our Own

Whether this spill turns out to be the result of a freakish accident or a cascade of negligence, the likely political outcome will be a moratorium on offshore drilling. Emotionally, I love this idea. Who wants an oil drill in his park or on his coastline? Who doesn’t want to punish Big Oil on behalf of the birds?

Moratoriums have a moral problem, though. All oil comes from someone’s backyard, and when we don’t reduce the amount of oil we consume, and refuse to drill at home, we end up getting people to drill for us in Kazakhstan, Angola and Nigeria — places without America’s strong environmental safeguards or the resources to enforce them.

'Every gallon of gasoline contains a tremendous amount of risk we don't account for'

The U.S. has been increasing its oil use. But our output peaked in 1972 or 1973. So we use more but haven't increased our production by the same amount. So when your whole political response to spills is to punish the industry and make a statement with a moratorium on drilling, you have to understand that we're still using oil and its coming from other places. Some is coming from Canada and Norway and Mexico, and they have pretty good records. But on the whole, we're going towards dicier and dicier places. The big pockets of oil are in places that are politically or geologically difficult to get to. Deepwater off Angola, drilling in Nigeria, the Exxon project in Chad.

In defense of a moratorium on offshore oil drilling

Dan Gatti, an environmental policy analyst at Environment America, writes in to dispute Lisa Margonelli's argument that we should shy away from a domestic moratorium on offshore drilling because it'll push oil production to areas of the world where spills are more frequent and more dangerous.

U.S. oil spill hurting energy moves in Congress

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The massive, uncontrolled oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is roiling President Barack Obama's carefully laid plans to open up America's coasts to drilling again, while rattling Congress to a point where the oil industry's exploratory plans could face a big shake-up.

U.S. politicians are now in no mood to consider plans to open up new areas for drilling but if the crisis drags on, it could also affect exploration in existing production areas, such as the Gulf.

WH pushes to lift liability limit for Gulf spill

WASHINGTON – The White House is pushing to lift the limit on how much BP pays for the Gulf Coast oil spill.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday the administration wants to work with Congress to change a law that caps at $75 million BP's liability for economic damages like lost wages or dwindling tourist dollars.

Chance of oil drilling off Calif coast appears dim

LOS ANGELES – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's decision to pull support for a proposal to expand oil drilling off the coast of Santa Barbara County effectively killed any short-term prospects for the project.

Prospects for reviving the proposal may not improve even after Schwarzenegger leaves office next year.

Oil spill's impact ripples across Gulf Coast

The Gulf oil spill that is contaminating the waters off the coast of Louisiana could have an economic ripple effect extending to Florida and beyond, even if the slick doesn't cause extensive damage in those states.

Just the fear that the oil slick will reach the coasts of Alabama, Mississippi, Florida or beyond is already discouraging some tourists from planning trips to those areas and affecting the region’s fishing industry. Concern over oil damage potentially could even put a damper on coastal real estate markets, economists say.

“It’s very dramatic … as far as how bad this thing can get,” said Nathaniel Karp, chief U.S. economist with BBVA Compass, a regional bank based in Birmingham, Ala.

BP CEO Hayward tested by Gulf of Mexico spill

LONDON — Tony Hayward promised to focus "like a laser" on safety when he landed BP's top job three years ago, heralding a new era for the company after a series of accidents — including the 2005 Texas City refinery explosion that killed 15 people.

But the baby-faced geologist may find his words haunt him.

Africa mining: Will mineral-rich countries start a cartel like OPEC?

Dakar, Senegal – African leaders are pushing for tougher terms on mining concessions after 25 years of structural adjustment – when countries cut red tape and offered generous tax holidays to foreign prospectors.

The new dynamic was on display at a recent mining conference in Senegal. The chief executive officer of a multinational Africa mining firm was speaking, but Senegal's president didn't appear to be listening.

Nuclear Armed Bullies and NPT Review

Countries belonging to the non-aligned movement (NAM) have stated that all countries have "a basic and inalienable right ”to develop atomic energy for peaceful purposes. NAM members note that while Western nations repeatedly ask why Iran is so insistent on building nuclear power plants when the country has vast reserves of oil and natural gas, they never pose the same question to the Russians, who have built a large number of nuclear power plants despite having the largest natural gas reserves in the world. In any event, hydrocarbon energy resources are finite with many reports suggesting a peak oil production soon.

A Silver Lining in the Oil Spill and Boston’s Water Disaster

These are unqualified disasters by any measure and will harshly impact the people in those areas.

But, unfortunately, it is these kinds of disasters that Americans (and most people around the world) typically need to experience before they actually tackle a problem.

Are we really reaching peak oil?

If any alternative to oil is to be broadly accepted by the world's teeming billions, it must perform like oil, span many different energy requirements like oil, fulfill all of the energy needs like oil does, and adapt to the dominant technological model that has been used for about a century- internal combustion. This is just the energy side of the equation. The other side of the equation is just as demanding. Any alternative must not harm the environment either in its use or creation, it must be plentiful and easily accessible, it must be reasonably priced, and it may not potentially disappear in the future.

Unfortunately, no one alternative can fulfill all of the requirements that oil has provided ever since oil became the dominant energy provider. Each has their intrinsic problems.

Michael Ruppert comes to Brattleboro to talk about life without oil

You might not find Michael Ruppert as much fun as Michael Moore. You might find parts of Collapse, the film in which director Chris Smith draws him out about his views of the impending violent downsizing of industrial civilization, less persuasive than other parts.

But even those who find veins of material in the 82-minute interview with Ruppert less than credible find them gripping. At the very least he provokes thought about the "collapse" of our way of life and how we ought to be preparing for it. The New York Times called the film, which was screened at the International Film Festival in Toronto last September, "Shockingly persuasive... Unexpectedly moving."

Northcote gardener ripe for protest

“I took the initiative to convert a piece of unused public land to local food production.

“Imagine streets full of spring blossoms, a supply of free fresh fruit, summer-only shade, all while reducing climate change - who wouldn’t want that?”

Mr Moore said the decision to remove the trees he had nurtured over three years contradicted a recent council push to spend $50,000 identifying unused public space to grow food and up to $30,000 on an annual produce competition.

Suburban living offers quality over quantity

Out in Langley over the weekend, I was struck by just how pleasant life in the Lower Mainland suburbs can be with a large lot, a sizzling barbecue and a backyard full of kids.

And I thought how it wrong it was for politically correct politicians and transportation "experts" continually to rail against suburban sprawl as it were some form of disease.

Countering the arguments for sprawl living

Then there is the concern about our limited oil resource, also known as peak oil theory. There is no dispute that oil is a commodity that is becoming even more difficult to find and refine. Look no further than the Gulf of Mexico today. Was this an aberration? No, it was the inevitable result of what happens when you can't find oil on land anymore. They're pushing 250 miles offshore to make sure you and I can drive to the grocery store.

HS2 – not blind faith, but could it be partially sighted?

Chairman of High Speed Two (HS2) Sir Brian Briscoe tells Public Servant the new line will "probably" aid the transition to a low-carbon economy. Indeed, environmentalists point to a natural resources crunch – with imminent peak oil – and climate change as ample justification for the £30bn cost of HS2, in order to move away from short-haul aviation.

"The sustainability of the project depends upon how you generate the electricity to run the trains," says Sir Brian. "Rail is a more sustainable option than flying or travel by road, probably – or it could be if we start providing more electricity by renewables. It is a good way of moving large numbers of people between centres."

Higher Energy Bills, Wind Push Likely After U.K. Vote

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. consumers can expect higher utility bills no matter which party wins tomorrow’s election, with all three pushing to get more electricity from renewable sources and from plants that burn coal more cleanly.

Banking on Fuel-Sweating Flora

A start-up company has broken ground on a Texas pilot plant that is supposed to produce ethanol and diesel in a radical new way: with an organism that sweats fuel.

The company, Joule Unlimited of Cambridge, Mass., has developed several patented gene-altered organisms that absorb sunlight and carbon dioxide and combine these into hydrocarbons.

Automakers Seek to Delay Ethanol Blending Raise

WASHINGTON — Citing new test data, the auto industry says the federal government’s plan to raise the amount of ethanol mixed into gasoline will damage cars and increase the amount of pollution they emit.

Time to drive commuters away

Opponents of the car park extension picketed a hustings meetings at Berkhamsted Town Hall on Wednesday (picture). Protester Bruce Nixon said the structure: "Disfigures a listed station, creates huge distress for nearby residents. There is no demonstrated need for it. It will not solve the problem or address the reason people park in neighbouring roads - ie the cost of commuting.

"This ugly solution, so-called, ignores the urgent need to address climate change and peak oil. It will be a monument to short-sightedness. We need solutions that provide more attractive alternatives to driving and parking, and gets people out of their cars. Peak time buses would be sustainable, so would car sharing, cycling and walking. Other towns all over the world have done just this. Their experience is that what works is to offer other options cheaper and more attractive."

Cuccinelli tells U.Va. to hand over documents on climate change

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is demanding that the University of Virginia turn over a broad range of documents from a former professor to determine whether he defrauded taxpayers as he sought grants for global-warming research.

The civil investigative demand asks for all data and materials presented by former professor Michael Mann when he applied for five research grants from the university. It also gives the school until May 27 to produce all correspondence or e-mails between Mann and 39 other scientists since 1999.

As Weather Tracks With Climate Scientists' Grim Forecasts, an African Nation Is Awash in Misery

The poorest of the poor still relieve themselves in the fetid field, and they use the river to bathe and irrigate tiny plots of vegetables. Water is life -- even in this polluted stretch of the Nairobi River Basin. But what happens when the rivers run dry?

Much of Kenya faced that grim reality last year, during what has been called the deepest drought in living memory. The failed rains, followed by flash floods, exacerbated existing water quality and quantity challenges and forced a fractious federal government to reassess the cost, scale and speed of adapting to a warming world.

I just posted an analysis of atmospheric CO2 changes in the context of the Shock Model I use for oil depletion.
Climate scientists use the same convolution algorithm for calculating the carbon cycle as I use in the Shock Model, so it places fossil fuel depletion and climate change in a common context.
I will likely write some more on this topic and definitely draw up a system context diagram, but it would be nice if I could get some feedback on the analysis as its stands.

I have two parameters in the model, an average CO2 lifetime of 42 years, and a baseline concentration of 294ppm. I only have concerns about the latter number, as it is 14ppm above the generally accepted value of 280ppm. Looking up some numbers this morning, all I can say is that 294 seems to agree with the earliest estimates by Keeling in 1986.

By the way, I think this discussion is very appropos of the David Roberts article linked to on yesterday's TOD, "Why do peak oilers and climate changers not get along better?" .
I want to believe that it could provide the missing link that can unify the two camps understanding.

On your blog, you wrote:

To believe this model, you have to become convinced that 294 ppm is the real background pre-industrial level (not 280), and that 40 years is a pretty good time constant for CO2 decomposition kinetics.

Your 294 ppm CO2 value seems wrong. The ice core data shows a much lower level. Also, your data plots appear to ignore the added CO2 from deforestation and agriculture. Thus, the lower value for pre-industrial CO2 is more likely to be some lower value between 270 and 280 ppm. And, industrial CO2 additions began long before 1890 which you used for Figures 5 & 6, much closer to 1800...

E. Swanson

Thanks for the feedback. The ice core data for 1893 is 293 ppm according to the diagram I showed.
I do start CO2 additions in 1800, it turns out these are miniscule according to the rate constant.
They only start building up after 1900, see my Figure 5.

I would suggest that deforestation and agriculture have been going on for much longer, and perhaps this gave rise to the value of 294 from the historical values of 270 to 280 ppm.

I just work the rate equations, and this is what it is telling me.
The errors seem to be on the order of 1 to 2 ppm, which is not too shabby.

If William Ruddiman is correct, humans began altering climate 8000 years ago http://www.nature.com/news/1998/031208/full/news031208-7.html. He suggests that CO2 should be on a geological downtrend, but human activity has made a net increase. The "natural" level is masked so any reference level would have to be arbitrary.

That's the way I think of it. Changes from 0 to 20ppm over the course of hundreds or perhaps thousands of years lead to a slight slope in the background levels. But when the hydrocabons really start cooking in the late 1800's you see the slope change over a period of 10's of years.

James Hansen made the rather startling claim in his book Storms of My Grandchildren that we could stave off an ice age forever with just one factory pumping out CFCs.

The problem is its hard to get a handle on this because of unsustainable charcoal consumption before and even while coal usage was expanding.

Our first fossil fuel if you will was burning of wood and charcoal well past replacement or the regrowth rate of the worlds forests.

The C02 pulse from human sources has to include the Age of Charcoal if you will the preceded coal.

Deforestation & desertification in just Iceland after Settlement (870 AD) released an estimated 6 billion tonnes of carbon (scale up to CO2). Minimum forest was late 1800s, but most damage was done by 1300.


PS: I never calculated that as ppm in the atmosphere.

Precisely. Anything that has been going on for awhile will equilibrate with the natural background levels and thus create a new baseline to work from. I am inferring what this baseline is.

But your not including the charcoal or wood burning C02 injection into your calculation.

Anything that has been going on for awhile will equilibrate with the natural background levels and thus create a new baseline to work from.

It was and exponential increase in burning of wood that transitioned smoothly into coal.
It never reached equilibrium.


As far as coal goes again the transition at a global level was not simple.


As early as the Fourth Century A.D., coal was used in China, in place of charcoal, as fuel to heat iron to rework the raw iron into finished products. Although sources on the use of coal in the Song Dynasty (960-1279 A.D.) are limited, the Chinese are reported to have developed the ability to use coal in the smelting of iron by the Ninth Century.

The use of wood to make charcoal was causing deforestation, which threatened to limit the production of iron. Indeed, the development of the capability to use coal in iron manufacture is an example of how a new technology allows mankind to overcome limits imposed by existing levels of technology. The rapid expansion of iron production that occurred under the Song Dynasty, would not have been possible without the introduction of coal as an energy source in the production of iron.

Under the Song dynasty, the iron and steel industry reached a level that was spectacular, compared to that in Europe. Between 850 and 1050, iron production increased 12-fold. By 1078, North China was producing more than 114,000 tons of pig iron a year. In 1788, seven hundred years later, England's production of pig iron was around 50,000 tons.

The injection of significant quantities of C02 from unsustainable expansion using both charcoal and coal has been going on for some time.

I want to believe that it could provide the missing link that can unify the two camps understanding.

Why do you think it's a lack of technical understanding that is in the way of unification? It seems very much to me like psychological factors are the barrier. My experience speaking with my climate change colleagues is that:

  1. if they admit that peak oil is a reality they will "throw away" all the hard work they put into getting climate change where it is today because it undercuts their proposals (which is largely true--most climate change people say that BAU can continue if only we all drive more efficient cars and install lots of solar power)
  2. the ones who understand both issues find it easy to talk about climate change in public but they don't have the courage of their convictions yet to speak about peak oil in public

No offense but at this point the tools of a psychologist are needed for unification, not the tools of a scientist.

I would differ on this in that policy changes are instituted by politicians. The best congressmen (such as my guy Al Franken) have teams of staffers that will seriously look at the technical analysis and come up with recommendations. This is the system that I and everyone else is forced to work under; it may not be the best but it's all we have.
And there are conflicting technical analyses out there. The fact that Robert Hirsch essentially denigrates climate change models by saying "there's a lot of crap out there" adds to the policy confusion. Since the Hirsch report has some influence in government circles indicates to me that there is huge room for improvement in reconciling the two camps views. Read the Grist article, as David Roberts puts it, "you'd think there would be a natural alliance".

"the tools of a psychologist are needed for unification,"

If that's the case, I think we are really messed up. Kidding aside, it seems we are talking about the leaders of the movement, not the general populous. By virtue of their acceptance of CC, they should be swayed by scientific arguments to peak oil.

What a reversal a couple years makes. Seems yesterday this board was lamenting how CC was the topic on everyone's lips, how could we ever get that exposure for PO? Now it's some facet of oil supply everywhere, acceptance of CC falling.

Until I started looking at Climate Science recently, I was ambivalent, but now that I understand it after having got my hands dirty, I have grown even more aware of potential problems..

I wish everyone could go through this kind of epiphany.

I wish everyone could go through this kind of epiphany.

Fortunately, most of us do not have your level of wank factor. You really are a piece of work, I have to say.

What about a unified solution ?

We found that just two measures (maximum push for renewable energy (see ACORE) and a maximum push for electrified rail (freight + Urban + related TOD) resulted in CO2 -38% in twenty years.

- Bicycling (we handwaved that it was good, but no #s)
- Nukes
- Intercity electrified passenger rail
- Efficiency & Conservation in multiple dimensions (residential insulation, industrial, CHP, etc.)

and we should be well north of -50% CO2 in twenty years with higher cuts beyond that.

Best Hopes for a Unified Theory,


(The money spent on nukes will suck every dime from all the rest of your initiatives, I hope you understand.)

May I add, or fold into your "Efficiency and Conservation in multiple dimensions" category:

-Well organized carpooling, ride-sharing...
-limited use of electric vehicles
-and of course good old walking and curtailing discretionary travel of all sorts

The only travel that is really crucial to society is not of humans but of food from field to people. This is where we ultimately have to focus our attention. Almost all other travel is in some sense discretionary.

I agree that the highest priority is transporting food with a minimum of oil. An underlying focus of mine.

The USA should build 7 to 8 new nukes in the first decade, to rebuild both supply chains and expertise and ramp up from there. Perhaps finish 10 more new nukes in years 11 to 16, and 3 or 4/year there after.

Series construction at an economic rate (NOT a crash program) should have affordable prices after the first ten to fifteen are built.


hi dohboi,

re: "The only travel that is really crucial to society is not of humans but of food from field to people."

And water.

And whatever else humans (in particular settings) consider essential to survival (in that setting).

Once ensconced in a particular environment, the survival factors are, by and large, contingent and specific to that environment.

I don't think it is useful to think of an average CO2 lifetime. That implies a lumped linear model with only a single reservoir, hence an exponential decay towards equilibrium. In reality there are lots of different CO2 reservoirs with different capacities and time constants. So any lumped model had better use several reservoirs with widely varying time constants at a minimum, or else it will get the time behavoir seriously wrong.

Thanks. I was hoping someone would bring this issue up.
It turns out that the variation or dispersion in reaction rates makes very little difference in the slope on the climb up. That is fundamental and I addressed that in Figure 4 in the post. The reason for this is very simple mathematics -- the climb up in CO2 is generated by power laws on the order of N>3 or exponential increases. That is the nature of accelerating fossil fuel usage. In contrast the reaction rates of CO2 have exponents that are negative or have inverse power laws of very low order, the so-called fat-tail distributions. When you put these together, the power law increase essentially crushes the long-tails and all you see are the average value of the faster kinetics. I put in the analytical solution so you can see this directly in the convolution results.

Do a simple convolution of exp(at) with exp(-kt) and you will see what I mean.
C(t) = (exp(at)-exp(-kt)/(a+k)
The accelerating rate "a" will quickly overtake the decline term "k". If you put in a spread in "k" values as a distributed model, the same result will occur. That is essentially Figure 4. This should be accepted climate science as climate scientists have known about the uses of convolution in the carbon cycle for years.

Yet, if we were to stop burning hydrocarbons today, then we would see the results of the fat-tail decline. I mentioned this effect in my post. I think the climate scientists reaize this but they may be burdened by layers of computer simulations and miss that insight and it doesn't get through to the layman. This is understandable because these are not necessarilly intuitive concepts.

I should say that a lot of this analysis carried over from studying dispersion in oil discovery and depletion. The rates in oil depletion are dispersed all over the map, yet the strong push of technology acceleration essentially narrows the dispersed elements so that we can get a strong peak or a plateau with a strong decline. In other words, if we did not have the accelerating components, we would have had a long draw out usage of oil that would reflect the dispersion. . That is essentially why I absolutely hate the classical derivation of the Hubbert Logistics curve, as it reinforces the opinion of peak oil as some "single-rate" model. In fact just like climate science, everything is dispersed, and we need to use the appropriate math to analyze the situation.

Climate scientists understand convolution, but peak oil people don't, except when you apply the shock model.

That is where I want to share the insight with climate scientists and unify the concepts.

Sometimes, perhaps, Peak Oilers discount the results of AGW, feeling that it will take place no matter what, and that PO is the real concern. They need to read this:


The warming at the midpoint would make some countries uninhabitable. At the max, many.

This items has changed my thinking... I was of the opinion that AGW was mostly a proxy for PO, which may well be true. It is not, however, such a minor event as past studies may have portrayed.


Here is the behavior that Enemy of the State was referring to:

This is a model of CO2 uptake if we suddenly stop growing fossil fuel use after the year 2007. We don't stop using FF, we simply keep our usage constant.

Up to that point in time a dispersive (i.e. variable) set of rate kinetics will be virtually indistinguishable from a single rate. And you can see that behavior as the curves match for the same average rate. But once the growth increase is cut off, the dispersive/diffusive kinetics takes over and the rise continues. With the first-order kinetics the growth continues but it becomes self-limiting as it reaches an equilibrium.

I describe the dispersive kinetics here:

Now if this isn't scary enough, this is all plain vanilla rate theory with nothing by the way of feedbacks in the loop. When a real positive feedback is included, that curve can even increase more rapidly.

Consider the timing of the events.

Written by ScienceDaily:
"The wet-bulb limit is basically the point at which one would overheat even if they were naked in the shade, soaking wet and standing in front of a large fan," Sherwood said. "Although we are very unlikely to reach such temperatures this century, they could happen in the next."

The world is likely to pass through peak oil, peak natural gas and peak coal this century whereas the web-bulb limit is likely to be reached next century. We will probably have difficulty feeding 10 billion people before we roast.

That paper looks at temperature rises in the +5C and +12C range. The big problem with the IPCC worst case scenarios is that they take no account of FF depletion, the IPCC assume that FF use will just continue at current rate, we know that can't happen. James Hansen and others has shown that the worst case IPCC scenarios are impossible. Realistic scenarios hinge on how much you believe the official estimates for coal reserves. Studies suggest they are not very accurate, and probably overestimated.

The science of AGW is quite convincing, but the IPCCs reliance on dodgy reserves is a major weakness in their scenarios. I am surprised that the skeptics have not taken that up. I asked at realclimate.org where the figures for oil and coal reserves comes from, and the answer was "we believe what the USGS tell us". I think it has been established here that the USGS figures are mostly guesswork.

I think we are already committed to a +2C increase, I don't see any international willingness to change that. Unchecked emissions could lead to CO2 above "dangerous" levels of >450 ppm, I would agree with Hansen that effort must still be made to reduce emissions below that level.

ETA: Implications of "peak oil" for atmospheric CO2 and climate

I had a similar discussion with a friend a few years back. He gleefully predicted peak oil would stop AGW. I told him it was more like a sinking ship arriving too late to save a drowning witch.

The IPCC's worst case scenarios are rather conservative because they ignore the truly worst cases such as melting permafrost releasing vast quantities of methane, ice sliding off land into the ocean and shifting weather killing vast numbers of plants releasing their carbon back into the atmosphere. I think the BAU scenarios in which humans burn and release the fossil carbon from all of the economically recoverable fossil fuels are likely to play out. Peak oil may accelerate the consumption of other fossil fuels while generally slowing economic activity and total energy consumption. A sustained global depression may prevent the deployment of costly carbon sequestration schemes. Overestimating the amount of recoverable fossil fuels and the rate at which they would be burned may not create the worst case scenario.

Hmm with this approach you need to consider the time lag in atmospheric mixing its not small.



I'm not finding the article I want but it estimated a 3-4 year lag between emission of C02 in the northern hemisphere and resulting increases in the Antarctic.

Next simply splicing together ice core data with continuous measurements at Mt Loa is suspect simply because most of the snow falls during the winter months. This should result in a seasonal bias in ice core data vs continuous data.
The seasonal oscillation is not small that I'd argue the ice core data needs a downward adjustment to do the splice.

Next estimates on anthropogenic C02 sources i.e fossil fuel and land clearing are highly suspect before even the 1970's. Especially at the global level. Ballpark at best.

A easy way to get a feel for how far off they might be is to notices that debt seems to be closely correlated with falling per capita energy consumption even as technology was dramatically reducing manufacturing costs.
If you had plotted GPD/Debt ratio then you would have seen this effect.

This suggests one can use the global debt levels as a sort of proxy for at least a rough guess at what energy consumption might have been. Pretty much all the way through the 1950-1960's despite economic flux the world generally had a substantial surplus of wealth accumulating as savings.

This probably has a lot to do with the transition period from coal to oil. For some time it was probably really coal production plus oil production with the coal based economy still expanding while the new oil based economy expanded in addition to coal. Only later was the direct replacement of coal with oil a factor and overall energy consumption slowing as this additive effect waned. Similar concepts apply to the transition from oil to natural gas. Initially additive then lower total growth replacement slowing per capita consumption.

Population estimates are also just as suspect going back in time and along with that of course the non-fossil fuel based impact is hard to determine.

Another way to create a proxy for what probably happened is to look at China today. Its economy is predominately coal fired with oil as a secondary resource. Next the demographics in China fit well with those of literally the world before the rise of "first" world nations post WWII basically the world was second and third world nations using our current measures. China is easily able to accomplish 6-10% growth if not more with a large trade surplus.

And obvious marker to guess if this is true in the past is to note the explosion of building associated with such growth. If one simply studies the average age of most buildings globally one finds a similar echo of a building boom starting in the 1800's.

Thus its really hard to understand the error level in piecing together the Mt Loa data with the preceding historical records. My own feeling is that fossil fuel usage and population where probably both substantially higher with large error bounds in the older data. I almost connected the two series as you have done but I finally decided that the error was to large and to hard to correct.

However one could potentially use a substitute metric to get and idea of what the correction might be.


If one figures that steel production is probably better measured over the ages since the output of the various steel mills is fairly well known and thence assume its a good metric for overall energy usage of the society you end up with a smoother change in C02 emissions.



However of course as time goes on the reuse and recycling of scrap steel tends to cause this series to underestimate economic output and associated energy consumption. Recycling of all kinds of metal was big during WWII. Probably the greatest utility is using steel allows you to capture the extensive deforestation that took place before coal became widespread. Of course you have the additional factor of wide spread clear cutting in the America's esp the US as we expanded. In general slash and burn type agriculture was practiced. Later wood was better utilized as the railroads expanded but regardless a significant number of the trees cut down in the America's eventually ended up burned. Globally colonialism probably resulted in similar extensive clearing of forest's.

To get it right I suspect you have to try and run the series forward from at least the 1400's onwards and consider various possible correction factors. Steel production probably playing a role along perhaps with other measures such as tax collections etc. Overall I think you should see a surpringly smooth transition from the "charcoal/steel" revolution through coal/Bessemer and steam. Even here one needs to be careful and correct for various process inefficiencies. The fuel usage for everything from brick making and pottery to steel was often substantially higher before the newer large scale and more efficient process where introduced. Fuel requirements for bricks for example can be 3-4 times larger for "old fashioned" methods. Same of course with various approaches to charcoal efficiencies vary widely and energy consumption and resulting C02 emissions vs the better measured resulting product vary. Concrete production is another source with changing efficiencies over time.

And last but not least over time the emission patterns changed with charcoal and cottage industries and other diffuse smaller scale uses gradually being replaced and or extended by increasingly centralized sources. Just because the use was diffuse and difficult to measure does not mean the per capita C02 emissions where lower.

The pattern seems to be more of a rampant and unsustainable exploiting of the worlds forests transitioning to coal and thence oil with high per capita C02 emissions over the entire period. Process efficiency gains seem to have played a large role in increasing the production rate of various products vs C02 emissions with significant periods of overlap between the end of the age of charcoal and start of the coal age and thence oil.

I have time lag easily covered, the average time constant is 42 years, which is much greater than 3-4 years.

Man I have no idea what your 42 year constant means its not even close to something physical.



The fifteen-month lag period coincides with the mixing time in the southern hemisphere for gases produced in the northern hemisphere.

The 2-3 year I found was for the central Antarctic which is isolated by the polar winds and the least mixed place on earth. Can't find the dang paper again.


I contend that this "delayed ghosting" comes about directly as a result of the 42-year time constant I selected for the reaction kinetics rate

This is a fictional kinetics rate which as far as I know correlates with no real measurement.
Unlike the oil shock model where you where free to massage parameters as needed in this case a substantial data set surrounds C02. Some of it highly controversial sure but regardless I want to see another paper that produces this 42 year kinetic rate.

Heck simply looking at the rate at which volcanic ash from and eruption can be detected globally makes this 42 year claim absurd. Or CFS's and the ozone hole formation in the Antarctic and Arctic the transport processes in the atmosphere are on the order of day, weeks, months and at most a few years depending on the particular process.

I'm not against the shock model I simply think you cannot derive the numbers you claim instead you need to reverse it and use real experimental numbers as input. Again whats important here is that unlike oil we actually have good experimental data and even where its under contention you can readily model both proposals or better run a even larger range of inputs including various modeled inputs based on variation in population estimates and technology.

The range of plausible number is fairly broad. Only some will result in physically consistent reasonable kinetic terms.

Only at this point do we have a reasonable set of assumptions about plausible data sets and the model results and physically verifiable numbers. You never spent the time to present coherent possible spreads in your oil shock model with different data assumptions I seriously doubt you will with your C02 modeling.

I chose not to take the approach you took because pre-industrial C02 levels and anthropogenic forcing factors are a contentious area we don't have a real clue what normal is.

There is a chance that your approach could prove useful in at least narrowing the range of realistic scenarios but you have to first model the the range of possible an even impossible data sets.

The problem is that the 42 year rate is the "fast" kinetics rate. There is another set of much slower rates that contributes to the fat tail.

CO2 residence time around 100 years are generally accepted by climate scientists. David Archer says it may go up to 1000 years.

Numbers around 6 years are desired by climate change sceptics.

Next simply splicing together ice core data with continuous measurements at Mt Loa is suspect simply because most of the snow falls during the winter months. This should result in a seasonal bias in ice core data vs continuous data.
The seasonal oscillation is not small that I'd argue the ice core data needs a downward adjustment to do the splice.

You may have the seasonality wrong. Ice cores are normally driven into polar ice, i.e. in areas where there is little to no seasonal melting. This is partly because of data quality, but also it is best to drill on an ice divide (ridge of high point), as then the underlying ice has come from close to the geographic drilling location, as opposed to having flowed from somehwre upglacier). So accumulation is essentially precipitation, and this often peaks in summer.
In any case the annual signal is only a few ppm (single digits), so the error introduced by seasonal bias is probably only a couple of ppm or less.

Are you sure ?

What is the correct way to splice the data together ?


The modelers ignored the evidence from direct measurements of CO2 in atmospheric air indicating that in 19th century its average concentration was 335 ppmv[11] (Figure 2). In Figure 2 encircled values show a biased selection of data used to demonstrate that in 19th century atmosphere the CO2 level was 292 ppmv

And Mr WHT.

I have two parameters in the model, an average CO2 lifetime of 42 years, and a baseline concentration of 294ppm. I only have concerns about the latter number, as it is 14ppm above the generally accepted value of 280ppm.

Again the issue is to get the data right first before applying the shock model the anthropogenic forcing was probably substantially higher and the correct inclusion of the input from burning of wood and yes even coal well before the estimates made with only coal is needed.

The assumption that 292 was some sort of baseline level is incorrect indeed the entire concept of some sort of stability in C02 levels before the industrial revolution has little support.

I don't agree with the conclusions drawn in the above paper I cited I'm simply stating that both sides of the issue are probably not working with a realistic data set and are using generally using the errors for political purposes.

Realistically anthropogenic C02 forcing has probably been a issue for some time probably at least 1000 years where its fairly serious. Global dimming issues from particulate emissions especially from the burning of wood coal and charcoal have had a steady and hard to integrate effect.

Here is one of the few decent studies.


In this case its a local heating effect however eventually of course the particulates continue to serve as condensation points for cloud formation so probably this effect is offset by global dimming.

My point is that the assumption of some sort of baseline or stability in C02 concentrations at any time in the last 1000 years is questionable. I'm a card carrying member of the AGW camp thats not a problem I'm just not convinced we have our numbers right and I'm not convinced that the future climate models are correct simply because I'm not convinced we have all the forcing's right. My biggest concern is that we seem to have managed to create a interesting catch 22 scenario. Early on ash and particulate emissions from wood and charcoal acted to change local weather and since the scale is large enough climate as time has gone on this role has increasingly been filled by S02 emissions. As these declined in the west they increased dramatically in China.

The problem is of course eventually the constant injection of particulate and S02 will decline then what ?

Assuming I'm right and Anthropogenic C02 source have resulted in a steady increase in atmospheric C02 well before the transition to coal then we have yet to see the serious climate change implicit in such increases.

The Medivial Warm Period. AD 950–1250


And little Ice age.


Can be correlated with changes in the pattern of deforestation and population.

In the 20th century the overlap of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl stands out.

Along with the preceding cold winter of 1928/29 plenty of other data on this.


The theme is any significant change in human activity seems to correlate well with rapid and serious changes in the weather patterns.

Indeed following the sharp collapse in late 2008 we have seen one of the coldest winters on record follow.

My best guess is that the following happens.

As long as production of particulates and aerosols and C02 is fairly constant and growing the seem to be basically offsetting each other in a complex series of local weather events leading to fairly stable overall climate and global temperature changes albeit with slight warming. However it seems that if a sudden change of economic conditions happen which changes the particulate emission patter then cloud formation and precipitation and short term cooling occur. This should drop the particulate level significantly and following this event we should see the extreme go the other way as the load of particulate and aerosols is reduced and the global warming aspect of the C02 levels in a sense becomes uncovered.

This suggests that we will either see extreme drought later this year or perhaps next year esp if we have a double dip recession which seems to be playing out. This may mean one more year of a lot of precipitation or it could already be reaching its end and we have the follow on extreme drought. I don't know exactly but if I'm right and climate has effectively been under anthropogenic control for practically the last thousand years via the sum of weather/micro climate effects of human exploitation then we will see these sharp ocscillaitons.

This also fits well with the fact that the rate at which C02 changes in the historical record is often not well matched with the eventual warming period often with substantial displacement. The associated particulate and aerosol formation and distribution in my opinion works to delay the final onset. Once this eventually fails the warming effect of C02 becomes dominate and lasts for centuries if not thousands of years as clearing is slow.

For us to correctly model future events its critical that we get the preindustrial C02 and particulate and aerosol forcings correct. Obviously I think human activity has significantly destabilized future climate for some time with whats effectively local weather events from aerosols and particulate pollution that sums to a global climate effect offsetting forces we have already set in motion.

The paradox is of course when the emission of particulates and aerosols eventually fails as it must then we could well finally pay a serious price for our actions in the form of highly unstable weather patterns followed but a rapid increase in the rate of warming.

I wouldn't continue to bring up the contributions of burning wood to CO2 levels.

While burning it does create CO2, most scientists consider it carbon-neutral and perhaps a carbon negative fuel in that it returns less CO2 to the atmosphere than the trees removed during their own lifetime. Not all of the tree is burned so it retains CO2 in its decomposing by-products.

That is basically an equilibrium argument.

What we are talking about here is opening up carbon sources that are generations removed from their own lifetime.

While burning it does create CO2, most scientists consider it carbon-neutral and perhaps a carbon negative fuel in that it returns less CO2 to the atmosphere than the trees removed during their own lifetime.

Your simply wrong. Deforestation is far from carbon neutral.

I'll go ahead an give a extreme link as and illustrative example.


Not that I agree necessarily with these numbers but from this position you can find all kinds of other ones very few if any meet your assertion that "most scientists consider it carbon-neutral and perhaps a carbon negative fuel". Sure perhaps for a single stand of well managed timber this is true but thats not what we are talking about.

The US for example went from being one vast virgin forest in the east and parts of the west to open fields and stands of constantly harvested timber. Perhaps some of this is carbon neutral hard to say since you have to include the energy use associated with the creation of the wood products and how they are eventually disposed but certainly not a large sink.


So not only did we effectively burn these trees up in the end we eliminated most of the area as a net carbon sink.
Similar results apply worldwide.

The impact on C02 emissions of an American settler clearing 40 acres of old growth timber to plant corn is not all that different from your typical teenager in Saudi Arabia.

In my own work the absolute value was not important what was important was that it was proportional to population and on the same order of magnitude as fossil emissions. That was sufficient you however need to do a decent job of getting this number right it cannot be dismissed. The destruction of the sink capacity not just emissions is esp difficult. You want me to even begin to take your work seriously then I'd have to see you make and honest effort at this issue. And again I highly suggest you consider a range of model data given the unknowns.

to include the energy use associated with the creation of the wood products

With fossil fuels I presume? Bingo.

And again I highly suggest you consider a range of model data given the unknowns.

Look elsewhere in the thread for a diagram that includes variance in the rates.

While burning it does create CO2, most scientists consider it carbon-neutral and perhaps a carbon negative fuel in that it returns less CO2 to the atmosphere than the trees removed during their own lifetime. Not all of the tree is burned so it retains CO2 in its decomposing by-products.

If, the entire tree is burned, and the forest returns to its former carbon content via regrowth, it would have no long term effect. In reality harvesting trees damages the soil, and the change in soil carbon (roots and buried organic stuff) is probably larger than of the above ground standing carbon.

I think those that think preindustrial man had a climate warming effect focus on Methane. The methane concentration, even preindustrial had increased significantly over pre-anthropic values. I don't have numbers, but the order of magnitude was to roughly double methane concentration. This is dominated by rice cultivation in Asia. Rice paddies emit methane. Deforestation has two effects. The most obvious is the release of CO2. Less obvious there is an albedo effect. Forests are dark, and cleared land has a lower albedo. It has been estimated that north of roughly 55degrees, cutting down and burning a tree actually has a net cooling effect. Of course most deforestation was at lower lattitudes. But both effects must be calculated. In any case I think CO2 within the past couple thousand years is probably well constrained to within about 10ppm, and it didn't change much. But a rough doubling of methane would have a substantial warming effect.

Also doesn't the methane decompose to CO2+H20 as it breaks down in the atmosphere?

I don't have fossil fuel usage estimates prior to 1840, and the possible increase due to a one-time forest clearing. This could generate an extra 10ppm that would shift the curve upward, instead of me having to change the value from 280 to 294.

thanks for the feedback

In reality harvesting trees damages the soil, and the change in soil carbon (roots and buried organic stuff) is probably larger than of the above ground standing carbon.

Exactly a sink becomes a source of carbon or in general no longer a sink.

Its really hard to get a good estimate of the numbers. Most of the clearing was in the 1600's and later into the 1800's. Near the end you start getting rising coal usage overlapping with extensive ongoing deforestation.


This is a good graph covering the last thousand years which should be the period of interest.

There is a interesting surge 1200-1400 and then a sharp drop.
This probably had something to do with it.
And it was a global event.

In my opinion you can clearly see the deforestation take off if you will preceding the industrial revolution starting in earnest around 1700. Assuming that around 290 ppm was the saturation point its interesting to note that we seemed to have approached it back in 1300 with the plague perhaps playing a large roll in dropping population levels and allowing reforestation over the time period.

In any case I argue its clear that from 1700 onwards anthropogenic C02 if you will was going strong right through the onset of coal usage. First from burning of wood coupled with permanent removal of the old growth forests and resulting loss of biomass right through the coal age. The steady removal of a significant sink and steady increase in C02 production is bad news. And probably fairly dynamic. Every year we emit more C02 and deforestation results in lower sink capacity plus the initial input from burning of the wood.

This dispute is really interesting actually.


Relevant to this dispute is the observation that Greenland ice cores often report higher and more variable CO2 values than similar measurements in Antarctica. However, the groups responsible for such measurements (e.g., Smith et al.[19]) believe the variations in Greenland cores result from in situ decomposition of calcium carbonate dust found in the ice. When dust levels in Greenland cores are low, as they nearly always are in Antarctic cores, the researchers report good agreement between Antarctic and Greenland CO2 measurements.

The reason is the dust problem indicates significant deforestation was probably a serious issue in the northern hemisphere. The dust itself of course mucks with the ice data however one has to wonder what it actually means.

And zooming out a bit.

You can see why some scientists claim we have been the major contributor to rising C02 levels for 8000 years.

I don't see any sign of stability in pre-industrial C02 levels it seems we quickly overran the sinks and started a net gain in C02 early in history certainly by 2000BC a clear trend seems to be in place. And you can see the interesting issues after 1000 AD right up to right before the onset of the industrial revolution.

We can of course zoom out more.


And more on the temperature issue.


The problem is that past events may or may not be usable for current anthropogenic C02 releases.

The interglacials are a result of the quickening if you will of the carbon cycle not just higher C02 releases but also higher turnover simply put more things are alive and less of the world is covered in ice.

Human intervention is basically doing the opposite cutting out the carbon sinks and also mining carbon stores that would seldom be released over a similar time scale. Call it the dead carbon cycle if you will.

Certainly we ran out of trees thus the switch to coal but also we seem to at the same time have saturated the dwindling sinks well before we reached the point that we made the transition to coal. Plague induced depopulation made recent history interesting and perhaps of questionable use in understanding the full dynamics of the situation. But near as I can tell in general human emissions have resulted in a net gain for thousands of years on average either from saturation or removal of sinks or both. Perhaps desertification helped offset this to some extent in the past via weathering of rock and acidification of rain and dust resulting in algal blooms in the ocean who knows. The dust contamination problem with the Greenland cores is not just and irritant but and important issue itself. But basically we laid waste to the biosphere and once this was done moved on to fossil fuels. Stability is no where to be seen.

And last but not least back to the dust thats such a nuisance. We may very well have triggered dust bowl earth several times in the past despite the lower C02 levels. Certainly the Sahara shows fairly large variations over the historical period. What if we trigger another this time global dust bowl at our current high C02 levels what happens ?

This not only wipes out the C02 sinks in all probability it also rapidly degrades remaining organic soils.



Making assumptions about the stability of the current situation and actual evolution of both C02 levels and climate change etc through this period of deforestation and removal of carbon sinks is simply questionable.

Indeed the rapid rise in use of fossil ground water for irrigation of large tracks of land that would otherwise be desert may play a big role in causing our false climate stability. Once these ground water sources run dry we may find the real situation is quite a bit worse than we imagined. That could very well turn out to be the only thing standing between us and dust bowl earth and obviously it comes to and end either because the wells run dry or the fuel to run the pumps is to expensive.

And last but not least the carbon loss from removal of old growth forests and farming is probably a slow but steady process until desertification is reached and the soil losses its remaining organic matter. Depending on the soil and climate this could be anywhere from a few years to hundreds of years. It does not matter as once the region is converted from a sink to a net source the result is the same the carbon ends up in the atmosphere and the total sink level is reduced. A detailed understanding of what happened in the 1700 before coal became widespread is important.

The following title could be reworded as follows, "Los Angeles, like many other government entities, is on the brink of insolvency"

Los Angeles on the Brink of Bankruptcy

Los Angeles is facing a terminal fiscal crisis: Between now and 2014 the city will likely declare bankruptcy. Yet Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council have been either unable or unwilling to face this fact. According to the city's own forecasts, in the next four years annual pension and post-retirement health-care costs will increase by about $2.5 billion if no action is taken by the city government. Even if Mr. Villaraigosa were to enact drastic pension reform today—which he shows no signs of doing—the city would only save a few hundred million per year.

Los Angeles's fiscal woes can be traced to two numbers: 8% and 5,000. Eight percent has been the projected annual rate of return on the assets in Los Angeles pension funds. Four years ago, we strenuously warned Mr. Villaraigosa of the dangers behind the myth of that 8%, only to be told by the city controller's office that our warnings were "based on faulty assumptions which are largely disputed."

How faulty were our assumptions? Over the last decade, the two main pension funds in Los Angeles have seen their assets grow at just 3.5% and 2.8% annually. Five thousand is the number of employees added to the city's payroll during Mr. Villaraigosa's first term as mayor. . . The mayor can't control the economy, but he could have chosen to control spending to keep the size of government proportional to the size of the local economy. Instead he's done the opposite: squeezing the city's productive workers to fund the salaries, pensions and other benefits of government workers.

Even the tiny number of states, like North Carolina, that have more or less fully funded pensions plans are using very optimistic estimates of return on assets, in the 7% (or more) range.

Pension funds hold short- and long-term assets. Short-term all the way down to cash to meet their immediate obligations, long-term for the stuff that they won't need for years or decades. 7.5% has been a common assumption about long-term returns for a very long time. Nor, until the last decade, has that been unreasonable: a mixed portfolio of stocks and bonds did yield about 7.5% over the long haul. The WSJ is fond of asserting that the return on stocks alone over the long haul is 11%.

It is worth noting that as of 1999, many of the public pension funds that are now in trouble were overfunded. The last 10 years has been an unprecedented disaster. Two stock-market crashes have resulted in stocks having a near zero return over that period. The Fed's low interest rate policy over much of that time substantially reduced the yield on new bond issues. When the big investment banks came out with mortgage-backed securities returning 6-7% or more, and the rating agencies said it was all AAA, it was not surprising that many pension funds rushed in. Those decisions led to additional substantial losses when it turned out the financial industry had been lying.

It is also worth speaking to this:

The mayor can't control the economy, but he could have chosen to control spending to keep the size of government proportional to the size of the local economy.

To be blunt: no, he couldn't. The WSJ often complains about elected officials that "have never run a business". Public officials complain, with equal justification, about businessmen that "have never run a government". Let's list some of the things that the mayor couldn't do (at least and stay in office). He couldn't cut police services very much; he couldn't cut firefighting services at all (eg, shut a half-dozen fire stations and listen to the howls when thousands of home owners find that their insurance rates went up because they are now farther from the nearest station); under state and federal statutes, he couldn't cut social services staffing; he couldn't skip payments on bonds; the public school system is outside his control, as is mass transit, as is the water and electric system to a large degree.

Businessmen think (rightly) that most of their expenses are discretionary (they can close down Division A). They also think (rightly) that most of their funds are fungible (after they shut down Division A, they can use the freed-up money in Division B). To a large degree, neither is true in state and local government. Many services, some of which experience increased demand during a recession, are mandatory. And money is anything but fungible. When I was working on a state budget, there were hundreds of "types" of money which could be spent on only a single or limited number of things. Mapping funding sources to spending while satisfying all of the rules was one of the more difficult parts of the job.

To be blunt: no, he couldn't. . . . Mapping funding sources to spending while satisfying all of the rules was one of the more difficult parts of the job.

I have proposed that we are going to see something akin to the Export Land Model (ELM) in regard to government spending & services. I suppose that we could call it the Government Export Land Model (GELM) The ELM premise is that domestic demand is almost always satisfied before oil is exported. The GELM premise is that before money and services can be "exported" out of the government, government domestic demand, i.e., G&A overhead costs, debt service, pension obligations, etc., has to be satisfied (in many cases, e.g, pension obligations & debt services, this is the law).

So, the services that are important to taxpayers are, IMO, probably going to be disproportionately cut, while in many cases we are going to be seeing higher tax rates, especially because of underfunded pension plans.

IMO it can be even more specific than that, especially for countries importing a large percentage of their oil post world peak - Government spending on declining oil(military, emergency services etc) takes precedence over private uses, so that oil for private use is unavailable long before it runs out for the importing countries.


This will eventually obey the Herbert Stein rule, that if something can't go on forever it won't. The local, county, and state mandates can be fixed without Federal involvement, as can many of the outrages with city- and agency-employee compensation and luxury pension plans. (For example, there's no longer any excuse to be pensioning off any gov't employees anywhere even a single day before their full Social Security retirement ages; we're simply not nearly as rich as we thought we were.)

The Federal mandates will make reining it in needlessly messy and painful, of course. Then again, there's karma even in that, inasmuch as California and its Congresscritters have succeeded more than anyone else in piling ever more unaffordable and burdensome Federal mandates on everyone else.

Of course, as with so many other out-of-this-world commitments of future resources, the day of reckoning could be postponed for a time by restoring economic growth, or postponed for Herbert Stein's 'forever' by carrying out economic growth (at even a finite rate) to infinity...

there's no longer any excuse to be pensioning off any gov't employees anywhere even a single day before their full Social Security retirement ages;

Some jobs require the strength and vigor of youth, or at least middle age.

I do not want a 65 year, 3 month old fireman coming to my rescue.


There are fewer and fewer of those jobs all the time. And even the departments that have those jobs also have lots and lots of desk work that people could be moved into once they no longer passed the physical test. Even the fire departments have jobs like that, though maybe not enough to absorb everyone. But even if they don't, I don't care - many of the rest of us will have to change what we do from time to time, and they can jolly well do likewise. I still see no reason to retire our plushly well-padded government employees at absurdly young ages unavailable to most of the rest of us. Sorry.

Bricklayers, sod-cutters, framers, ball-players -- all sorts of professions require that you shift your focus as you age. Older firemen could become fire adjusters for insurance companies, salesmen for fire equipment, inspectors, and so forth.

I am not sure anybody "deserves" a pension, and even if they do, there is no guarantee that a smaller youthful populace can or will pay it.

For the most part, those people paid for their own pensions. Or at least, that was what they were told. They gave up a chunk of their salaries each week, with the promise of a pension when they reached retirement age. A lot of these pensions that are "underfunded" are underfunded because they were raided, like Al Gore's "lockbox."

I think there are going to be fewer and fewer jobs, period.

I think it's going to be the opposite. Retirement incentives are the easy out when it comes to saving money. Look at NY. Paterson wants to furlough state workers 1 day a week...and is offering an incentive for early retirement as a carrot to go along with the stick.

The furloughs may be illegal, and will likely be fought in the courts for years if they go through at all. If the state loses, they'll have to pay back all the lost salary, plus interest. The early retirement incentive won't be challenged, and has in fact been used often in the past.

Oh, I agree. That's government for you. Whenever you're in a hole, dig deeper.

Just to complete your sentence

It is worth noting that as of 1999, many of the public pension funds that are now in trouble were overfunded

should end "under the model of the future being used by the actuaries". By the same models, I had been maintaining my bank account in an "overfunded state given what everyone was telling me about the future" up until the point I was made redundant. The other point is that disasters are generally "unprecedented": those with precedents are generally contained.

Thanks for the very clear and well stated explanation of why government leaders have trouble cutting spending. I have seen much the same thing involving restrictions on how 'pots of money' can be used in government science agencies. During downturns the typical reaction is to hunker down and 'protect the core' which usually means people and their salaries. Reduction In Force (RIF) is usually the very last option.

- Jon

When Vallejos California went bankrupt a lot of services that you call fixed got cut in Vallejos. For example, they cut about a third of their police department and they discourage people from calling the police unless absolutely necessary.

Everything is ultimately discretionary. Everything will be cut in coming years as the economy and tax revenue shrink every year.

Many possible triggers for wider euro debt crisis

(Reuters) - Europe may be months, conceivably weeks, away from an expanded debt crisis that cuts more countries off from access to the markets and forces fresh emergency action by rich governments or the European Central Bank.

Nothing to worry about

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Investors are acting like college students eager to take that quintessential backpacking adventure before joining the real world. They are obsessed with Europe.

And while the situation in Europe is worrisome, investors may be ignoring good news right here in the U.S.

Oil is taking another tumble today, along with the Euro and markets.

WTI was $79.20 a few minutes ago, euro at $1.28

Rioting in Athens has left at least 3 dead and bank(s) burning.

It's just collapse nibbling away at the periphery. Nothing to worry about, plenty of time to buy ipads, stocks or whatever, it won't reach us for months yet. Take a vacation, Greece Thailand Portugal Gulf of Mexico Iceland Spain Israel Korea, er!, staying at home is nice this time of year. Don't worry, everything's just fine.

Oil is fluxuating a bit. At the moment it is up a tad, while markets are down just a bit. Nothing huge.

Investors are taking a deep breath.

PBS yesterday had a piece on Greece and the unfolding drama in the Eurozone. The statement was made (I have not confirmed this) that Greece is 2% of the overall Euro Market. The other part of the PIGS were said to be stabilizing. Still, their debt has been downgraded, again, and rates are higher for them.

The other comment on the PBS program was the the U.S. could be in the same position as Greece by 2015 (if we don't change our ways).


If there was more transparency in Washington concerning the losses and magnitude of bad loans held by the FED, Fannnie and Freddie, on derivatives, mortgages, defaults, and other toxic assets, The US would be there much sooner. But until transparency and honesty ever comes to Washington or Wall Street, The nominal Federal debt of around $12.9 trillion growing at $100 billion a month, keeps the 100% of GDP ratio at bay. To me, a government without transparency in its debts and finances is not worthy of trust.

Europe issues warning over Britain's debt

Brussels economic forecasts published today predict that debt will account for nine tenths of the British economy's total value by the end of next year.

Britain is predicted to have the highest deficit in the EU at 12 per cent of GDP this year and the figure is expected to decline "only slightly" due to the weakness of housing and financial markets.

I wonder whether anyone has started setting up a pro-default party yet? They'd take Westminster by storm :)

The Conservatives may want to toss the win to Labour on Thursday. Her Majesty's next government will certainly have a few extra headaches.

There's little use in the slogan "it's the economy stupid" since we're all painfully aware "it's the stupid economy."

Should be interesting to see if and how the markets react to the election result on Friday. Hold on to your hats. The Chinese curse is upon us: "may you live in interesting times."

You are right. Cameron may well wish he never won the election if indeed he does take up residence in Number 10.

It would be quite amusing to imagine that Brown and Cameron are both summoned to Buckingham Palace on Friday morning and when they arrive the conversation goes like this:

Queen: Hello gentlemen, come in please. Now, it appears we have a problem. My loyal subjects have not given either of you a strong mandate to govern. So who wants to be my first minister?

Brown: Errr, well to be honest your Majesty, I've had a go already. Why don't you let Cameron have a crack!

Queen: Mr Brown, are you being flippant! It is an honour to be my first minister, not something given lightly!

Brown: I mean no disrespect Ma'am but, well, its just that I am awfully tired and could do with a break. Let Dave have a crack at the job - you might even like him

Cameron: Well thanks Gordon, I appreciate the offer but to be perfectly blunt Majesty I reckon that actually Gordon won the election because technically he should have had a handicap-weighted score. He is after all half blind and has a grin like a drunk undertaker.

Queen: So do I hear you correctly? Neither of you wants to be my first minister? For Christ's sake what was the bloody point of my great-....-grandfather Charles the First having his damn head cut off just so you plebs could have a bloody say in how the country is run! Unbelievable! Right, I am permanently dissolving Parliament and taking back full power. We will sell the Palace of Westminster to some rich Yank to turn into a hotel. Now get out of my sight.

If only....!!!

Hmmmm. As I recall, it was a Stuart who had his head lopped, while Her Majesty is from the House of Hanover.

Even then we'll likely never know which footman or stable boy is her actual great...grandfather.


For the record, Her Majesty is from the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha which changed it's German sounding name to Windsor in 1917 -- it was the patriotic thing to do -- although you're right, the official pedigree is tied more with the Hanover family than the Stuarts.

Though I suspect HAcland musings are pretty close to the mark. Ambition is a great motivator - vanity, all is vanity ... but in these trying times, nobody -- or at least no sane person -- would want the job.

Government is tricky business at the best of times. I can picture Brown and Cameron having a late Thursday conversation with the Palace that could very well mimic the best of Monty Python.

Please, sir , go ahead. No, I insist you first. Why, that is very kind of you, but...

The Queen, no doubt, is really looking forward to some well deserved rest at Balmoral in August.


I'm betting the Queen is tempted to bail before things get too bad:

Queen: Charles, I've decided to turn the throne over to you,,,,,effective immediately.

Charles: But,,,,,,but,,,,,, NOW, MOTHER?! Things are a mess!

Queen: It's your duty, your destiny Charles.

Charles: Immediately Mother?....uh, uh, Your Majesty?

Queen: Yes Charles. We can dispense with the Coronation and all that. Quite frankly, we can't afford it.

Charles: Mother, how could you do this to me?

Queen: Payback, Chuck! For marrying that C,,C,,C,,,,,,woman!

Brilliant Ghung!

Quite superb!

It did occur to me that the Royals use horses and carriages for their coronations, weddings, etc. It sets a good example for the future of transportation!

(BTW, who pays for all of that stuff?)

It did occur to me that the Royals use horses and carriages for their coronations, weddings, etc. It sets a good example for the future of transportation!

Nice insight, Ghung. And I really enjoy your posts.

Does this mean Chuck can get to keep his coronation plans? Or maybe William? Yippee!!! That means, they'll be playing my song. And I won't have to change my Handel... errrr... I mean handle.

Incidentally, who pays for all the pomp and ceremony? Partly, the tax-payers. Partly, from the royal's own personal "treasury" - rents and investments. Many of the chief players and participants in the pageantry are already on payroll - the military, the clergy, the attendants, the peers, the politicians, the household staff, the carriage drivers, not to mention the family members themselves - and so this would be considered to be all in a day's work. It would fall under the general employment catch-all, "other duties as required."

There are advantages. Merchants benefit. Free and worldwide publicity for the realm. In a round about way, a coronation is not unlike the Olympics and other similar national celebrations: it partly self generates income and partly presents a good reason to party and feel happy.

Moreover, the expense of a coronation wouldn't come close to what would be spent if they had to elect the head of state.

God save the Queen. And long may she reign. After all, a penny saved is a penny earned.

Her Majesty does seem to be holding up well, despite the best efforts of her subjects (and heirs).

What I do not get: Why does Nick Clegg want to join the Euro when Britain would be in huge trouble without its own central bank? Also, how can Clegg even consider the idea when the Germans ought to be wise enough by now to reject applicants with huge debts?

Interesting times indeed:

How Europe's Solvency Crisis Is Morphing Into A Liquidity Crisis: Spread Between Overnight And 3M ECB Repo Blows Out

EU libor vs repo is widening (pink line) in last 2 days, and also dollar libor is rising faster than euribor (decline in blue line in right chart), ie dollars are harder to come by vs euros in the eu interbank market. expected. but most strikingly, the spread between 3m and o/n repo in europe is skyrocketing (yellow line), which means it is getting harder to secure funding on a 3 month basis using ECB collateral vs going to the window overnight. bad bad bad. means players are less inclined to lend collateralized money out at 3mths. We are watching an insolvency crisis become a liquidity crisis in real-time.

Re: Automakers Seek to Delay Ethanol Blending Raise, up top.

For sake of argument lets assume that the automakers know what they are talking about, after all they do make the cars.

What is the situation then for ethanol? Corn ethanol production continues to increase and its price has not followed the recent run up in gasoline prices much.

This is probable due to the approaching blend wall where a fixed ethanol blend rate of 10% hits falling gasoline demand. The resulting low ethanol price, while lending support for E85 demand, spells the death of cellulosic ethanol since it is more expensive to produce..

The lack of enough E85 vehicles and pumps to service them makes further increases in ethanol production moot. It has no point except to lower prices.

The ethanol blender’s credit subsidy is under attack as redundant and based on faulty logic:


It is interesting that oil subsidies are rarely attacked even though they are much larger in absolute dollars. The latest example is using the National Guard to clean up the BP oil spill. The cost of that operation is a direct subsidy to BP but no one complains. One can only conclude that oil subsidies are not redundant or based on faulty logic.

After all these subsidies lead to increased oil production and the logic of subsidies like Wars for Oil Security is not faulty.

Let’s assume that the extension of the blenders credit fails. And let’s assume that California and other states are successful in keeping out Midwest ethanol due to Indirect Land Use Change. We know that Brazil is going back to a 25% blend rate after lowering it to 20% due a weather shortfall in cane production and high sugar prices. Funny how cars in Brazil can use a 25% ethanol blend, but American cars can’t handle it.

And most of Brazil’s cars are made by the same manufacturers who don’t want to increase the American blend rate to 15%. What do they think will power the vehicles they want to sell? We know what $4 gas did to the automakers in 2008. Apparently they’ve already forgotten.

What then is the American liquid fuel supply situation longer term?

Ethanol has been maxed out by the above. New off shore drilling has been put on hold due to the BP spill.

Oil depletion continues unabated . Car sales are again rising especially in Asia leading to rising demand for liquid fuel in Chindia as well as oil exporting countries which heavily subsidize oil consumption in many cases.

With the main alternative liquid fuel maxed out and drilling for deep water oil under question, where will our liquid fuel come from? Imports of course.

Is it any wonder oil prices are headed up?

The lack of enough E85 vehicles and pumps to service them makes further increases in ethanol production moot. It has no point except to lower prices.

X, you are only half right here. There are over 8 million flex fuel vehicles on US roads, the largest fleet outside of Brazil.

The real failure here is of the ethanol industry to market E85, even in their own backyard. Instead of doing what any normal business would do, try to develop a market for your product, they just go to the government and lobby for an increase in the mandate- much cheaper!

According to GM, the additional cost of making a vehicle a flex fuel vehicle is now just $75. There is no reason that all new vehicles are not made flex fuel, and if need be, the ethanol industry could even pay the $75.

Also, they continue to rely on the oil industry to do their distribution. What they should be doing is setting up independent E85 stations, buying the gasoline themselves, blend it to make E85, claim the credit (which currently goes to the oil companies) for themselves.

As long as they leave the marketing and selling of ethanol to the oil industry, what do they expect?

Neither has the ethanol industry done any efforts on using ethanol in diesel engines. It can be done and all new buses in sweden now run on E100! With not too much work you can adapt a farm tractor, or any diesel engine, to be co-fuelled on ethanol.

There are so many ways to use ethanol, but the industry can't be bothered to develop any of them - it's just too easy to lobby for an increase in the mandate.

"BP Plc has stopped one of three oil leaks from its well in the Gulf of Mexico, advancing efforts to end a spill after a drilling rig sank last month, the U.S. Coast Guard said."


Doug, it looked like you beat me to posting the Bloomberg link. I find it rather strange that the author of the article states that BP successfully placed a valve near the well head but the amount of oil leaking out remains unchanged at 5000 barrels a day (if they figure is to be considered accurate). I had read about a previous report a few days ago stating pretty much the same thing, but that proved to be erroneous. Could the jolly lads at Bloomberg have picked up that previous (but inaccurate) story?

Pete Deer

Says the valve installed yesterday, closed today, so I don't think so.

I trust the Coasties, not enough can be said about them. They go now, no matter the conditions.

More might leak later, and I wish they were able to give some estimate of the size of the leak stopped, or as Rockman says, an "I don't know"

Hopefully, better days are ahead.

Weird. What kind of valve would they close that plugs a leak closest to the wellhead but still allows oil to flow on up (across...) the riser?

If they did get one leak stopped, it would mean one less containment thingy would be needed -- although the amount of oil might not go down by as much.

That is puzzling, about a valve not stopping a leak farther on. Inserted a tee? (:

But they maintain only it was near the wellhead, not on the riser necessarily. Maybe better info on the leak nature itself will be released.

The NYTimes story describes it as placing a valve over the end of a pipe. The LATimes story says that it is the leak farthest from the wellhead. On Monday past, the AP reported a Coast Guard statement that BP had done a "clean cut" near the site of the smallest leak (whatever that means). There have been previous reports about failed efforts to put a sleeve and valve over that section of the pipe. Clearly, engineers are trying multiple things, but no one is spending time trying to describe it in any detail for the public.

Rigzone says

BP announced Wednesday morning that it stopped the flow of oil from one of the three existing leak points overnight on the damaged MC252 oil well and riser in the Gulf of Mexico.

The action is not expected to affect the overall rate of flow from the well; approximately 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons) of crude oil continue to escape from the two remaining leaks. However, BP pointed out in a written statement that capping the first well should reduce the complexity of the situation being dealt with on the seabed.

At the MC252 well, using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), a valve has been installed on the end of a broken drill pipe, one of the three points from which oil was leaking. The ROVs first cut the end of the pipe to leave a clean end and the valve, weighing over half a ton, was placed in position on the seabed. Overnight the ROVs completed securely joining the valve to the broken drill pipe and then closed it, shutting off the flow from that pipe. The ROVs will continue to closely monitor the well and remaining flow points to look for any changes.

It varies from day to day as to who on The Oil Drum staff is available to comment on oil spill issues. Heading Out is in Ireland, returning tomorrow, and is temporarily off line, I understand.

Art Berman has been following the issue too, and may be able to participate in discussions more later. He is on a business trip to Calgary, so his availability is not very good right now, either.

I will be participating in a conference call with the American Petroleum Institute tomorrow afternoon related to the oil spill. I don't know how much additional information they will be able to provide. If anyone has questions they think I should ask, let me know. I expect I will be limited to one or maybe two questions, given the amount of interest in the issue.


With the annular closed as BP claimed the other day, and the drill pipe capped, it makes you wonder what other leak paths there maybe. Possibly the drill pipe has other leaks, if so I cannot see it lasting long as it will erode from the flow of oil, gas and sand.

This could add weight to my idea that the casing was jacked out of the hole and is sitting in the BOP. Pipe rams don't fit around 9 5/8 casing, shears don't cut it unless they are casing/super shears, which I believe the Horizon does not have but I can not confirm it and the annular closes but does not stop the leak as we would have an annulus between the 9 5/8 casing and the drill pipe which is currently inaccessable.

For it to be leaking anywhere else ie below the BOP, then they would have a whole differant problem on their hands.

We know that there we three leaks recently, so closing off one path would presumably let a pretty similar amount of hydrocarbons out of the other two leaks.

Maybe I will hear something further, tomorrow, at the API call. I have not followed enough of the details to know about pipe sizes and such.

Arthur Berman at one point was talking about putting together a diagram with his understanding of some of the situation, which would be helpful to the rest of us. I haven't seen one yet though.

Do anybody know who manufactures the containment booms?


BP should change its name soon to something like "Outstanding Ocean Petroleum Systems", or OOPS for short. :) I'd give almost anything to have a hidden camera in the board rooms of BP's corporate offices. These guys have got to be going nuts playing the "It's your fault" version of musical chairs. This is especially true considering that the PBS Nightly Business Report reported last night that BP's market capitalization has fallen by 34 billion dollars in the last two weeks, with their contemporaries falling precipitously as well.

Perhaps, BP, Transocean, and Halliburton should join together to form a new fraternaty, the "Bankruptcy of the month" club. If the result of this whole Deepwater Horizon situation was not so tragic to those living on the Gulf coast it would be an absolute comedic montage that could be a multi-million dollar opening night on Broadstreet.

I always told my kids that they should invest in a company called Chattem, Inc. They make a medication that is now the drug of highest demand on Wall Street, the Oil industry, and even in our central government. It's called Kaopectate.

Guess the name of the recipient of the most in contributions from BP.


It is Barack Obama.

The bankruptcy will be of the subsidiary known as BP, PLC (Public Limited Company), which is the entity resonsible for the platform. My guess is that they maintain this entity for these ventures. No doubt BP, PLC is owned by the larger BP (their website does not discuss how they are held... we are left to guess).

I work a lot with a lawyer who has a Master of Law in taxation, and who specializes in asset protection. In American the real money would be held in a privately held company; they would form limited liability companies to do risky things. As major stockholder of the risky LLC, they would get all of the profits. Since the company has limited liability, when things go wrong they fold the LLC and move on.

The UK requirements for the PLC are that it has 50K BP in assets. That would be the loss suffered by BP, whatever they really are.

IMO, the only reason BP is doing anything to remediate is that they believe the well can be salvaged. That and branding... the bad publicity is ruinous. If BP announces that they are filing for bankruptcy, most of their assets and money will not be on the table. At least, from what I have seen, that would be the case (read, in my very humble opinion").


So BP is now acknowledging that the flow rate out of this spill could be 60,000 bbl/day.

They started out saying it was 1,000.

Does that mean that the real rate now is 3,600,000 ????

As Weather Tracks With Climate Scientists' Grim Forecasts, an African Nation Is Awash in Misery

I am a total beleiver in AGW but... the thing that always strikes me about headlines like these, is that reading past the headline invariably reveals the true picture is far more complicated than suggested. In fact while weather patterns are only slightly more extreme, they pretty much follow historic patterns. Severe droughts have always been a feature of the region.

Very often, as here, population growth is mentioned in passing, but is surely a far more significant facotr. e.g in Kenya the population growth rate of over 2.5%, 1973 12.5M, 2008 38M. How can a tripling of population in 35 years not have a huge impact on the environmental load?

When you add political turmoil which paralyses economic activity, it can only make things worse. I would be willing to bet that even if climate patterns were completely unchanged over the past 40 years, the state of Kenya today would be exactly the same. IOW, the real problems in Kenya and elsewhere are really nothing to do with climate change.

BobCousins - As tragic as Africa is we should be looking at what the tide of immigration will do over time to the U.S.

A new report from the Pew Research Center projects that immigration will propel the U.S. population total to 438 million by 2050, from 307 million today (see Figure 1). Along with this growth, the racial and ethnic profile of Americans will continue to shift—with non-Hispanic whites losing their majority status.

Be prepared to become a minority in your own country.


Why would you assume that everyone on this forum is a non-Hispanic white?

I am a minority in my country because I see that we have to start living within our means and few others really understand that. I would welcome more who do, no matter what their ethnic background.

Why are you so obsessed with race/ethnicity?

Whoa! Before you assume that I'm white and you throw the race card you better review what I said and take it from the perspective that I am not.

Does that make the facts of my post any less disputable?


I don't think fertility rates can be predicted due to the impending implosion of various programs such as Social Security. Additionally, there's no reason for the U.S. to exist in 2050 either, do you think the EU will exist in 2050? I'd expect a large out-migration from the Southwest and possibly the United States, most people will not want to live in some sort of carbon copy of Mexico. Those projections assume some sort of BAU (ie no resource related problems, people not caring their country is turning into Mexico, etc).

By 2050 we'll have seen Peak Oil, Peak Natural Gas, Peak Rock Phosphates, and quite possible Peak Coal. How can you extrapolate on present trends when faced with these problems? Perhaps I'll have a terminator robot as my personal chauffeur and be living in the Singularity, or perhaps we'll all use less energy but and have some neat new techno-toys, or perhaps the entire world will have collapsed.

Additionally, there's no reason for the U.S. to exist in 2050...

Floridian -I realize that a lot of the engineer types don't read fiction but here is something that you might be interested in:

Just finished reading a novel by John Updike, Toward The End Of Time. The story, told from the first person, is about a retired investment banker living in the CT countryside in 2020 ad, who had managed to sock away a lot of dough before the collapse took place in 2015. He pays protection money to gangs due to the fact that the U.S. govt had collapsed 5 years earlier. He doesn't go into a lot of detail about how the govt. collapsed so quickly but it had to do with a nuclear war with China. (I guess those old guys like Updike, 79, haven't read up on Peak Oil) The charachter seems to maintain that half the world's population is dead and as a result life is actually much better for the survivors.

Now in the suburban streets where some kind of order is still maintained, and even in the yards of those houses which are abandoned and boarded up or else burned-out-shells, the vibrant magenta of crabapple outshoots the milder pink of flowering cherry, the dusky tint of redbud, and the diffident sideways-drifting clouds of floating dogwood petals...

It's probably just me but I think most of the great writers of the 20th century were doomers: Phillip Roth, Kurt Vonnegut, Cormac McCarthy and John Updike.


If the country (and the dollar) collapsed what would he be using to pay off the gangs? Gold? Why don't they just kill him and take all he has?
Sorry, just curious...

There is a new form of scrip: Welders. Surprise! The urban centers and a lot of the banking system remains intact. The scary part is that the suburban areas are un-patrolled and since property taxes and municipalities have failed historical property rights are falling apart.

The main character has an 11 acre property and he wakes up one morning to squatters. He phones the police and gets a series of voice messages. He justifies paying the tribute to the young gang (teenagers with nowhere to go) by comparing the amount he previously paid in property taxes.

In that scenario I would predict that within another 10 years bands of Mad Max hoodlums will run the show, but in the story (spoiler alert) Updike, in a Clockwork Orange twist, has the very same hoodlums who were collecting tribute end up working for a multi-national corporation who provide "security". The name of that multi-national: Federal Express


Yeah, the only way that protection money (or gold) would keep you alive is if you had an income of some kind from which you could surrender the gang's cut. Otherwise, you serve no purpose of theirs.

Increasing population is probably OK if you have a sufficient food production and a robust economy to utilize the extra workforce. I am not from the US, but it appears cheap labor is quite useful for the US economy. An ethnic mix can also be OK if there is good integration and common values, which the USA is generally quite good at, or at least used to be.

Over in the UK, immigration is a sensitive issue, but in terms of absolute numbers isn't really that big. We are going to be screwed by our huge national debt, so I expect net migration to reverse.

The United States has no economy, it's a service industry nightmare with 20%+ U6 unemployment. The U.K. is going to be one giant post-industrial nightmare and so will the U.S.

The U.S. won't be the worst. We still have enormous potential to feed maybe half of our own people without oil and without commercial fertilizers. I don't know how the U.K. will do with that. Overall, the world should be able to support about 1.2 Billion. Most expect overshoot on the way down, and later gradual growth to that level.

I have heard and read estimates as low as 800 Million, and as high as 1.8 Billion, so 1.2 B seems reasonable. Where they are able to live is as important; Canada, the US, Central Russia... these are agricultural havens able to support large populations. Europe, with intensive sustainable farming could maybe do okay. I'm not sure what will happen in equitorial regions. See my post elsewhere today... wet bulb temps above 95 deg F would be fatal after 6 hours. That could be a game changer.

Who called me a doomer? I think I am an optimist believing that 20% might survive!


Craig, realistically if population were to decrease that much in a relatively short period of time don't you think countries would destabilize and wars would begin occurring? How can the world go from 7 billion plus people to under 2 billion without Nuclear War during the descent?

I don't want to rule out future advances in technology. However, technology is not an energy source. But it's quite likely there will be over 2 Billion people.

How short is a short period of time? People will die off from starvation, beginning in remote 3rd world nations. By the time the population is down below a Billion (remember overshoot), it will be a 3rd world world.

I don't know how a nuclear war would benefit any leader of a country undergoing widespread famine.

Most of the die off will not be sudden starvation, but gradual weakening of lines. Poorly nourished people die from diseases more than stronger, well fed people. As starvation nears, fertility diminishes as well. Fewer babies, people dieing younger, perhpas civil insurrections, yes. Nuclear holocost, not likely.

Say it starts in 2012, in really poor countries as fuel becomes scarce and shipments of food diminish. Later, disease spreads amongst the surviving peoples there, and they leave for 'greener' parts. They take with them disease and little else. The nearby nations are also poor, and becoming poorer, and weaker. Wash, rinse, repeat until it is Mexico, the US, Canada and Europe in the marginal column, with weak, diseased and poverty stricken refugees at the borders. Maybe some die as the borders are defended. Many get in; disease gets in.

Timeframe? I cannot say, and hope it takes 30 or more years. It could be much faster; it may well lead to wars between surviving nations who teeter near the brink of starvation. But, nuclear war? I don't think that will happen.

As for more than 2 Billion... for a while, maybe. Not prolonged. without fuel and commercial fertilizer, the green revolution in foods is in for a rough ride. Planet Earth may be able to cope with 1.2 Billion... or less... or a bit more. I don't think 2 Billion is possible.


Well the NA continent can certainly hold many people. Even more so if a large amount of Canada opens up due to AGW.

Not saying large scale immigration is a good thing - but strictly from a population density relative to resources perspective, we are nowhere near the bad shape that many parts of the world are in.

I expect immigration to slow secondary to various causes, expected or not - birthrate decline, war, economic depression, international travel/trade breaking down, etc.

But alas, for the U.S. much of the damage is already done. There is nothing to stop us from becoming a Latin America country, in inequality terms or in ethnic/linguistic/cultural terms. We may already be there.

While we should always be cautious about inferring causation, Kenya's climate statistics clearly are changing:

Historically, East Africa has experienced drought then heavy rains every five to 10 years, caused by a shift in Pacific Ocean winds and currents known as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation. The cycle appears to be getting more frequent and intense, as droughts have occurred during 10 of the past 20 years.

The seasonal shift between wet and dry months is also becoming more volatile, observed Paul Faeth, president of the Global Water Challenge, a coalition of corporations, nonprofits and government agencies that invests in water and sanitation projects in Kenya and other developing countries.

"What you're seeing is an exploding oscillation -- the droughts are deeper and the rainy times are wetter," Faeth explained. "Within that, you are also seeing more bumping around on an annual basis and that just makes things more difficult to manage."

Kenya's mean annual temperature has increased by 1 degree Celsius since 1960, and the number of hot days and nights has increased significantly, according to U.N. data. The changes are consistent with the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's global warming models. ...

You hit the nail on its proverbial head, BC. Lurking behind most of the fearful headlines of the day lies the beast of overpopulation. Peak oil, peak water, desertification, oil leaks, fiscal problems, overwhelming national debts... you name it, it is a function of overpopulation.

And, whenever a species in nature overshoots in population, there follows a population crash. In some cases, the species goes extinct, as where it destroys something necessary to its survival. IMO, the only real question in the long run is, "have we already gone too far; is extinction our necessary fate?"

Secondary are questions about how one's family might survive, how to deal with the crash, and what things would be like if we do survive. And, yet, we do not hear anyone in the PTB asking the necessary questions, or taking any steps toward ultimate survival. And, we keep electing these people!

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


That's a $64,000 question. I am wary of generalizations though. Scientists are still not sure exactly what provides that unique "thing" that marks out humans - you know, the wheel, New York, wars and so on, assuming that humans actually have a special property and are not just very lucky.

The question of our ultimate survival depends on whether we (our culture and technology) prove to be a niche specialist like the sabre-tooth tiger, or an adaptable all rounder like the common rat (voted Second Most Successful Mammal). Humans certainly seem more like the rat, and I suspect it would take something pretty damn devastating to get rid of us. Supervolcano eruption, ice age, "planet killer" asteroid strike, that sort of thing.

Resource depletion may prove to be just a bump in the road. Perhaps in the future 100% recycling, zero carbon cities and synthetic organic materials will be as normal as drive-in restaurants and disposable razors are today. In 1900, our current lifestyle was inconceivable, so it seems unwise to predict how 2100 will look. The very fact we are able to sit here contemplating resource depletion may itself mean we are able to solve it. It is often said humans have a short discount rate, in fact we have a discount rate orders of magnitudes higher than any other animal. We have the best chance of any species so far to escape the hole we are digging.

In the end, I have no way of even telling if we are "in overshoot", nor whether we will ultimately collapse and be marked by a layer of trash and a brief spike in the CO2 record, and no one else does either.

"the common rat (voted Second Most Successful Mammal"

Who beats us? Whales?

Are humans smarter than yeast?

Who would you ask? We miss the dodo, but only because we learned to late that introduction of rats and eating them ourselves would kill off the only known population of them. Who would you ask to find out if humans would be missed or not? What other creature on earth can we talk to and it understand us, and talk back and forth in a continual conversation?

We are kind of unique in that we are living in most every climate region on earth, that we travel to new places, we have gone to the moon, and live in space. None other creature that we know of has done these things. So who do we ask if we will be missed?

It always made me laugh a bit sadly but it did strike me as funny when Bob Shaw used the phrase "are humans smarter than yeast?" As if yeast could be found to be smart in the first place. What is smartness really, and can it be seperated from a human point of view?

I don't usually delve into these questions, I am spending to much time figuring out which plants can be grown where and when and how much work will be involved in keeping them healthy. Or which design for a house someone is willing to go with, size and shape can really be mixed up a bit when you have the time to play with them. So when I do look at the funny things people say, like Mr. Shaw's comment or yours above, people tend to think I am acting odd.

One of my X-wives thinks that I can't be serious about anything, when I last talked to her she wanted to ask me a question and before she asked it I stated the answer was, Purple. She's always getting odd answers from me and the light humor is hurting her eyes.

Until very recently humans have not even thought about talking to other creatures, let alone asking them if they will miss us when we are gone.

In a general sense, most dog breeds would have to revert back to something else is we were to disappear. Depending on when and how we were to dissolve into dust, and go Poofy, (one of my favorite words in years past, a silly skit I did at a dinner party once used the phrase in an odd childlike voice, "It go Poofy!" LOL it's still funny to me thinking about it.) we don't know what sort of world we will leave behind. Unless the earth were to explode in the event, life would be around for a long time to come after we are gone. There are more creatures living here than we have knowledge of, having found organisms growing all over in the extreme places on earth, we might be just getting to know our planet.

Who will miss us when we are gone? Those chocolate covered sunflower seeds (all 2,400 of them, average number per pound) I have on order will miss me eating them.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future, even if I can't ever get chocolate covered anything again, unless by pack mule train.

Nice musing. :)
It has just one lil technical inaccuracy.

Who would you ask? We miss the dodo, but only because we learned to late that introduction of rats and eating them ourselves would kill off the only known population of them. Who would you ask to find out if humans would be missed or not? What other creature on earth can we talk to and it understand us, and talk back and forth in a continual conversation?

Sadly, there would be no "us" to do the asking. As if being gone we could still ask someone. :D Doesn't work that way, I think. :S
And maybe that's a good thing, because other species will curse us and call us by not very nice names for destroying their habitats, even after we are long gone. Without ability to ask them silly questions (everyone knows we are the killing machines here except homo sapiens, of course, and therefore "good riddance") we can happily rest in peace and not getting upset because of what they are thinking about us.
How the saying goes...? Ignorance is bliss? Well, double so here. Trust me, we really didn't wanna hear their answer. :P

PS: But great food for thought, that's for sure! :)

Hurricane Forecasters See Worst Looming in 2010 Atlantic Season

Perhaps most significantly, sea temperatures from the Cape Verde Islands to the Caribbean, where the storms usually develop, are above normal and reaching records in some areas.

“We have only seen that in three previous seasons, 2005, 1958 and 1969, and all three of those years had five major hurricanes,” said Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground Inc. “I am definitely thinking that this is going to be a severe hurricane season.”

They'd better hurry up with that oil spill.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending April 30, 2010

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.1 million barrels per day during the week ending April 30, 190 thousand barrels per day above the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 89.6 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 9.1 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased slightly last week, averaging 4.2 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 10.0 million barrels per day last week, up 270 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 9.5 million barrels per day, 255 thousand barrels per day above the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 1.1 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 224 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 2.8 million barrels from the previous week. At 360.6 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 1.2 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories decreased while blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 0.6 million barrels, and are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.8 million barrels last week and are in the upper half of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 9.8 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

Here we are some 4 hours after Leanan's post and nobody else cares to reply? Are we getting jaded or what? In case you didn't read the EIA data, consider this:

Thousand Barrels/Day    
                        04/30/10  04/30/09    Change, %
Finished Motor Gasoline    9,262     8,948       3.5 

Getting back to BAU, folks!

E. Swanson

Didn't have a chance to post earlier, but you hit on the most important part of this week's report. The increased demand could be a sign of business as usual, and an unwelcome sign that people are actually travelling further to get to work (possibly due to a secind job or a replacement job further away).

As I've been mentioning, if anything, the weekly report gives us fairly accurate picture of current oil product demand. Here we see gasoline demand leading the way over other products. Despite jet fuel and some other products not selling well lately, refiners have had to really step up overall output and crack more barrels to meet the demand for gasoline.

Luckily for the US - despite fairly even levels of OPEC exports since February - the US has managed to increase oil imports by about 1 million barrels a day in the last four weeks as compared to average amount for the 2010 year to date. Most of the extra oil has turned up on the west and east coasts. I speculated yesterday that when the world has some extra oil it doesn't need yet, it has a habit of showing up in the US. This would account for the import pickup on the east and west coasts from atypical locations.

The reverse is also true, when the world - and especially the Persian Gulf - needs some extra oil for the summer air conditioning season, I expect US imports to slow down. That's when the real bidding for those marginal world export barrels will begin.

The reverse is also true, when the world - and especially the Persian Gulf - needs some extra oil for the summer air conditioning season, I expect US imports to slow down. That's when the real bidding for those marginal world export barrels will begin.

Yeah I basically concur life could well get interesting fast if OPEC does not have the ample spare capacity they claim. Next as you know I've been of the opinion that the absolute stock levels that the EIA claims the US has is a work of fiction.

The problem of course is you don't know the truth until you get close to empty. They are claiming that the US has been able to fill its tanks if you will well past full. If this is false and we are actually somewhere in the middle of the five year range to perhaps the low end then life will get really interesting really fast.

The problem is that claim we are full works right up to the point it does not just like driving a car and telling your girlfriend you have a full tank of gas works till you manage to run out on a deserted road with just the two of you. The anticipated outcome differs.

Regardless so far at least as we enter summer it seems all the data is suggesting we will fairly quickly reach the point that the truth about the global energy supply demand etc must become clear.

Or some big above aground event takes place before this happens. A stock market collapse, war in Iran etc etc.

Given my cynical nature these days I'm actually betting on the magical arrival of some shocking event that just happens to occur when OPEC's ability to deliver becomes questionable. Again being highly cynical if so then I'd have to think it would be before prices spike sufficiently a bit of a preemptive strike.

The other side of my cynical nature cautions me that the global economy is simply to fragile and any attempt to play games will lead rapidly to a complete collapse. This damned if you do and damned if you don't situation might thus result in things simply playing out however they will no matter how bad they get without a lot of intervention. In this case a few more years of rather crappy BAU but not TEOTWAWKI/TSHTF is allowed. Why pull the plug on a rapidly sinking ship ?

And of course the MSM is right we have plenty of spare capacity and plenty of potential to expand albeit at a higher price point than in the past. Alternatives will continue to grow people will start buying houses again the US will return to mild inflation and rapid growth asset values will rise strongly esp housing eliminating the debt overhang the US's trillions of dollars in expenditures will pay of in spades V shaped recovery on steroids...
Hopefully I did not mess up the party line but something like that.

Fine not a problem if so then this will become clear over the next several months.

I'm stuck trying to see if I can guess beforehand if its pull the plug or let her sink naturally.
I'd really like to be able to predict which approach is taken before its taken not sure however if we will have enough info to know. Heck depending on how things play out a natural sinking could even be indistinguishable from a plug pulling.

Fantastic set of papers I found.


If you read it I think you can see why I suggest it may not be discernible. Especially if oil is going to be scarce. Right now I have a hard time coming up with any sort of scenario that ensures that TSHTF does not happen later than early 2011.

Whats really funny for me since I started to worry about economics late in the game is that everything done even through the 2008 crash made sense. Insane yes but sensible. However after that we have literally entered a sort of economic twilight zone where nothing makes sense unless you work in a insane asylum where insanity is the norm.

Somehow things went off the deep end and yet we have this relatively smooth normalcy on the surface. If you read the link I posted you begin to understand how whacked out things probably are. And if Groupe's thoughts are even close to correct then my concern that the oil situation is no where close to whats claimed fits in well. Compared to the other lies that seem to be executing right now playing games with oil is small potatoes. In fact its a pretty sure bet we are as I suspect lying our asses off.

And of course my model of the collapse of complex systems suggests that right at the bitter end the lies effectively becomes exponential and completely divorced from reality which itself becomes a sort of play or or pretense that things are normal.

However the more I read the more it seems that the magnitude of the lie simply grows almost without bounds.
Becoming bigger by the month.

For me at least its strange to watch as either I'm right and we are in the midst of a fantasy play right before the end or I'm completely and utterly wrong. Its a peculiar feeling. Somebody's crazy is it me :)

been trying to follow this GOM obscenity.. Skytruth has had problems putting up satellite images of the spill because of cloudy weather. anyone know where one might get updated info on the spread of oil? Also very concerned about the use of dispersants. Came across this site, FOX of all sources. http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/05/05/chemical-detergents-gulf-oil-d... It seems to me we have gone back to the 1950's. "The solution to pollution is dilution." Or "out of site, out of mind."

I see ABC is saying

BP announced today that it will stop using the dispersant until environmental impact tests can be performed, but earlier, the company had suggested it believed the dispersant was safe.

So maybe someone will really look at the issue. It would seem like dispersants would add a whole new set of chemicals and not necessarily be as biodegradable as oil.

Thanks GAil. Rube doesn't own a T. V. We cretins find it a waste of time.

Local News - Yesterday

New Orleans (most of south shore Lake Pontchartrain) and St. Tammany Parish (most of the north shore) have established a unified command at a State Historical Park (1818 fort, Fort Pike) with both containment and absorption booms stocked there. Our new Mayor Landrieu did this hours after being sworn in.

Plan is three layers of defense for Lake Pontchartrain, last one being absorption booms.

Given the instability of the booms, they will be deployed just before needed. Perhaps Thursday or Friday (not enough booms on site ATM).

The two parishes are going to seek Coast Guard approval (BP has been unresponsive) and send BP the bill.

Plaquemines is going to triage and fast response, laying booms out as needed in most critical areas. Forward deployment of boom stockpile. Need more booms.

Fishermen are objecting to BP contracts (too one sided). Fishermen have to accept all liability for injuries to themselves and hired hands. Question if their existing insurance covers this type of charter work.

BP contract specifically excludes underwater damage. Given the nature of the work in shallow water marshes, this is seen as an excessive risk. Again an issue with existing insurance (or self insured for most).

Fisherman Quote of the Day - "I don't know what BP is thinking, but they sure don't seem hell bent to get things done ASAP".


Can't the state and Feds play hard-ball, and pull their licenses to operate while suing for the costs if they don't contract in good faith?

Where is the press in all this? Light of day would have BP scrambling to resolve such petty issues.

Good local press coverage (we are blessed with some of the best in the USA, print, TV, radio IMHO), but do you really think the national MSM cares ? (I was about to write GivesaSht).


Alan I'm sure knows this but many may not. Re: "I don't know what BP is thinking, but they sure don't seem hell bent to get things done ASAP".

BP may actually be unable to pull anymore of their people into the project. The oil industry long ago established an emergency spill response system. A good plan in that it prevented wasted redundancy by not requiring each operator to have their own teams and also allowed the formation of full time and well trained team to handle all incidents. Thus it doesn't matter whether it's a BP or Shell Oil spill it's the same responders. The down side is that although the response system was sized to deal with large spills, the massive spill brought about by the BP incident was not considered. The maximum effort has been deployed. BP still has authority to utilize any oil field vessel in the GOM to help but that's of limited value IMHO.

And even if there had been more spill fighting resources to bear it might not have helped much. With the rough seas the boom system appeared to have little effect. Given the likelihood the gov't will eventually start pushing Deep Water GOM exploration we may need to rethink the current boom strategy. In the GOM 4'+ seas are not uncommon. But such conditions make containment very difficult. Off the top of my head I can envision a rather simple but effective way to deal with spills in rough seas. Simple but very expensive. Perhaps a few hundred million. The details aren't important. But as PO begins to really hurt I have no doubt the country will be strongly behind DW drilling. So if it can't be stopped then an alternative spill response system should be established IMHO.

The down side is that although the response system was sized to deal with large spills, the massive spill brought about by the BP incident was not considered.

Reminds me of the story of life rafts on the Titanic. White Star Line fitted the ship with more than the number of life boats required by the British Board of Trade. Until 1912, British vessels over 10,000 tons had to carry 16 lifeboats. The Titanic had twenty that could, under optimal conditions, carry 1178 people to safety. Needless to say the ship weighed in at 46,000 tons and accommodated over 3500 passengers and crew. It was a recipe for disaster.

Shipping regulations were quick to change.

Skipping ahead, I suspect the emergency spill response system will be scaled to size. Like countless tragedies before, it is too little, too late.

This morning's AP story says the same about the country being behind DW drilling:

HOUSTON – America is seeing the usually hidden costs of fossil fuels — an oil spill's potential for huge environmental and economic damage, and deaths in coal and oil industry accidents.

But don't expect much to change. America and the world crave more oil and coal, no matter the all-too-risky ways needed to extract those fuels.

"We are absolutely addicted and we have no methadone. All we have is the hard stuff," said Larry McKinney, director of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi.


Right, Rockman. We need a new agency... The Bureau of Unified National Catastrophic Emergencies (BOUNCE) could take care of oil and coal crises.

Or, perhaps a Department of Emergency Responses (DOER), which would convey a sense of accomplishment.


zap -- Now that's a job I might give up my retirement for.

I'd prefer to work for the Bureau of Economic Expansion and Recovery (BEER)

And perhaps BOUNCE's first initiatve, which ROCKMAN could be in charge of, would be called...

Investigation of
Technologies for
Response involving
Drilling for
Oil in proximity to the

Please help me understand this time lapse. Dispersants?


No, just wind, currents and waves.

Oil can emulsify and drop below the surface (a bit). The thickness of the oil can vary. The spill can be "bunched up" when the wind shifts.

No good news there.


From the above Oil is not the enemy

But what if there is actually enough fossil fuel lying around to last up to, say, 800 years, even factoring increased demand from emerging economies and population growth. If that's true, and just as many people believe that idea as they do peak oil, why bother with alternative energy at all? It's costly. And judging by the headlines, no one wants a wind farm in their backyard. Moreover, we're in the early stage of an economic recovery that is still quite fragile. We need cheap conventional oil more than ever.

This article is from The National Post which is a right wing, pro-business, and classical liberal biased newspaper. Fair enough. This fine piece of journalistic excellence is quite informative. But I do take a few exceptions...

1) If there is enough fossil fuel lying around to last up to, say 800 years, then why not ban off-shore drilling altogether? The earth is, after all, one huge chocolate egg filled with copious caramel delight. Dig a hole anywhere and presto, you can have your very own gusher! The brown stuff is so plentiful you simply can't avoid finding it.

2) "And judging from the headlines, no one wants a wind farm in their backyard." Is that right? Those damn things are too big, too noisy, and too unsightly. I suppose most people prefer an ocean awash in a beautiful multi-coloured sheen instead.

3. "Moreover, we're in the early stage of an economic recovery that is still quite fragile. We need cheap conventional oil more than ever." Oh right, sorry, I forgot. Let's not let something as trivial as a little oil spillage ruin our precious recovery.

Such ruminations cause my blood to boil. Arrrgggghhhhh!!!!!

People are never so blind as when they don't want to see. Too bad the rest of us have to put up with this kind of shortsightedness. What's even more maddening and disappointing is that these myopic tower dwellers are in charge of the propaganda public relations machine we call MSM.

Who needs dolphins as long as I can keep my Hummer running. One's social standing depends on it.

Previously, I could ignore such musings. This time, I'm really PI$$ED!!!

Zadok -

The key component of that passage you quoted is the part where the author indicates that just as many people BELIEVE that there's bubbling crude just below the surface at every point on the planet as there are people that BELIEVE in peak oil... I, quite frankly, BELIEVE that I can walk to the Moon - but my belief doesn't make it the least bit more feasible.

We live in a time and place where it is equally valid to believe in something as it is to actually have evidence and scientific data - we are living thru the Disenlightenment... with the Dark Ages lurking right around the corner.

I've graduated from being pi$$ed to alternating between resignation and depression at the lack of awareness and complete misconception at every turn.

Once upon a time, belief actually aided people - for example, a belief in God that set a premium on virtue or good conduct or a belief in reason that set a premium on critical thinking based on evidence and results. At that time we had faith (basic trust) in some authority outside ourselves; something or someone who could lead us to seek a better world and a brighter future.

We have traded the public for the personal, the external for the internal, the objective for the subjective.

In so doing we've lost something: a sense that our thoughts and actions are pregnant with meaning and value, meaning and value quite apart from our possessions and wants. There was a time when community mattered. There was a time when family mattered. There was a time when leadership mattered. There was time when responsibility mattered. There was a time when looking out for each other mattered. There was a time when people derived real joy from nature - not merely for its utility but because we still felt connected to the other, to the profound, and yes, even the sacred.

At heart, I'm not really a doomer. I refuse to be resigned or depressed. I opt to stay angry -- to say pi$$ on them -- not to let the bastards win.

And I opt not to follow the latest fashion, to buy into the latest ideology, to be suckered by the latest advertising, or to seek out the closest charlatan or demigod who promises me the world.

I rather go down fighting, to do what I can to make a difference - albeit in a quiet, gentle way - rather than roll over and play dead. Because once you starting playing dead, you're leaving yourself vulnerable to the real thing. And I'm sorry, but life is too precious, and too beautiful, and too valuable to let go so easily. Despite it drudgery and disappointments, being alive is the best thing going for any of us. And until we are prepared to start taking our heads out of the sand and from between the cheeks of our arse, the same old guard and the same old ways will prevail.

Catskill, keep the faith. Do what you can to make a difference.

Hi Zadok.
All I need to see are the words "National Post" to make me stop reading. More than once, telemarketers have offered me free subscriptions, which I have refused (one came with a free iPod, and begging from the telemarketer.) It loses $15 million a year...apparently, that's how much it costs to annoy Canadians on a national scale.


Let's see... $15 million... 33 million Canadians... so a mere 50¢ per Canadian per year. LOL. You guys are easy and inexpensive to annoy, eh?

From the Biloxi Sun Herald.

P&G ships dish liquid to help
By DAN SEWELL - AP Business Writer

CINCINNATI -- Procter & Gamble Co. says it has rushed 1,000 bottles of Dawn dishwashing liquid to the Gulf of Mexico region to help clean wildlife soiled by the massive oil spill...

Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2010/05/03/2149690/pg-ships-dish-liquid-to-help...

As rube cretin says above, we have gone back to the 1950's. "The solution to pollution is dilution."

Sadly, it may be that "The solution to pollution is extinction (of guess who)"

As opposed to someone having to go to a nearby store and pick up a few bottles wherever it is actually needed. I'm glad they sent that special truck to the "Gulf of Mexico" region.

If you really stop to think about it, there is something a bit crazy about sending a special truck (using extra gas), in order to send a commonly available product which is most likely petroleum based(most dish detergents are), shipped in plastic bottles which also most likely required petroleum to make, in order to slightly reduce the harm indirectly caused by our need for more petroleum.

Matt Simmons on Gulf Oil Spill

"It really is a catastrophe," Simmons said. "I don't think they're going to be able to put the leak out until the reservoir depletes. It's just too technically challenging."
He said BP's cleanup costs could ruin the company.
"They're going to have to clean up the Gulf of Mexico," he said.

I hate to ask but does anyone know the size of this particular reservoir?

Dude - I read 100 million bbls but not sure if that was an official BP number. And Matt is wrong. The relief well will kill the blow out long before it depletes. But that may still take several months.


If I understand things correctly, the situation is very difficult because they have such a fine balance between required mud weight to hold the formation versus the weight which could frac the formation. Presumably they would need to intersect the well and cut through the casing, to be able to place a kill fluid inside the column of the live well to kill it. I am not sure how they would do this, but would seen they almost need to hit the well at a shallower depth, and cement a large seal butting up to the casing, so their relief well casing tags up to the blow out with a casing shoe, cement plug and no open hole. If they are shallow, and have any open hole between the last casing point of the relief well and the intersection with the blow out, fluid weight sufficient to kill the flow could frac the section of open hole. If they cut into the casing with any open hole exposed, at a balanced mud weight for that depth, the fluid in the column would create a major kick, and to kill the kick, they would have to weight up which again has the potential for fracing and lost circulation. It will be very tricky.

On the other hand, if they attempt to intersect very deep, that would require much longer to reach the required depth, and again the pressure/mud weight differential is very small. I am trying to understand how they can pull this off.

Meanwhile the Dome seems to be risky, and if they do succeed, let's pray for a very quiet Hurricane season. The surface vessel receiving what ever they collect would certainly have to pull off the dome and stand by in the Gulf if a storm approaches.

A lot remains to be seen.



ej -- I haven't seen a plan for the relief well but one way to overcome the mud weight differential problem would be to set casing just above the intersection point. For that reason also I suspect they will be going for a deep cut.

I'll search for the well plan but I doubt they'll make it public.

New tactic might seal leaking well sooner, BP CEO says
The runaway well spewing crude into the Gulf of Mexico might be sealed within as little as two weeks using a new, untested approach that has emerged in the last two days, BP CEO Tony Hayward told the Houston Chronicle today.

The method, which he called “top kill,” involves reconfiguring existing wellhead equipment to provide a conduit for pumping heavy fluids into the well. That would stop the flow and allow for a permanent seal, Hayward said during a visit to the BP operations center in west Houston that is headquarters for the spill response
In an odd twist, the possible fix would use the blowout preventer that may have failed April 20 when a sudden burst of high-pressure hydrocarbons apparently blew out from the well and up to the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, triggering a fire and explosion that killed 11 workers. The method has been used before to seal wells after blowouts on land, but has not been tried at the depths of the Macondo well on which the Deepwater Horizon was working.

Since this well is cased and cemented, all the log data should be complete and should provide known thickness of the production Zone, and formation name/type, the permeability of the rock and porosity. So has any one made this data available yet? This should shine some light on max flow possible.

dip -- I'm sure the Feds have it as well as the relief drillers. But such info is normally kept confidential by the operator. But, alas, these are not normal times.

I found this very interesting:

Farmers Cope With Roundup-Resistant Weeds

"That threatens to reverse one of the agricultural advances bolstered by the Roundup revolution: minimum-till farming. By combining Roundup and Roundup Ready crops, farmers did not have to plow under the weeds to control them. That reduced erosion, the runoff of chemicals into waterways and the use of fuel for tractors.

If frequent plowing becomes necessary again, “that is certainly a major concern for our environment,” Ken Smith, a weed scientist at the University of Arkansas, said. In addition, some critics of genetically engineered crops say that the use of extra herbicides, including some old ones that are less environmentally tolerable than Roundup, belies the claims made by the biotechnology industry that its crops would be better for the environment."

Who didn't see this coming? I guarantee Monsanto had it written into the business plan. "And the good thing Mr. CEO, is that right about the time the patent expires on the original Roundup, new weeds will evolve that will need a new, patented, Mega-Roundup! Lather Rinse and Repeat! Chaaaaaaaaaa-Ching!!!!!!"

There's some discussion of this story in yesterday's DrumBeat.

the desert sun delivers around 7000W/m2

Wow!. Last time I checked the solar constant in space -not filtered by gravity was 1350W/M**2. This desert must be on the planet Mercury! Of course if we wait about five billion years the sun will get hot enough that thats what we will get, but I don't think thre will be any earthy life to morn about it.

7000W/m2 over an average of 12 hours a day

So that gives 583W/m2, which a quick google hunt http://zebu.uoregon.edu/1998/ph162/l4.html looks pretty reasonable.


Unit conformity mismatch.

For your calculation it would be 7000Wh/m^2 over a 12 hour collection period from an average of 583 W/m^2.

If I remember correctly that would be about 25MJ/m^2/day.

Truck explodes, sparks fire at Texas refinery

San Antonio fire spokeswoman Deborah Foster said authorities were trying to account for all 100 employees at the AGE Refining Inc. facility and were evacuating residents within a one-mile radius. It was not immediately clear whether anyone had been killed or how many were injured. Foster said some workers were being treated at the scene.

Saw a picture of the fire on CNN. It looked pretty bad. One picture can be found at this link:
San Antonio Refinery Fire Causes Evacuations

Ron P.

Great Program on last night: Frontline College Inc.

Investigative piece about how Wall Street and a new breed of for-profit universities are transforming the way we think about college in America. The bankers and Wall Street are finding new and improved tactics to enslave our country during the coming lean times. For Profit Universities strapping desperate young people with huge amounts of debt that can never go away, not even in Bankruptcy.

There are people saying that this education scam, financed by Federally Funded Education Loans, is going to be the next economic shoe to fall after the real estate collapse of 2008. A large percentage of these people will never be able to pay the money back. I'll give you 3 guesses who will be on the hook to bail that one out and the 1st 2 don't count.

University of Phoenix is now the biggest fraud outside of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi Sceme. They con minimum wage slaves into signing up for highly overpriced courses that they persuade them to believe will pay back many times the investment from their "future employment".

Anyone who's been reading this site for a while has to acknowledge that the jobs of the future will be very different from the jobs that we filled over the last 40 years. We don't need any more computer geeks, bean counters or business degrees. Maybe the best asset will be a strong back.

"May you live in exciting times." Chinese curse.


I was involved for many years with a state government agency that was charged with regulating the proprietary school industry, and I've also worked in community colleges, so this is something about which I know a very good deal.

Community college is going to be a considerably better value for most people. I watched the program, they mentioned community colleges in the beginning and seemed to give them short shrift - implied that they were overcrowded and impossible to get into. Overcrowded? These days, probably. Anyone with at least minimally-acceptable academic credentials who plans ahead a little bit and doesn't wait until the first day of classes should have no problem getting in. (And those who CAN'T plan even that far ahead or who DON'T have even minimal academic credentials - HS diploma, average GPA, average SAT/ACT scores - have NO BUSINESS attempting ANY type of college education, let alone taking on tens of thousands of student loan debt!)

It might be argued that community colleges are inferior to proprietary schools, and there are a few highly specialized and high-tech fields where this is the case. There are a few proprietary schools in the specialized and high-tech fields that are very good at what they do and are worth the cost. These are all going to be marketing themselves nationally (or at least regionally), and all of them are going to be residential schools because they require specialized facilities and can't teach their subject online.

Even if a student is considering a career path that would take him or her through one of these specialized proprietary schools, I would recommend several things:

1) Check them out carefully, especially their completion, placement and student loan default rates, and their accreditation. Call the state government agency that regulates them (there is one in each state, usually buried in the bowels of bureaucracy, and may take some hunting to find) and find out if there are any complaints. Ditto for the BBB and the school's accrediting agency. Contact the HR departments of some potential employers for the field you are considering and ask if they have hired their graduates, and what their experience has been with them. DON'T talk ONLY to the school's representatives - that is what 99.9% of their prospective students do, and it is a big mistake.

2) Research the possibility of taking some of the general education courses like English composition or math that most programs require at a community college, and having the proprietary school accept the credits. (Sure, they would like you to take everything at their expensive school, but they would also like to have you as a student, and most will deal in order to take what they can get - but you've got to ask, and be a bit persistent about it. Don't just assume you can pull this off, though - check first before proceeding with this plan.)

3) Work for a year or two before starting school, and save, save, save, in order to minimize the amount of student loan that you need. If you can possibly swing it, try for lower-level employment with someone who hires the graduates of the program you are considering. At the very least, this might give you a little bit of an edge over the competition, and in a few cases the employer might even help pay your way, or work out an arrangement so you can work part-time while going through school, or grant you a leave-of-absence with an inside shot at the desired position once you are done.

As for your typical dime-a-dozen proprietary business (mostly) schools in every urban low-rent district, there is no way that any of these are going to have anything of real value to offer that is in the least bit superior to the local community college. Almost all of these make their money by luring students who are unprepared for college and who cannot cut it, signing them up for student loans they cannot afford, and then wave bye-bye to them as they drop out with massive indebtedness. Stay away from these!

As for the online programs like U Phoenix, this is just an updated version of correspondence courses, which have been around for most of the past centuries. A very great many state universities do the same thing. If traditional classroom education really doesn't work for someone and online education does, there are cheaper ways to piece something together, in some cases transferring work from several different colleges into the institution that will be granting your degree. It just takes some extra effort to research your options.

A final note: The armed forces can provide some good training opportunities for things besides just being a grunt, the pay isn't bad, you get free room, board and medical care, and you get money to get you through school when (if) you get out. I'd advise anyone who is thinking of enrolling in a proprietary school to seriously consider the armed forces first. They may find they can get what they need (flight training, for example, or a whole bunch of other high-tech stuff) there for free, and in any case will have much better options when they get out.

WNC Observer - I have made a copy of your post and I am going to send it to every young person I know who is looking at their prospects after High School. Thank-you.

Drake College's recruiting of homeless draws scrutiny

President Obama's administration is proposing tougher regulation of for-profit colleges because of concern that recruiters are signing up unqualified students and leaving them with taxpayer-funded student loans they may be unable to repay. Drake, which defended its policy of recruiting the homeless as reaching out to the disadvantaged, raised tuition to $15,700 this year from $4,000 in 2007-2008. Shelter workers told Bloomberg they feared the school was preying on the homeless to get access to financial-aid money, leaving them to default on student loans.

Chindia oil buyers are probably doing a dance on the rooftop now that US traders have raised the dollar to $1.28 and reduced wti to $80. Now Chindia can be white knights to NOCs by buying oil at $80 to give the NOCs the good feeling that Chindia is the place to sell oil. After all, the growth of oil usage in Chindia is 30-50% of the world oil growth at present. Westexes's theory of competition for declining world exports is at the root of my thinking.

Reading the comments section of various stories around the web with articles that talk about oil and prices reminds me of how screwed we are. The thought that nobody ever brings up supply astounds me. Its always politics, the left/the right, oil company profit, etc etc...

There's plenty of oil, until there's not...

I don't know if this has been posted before or not. But I found this while looking at google news just now.


The latest news comes from the computer and printing company Hewlett-Packard, which recently announced it's working on a project it calls the "Central Nervous System for the Earth." In coming years, the company plans to deploy a trillion sensors all over the planet.

I wonder if they rounded up on the Trillion number or not? First off to make a trilliono of anything is kinda hard, though I'd guess the natural world of plants might come close to that, or maybe some animals that are tiny might range into the trillions over a vast area of space. But not often do you read that a company is going to make a trillion of something( fictional money not included).

If they take 20 years to make them thats 50 billion (50,000,000,000) per year, or over 13,000,000 per day. I always have to plug the numbers when I see things like this. Imagine the data crunching that would have to go on with all that much information coming in.

Not that it's not been written about in Sci-Fi in the past, even in some of my own stories where a lot of humans were fitted with data collection devices. But that was fiction, where I can hide some of the real world issues to that much information overload.

All the while people in another article were fretting over the abuse of private information from online sites.

But it'll be years away and well into peak everything else, I won't be surprised if some of will wither on the vine as the saying goes.

Not to be to negative it's a good concept, but information can only go so far, humans have to change as well.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

That sounds like Big Brother's wet dream. Just in time for "Peak Everything."

I do not share your sentiment that this is a "good concept" and do share the concerns of the people worried about private information of any kind.

Maybe Proctor&Gamble will be able to tell you exactly how many squares you use and what kind of ointment they should put in your personal toilet paper - and send you electronic coupons before your next dump.

It's a good concept in that information about say the oceans or the climate that would come from using the mini-data collection devices would be good for us. Gathering personal data like tracking movements via your cellphone could and would be used to track people in one shape or form, likely by someone not out for our best interests.

Covering major fault lines with "smart dust" like sensors would be really good if the data could be used to predict a faults future movements. But as yet, most of the advances are still on the drawing boards and not in the public just yet. Though the comment about cell phones in the article is right here right now, and just needs a few more pushes, or is being used already in some areas. "OnStar" in cars and GPS devices in cars are already in use today, tracking the movements of the cars and other uses.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed future.

You're right - there really are many potential good uses for this type of technology.

I just worry about it's potential for abuse. And the behavior of our government and corporations give me good reason to fear the abuse of this potential power.

I guess that as we enter the twilight zone of oil depletion, I have more fear of abuse than hope for good use.

I just wish HP didn't rip me off - and provided an inkjet cartridge that can be refilled, and doesn't cost the earth. From a consumer point of view - they are an evil company.

From a consumer point of view - they are an evil company.

Not really. Ugh.... ummm... Well, maybe they are evil (I will soon explain why you are right that they are evil), but... You know, did you ever notice how printers are for a few dollars and their cartridges cost like hell? :D
It's like one could buy an AK47 for 50 cents, but one cartridge of ammunition would cost him 100 dollars.

They embraced this veeeery stoopid or outright idiotic business plan - selling printers cheaply and make bucks on selling cartridges. It's typical plan of making addicts of us. Like in drugs, first shot (sometimes even more than one) of substance in question is free (printer), then you get hooked up on the stuff, but for next one (cartridges) you have to pay dearly, sometimes even with interest (you pay also for the first shots and then some!).
HP could even become a kind of "helicopter Bernanke" - dropping printers from helicopters for free and still make enormous bucks from selling cartridges! :P

Next time I buy a printer I will choose company that sells them for higher price and has cheaper "ammo", or ammo without chips. :D

Don't get me wrong, I'm on your side here. :)
I'm not very happy about being unable to refill HP cartridges with simple cartridge refill kit either, just because they are equipped with some silly chips to deliver some fancy readings to the user how much of the ink there is. I would gladly be without them chips and in the process - cartridges not reporting being empty while they are full... :-/

I'm not very happy about being unable to refill HP cartridges with simple cartridge refill kit either, just because they are equipped with some silly chips to deliver some fancy readings to the user how much of the ink there is. I would gladly be without them chips and in the process - cartridges not reporting being empty while they are full... :-/

I think they do that intentionally, precisely because they don't want people buying cheap refill kits instead of pricey HP brand cartridges.

Yes, I'm very aware of that, Leanan. :)
Being HP, I would do that myself... well... actually not, cuz I do care about the environment and I could never be like HP, but... you surely know what I mean. Corporations have only one obligation - to make a profit, even while killing our environment. :-S

PS: I... wanted to express long ago that... I really like you, what you are doing for TOD, for us, those pesky readers and commenters... :)) I want to thank you for your unceasing effort and.. that I have each day fresh news to read (sometimes I wonder how can you possibly post the new Oildrum so early - here is morning/noon (GMT+1) and in America maybe still night or very early in the morning :)) ), some new info to argue with my denialist friends about, and all that thanks to you, Leanan. :)
Keep up the good work, TOD-lady! :)

Oil may be wreaking havoc deep beneath the Gulf


I watched a piece on TV this evening showing current video of people turning a shovel on a beach in Prince William Sound, showing the oil still there several inches under the surface.


This combo of stories is a perfect way to end the evening.

Bottom's up! Good night nurse.

Peak Oil goes Mainstream (in some corners of the world)???

From Mike Ruppert's blog:

Puru Saxena on China & Peak Oil


This can't be real. I can't believe their anchors are so informed to ask the right questions and the Investment Advisor giving the honest and blunt truth. He mildly sugar coats it in some places but the anchors bring him back to "it's going to be a very difficult transition."

How is it possible that CNBC India (or where ever) anchors can discuss this publically and intelligently, and in the US we get T&A anchors with bobble heads????

Because it won't be dark and cold in India when fossil fuels have run out.

That is a pretty cool interview. He's clearly blowing some minds over there.

Yes, ant too bad we can't blow some minds over here.

They should be playing that interview on the financial channels today here in the US. Take people's minds off of the financial collapse in progress ;)

Are 400 million Americans our key to continued prosperity?


This ponzi-scheme will have long blown up before 2050. I personally believe more people will just lead to bigger groups of looters, not more prosperity. But the infinite growth crowd on a finite planet control all levels of the media and politics.

My God but we're a dumbed-down lot. I interestedly clicked on the "how it works" link for the rig-covering oil-recovery box:

It says almost nothing about how it works....barely even what it's supposed to do. The article mentions "pumps it through a funnel", yet I doubt there is a pump at all.

No diagrams, no tech description, nothing informative at all.

That is what all the media are reporting, and it was my understanding of how it works.

How else is the oil going to get from the bottom of the sea into tankers?

Oil is less dense than water, once you have enough oil in the riser pipe the water outside it will push it to the surface with considerable force.

As I understand it, they still have to use pumps, because of the low temperatures.