Drumbeat: July 6, 2010

Analysis: Deepwater Discoveries, Production Still Critical to Reserve Base

While the Deepwater Horizon incident has introduced a new dimension of uncertainty to the offshore oil and gas sector, deepwater oil discoveries are increasingly important to the global and U.S. reserve base, according to research compiled by IHS CERA.

The volume of new oil reserves coming from deepwater has been on an upward trend since the 1990s, and has become particularly important in recent years. From 2006 to 2009, annual world deepwater discoveries in over 600 feet of water accounted for 42 percent to 54 percent of all discoveries onshore and offshore. In 2008 alone, deepwater discoveries added 13.7 billion BOE to global reserves.

OPEC oil reserves rise 4% in 2009, income slides

The reserves of some countries, including Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Nigeria, have not changed for several years according to OPEC’s report — a trend that for some observers makes the figures questionable.

‘It’s clearly ridiculous, as if new discoveries would match production,’ said Colin Campbell, a retired petroleum geologist and exponent of the peak oil theory that supply has or will soon hit a high point from which it will fall.

‘They’re absolutely impossible numbers.’

Pump prices head down again after holiday weekend

Drivers are finding lower gas pump prices now that the July 4th weekend is over and prices are likely to keep sliding.

Layton Says Canada Should Review Oil Sands, Offshore Drilling Regulations

Canada should review regulations on all “unconventional” oil exploration, including oil sands and offshore projects, before allowing new work to proceed, New Democratic Party Leader Jack Layton said.

The review would be broader than the current one being conducted by the federal regulator, Layton told reporters in Ottawa today. Safety questions about drilling in remote regions using newer technologies must be answered after the spill at a BP Plc well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Storm threat could mean a worse gusher

The tropical wave is some 1,100 miles from the oily disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. It could go anywhere from Florida to Mexico. It could wind up little more than rain and blustery wind.

Nonetheless, a broad system tracking west across the Caribbean Sea was an unsettling reminder that hurricane season remains a significant threat to BP's slow struggle to contain and seal its deep-sea gusher.

Gulf States Credit Escapes Damage as Oil Soaks Coasts, S&P Says

(Bloomberg) -- Fiscal damage to states caused by BP Plc’s leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico has been “manageable” so far, and current credit ratings will remain unchanged in the near-term, Standard & Poor’s said.

Tourism, fishing, shipping and energy industries are major contributors to Gulf Coast state economies and the most likely to be affected by the worst oil spill in U.S. history, S&P said today in a report.

Gulf Operators Declare Force Majeure on Diamond Rigs

Diamond Offshore reported that four operators have declared force majeure on drilling rigs under contract in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

Devon and Murphy Oil have declared force majeure on semisubmersibles Ocean Endeavor and Ocean Confidence, while Chevron and Arena have declared force majeure on jackups Ocean Columbia and Ocean Scepter respectively.

EPA: Clean-air rule would overturn Bush-era plan

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is proposing new rules to tighten restrictions on pollution from coal-burning power plants in the eastern half of the country, a key step to cut emissions that cause smog.

Conservationists protest Malaysia coal plant plan

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Conservationists criticized a plan Monday to build a coal-fired power plant in an environmentally fragile state on Borneo island, but energy officials said the project will provide a much-needed electricity supply boost.

Energy projects have often generated protests in Malaysia's two states in Borneo, with activists alleging authorities and companies ignore the rights of indigenous tribal communities and cause environmental harm by cutting down swaths of jungle.

Nigeria: Middle class in fear as kidnappings rise

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria (AP) -- Masked armed men guard Nigeria's elite in this volatile oil-rich region, but the country's middle class can only lock their doors and pray each time their children leave home.

Kidnappers who once targeted foreign oil workers are now abducting children - including one as young as 8 months old - for whatever ransom they can get.

U.S. opposition grows over TransCanada's Keystone pipeline

Another leading U.S. politician has come out against TransCanada’s controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

In a letter released Tuesday, U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman calls Keystone XL “a multibillion-dollar investment to expand our reliance on the dirtiest source of transportation fuel currently available.”

Oil Spill Reaches Louisiana's Inland Waters

(AP) An oil spill that was previously a problem for coastal Louisiana was trickling deeper inland Tuesday and toward the shores of New Orleans.

Oil sheen and tar balls from the Deepwater Horizon gusher have been spotted in Lake Pontchartrain, the huge lake forming the northern boundary of the city that was rescued in the 1990s from rampant pollution.

Friendship in an Age of Economics

Our age, what we might call the age of economics, is in thrall to two types of relationships which reflect the lives we are encouraged to lead. There are consumer relationships, those that we participate in for the pleasure they bring us. And there are entrepreneurial relationships, those that we invest in hoping they will bring us some return. In a time in which the discourse of economics seeks to hold us in its grip, this should come as no surprise.

Candidate for Iowa ag secretary will discuss themes from his book

Francis Thicke, candidate for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, will be discussing themes from his book, "A New Vision for Iowa Food and Agriculture" and how they relate to concerns of Iowans at 6:30 p.m. today in Dubuque.

Peak oil, climate-change and water-quality problems are just a few of the major challenges that Iowa agriculture is facing, he said.

Is it cheaper to just let the planet heat?

Letting greenhouse gases build in the atmosphere is a bit like letting a tree grow roots beneath the foundation of your house. It may not be that bad this year, or next year, or even the year after that. But with each year that goes by, the problem becomes incrementally more severe, and harder to reverse. So even if Manzi is right that the costs are manageable into 2100 -- a century, after all, is a long time for a human, but not for the atmosphere -- what does that do to our descendants who have to deal with a scorching planet between 2100 and 2200? And then into 2300, and then 2400?

Opec sees 4% reserve boost

Opec's proven crude oil reserves rose 4% in 2009 to 1.06 trillion barrels led by an increase in Venezuela, the group said in its Annual Statistical Bulletin released today.

The cartel also said it saw the value of its petroleum sales abroad plummet to $575 billion in 2009 from the record $1 trillion in 2008 as recession hit energy demand and prices.

Opec's growth in oil reserves was mainly due to Venezuela, whose holdings climbed to 211 billion barrels from 172 billion in 2008, reported Reuters.

EIA’s first Peak Oil statement—how was their vision a decade ago?

Back in 2000, the EIA developed their first power-point presentation covering the topic of peak oil (http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/FTPROOT/presentations/long_term_supply/index.ht...). A version of it was presented by EIA Administrator Jay Hakes to the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. The two images below are excerpted from that presentation.

What was the EIA’s rationale at the time? How has their view held up a decade later?

FACTBOX - China's refinery expansion plans

BEIJING (Reuters) - PetroChina started test runs at its new 200,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Qinzhou refinery in southwestern Guangxi region last week and plans to enter commercial runs around the end of August, industry sources said.

Aramco Raises August Oil Prices to NW Europe, Extra Light to U.S. and Asia

Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest state-owned oil company, raised its August official selling prices for all crude grades to customers in Northwest Europe and increased Arab Extra Light prices to the U.S. and Asia.

China's Jan.-May coal imports jump 114 pct on robust industrial demand

China's coal imports surged 114.3 percent year on year to 68.98 million tonnes in the Jan.-May period on the back of strong industrial demand, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said Monday.

In a statement posted on its website, the MIIT attributed the increased demand to the power, steel, cement and chemical fertilizer industries.

What happens when coal is gone?

LINDAU, Germany--What’s the best way to address a politically charged topic such as the future of energy? Remove the politics. “We’re going to skip over the politics,” Robert P. Laughlin, who won a Nobel Prize for physics in 1998, told a rapt audience of young scientists and others here at the 60th annual Nobel Laureate Lectures at Lindau. “I’m not interested in now but in the time of your children’s children’s children, six generations into the future and 200 years from now,” when all carbon burning has stopped because it’s been banned or none is left, he said. “Thinking about a problem this way is so simple. Instead of arguing about what to do now, I want to talk about what will happen when there’s no coal."

BP has not renewed Iran air fuel contract

Oil giant BP has not renewed a contract to supply Iranian airlines with fuel, the Financial Times Deutschland reported in its Tuesday edition.

The report, in the German-language edition of the financial daily, could explain a statement by an Iranian official Monday that Britain, Germany and the United Arab Emirates had started to refuse to refuel its passenger planes.

The contract had expired at the end of June, the FT Deutschland reported, and its ending was already having an effect.

Uganda conditionally approves Heritage asset sale

(Reuters) - Uganda on Tuesday gave its conditional approval for the sale of Heritage Oil's assets in Uganda to another British explorer, Tullow Oil, Energy Minister Hilary Onek said.

BP's Tony Hayward visits oil-rich Azerbaijan, oversees signing of gas deal

BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — BP's embattled chief executive on Tuesday visited oil-rich Azerbaijan in a bid to assuage fears that his company may sell assets in the country to help pay for the clean-up of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The one-day visit comes a week after Tony Hayward, who has been criticized for his handling of the devastating oil spill, traveled to Moscow to reassure Russia that the British energy company is committed to investments there.

Residents of coastal Mexican city had to reimagine their lives years after Ixtoc oil spill

CIUDAD DEL CARMEN, Mexico -- Late one weekday morning not long before he turned 71, Roman Zapata Ojeda took the keys of several people much younger than him and parked their cars outside a restaurant overlooking the Bay of Campeche.

Some said, "Muchas gracias," and tipped him a few pesos for watching over their vehicles. Others drove off without a word of thanks.

"I did not always do this," Zapata assured, nodding his head and squinting from under a red baseball cap. "I used to be very successful, very well-known."

Zapata put four children through college with what he earned in more than 40 years building and repairing shrimp boats in Ciudad del Carmen. But his career was one of thousands that ended during the years after the massive Ixtoc I oil spill in June 1979, just 60 miles northwest of the island city he has always called home.

Myths from the right about the disaster in the gulf

A new narrative reverberating in right-wing political circles blames the Deepwater Horizon disaster on a favorite scapegoat: the federal government.

FACTBOX - Offshore increasingly important to oil industry

(Reuters) - The Gulf of Mexico oil spill has highlighted the risks of offshore oil production and the potential costs involved in drilling deep below the ocean.

BP Said to Consider Selling Colombia, Venezuela Fields to Pay Spill Costs

BP Plc, seeking cash to meet the costs of the worst U.S. spill, is considering selling fields in Colombia, Venezuela and Vietnam, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

Lupatech Sees `Growing Demand' From Petrobras for Oil Equipment, Services

Lupatech SA, Brazil’s biggest oil equipment and service provider, sees “growing demand” from Petroleo Brasileiro SA for its services as the state-controlled producer boosts spending to double output in a decade, said Chief Financial Officer Thiago Alonso de Oliveira.

“We are facing a moment when the things we supply are in a period of growing demand,” Oliveira said today in a telephone interview from Sao Paulo. “It’s a period when several discoveries are in the beginning development phase.”

New fuel shortages lead to queuing

A shortage in 80-octane gasoline and diesel caused overcrowding yesterday at several gas stations throughout Egypt.

In Alexandria lines of cars waiting to fill up their gas tanks extended for almost one kilometer, clogging side streets.

LPG in short supply in Peru capital Lima due to high waves at ports

Lima (Platts) Consumers of LPG in the Peruvian capital of Lima -- home to eight million people -- struggled to find the fuel at service stations across the city as authorities said the shortage since the weekend, and which appeared nearly total Monday, was temporary as it was just due to rough seas.

LPG is the second most consumed fuel in Peru -- used for cooking and for cars.

The geopolitics of oil

With China set to overtake the US in energy consumption within four years’ time and India and China likely to consume a little less than a third of our global energy within the next two decades, anyone thinking that the Gulf of Mexico tragedy will wipe oil exploration off the map will be naïve at best and gullible at worst.

On the other hand my biggest concern is that in spite of the environmental rape that took place in that area, I very much suspect that once time will have taken its toll, our memory lapses will start prevailing again, and sins of omission and commission in the environmental sector will continue to take place, recur and repeat themselves. Possibly at a bigger financial and environmental cost for us all.

Carolyn Baker - "Graduating" from Graduating from College: the ivory tower crumbles

Warning: This article is blasphemous. How can a former professor of history and psychology write an article with this title? Is the author simply a disgruntled doomer who has become hopelessly cynical?

Kristofer Jakobsson and Kjell Aleklett: Oil in the veins of sub-Saharan Africa [PDF]

Soaring world oil prices strike hard on everyday life in countries of Sub-Saharan Africa and further hamper the well-needed economic growth that could be a way out of poverty and underdevelopment. Nowhere else in the world does oil have a more dominant role as a commercial energy form. In order to promote economic growth, oil seems to be the most useful means for energy supply as of today.

Pigs in Takoma Park highlight rise in suburban livestock

Mark Parisi, who spent his boyhood on a Connecticut farm, thought it made perfect sense to put two pigs in his suburban Takoma Park back yard and raise them to become pork chops. But not everyone in the neighborhood was thrilled to see the porkers rolling around in the dirt. Soon, someone squealed, and the authorities came calling.

But when they arrived, time and again, they found nothing amiss on Parisi's small plot of land. It turns out that pigs, chickens, goats and the occasional rooster are perfectly legal in Montgomery County and many other Washington suburbs. That puts the BlackBerry-obsessed region, partly by accident, partly by design, on the leading edge of a national "grow your own" movement that has evolved well beyond organic vegetables.

Celebrating independence

On this Independence Day, I'm celebrating the ways my family's lifestyle is becoming more independent from the mainstream. This means our lifestyle is becoming more independent from oil for long-distance transport of goods, more independent from carbon emissions, more independent from the Industrial Growth Paradigm, demanding less earth resources, and thus much more resilient.

Bill McKibben: Want to Light up a Movement? Think Art, Engage the Heart

Right now the left brain really isn’t doing the trick. We’ve known about climate change for 20 years—known that it’s the greatest threat humans have ever had to deal with. And so far we’ve done…nothing. Oh, some little stuff here and there, but nothing on a scale big enough to matter. Environmentalists have believed that the scientific facts— unimpeachable, and unbearable—would be enough to force action. They’ve believed fervently in statistic, in bar graphs, in pie charts, in white papers, in executive summaries, in closed-door briefings. It’s all noble, but it’s meant that we never managed to build a movement around global warming. You don’t build movements with bar graphs.

Our "end of the economy" moment

This past week at the Transition Network Conference 2010 in the UK, the speaker Stoneleigh rocked everyone's paradigm with her talk "Making Sense of the Financial Crisis in the Era of Peak Oil."

Bunkers ‘R not us: Correcting Boston Magazine’s take on this movement

The End is Near, Inc.

This is the title of the recent full-spread article in Boston Magazine about me, my work and our community. It’s due out in hard print on Sunday with the Boston Globe. It is already available on-line here.

Unfortunately, the article relies too much on sensationalistic stereotypes and includes some troubling distortions. My chief concern is that the story told through a very few limited, out of context and edited quotes paints a picture of Becca and me as doomsayers with a bunker mentality. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Michael Grätzel: Give people access to cheap solar power

Michael Grätzel is a man with a mission. As the inventor of a low-cost solar cell, he wants to help the world avoid an energy crisis by harnessing the power of the Sun. His translucent Grätzel cells use a combination of titanium dioxide and organic dyes to convert sunlight into electricity, providing a cheaper and more environmentally friendly source of energy than silicon solar cells.

Ministry of power blocks $800m hydropower project

ISLAMABAD -- Despite the severe energy crisis tormenting the country and rising power tariffs, the Ministry of Water and Power is reported to have blocked $800 million foreign investment for a cheap hydelpower generation project on procedural and technical grounds.

Stores Running the AC? Then Shut the Door!

NEW YORK, NY — As the heat wave continues to pound New York City, stores are blasting their air conditioners as a way to lure in overheated customers. Councilwoman Gail Brewer of the Upper West Side says her office hopes to conduct surveys during this week's heat wave to see if stores are complying with the city law requiring large stores to shut their doors if they have the air conditioner running.

Iran to stop subsidised petrol sales from September

TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran is to halt the sale of subsidised petrol from late September as part of plans to phase out subsidies on energy products, ISNA news agency reported on Monday.

"Based on decisions taken, from the second half of this (Iranian) year (late September), the rationed petrol sales will be stopped," said Mohammad Royanian, head of Iran's fuel transportation organisation, quoted by ISNA.

From September "the rationing of petrol will be scrapped," he added.

Oil Reverses Losses to Trade Above $72 as Dollar Weakens, Equities Rebound

Oil rose for the first time in six days as the dollar weakened and advancing equities reaffirmed confidence the global recovery will stimulate fuel demand.

Crude reversed earlier losses of as much as 1.5 percent as European equity indexes climbed the most in a month. The industry-funded American Petroleum Institute will release its weekly report on fuel supply and demand levels tomorrow, a day later than normal because of yesterday’s Independence Day holiday in the U.S.

China's CNPC eyes 500 mcm shale gas output by 2015

(Reuters) - State-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) aims to produce 500 million cubic metres (mcm) of shale gas by 2015, a company executive said in an article published on Sunday.

China does not have any shale gas production and evaluation of the potential resources is only at a preliminary stage, Deputy General Manager Liao Yongyuan said.

India back on track after a day's strike

Life was back on track across India on Tuesday after a day-long crippling strike called by the opposition against rising food and fuel prices cost the economy millions of dollars.

Shops, businesses and industries reopened, the usual traffic returned to roads and highways, while educational institutions and offices saw normal attendance in all parts of the country.

Exxon, Petrobras May Have to Shut Japan Units on New Refining Regulation

Exxon Mobil Corp.’s Japanese unit and Petroleo Brasileiro SA may have to spend billions of dollars upgrading plants or else shut units because of new rules aimed at boosting heavy-oil refining, analysts said.

Nigeria, China Sign an $8 Billion Oil Refinery Agreement, ThisDay Reports

Nigeria and China have signed an agreement to build the West African nation’s biggest oil refinery at a cost of $8 billion, ThisDay reported, without saying where it got the information.

Some Total U.K. Refinery Workers Return to Work; One Unit Shut on Asbestos

About 200 contractors at Total SA’s Lindsey oil refinery in northeast England returned to work today as one unit at the site remained closed after a fatal explosion led to asbestos contamination.

Bulgaria to Pull Out of Joint Oil Pipeline Project

Bulgaria “is no longer interested” in a project to build an oil pipeline from the Black Sea to the Aegean following the environmental damage caused by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to Boyko Borissov, prime minister.

Mr Borissov made clear in an interview with the Financial Times that Bulgaria intended to pull out of a three-way partnership with Russia and Greece after an environmental impact study for the project is completed early next year.

China's heat wave sends power generation to new high

BEIJING - A searing heat wave that has scorched many parts of China has brought the country's daily electricity generation to its highest level ever, touching 12.93 billion kilowatt-hours on Monday, according to data from the National Power Dispatch and Communication Center.

Geologist sentence puzzles officials

US officials reacted with dismay and puzzlement today to the eight-year prison sentence imposed on an US geologist because he bought a database on China’s oil industry.

China defends jailing U.S. geologist

China on Tuesday rejected U.S. criticism of its treatment of an American geologist who was sentenced to eight years in prison for spying and collecting state secrets.

The U.S. Embassy issued a statement calling for Xue Feng's immediate release and deportation to the United States after he was sentenced Monday, and U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman attended the court hearing to show Washington's interest.

Tar balls hit Texas as BP oil spill cost soars

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AFP) – BP faced a broadening crisis Tuesday with tar balls from the Gulf oil spill turning up on Texas beaches, as the firm's clean-up costs soared and British officials reportedly mulled a possible BP collapse.

A giant Taiwanese ship deployed to boost the clean-up meanwhile remained in testing, with initial results inconclusive because of choppy waters, and bad weather on the horizon threatened to further disrupt clean-up efforts.

`Killing' BP's Macondo Oil Well Takes Mud, Precision Pressure

BP Plc is likely to intercept its Gulf of Mexico gusher this month, ahead of schedule, kicking off a “kill” process that may take as little as two days or drag out because of complications caused by the well’s depth.

Blimp expected to arrive to help track oil slick

New Orleans, Louisiana (CNN) -- A massive, silver-colored blimp is expected to arrive in the Gulf Coast Tuesday to aid in oil disaster response efforts.

The U.S. Navy airship will be used to detect oil, direct skimming ships and look for wildlife that may be threatened by oil, the Coast Guard said Monday.

BP oil spill: How much has bad weather hurt the cleanup?

A week of high winds and waves has interfered with some efforts to contain and clean up the BP oil spill. But key activities have continued with little interruption from bad weather.

Wildlife agency predicted low risk from oil spills

NEW ORLEANS – Less than three years before the Gulf oil spill erupted, federal regulators concluded several offshore drilling projects posed a low risk to endangered wildlife — a determination that contrasts sharply with recent scenes of birds struggling to survive the slick.

BP remains key Pentagon supplier

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Despite its role in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, energy giant BP remains a key supplier of fuel to the Pentagon, The Washington Post reported.

Citing data from the Defense Logistics Agency, the newspaper said BP had contracts with the US Defense Department worth at least 980 million dollars in the current fiscal year.

BP In Talks With Wealth Funds, Reports Say

BP has approached sovereign wealth funds with a view to securing a strategic investor to fend off takeover bids while the British oil company deals with its massive U.S. oil spill, according to press reports.

Reuters, citing a senior United Arab Emirates source, reported Tuesday that BP executives have held talks with a number of sovereign wealth funds including Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Qatar and Singapore.

BP is seeking a strategic partner so it doesn’t get taken over by other major oil companies such as Exxon and Total, the source said. “It’s BP that is approaching the sovereign wealth funds not the other way round. They are the ones in need of a partner,” the UAE source told Reuters.

BP shares rise as company says no plan to issue stock

LONDON (Reuters) – Stock in BP rose on Tuesday as the British oil major ruled out a share issue and talk persisted of sovereign wealth fund interest, while its Gulf of Mexico oil slick spread to the Texas coast.

BP shares were up 3.7 percent after hitting their highest in two weeks. They at one stage had lost more than $100 billion in value in the 78 days following its April 20 oil rig explosion that unleashed the massive spill.

Govt 'works on crisis plan' in case spill sinks BP

LONDON (AFP) – Britain is working on crisis action in case energy giant BP is ruined by the costs of coping with its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, The Times reported on Tuesday without citing its sources.

The talks, with officials from the government's Department for Business and the Treasury, show mounting concern that the company could collapse, the report said.

Which way forwards for BP?

BP's share price - which had more than halved since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in April first triggered the company's woes - has staged an impressive recovery in recent weeks.

Yet talk continues to circulate of a possible strategic investor in BP - either as a welcome provider of fresh capital to the company, or an unwelcome opportunist sniffing a bargain.

So what are the options now for BP?

Gulf spill hasn't scared off Lloyd's of London

FORTUNE -- From the glamorous to the bizarre to the outright catastrophic, Lloyd's of London has insured against some of the world's most unusual risks: There was the finger that Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards injured during a concert tour in the 1990s. Lloyd's once insured actress Bette Davis' waistline against expansion. It also insured Ugly Betty star's America Ferrara's $10 million smile for Aquafresh White Trays.

But Lloyd's latest high-profile risk has little to do with celebrities and everything to do with the worst oil spill in U.S. history. It is one of the biggest insurers of offshore energy contractors along the Gulf of Mexico, including Transocean (RIG)'s Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded while it was under contract for BP.

More Than Raging Sea, Oil Threatens Inn

An Alabama bed-and-breakfast that was restored after hurricane damage is struggling now.

BP board game foreshadows Gulf disaster

BP Offshore Oil Strike was released in the early 1970s and allows up to four players to explore for oil, build platforms and construct pipelines. The first player to earn $120,000,000 wins.

Its "hazard cards" include "Blow-out! Rig damaged. Oil slick clean-up costs. Pay $1 million."

Calls to Update Maritime Laws

Lawmakers in Washington are fixed on the legal and financial fallout of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on BP and firms like Transocean, the operator of the Deepwater Horizon rig that sank in April.

But a flurry of legislation in Congress could also have sweeping consequences, both intended and unintended, for other industries that work at sea.

Saudis Will Stop Exploring for More Oil

Depending on who you choose to believe, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is either running out of oil or is sitting on deposits far larger than 262 billion barrels. The Saudis have never allowed independent verification of the Kingdom’s reserves.

Some, such as Matthew Simmons, believe that the original-oil-in-place has been depleted and that the Saudis have not told the truth about the size of the country’s remaining reserves. The difficulty that the state oil company, Saudi Aramco, has had with some of its recent exploration activities gives some credence to this view.

Saudi agrees on nuclear energy pact with France

RIYADH (AFP) – The Saudi cabinet agreed on Monday to sign a nuclear cooperation accord with France, which could open the way for French help in developing nuclear power in the oil-rich kingdom.

The agreement is "for the development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy," the cabinet announced after its weekly meeting in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency.

Firms plan green energy power lines under Med

PARIS (AFP) – An industrial consortium launched preparations on Monday for a possible future power grid under the Mediterranean that would carry solar energy from Africa to Europe.

The Transgreen group hopes that solar power farms planned in the Sahara desert will generate 20 gigawatts of electricity by 2020, and that a quarter of this could be fed into the European market.

Energy utopia and reality collide

Two weeks ago, the EU energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger met North African officials in Algiers to discuss integrating electricity markets. Mr Oettinger told Reuters electricity could start flowing to Europe within five years.

But analysts say mustering governments and investors on both sides of the Mediterranean into large-scale co-operation presents a significant challenge for Desertec’s supporters.

For a Premier Lab, a Zero-Energy Showcase

The federal government has just finished construction on a zero-energy office building, the nation’s largest, and is hoping that commercial developers will follow its lead. The 222,000-square-foot Research Support Facility is on the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory campus in Golden, Colo. Just over 800 employees will occupy the building once it officially opens in late August.

Morocco’s push to develop renewable power

RABAT // Last Monday near Tangiers, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI inaugurated 165 wind turbines the government is touting as Africa’s largest wind farm, the state news agency says.

The installation is Morocco’s latest advance in a drive for renewable energies that is winning it recognition as a regional leader in the field.

5 things to know about energy rebates

The government's Cash for Appliances program, which lets you score rebates for about $50 to $500 swapping energy guzzling appliances for more efficient models, has gotten lots of attention.

But don't count your greenbacks just yet. The incentives, which are administered through the states, are typically doled out on a first-come, first-served basis, and in many locales the money is already gone.

Little independence in global society

Concern over the current economic meltdown has eclipsed talk of peak oil, but the fact remains that the era of endless supplies of cheap energy, on which globalism absolutely depends, is drawing to a close.

La Nina expected in Pacific this year

(Reuters) - La Nina is likely to cool the tropical Pacific in coming months, a phenomenon which usually causes stronger monsoons across Asia and eastern Australia, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Tuesday.

The weather condition also promotes the development of storms including hurricanes in the tropical Atlantic, it said.

Greenpeace: Paper company is 'trashing Indonesian rainforests'

(CNN) -- One of the world's largest pulp and paper companies is destroying Indonesia's rainforests and taking away the habitat of rare animals, environmental group Greenpeace charged Tuesday.

The Greenpeace report accuses Asia Pulp and Paper of "relentlessly trashing rainforests, driving species extinction and, if left unchecked, will threaten Indonesia's efforts to address climate change."

Are environmentalists for earth, or for themselves?

Why bother? It's a question many are asking since BP's debacle in the Gulf of Mexico. Is it worth the daily sacrifices we make — separating paper from plastic, standing ready with reusable totes, supplying kids with recycled crayons and paper — when our minuscule efforts can be washed away by one sloppily unsecured oil well? Perhaps it depends on what's really behind our drive to go green.

At least some of our motivation rests on the mistaken belief that the earth's survival depends solely on us. Do-it-yourself has long been America's default mantra. Fend for yourself and your loved ones or suffer the consequences of an empty retirement account, an ailment caught too late, or test scores too low to get your offspring into a reputable college. But can we do it ourselves when it comes to the environment?

China to host UN climate change talks in October

China will host UN climate change talks in October, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang here Tuesday.

The 12th session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) and the 14th session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) will be held in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin, Qin told a regular news briefing.

Global Warming & the Insurance Industry 2010 - Analysing the Impact Global Warming & Climate Change Have on the Insurance Industry

Throughout their history, insurance companies have done more than collect premiums and pay claims. They've made the world a safer place - by promoting fire prevention, lobbying for building codes, testing the crash-worthiness of cars and rating vehicles for safety.

Now some insurers are worried by the threat to their business posed by climate change. And they are starting to see what, if anything, they can do about it.

New Errors Found in UN Climate Change Report

(CBS/AP) A leading Dutch environmental agency, taking the blame for one of the glaring errors that undermined the credibility of a seminal U.N. report on climate change, said it has discovered more small mistakes and urged the panel to be more careful.

But the review released Monday by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency claimed that none of the errors affected the fundamental conclusion by U.N. panel of scientists: that global warming caused by humans already is happening and is threatening the lives and well-being of millions of people.

UPDATE: Shell To Award Deals To Develop Iraq's Oil Field

Behind a pay wall but the full article is available through Google.

Shell said earlier that it was planning to drill 15 new wells over the next two years at Majnoon, that would help lift production to 175,000 barrels a day by 2012 from current 45,000 barrels a day.

The Anglo-Dutch super major and Petronas were awarded a contract in December to develop the Majnoon field, which is located in Basra governorate and holds some 12.6 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.

There is something very strange about these numbers, something astonishing. If Majnoon really holds 12.6 billion barrels of proven reserves, and they are only producing 45,000 barrels per day then at that rate the field will last them about 767 years. But if they really do increase production to 175,000 barrels per day then the field will last them in only 197 years.

According to this chart by Stuart Staniford Majnoon already has a decline rate of 5.2 percent. (Stuart mislabels decline on this chart as depletion.) Imagine that, 12.6 billion barrels of reserves and they are pumping at only 45,000 barrels per day and they already have a decline rate of 5.2 percent. But not to worry, according to this chart Majnoon will soon be pumping 1.8 million barrels per day.

But the really astonishing thing I find about these Middle East proven reserve numbers is that there are people who actually believe them.

Ron P.

The Government of Iraq previously described Majnoon as a giant.

I don’t have any special knowledge about Iraq’s oil fields, but the only good thing I gather from this article is that they have an ambitious target to get production up in two short years. Maybe they can due accomplish that due to the limited oil aspirations in the Majnoon field, but even if Iraq elsewhere had the vast reserves claimed, there is just no way they are going to develop major projects as fast as stated by government officials.

I remain very skeptical that a huge (greater than 50%) output increase can ever be made, although I believe there is some capacity to build up destroyed or neglected oil field infrastructure to increase output.

Iraq port buckles under demand of arriving oil majors
Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:26am GMT

UMM QASR, Iraq, June 28 (Reuters) - Iraq's hopes of building economic prosperity on the back of multibillion-dollar deals to develop its vast oil reserves have met a major hurdle in a lack of dock space and an impenetrable bureaucracy at its top port.

Neglect, under-investment, combined with red tape, corruption and bureaucracy have left Umm Qasr port, near the oil hub of Basra, ill-equipped to deal with the demands of oil majors trying to pour tonnes of equipment into Iraq.

"This port is the worst in the Middle East," said an agent working for a foreign company at Umm Qasr as ships queued in the Gulf and trucks waited in long lines to collect their cargo.
"No machinery, no services, no system," the agent said, barely able to disguise his frustration.


I remain very skeptical that a huge (greater than 50%) output increase can ever be made, although I believe there is some capacity to build up destroyed or neglected oil field infrastructure to increase output.

50 percent! Charles, you don't know the half of it. This increase by Shell is supposed to be from 40 kb/d to 175 kib/d is 437 percent but that is only for starters. The plan is to increase the output of Majnoon to 1.8 million barrels per day, an increase of 4,000 percent. (40 times current production.)

Iraq Could Delay Peak Oil a Decade This is a guest post by Stuart Staniford, former Oil Drum staff member.

Iraq could delay peak oil a decade--with the emphasis on the could.

Stuart is not saying it will happen but he is saying that it is a definite possibility. Could Majnoon's production be increased by a factor of 40. A definite possibility you think? Well yes you might think that, if you are really, really gullible.

Ron P.

With all the media coverage of the BP spill, let us not forget the weather this week...

E. Swanson

I'm taking a break from unloading hay. We had to start at 7:30 pitching loose hay in the barn because it is just unbearably hot and humid. In a few minutes, we're going to pick up another load with the hay loader in the field then park it outside the barn until tonight when it cools off.

It's already 88 degrees.

Oh--and we're in MAINE.

We are supposed to be building to the same on the west coast Canada and in Pacific NW....starting today and through the week. We don't have the humidity, but with a westerly the woods can dry out to dangerous levels in just a few days.

Here in Spokane (inland, close to Idaho border), just heard another "hazardous conditions, fire" warning on the local news. Indeed, our prevailing is from the SW, so it doesn't take long for things to dry out. Here's hoping people are careful and taking preventive measures where possible.

It will be in the nineties here in South Central Illinois. AT least it's not as hot as the east coast. Everything is drying out real fast, in a few days we'll definitely need some rain. I'll have to irrigate a few of my newly planted trees. I'm not looking forward to going out today and working on a ravine on the south side of my property, it's going to be pretty sweaty filling it up with broken concrete, brush, and soil.

Heat alerts the last two days in Detroit. One homeless woman died outside her car in a parking lot. Was she trying to get in or trying to get out?



And to help get across the point that climate change is not just warming, but increased variability, the forecast high for Denver for Wednesday is 67 °F :^)

Denver has an awesome climate. I dug up some records going back a few years and the highest dew point i could find our there was in the low 60's. That would feel GREAT right now. My dew point here in Wisconsin has hovered in the low 70's the past few days. Last summer was a cold summer (very) and we still had 18 days with a dew point higher then 70F+...we already have had 11 so far this summer. I use that as a marker because anything over 65F is very yucky and anything about 70F is miserable. I'm taking 2 showers a day in this crap. Work outside? If you want Maleria or Encephalitis...the mosquitos are the worse i've seen for a very long time. I guess over 10 inches of rain since June 1st doesn't help. I'm moving to Hudson Bay!

Cool. In the South of Spain, Seville for example, temperatures right now are as high as 42 ºC, that Converber translates into 107.6 ºF. In the shadow of course. It is as high as 46ºC/114.8ºF in some places.
Not many people have air conditioners.
Some public places in the open have mist humidifiers and people sit under the cool 'rain'.
It is the hot air from the Sahara and it will last some days.

I do not understand why British/European tourists go to Spain in Summer; our weather is inhuman, at least in the South. Spring and Autumn are OK, but the Summer is too hot and Spain in Winter is mostly covered in snow and ice --it lies at the latitude of New York, that's often forgotten. The South is OK in Winter.

I do not understand why British/European tourists go to Spain in Summer; our weather is inhuman...

The British have had a long history of sun-induced masochism. It was the Indians who coined the phrase, "only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun."

For most Brits, Spain is cheaper and easier to get to than India.

Or was it Noel Coward?

I think it was Noel Coward. It is all over the net that the phrase originally came from Rudyard Kipling but no one has ever found the poem, book or whatever where Kipling used the phrase. I suppose it just sounded so much like Kipling that some thought he wrote it and Coward used the phrase, already coined by Kipling, in his song. Probably not, it is likely a Coward original.

Ron P.

Right... it was Coward.

In tropical climes
There are certain times
Of day
When all the citizens retire
To take their clothes off and perspire.
It's one of those rules
That the greatest fools
Because the sun is far too sultry
And one must avoid its ultry
Violet ray.

The natives grieve
When the white men leave
Their huts.
Because they're obviously,

Same here in Orlando, Florida, US. Most tourists come during the summer to wait in line in Disney World and Universal Studios. Barcelona was actually a pleasant change from our summer weather last year.... For instance, today, with some shade and showers, it's 88 F (31 C) with 65% humidity. We might get down to 75 tonight, but the humidity goes up.

We rode on Spaceship Earth at Epcot in the Summer, an enclosed geodesic globe that really heats up. The AC was going, but I was still sweating like mad. Aspirin and salt please!

Here in Lisbon we've had two days of 40º (c. 105 F), which was just too much! Today (Wed) is slightly better, will be in the 34-36º range. In Alentejo, inside away from the coast, it was 42º....

It's already 88 degrees.

Oh--and we're in MAINE.

On the other end of the spectrum, it is only 67F in San Gabriel today at noon, and usually weather this time of the year is heat-wave or near heat-wave hotness of 100+F.

High nineties here on the south facing lower slopes of the Blue Ridges.

We are irrigating constantly now after experiencing a very very wet spring;without the irrigation we would have already lost our little fruit trees and field crops-tomatos, sweet corn , potatos common and sweet,as well as all the other stuff grown in small quantities for our own use. One nieghbor at least has sold his cows and other nieghbors are already feeding next winters hay.

It would be dangerous to bale hay with an old rickety baler-a spark would burn a whole hay field in a flash, although the woods/forest are still ok firewise.

I mention this ust to inject just to inject a little day to day reality into the discussion of how much land is needed to grow your own food.

Ps- We have also had two hailstorms so far;we have been lucky in this respect, not to much damage on our place.But some of our nieghbors were wiped out for the year.

You're comparing apples and oranges, ofc, so the comment is not useful. Set up your space how you have it and how, say, Mollison might have it, and the results may be different. Possibly very different. Possibly not. However, I will say that the water issue would certainly be less in a mature permaculture-based system.

You have to keep in mind, whereas a typical farm is designed for production first, permaculture systems are set up for resilience and self-reliance first.

That said, storms are storms, infestations are infestations, droughts are droughts.

Just injecting a little reality...



It would be dangerous to bale hay with an old rickety baler-a spark would burn a whole hay field in a flash

When my brother became a teenager, he used to visit his buddies on nearby farms during the summer. He used to disappear for a week at a time, came home to change his underwear and socks. Of course, their parents put him to work because nobody on a farm sits around and does nothing in the summer.

One farm had two Caterpillar tractors standing by to plow fire guards in case of a grass fire, a big one and a small one. Since my brother was only 13, they only let him drive the small one. The big Cat was particularly useful because it could pull a set of harrows through a fence without slowing down. Thats important, because you don't want to slow down when you have a grass fire burning out of control.

The big Cat had a gasoline engine to start the diesel, because there wasn't much chance of starting it with an electric motor. That's quite a bit different than the scale of farming most people on here are thinking about.

And it's a scale that may not be very applicable to our future. I don't know what's going to happen, but my preference would be for a lot of smaller farms rather than a few large ones.


There are huge economies of scale in farming. It's all about how much land one person can manage. I can remember a little old widow who was farming three square miles of land by herself. With power steering, power brakes and power everything on the equipment, it wasn't at all hard for a little old lady to do it all.

So, three square miles would seem to be the minimum size of farm to be efficient. One of my uncles-in-law used to farm 18 square miles in partnership with his brother. Having a partner allows you to take vacations, when things are not too busy. 18 square miles between two families is probably optimum if you want to take vacations from time to time. He used to visit farms in Holland and New Zealand to see how they were doing things there, but of course that made it tax-deductible. Everything on the farm was tax-deductible.

People may not like it, but those are the realities of farming. It's a very capital-intensive, high-tech, tax-exempt, government subsidized industry. Anything on a small scale is just a hobby farm.

Depends on the crop.

25 acres of tobacco and you will need a half dozen (or more) good hands several times during the season (planting, topping, suckering, harvesting, stripping).

Rotate the 25 acres amongst 150 to 200 acres of prime land and graze cattle to restore the land.

Dairy farms do not come in at 18 miles2 either.


Tobacco is something of a dying industry (sick joke). It's very lucrative on a per-acre basis, but I don't think it has much of a future.

The average diary farm has 120 or so cows, who could get by with a quarter of a square mile, assuming 1/2 to 1 cow per acre or so, which would very much depend on rainfall and land quality. At that size, the average farmer would need an outside job to keep afloat.

To provide a decent return on investment, a diary farm would probably need 500 cows or so, which might need one square mile to feed. The biggest ones have 20,000 cows, and I think they would need around 30 square miles to feed them all.

Dairy farms have economies of scale, too, which is why they are steadily getting larger.

RGM, until I started living in the heart of Illinois farm country I had no idea how critical modern equipment can make or break you. You are dead correct on the size someone can work, but another factor is speed. Speed in racing the weather in order to get a crop planted or harvested during a window of good weather I’ve seen people working the fields all night under the lights to get their corn in before the rains hit. Speed because a lot of these farmers have day jobs to make ends meet. We had a rule at the elevator I worked at - if one farmer calls in to say he has a load, you wait for him as long as it takes. It might be his only opportunity to get it in.

I like the story about Holland, my neighbor goes to Brazil.

I’ve seen people working the fields all night under the lights to get their corn in before the rains hit.

In my experience, working 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, from the time the crop hits maturity until the last of it is in the granery is routine. All the wives, kids, second cousin-in-laws, and old retired farmers in the neighborhood are called in to help. You don't won't to lose a harvest to weather.

BAU farming, maybe. As posted, which you seem to have not watched, 1/8 acre = $30k a year.

Try to bear in mind, when we speak of the future, we are talking about a world with little resemblance to the one you know.


"Global emissions targets will lead to 4C temperature rise, say studies
Studies predict major extinctions and collapse of Greenland ice sheet with temperatures rising well above UN targets"


Global emissions targets will lead to 4C temperature rise, say studies

EE, the same prediction of a rise of 4C is in the link below. A great read when you have the time. Recommend to Dohboi and ccpo as well.


It is clear that limiting warming to 2ºC is beyond us; the question now is whether we can limit warming to 4ºC. The conclusion that, even if we act promptly and resolutely, the world is on a path to reach 650 ppm and associated warming of 4°C is almost too frightening to accept. Yet that is the reluctant conclusion of the world’s leading climate scientists. Even with the most optimistic set of assumptions—the ending of deforestation, a halving of emissions associated with food production, global
emissions peaking in 2020 and then falling by 3 per cent a year for a few decades— we have no chance of preventing emissions rising well above a number of critical
tipping points that will spark uncontrollable climate change.

Thanks, PE. More confirmation of our @#$% predicament. The chapter on a four degree increase in Lynas' "Six Degrees" is quite frightening.

And I rather doubt it will stop at four.

Rather than all the technical stuff, I would love to see this or some website devoted to coming to terms with what it means to be part of a species that has done (and is doing) this kind of permanent damage to the only livable planet we have.

Convergence. Sometimes it happens for good reasons. Sharon Astyk and co-writer wrote about a nation of farmers. The Rodale Institute writes of solutions to climate change... by farming. The economic crisis ensures more people needing to grow some or all of their own food.

For my part, wrt the links, just a few months ago I was fairly sure we were approaching tipping points in the near future (now to 10+ years to hit them, the same or some N years later for manifestation), but am now fairly certain we are in the middle of and even past several tipping points.

A bit of research last year, I believe, was able to identify a pattern in chaotic structures and/or non-linear systems where things began to wobble a goodly bit just prior to the bifurcation/tipping point.

Sound familiar?

The time is now.


re: Are environmentalists for earth, or for themselves?

You know, that's a question I've often asked myself. As I see people throw their plastic purified water bottles into their expensive plastic recycle box with the recycle logo on the side, put it into the back of their 3-ton gas guzzling SUV, and drive 20 miles to the recycling depot, I think, "They're probably burning more oil doing this than it took to create the bottles in the first place. What are they gaining?"

I thing they're gaining a smug sense that they're not really using up as much of the world's resources than they really are. In reality the recyclers can't turn those plastic bottles into new plastic bottles, they are probably going to shred them and use 1500 of them to build a new garbage bin or something.

Meanwhile the happy consumers drive 20 miles in another direction to a shopping center to buy new purified water bottles, using up more of the world's diminishing oil resources, contributing to the US balance of payments deficit, and damaging the roads that their government can no longer afford to repair because of the cost of the foreign wars it has been fighting to secure the country's oil supply.

Now, if they sold the SUV and bought a bicycle, and they refilled the old water bottles with perfectly-good tap water rather than buying new ones, then I think they really might have achieved something. But as it is I think they're just managing to make themselves feel better.

I thing they're gaining a smug sense that they're not really using up as much of the world's resources than they really are. In reality the recyclers can't turn those plastic bottles into new plastic bottles, they are probably going to shred them and use 1500 of them to build a new garbage bin or something.

"Delusional" comes to mind.

Also: the plastic bottles go to China to become carpets.

What blows my mind is when I have been at workshops the water bottles come in 48 packs. Perfectly good fountains in the room.

What you are seeing isn't selfishness, it's a lack of understanding resource limits. Not only do most people not understand/know of PO and other limits, "greens" are simply a subset of this larger set; most of them are recycling to avoid trash in the environment and to avoid emissions, not because they understand resource limits.

It is necessary to integrate energy and climate into education and solutions to make this whole thing work.


I rode a bike to work most days for 6 + years. After a recent move I now work mostly at home but 1-2 days I have to make a 50 mile round trip drive to the office. I see huge suvs and giant pickups with one person in them speeding on the interstate every time I drive into town. It has occurred to me that I was completely delusional to think that my cycling to work had any larger impact on resource depleation, these people in their big vehicles probably use more in a week on their commute than I saved in 6 years on a bike. I course I love riding bikes and riding makes me happy so it was worth it in that regard. It was also fun being known as the crazy guy who rides to work.

Bottom line is I don't think little efforts like riding to work or recycling bottles make one damn bit of difference. Do them if you like to ride or if it makes you feel good but in the big picture its irrelevant. To paraphrase Kunstler - we will keep doing what we're doing till we cant then we won't then it will be ugly. Cheers!

One of the things that cheap oil did was make it possible for people to own one vehicle that meets their extreme transportation needs, rather than their typical needs. There may be a half-dozen days per year when four-wheel drive and very large aggressive-tread tires means you aren't snow bound; a couple of trips when the ICE and 25-gal gas tank means you can drive the 500 miles to Grandma's with only a single ten-minute fill-up in the middle; one or two times when you can haul that big purchase home yourself. But the SUV that meets those extreme needs is a hideously inefficient way to do the daily 15-mile commute, or the 10-mile errand-running loop on a Saturday.

The suburban model may not be sustainable; but it can be made enormously more energy-efficient than it is presently.

Excellent points, 65

One thing that could be easily accomplished, relatively speaking, would be to pass laws ELIMINATING or lowering taxes and registration fees on very small cars, while gradually raising the fees and taxes on bigger ones-which is going to happen ANYWAY.

This would encourage a heck of a lot of people who own only a big car, or two or three big cars, to get a smaller one that could be used for commuting and errands.

Quite a few relatively poor people own a single large pickup truck rather than a small car because they depend on it to do all sorts of side work-the typical suburbanite may load up his f150 only a few times a year, but the working stiff hauls something every week.

Lots of them would own a small commuter if they could afford it in addition to thier truck;and since it would mostly be an old Corolla or Civic or Escort, the taxes are a serious part of the price.

Whether or not it makes a bit of difference, there's something to be said for the humble satisfaction that comes with self-propelled transportation. Hopping on my bike reminds me that my body isn't much compared to a 450-HEMI, but I'm still more than capable of getting around.

Some of it certainly is the purchasing of medieval indulgences, but a large part of it is the total lack of numeracy and physics (ie energy quantification) in the general public and college-educated public. It seems that first year physics is no longer required for most biology and geography undergraduate degrees in Canada (I had to have 2 years + 2 years physics labs). Also students suffer through physics when they have it and it is taught in such a way that they never apply it in their daily lives (a real problem with the educators).

The popular conception/framing of 'environmentalism', i.e. that we have to somehow 'save' the planet for the planet's sake, is entirely backwards, IMHO.
The environment has no intrinsic value, other than the fact that we depend entirely upon it for our survival!
Instead of calling to save the 'planet' we should be calling to save ourselves by living within our environmental means.

For example, the most widespread (to humans) effect of the BP spill is going to be the damage to the economy of the Gulf Coast, not oily pelicans, because of its dependence on the condition of the local environment (fishing, tourism, oil exploration and production). If humans suddenly disappeared tomorrow, the Gulf ecosystem would still be there, and would eventually recover in some form from the spill, and nature would keep on keepin' on without us.

I understand that for some people this is implicit in the popular environmental 'message', but it seems to get lost in the mainstream soundbite culture.

The problem I see with this is that people stop thinking they can have an impact, shrug their shoulders and say "what the heck, anything I do is a drop in the bucket, so I won't bother". I call it the Big Abdication of Responsibility.

It really isn't about "saving the planet". Clearly, on a geological timescale, the planet will still exist, even if it ends up being devoid of any life other than heat/sulfur/acid-loving microbes and tube worms. Higher life forms may or may not ever evolve again.

It is about the fact that we behave recklessly, and we have a choice about doing so. It's not a darned asteroid, or supervolcano or tectonic shift. If you will, this is one very big rite of passage for H. sapiens. We will pass (survive) or we will fail (go extinct).

The appalling thing is that we are likely to take much of the rest of the biosphere with us on our test. I, personally, can't carry that weight - so I do whatever I can - recycle, bike, cut consumption etc etc etc.

Did you ever look in to a dog's eyes and ask yourself what would the world be like if all the dogs went extinct ? Or all the cats ? Or birds ? Or any of the "higher" animals ? This is the course we are on.

Are you ready to go home and look into a dog's eyes and tell him "sorry mate, I know you trusted us for 10,000 years, but we're foreclosing on you guys too, and everyone like you" ?

Some people might find "environmentalism" futile, but I cannot stand by watching all this and do nothing, whatever other people's motives are. Although I am painfully aware that the majority will likely take all of us down.

Nicely put, st.

The environment has no intrinsic value, other than the fact that we depend entirely upon it for our survival!

Greenish hasn't commented so I will. I disagree with this entirely. While it is certainly the prevailing opinion, if our species can't accept that we are just another species, of no greater importance than any other, and that ALL life inherently has value, then we deserve to go extinct.

Fortunately, we do not always get what we deserve.

Curbside recycling disappeared after Katrina (unless you pay a private service). What I is save up plastic jugs and cans and walk then over to Euterpe Recycling (6 blocks away) and toss them a couple of times/month.


Walking seems a much more appropriate way to recycle.

Best Hopes,


I'm a proud environmentalist. I don't recycle effing plastic bottles because I don't buy them. I fill my aluminum water bottle or my glass bottle with tap water. Commercial bottled water is for people even more dumbed down than lottery ticket buyers.

Environmentalists don't buy sweet poison from Caca Cola (tm). Environmentalists use tap water to make drinks, hot or cold.

Plastic bottle recycling is corporate capitalist greenwashing. Not remotely related to environmentalism, except in the sense of ripping off the goodwill of underinformed, misinformed, and disinformed folks.

To dismiss environmentalism and environmentalists because of the questionable value of blue boxing is to fart catch for the Corporate Anus.

I do buy milk and orange juice in gallon jugs and beer often in aluminum cans.

I installed a 5 micron charcoal filter on the tap water to improve the taste. A small faucet on the kitchen sink.


Commercial bottled water is for people even more dumbed down than lottery ticket buyers.

Oh, wrong! We have heavy water and all the minerals give me a headache, but the bottled water does not. However I stopped getting the small bottles - too much plastic taste and get the larger ones and pour into containers for use while out.

My Father did a whole macho trip with me when I went to all the trouble to visit him 2,000 miles away, that I didn't need bottled water. But the water at his place gave me headaches as well. So get real macho or not, but I can't drink hard water or I get headaches. But also, Bush jr. increased the legal limits for arsenic and mercury in water, and from what I understand there are lots of places with high arsenic levels, so be careful.

Hard water doesn't per se give you headaches. I grew up in an area where the water was so heavily mineralized that lemonade would fizz like soda pop when you made it. But I got used to it. In fact, after I grew up, I had trouble getting used to lemonade that didn't fizz. The real problem was that it clogged the pipes and filled up the water heater with sediment.

You need to get a water analysis done to determine exactly what is in your water. Expensive, but then you know whether you want to drink it or not.

If you think you have a problem, put a reverse osmosis system on your drinking water to take ALL the minerals out. The only problem then will be that it won't have any taste or provide you with any useful minerals. I thought it was funny that in most cases bottled mineral water is city tap water that they ran through a reverse osmosis plant to remove ALL the minerals, and then added in minerals to give it the right taste. They don't really mention this in the advertising.

The alternative is to drink something natural and expensive like Perrier Water. I remember a young lady who was reading the label on a bottle of Perrier Water in a restaurant, and asked me, "What does 'As' stand for?" (People often ask me these kinds of questions because they automatically assume that I know the answer to everything.)

I said, "'As' stands for arsenic." She looked at me in horror and said, "They wouldn't put arsenic in Perrier Water!". I said, "They don't have to, it's natural mineral water, and arsenic is a natural mineral. But don't worry, there's only 7 ppm, so drink up."

Locally here, the water supply is mountain water straight off a glacier. It's hard to beat for taste, so there's really no point in buying bottled water. Not much arsenic in it, either. I checked.

Hard water doesn't per se give you headaches. I grew up in an area where the water

YES I DO!!! Don't tell me I don't get headaches from hard water, I do. But I do not with bottle water, period end of discussion. Gees your worse than my Macho Father.

I don't know why hard water would cause you to have headaches. Water hardness is usually caused by calcium ions in the water. The only known health effect of calcium in the water is a lower risk of heart disease, which is why, although I have a water softener, I have a separate drinking water faucet supplying non-hardened water. The water softener replaces calcium ions with sodium ions, which is NOT good for you.

It depends on what minerals you have in your water. There could be something nasty in there (arsenic, uranium, etc.) Or it could be psychosomatic, just because it tastes of minerals. You never know until you test it.

According to Consumer Reports, tap water is safer than bottled water.

About 25% of bottled water is tap water - from municipal water systems.

Are environmentalists for earth, or for themselves?

If you believe that actions are motivated by self interest - then ya - for themselves.

I strapped a cannondale plastic yellow kid carrier to my bike to pedal 3 miles one way to pick up a box of veggies at a co-op food market.

A gal in an SUV with bumperstickers about saving the earth drove into a parking spot and hit my bike parked in the bikerack while I was standing there unlocking it.

She had the stones to tell me it was my fault. My fault she hit a non moving parked bike.

My fault she hit a non moving parked bike.

You have to look at it from her perspective. You have no reason to exist, and your bike was taking up valuable space that could have been occupied by one corner of her SUV. You after all are engaged in the mundane task of picking up food to feed yourself, while she was preoccupied in the very important enterprise of saving the earth by driving around parking lots and smashing into bicycle racks.

SUV drivers are remarkably arrogant, and Hummer drivers are the worst of them. Hummer drivers talking on cell phones are one of the biggest traffic hazards known to man.

The only way to make an arrogant Hummer driver more careful is to shoot at him with an RPG. At least, that's the solution they seem to have decided on in Iraq.

Sorry, I gotta take this call....

OPEC's proven reserves just keep going up and up and up.

OPEC's Crude Reserves Rose 4% Last Year as Venezuela Increased Resources

The total amount of crude under OPEC territory advanced to 1.064 trillion barrels in 2009, the group said in its Annual Statistical Bulletin today. This follows an increase of 7.9 percent in 2008, the biggest in 20 years. Venezuela’s share surged 23 percent to 211.2 billion barrels.

They claimed almost one trillion barrels in 2008. 7.9% added that year would be about 79 billion. I would say that would be their biggest increase in 20 years.

Edit: Scuse me, that would be 90 billion added (discovered) in 2008. I forgot to add the 11 billion they produced that year, and had to be replaced by new reserves.

But even BP is starting to have second thoughts.

BP Plc said in its Statistical Review of World Energy on June 9 that OPEC’s reserves grew 0.1 percent last year to 1.029 trillion barrels.

However OPEC produced about 11 billion barrels last year. It is amazing that their reserves increased at all. I don't recall any new fields containing 11 billion barrels of reserves being found. Of course some have labeled OPEC's oil as "Magic Oil". That is because for every barrel pumped out of the ground another barrel just magically appears in the ground to replace it.

Ron P.

Two concerns with OPEC's increase in reserves translating into increased production:

Venezuela's reserves jumped by over 40 billion barrels last year, probably from enlarging the Orinoco tar deposit base. The foreign oil companies that develop much of Hugo's crude will be less likely to continue putting more money into the Venezuela offshore and onshore, except China, which receives "oil in kind" payment for development. Other oil producers are likely to stay away due to confiscation of oil company assets and the lack of "rule of law" situation regarding contracts signed with a state owned company.

Second concern is with article above about the lack of natural gas for injecting in old oil fields to maintain production. The OPEC producers in the Persian Gulf region do not have access to CO2 (as in the US and Canada) and nitrogen is too expensive to separate for injection. OPEC as awhole is using more of its natural gas for power and Saudi Arabia is using more for feedstock to its chemical refineries (in place and planned).

Call me a fool, but I have a very basic question...

Why are we willing to refer to "proven reserves", if those reserves aren't actually proven to an independant authority of some sort? The act of proving something... facts in a legal case, or a mathmatical proof requires more than just giving the answer and claiming "proof", it requires a demonstration to validate your conclusion. So, who are these reserves proven to?

Does anyone really believe that Venezuela discovered enough oil this year to add an additional 4% to its reserves, above and beyond offseting everything it produced this year? Meanwhile, apparently the world as a whole magically discovered exactly the same amount of oil this year as it pumped, a perfect 1 for 1 replacement of every drop of oil that was pumped! Since at this rate, the oil supply will last forever, it seems that oil should be priced down at $10 to $20 a barrel..

So, why does anyone, much less knowledgable folks who know better, play along with calling them "proven reserves" when they aren't in fact proven?

The thing about proven reserves is that they should be able to prove that they exist. That means, for oil companies, that they have to provide the underlying geological, geophysical and well data that would enable an independent expert to confirm it. And if they fudge the data they could go to jail for it.

In many of these other countries, if you tried to find out the underlying reservoir data, they would probably arrest you for spying (note that China recently did convict an American geologists of spying for copying their well data).

So, the OPEC reserves really do not meet "proven reserve" criteria. They provide these numbers on a "Trust us, we wouldn't lie to you, would we?" basis.

Also, the usual definition of "proven" means "producible using current technology under current economic conditions". While the technology exists to produce the Venezuelan reserves, Venezuela does not have access to it, nor does it have the experts to develop it on its own. And Venezuela is a complete economic shambles which is incapable of maintaining its current production, never mind developing any new reserves itself.

So, these Venezuelan "discoveries" should be considered "wishful thinking" reserves. If wishes were horses, etc. etc.

And Venezuela is a complete economic shambles which is incapable of maintaining its current production, never mind developing any new reserves itself.

So, these Venezuelan "discoveries" should be considered "wishful thinking" reserves

last year I saw a press conference on Venezuelan tv with oil company representatives from a few Asian and other countries. They are planning to soon develop some blocks from the Orinoco belt. These plans will not be prevented by Venezuela's bad economy.

Re: New Errors

Leanan, this is a bit disappointing. Why not post some of the useful commentary, such as those that correctly note the Dutch group's primary finding was that the IPCC needs to pay *more* attention to the worst case scenarios because they are a serious threat?



OoPs! Seems they keep finding that things are indeed worst than they thought;

"Nitrogen Pollution Alters Global Change Scenarios From The Ground Up"


"Eventually the grasses became much more abundant. Unlike sedges, grasses respond weakly to extra CO2 and do not grow faster. Thus, the nitrogen ultimately changed the composition of the ecosystem as well as its capacity to store carbon."

Agreed. I can't believe that issues like an erroneous use of the words "below sea level" for "subject to flooding" regarding 40% of land in the Netherlands, as is the case for the latest "errors in IPCC reports", can be blown up to such an international fooforaw. Its simply incredibly ?????

When you are doing risk management worst case scenario are your daily bread.

I'm going back to working on my memoirs full-time, and hence I won't be posting much on theoildrum.com for a while, but I will continue to read TOD with care.

Thanks for all the thoughtful comments that have been made in response to my recent comments.

I shall return;-)

See you, Don, on the flip side.

Check in from time to time. Remember, TOD is effective therapy for writer's block and writer's cramp :-)



Hopefully you will return soon.

You explained your positions well, and newer TOD pposters may not realize just how much research and review it takes to come up with a concise and informative post on a subject. Good luck.

What I'd like to do is to repost some of my comments from years ago--especially a reading list from my Environmental Economics class, but I don't know how to do this. Any ideas?

The other "D" word. . .

Investors Fear Rising Risk of US Regional Defaults

Investors are worried that the risk of default for US local governments is growing, amid signs that some regions are facing the same type of difficulty in curbing pension and budget deficits as some eurozone countries . The yield attached to some forms of infrastructure municipal bonds has risen relative to US Treasury bonds because of fears that cash-strapped local governments will struggle to repay these loans.

Absolute borrowing costs for regional governments remain relatively low in historical terms because of the Federal Reserve’s ultra-loose monetary policy . But any swings in municipal yields will be watched closely by investors, since they suggest that the fiscal anxieties about the eurozone could now infect the US.

Interview Tonight, 7:30 PM EDT of me by Nicole Sandler on Internet

Available via podcast later

More than a little nervous, but I need the experience and this looks like a good first try.

Mainly about the work of Hans Herren and the Millennium Institute. ASPO should be mentioned if I do not get too nervous and forget.

Best Hopes for Not Screwing Up TOO bad, not sneezing on air, etc. etc. etc.,




Break a leg, Alan.

(theatrically, not literally)

"A Desire Named Streetcars"

At my last speaking gig, I tried thinking of the ASPO audience (predominantly older white males) in their underwear, but the image made me queasy, so that didn't work for me.

Speak truth ABOUT power, Alan!

Hope I can get the girl to sleep early enough to catch it! (or they let me link back to the show..)


Best of luck, Alan, hope it goes well for you. I'll listen in to the live stream if the web connection works; if not I'll wait for the podcast.

Here is what I learned in my last interview:

  • Write down bullet points for what is important to get in. Trying to remember what must be said just isn't reliable (at least it wasn't for me).
  • get those bullet points in as early as possible...before you know it, the interviewer will say, "It's been great having you" and you'll realize you mentioned only 1 out of 5 key points
  • say two or three sentences, then stop. Any time an answer goes above that long they will cut you off — even if you were about to say the most important thing in the world. You may have a bit more room to expand on thoughts in an Internet interview (four or five sentences) but for live radio this is almost always true.

Break a leg. You'll do great.

Knock 'em dead, Alan. You've got some important things to say and no one is more capable of the task.


Remember to look her in the eyes, or at least above the neck line ;-)

I've been interviewed and didn't mind the interview itself, but what made it to the broadcast has left me jaundiced. If you have any juicy bits, make sure you have solid numbers to back them up. A bit of humor is always appreciated.

Ask her to run you through a few Q&A's beforehand to get you loose and warmed up, and you two might even find a rhythm. Cripes! What am I, some kind of acting/interview coach?

Call my agent, we'll do lunch.

You make a good point about what makes it to the broadcast. A PR person I know told me, "They will always use the most 'out there' things you say."

And of course our own Debbie Cook wrote a few weeks back, "Journalists are not your friends" which I think it very valuable to bear in mind. See the latest piece on Chris Martenson for evidence of that. Photoshopping a picture of him into a bunker is completely unacceptable and I can see why he is unhappy with the story.


The link for "Bunkers R not us" at PostCarbon is not working. I don't know if the link is bad or if they are having site problems:


It's working fine for me.

The Post Office continues its death spiral:


“The Postal Service is wrong on the law, wrong on the economics, and wrong as a matter of public policy,” James Cregan, executive vice president of government affairs for the Magazine Publishers of America, said in an interview before the announcement. The increase will drive away profitable mail, heading the service toward a “death spiral,” he said.

The Post Office is trapped in a Peak Oil/Internet conundrum with no way out. Rising energy/labor costs force it to raise rates which force customers to move to the internet.

Its junk mail and periodical business is moving to the internet or simply vanishing.

There is no answer but to dramatically reduce service and close many post offices which is politically unacceptable. The more rates are raised the faster down the death spiral staircase they will fall.

I'm glad I quit working there after 10 years. I never saw Peak Oil and the internet coming at the time I quit in 1991. I just wanted to leave Minneapolis and move back to the farm.

I had about $20,000 in civil service pension refund coming which gave me a push.

Post Office vans are ideal for converting to electric. They have started v. slowly, though.

NB Power ... Canada's Rodney Dangerfield of utilities....

Canadian nuclear plant rehab goes awry
Refit was supposed to show how to keep old plants operating.

POINT LEPREAU, N.B., Canada — The guardhouses stand at the end of a tree-lined road in this rural, forested province, and their occupants aren’t welcoming visitors.

Beyond the gates, an effort to refurbish Atlantic Canada’s only nuclear power plant isn’t going well. The 25-year-old reactor at Point Lepreau was supposed to be refreshed, refitted and running full-tilt last September after a $1 billion repair. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., the crown corporation that built the reactor, was to have demonstrated the efficacy of refurbishing nuclear reactors that would otherwise have to be retired.

Today, nobody knows when the plant will be back online, except that it won’t be any earlier than 2011. The company's engineers are currently trying to figure out how to restore seals on critical components inside the reactor vessel of the provincially owned plant, 40 miles east of Lubec, Maine. CEO Hugh MacDiarmid has admitted that they had “overly optimistic scheduling assumptions” and “inadequate planning and preparation” at Lepreau.

The fallout has been considerable for New Brunswick, Atomic Energy of Canada and the Canadian nuclear industry generally, raising concerns about the wisdom of refurbishing the Candu-6 reactors, which have been installed at plants in Argentina, Romania and South Korea. Candu-6 units are also being refitted at a plant in Ontario, and are being contemplated at another in Quebec.

Many existing reactors worldwide are near the end of their lifetimes and need extensive rehabilitation to continue operating. The refit at Point Lepreau was supposed to be a shining model of what Atomic Energy of Canada could do for its old plants.

See: http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/canada/100628/nuclear-power

And because things went just so peachy-keen the first time around...

Areva talks over 2nd N.B. reactor still early
Energy Minister Jack Keir said French nuclear giant still in talks with the N.B. government

The possibility of French nuclear giant Areva building a second reactor and developing a clean energy park in New Brunswick is still in its infancy, according to Energy Minister Jack Keir.

Keir spent several days in Florida recently talking to Areva representatives over the possibility of building a second nuclear reactor beside NB Power's Point Lepreau nuclear station.

The French company is also interested in constructing a clean energy park, that could include biomass facilities, offshore wind opportunities and solar power options.

Keir said the two sides are closing in on a letter of intent but even that means the process is still in the early stages.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/new-brunswick/story/2010/07/06/nb-keir-nuclear-...

Best hopes for hope itself.


Back in Feb, I posted.."Got a letter from PG&E saying, effective with my next yearly billing period, I'll get paid for any XS electricity (edit...8 cents/Kw) my panels produce. I've never gone negative, cuz I didn't want to give welfare to PGE, but now...
I can produce 500KWH more by either buying 3 more panels and upgrading my inverter for maybe $2500, or by taking advantage of Cash for Appliances and replacing my 23 year old fridge for about $700 (edit...the fridge cost me $700, and I'm waiting for the $200 rebate to show up). More panels are still an option, and I have room for 2 or 3 more on the mount, but I'll probably plug my seasonal creek in next. One of these years, I'll be able to claim my occupation is "green energy producer". http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6247#comment-593057

I was figuring I would save about 2 kWH/day, and, so far, it appears that is lowball. The first full billing period with the new fridge was May-June. A year ago, I consumed 9 KWH in 29 days; this year, I produced 65 KWH in 29, so I'm saving about 2.5 KWH/day. In all likelihood, it is closer to 3, since we had a lot of rain thru the second week on June. So far, in the 12 days of this billing cycle, I've already produced 55 KWH. I think some of the difference is that my consumption dropped when I finally was able to start working outdoors.

.....and our arrays put 24.6 (adjusted/usable) KWHs in the batteries today (not bad for a hot day), while my little 75w, 12vdc irrigation system pumped over 300 gals to 55 feet. Despite the drought, I won't have to water until tomorrow evening. The tank will be overflowing by 10 AM. Wasted energy.......shoulda kept the bigger tank. Maybe I'll reset the timers in the morning. Turning the AC down to 66 tonight.

You grid suckers need to rethink your priorities.

Congratulations, WR. If I were fortunate enough to be in your shoes I'd probably spend half my day in front of the meter with a silly grin on my face cheering on the dial as it spins backwards. Does life get much better than that?

I've been trying to minimize the use of our dehumidifier as much as possible and that's cut our consumption by almost half; this time last year we were averaging 23.8 kWh per day and now we're in running the range of 13.4. [I plugged it back in earlier this evening when the RH climbed above 80 per cent.] Our electric water heater uses about 4 kWh/day, including standby losses, and the balance would be lighting, appliances and various plug loads.


Im getting roughly 15KWhr/day. July is the worst possible month here (average high 94). On the rare cool day like today without need of AC I about break even. But last weekend (98F and 97F) the net meter advanced 16KWhr/day (i.e. more than the panels gave me). Got a portable evaporative cooler (the inverse of Paul's dehumidifier). Evaporates about 15liters in a day for about 50watts. That should cut the AC demand down a bit, at least the upstairs room where I put it has gone from the hottest room in the house to the coolest.

I doubt at $.08 per Kwhr, that adding panels pays, although I'm sure it feels good. Our best month the electric bill was a mere $.96, but July could easily hit a hundred if the weather gods don't co-operate.

I only have a 1.4K system, so my all time best day is 9.4 KWH. I'm losing about 0.5 right now from the heat.
If I'm lucky, I'll make enuf surplus to pay for my grid connection...about $4.25/month. That's cool, but what feels best to me is nanominimicro-helping Cal meet our renewable requirements. The new negawatts made the difference. I'll have to do something about producing more energy next year, but I'm still being fascinated by how much difference replacing my fridge made.


Having dealt with the homeless in my own citys, I am thinking that at times, the homeless, like this guy is better off than most of us, he is happy and carefree, while we are worried and wondering how we will adjust to not having anything like we do now.

Makes you think about what you hold dear.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed world.
Hugs to all.

There are surely exceptions, but generally happiness studies conclude that the homeless are on average far less happy than even shantytown dwellers.

Who is monitoring the thousands of abandoned wells under the GOM?


But hey, with the natural seeps and the urban runoff and boat discharges, what is a little more oil going to hurt?

concerning the article up top "Analysis: Deepwater Discoveries, Production Still Critical to Reserve Base"
One can also imagine that the good things coming out of Deepwater Horizon is that the production will become safer,
and thus more reliable, instead of more uncertain, in the future!
Always turn things around and take a longer timescale look on things.

It was worse BEFORE with the possibility of a Deepwater BP accident occasionally.


A Market Forecast That Says ‘Take Cover’

He has far less day-to-day influence now, after years spent developing a theory he calls “socionomics,” which holds “social moods” as the cause not only of market cycles but also of economic and political events. A grand cycle is ending, he says, and the time for reckoning is near.

"Social moods"? Maybe he should call it the "Historical undulating collective social mood". In any case, here on TOD most of the talk is about the economic consequences of depleting and or higher priced oil, but this analyst is onto moods to explain why the markets should tank big time in the coming years.

Interesting perspective. Almost like humans are less affected by outside forces and more affected by cyclical mood swings? Not sure I agree, but it is an interesting idea.

Robert Prechter may be on to something:

For a rough parallel, he said, go all the way back to England and the collapse of the South Sea Bubble in 1720, a crash that deterred people “from buying stocks for 100 years,” he said. This time, he said, “If I’m right, it will be such a shock that people will be telling their grandkids many years from now, ‘Don’t touch stocks.’ ”

That part makes sense. Fits quite nicely with "once burnt, twice shy."

As far as social moods goes, I would investigate what he or his wife is like. I don't buy into pop-psyche jargon too much: some people are moody all the time, some rarely, most muddle through somehow. While collective chaos can occur on a grand scale (think the French Revolution and the terror), I would be hesitant to ascribe such phenomenon to moodiness. More like memes on steroids or pissed off mobs (scapegoating is a well attested human attribute).

Interesting commentary, though, as you say.

I would be hesitant to ascribe such phenomenon to moodiness.

Agree. I'd like to think there are for the most part concrete reasons for why things happen, via cause and effect. With mood not being one of the causes for major economic upheavel.

There's a new Arctic ice extent update:


Looks like 2010 is starting to dart to the right and is near the 07 line now. The chart now shows August and its more obvious now just how big a melt 07 was.

At the end of May 2010, daily ice extent fell below the previous record low for May, recorded in 2006, and during June continued to track at record low levels.

However, it would not be surprising to see the rate of ice loss slow in coming weeks as the melt process starts to encounter thicker, second and third year ice in the central Arctic Ocean.

This year’s daily June rate of decline was the fastest in the satellite record; the previous record for the fastest rate of June decline was set in 1999. This rapid decline was in part driven by ice loss in Hudson Bay.

The record low ice extent of September 2007 was influenced by a persistent atmospheric pressure pattern called the summer Arctic dipole anomaly.

June 2010 saw the return of the DA, but with the pressure centers shifted slightly compared to summer 2007. As a result, winds along the Siberian coastal sector are blowing more from the east rather than from the south. Whether or not the DA pattern persists through the rest of summer will bear strongly on whether a new record low in ice extent is set in September 2010.