Drumbeat: July 28, 2010

Analysis: U.S. refineries still need to trim capacity

(Reuters) - Atlantic Basin refineries remain most at risk for closure as refiners cut more capacity to balance supply with still-weak demand for gasoline and other oil products, but refineries in other parts of the United States are not immune.

The global economy is expected to show signs of recovery in 2010 and oil demand is predicted to grow but key gasoline demand in the world's largest oil consumer is not expected to return to its 2007 peak.

"Refineries at risk are not just in the Atlantic Basin," said Mark Routt, senior staff consultant with the economics unit of Texas-based consultants, KBC Advanced Technologies.

"Small refiners will find it increasingly difficult to compete against economies of scale available to larger rivals. So, too places in Canada and even the U.S. Pacific Coast where there are several refineries are also under pressure."

Gulf of Mexico's Deepwater Oil Industry Is Built on Pillars of Salt

Moore, while at Anadarko Petroleum Corp., was one of the earliest geologists to probe beneath the Gulf's salt, helping discover the Mahogany oil reservoir, the region's first producing subsalt field, after burrowing through 3,825 feet of salt in the early 1990s. The productivity of these salt-based fields could prompt a re-evaluation of peak oil's arrival, he said.

"If the volumes are there, this will be a significant addition to the world's resources," he said.

Centrica's East Yorkshire gas storage project on hold

Plans for an onshore gas storage facility in East Yorkshire by the British Gas owner, Centrica, have been put on hold.

The company said a lack of clarity over regulator Ofgem's access rights rules meant they were not in a position to proceed with the project at present.

Peak Oil – Who’s Using it all up?

However, it is the Indian/Chinese/Japanese bloc which should give rise to sleepless nights. This area is accelerating its oil consumption at ever increasing rates, far higher than North America, Europe and the rest of the world, but has very few oil reserves. Don’t forget, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, for them it was a war to secure natural resources in the Pacific, (what US administrations now refer to as “energy security”). Will this same pattern repeat itself?

Second Gulf spill spreads

A separate spill has spread to cover about six square miles in the US Gulf of Mexico as oil continues to shoot as much as 100 feet into the air from a damaged wellhead.

Fallout from Enbridge oil spill spreads

CALGARY -- As Enbridge Inc. scrambled Wednesday to get a damaged section of oil pipeline in Michigan back into service, it said it will also move to deal with concerns from opponents of its proposed Northern Gateway pipeline to the British Columbia coast.

The Calgary-based company said Wednesday it will be days before it can get the section of the line in Michigan back into service as it begins to assess the cause of the rupture and cleans up crude fouling a river.

Analysis: Oil companies more cautious on storms after Gulf spill

(Reuters) - Heightened caution following the BP oil spill is prompting oil and gas producers in the Gulf of Mexico to shut more production faster as storms threaten, exacerbating energy price volatility this hurricane season.

Comparing producers' precautions ahead of storms this year with preparations for more severe storms in previous years indicates that companies are taking tropical threats more seriously, even though predictions of a harsh hurricane season have yet to be borne out.

BP's missed opportunity on executive pay

As BP struggles to repair its severely tarnished reputation, analysts say reforming the way it pays senior executives could send a powerful message.

"Compensation for CEOs and other senior managers is the single best way to ensure that a company puts its money where its mouth is in terms of corporate values," said Nick Kalm, president of corporate consulting group Reputation Partners. "BP will have missed a major opportunity if compensation is not tied in a meaningful way to safety."

‘Greenwashing’ no longer enough for businesses

For more than a decade, BP had flooded the media with advertisements showing solar panels, windmills and waving fields of grass without a drop of oil in sight. It changed its name, KFC-style, from British Petroleum to BP to de-emphasize its claim to fame: hydrocarbons. The company adopted a stylized green sun as its logo and rolled out the slogan "Beyond Petroleum."

But when the company's Deepwater Horizon offshore well began blowing tens of thousands of barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico each day, no outlay of advertising dollars could change the cold, hard facts: The company that had cultivated the greenest image in the oil industry still derived more than 99 percent of its revenues from gas and petroleum. For consumers who had been fed the image of the company out tending windmills, the revelation was almost as shocking as the images of oil-soaked pelicans.

California's clean energy future threatened by federal delays, state officials say

The U.S. Department of Energy is accused of foot-dragging in approving loan guarantees to finance several major projects worth an estimated $30 billion.

Botanical Gardens Look for New Lures

For the last quarter century, the Cleveland Botanical Garden went all out for its biennial Flower Show, the largest outdoor garden show in North America. With themed gardens harking back to the Roman empire, or an 18th-century English estate, the event would draw 25,000 to 30,000 visitors.

But in 2009, the Flower Show was postponed and then abandoned when the botanical garden could not find sponsors. This year, the garden has different plans. From Sept. 24 to 26, it is inaugurating the “RIPE! Food & Garden Festival,” which celebrates the trend of locally grown food — and is supported in part by the Cleveland Clinic and Heinen’s, a supermarket chain.

“The Flower Show may come back someday, but it’s not where people are these days,” says Natalie Ronayne, the garden’s executive director. “Food is an easier sell.”

Why were resources expunged from neo-classical economics?

Something strange happened to economics about a century ago. In moving from classical to neo-classical economics — the dominant academic school today — economists expunged land — or natural resources. Neo-classical value theory — based on marginalism and subjective valuation — still makes a great deal of sense. Expunging natural resources from the way economists think about the world does not.

No friends? It's worse for your health than being fat

"For instance, trends reveal reduced intergenerational living, greater social mobility, delayed marriage, dual-career families, increased single-residence households, and increased age-related disabilities," they wrote.

"More specifically, over the last two decades there has been a three-fold increase in the number of Americans who report having no confidant," they added.

"Such findings suggest that despite increases in technology and globalization that would presumably foster social connections, people are becoming increasingly more socially isolated."

A snatch of old song

Scything, largely thanks to Simon, is undergoing a renaissance in Britain. Scythes were used here from Anglo-Saxon times right up until the 1940s, initially to mow grass for haymaking and later also to mow cereal crops. They were operated by large mowing teams in the summer months and they were, and are, a terrific example of what used to be called ‘appropriate technology.’ The wooden handles, known as snaths, can be made anywhere there are trees by any competent woodworker, and the blades can be made by any blacksmith. They’re a genuinely pre- and post-modern tool, and will doubtless be around long after the Flymo has faded into legend. Keep the blade honed and peened, and know how to use them, and you have probably the most efficient and effective tool for cutting grass ever developed. This is proven entertainingly year after year at the Somerset Scythe Festival where the annual ‘scythe versus strimmer’ contest is always won by the scythe.

India’s new dams threaten Pakistan’s farming sector

The World Bank, which had been a party to the original treaty, appointed a Swiss civil engineer to arbitrate the technical aspects. In 2007, the engineer released his findings. While modifying some of the project’s design, he found technically that India’s argument was sound and ruled in its favour as far as the spillway gates were concerned.

As a result, Pakistan lost its single assurance that India would not manipulate the flow of water. And, now that it had the capability, India used it. To quote a recent article by John Briscoe, a former senior adviser to the World Bank who has worked on water issues on the subcontinent for 35 years: “This vulnerability was driven home when India chose to fill Baglihar exactly at the time when it would impose maximum harm on farmers in downstream Pakistan.”

Michigan oil spill Enbridge’s ‘highest priority’

A serious pipeline leak in Michigan has cast a dark shadow over what would otherwise have been an upbeat financial report from major oil and gas pipeline operator Enbridge Inc. on Wednesday.

The Canadian company said crews are doing their utmost to deal with a spill of about three million litres of oil, which has affected the Kalamazoo River in Michigan.

Top 7 suppliers of oil to the US

Really big oil: Where does the US get its crude? Here's what you need to know.

Saudi Aramco Awards Yanbu Refinery Works to Tecnicas, Daelim Industrial

Saudi Aramco, the biggest state- owned oil company, awarded contracts at the planned 400,000 barrel-a-day Yanbu refinery in Saudi Arabia to companies including Tecnicas Reunidas SA and Daelim Industrial Co.

Tecnicas Reunidas will do work on the coker unit, Daelim will build the gasoline and hydrocracker units and SK Engineering & Construction Co. will work on the crude unit, Saudi Arabia’s state oil company said today in a statement. Tecnicas said separately it got $700 million contract.

Global lands Pemex pipeline contract

US-based Global Industries has won a $40 million contract from state-run Pemex for pipeline work in its Ku-Maloob-Zaap field in the Bay of Campeche.

BP to Pay Estimated $60MM in Advance Payments

BP estimates it will pay at least $60 million in advance payments in August to claimants across the Gulf Coast who have lost income or net profit due to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP, which has paid $256 million to date for claims including $30 million in the last seven days, will start making the advance payments by the end of this week. Claimants will receive their check about 30 days after they received their July payment.

Bangladesh and India sign electricity deal

DHAKA, Bangladesh (UPI) -- Bangladesh and India signed a power transmission agreement Monday for electricity to be imported to energy-starved Bangladesh.

Initially, 250 megawatts of power would be available to Bangladesh from India, with transmission to start in 2012.

Homeowners face £277 fuel-bill hike: Move towards 'green energy' will come at a price

Plans to tackle climate change will add £277 to annual household fuel bills unless consumers give their homes a ‘green makeover’, ministers warned yesterday.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Chris Huhne admitted the massive expansion of wind farms across Britain – along with clean coal power stations – will send electricity and gas prices soaring.

But Mr Huhne claimed that the price increases would be offset by government plans to improve the energy efficiency of millions of British homes.

"Brilliant": Prepare for the fluorescent future

In the book you argue that a more brightly lit street isn't necessarily a safer street. Why is that?

There was a big study in Illinois that showed that a reduction of street light reduced the amount of crime; it also increased the amount of crime that happened during daylight hours. We automatically assume that a well-lit street is safer, but I'm not sure if that basic assumption holds. A lot of cities thought stationary oil lanterns would hinder crime when they were first set up, but there were several cities, including Cologne and Birmingham in Britain who refused to put out streetlights because they thought it would aid and abet criminals. Absolute dark isn't safe but neither is absolute brilliance. The more light we have, the more light we feel we need to be safe.

Canning preserves summer's bounty for colder seasons ahead

"If you have your own vegetable garden, if you're shopping at farmers markets or if you belong to a CSA [Community Supported Agriculture farm share program], you're going to end up with more than what you need," she says.

What to do with the excess is the subject of "Saving the Seasons: How to Can, Freeze or Dry Almost Anything," a new book Meyer edited for her employer, Herald Press, the mainstream publishing arm of the Mennonite Publishing Network, with offices in the United States and Canada.

Mitsui Says Oil Tanker Possibly Attacked Near Hormuz

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., operator of the world’s second-largest oil-tanker fleet, said one of its ships may have been attacked near the Strait of Hormuz, deemed by the U.S. to be the most important chokepoint for oil supply.

An explosion, which “may have been caused by an external attack,” occurred at 5:30 a.m. Tokyo time, slightly injuring one of the crew of 31, Mitsui said in a statement. The vessel, M. Star, is on its way to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates to assess the damage and no oil is leaking, Mitsui said.

Oil dips to near $77 after surprise US supply jump

Oil prices dipped to near $77 a barrel Wednesday after a report showed U.S. crude supplies unexpectedly rose last week, suggesting demand remains weak.

...Crude inventories jumped 3.1 million barrels last week, the American Petroleum Institute said late Tuesday. Analysts had expected a drop of 2.3 million barrels, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

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

Oil May Rise Only as Far as $80 Fibonacci Resistance

Crude oil, which fell the most in more than three weeks yesterday, remains in a rising channel on technical charts and will continue to face resistance near $80 a barrel, according to Societe Generale SA.

Jeff Rubin: China’s energy consumption a zero-sum game

It wasn’t sheer coincidence that last year marked two pivotal events in the world’s vehicle industry. In 2009, China became the largest car market in the world, while in the same year there were four million fewer vehicles on the road in the United States. In a world where the supply of economically viable oil has peaked, or is, at best, growing marginally, driving has suddenly become a zero-sum game.

That means that if millions of new drivers are about to get on the road in China, then somehow millions of other drivers will have to get off somewhere else. Last year, that’s exactly what happened in America for the first time since World War II. And unless T. Boone Pickens is miraculously able to convert the American vehicle stock to natural gas–powered engines, some 40 million other vehicles in the U.S. will similarly be taking the exit lane over the next decade.

Refining Hits 10-Week High as Japan Starts Idled Factories

Oil refining in Japan, the world’s third-largest consumer of crude, rose to a 10-week high as producers resume operations after maintenance shutdowns.

China lifts its gas use in first half

China’s use of natural gas jumped by 22 per cent in the first half of the year from the previous six months, government figures showed yesterday, propping up a global industry that has seen a supply glut push down prices.

China’s insatiable demand for energy has steered the direction of the world oil market for years but the country’s power industry and manufacturing are now turning increasingly to gas, with a new emphasis on shipping in the fuel from Qatar and other Gulf states. Chinese demand for tanker imports will increase fourfold by 2020, according to a study released yesterday. That could make up for the weaker-than-forecast growth in US demand and a flat outlook for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Japan and South Korea.

China, India shift to gas for clean growth

Asia is boosting consumption of liquefied natural gas (LNG) relative to oil as nations from China to India try to pollute less while driving economic growth.

Shell's Impact in Australian Oil, Gas `Only the Beginning,' Goldman Says

Royal Dutch Shell Plc is set to have an even bigger impact in Australia in the next year, potentially joining with Santos Ltd. to develop a gas project in Queensland and selling its refining assets, Goldman Sachs JBWere said.

Chevron in Australia native land title deal for plant

(Reuters) - Chevron Corp has signed a preliminary agreement with a group of native land owners in western Australia that will allow it to construct a liquefied natural gas processing plant, it said on Wednesday.

UK gas halts slide as maintenance restricts supply

LONDON (Reuters) - Prompt British gas prices were firm on Wednesday as terminal maintenance restricted supply, while forward contracts were mixed on more scheduled North Sea field and pipeline outages and liquefied natural gas imports.

Reliance Profit Growth May Peak on Failure to Raise Gas Output

Earnings growth at Reliance Industries Ltd., India’s largest company by market value, may slow from the fastest pace in more than two years as the company falls behind schedule to increase gas production, investors said.

ENI announces energy venture with Egypt

MILAN (AFP) – Italian energy group ENI said on Wednesday it had signed an agreement with Egypt on the production and transportation of oil and gas which would raise Egypt's profile as a supplier to the Middle East and Mediterranean region.

ENI and the two Egyptian state-owned oil companies EGPC and EGAS will establish a joint venture and work together on oil and gas upstream activities in Iraq and Gabon, the Italian company said late on Tuesday.

Shell Conducting Repairs at Australia Refinery; Unit Still off After Fire

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, says it’s carrying out maintenance at its Geelong refinery in Australia, declining to provide details of what units are being serviced.

“The facility is still functioning,” Paul Zennaro, Melbourne-based spokesman for Shell, said by telephone today. The bitumen unit, damaged in a May fire, remains offline and it isn’t known when it will return to service, he said.

Formosa Says 1-2 Weeks Before Two-Thirds of Oil Refinery Online After Fire

Formosa Petrochemical Corp., Taiwan’s only publicly traded oil refiner, said it may need one to two weeks to have two-thirds of its Mailiao oil refinery fully operational after a fire damaged a unit three days ago.

Enbridge posts 19% profit rise

Canadina pipeline player Enbridge said today that second-quarter operating profit rose 19%, driven by growth in both its natural gas delivery and oil pipeline businesses.

Congress Set to Tackle Oil Spill Liability, Drilling Safety

U.S. Senate Democrats are set to unveil a slimmed-down energy bill Tuesday aimed at reforming offshore drilling, but House lawmakers are taking up a tougher bill on Friday that adds another hurdle to get a bill signed into law this year.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to pass a bill before lawmakers leave for their summer recess next week, focusing on holding BP Plc accountable for its massive oil spill. Debate on the Senate bill could begin as soon as Thursday.

U.S. readies criminal probe of oil spill-report

(Reuters) - Several U.S. government agencies are preparing a criminal probe of at least three companies involved in the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, though it could take more than a year before any charges are filed, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

BP gets "wake-up call" and $32 billion in spill charges

LONDON/HOUSTON (Reuters) – BP Plc's newly named chief executive on Tuesday called the Gulf oil spill a "wake-up call" for the entire industry as the company tallied up its losses and disclosed two U.S. investigations.

Bob Dudley, who will replace gaffe-prone Tony Hayward as chief executive on October 1, said safety would be among his highest priorities as the first American to lead BP tries to refurbish the British oil company's battered reputation.

New CEO Dudley faces daunting task at BP

BP has been here before. Hayward himself was named to succeed a predecessor who oversaw a series of safety lapses that culminated in a blast at a refinery in Texas City, Texas, that killed 15 people in 2005.

Now, Dudley will embark on the clean-up of a company saddled with huge liabilities, a broken corporate culture, strained government relations and a badly damaged brand.

'Demonised' BP boss sparks fresh US anger on exit

LONDON (AFP) – BP's outgoing chief executive Tony Hayward was the target of fresh US anger Wednesday after claiming he had been "demonised and vilified," threatening efforts to draw a line under the Gulf oil spill.

The comments by Hayward, who resigned Tuesday following his heavily criticised handling of the Gulf of Mexico disaster, drew renewed criticism from Washington as BP struggles to restore its reputation after the spillage.

BP CEO change won't diminish Gulf response: govt

HOUSTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. official overseeing the response to BP Plc's Gulf of Mexico oil leak said on Tuesday he doesn't expect the company's commitment to cleaning up the spill to be diminished with its change in leadership.

"I don't see any diminishing of performance or priorities," retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen said of BP's earlier announcement that Bob Dudley, who has been BP's top executive handling the spill response, will replace Chief Executive Tony Hayward on October 1.

Lift 'reckless' oil drilling ban, Gulf residents plead

WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama's "reckless" moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is suffocating small businesses and destroying livelihoods, lawmakers and residents said Tuesday.

"The decision to stop energy exploration in the Gulf of Mexico appears to have been made in an uninformed manner that borders recklessness," Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu told the small business committee, which she chairs.

X Prize to offer millions for Gulf oil cleanup solution

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – The X Prize Foundation launches a competition this week promising millions of dollars for winning ways to clean up crude oil from the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The nonprofit group will hold a press conference in Washington on Thursday to reveal details of an Oil Cleanup X Challenge inspired by the disaster.

Gulf flow has stopped, but where's the oil?

NEW ORLEANS – In the nearly two weeks since a temporary cap stopped BP's gusher at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, not much oil has been showing up on the surface of the water.

Scientists caution that doesn't mean the crude is gone. There's still a lot of it in the Gulf, though no one is sure quite how much or exactly where it is.

BP Oil Is Dissipating, Easing Threat to East Coast

Oil from BP Plc’s record spill in the Gulf of Mexico is biodegrading quickly, probably eliminating the risk that crude will go around Florida and hit the U.S. East Coast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

Oil has been dissipating through evaporation since BP stopped the flow from its Macondo well off the coast of Louisiana on July 15, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco told reporters yesterday on a conference call. Crude that’s dispersed into the sea is being gobbled up by bacteria, she said.

On the Surface, Gulf Oil Spill Is Vanishing Fast; Concerns Stay

The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be dissolving far more rapidly than anyone expected, a piece of good news that raises tricky new questions about how fast the government should scale back its response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Gulf spill has not fouled most beaches but hurts tourism

The massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill has not fouled the vast majority of the area's beaches but is still scaring tourists away, according to a report to be released Wednesday.

100 Days Into Spill, Gulf Life Forever Changed

(AP) A hundred days ago, shop owner Cherie Pete was getting ready for a busy summer serving ice cream and po-boys to hungry fisherman. Local official Billy Nungesser was planning his wedding. Environmental activist Enid Sisskin was preparing a speech about the dangers of offshore drilling.

Then the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded off the coast of Louisiana, and in an instant, life along the Gulf Coast changed for good.

Appeals Court Rejects Effort to Create Hybrid Taxi Fleet

The Bloomberg administration’s years-long attempt to force the city’s cab owners to switch from gas guzzlers to hybrid vehicles was rejected by a federal appeals court Tuesday morning.

The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a judge’s 2009 ruling, in a suit brought by taxi fleet owners, that the city’s rules amounted to an effort to mandate fuel economy and emissions standards, something that only the federal government is allowed to do.

Wind Drives Growing Use of Batteries

The rapid growth of wind farms, whose output is hard to schedule reliably or even predict, has the nation’s electricity providers scrambling to develop energy storage to ensure stability and improve profits.

As the wind installations multiply, companies have found themselves dumping energy late at night, adjusting the blades so they do not catch the wind, because there is no demand for the power. And grid operators, accustomed to meeting demand by adjusting supplies, are now struggling to maintain stability as supplies fluctuate.

On the cutting edge of a potential solution is Hawaii, where state officials want 70 percent of energy needs to be met by renewable sources like the wind, sun or biomass by 2030. A major problem is that it is impossible for generators on the islands to export surpluses to neighboring companies or to import power when the wind towers are becalmed.

Is the welfare state in terminal decline?

As with cheap oil, we assumed that state services would continue at a certain level for the foreseeable future. Now we are moving into a period where the best of the state's provision may be behind us and, as with our oil reserves, we will be struggling to manage an increasingly scarce resource.

Many people still assume that, once the fallout from the economic crisis has worked through and the economy starts to grow again, things will get back to normal. The concept of the peak state, though, presents a different future.

Doomsday shelters making a comeback

Jason Hodge, father of four children from Barstow, Calif., says he's "not paranoid" but he is concerned, and that's why he bought space in what might be labeled a doomsday shelter.

Hodge bought into the first of a proposed nationwide group of 20 fortified, underground shelters — the Vivos shelter network — that are intended to protect those inside for up to a year from catastrophes such as a nuclear attack, killer asteroids or tsunamis, according to the project's developers.

Transition Town Star

Rob Hopkins and a group of compatriots decided to help Totnes begin the process of what they call "powering down." Powering down means relocalizing food and energy production, working to transform fossil-fueled behaviors, and increasing the community's capacity to deal with any systemic shocks caused by climate change or disruptions in fuel availability.

And thus the Transition Town movement was born.

China's Environment Accidents Double as Growth Takes Toll

China, the world’s largest polluter, said the number of environmental accidents rose 98 percent in the first six months of the year, as demand for energy and minerals lead to poisoned rivers and oil spills.

“Fast economic development is leading to increasing conflicts with the capacity of the environment to absorb” demands, the environmental protection ministry said in a faxed statement in response to Bloomberg questions.

Research ship Akademik Fyodorov leaves for 100-day Arctic expeditn

ST. PETERSBURG (Itar-Tass) -- The polar fleet flagship Akademik Fyodorov leaves the port of Arkhangelsk on Wednesday for a 100-day scientific expedition to the Arctic Ocean.

The expedition is launched within the implementation of a major state project, sources at the Arctic and Antarctic Scientific Research Institute told Itar-Tass.

Spread of Deadly Cryptococcal Disease in U.S. Northwest Linked to Global Warming

A deadly infectious disease once thought to be exclusively tropical has gained a toehold in the Pacific Northwest, and health experts suspect climate change is partially to blame.

Last week the CDC issued a report warning U.S. doctors to be alert for patients showing signs of a cryptococcal infection.

Cap and Trade is Dead. Long Live Cap and Trade.

Hard on the heels of the Senate Democratic leadership’s decision to put aside climate legislation intended to cap carbon dioxide emissions, another carbon-capping precinct was heard from this week.

Debate over China's role in reversing climate change

At the Copenhagen summit, did China sink the chance for an international deal to confront global warming, or merely refuse to be bullied by the United States and Europe? One truth underlined by the Copenhagen failure is that if there is to be a climate change solution it will have to be acceptable to China.

Chinese Consider Setting Coal Production Ceiling by 2015 to Cut Emissions

China, the world’s biggest polluter, may impose a cap on the country’s coal production by 2015 and enforce energy consumption targets to cut carbon emissions and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

“There must be a ceiling on coal output in the future, and energy needs can be met with new and renewable energy,” Wu Yin, a deputy director at the National Energy Administration, told the official China Energy News weekly newspaper in an interview. Wu didn’t specify any production targets.

Mitsui Oil tanker damaged by freak wave, not 'terrorist attack'
Ship's owners originally reported an explosion in the Strait of Hormuz
Oman's coastguard cited "a tremor" as the cause of the incident, while an official from the Omani transport ministry said it was "business as usual" in the Strait of Hormuz.



Do you think that the increased number of incidents being reported since April 2010 are an artifact due to the public's focus on petro issues and more reporting on those issues? I remember checking NOAA's incident reports for the MC 252-coast areas after 4-20-10 and, to the best of my recall, there were about 21 mishaps reported in the weeks preceding the blow out in the general area. (Forgive me for not posting a link)

The number of petro related events since early this year does seem odd, however. The Japanese are not known for hysterical pronouncements (although poor Mitsui is probably not exactly comfortable at this time) and have experience with terrorism, so evidently that possibility has been quietly under consideration in some circles.

I had briefly considered failures in technology as a contributing factor (remember the software failures predicted during Y2K?) but that doesn't seem to fit either. Steve Mohr made in interesting statement in his presentation: "The combined supply and demand model included the capability that demand and production could be influenced by each other..." it would be interesting to consider the effects of the public linking the concepts of "disaster" and "production" on demand. This is somewhat removed from Mr. Mohr's context but still applicable.

A good day to all.

From my observations of the small business economy:
My sample size is probably too small to make generalizations, but, I'm seeing a trend within my sample group where small businesses are laying off people in order to make room for (not-so-experienced) relatives who are now out of work.... Family-run businesses are acceptable to many people, but aggressive nepotism leaves a bad taste in some customer's mouths.

Anybody noticing this also?

I have noticed this. In a few cases there are hardly any other employees other than relations. Room has been made for laid off kids or for relatives just entering the workplace, however, I haven't kept track beyond noticing the fact at places I had previously worked many years ago.

In one small airline we had twenty some employees and now they are down to 4-5 with 3 in the winter.

There is little or no business with the recession and costs continue to escalate....fuel, insurance, and maint. The only costs not fixed are wages and personnel, and they have been under attack for at least 15 years.


Re: Cap and Trade is Dead. Long Live Cap and Trade

My first reading of the program outline from the blog link (PDF), one finds a proposed system of Cap-and-Trade which sounds similar to that which appeared in Congress. This ambitious attempt to get around the GOP rejection of Cap-and-Trade for the US exhibits the same problems as that introduced in Congress.

For example, the allowances can be bought and held for an unlimited time period by anyone, not just the final consumer/emitter. That would make it possible for a group with deep pockets (such as Goldman Sachs) to buy up lots of allowances and hold them for later profit as restrictions begin to be felt by the consumer. I think this is a very bad idea, as it opens the door form speculation and market manipulation. This could push the price of energy to the consumer higher at a much faster rate than that intended with the original plan. The resulting inflation would seriously damage the rest of the economy, IMHO.

As far as the individual consumer is concerned, the results of the auction of allowances in 1,000mt lots would be simply an increase in the price paid for all energy products. Since this is the result, why not just impose a tax on carbon, with the tax increasing at a rate which causes the desired reduction in emissions? I guess that's too complicated...

E. Swanson

That would make it possible for a group with deep pockets (such as Goldman Sachs) to buy up lots of allowances and hold them for later profit as restrictions begin to be felt by the consumer. I think this is a very bad idea, as it opens the door form speculation and market manipulation.

The experience with both the US SO2 cap-and-trade program and the Europes ETS for carbon have demonstrated that fears of market manipulation via hoarding are pretty overblown. The physical players have a strong incentive to stay engaged in the market. To the extent there has been hoarding, the main experience of the hoarders thus far has been to lose money, as policy/political considerations have periodically crashed emissions prices.

I would like to see players hoard emission allowances, personally. During the time they are hoarding, those allowances are not being used, signifying greater reductions than called for by the cap. If prices for emission allowances rise in the future, the incentive to conserve or offset emissions will be greater.

Although I think a trading mechanism can work reasonably well, I am also not a big fan of cap-and-trade for CO2. My concern is that a robust set of alternatives for controlling carbon emissions has not been developed. You need a competing set of options for a market-based mechanism to deliver savings, and I just don't see them at this point.

If the best option for reducing CO2 is to reduce energy use, then cap-and-trade will be no less expensive (and more complicated, more subject to manipulation, etc.) than a carbon tax.

Since this is the result, why not just impose a tax on carbon, ...

Because in your scheme Goldman Sachs doesn't derive any profit. Whatever system that is proposed must have a way to pay a share to the financial elites or it won't get passed. The US politicians are owned by the elite corporate mafia and unless they get their share, you can forget about anything getting passed.

Otherwise you are correct. If only logic actually had some role in our governance.

Ultimately, it is the final consumer who must cut their use of carbon. A proactive consumer, just like a proactive producer, will take actions to cut their use of carbon. As everyone on this site, knows, there are dozens of ways to cut one's carbon impact, but there are very few incentives to do so, including the existence of plain inertia.

Under our market system, there are tens of thousands of people who cannot comfortably acquire what are considered necessary goods and services. Regardless of whether or not we have cap and trade or direct taxes on carbon or no action on carbon at all, there will be winners or losers. The sure losers as we go forward are future generations, at least those who survive. Pain now or a lot more pain later. That is our choice.

It is up to the political system to decide whether redistribution should occur to buffer the effects of the market system, including cap and trade.

For every scheme to cut carbon, there are always objections, depending on which special interest' ox is being gored. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking and the tipping points are coming.

But don't fear. Nothing will be done and, therefore, we will not have to worry about the theoretical impacts, except those on the ecological integrity of our natural systems.

Appeals Court Rejects Effort to Create Hybrid Taxi Fleet from above.

It is a sign on how messed up this country is when a community can't reduce pollution and waste within its boundaries.

The next step NY should take it to create hefty no idling fines and equip enforcers with infrared cameras. Then go after the cabbies in their Crown Vics while they wait in queue. They'll soon start to switch over to the hybrids after a few tickets. The holdouts will at least be reducing their impact by shutting off their engines when stopped.

It is a sign on how messed up this country is when a community can't reduce pollution and waste within its boundaries.

As someone who has actually walked up to cars, in the supermarket parking lot, idling in the hot South Florida sun, while their occupants enjoyed their air conditioners and knocked on their windows to inquire why they needed to do that? *SIGH*!!

There are places like Germany where it is the norm and signs reminding people to shut off their engines are ubiquitous. Heck even our neighbors to the north are doing it. What's wrong with us?!

Sometimes it goes a little over the top with an eco-religiosity to it, but all in all people tend to abide fairly well. Although, they do take guilty pleasure of idling with the A/C in towns here outside the Vancouver area. They can get away with it in towns like Vancouver due to the relatively mild climate. Many people don't have A/C in their cars, the window down works just fine.

Prius taxis are everywhere in Vancouver and they make a ton of sense. Along those lines I would agree with NYC to enforce a hybrid taxi fleet. Give them time and incentives to change over though. A drop dead date hardly ever works in these matters.

The public library in Northbrook, Illinois, has no idling signs posted. I wondered if the purpose is to prevent the ventilation system from taking in exhaust fumes. Still, preventing noise may be a factor.

Two Car Models, New York Emblems, Discontinued

The Ford Crown Victoria served as the mainstay of taxi and police fleets. Its close cousin, the Lincoln Town Car, could reliably be found idling outside Lincoln Center or waiting to whisk a Wall Street type home for the evening. But in a little more than a year, both models will go the way of the Checker cab. Ford Motor Company plans to shutter the Canadian plant that manufactures the cars and discontinue the recognizably bulky frame that gives them their shape.

New York taxi fleets are searching for replacements.

A local taxi service uses Toyota Prius.

I guess criminals will have to get used to being handcuffed in the back of smaller, more fuel efficient cars.

No doubt they will complain that the lack of legroom and headroom is a violation of their human rights.

Actually quite a bit of room in the back of a Prius. A coworker (6'5") and myself (6') have taken them often from the airport without difficulty. The real problem is we won't be able to spot a cop off a mile away in the recognizable Crown Vic!

                     Crown Vic         Prius
Rear head room            37.9"         37.6"
Rear shoulder room        60.3          53.1
Rear hip room             56.1          51.2
Rear leg room             39.6          36.0
Luggage capacity          20.6 ft^3     21.6 ft^3

From Edmunds

New York taxi fleets are searching for replacements.

Maybe New York could go green er, pink with a whole fleet of these Finish bike cabs...


In the county I live in in eastern New York the county was going to purchase about 20 new cars for "official use".

The Democratic minority in the county legislature submitted a motion to amend the requisition to require that 2 or 3 of the vehicles would be hybrids.

The motion was defeated with not one of the majority Republicans supporting the TOKEN inclusion of a couple hybrids in the fleet.

Thugs to the bitter end...

The Party of Nope.

Hybrids are no doubt easier on gas but a typical govt such as a small town or county doesn't usually hold onto its cars long enough to break even on the expense of owning them.

Our public servants who work for water and sewer depts and road maintainence depts and school boards often keep working pickup trucks and a very few cars for ten years or more, and heavy trucks much longer, but police cars and cars in general, including pickup trucks used by supervisors, are typically traded traded off or sold at auction within five years.

Govt cars generally sell at a serious discount on the used car market, further eroding the possibility of getting a decent portion of the price of a used hybrid, or a conventional car, back when it is sold, because they are generally somewhat ratted out cosmetically.Buyers of used cars also have a low opinion of govt maintainence programs.

A look at any business oriented website dealing with the disposal of such cars will make this clear.

Try gov deals . com ;its a biggie of its kind.

It's altogether possible that your thugs ran the numbers and made thier decision on the basis of balancing the local budget;but of course that possibility would never occur to someone who makes thier mind up (before checking the facts) that the local leglislators are thugs-would it?

but police cars and cars in general, including pickup trucks used by supervisors, are typically traded traded off or sold at auction within five years.

If they are, they're throwing away money. They should be kept for 8 years or 100K miles at a minimum. That's enough miles for a hybrid to pay off.

It's easy enough to check for yourself.

Personally I drive vehicles considered long past thier expiration dates by the used car business and have very little trouble, in terms of breakdowns..

But the inefficiencies of the buercracies involved in maintianing govt vehicles, plus the subtle but real pressure of the somewhat coddled employees who drive govt cars, have convinced most govts that it's cheaper and/or at least easier to maintain a relatively new fleet.

I expect the large majority of the visitors to this site also drive fairly new cars as a matter of course, ration alizing the expenses away.

And incidentally, govts can drive new cars cheaper than you and I can;they self insure, and they pay no property taxes.Furthermore , they generally pay no finance or interest fees, as they get borrowed money-if running a deficit-at cheap bulk rates not available to the rest of us.

In general, except for having a lot of money tied up in the cars, I don't actually think trading often costs the public too badly;the newercars are mostly under warranty, seldom break down, and are usually cheaper to actually drive per mile than older cars, if the purchase price is left out of the calculation.

The working class public gets a shot at buying the cars at the true wholesale price (which is what a dealer is willing to bid, not some quote from a so called blue book)as a rule.

The sellers have no personal incentive-quite the contrary- to lie about the cars, and a few minutes of polite detective work will generally get you the lowdown on a particular car sold by a county or small city.

For those in need of a very good price on a decent if not necessarily cosmetically pristine used car, these auctions can't be beat.But once you buy, there is little or no recourse, so buy carefully.


You'd have a more realistic view of the world if you shed your anti-government bias. Maybe you have some badly run local governments. At the very least many of them are too small to have professional dedicated vehicle fleet managers. If many of your local governments handle fleet management badly you shouldn't judge the whole world by them.

In this case, most governments keep their cars a long time. At a typical government vehicle auction, the vehicles are very old and well-used.

Operating costs rise slowly with age, but depreciation is much higher at the beginning. Trading in a car every 2, 3 or 4 years is much more expensive than keeping it 8 years. You know that: professional fleet managers know it as well.

Govt is notoriously inefficient at a lot of things.

Whether I have an anti govt bias is not the issue;certainly I believe govt is involved in many things that would be better left to individuals and markets, but I also support many , many govt programs.

After observing govt in action for many years, I have concluded that when it comes to problems, the govt medicine is worse in MANY cases-not all cases, or a majority of cases perhaps- than the disease.

If for instance there had been no govt created fanny and freddy for banks to use as a dumping ground for mortgages..if there were no military industrial complex-which simply could not exist w/o big govt...if the tax codes and regulatory codes were not written in such a way as to cause massive dislocations in the economy-such as health insurance being a non taxed partial substitute for salary and wages...allowing those with the insurance to grossly overconsume medical services...a cya legal systen that causes doctors to perform or order unnecessary tests and procedures...the proposed cap and trade bill which it is agreed (mostly) here will be another feed trough for the finance parasites whereas a carbon tax would get the job done without the opportunity for so much monkey business...I could go on forever but folks who have decided in advance that there is no merit to an opposing pov will never "get it"

Every year , the govt component of the economy grows larger.As the bueracracies get bigger, they become less effective and less responsive to the public need and thier actual responsibilities...consider our schools for instance...

or the cops and courts..they have a strong vested interest in keeping thier hands and noses in certain places most liberals and true conservatives believe they have no business...such as the contents of somebody's hand rolled smoke or in thier bedrooms...prison gaurds earning a hundred plus and criminal lawyers raking in four times that.Locally a simple pot popssession case is likely to fetch the defense lawyer a thousand bucks for a couple of hours of his SECRETARY'S time, and and another hour of his own-this is the bottom of the barrel lawyer too..he is apt to have a half a dozen such cases every session of court lasting an average of thirty minutes each in front of the judge.

Corn ethanol in gasoline has been covered in detail on this sitewithin the lat year-if corn ethanol is not a prime example of govt run amok, I will give whoever can make the case otherwise an hour to draw a crowd and kiss his axx in front of the courthouse.

I said above that in the case of cars being traded at four years or so, the cost to the public is bearable, because other than having a lot of money tied up in the fleet , the public gets a shot at the cars at a cheap price.

As far as how long the cars are kept, I won't argue;there are many places the interested reader can go to check for himself.

Govts are very good at wearing out certain types of vehicles-trash trucks, transit buses,and so forth.Not so good at wearing out cars;but many businesses, small and large, also find it to thier advantage to trade thier vehicles on about a four or five year cycle, as that is where the "sweet spot" is in terms of "big picture costs" for them.

Having a delivery delayed because of a broken down truck can be pretty costly in terms of tows,repairs, lost driver productivity,and unhappy customers; a young fleet minimizes such problems almost out of existence, and frees up managers time to focus on thier more critical responsibilities.


I gotta take my hat, or bill cap, off to you. You hit the nail exactly squarely right on the head most all the time.

You speak most eloquently for those of us poor benighted souls who inhabit the outback , arse end to liberals , of America.

I once worked as a techrep (now called consultant) for the US Government. There were plenty of GS civil servants around and they spent most all their time watching us techreps do THEIR jobs.

They kept a very very sharp eye on the clocks and as quitting time appeared you had better not get between them and the door to the parking lot or you would be trampled into the threads of the carpet or linoleum.

Amazing how fast GS types can empty a parking lot.

Being a government contract job we were always in fear of a shutdown and would go home to fill out our resumes or search for new contracts BUT the GSs never lost a minute of sleep. They were totally protected.

Like the old saying "They are like the Honest John rocket. Doesn't work and can't be fired." You would ask where so and so was and the reply many times was "Oh he is on sick leave today and gone fishing."

I never never ever wanted to deal with government contracts again and never did.

I just 'passedthemby'.

Govt is notoriously inefficient at a lot of things.

A nice summary of a common set of misconceptions about government.

If for instance there had been no govt created fanny and freddy for banks to use as a dumping ground for mortgages

This is a myth that has been nicely debunked at econbrowser.com.

if there were no military industrial complex-which simply could not exist w/o big govt

This is caused by private industry having too much influence over government. It's a case of too little democracy, a government that is too weak to stand up to special interests. And it certainly could exist w/o big government: think private militias, or city-states before national governments existed, which were essentially family businesses.

...if the tax codes and regulatory codes were not written in such a way as to cause massive dislocations in the economy

The dislocations are typically, again, private industry having too much influence over government. For example: why are doctors expensive? Because they have obtained a monopoly over care, without the normal off-setting regulation that you would expect with a legal monopoly.

such as health insurance being a non taxed partial substitute for salary and wages

This is solved in other countries by making health care a government function.

allowing those with the insurance to grossly overconsume medical services...

Due to the fee-for-service model, a model which only exists because doctors and hospitals like it. Again, the solution elsewhere has been more government, not less.

a cya legal systen that causes doctors to perform or order unnecessary tests and procedures

Actually, the tort legal system is the only check and balance there is: doctors don't regulate themselves, and they've managed to de-fang any government regulation. Healthcare quality would be far worse without the legal system, forcing doctors to watch out for mistakes.

the proposed cap and trade bill which it is agreed (mostly) here will be another feed trough for the finance parasites whereas a carbon tax would get the job done without the opportunity for so much monkey business...

The cap and trade bill is what industry prefers (if they can't manage to avoid regulation entirely). Industry doesn't like a carbon tax because it's too simple, too effective.

Every year , the govt component of the economy grows larger.

Actually, it doesn't. That's a myth. The percentage of the national GDP that goes to government has been pretty stable, and much lower than in almost any other country.

or the cops and courts..they have a strong vested interest in keeping thier hands and noses in certain places most liberals and true conservatives believe they have no business...

I agree. I think "true liberals" would agree with the "true conservatives" on this point. Sadly, "true conservatives" are rare - is there much doubt that most conservatives push the Law and Order line very, very hard?

if corn ethanol is not a prime example of govt run amok

Of course it is, but again, it's a prime example of excessive influence of private industry, especially ADM and other large agrobusiness.

many businesses, small and large, also find it to thier advantage to trade thier vehicles on about a four or five year cycle, as that is where the "sweet spot" is in terms of "big picture costs" for them.

Very large businesses, like UPS, all of the airlines, trucking companies, and mass transit systems, keep their rolling stock much, much longer than that (often up to 30 years). It's much cheaper to do proper preventive maintenance and keep equipment a very long time (until it becomes functionally obsolete, basically). Small business (and small local government) can't be as efficient, due to a lack of economy of scale.

Personally I drive vehicles considered long past thier expiration dates by the used car business and have very little trouble, in terms of breakdowns.

I also own and run a car past expiration dates. For people that purchase cars and homes it is my opinion that those things should be as a thing to use and a place to live ...not as 'resale investment.'

Live in a house long enough to have no mortgage payment? You'll be comparatively rich to those that still have payments.

Same with cars. My car insurance is under US$400/year, registration fees also low, as the car is a 1998 with 185k+ miles. Oh, and no car payments, too.

Maybe that 5 years thing is true of cop cars. There's sort of a tradition that police cars have to be new and spiffy. But IME, other government cars are often kept well past 8 years. Over 10 years is common.

Aren't cop cars driven 24/7 on three shifts and the mayor's limo is not. How much mileage is on those cop cars after 5 years?

Well, around here they're generally parked, engine running to work the air conditioning, hood popped, as the cop maintains law and order at some road construction site.

My guess just from talking to a few cops is most of the time the car is idling...while mileage is probably around 50 or so miles a shift. 150 day/1050 week/4200 month/50000 year?

So there's a quarter million miles on those 5 year old cop cars. That might explain why they are replacing them.

Actually I was mistaken - there were originally going to be close to 60 new vehicles purchased and that may have been cut back after all the economic problems to closer to the number I stated.

But the fleet purchases reportedly included some high dollar vehicles - police cruisers, passenger vans, dump trucks etc. as well as small and mid-size cars. So I doubt that even with running the numbers a couple of hybrids would have significantly changed the overall cost. As I stated this had every appearance of being a TOKEN attempt at "greening" the fleet - maybe even greenwashing if you're cynical - baby steps if you're an optimist... but because it was proposed by the Democratic party it was immediately shot down.

And for the record - I don't make up my mind before checking facts - I read this story like anyone else in my area did and then using my ability to reason I reached the conclusion of thuggery based on our local Republican party and their propensity for fiscal hypocrisy and obstructionism.

I suppose they must have some sort of antieducation test in your locality that keeps the more enlightened sort of voter of the registration rolls;or maybe the republican machine is as strong in your town as the democratic machine is in say for instance Washington, DC. or Detroit, or Chicago, or the whole state of Illionois,-all places FAMOUS OF COURSE FOR CLEAN HONEST GOVT?

I have made a point of trying to get people to realize that calling people names and slinging uncalled for insults does nothing to further useful change.All it accomplishes is to harden the hearts of people who see things differently, rendering the chances of compromise and change remote or nonexistent.

Who in his right mind thinks he has any hope of changing somebody elses mind after calling the people he voted for thugs ?

If there is to be any hope of constructive change, rather than simply more partisan bickering,we need to go easy on the ronnie ray gun and obamanation type of cxxp.

The thing you need to realize Catskill, like it or not, is that your so called thugs are better positioned to win mudslinging contests of the sort you are needlessly starting; not here on TOD, but in the wider public arena.

The only real hope of moving forward on the critical issues we have to deal with VERY SOON is to build a new public coalition based on hard facts-facts about ff depletion, facts about declining water supplies,facts about the costs/realities of bau in general.

A primary fact that we need to keep in mind is that most people,liberal, conservative, or nonpolitical, are heavily invested in the bau scenario;the second is that this is a democracy of sorts, despite it's shortcomings, and no truly game changing realignments are going to come about without bringing aboard a substantial part of the opposing political party, regardless of which party is in power.

I am niether a repug nor a demorat but a rare sort politically;a true conservative.As such I hold to many, many positions considered liberal or libertarian, such as govt hands off except where there is true need;therefore I say the govt has no business in anybody's bedroom.

It may be that the solution is not via mandates from government.

Recently when returning from a business trip at Burbank Airport, some of the taxis awaiting passengers were Priuses.

'BP Boss demonised' (US spelling)

More of a political point than an Oil Drum one but there does seem to be a rift developing between US and UK views. Over here (UK) there does appear to be some support for the view that the US media & government are being (overly) heavy handed in attacking the company and the CEO because they are foreign and thus somehow a more valid target than if they were an American one. Plus the suggestion that some of the actions are more motivated by short term electioneering of course!



We may see a cooling of the special relationship for a while - some would simply say 'what special relationship?'.

I am in the UK and no fan of BP, but they are just another oil multinational. Apart from their CEO they are not really British, and here on the blogs the feedback is that the public are angry about the Brit bashing. It does feel like an orchestrated campaign.

I personally suspect that BP have a culture of cost cutting and safety violations which is more evident than other oil companies, and I detested their previous CEO as well. But that is nothing to do with Britain.

It has set back the PO and climate change messages here, because any mention of them is simply seen as more BP bashing.

It will encourage more flag waving nationalism here if it continues.

I haven't noticed any Brit-bashing on this side of the pond. What we see is people in the UK reacting as if criticism of BP is criticism of the UK. Which strikes me as quite bizarre, since as you note, they are just another Big Oil multinational. I don't think the reaction here would be a whit different if it was Exxon, Chevron, Conoco, Total, or Shell.

I don't think there is much logic to it, but some senators (?) are being quoted as saying some unpleasant and unjustified things about 'British Petroleum'. The dragging in of the Lockerbie angle doesn't go down well. We are smarting from the high casualties in Afghanistan which some see as America's war. We are smarting from severe budget cuts, rising unemployment, various banking scandals, etc. etc.

I think it is a general lashing out by the unthinking. We are hurting and we don't quite know who to blame for it.

The small quiet voices of reason are too easily drowned out.

Reported yesterday, a decent working family mired in debt was killed by the father, who then hanged himself. Sign of the times.

Ralph -- I'm also disappointed in the comments of some of our senators who want BP investigated for their "involvement" in the release. I don't take a position on the release since I've never bothered with the details. I've seen the wide range of posts describing the man as guilty as sin to being certifiably innocent. But I see some of our politicians taking advantage of the current attitude towards BP in the US as an opportunity to garner support for their re-elections. But if BP expressed a desire to have the Scottish gov't to release this fellow then so what? Not a way I would conduct my business but to each his own. But BP didn't release him...the Scottish gov't did. So when our self-righteous senators point fingers at BP what they are in effect doing is saying that the Scott gov't released the man for its own monetary gain. That's a much more serious charge than anything they might lay on BP IMHO.

But this is a trend I've seen developing in the US for some time: Some terrible law gets passed because the Industry X lobbied for it so don't blame the politicians. A lobbyist can spend all the money he wants but he'll get nothing for it unless politicians sell their votes. Many folks seem to be missing that not so subtle fact. Just because someone tempts you to do wrong thing doesn't diminish you culpability one bit in the matter IMHO.

Just because someone tempts you to do wrong thing doesn't diminish you culpability one bit in the matter IMHO.

I disagree with your characterization, ROCKMAN.

The way our system works, the laws/deals passed under Bush
when Republicans were a majority and ran things,
became the law or MMS policy, etc. A majority of the Democrats
at the time tried to block a lot of Bush's deregulation but were outvoted.(And sometimes Democrats were bambozzled into going along with junk like the Patriot Act---for which they deserve blame).
The laws/practices remain in force until there's Macondo disaster( no problem, why 'tamper with perfection' and tampering costs money and riles up the lobbyists). Now the Democrats are the majority and now they get blamed by the public and by Republicans like Joe Barton (R-BP).
And now the Republicans are poised to take over again with the aid of angry voters.

In a way, the election system itself is to be blamed in which voters fix problems by recycling politicians. TPTB their money and their lobbyists are the constant, so they are morally responsible.
As for the politicians, their only responsibility(to their respective Parties) is to be re-elected. If a constituent complains to a Congressman that something didn't pass he just says he didn't have the votes to get that done.

It's really amazing that anything ever gets gets done.

You'd think getting money out of the system would cure the problem--unconstitutional according to SCOTUS but then there's fact that the politicians are dependent on the experts from TPTB for writing thousand page bills for them to flog(sell)--they don't read those monstrosities.
Even beyond that, the Senate rules(not in the Constitution per se)can lock down voting with filibusters.

"I've said it before and I'll say it again: Democracy simply doesn't work". --Kent Brockman

Wasn't it Ben Franklin that said "Democracy is two wolves and a sheep debating what is for dinner"?

I personally suspect that BP have a culture of cost cutting and safety violations which is more evident than other oil companies

Hi Ralph,

We'll be upgrading the lighting in a local distribution centre for a major, international oil firm, and I was impressed by their commitment to workplace safety. Prior to gaining entry to the warehouse, we had to put on our safety shoes and glasses, hard hat and reflective vests. They also suspended all forklift activity until we cleared the area. They've requested proof of insurance and workers' compensation as well as third-party safety training certification and man lift operating licences. Whether true or not, I'm told that executive bonuses are determined, in large part, by the number of workplace injuries/safety infractions and that senior management are extremely vigilant in this regard. [Too bad the additives in their gasoline killed the fuel pumps in two of my Chryslers, leaving me $1,600.00 poorer.]


Halifax -- Very interesting especially to those of us that take safety issues very seriously. I've pointed out before one oil patch operator with a similar passion for safety. Though many folks harbor bad feeling towards ExxonMobil for past sins they are truly fanatical when it come to drilling safety. Perhaps this is a carryover from the Valdez experience. But if you're a manager at XOM and want to permanently damage your career track then all you need do is not take safety issues seriously in either word or action. The examples you offer are the minimum requirements I've seen on XOM jobs. An example I offered a while back: on your project did anyone get yanked off the job and forced to watch 3 hours of safety films because they didn't keep one hand on the rail when they came down a flight of stairs? You don't make that mistake more than once on an XOM job.

Hi Rock,

In all of the years I've been at this, only one other client has asked us for each of the items noted above. They even provided us with an internal document that spelled out the minimum maintained foot candles required throughout their facility, e.g., "X" for the tank farms, "Y" for their pumping area, "Z" over staircases and catwalks, and so on. These guys are on the ball.


When it gets to the downstream side (refineries, pipelines, etc.) the oil companies have the best and most stringent safety regulations and practices. That probably comes from working around a lot of volatile compounds. They also have some of the best electrical power systems, so I plagiarize spec's whenever I can.

After university working in chemical valley Sarnia Ontario, each employee had to attend the safety orientation for each facility. I can recall at least six to eight I went through as we did contract and troubleshooting in every plant in the area (Esso Petroleum and Chemical, Dow, Polysar, Shell, Suncor, Trans Canada pipeline, etc.). Our small team of field service guys were holding our own monthly safety meeting one day when I asked if each and every plant requires you to run to a safety shelter during the horn blast and put on the Scott Airpack and wait for an operator, does anyone know how to use a Scott Airpack? It was a unanimous "No". So we got the training.

Safety practices vary by facility and some jobs have variances for very good reasons. Warehouse workers don't normally wear hard hats because they impede their vision too much and cause more problems than they solve; but, they are extra cautious about overhead hazards. High Steel workers don't where fall restraint harnesses because they trip over the lanyards, or they are moving around so much the attaching of the lanyard becomes impractical; but they have the lowest injury and death rate due to falling (more or less). Guys like me wear the full kit because we move around to many different areas and are not aware of the particular hazards.

The part I find incredible Paul is this is one of the first sites where full safety gear was demanded.


Bear in mind, the majority of our work is light commercial, office and retail, given that our programme specifically targets small businesses with 100 kW or less of demand and 300,000 kWh or less in energy consumption. Occasionally, we're asked to wear safety glasses and steel toe footwear when we enter a warehouse; at other times it might be a hard hat or hearing protection and once in a blue moon a reflective vest. I can only think of one other occasion when each of these items were required for the purposes of conducting an audit.


It wasn't that long ago that a fuel pump had two bolts and two hoses, no wires, cost about $25 and took ten minutes to change. Been a lot of progress since then. If you look under the hood of a 1970's car it looks, well, empty and you can see the road below.

Too bad the additives in their gasoline killed the fuel pumps in two of my Chryslers, leaving me $1,600.00 poorer.]

Are you sure it wasn't the government mandated ethanol percentage? That's been known to kill seals in pumps and other components more so than additives.

I'd blame it on the ethanol. And ethanol is hell on small engines, esp. chainsaws - did a number on mine.

Also reduces mileage. I'm not a big ethanol fan.

[edit: I'm not a big fan of ethanol - in my motor fuel. In other contexts I'm all for it :-)

Hi Greg,

It was definitely the fuel additive. It was used between March 2001 and March 2002 and was the subject of a class action law suit. Whatever it was, it clogged fuel pumps and caused the gas gauges to stop working or provide false readings. I had my LHS back to the dealer three times in fairly rapid succession. Fortunately for me, the second and third replacements were covered under a one year manufacturer's warranty (only later, did I find out it was related to the gas). Apparently, all Chrysler vehicles manufactured between 1997 and 2002 with the exception of certain Jeep models were especially vulnerable due to nature of their design.


Get a bicycle.

Thanks HinH

That explains why I ran out of gas twice in my '98 Ram when the gauge said I had plenty.

By the way from the thread above on how long people keep their vehicles, I still consider my '98 Ram as my "new" vehicle as compared to the rest of my fleet (88 Subaru, 78 TransVan).

Tony Hayward's personal conduct contributed a great deal to that, though.

Any man who whines on being fired from the post of CEO when he never has to work another day is a man who makes me long for the guillotine.

In a mark of faith in its outgoing leader, the company said it planned to recommend him for a non-executive board position at its Russian joint venture, TNK-BP. Hayward remains well-regarded in Europe and his appointment would be a benefit for Dudley, who, as the former head of TNK-BP, was forced to flee Russia and run the company in absentia after a flap with shareholders in 2008.


Hah! So they are sending him to Siberia. How appropriate.

But, unfortunately, there aren't any more gulags. He'll probably be staying in London while a board member of TNK-BP.

It seems that there has been a distinct cooling off between the US and EU for several years. Meanwhile, the UK have been attempting to straddle the fence. It will be interesting to see on which side the UK eventually jumps off.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending July 23, 2010 [PDF]

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.5 million barrels per day during the week ending July 23, 55 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 90.6 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging 9.6 million barrels per day.

Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging 4.3 million barrels per day. U.S. crude oil imports averaged 11.2 million barrels per day last week, up by 1.2 million barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 10.0 million barrels per day, 456 thousand barrels per day above the same fourweek period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 1.1 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 149 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 7.3 million barrels from the previous week. At 360.8 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 0.1 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories remained unchanged while blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 0.9 million barrels, and are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 0.5 million barrels last week and are in the lower half of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 9.0 million barrels last week.

Surprise Party in Oil Trading Ring

A big surprise party was thrown by the US Energy Department this morning when its weekly petroleum inventory report was released. Bears, rather than the bulls, did most of the celebrating, however.

Oil analysts were expecting a modest drawdown — between 1.4 million and 1.7 million barrels — in domestic crude stocks, while the industry-supported American Petroleum Institute estimated a build of 3.1 million barrels.

The surprise? Actual inventories, according to the government's tally, increased by a whopping 7.3 million barrels over the previous week.

Crude prices, which had been weakening in electronic trading ahead of the report's release, plunged nearly a dollar a barrel in reaction.

Last weeks’ crude imports were just about record levels. Previously I discussed the fact that up to 5 million barrels could have failed to show in prior weeks because of hurricanes and tropical storms that affected the Gulf of Mexico over the last month. Apparently those delayed tankers bound for Gulf ports were biding their time elsewhere in the Caribbean (not really a bad place spend an unplanned summer vacation) and headed back to the US last week.

Large import gains were registered with crude imports from Mexico, Nigeria, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. However all available information concerning output from those countries indicates that, at best, they have managed to only maintain export levels the last few months. So if a “surprise party” was thrown by the oil bears this week, it may be the last for a while. Michael Lynch, of CERA, quoted by Bloomberg, seemed to be particularly bearish (negative) about the prospects for the price of oil, and conversely, optimistic that available US oil supplies will exceed amount needed.

Beyond the highly unusual buildup in weather related inventory changes, I‘m not quite sure how CERA or anyone else can interpret that booming US demand will somehow lead to a surplus of oil supplies. Yes, I did say booming – how else would you describe distillate (diesel) demand being up more than 9% over last year? Recently industrial production was reported by the Federal Reserve as being up 8% over last year, so it would be expected that diesel demand to support to the movement of goods would be up by a similar amount - plus imports have also recently surged.

Over all, oil products supplied last week were up an amazing 1.1 million barrels per day over the comparable week last year. Total products supplied over the last four-week period has averaged 19.4 million barrels per day, up by 3.4 percent compared to the similar period last year. The EIA is expecting US oil product demand to increase less than 400,000 bpd (about 2% or so) in 2010.

Laytonville Discussion Group...

We met yesterday but it was only Wharf Rat and I. The discussion ranged from Conibear traps to the economy to what kind of company we'd start if we had a billion bucks.

Our next "meeting" will be July 6th at 11:30AM at Harwood Park in Laytonville. Anyone from the surrounding communities of Leggett, Willits and Ukiah are welcome. Bring a lunch and figure on spending 1 1/2-2 hours.


Also, covercrops and legumes. I wrote this up for another site.. think I got most of your rotations..

Anyway, today I asked him if he had ever reached the point where he didn't have to add N2 to his beds. Short answer was "no", but we talked around this for about 30 minutes.
We both were certified organic at some point in our lives, but we have very different approaches to growing now. His background was with Dow, B4 he came out here, (prolly late 70's, cuz we came in '86), and has reverted to his chemical roots..."I like water soluble 20/20/20." Rat uses manures, bone meal or rock phosphate, been putting some glacial dust on my beds for minerals..an experiment.

Todd doesn't rely on legumes for a major source of nitrogen.
Used to make compost, but he brought a lot of the materials in. He said legumes don't start fixing N2 until they start blooming. He plants a fall cover crop of vetch, oats, cow peas, and I think burr clover. Mulches everything with alfalfa hay during the growing season, which smothers all his weeds.

I rely heavily on legumes. I generally try to get 3 or 4 plantings of snow and shelling peas, and, when I am good, several plantings of green beans. Haven't gotten into all dried beans. I'm gonna try another planting of peas now and hope for a fall crop. Then I fall cover crop as many beds as I can with fava beans, which will survive (occasional) temperatures below 10 degrees. They have really big root nodules. I might grow a few beds of wheat for practice, and maybe for mulch, and maybe some oats...did that once before. I also do some summer cover cropping with buckwheat, which builds up phosphorus. Good bee food, too, and, potentially, grain if needed after TSHTF. I start off with lots of weeds, and I make lots of compost. There is no such thing as having enuf compost.
But, I digress... has Todd ever reached the point where he didn't need supplementary N2? Nope. Can I, with a more intensive program? I dunno. I'll do what I can.


You're not telling the whole story. I just finished irrigating but I still have to pick squash, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and beans* so I don't have time to post "the rest of the story" right now. Something later.


*edit - forgot the ollalie berries

The rest of the story: There are four reasons I do what I do.

1. My soils remain cold up to planting time in the middle or latter part of May (heck, we had snow in early May this year). This is one reason I transplant almost everything including sweet corn.

Nitrification does not occur to any extent below 50 degrees F (e.g. at 75 degrees total nitrification takes place in about 2 weeks; at 47 degrees only 70% is nitrified in 12 weeks. For practical purposes, 12 weeks is too far into the growing season. The soil microbial community follows similar temperature profiles - not much happens below 50 degrees.

Therefore, counting on a legume to add useful nitrogen is not realistic for my climate.

2. I used to use a soil builder mix consisting of vetch, cow peas, fava beans and oats from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply http://www.groworganic.com Aside from the fact that it cost about $2.00 a pound delivered, it grew really high; 3+'. It was impossible to incorporate this into my raised beds. I continued to use it on my terraced beds where I could weed-eat or mow it down but it cost too much.

The last year I grew it, I thought I'd let it mature and harvest the seed. It worked well until a late snow storm lodged it. I switched to oats at ..25 cents per pound and let the bur clover come up as an adjunct.

3. I'm old and don't need extra work so I fertigate. I use about 5 tablespoons of 20-20-20 soluble fertilizer w/trace elements a day for about 1,800 square feet of bed. Being a prepper, I store enough of this for my lifetime.

4. In a similar vein, I mulch my raised beds with alfalfa hay; once after the crops are planted which is turned over in fall and then again to cover the soil for winter. This adds organic matter, reduces water loss during the summer and protects them in the winter.

So, this is what I ended up doing after messing around with cover crops for 35 years (I used buckwheat way back. It was a pain to get rid of, sort of like vetch.) The soluble fertilizer costs about the same per pound as my fancy soil builder seed and I don't have to kill myself.

I do not dispute the value of legume cover crops and the Rodale Research Institute has a great many articles on this. However, their value depends upon ones climate and the ability to "use" the remaining organic matter (top growth).

Finally, here is a really important hint for legume users (seriously): It is often difficult to assure appropriate innoculation. Here's what you do - Take a pail if you only have a little seed or a cement mixer if you have a lot and add enough milk to just wet the seed. Add the innoculant. Mix the seed up and dump it on a tarp to dry. Then plant right away since the moisture could "wake up" the seed. Works like a charm. I understand you can also use dilute molasses but I've never tried it.

Well, back to thinning apples now that I've got the berries, etc. picked.


"Our next "meeting" will be July 6th at 11:30AM at Harwood Park in Laytonville. Anyone from the surrounding communities of Leggett, Willits and Ukiah are welcome. Bring a lunch and figure on spending 1 1/2-2 hours."

Sorry I missed the meeting, but my bag lunch was great ;-)

Re: Arctic Ocean exploration

The Arctic Ocean north of Russia appears to be breaking up nicely this season, and should be below 15% ice coverage along almost all the coast by August 1. See Sea Ice Extent map

Last year, Beluga Group sent two heavy lift ships from Korea to Holland via the Northeast Passage, and they were reported to be planning more trips by heavy lift vessels to delivery machinery to the Russian arctic ports. German freighters blaze trail through Arctic

"...breaking up nicely..."

Personally I don't think there's anything nice about it. While an ice-free arctic summer presents opportunities for global trade and oil / gas exploration, it's a total disaster for the global environment.

In my opinion what's happening in the artcic should be the biggest wakeup call to mankind to get off its collective backside and do something to reduce our impact on the planet; instead we seem to be seeing it as just another $$$ / £££ making opportunity.

Which is why I'm a pessimist when it comes to whether or not we'll ever voluntarily achieve a sustainable society.

Best of luck

What do you think the consequences of an ice free Arctic Ocean summer are?

Record snows in NE the following winter...
Although there is considerable year to year variability, as summer Arctic open water area increases over the next decades, an increasing influence of loss of summer sea ice on northern hemisphere wind patters can be anticipated, with resultant impacts on northern hemisphere weather.


Looks like the winter cooling due to ice-free Arctic summer should offset some of the AGW, but with more precip. For the last few million years, the climate has had temperature extremes between the equator and poles due to ice/glaciation at the poles and the lack of good circulation of ocean currents between the Pacific and Atlantic.

There is no winter cooling. Just because you would get some more snow in Scandinavia won't offset global warming. We already had cases in eastern Canada and the US in the last several years of very large snowfall, above the norm, that melted faster than the norm. So the albedo effect from the snow is not enough to secure its existence and contribute to cooling.

What matters is the nibbling away at the length of the winter period from both ends. Here in southern Ontario winter is coming two weeks later than it did 30 years ago. This is a systematic change and not some random noise.

When the glaciers start advancing again, then we can start talking about cooling.

What do you think the consequences of an ice free Arctic Ocean summer are?

Chinese container ships going to Europe via the Arctic Ocean.

Polar bears switching from a diet of seals to a diet of tourists.

But other than that, not much.

What do you think the consequences of an ice free Arctic Ocean summer are?

Chinese container ships going to Europe via the Arctic Ocean.

Polar bears switching from a diet of seals to a diet of tourists.

But other than that, not much.

So, you are suggesting that the melting of Arctic ice in Summer will go no further in it's effects than the ones you listed above? How did you arrive at that conclusion?

The Arctic ice always melts in the summer. The consequences of it melting more than previously are not that dramatic. The wildlife up there has been through global warming before, numerous times.

The Inuit report that the polar bears are doing very well. I talked to someone yesterday who just came back from the Arctic, and she said she saw lots of polar bears, but not many seals, and all the seals she saw were being eaten by polar bears.

The consequences for navigation are significant, though. As I said elsewhere, they just found McClure's ship, HMS Investigator, which found the last link in the Northwest Passage while searching for Franklin, but was abandoned in 1853 after being trapped in ice for three years.

Next month, they hope to find Franklin's two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, which departed England in 1845 and were never seen again by Europeans. All 128 crew members on Franklin's expedition died - the Inuit were quite sure of that - and no European ever saw them alive again.

I guess there was some cherry-picking of the data.

Current status of Polar Bear populations :-

"Polar bears range from Russia to Alaska, from Canada to Greenland, and onto Norway's Svalbard archipelago. Biologists estimate there are 20,000 to 25,000 bears. About 60% of those live in Canada.

At the 2009 meeting of the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group, scientists reported that of the 19 subpopulations* of polar bears:

•8 are declining.
•3 are stable.
•1 is increasing.

By comparison, in 2005:

•5 were declining.
•5 were stable.
•2 were increasing.

*Insufficient data to determine the fate of the other 7 populations"


When I read the data, I see they are doing worse, overall, and not better.

Also :-

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service states, ". . . extensive scientific studies have indicated that the increased observation of bears on land is a result of changing distribution patterns and a result of changes in the accessibility of sea ice habitat.”

Polar bears are a relatively new species - older than the Eemian, but maybe since the previous interglacial.

Suppose they did go extinct. What is the downside? We don't have passenger pigeons anymore, and seem to get along without them.

I guess it's all in one's world view - the view that only humans have any value, as opposed to the view that includes all life as having value.

IMHO, it's a pretty impoverished world view that would treat a whole species as dispensable

If we can't/won't save the charismatic megafauna, we won't save anything at all.

You probably don't get the Aboriginal People's Television Network on cable like I do, but if you did you might get a different perspective on the problem.

But to get back to what the Inuit, and the experts who actually live in the Arctic, think about polar bear populations: They think there might be too many polar bears.

Climate change is having an effect on the west Hudson population of polar bears, but really, there is no need to panic. Of the 13 populations of polar bears in Canada, 11 are stable or increasing in number. They are not going extinct, or even appear to be affected at present.

It is noteworthy that the neighbouring population of southern Hudson Bay does not appear to have declined, and another southern population (Davis Strait) may actually be over-abundant

I understand that people who do not live in the north generally have difficulty grasping the concept of too many polar bears in an area. People who live here have a pretty good grasp of what that is like to have too many polar bears around.

This complexity is why so many people find the truth less entertaining than a good story. It is entirely appropriate to be concerned about climate change, but it is just silly to predict the demise of polar bears in 25 years based on media-assisted hysteria.

Dr. Mitchell Taylor
Polar Bear Biologist,
Department of the Environment,
Government of Nunavut, Igloolik, Canada

"But to get back to what the Inuit, and the experts who actually live in the Arctic, think about polar bear populations: They think there might be too many polar bears."

Thinking there may be too many polar bears in one particular location doesn't constitute scientific research. Nor do your disbelief, and the opinion of one lone contrarian, disprove the facts.

Well, no. It's the opinion of the Government of Nunavut, and several thousand Inuit who live there (Nunavut has a majority Inuit population).

Canada has roughly 60% of the world's polar bears, so maybe if you don't have enough of your own, could you take some off our hands?

Or, alternatively, you could go up and help thin out the population yourself. Here's a link to a bunch of Inuit interested in helping you do that: Inuit-organised polar bear sport hunting in Nunavut territory, Canada

Been there, done that. There are far too many Inuit in that area. The cheap/free energy has allowed the population to expand to unsustainable levels.

I say let the Polar Bears have their space. Move the humans. Give them birth control, not free energy. Take away the snow machines.

Unfortunate, that so many educated people on this site think that it's ok to kill off everything on this planet.

Cause,that's what your doing.

That's like the CEO of Walmart saying that because they are busy, the economy is doing well. Rather limited data set.

Is there a date associated with this opinion?

May, 2006, in the Toronto Star. I don't think Dr. Taylor's opinions have changed much since them.

Because of the ice/albedo feedback mechanism, the loss of Arctic sea ice is already having an tremendous impact on global climate. Moreover, additional loss of Arctic sea ice will adversely impact Earth's climate at an accelerating rate. Because of its reflectivity, Arctic sea ice helps keep the planet cool.

To quote Wikipedia: "The sea ice in the Arctic region is in itself important in maintaining global climate due to its albedo (reflectivity).[27] Melting of this sea ice will therefore exacerbate global warming due to positive feedback effects, where warming creates more warming by increased solar absorption."


Warming melts sea ice, causing the darker ocean to absorb more heat, melting more ice, and so on. A very positive positive feedback loop.

Oh, and they just found HMS Investigator, a British ship lost in 1853 while looking for the Franklin Expedition. HMS Investigator never found the Franklin Expedition, but it did close the last gap in the Northwest Passage before it got blocked by ice and spent three winters there. The crew were rescued by HMS Resolute (except for three that died of scurvy, whose bodies are still there).

With a little more melting they may yet find HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, the two ships in Franklin's expedition that disappeared with all hands in 1845 and were never seen again (except for three crew that died of tuberculosis, and whose bodies were later discovered in frozen graves).

See http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/arctic-archaeologists-find-... for details

Bad luck for Franklin that he went on the expedition in 1845. The climate became significantly colder 1845-1850. The Irish potato famine started in 1845, but there were potato crop failures across Europe in 1846, coupled with 50% failure of rye as well. Rye is a hardy crop, grown in the north due to its more predictable performance versus wheat.

Of course, there were a lot of other problems with the Franklin Expedition.

Yep, lots of problems with the Franklin Expedition. Not the least of which was a terrible Ice Monster thing that haunts and terrorizes the crew of both ships!!
Just finished The Terror, a fictionalized account of the failed expedition by Dan Simmons, a great summer read.

Very bad according to Lou.

Adding an additional worldwide absorption from a loss of the Arctic ice would contribute roughly 1/3 to 2/3 as much as all that CO2 we’ve built up in the atmosphere.

I doubt that it is correct to take a value of 19.7 W/meter squared averaged over the Arctic Ocean and conclude that it is equal to 0.55 W/meter squared averaged over the Earth. Most likely there would not be heat transfer between the Arctic and the rest of the atmosphere/oceans to achieve that warming. The actual result is not equivalent to the same average number for AGW by CO2 emissions. Instead, the heating is localized in the Arctic and the variation of temperatures between the Arctic and Equator would be lessened. Which is roughly what is being seen.

Warming resulting from Arctic sea ice loss will most certainly not remain localized in the Arctic region. There are a number of reasons for this including the oceanic and atmospheric connections to the rest of the Earth's climate system. Most significantly though, localized Arctic warming now results in the warming of the Arctic methane-rich permafrost. Indeed this is already happening. Here's just one story from Guardian UK "Arctic permafrost leaking methane at record levels, figures show
Experts say methane emissions from the Arctic have risen by almost one-third in just five years, and that sharply rising temperatures are to blame"

Methane is a greenhouse gas that is approximately 22 times as powerful as CO2.
Models strongly suggest that Arctic warming of as little as 2C will release billions of tons of methane previously sequestered in permafrost--this would be an extremely potent positive feedback loop that has the potential to cause a large and abrupt climate change that would have very deleterious impacts on humankind.

So, loss of Arctic sea ice is kind of a big deal.

From the Guardian article -- seems like the Arctic has a small effect compared with other sources.

They found that just over half of all methane emissions came from the tropics, with some 20m tonnes released from the Amazon river basin each year, and 26m tonnes from the Congo basin. Rice paddy fields across China and south and south-east Asia produced just under one-third of global methane, some 33m tonnes. Just 2% of global methane comes from Arctic latitudes, the study found, though the region showed the largest increases. The 31% rise in methane emissions there from 2003-07 was enough to help lift the global average increase to 7%.

I remember reading, I think, a good number of years ago that the darkness of the arctic winter slowed down the chemical reactivity (rapid oxidation) of methane, thus increasing the insulation effect during the winter. There was speculation that by some such means, positive feedback in the remote past had enabled an 'ice-free arctic' that was otherwise difficult to explain. Such geological events are in the record apparently, and a ubiquitously 'marshy world' could have supplied sufficient methane to cause such a chemically anomalous equilibrium.
Does anybody have an update on this theory?

Methane would not keep the arctic ice-free for long, since its half-life in the atmosphere is about 7 years. Which is really short in geological terms, even interglacial terms.

Past configurations of continental crust have allowed better ocean circulation and more even distribution of warmth.

The cause of the ice ages starting a few million years ago does not appear to be well understood, but it may be due to the closing of Atlantic-Pacific flows through Central America and/or the narrowing of the Bering Strait.

Sure methane has a half-life of 7 years but we are not talking about a one-time eruption of methane that then dissipates. Instead, we are talking about the release of a massive amount of methane over time--probably over hundreds of years, if not longer. This is not a little bit of methane we are talking about here. Permafrost covers 4 million square miles of the Earth's surface. In areas of continuous permafrost, such as Siberia, permafrost can be as much as 1493 meters, or 4510 feet, deep.
And very significantly, the world’s permafrost has an almost unimaginable trillion (that’s 1,000 billion) metric tons of carbon locked up in cold storage.

Far from "not keeping the Arctic ice-free for long", the release of a significant fraction of this stored methane would pretty much unleash the gates of Hell--at least as far as humanity is concerned.

A massive pulse of Arctic methane (a GHG 22 times more effective at trapping heat than CO2) of this magnitude would abruptly raise Earth's surface temperature. It would likely radically destabilize the Earth's climate system with the kinds of predictable effects (drought, flooding, crop failure, sea level rise, etc.) that we are already starting to see on an uncomfortably regular basis.

An ice-free Arctic and the consequent release of large amounts of previously sequestered terrestrial methane would likely raise temperatures enough that it would probably also assure that both the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets (both already in negative mass balance) cross their own tipping points---dooming future generations to catastrophic sea level rise that would displace hundreds of millions of people. So, again, a complete loss of Arctic sea ice is a big, big deal for humankind--and not in a good way.

"Past configurations of continental crust" or the causes of ice ages a few million years don't really seem to be germane to this discussion.

And, less we forget, when methane breaks down, it ends up as water and CO2, thus as methane it lasts about 7 years, and then it continues as a greenhouse gas for a very long them thereafter.



The 7 year figure is nonsense. It is somebody's ignorant use of the turnover timescale by the Brewer-Dobson circulation.

1) For total photolysis the CH4 has to circulate through the upper stratosphere and only a small fraction of the CH4 actually does this in a 7 year period. Most circulates through the tropical tropopause and back into the troposphere in the sub and extra tropics.

2) Oxidation occurs primarily by reaction with OH (not O2, which is combustion). OH is depleted in the stratosphere since H2O is effectively freeze dried at the tropical tropopause. This chemical loss process is much slower than photolysis.

That is why over a 25 year period CH4 is more than 70 times as potent as CO2 and over a 100 year period it is still 25 times as potent. An initial CH4 release pulse has a tail that lasts decades and makes a major contribution to warming.

If you have a continuous source of CH4 at the surface it fills up the troposphere with significant values compared to the surface concentration (cf the current CH4 distribution and compare it to its 1.7 ppmv surface value in the northern hemisphere). So if the sub-Arctic permafrost, as well as the east Siberian shelf, CH4 source lasts for decades then we are in serious trouble as the oceans will respond to this signal in a way that will push them to be lesser CO2 sinks.

The contribution of methane emissions from the Arctic is indeed markedly smaller than the methane emissions from the tropics *right now*. But in this discussion we are specifically discussing the knock-on effects to the rest of the Earth's climate from the complete loss of Arctic sea ice expected to occur in the future (2040-2050) as a direct result of anthropogenic global warming.

RockyMtnGuy claimed that the overall effect [presumably on Earth's climate] would be "not much". The scientific evidence points to a markedly different conclusion.

Again, because of the ice/albedo effect, the loss Arctic sea ice can be expected to create a positive feedback loop which will exacerbate human-induced global warming. This ice/albedo positive feedback loop together with steadily increasing levels of atmospheric GHGs will contribute to further rapid warming of the Arctic region and is expected to thaw vast swaths of Arctic permafrost, thereby releasing truly massive amounts of methane. By mid-century, the contributions of methane from thawing Arctic permafrost can be expected to play as big a role in climatic warming as annual GHG contributions from human activity.

I'm not sure I believe all the stuff that has been predicted about the effects of the loss of Arctic sea ice. Frankly, nobody really understands these climate systems, and most of the things people are predicting are just too far out there to be credible. All they've done is convince me they don't really know what they are talking about.

Changes in methane levels are entirely hypothetical. Nobody understands these systems and nobody knows if it's true or not. People who claim they understand it are deluded about their level of knowledge.

The main predictable effect of loss of sea ice in summer would be increased evaporation, and consequently increased rainfall in Northern Canada. But it already rains a lot in Northern Canada, so that's not much of a change.

Arctic plants, animals, and human beings have been through global warming before, and they always managed to cope, so no doubt they'll manage to cope this time, too.

"nobody really understands these climate systems"

Are you kidding me? The climate system has been exhaustively studied over the past few decades. Sure there are uncertainties about what *exactly* the climate is going to do---but most of these uncertainties stem from uncertainties about what future course of actions humans will take. The climate system reacts predictably to the addition of greenhouse gasses. Computer climate models have gotten to be remarkably reliable; they can be run backwards and they match the past. The models have successfully predicted the amount of anthropogenic warming that we have seen to date. The basic mechanisms of the climate are very well understood and the science is rock solid. We know enough to know that we are screwed without major a major reduction in GHG emissions. But don't take my word for it, please check out the peer reviewed science or the consensus reports of the IPCC.

re you kidding me? The climate system has been exhaustively studied over the past few decades.

And the climate models still don't predict that the climate is going to be the way it is now, nevermind where it is going in future. In reality it's a chaotic system that nobody can predict.

But don't take my word for it, please check out the peer reviewed science or the consensus reports of the IPCC.

Unfortunately for you, I did. The IPCC predicted that the Himalayan glaciers were going to disappear by 2035. So, I went and looked at them close up, and it was obvious they weren't going away anytime in the next century. I've seen glaciers in the mountains I live in appear and disappear, so I have an eye for this kind of thing.

Later they admitted they had goofed, and the date was closer to 2350. But the thing that disturbed me was that it took considerable political pressure from the Indian government to get them to admit that they were out by over 300 years on the time frame. They stuck to their prediction despite the fact that it was obviously an error to anybody who knew anything about the subject.

After I looked at the report in detail, I concluded that most of it had a similar level of reliability. It's entirely a political document. They, of course, would disagree, but I don't think the report is worth the paper it is printed on.

Yes, we all know about the IPCCs retraction of the Himalayan glacier claim. That overstatement does not invalidate the entire report. And it most certainly does not invalidate the science underlying the report.

And anyway, we were not talking about Himalayan glaciers, we were talking about the impacts of Arctic sea ice reduction. I'm not going to debate the entire IPCC report with you. You said you don't think there's gonna to be much of an impact from the loss of Arctic sea ice. I haven't seen any facts put forward since then that convincingly supported your assertion but clearly you're free to believe whatever you want.

The claims about endangered polar bears are much the same as the claims about the Himalayan glaciers. The Himalayan glaciers are in no immediate danger of disappearing, and neither are the polar bears, although many people who should know better have claimed that they are.

The polar bears have been through global warming before, and coped nicely with it. Most of the other claims about threats to the Arctic are exaggerated as well.

The IPCC has a bad habit of quoting unreliable sources, which lead to the Himalayan glacier goof. I see no reason to believe their other sources are more reliable, and I don't have the time to vet them all.

The IPCC now has recanted the paragraph in question. Though the widely quoted claims were in print for nearly three years, the IPCC’s admission does indicate that scientific errors can be publicly identified and corrected.


This is how science works. If an error is made, it is pointed out and the new data is published, clarifying or rectifying the mistake. That is how it is done. There was and is no coverup, such as an industry funded error would cause.

And, as others have stated quite well, an error in a single data point does not invalidate any report or study; in fact, this is a minor point. Decrease in sea ice is well documented; fluctuations in surface extent for two years did not diminish the inport of thinning, which continued even during the short rebound.

Sadly, the effect of AGW has resulted in the greatest increase in temperature at the Arctic (and, to a lesser extent, but still above overall levels of increase, at Antarctica as well.

As for the IPCC report being a political document, I will agree that it is, to the extent that politics dictated that the severity of the problem be downplayed, and the report was somewhat emasculated by political pressures.

You say,

And the climate models still don't predict that the climate is going to be the way it is now, nevermind where it is going in future. In reality it's a chaotic system that nobody can predict.

And, that is a significant part ofthe problem. Models would suggest we should be cooling; by nature that would cause diminiution of CO2 levels, based on long term historical data. AGW is discussed by, and researched by scientists in the fields of Biology, Paleontology, Geology, Natural History, Oceanography, Climatology, Meteorology, Volcanology, Glaciology, Taxonomy, Genetics, Anthropology, Astronomy, and many specialized areas of studies contained within these broader fields. The report itself is 4 volumes, and is very detailed. If you really want to read it, try: http://www.ipcc.ch/index.htm

The dedicated men and women who work and research in these disciplines are alarmed. We are not seeing what we should be seeing. CO2 increase, for instance, is historically a following, and forcing mechanism in global warming. What should be occurring is a lowering of temps, and a following decrease in those levels. Never in the data avaiable has CO2 risen in advance of temperatures. This is making our climate more chaotic, and in a bad way. The real danger, as pointed out in another post, is that we really do NOT know what is going to happen. We know that many bad things can, and if trends continue almost certainly will, happen. How long it will take, again, is not certain. And, again, it is really stupid to risk everything so that a few rich people can hold on to their wealth.


This is how science works. If an error is made, it is pointed out and the new data is published, clarifying or rectifying the mistake. That is how it is done.

That is not how it is done for refereed journal articles. Suppose Jones, et al, publish a paper in 2008 in Nature that asserts some result. Only if Jones, et al, are caught out in some scientific malfeasance will Nature publish a retraction. If the paper's results is suspect, there may be a chain of correspondence in following issue, but the original article will not link forward to the criticism.

If Smith, et al, publish a later paper in 2010 in Science that contradicts or at least modifies Jones, et al, 2008's results, then Smith, et al, may say so in their paper, but usually in very tepid terms. Nature, on the other hand, will not link to the contradictory Science paper and if you go on the Nature site, you will see the original only.

If Doe, et al, publish a review article or a book, they may describe Smith, et al's, results, and either ignore Jones, et al, or breifly describe and dismiss their results. It depends on Doe's stature in the community relative to Jones' and the last author on the Jones, et al, paper.

There are some scientific databases where new results replace previous results, e.g. genomics and proteomics databases. But this is not done by journals.

This is a problem with print publications. Once printed, they are enshrined on that date.

Of course, when researching, the same research will turn up the bad and the good. The Index of Periodicals is quite good, and there would be no real excuse for a later reseracher not finding the correcting articles.


And yes, humans have been through climate change before, but humans have never endured such a rapid pace of warming. The rate of temperature change that humanity will be experiencing this century is unprecedented in human history. Moreover, when humans had to deal with climate change in earlier eras there was no infrastructure to be impacted, there were no cities or harbors to flood, there weren't millions or billions of people that were going to be displaced. Humanity wasn't confronting climate change together with a series of converging catastrophes (peak oil, resource depletion, environmental degradation, etc) the way present day humanity is.

The UNEP estimates that already over 150,000 people are dying each year now as a direct result of anthropogenic climate change. So, some humans may indeed "manage to cope" with the coming climate change--but overall, life if going to become a lot harder for the vast majority of people on Earth and there will be many casualties along the way.

To me it's just so sad that, in spite of the mountain of evidence, the very existence of human-induced climate change is still a matter of debate.

The annual global death rate is about 9 per 1000 population, or 63 million. 150 thousand is probably hard to measure, given the error bars on the statistics.

Hard to measure isn't the same thing as impossible to measure. The data for that number is published in Nature--a peer reviewed scientific journal. (Nov. 2005)

The estimated number of deaths per year from AGW becomes less a matter of mere statistics when it's actually possible to count the bodies. Unfortunately, like most of the effects of AGW, this will become more and more apparent over time. The number of AGW-related deaths is expected to double by 2030.

humans have been through climate change before, but humans have never endured such a rapid pace of warming.

Actually, they have. Prehistoric humans had to endure climate changes of 10 degrees Celsius temperature rise or fall over just a few years. See Climate Change in Prehistory: The End of the Reign of Chaos by William James Burroughs for more details.

Fair enough. But still, there's a big difference between small tribes of humans dealing with abrupt climate change as opposed to a massively interdependent global civilization of 7 to 10 billion people.

there's a big difference between small tribes of humans dealing with abrupt climate change as opposed to a massively interdependent global civilization of 7 to 10 billion people.

Yes there is. We're in a position to throw a lot more capital resources and technology at the problem than a bunch of guys wearing loincloths and carrying stone axes.

Sure, in some cases, where capital resources and technology are available, they will be very effective at dealing with some of the effects of AGW. Air-conditioning comes quickly to mind---although unless the power for that comes from something other than fossil fuels, AC will continue to exacerbate GHG emissions.) If sea levels rise by 7 feet or more this century as seems increasingly likely (Rahmsdorf, Rignot, etc) it's less clear that the deployment of capital and technology will be able to significantly keep rising oceans at bay.

It's probably true that, while fossil fuel supplies hold out, people in the developed world will be able to insulate themselves somewhat from some of the more diffuse impacts of AGW. However, there are at least 1.7 billion people on Earth who live in absolute poverty and there are millions and millions of others who already live at a subsistence level--as the climate changes, these people will be much more affected by the effects of AGW and will suffer accordingly. This is particularly regrettable since these are the people who are least responsible for the AGW problem.

Obviously, the current global economic crisis has very significantly impacted humanity's ability to throw money at problems. The sovereign debt crisis shows that many OECD governments are already completely hamstrung in dealing with today's set of problems. Given these current financial realities, it's questionable how effective even "developed" nations will be in marshaling resources to combat the effects of climate change--particularly in an era of environmental degradation and resource depletion.

I'm betting on change.
Hotter, colder, wetter, dryer.. I don't care.
All I want to know is

"Is it going to affect my breakfast?"
"I'm not happy."

Let me see... the main impact from loss of sea ice. Well, that would be increased evaporation, for sure. Good thing that water vapor is a greenhouse gas, eh? And, the surface albedo drops from .825 in the winter (with ice) to about .5 during summer ice-free periods.

Oh, but not to worry. That extra 6 meters of sea water will cause more rain to fall somewhere, I am sure.

More to the point, the danger is not just the albedo change and a small increase in temperature. No. The danger is that the change in sea water salinity, and the change in concentration of CO2 in sea water will have an unknown effect on the methane hydrates at the bottoms of the oceans worldwide. And, the melting of the permafrost has already been shown to release methane gas. The effect of a sudden 'gush' of CH4 could be disasterous. And, to say that, because it is not certain we don't need to do anything about it is about as stupid an attitude as I can imagine. Sort of like saying, "I am not sure whether I would pass out after 25 shots of vodka, so I don't need to worry about it. It might not happen." Really dumb!

The lobby to prevent education on AGW is the most misguided, and criminally negligent effort I have ever seen. It is far beyond stupidity. It is the ultimate "reducto ad absurdum" of the sect of Saint Ronnie the Wrong, in their assinine assertion that 'greed is good.'

I have heard so much of this junk lately, and listened to stupidity on the air as talking heads express their opinion as if it will change a single thing. Sorry. This is just too important to be quiet and let the 'let's give the controversy equal time' people get away with it. Prudence demands that we take this seriously! Unless you are a cold, calculating, greed intoxicated fiend, you will look at your children, grandchildren, and your spouse, or other loved ones, and say, "No! I will not put them at risk for something that is so certain. I would not put them at risk if the probabilities were much, much smaller!" Anything else is inhumane. Inhuman.

Sorry for the rant.


+1000. Right on.

Effects are additive. If you are consuming a poison in almost lethal dose and someone adds a bit more, it doesn't matter how much that bit is compared to what you are already getting. What matters is that it tips you over into a lethal dose. It doesn't matter one whit if the methane from the Artic is only 2% of the total (for now, each bit of warming will increase that percent). What matters is that we already have enough greenhouse gases to start to warm the planet. Adding any more is NOT a good idea. But worse is that this is part of positive feed back. As the CO2 causes the planet to warm, the permafrost melts and increasingly more of this more potent gas is added to our atmosphere. If we warm enough to release the frozen methane in the oceans it is all over. From here on out every bit of additional greenhouse gas matters immensely.

I doubt that it is correct to take a value of 19.7 W/meter squared averaged over the Arctic Ocean and conclude that it is equal to 0.55 W/meter squared averaged over the Earth.

Which basically means a good chunk of the 19.7 will be used up by greater IR radiation from a warmer arctic ocean/atmosphere to space. But some (warming) will be exported elsewhere. And ocean currents and atmospheric circulation will be affected. Some think the extreme arctic oscillation which gave western Europe and eastern US some wild winter weather this year will become more common. Not every year, but maybe every few years.

BTW if you take your .55W/meter**2 over the planet, and double it by only including the northern hemisphere, the it becomes 1.1 Watt/M**2, which is comparable to the estimated 1.6 that we currently have. The chances are pretty good that a forcing in one hemisphere will largely affect that hemispehere, and not too much the other.

Of course some of the exported heat will affect the greenland ice cap, and most likely its rate of melting will increase as well.

"What do you think the consequences of an ice free Arctic Ocean summer are?"

Massive methane release all the way around from 55lat and above, which is already happening in Siberia.

At a guess.
Increase of fresh water into the arctic, choking off the subduction zone in the Greenland sea, the gulf stream stalls with a resultant decrease in heat to Europe.
Europe has a surprisingly cold winter and Denialists celebrate.

Earth's climate future may be etched in Greenland bedrock

AFP - Scientists hit Greenland bedrock this week after five years of drilling through 2.5 kilometres (1.6-mile) of solid ice, a 14-nation consortium announced Wednesday. Ice core samples from 130,000 to 115,000 years ago -- the last time Earth's climate was a few degrees warmer than today -- could help forecast the impacts of current global warming, the researchers said.

"Scientists hit Greenland bedrock this week after five years of drilling through 2.5 kilometres (1.6-mile) of solid ice, a 14-nation consortium announced Wednesday. Ice core samples from 130,000 to 115,000 years ago -- the last time Earth's climate was a few degrees warmer than today"

Yep, and sea level was 4 to 6m (13 to 20 feet) higher than today (Overpeck et al., 2006).

Is the welfare state in terminal decline? (Uptop)

I would answer yes, but a related question is what will happen to the food & energy producers as they are expected to shoulder an increasing share of the tax burden, as the discretionary side of the economy continues to contract. Following is a link to and excerpt from one of Kurt Cobb's best essays:

Upside Down Economics
By Kurt Cobb

The second chart is how I conceive a properly informed ecological economist might depict the same data. The entire economy stands on the shoulders, as it were, of agriculture, forestry, and mining (especially the extraction of oil, gas, coal and uranium) and on the utilities that deliver the energy mined in usable form.


WT -

This link provides a great illustration of the relevance of ecological economics to our current situation.

I was reading some American History for fun (...) regarding Alexander Hamilton's drive to establish the Bank of the United States. He explained tirelessly to his contemporaries (Washington, Adams, Jefferson et al) the need to establish a central store of value "and circulate a credit upon it," i.e., his understanding of the power of financial leverage was advanced for the time (he had picked up a lot of tricks from Great Britain's financial system).

Anyway I came back to the phrase 'circulate a credit upon it.' Cobb's pyramid illustrates this concept well, while much of conventional economics obfuscates the point. Much of our economic value derives from the circulation of credit upon a few basic resources: the food we can grow and what we can pull out of the ground, augmented by what we pull in from elsewhere.

Now then, what if we have put multiple claims on the same stuff (i.e., different countries believing in OPEC oil availability) or what if what is available materially declines (we can't grow as much food)? When we no longer can agree what the underlying store of credit is but we know it's worse than we thought, the system has to unravel.

Just thinking out loud...

US renewable energy no longer a priority

Everyone has known for some time that renewables are not the priority for the US that they once were. Nonetheless, the latest data from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reveals just how far back the country has slipped in its efforts to move toward a clean energy future.

From the statement:

With only 700 megawatts added in the second quarter of 2010, wind power installations to date this year have dropped by 57 per cent and 71 per cent from 2008 and 2009 levels, respectively. Manufacturing investment also continues to lag below 2008 and 2009 levels.

when government hand-outs cease, economics take over. Subsidizing alternative energy is always a boondoggle. Better to tax energy usage to fund the social security patch than bother handing out monay to all the shysters out there selling their miracle energy products.

'when government hand-outs cease, economics take over..'

That is to say, Short-term thinking takes over. Smart subsidies are there to push us in long-term directions that our short-sighted tendencies would often overlook.' The solar that has been installed with taxpayer help is generally a 20-30 year property that increases resilience to fluctuation in energy prices.. hence, peoples' vulnerability during 'wierd' times.

AWEA is saying this from its standpoint as a wind advocate. Closer to the truth is that many forms of generation investment are taking it on the chin. Electricity demand took a step down for first time in nearly three decades during the 18 months through the end of 2009. Generating plant investors are scrambling for the lifeboats. Windpower has taken it hardest because it is still pretty expensive and its construction leadtime is short (so projects can be shelved quickly).

A lot more coal-fired generation than wind will be completed this year. Is it because we've 'gone back to coal'? Hardly. These plants have been under construction for four years and just happen to be in the completion stage now.

I think the spin that 'renewable energy isn't a priority', while understandable, is overstated.

Interpreting Headlines -- Asian Natural Gas Demand

Several Headlines above call attention to Asian natural gas consumption and production this morning. I'll list them along with relevant excerpts:

China lifts its gas use in first half

Wood Mackenzie, an energy consultancy, raised its forecast for China’s imports of LNG in 2020 by 48 per cent to 46 million tonnes a year. The country imported 5.5 million tonnes last year and is expected to buy 9 million tonnes this year.

China, India shift to gas for clean growth

"This strong demand growth will not purely be driven by gross domestic product," Gavin Thompson, China gas study director for Wood Mackenzie Consultants Ltd, said in an e-mail from Edinburgh. "The gas demand story is about displacing oil products, not coal, in the industrial and residential sectors."

Shell's Impact in Australian Oil, Gas 'Only the Beginning,' Goldman Says

“We believe that this is only the beginning” as The Hague-based Shell continues its shift toward gas from oil, Bradley wrote today. “Over the next year we believe its focus on this combination of Australia and LNG will again have far- reaching implications for the oil and gas sector here.”

Reliance Profit Growth May Peak on Failure to Raise Gas Output

The company based in Mumbai expects to increase output by 33 percent to 80 million cubic meters a day at India’s largest gas field as late as 2012, two people with knowledge of the plan said yesterday, at least two years behind schedule.

Chinese Consider Setting Coal Production Ceiling by 2015 to Cut Emissions

There must be a ceiling on coal output in the future, and energy needs can be met with new and renewable energy,” Wu Yin, a deputy director at the National Energy Administration, told the official China Energy News weekly newspaper in an interview.

Reading these articles through a 'global net exports' lens leads to the following summary:

  1. Demand for LNG in China and India is growing dramatically.
  2. LNG is displacing oil products throughout Asia.
  3. Shell's business model is shifting 'toward gas from oil'
  4. Increased production at India's largest gas field is behind schedule
  5. Any ceiling in Chinese coal consumption will be met with new [LNG, nuclear] and renewable energy

Let's gain some perspective on these energy trends with charts from the Energy Export Databrowser.

Consumption Trends

First off, we need to get a sense of the recent increases in natural gas production and consumption in India and China.

In both cases, we see a staggering rate of increase in recent years in both production and consumption from relatively low levels a decade ago. For both nations, demand is rapidly outstripping indigenous supply.

Energy Mix

Now let's review the energy mix in both countries expressed as a percentage of total energy consumption.

Both of these nations rely primarily on coal to supply their energy needs. Next up is oil with natural gas providing only a small fraction of total energy. That thin, light blue natural gas wedge in the upper plots will have to grow a lot larger if natural gas is to offset decreased dependence on both oil and coal!

Regional Trends

Of course the Asia-Pacific region has both LNG exporters as well as importers like China and India. Let's look at the same two graphs for the entire region.

On the left we see the same 'consumption outstripping production' story we saw for China and India individually. The region as a whole is increasingly hungry for LNG imports. On the right we see that Asian economies are fired less and less by oil and more and more by coal and, to a much lesser extent, natural gas.

All this has serious implications for global carbon emissions but also for those in the natural gas industry. There may be a glut of LNG in the next year or two but I expect the story to be quite different by the end of the decade with a huge increase in Asian demand for imported LNG.

Happy Exploring!


I was browsing the analysis-required section of wikileaks.org. I peeked at this supposed document from the 1980 Bilderberg meeting. It looks like a general think tank for the Western Alliance.


The part I found of potential interest for theoildrum is the address from the German representative located about 2/3 of the way into the document, entitled:

"Energy Policy, Monetary Policy, Foreign Trade and Payments: Relations Between Europe and the U.S."

I don't know if this is authentic, but it is dealing with peak oil and Western solidarity regarding international energy policies.

Thanks that was interesting, I was curious to what these guys were up to. I agree, it seems like the "public" seminar is a rather harmless discussion, just a bit more cutting-edge than what they can say in a newspaper. Interesting to see what they discussed 1980. IF, it is a genuine paper (OTOH who would spend the time to fabricate this stuff in mass???).
Lets put it frankly: we here on TOD, or in my real coffee room at breaks, have similar and as good and free-thinking discussions as Bilderberg. Feels good to know.

But; what goes on in the background during such a meeting MIGHT still be world domination, ofcourse ;)


From the 'this doesn't look good' department(BBC).

Plankton decline across oceans as waters warm

The amount of phytoplankton - tiny marine plants - in the top layers of the oceans has declined markedly over the last century, research suggests.

Writing in the journal Nature, scientists say the decline appears to be linked to rising water temperatures. They made their finding by looking at records of the transparency of sea water, which is affected by the plants.

The decline - about 1% per year - could be ecologically significant as plankton sit at the base of marine food chains.

...If the trend is real, it could also act to accelerate warming, the team noted. Photosynthesis by phytoplankton removes carbon dioxide from the air and produces oxygen.

"Phytoplankton... produce half of the oxygen we breathe, draw down surface CO2, and ultimately support all of our fisheries," said Boris Worm, another member of the Dalhousie team. "An ocean with less phytoplankton will function differently."

The question is: how differently?

Wasn't this the reason why the Soylent Corp. switched to Soylent 'Green' in the movie. (from the Soylent Oceanographic Survey Report, 2015 to 2019)

That Soylent Corp report was Top Secret(got Joseph Cotton killed); we get to read this on the Internet.

TPTB are not concerned.

Just another bump in the road.

Plankton decline across oceans as waters warm

Don't let Rocky Mtn Guy know. He'll claim the reduction of phytoplanton by 40% means nothing.

Here is something for all the doomers out there. The Year America Dissolved It was 2017. Clans were governing America.


Shucks and I was all set to watch a total eclipse of the sun in south-central Nebraska on Aug 21st 2017. Guess I will have to negotiate with Hebron Neb Clan.

Ontario, welcome to your new world...

Hydro utilities warn of price shock

An electricity price shock is about to hit – and local hydro utilities are warming up a campaign to tell consumers it’s not their fault.

Householders who haven’t locked in a rate through a retailer can expect to see the price of power jump by up to 16 per cent when their next bill arrives. On top of that, this summer’s hot weather is driving up the amount of electricity that many household are using.


The current round of price increases will not be the last ones. Many consumers have found they are paying higher bills as their utility switches them to time-of-use billing, which boost the price of power significantly during peak demand periods, while lowering prices on weekends and overnight.

Further price increase are likely in 2011 as more power from renewable energy sources flows into the system, at higher prices.

See: http://www.thestar.com/article/841415--hydro-utilities-warn-of-price-shock

Best hopes for strong price elasticity.


Blog from a guy who attended a recent anti-deepwater driller moratorium rally:

Warning: This fellow uses some salty language...but this particular post is fairly mild in that respect.


I think his overarching conclusion that we are not going to escape the entanglement with the oil industry is true. We will foul every waterway and blow th top off of every mountain to extract all the oil, gas, and goal we possibly can.

The people have made their choice between a balance between minerals extraction with good environmental stewardship and a focus on mineral extraction profit at the expense of good environmental protection...extraction profits trump the environment hands down.

I think it's also fair to say that any meeting where chants of "war, war" are going on is not one where people are thinking with their brains.

Of course, that is the intent of the organizers.

People do tend to have a change of heart when the water coming out of their faucets bursts into flames, for example, by which time it is generally too late.

NSP process criticized
U.S. consultant questions how well utility did its homework regarding biomass project

Nova Scotia Power Inc. hasn’t done its homework on its planned $208-million biomass energy project in Port Hawkesbury, says a U.S. renewable energy consultant.

"I have a number of material concerns regarding the due diligence and prudence employed by NSPI with regard to estimating the long-term capital and operating costs of the proposed project," said Barry Sheingold, of New Energy Opportunities Inc. in Massachusetts, in testimony Wednesday at a Utility and Review Board hearing in Halifax.

NSP plans to partner with NewPage Port Hawkesbury Corp., a subsidiary of Ohio-based NewPage Corp., on a biomass facility that would burn 650,000 tonnes of wood waste a year to generate enough electricity to power 50,000 homes and help the utility meet provincial renewable energy targets.

See: http://thechronicleherald.ca/Business/1194277.html

Best hopes for a more reasoned approach to meeting our energy needs.


This morning the initial claims for unemployment will jump way up because with the current rate of u3 at about 10%, the seasonal adjustment factor has a huge error.

Last week the factor shifted from 119.8 to 107.3 a 12.5% change, however non-seasonally adj. unemployment dropped by about 13,000 and seasonally adjusted unemployment was up by 37,000.

This week the factor shifts from 107.3 to 90 so this week seasonally adj. unemployment will be 10% larger than non- seasonal unemployment. Look for a large Jump up in seasonally adj. data at 8:30 EDT.

Edit looks as if I am wrong.

How bad can it be?!


"This is the highest share of the U.S. population on SNAP/food stamps," said the anti-hunger group Food Research and Action Center, using the new name for food stamps, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). "Research suggests that one in three eligible people are not receiving ... benefits."

Enrollment has set a record each month since reaching 31.78 million in December 2008. USDA estimates enrollment will average 40.5 million people this fiscal year, which ends Sept 30, at a cost of up to $59 billion. For fiscal 2011, average enrollment is forecast for 43.3 million people.

Just tell the unemployed to SNAP out of it!

Professor Winter speaks out about peak oil and climate change and causes cognitive dissonance among the peak oil crowd.

And Professor Winter entertains us with a post-mortem of capitalism.