Drumbeat: July 29, 2010

Hagens: U.S. addicted to energy, debt

In spite of what you might have heard, the planet may never run out of oil.

Fat lot of good that'll do when it takes a barrel's worth of energy to get a barrel of oil out of the ground.

And we've long since used all of the easy-to-extract oil, says Nate Hagens, speaking Tuesday night at Kansas Wesleyan University on how communities can learn to adapt to declining resources, energy included.

Hagens is a former vice president for both Lehman Bros. and Salomon Bros. investment firms but quit that career several years ago and last week completed his Ph.D. in natural resources studies at the University of Vermont.

Until recently, he was also editor of theoildrum.com, a website dealing with global energy supply.

Hagen pulls from those areas, and others, such as evolutionary biology, to explain why America and other developed nations are addicted to both energy and debt, and how those addictions work against our long-term good.

John Michael Greer: The cybernetics of black knights

Let’s start with a few basics. Information is the third element of the triad of fundamental principles that flow through whole systems of every kind, and thus need to be understood to build viable appropriate tech systems. We have at least one huge advantage in understanding information that people a century ago didn’t have: a science of information flow in whole systems, variously called cybernetics and systems theory, that was one of the great intellectual adventures of the twentieth century and deserves much more attention than most people give it these days.

Unfortunately we also have at least one huge disadvantage in understanding information that people a century ago didn’t have, either. The practical achievements of cybernetics, especially but not only in the field of computer science, have given rise to attitudes toward information in popular culture that impose bizarre distortions on the way most people nowadays approach the subject. You can see these attitudes in an extreme form in the notion, common in some avant-garde circles, that since the amount of information available to industrial civilization is supposedly increasing at an exponential rate, and exponential curves approach infinity asymptotically in a finite time, then at some point not too far in the future, industrial humanity will know everything and achieve something like omnipotence.

Richard Heinberg: Beyond the limits to growth

In any case, the underlying premise of the book is irrefutable:

At some point in time, humanity’s ever-increasing resource consumption will meet the very real limits of a planet with finite natural resources. We the co-authors of The Post Carbon Reader believe that this time has come.

Spill marks turning point for offshore oil, not demise

With the Macondo well corked for now and perhaps days away from a permanent seal, the momentum for offshore work may be returning.

Companies are starting to adapt to the new shallow-water rules, with Houston's Apache obtaining a new drilling permit this month.

And four oil majors have banded together to create an oil spill response company that aims to address the industry shortcomings that were brought to light by the Macondo spill.

"Painfully, we learned how significantly the actions of one company could influence a huge swath of the Gulf Coast economy," said Dan Pickering, head of research at the energy investment firm Tudor Pickering Holt & Co.

Anger over the spill hasn't translated into legislative gains for fossil fuel foes.

Oil Industry Rethinks Cost, Risk Of Drilling In U.S.

The BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico is bound to have repercussions for the oil industry and America's energy future, but experts say it could be a while before they are all sorted out — and the final consequences could prove surprising.

The Risks of Deep Water Drilling

The Deepwater Horizon disaster serves as a tragic reminder of oil’s shortcomings.

In particular, it shows how the industry is trying to operate in very tricky conditions when it comes to deep water drilling. As oil executives say, at such depths, the seabed is as remote as the moon. And it has the added threat of much higher pressures.

Yet for all the hazards, production won’t move back towards shore anytime soon.

Shell could pursue BP for gulf damages

Shell today refused to rule out pursuing damages claims against BP and other companies involved in the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

The company took a $56m (£36m) hit after it was forced to stand down seven rigs and platforms because of the moratorium on drilling in the US imposed in the wake of the disaster.

Why Robert Dudley's BP Could Be Even Riskier

The embattled oil giant's first American CEO embraces a high-risk survival plan.

Florida bets on Feinberg

DESTIN, Fla. (CNNMoney.com) -- Business owners in Florida believe Kenneth Feinberg will manage the $20 billion oil spill claims fund fairly and efficiently, but because of the complicated nature of their claims, they're anxious about how much they'll get paid.

On the 100th day since the oil started spewing, Feinberg spoke to a jam packed crowd of business owners and industry leaders in Destin, Fla.

Mexico's exploratory drilling at record low

Mexico's state-owned Pemex has this year drilled the fewest wells in search of new crude and natural gas reservoirs since 2001, raising doubts over its drive to sustain production as major fields age.

Nigeria oil reserves drop by 4.79%

Crude reserves in Nigeria have dropped by 4.79% to 31.81 billion barrels over the past year because companies refuse to undertake exploration, a senior industry official said.

Michigan oil cleanup 'inadequate': governor

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm says the cleanup so far has been "wholly inadequate" and warns of a tragedy if the oil reaches Lake Michigan — and local residents are also expressing concern.

Greenpeace protest against Enbridge pipeline ends with four arrests

Four Greenpeace activists have been charged after protesters occupied the downtown Vancouver office of Enbridge and demanded the company halt plans to build a pipeline from Alberta to B.C.

Canadian oil sands profits jump amid green battle

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Two of Canada's biggest oil sands companies posted higher profits on Thursday on strengthening oil prices, as controversy builds over the environmental costs of tapping North America's biggest crude reserves.

Alberta gas shortage spreads to B.C.

A gasoline shortage at some Shell stations has spread from Alberta to southeastern B.C.

Shell said it doesn't know how many service stations have run dry, nor how long it will take to get fuel to them.

Mexico's Pemex posts Q2 20.1 bln peso loss on FX

(Reuters) - Mexico's state oil monopoly Pemex posted a quarterly loss on Wednesday, hit by foreign exchange losses on its U.S. dollar-denominated debt and domestic price controls for fuel sales.

Shipping goods from Asia more costly

The cost of shipping consumer goods from Asia to Canada is surging, with another price increase kicking in Sunday, as freight forwarders face a shortage of containers this summer and fall.

“This is traditionally the peak season for imports coming from China to Canada,” said Perry Lo, president of Canaan Transport Group Inc., a freight forwarding firm based in Mississauga, Ont. “And now we face a huge price hike.”

TransCanada profit down, hurt by nuclear business

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Pipeline and power company TransCanada Corp reported a 9.2 percent drop in quarterly profit on Thursday, hit by hedging losses as well as lower power prices and higher costs at its partly owned Ontario nuclear plants.

Is Outgoing Colombian President Riling Venezuela?

In Sunday's bombastic speech, Chavez told his countrymen war was imminent — and that it was the Yankee empire orchestrating the coming bloodbath. If an attack came, Chavez said, he would shut off the oil spigot to the United States — even if that meant Venezuelans would be forced to eat rocks.

This has been a regular threat over the years, and it plays well to Chavez's most radical followers.

But Chavez's latest diatribe comes at a particularly delicate time. Last week, in a special emergency session of the Organization of American States, the Colombian ambassador to that body, Luis Alfonso Hoyos, detailed how Venezuela allegedly aided and abetted Marxist rebels who have been fighting Colombia since the 1960s.

The black gold paradox

BANGLADESH that has been facing severe energy crunch, continues still to be indecisive about the use of one of the cheapest energy source, coal. Despite having a substantial reserve of the mineral, successive governments have failed to finalise a coal policy determining the methods of its extraction. The draft coal policy has been revised again and again in the light of recommendations of the experts but the final policy resolving the contentious issues involving the method/s of mining is yet to emerge.

The dispute over methods of mining in a country where coal mines are located in heavily populated areas is nothing surprising. The old method of coal mining, making tunnels underground, does not cause any major displacement of population or destroy forests and other infrastructures. But very marginal exploitation of coal reserves, estimated at 20 per cent of the entire reserve, is considered to be uneconomic. The other method, the open-pit mining ensures the full exploitation of the reserve. But it entails an enormous sacrifice in terms of loss of land and property and damage to environment, flora and fauna.

Front Yard Wind Power Plan Irks SF Neighbors

"I am pro wind and pro solar but I don't think this kind of thing belongs in a dense urban setting. I don't," said neighbor Lucile Taber. "If it were to fall it would fall directly to the home over there, another concern is the noise, there is flicker problems with it."

Hawaii utility proposes electric car charging deal

Hawaiian Electric Co. is proposing a plan to make it cheaper for early adopters of electric vehicles to charge up.

Palm oil giant accused of rainforest destruction caught ‘red-handed’

A major supplier of palm oil and pulp (paper) to multinationals, including food giant Cargill, has been caught clearing orang-utan habitats and carbon-rich peatlands.

Alaska Airlines cuts emissions with smoother landings

Smoother airplane landings are not only easier on passengers but also on the environment as they reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to new test results by Alaska Airlines.

The Seductions Of Clicking: How The Internet Can Make It Harder To Act

Our online networks build on what sociologist Mark Granovetter called "the strength of weak ties." Older forms of community built on distinct local networks where people knew each other face-to-face, but where reaching out beyond those they saw day-to-day was harder. Our new tools make it easy to maintain far looser networks that we can continue to easily nurture. As Gideon Rosenblatt of the environmental group Groundwire points out, "these networks of weak ties can be put into action on a moment's notice, enabling online social change efforts to go viral at a speed and on a scale never previously possible." We take for granted our ability to link overlapping circles of friends and acquaintances in a manner until recently inconceivable.

Iran’s top oil customer buys less

China’s imports of Iranian crude oil fell by almost a third in the first half of the year, new figures showed this week.

Volumes have decreased just as new US and European sanctions threaten to disrupt energy ties between the two countries, experts say.

Iran shipped just over 9 million barrels of oil to China to the end of last month, making it China’s third-largest crude supplier, according to fresh Chinese customs data. That was down from 13.1 million barrels in the first half of last year, even as Chinese imports from Angola, Saudi Arabia and other major exporters rose significantly.

Oil Declines on Rising U.S. Crude Inventories as OPEC Production Increase

Crude oil dropped for a third day in New York on speculation the economic recovery is not proceeding fast enough to rein in excessive fuel supplies.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ oil output increased for the third time in four months in July, led by gains in Iraq, a Bloomberg News survey showed. Futures yesterday declined to a one-week low after U.S. crude imports jumped to the highest level in almost four years, leading to an unexpected increase in commercially held inventories.

OPEC meets only half July oil output curbs -survey

LONDON (Reuters) - OPEC is meeting only half its promised cuts in oil supply this month thanks to a big jump in exports from Nigeria and despite a smaller decline in production in Angola, a Reuters survey showed on Thursday.

Supply from the 11 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries with output targets, all except Iraq, has averaged 26.95 million barrels per day (bpd) this month, up from 26.75 million bpd in June, according to the survey of oil firms, OPEC officials and analysts.

Asia-Pacific crude-Sept Tapis climbs on gas oil strength

(Reuters) - Prices of Malaysian Tapis crude climbed on Thursday reflecting market-wide support for distillate-rich grades in Asia-Pacific.

Exxon Mobil's earnings more than double

NEW YORK — Exxon Mobil Corp. said Thursday its second quarter income nearly doubled to $7.56 billion as oil prices increased from last year.

It's Exxon's highest quarterly profit since the $7.82 billion earned in the last three months of 2008. But it's still well below the record-setting third-quarter profit of that year, when Exxon earned $14.83 billion after oil prices spiked to near $150 per barrel in the summer.

Shell defends deep-water drilling as profits soar

Royal Dutch Shell posted soaring profits on Thursday and defended deep-water oil production, saying it has an "important role" to play despite the US Gulf of Mexico disaster that rocked rival BP.

The Anglo-Dutch oil giant reported a 15-percent jump in net profit to 4.39 billion US dollars (3.38 billion euros) in the second quarter, as it slashed costs and raised output.

Its performance contrasts markedly with that of embattled BP, which on Tuesday posted a second-quarter loss of 16.9 billion US dollars in the wake of the devastating Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Natural-Gas Squeeze Prompts Switch of Fuel in Middle East

Persian Gulf petrochemical producers are turning to naphtha as a feedstock for the first time amid growing power-plant demand for natural gas.

Abu Dhabi plans to build the Middle East’s first plant that will only use naphtha to make plastics. Saudi Arabia may develop similar units as part of two refinery ventures, according to state-run Saudi Aramco, France’s Total SA and Sumitomo Chemical Co. of Japan, the partners in the projects.

While naphtha, a product of refining crude oil, is used to make petrochemicals around the world, countries in the Middle East have traditionally preferred cheaper home-produced natural gas. Now, new power plants are competing for those gas supplies, stoking demand for alternatives. That’s being exacerbated as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia expand petrochemicals production to cut dependence on crude exports.

Mystery of Japanese tanker damage probed

An investigation has been launched into the unexplained damage suffered by a Japanese oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz near Oman.

The M Star was damaged on Wednesday while travelling from Qatar to Japan.

Port officials in Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates say the ship was involved in a collision. However, the boat's owners Mitsui OSK believe their vessel may have been attacked.

Early reports that the ship was struck by a freak wave have been dismissed.

North China gas well fire burning for nearly week: Xinhua

BEIJING (Reuters) – A natural gas well operated by Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum Group has been burning for nearly a week since drilling in the well caused gas to leak out and explode, Xinhua reported on Thursday.

No casualties have been reported. Villagers near the well were evacuated shortly after the accident, Xinhua cited a local county official as saying.

Crews work to cap new La. oil leak near Gulf

NEW ORLEANS – Oil, natural gas and water are still spewing from an abandoned well hit by a barge on a Louisiana waterway near the Gulf of Mexico.

Coast Guard Capt. John Arenstam says a wild well company is working on a plan to shut down the well, which is north of Barataria Bay and has been leaking since early Tuesday.

BP aims for quick well kill

HOUSTON/MIAMI (Reuters) – BP may permanently shut the well that caused the worst off-shore oil spill in U.S. history as early as Monday, the company said as speculation grew over assets it might sell to cover mounting costs.

Incoming BP chief executive, Bob Dudley, said on Wednesday the company would stay involved with the cleanup process in the Gulf of Mexico long after the leaking well was plugged and expressed optimism the damaged environment would recover.

"It is possible that as early as Monday or Tuesday this well might be killed," Dudley said on National Public Radio.

BP's Dudley Targets Riskiest Deepwater Drilling After $32 Billion Blowout

Robert Dudley, the man charged with rebuilding the reputation of BP Plc after the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, will slim the company to its core strength: the high-risk, high-return search for oil and gas in demanding environments.

That suggests Dudley, who becomes the first American chief executive officer of the British oil giant on Oct. 1, will follow the same strategy that led to the Gulf spill and turned outgoing CEO Tony Hayward into a pariah, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its Aug. 2 issue.

HSBC tapped to sell BP's stake in Vietnam gas project

HONG KONG/LONDON (Reuters) – BP has tapped HSBC to sell its stake in the Nam Con Son gas project in Vietnam, as it scrambles to hive off $30 billion of assets to pay for the clean-up of the worst oil spill in U.S. history, three sources said.

The British oil giant, which is on a campaign to sell a host of assets from Pakistan to Egypt, said last week it is seeking a buyer for its stake in the Nam Con Son gas project offshore southern Ho Chi Minh City, worth $966 million by one estimate.

BP May Sell Venezuela Oil Stakes to Russian TNK-BP Venture

BP Plc has told Venezuela’s state oil company it’s interested in selling stakes in three projects to its Russian venture, TNK-BP Holding, Petroleos de Venezuela SA Vice President Eulogio del Pino said.

Barring BP From Drilling Would Cost Jobs in U.S., Company Tells Congress

BP Plc objected to proposed legislation that would bar the oil company from operating new drilling leases in U.S. waters, saying it could trigger job losses and threaten the nation’s energy security.

A provision of the House bill may have a “drastic impact,” David Nagel, executive vice president of BP America, said in a July 28 letter to Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Republican Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio.

First lawsuits linked to Gulf spill go to court

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The first lawsuits linked to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill go to court Thursday, as BP prepared -- after months of trying -- to permanently seal its ruptured well.

As the Gulf of Mexico disaster this week reached the 100-day mark with hopes high that the endgame may be under way, families of those killed in the rig explosion that sparked the disaster, and fishermen who lost their livelihoods because of it, were to face BP in court for the first time.

BP Said Negligence May Be Found in Cause of Oil Spill, Texas Letter Shows

A BP Plc lawyer said evidence would show that an April explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico were the result of gross negligence, Texas officials said in a letter that didn’t say who committed the alleged negligence.

Governor Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott said in the July 22 letter that BP didn’t attempt to take advantage of a cap on damages under the Oil Pollution Act because gross negligence would make that irrelevant. The letter was addressed to Doug Suttles, chief operating officer for exploration and production, and Jack Lynch, a general counsel.

News Cycle Turns in BP’s Favor

The answer is boringly simple–BP capped the well, oil stopped flowing into the Gulf, beaches and fisheries reopened, the TV cameras moved on to the next sensation and the doom mongers that didn’t have the sense to pack up and leave too were left looking a little silly. Indeed, Matt Simmons retired as Chairman Emeritus of Simmons & Co.

Just as new shoots of grass are sprouting on once-oiled marshes, the facts are beginning to thrive now that the flood of hype has receded.

Gulf spill raises long-term beach safety questions

MIAMI (Reuters) – It could be years before some Gulf of Mexico beaches recover fully from BP Plc's massive oil spill and are declared free of toxic pollutants, including heavy metals, that can make people sick, a leading environmental advocacy group said on Wednesday.

Feds, farmers create habitats for migrating birds

MAMOU, La. – Water gurgling from a well is flooding Craig Gautreaux's rice and crawfish fields, turning the farm into a wetland for migratory birds whose usual Gulf of Mexico wintering grounds are threatened by the oil spill.

Across eight states, farmers such as Gautreaux are inundating fallow fields to provide an alternative for some of the tens of millions of ducks, geese and shorebirds that are beginning to make their way south on a flyway that stretches as far north as Alaska and Iceland.

BP Disaster Regnites California’s Anti-Drilling Fervor

What a difference an oil spill makes. Californians, whose dislike of offshore drilling dates back to the Santa Barbara spill of 1969, had begun to see virtue in new sources of oil as gasoline prices soared in 2008, polls showed.

That year, for the first time since 2000, when the first poll of the state’s environmental attitudes was taken by the Public Policy Institute of California, a majority — albeit a bare one, 51 percent — was willing to allow more drilling off the California coast. The majority was about the same in 2009, and opposition dwindled to 43 percent.

The latest poll, however, shows the opposition snapping back after the offshore oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. In the institute’s survey this month of 2,502 Californians, 57 percent opposed new offshore drilling; the proportion supporting drilling dropped to 36 percent, down 15 percentage points from 2009 levels.

Analysis: BP spill seeps into Norway's Arctic drilling debate

(Reuters) - Norway's decades-old political consensus on offshore drilling is under attack in the wake of the BP oil spill, just as it covets new riches in the Arctic.

The powerful oil industry says it needs to tap resources off the Arctic archipelagoes of Lofoten and Vesteraalen and in a huge, recently demarcated Barents Sea border region with Russia to continue Norway's oil boom amid dwindling North Sea output.

But, emboldened by the Gulf of Mexico well blowout, Norwegian environmentalists seek to grab the upper hand in a battle they feel they have long been loosing.

Senate energy bill draws widespread criticism

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans and some moderate Democrats in the Senate on Wednesday began picking apart a new energy bill that they complained goes too far in holding oil companies responsible for accidents like the massive Gulf of Mexico spill.

"I think people who are very serious about responding to the spill in the Gulf should be offended by what has been presented" this week by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, said Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski.

Local food trend helps more folks eat fresh fruits, veggies

The "local" movement — buying and eating food produced locally rather than shipped from thousands of miles away — has been gaining steam with the steady growth of farmers markets and a phenomenon called community-supported agriculture. CSA members purchase shares of a farmer's crop for the season. The government doesn't track the numbers, but Local Harvest, a nationwide directory of small farms, farmers markets and other local food sources, estimates that tens of thousands of American families belong to CSAs, and supply trails demand. The number registered with Local Harvest alone indicates how quickly CSAs have multiplied over the past decade: The directory's listing has increased from 374 farms in 2000 to 3,660 today.

BANGLADESH: Spreading the floating farms’ tradition

CHANDRA (IRIN) - As swollen monsoon rivers and rising sea levels threaten to engulf more land across Bangladesh, NGOs are training thousands of farmers in traditional soil-less farming on water.

Transition model making headway in North County

Tina Clark, one of 21 trainers for Transition United States, spoke on July 7 about the Transition model, which is used around the world to help communities prepare for the social and economic changes that will occur as global oil supplies and other natural resources decline in the next century.

Clark told the group of 31 who attended the meeting about how each of us in our own way can help our communities prepare for a world without many of the luxuries that cheaply produced oil makes possible and at the same time replace them with meaningful alternatives.

A Push for Action on Renewables

With a cap on carbon dioxide an apparent nonstarter in the Senate these days, some clean energy and climate advocates have shifted their sights to a scaled-back but still ambitious goal: passage of a national renewable electricity standard.

Such a law would require utility companies to produce a set amount of electricity from renewable sources by a certain date, spurring the development of clean sources like wind and solar and probably lowering overall emissions nationally. Perhaps most important, some argue that with a strong push by the president, such a measure could actually clear the high bar for passage of 60 votes in the Senate this fall.

Why is our electrical system resisting open source?

A new research report from GigaOm asks an intriguing question.

Why is the smart grid resisting open source?

Canadian researchers hope to green the web, make Canada the world's web server

Canadian researchers hope to stem the global IT industry's rampant output of greenhouse gas emissions by perfecting a way to host the Internet's content purely on green power.

And if their experiment succeeds, Canada could essentially become the world's largest Internet server — powered with almost no carbon footprint — and help reduce one of the most significant, growing sources of pollution.

Biofuel Investment in Australia `Inadequate,' Caltex CEO Julian Segal Says

Caltex Australia Ltd., the nation’s biggest oil refiner, called for increased government funding to spur biofuels development as part of an effort to curb greenhouse-gas emissions and bolster energy security.

Australia has “inadequate funding” for biofuels, with the government devoting just $15 million to the technology, Julian Segal, chief executive officer of Caltex, said in a speech in Sydney today. The U.S. Department of Energy by contrast is investing more than $1 billion to advance the field, he said.

In China, Pollution Worsens Despite New Efforts

BEIJING — China, the world’s most prodigious emitter of greenhouse gas, continues to suffer the downsides of unbridled economic growth despite a raft of new environmental initiatives.

The quality of air in Chinese cities is increasingly tainted by coal-burning power plants, grit from construction sites and exhaust from millions of new cars squeezing onto crowded roads, according to a government study issued this week. Other newly released figures show a jump in industrial accidents and an epidemic of pollution in waterways.

NOAA: Past Decade Warmest on Record According to Scientists in 48 Countries

The 2009 State of the Climate report released today draws on data for 10 key climate indicators that all point to the same finding: the scientific evidence that our world is warming is unmistakable. More than 300 scientists from 160 research groups in 48 countries contributed to the report, which confirms that the past decade was the warmest on record and that the Earth has been growing warmer over the last 50 years.

In Memoriam

      Victim of D.C. area storm, a local environmentalist, 'lived what he believed'

Seven families who tend the Watkins Pond Community Garden in Rockville gathered Sunday for a picnic and double celebration: to mark their second summer harvest and to thank Carl Henn, the local environmental activist credited with creating their beloved garden.

When dark clouds blew in without warning about 3:15 p.m., the group ran from the King Farm Park picnic area to its cars. Five minutes into the roaring wind and pelting rain and hail, one picnicgoer said, a bright bolt of lightning filled the sky, followed instantly by deafening thunder.

It was only when everyone had emerged after the fast-moving storm passed a few minutes later that they saw Henn lying beneath a towering tree that had a fresh, eight-foot-long gash where lightning had apparently struck, said Dennis McCarthy of Rockville.

      Carl Henn was a long time member of The Oil Drum, and the author of this guest post.

I am sure that I speak for most contributors to The Oil Drum in saying that we offer our heartfelt condolences to the family of Carl Henn.

Ron P.

I wrote a letter to the editor of our local paper today in Carl's honor.

Mike Lynch responded to my last email to him yesterday. He had earlier requested that I clarify my opposition to this sentence in his Op Ed column in the New York Times.

“When the large supply disruptions of 1973 and 1979 led to skyrocketing prices, nearly all oil experts said the underlying cause was resource scarcity and that prices would go ever higher in the future.”

Anyway my reply to him can be found here on TOD.
His reply to my reply:

RE: Your Op Ed in the New York times
From: Michael Lynch email address deleted
To: Ron Patterson email address deleted
Thanks for the clarification, Ron, and don't worry about the language.
I was not, in fact, a child but a college student, and you are correct that in the media and the public the initial response was to blame OPEC, with threats to cut off food supplies, charge as much for a bushel of wheat as a barrel of oil, etc. Some academics suggested import tariffs or tickets to try to claw back the money, and other less practical schemes.

However, as the decade progressed and supply and demand did not respond as many had predicted, the view increasingly shifted towards resource scarcity, not so much on the nightly news but amongst research publications and comments by policy-makers and even some industry executives. I will have numerous quotes in my book, but will acknowledge your point as well.


(Feel free to post this if you wish; and thanks for the song, but I would refer you as well to Tower of Power's "There's only so much oil in the ground"

I am glad to see that he finally acknowledges the fact that nearly all oil experts did not blame resource scarcity for the supply disruptions in 1973 and 1979.

Anyway Mike is not the first to imply that a wrong resource scarcity prediction in the past means that they are even more likely to be wrong when they make such a prediction after much more depletion has occurred. I firmly believe that the exact opposite is true. That is if the situation has gotten much worse since previous wrong prediction, then they are far more likely to be correct this time around.

I have a theory on this that I call it my Blibbit Theory. That if a five pound paper bag is already overloaded with ten pounds of crap, it is far more likely to to rupture if you dump five more pounds into that bag. So someone predicting “She’s about to blow!” would be met by the naysayers with “Na nana na na, you said that five pounds ago. You were wrong then therefore you are wrong now.”

An example of The Blibbit Theory: “The Population Bomb” was a book written by Paul R. Ehrlich in 1968. It warned of the mass starvation of humans in 1970s and 1980s due to overpopulation and advocated immediate action to limit population growth. He was wrong. The world population in 1968 was about 3.5 billion. Today the world population is almost double the 1968 population. Would someone making a similar prediction today be more likely or less likely to be correct because of Ehrlich’s past missed prediction?

Likewise would someone predicting a serious oil depletion problem in today be more or less likely to be correct because of such missed predictions over 30 years ago and after twice as much oil had been pumped from the ground. I know, I know, past predictions have really no bearing whatsoever on what happens today. I only wish to point out that the situation has gotten much worse since those past wrong predictions. Therefore because the situation has gotten far worse, today’s dire predictions have a far greater, not lesser, chance of being correct.

Ron P.

For reasons other than imminent mass starvation, Ehrlich was still correct in calling for population control. All the difficulties we have now are much worse and intractable because of the world's failure to heed calls for population control. Anyway, mass starvation will come; we just don't know exactly when.

Yes, the predictions of the past, albeit incorrect, are largely irrelevant for assessing the predictions of today. And yet, there is little agreement on when the downward slope of production will really kick in. Some people probably know, but I am not certain who they are.

As far as the paper bag analogy, I am not sure we know how big the paper bag is. Or, at least, we can not agree on how big the bag is. That is the problem.

Anyway, we should exercise the precautionary principle. But we cannot even agree to do that. Our fear of losing some economic growth is greater than our fear of making the planet largely uninhabitable. We need our fix, the orgasmic like rush of stuff.

I think the issue with predictions is much more simple than we are making it out to be. Amounts in the form of a cumulative give a range in values that will always occur in the future. Cumulative values can only grow so the only 'wrong' estimates will be short. In terms of Bayesian analysis, new knowledge displaces old knowledge and the predictive capability will improve. That's the way to think about this but perhaps our competitive mentality always turns this into a pissing match.

Yep, the water level behind the dam continues to rise and there is no sign of the storm ending anytime soon. Yet people with the straightest of faces will tell you not to worry because the dam has never been breached before therefore there's no chance there will ever be a catastrophic failure.

And even if there is we will quickly develop new tea sand bagging technology so all will be well... W.T.F!

It's going to be pretty tough to round up all these lunatics upstanding citizens and I'm afraid we don't have enough straitjackets life jackets for all of them anyway. Maybe the best thing to do is set up a stand with free refreshments right in the path of the coming deluge... and for good measure we could give each of them a rope with an anchor and a lead balloon!

Wait! That sounds way too much like current public policy with regards contingency planning. Something stinks in Denmark...

Whenver I see rhetorical crutches like "many" and "increasingly" I always want to know specifics. How many? Increasing from what to what? And what exactly were they saying.

It's useful to recall that in the mid 70s M. King Hubbert was calling for a peak in 1995, but clearly states in this video that because of OPEC's "tampering" with supply, the peak could be pushed back by ten years. That would be 2005 -- the very year that crude oil production peaked (at least so far). King was not predicting an imminent peak in 1976, he was looking 20 to 30 years into the future. And so far, he's been proved correct. Will Lynch include Hubbert's voice in his analysis?

In regards to Hubbert's predictions, people often refer to OPEC and/or the wars and politics of the Middle Eastern countries. I think another very important unpredictable factor was the fall of the Soviet Union. When one considers the production curve of the former soviet countries, it is obvious that their economic collapse played a significant part in delaying the peak.

That's not to say that OPEC wasn't a factor. Just that there was more than one significant factor.

The concept of resource depletion remains foreign to the movers and shakers. The current issue of "Nature" devotes a cover, an editorial, and several pages to address whether or not "science" will be able to feed the 3 billion additional mouths soon to grace this rock. In my quick perusal, I could find zero reference to the fact that the fertilizers and pesticides that they at least acknowledge as e fodder for green revolution are fossil fuel based; they provide a single phrase warning that "ground water" depletion could be an issue in some parts of the globe.

Weird weather:

We have had almost 5 weeks of gale force westerlies with no visible end in sight....maybe rain in a couple of weeks which may cause a shift to southeast. (Of course then the high will start to rebuild.)

Locals who have lived here for 50+ years have never experienced this. I don't think it has rained spit this past month, but I will have to check this out.

Oh yeah, this is BC wet coast....west coast (Johnstone Strait).

Those who do venture out to fish stay very close in. Normally, my freezer would be too full for vegetables, but I haven't been out on the water once this summer.

I understand local weather variations are off the charts almost everywhere.

Gotta finish the windmill......Paul

There's also quite a bit of colder water being pushed down from the North Pacific along the western coast of NA. I can't say whether the winds you mention are to blame, but the two are likely to be parallel symptoms of AGW.


This cooler water might also be the cause of the recently reported cooler weather conditions as far south as Los Angeles.

Other things being equal, one might expect that the tropic to pole circulation in the atmosphere would increase as the Earth warms. Climate researchers have suggested that warming of the Arctic would suppress this increased meridional flow, however, that conclusion might not include the impact of changes in the meridional flow in the Atlantic Ocean, which is expected to decrease due to AGW. There's also been some discussion of a so-called Pacific Decadal Oscillation, especially by those who choose to deny the possibility that AGW might be underway. Naturally, the question is whether this situation, like the colder conditions seen last winter, really is unusual, as compared with historical events.

E. Swanson

That's disconcerting.

Myself, my wife, a couple of friends and their kids are planning to go kayaking on the west coast of Vancouver Island next month. The west coast of Vancouver Island is pretty much the last place you want to be paddling in gale conditions.

Maybe we'll be doing something more sheltered.

You can go over to the Wickanninish lodge in Tofino and watch the surf come in. http://www.wickinn.com/
Each room has some yellow rain slickers just for this purpose.

That's strange. The nearest weather I could readily find has this July looking very similar to last July, except for one day (the 12th) with one transitory gust that one might call gale-force on a loose definition.

I'm left to wonder if there's really nothing to see but overwrought hype altering perception...? You know the drill: it's summer, it gets hot outside, we're all going to die, and by the way the next tornado will demolish the entire land surface of the USA; it's winter, it gets cold outside, we're all going to die, and by the way don't go outside naked. That sort of thing.

You have to check the correct marine weather forecast for the area. Landlubber forecasts aren't much use at sea.

Gale warning in effect
West Coast Vancouver Island North

Issued 04:00 AM PDT 30 July 2010
'Gale' force winds of 34 to 47 knots are occurring or expected to occur in this marine area. Watch for updated statements. Please refer to the latest marine forecasts for further details and continue to monitor the situation through Canadian Coast Guard radio or Weatheradio stations.

Seas are building to 2 metres off the coast (that's 6-foot waves for the non-metric Americans in the crowd).

That's definitely not conditions you want to be padding in a kayak, especially not the area we're going - kayakers have been killed paddling there. If that's the way things have been out there all summer, I can understand why the fishermen are getting a bit antsy.

It's time to get out the charts and look for a more sheltered alternative. However, the area map shows big red gale warnings over the whole south coast of BC.

Oh good, I'm not hallucinating. We've been getting blown all over here in Eastern Washington since March. Lost a tree last Thursday in a not-that-bad windstorm. It may have been damaged by the earlier ones.

Until a couple of weeks ago, it's also been unusually cold, as in 15 to 20 F below normal. The garden bears out my observation. Even the early corn isn't ripe yet. And forget about the apricots. None on the tree this year.

Now we are finally up to normal temperatures.

Could hotter weather east of the Rockies cause a sort of super sea breeze pulling air in from the always cold north Pacific?

Down here in northern California (it should be called central), its been quite a bit cooler than normal. The cause is persistent low pressure near the coast enhancing the flow of cool sea air inland. Around here once that flow stops (or even slows down), its frightening how quickly it heats up. San Jose is on its way to their coldest July ever. I guess the Muscovites should be getting jealous, they hit 100 for the first time ever, and the smoke is supposedly horrendous.

We too, in Western Washington, have had unusually cold conditions,right up until a week ago- not windy though. Now we are having normal temps for this time of year, but it feels ungodly hot because a week and a half ago it was 20 degrees lower. Our early corn also looks to be a skin-of-the-teeth this season; we got it in a month late because the soil temps were so low. I think the tomatoes are going to be a complete bust, and I was so excited to run a side-by-side 5 variety trial this year. :(

I am thinking this may have something to do with the El Nino we had over the winter, perhaps a hang over effect?

We are thinking about putting hotframes around some of our beds, specifically for preheating the soil next spring...

The West Coast is experiencing la Niña conditions this summer. The water off the coast is colder than normal and consequently the weather on land is colder and wetter than normal. Here's a link to the US National Weather Office El Niño / Southern Oscillation (ENSO) page which explains it in considerable detail.

I always check the El Niño / La Niña forecast when I am planning my winter vacations because it is a pretty good indicator of what winter temperature and snowfall conditions are going to be like in the next winter.

The East Coast has its own weather patterns, which I don't bother following, but typically they are the complete opposite of what happens on the West Coast.

The Global Warming enthusiasts are going to have a fit when they say this (as they often do when I say something) but the ENSO has a much more pronounced effect on West Coast weather than AGW.

Thanks for the info :-)

I was wondering why the coldest winter I ever experienced was this summer in California

On the flip site here in New England we are having the hottest July ever recorded. We have had 17 days of 90F+ weather this month, at least one over 100. I think they hit 100 briefly in Maine. Last year we had something like ~5 days of 90+ for the entire summer.

In the spring we had back to back "100 year rainstorms" that dumped over 10in on us in a couple days.

Before that it was record winter snow for the mid-Atlantic states.

And before that it was unusually warm shirtsleeve weather for Thanksgiving.

But still most folks seem to think AGW is a myth or at worst something that can be put off to the next generation to deal with...

Study: Solar power is cheaper than nuclear | The Energy Collective

The Holy Grail of the solar industry — reaching grid parity — may no longer be a distant dream. Solar may have already reached that point, at least when compared to nuclear power, according to a new study by two researchers at Duke University.

It’s no secret that the cost of producing photovoltaic cells (PV) has been dropping for years. A PV system today costs just 50 percent of what it did in 1998. Breakthroughs in technology and manufacturing combined with an increase in demand and production have caused the price of solar power to decline steadily. At the same time, estimated costs for building new nuclear power plants have ballooned.

The result of these trends: “In the past year, the lines have crossed in North Carolina,” say study authors John Blackburn and Sam Cunningham. “Electricity from new solar installations is now cheaper than electricity from proposed new nuclear plants.”

Apparently covered in the NYT as well - I checked every DB back to the 26th to see if this was posted here; noticed it on /. this morning.

You're saying this is not more cost effective than this? Are you?

You know it can't be true, PV is only a fossil fuel extender, will never work...plus it's not even radioactive, what good can it possibly be in the real world. And molten salt concentrating solar plants (CSP) that's truly an abomination, you really don't want to go there...that's way over on the dark side.

A fossil extender no longer!?

Solar to hydrogen cells puts solar on its own feet.
60% overall efficiency!?
Hydrogen can fuel a power station or your car.


I hope this is the real game changer for solar.

I'm looking for a something a little more in depth as far as the science behind this is concerned but it seems there are multiple independent sources confirming the efficiency breakthrough.

Here's one:


If true that this can be done cost effectively then solar plus hybrid hydrogen fuel cell technology could indeed be a game changer. Though I'm not holding my breath waiting... still, every additional tool in the war chest is most welcome.

Hydrogen, to the best of my knowledge, has never really been the problem. The problem is the rare earths necessary to make the fuel cells. More hydrogen does not solve that problem without a breakthrough in fuel cell design, of which I am not aware.

I remember something about Bloom Box not too long ago, did that turn out to be all hype or did they actually have something new. Haven't heard much about them since.

Video interview with KR Sridhar at the Aspen Ideas Festival this month: http://www.aifestival.org/audio-video-library.php?menu=3&title=594&actio...

Thanks Ghung, That's exactly what I was looking for. Sridhar is very smooth and no doubt a bit of technologist and a cornucopian but having said that, what he says about modular decentralized generating facilities and DC instead of AC being the way to go, definitely resonates with me.

Now if Thomas Nann's solar powered water splitter makes hydrogen as well as touted, the combination of those two technologies is quite probably as close to a game changer as we might get.

There are a lot of things here that I feel I could personally get behind and promote without feeling I was selling my soul or betraying my principles.

I've ridden the wave of two disruptive technologies so far in my life, computers and cell phones and saw how it changed lives in the third world and freed people from the shackles of centralized power. I have some hope that I will catch and ride one more wave into the sunset, this just might be it.

I'm paddling hard to meet that wave at its sweet spot. Hoping to hang ten...

Cheers and best hope for a new paradigm.

30 years ago one of my watch stations on the sub was the oxygen generator. We called it "the bomb" because if we let the water level get too low, the oxygen and hydrogen could recombine with unpleasent results. It was an efficient electrolyzer for making O2 for the atmospheric control system on the sub (one of the reasons that nuclear subs can stay submerged for so long). Of course, the reactor (about 20 feet away in the next compartment) made this possible. The hydrogen was considered waste and vented overboard.

It has always been at the back of my mind to use solar to electrolize hydrogen and oxygen as a way to store energy, since I'm off-grid and have excess capacity at times. It's one of those things that I haven't had time to work on yet. I've thought about "brown's gas" as a replacement for propane for cooking, etc. http://www.brownsgas.com/

An enjoyable read from the link: http://www.brownsgas.com/browns-gas-oxyhydrogen-hho-gas/browns-gas/chris...

I'm sure that finer minds than mine are working on this.

I'm always on alert for a more efficient way to store energy than lead acid battries. We have plenty of water and sunshine.

My technucopian side never sleeps...........

The authors themselves seem to be saying not yet-that solar can only compete because of the subsidies for the time being.

We are going to need both solar and nuclear, all we can get of both.

If nuclear does stage a comeback, as seems likely at the moment, it too may become cheaper over time.The reactors we have now at not even as advanced as model T cars in one very important respect-standardization of design and construction.

One of the problems as we go into an uncertain future is "How much is something worth?"

Example: A solar powered well pump cost $2000 complete installed. It can pump about 2 gal/min from our well. It can be converted to a hand pump in about five minutes and, powered by a strong grandson, can pump 5 gal of water in a couple minutes. How much is it worth? Note that the present 220VAC well pump can pump a serious lot of water for $.25.

Another example: Our soil is high desert alkaline and costs about a dollar a square foot and much work to make it quite productive (of course providing water, seed and same-same grandson)... How much is it worth? Note that we presently give away a lot of produce and our the JIT food supply is our primary source of food.

This question will be with us forever. As long as we each have hundreds of 'slaves', in the form of refined fuels, neither of the above is worth a 10th of what we paid or the effort expended. Without BAU they will be priceless. So how much is it worth?

IMHO it is time to disregard what something costs (within reason of course) and consider what it will be worth. I don't know how much time and money Todd has spent but it really doesn't matter because when things really go bad, he will survive and others will not.

Disclosure, I am a doomer and have been for over 50 years. Since I was a fighter pilot from 1952-1972 I wake up every morning surprized that I am still here. WOW! Isn't this neat.

Cost vs. Worth ..

That's it exactly.

One might even make a similar evaluation about the worth of the externalities at the other end.
Pollution, Political costs, Water Quality Implications, Toxicity.. etc.

The problem with Cost vs Worth is that for poor people, cost is all that matters.

If the cost is $2,000 and all I have is $200, well, that's the end of that.

Not entirely.

Too many poverty-stricken people are lured into throwing their money away, basically getting negative value on things like junk food and worthless goods that need replacing too fast. But many poor people will get carloans, cause they have to.. and they buy this 'necessity' on time. That could be the same equation for getting Solar, if it were encouraged and shown to be a long-term boon that ultimately would yield returns to improve their situation. (As is often said, Solar Heat and Good Insulation are the first and best investments)

The other thing you do with that $200 would be get that $199 Harbor Freight Solar kit.. IE, get some small PV or a homebuilt heating setup ( www.builditsolar.com ) , and just add to it when you have your NEXT $200. Great Thing about Solar is that it's easily growable.

As said above, it's really about value, and seeing what is a good use of that money in the long term. Even with no money, there are all sorts of choices in front of you that can make the difference of whether you are building up or sinking deeper.


As said above, it's really about value, and seeing what is a good use of that money in the long term. Even with no money, there are all sorts of choices in front of you that can make the difference of whether you are building up or sinking deeper.

I agree with that indeed, and it's brought into sharp focus when (young) people are trying to make housing choices. The cheaper price of land on the edge of sprawling suburban cities looks like the only alternative, and hence these cities grow that way - governments are always under the pump to "release" more land.

The reality is - the (young) family is actually placing a very high value on certain intangibles (space for the kids, a new home versus an old one, etc), and discounting a wide range of others - that may actually be a higher priority (or need). The cost of commuting (plus the time used up), the lack of services found closer to city centres, established and cheaper shopping - all sorts of benefits - even if it means an older, smaller, less "attractive" house.

Flight to the suburbs to escape inner city decay 40-50 years ago, has ironically been reversed - cashed-up younger people now try to buy in inner cities, escaping the burbs as soon as they can afford to do it.

Thank you jokuhl!

I will look at this closely tomorrow (near midnight now here). I would be very happy to be able to start cobbling something together. Hot water; and then some power.

We had a talk in our family, and agreed the one thing that would drive us just crazy not to have is the stereo. The powerful old component stereo- top of the line early 70's vintage- is out of the question, but we have a much smaller newer one that sounds pretty good...it draws 65 watts. The tv and dvd are a minor thing in our house, but nice to have now and then; together they need 200 watts.

I have no idea what our refrigerator, freezer, or washer draw. Haven't bothered to look, because I've always heard that solar just can't handle these things.

I tried pricing out a full system once; and when you add in the regulator, and inverter, and batteries, and yada yada yada... I came up with $20,000. That might as well be the moon for us. So I stopped considering it.

I do hear you, VT.
Very much in the same boat.. and I won't kid anyone, cobbling together small bits can be complicated to mix with the current setups of our homes. I have collected a few panels and work to integrate them as I can, and do so when there's a spare moment.

If someone wants to do 'small PV solar', the model I've been attracted to is to have a completely standalone system, including batteries and inverter, and just size it to your present budget, and run as much as seems reasonable on it. My amount of panels and batteries might be right for running my office and a few extra upstairs lights.. If I can pull that much off the utility power, that's a decent starting place, and once it's established and stable, save up and boost the capacity as I'm able.

I've also built a standalone hot air box.. which while I should have 6 or more to really knock my oil use down, this throws real heat into our house through the winter. It's like leaving a space heater on all day.

Love to hear your thoughts, but I might not visit a day-old drumbeat for long..


There are a number of readily available on line calculators that help you figure out how to size a basic system. Refrigerators and freezers can be a large draw and a washer would be a biggie as well. In an ideal completely off grid system I'd look hard at getting DC appliances, generally a lot more expensive in up front costs than similar AC appliances but a great long term investment.

Check out this link for an idea on to size systems: http://www.solarrvpanels.com/index.php/tag/how-many-amps-do-applicances-...

If you do a careful in depth analysis of your needs and also plan you system with equal care you could build it in stages as money becomes available. With a $20,000 system nowadays you could be living in the lap of luxury compared to most people.

If it were me, maybe I'd look at a good DC powered fridge and 1KW of panels batteries and a pure sine inverter for a start. If you can self install and take advantage of the 30% Federal tax rebate and other possible local incentives you might find it to be quite affordable.

Personally I think it should be "Cost" or "Worth" vs "Value". I realize the distinction may be quite subtle but I think it goes to the core of our society's rather distorted "Valueless Stuff" oriented values... (pun intended).

You may have something that you value dearly, though it may actually be worthless to someone else. It may also be something ineffable or patently non transferable.

What value, peace of mind or clearness of conscience and how much is that worth to you?

Of course, what I think, plus a $1.50 might buy you a cup of joe...

PV is only a fossil fuel extender, will never work...plus it's not even radioactive, what good can it possibly be in the real world.

Yeah! Real men DON'T use solar power. They use macho nuclear or coal. All others sources are for girlie men.....

"Yeah! Real men DON'T use solar power"

:-) you wouldn't say that if you knew what was involved with refining silicon to the required purity. 1000 F, 400 PSI, exotic alloys, redistribution resins, five distillation columns, pyrophoric gases, hydrogen, thousands of horsepower;

It's a he-man she-woman type career. Only Union Carbide had the gonadal fortitude to see it through. US patent 4,676,967

By the way, a surprising (or not) proportion of the employees of the descendant company are from the Navy nuclear power program.

Solar PV and Solar Thermal are good technologies.However the source of the energy suffers from one problem which can't be fixed.The sun takes a rest for 12 hours out of 24 and when it is at work cloud cover and seasonal low angle reduce the output.This means that some sort of storage has to be built in order to cover the down time.

This is expensive but is practical in small installations,particularly in areas where the grid is not available.When you start thinking about supplying electricity reliably nationwide,24/7/12 months,year in year out the cost of storage becomes prohibitive.In addition a sprawling grid must be built and linked to a complex and probably unreliable control system.Wind has the same problems.

In the real world this sort of system will not be built.It is too expensive and unreliable.

I am sorry if I have offended anybody by pointing out the bleeding obvious but it seems that some well meaning people who are enamoured of nonpolluting electricity sources,as I am,are suffering from a reality disconnect.

Nuclear generation is the only proven source of electricity which is nonpolluting,safe,economically and technically acheivable and which can plug into the existing grid and control system.Nuclear generators can be built on existing fossil fuel generator sites and possibly using some of the equipment.

There should be a continuing effort to build solar and wind generators where it is appropriate and to continue current programs of domestic PV installations.This allows the technology to be improved and also increases the resilience of the existing grid.However nuclear is needed for base load generation.

If you think that baseload requirements can be significantly reduced or even eliminated by conservation measures then I suggest you think again.If you think that anything approaching a civil society can be maintained without a reliable and adequate electricity supply then I suggest that you you use a little imagination coupled with experience of human nature and have a good think about it.

This is expensive but is practical in small installations,particularly in areas where the grid is not available.When you start thinking about supplying electricity reliably nationwide,24/7/12 months,year in year out the cost of storage becomes prohibitive.In addition a sprawling grid must be built and linked to a complex and probably unreliable control system.Wind has the same problems.

I actually specialize in very small 50 to 200 Watt installations and my thinking is that the more ubiquitous these mini installations are the less need there will be for a grid. I'm even beginning to design completely modularized units of 1 to 2KW. I don't expect the grid to go away any time soon.

There will probably be a need for centralized industrial grid dependent processes for a long time to come. In the meantime I'm just whittling away at the edges with little systems such as these, this one happens to be a 50 Watt Solar PV and battery system that will be powering the Town Welcome Sign a few counties away from where I live. It will be installed at its final destination next week. The combiner box is open in this picture because I was testing different settings on it.


The lighting is all LEDs and the charge contoller is programable for different lighting durations. Currently it will be set from dusk to dawn. BTW the town could just as easily gone the usual route of hooking lights up to the grid but they seem to have seen the light and I'll probably be getting a lot of work from them, precisely because it is *NOT* expensive.

We can't solve our problems with the same kind of thinking that got us into them in the first place
Albert Einstein

Please don't post photos in PNG format. It makes them ridiculously huge. PNG is meant for images with large areas of flat color - charts and graphs, not for photos.

As a JPG, that image would be less than a tenth the file size, and would look exactly the same.

Leanan, I apologize and you are right about the use of PNG files. However to be fair the image I posted was only 480K the properly sized JPEG of the same image is about 110K so a little less than a quarter of the PNG file's size.

I have been trying to post more links instead of images. This one slipped through. Again sorry.

I actually build and run a few websites where I post Flash animations, videos, audio files and other multimedia files so I have long ago stopped thinking of a 500K file as large, let alone huge so I've become a bit complacent. I also remember the days in the mid 90's when I'd transfer a couple megabyte TIFF to the service bureau via dial up on a 28K modem. Even then I didn't think of 500K as all that large.

I do understand that you have to control the bandwidth here much more carefully and that even 500K here is too large. Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa!

However to be fair the image I posted was only 480K the properly sized JPEG of the same image is about 110K so a little less than a quarter of the PNG file's size.

110 k is also ridiculously huge for the image you posted. This one has medium compression, and is 39k:

If you look really close and have a good eye, you can probably see the difference, but most people won't.

If you're a web developer, then you must have the knowledge and resources to post compressed JPGs. Please try to keep images under 60k. (That's just a guideline. If it's a particularly useful image that needs to be larger, that's fine.)

If you're a web developer, then you must have the knowledge and resources to post compressed JPGs. Please try to keep images under 60k. (That's just a guideline. If it's a particularly useful image that needs to be larger, that's fine.)

Yep, I can do do that. Even so I'll try to keep the image posting to a minimum!

You can blame my posting of large files on the psychological trauma of having been mentally tortured by certain anal retentive art directors I worked with in the past... even the slightest pixellation was considered totally unacceptable... bandwidth was the IT department's problem not theirs >;^)

Yes,Fred,there are heaps of applications for small to medium scale PV installations which are very practical and more power to you for being involved in it.

In Australia there are lots of retransmitter stations in remote locations for communications.Many of these have various sizes of panel arrays.Some have small diesel generators which start automatically if needed.Even emergency telephones beside highways are sometimes solar powered.

The important point to remember is that these are mice compared to the herd of elephants in the demand room - cities,industries,essential services like hospitals,electric trains and trams etc.There is no way this sort of demand will be powered by renewables.We are fast running out of time to make a substantial dent in fossil fuel pollution.Small,incremental improvements,while welcome,just won't cut it.

We (as in the Western nations)need an accelerated build of nonpolluting electricity generation.To reiterate,nuclear is the only kid on the block with that potential.

The important point to remember is that these are mice compared to the herd of elephants in the demand room - cities,industries,essential services like hospitals,electric trains and trams etc.There is no way this sort of demand will be powered by renewables.

I agree with you that from a perspective within our current paradigm of BAU this does seem unlikely.

Though to be honest, I can't think of even one of the things you mention that could not be run in large part on mix of renewables such as wind and solar with some form of storage and perhaps a very small component depending on diesel or NG generators. I'll even allow for a part of that mix to include a small component based on nuclear, hydro, biofuels etc...

Perhaps we need to start realizing that we will have to reduce demand and that the elephants aren't sustainable for the long run unless we significantly cull the herd. One way is to significantly increase the quantity of mice, expand conservation, and start down the path of paradigm change.

I can even imagine quite a few of us riding around in solar powered velomobiles like this one.


Can you see why that make sense and why BAU starts to become irrelevant along with all it's current unsustainable practices and preconceptions? There is just no way we are going to have 10 billion humans living like we do now. I think we are going to have a lot more mice and a lot fewer centralized elephants.

You're stuck in the rut of big generators... the solution is cloud solar power, like cloud computing, done by millions providing both PV power and storage capacity. Add in a host of wind, small scale hydro, and large scale geothermal plants, and it would have been possible. If it had been started about 15 or 20 years ago. Today our problem is not, what will work, but how can we get it done. Even nuclear, as good a short to mid term solution as it is, will not be possible in the time we will have when the morons in charge figure this out.

Not that I am a doomer, mind you. My biggest worry is that the personal plans I am implementing may also be too late...

That said, there will be a reliable, but inadequate, supply of electric energy. It will be triaged, and some comforts will have to go, in favor of necessities. Personal autos will become, if not rare, certainly uncommon. Longer term, they will have to go as well.


What you propose is technically possible, but not economically possible. Nuclear, however, is both. That's the difference.

You're saying this is not more cost effective than this? Are you?

Oh, beats me, just being a cub reporter. CSP's rockin' stuff, yes. I think we should persevere with the nukes, experiment with designs that address the usual issues, and emulate programs that have worked in the past. Kinda like health care; oh crap, we're screwed!

Dunno if the study covers these newfangled low output modular designs - doubt it, since subsidies seem to be a cornerstone of the research.

A balance of techs is the way to go, wouldn't you say? Greater resilience through diversification. I'm trying to think of an analogy involving throwing crap against the side of a barn...is it more crap, different kinds of crap...

KLR, no worries, I was just being my usual grouchy sarcastic self, no reflection on you or anything you said.

It’s no secret that the cost of producing photovoltaic cells (PV) has been dropping for years.

I use the website solarbuzz [ http://www.solarbuzz.com/Moduleprices.htm ] to track PV Euros/watt or US$/watt.

Great link, thanks! So the average PV panel is $4.18/W but the cheapest retail price is $1.07/W (thin-film 55W)!

Seems the Treehugger website is also carrying the story.

I was told that PV panels would be half their present price by 2014...I assume my source meant the panels only,and not the Balance of System components.

Time will tell if my friend is correct...I have no idea.

You also get to choose what that price is in comparison to.

Should it be in dollars, gallons of gas or loaves of bread?

In any case.. if you've just gone through an Ice Storm or Hurricane, and just want to charge the radio batteries and keep the little fridge cold, what's the difference?

I wouldn't wait for some magical Price/Watt to have at least a 'baseload' level of PV in your house.

Stripped down energy bill leaves out 'cap and trade'

But other aspects of the bill, according to a draft summary of the legislation, step into other energy arenas by:

* Providing incentives for turning the nation‘s heavy truck fleet to natural gas and toward electrification of the nation‘s transportation sector.
* Promoting "clean energy job creation" providing $5 billion of rebates to encourage homeowners to make efficiency upgrades as part of the Home Star program.
* Fully funding a Land and Water Conservation Fund over the next five years to ensure that vital US lands and waters are protected into the future from climate change damage.
* Increasing the $1 billion liability cap of the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to $5 billion and increasing fees to pay for it by requiring that oil companies pay 49 cents per barrel into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.

Emphasis mine.

Convert most of the truck fleet to rail, not natural gas. Getting rid of cap and trade would be fine if we banned any new coal plants and started phasing out existing plants. Good luck with protecting our lands against climate change damage. What this bill says is, "we give up" while we hope for a miracle from God.

The battle in the Senate is far from over. The EPA still has the authority to regulate CO2 emissions. In general they would strongly prefer that the Congress come up with a plan of some sort, and I think they were waiting to see what if anything would happen in this area. But if they are unable to come up with one of their own, the EPA will do it for them. The EPA plan might not be to the liking of a lot of people which would spur them on to stop screwing around.

Electrification could also mean plug-in hybrids. It doesn't have to mean electrified rail. Until we get a chance to look at what's actually in the bill it will be hard to say what they actually mean. But then again, this is only the first cut at the bill and it will undoubtedly change by the time it gets passed (assuming it does get passed).

I found the online text of the bill here (warning - large PDF file):


Not a word about electrified rail. Only electric cars. The electric vehicle bit starts on page 228.

The ethanol producers aren't at all happy about this bill. Not a word about any form of biofuels. But it is still early, so they have time to slip something in :-(.

Mystery of Japanese tanker damage probed

Looking at the dent, it appears remarkably symmetrical and regular. It is entirely above the waterline, and shows no sign of paint damage.

On first It looks like the tanker reversed into a harbour wall or similar fixed object, and the crew are just trying to cover their butts. However, I think I can see that the plates of the hull are curved in between the underlying bracing lines. To me that suggests explosive damage, from a non-contact low shrapnel explosion. A suicide bomber on a fast inflatable?

This AP story explains why they thought it was an attack. At least one crew member saw a flash of light.

All damage is above the water line, so no seamine as mentioned as a possibility in the article. Collission with another vessel or buoy usually leaves paint marks. The damage still is very symmetrical, and no color changes as what one would expect when explosives are involved.

I think they must have hit a wooden fishing boat, sinking it and killing it's crew, but they probably are not going to admit it to avoid liability, if they even notiecd.

If it was on the bows, I would agree that collision with a wooden vessel was a possible cause. But this is near the stern, and looks like a direct impact. I suppose the tanker could have been doing a sharp turn at the time and tail swiped a fishing boat, but I thought tankers that size were too bulky for that sort of maneuver.

I can't see any fishing boat getting that close to a tanker. They know a big tanker like that won't be able to see them, and won't be able to move fast enough to avoid them; as the more maneuverable vessel, it's their responsibility to stay out of the way.

I suppose it's possible that the boat they hit was disabled and couldn't avoid the collision, but the Navy says there were no other vessels in the area.

Looking at the picture it is obvious that the tanker did not hit anything. It is far more likely, from that huge dent near the stern, that something hit the tanker. A sailboat, sailing under automatic pilot while the captain slept, might easily have hit the tanker. However the dent doesn't look anything like the bow of a sailboat hit it. Looks like perhaps a large wooden fishing boat may have hit it, perhaps trying to turn at the last minute and slammed broadside into the tanker.

Ron P.

Folks are assuming that the damage was above the waterline. The WAM (UAE News) photo seems to indicate this. However, according to the article:

The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker, loaded with 270,000 tons of oil, was heading from the petroleum port of Das Island in the United Arab Emirates to the Japanese port of Chiba outside Tokyo, the ministry said.


The ship in the photo has clearly been unloaded of it's cargo (at least a portion of it), as it is sitting high in the water. Therefore, IMO, the center of the alledged blast zone would have been at or near the waterline if this ship had 270,000 tons of cargo aboard (at the time of the incident).

My guess would be a floating/semisubmerged proximity mine of some sort. A floating IED perhaps.

That dent looks more like it could have been caused by the bow of a tug boat such as the one depicted here. http://www.shipsandharbours.com/picture/number158.asp

My rolling stone walk thru the trades includes fixing or helping fix things involved in accidents or worn out due to heavy use.

Scientific American has a video posted that shows much greater detail than the AP photo.

If something solid hit the side of that ship, it must have been designed and constructed especially for the purpose to make it look as it if were struck by a bomb blast of some sort.

The damage is extraordinarily symmetrical,pushing the outer skin in between the framing behind it;also pushing in the smaller framing members in a similar fashion.

A wave can make a similar dent, but it is hard to imagine a wave so powerful and yet so small;a wave capable of creating such damages would have to be huge, and the damage would have extended farther up and down the hull.The source of such a wave in waters where giant waves are not common would be a mystery;furthermore other ships would have encountered it, the waters are very busy in that part of the world.

The bottoms and to some small extent the sides of the cargo boxes of dump trucks show distortion remarkably similar to the damaged side of this ship, due to gravel and stone being dropped forcefully into the box repeatedly over long periods of time during loading.

The skin or bottom of the floor stretches just like the skin of the ship, becoming depressed between the supporting frame members.The savings in wieght of course more than offset the increased maintainence costs involved in using a thin floor.

I cannot imagine anything creating such a pattern of damage in very short order except a powerful bomb blast-the shock wave of a bomb exploding a few feet away from the side of the ship could depress the skin and siding in just such a fashion, and the lack of deep gouges or scratches wlould be nicely explained.Such gouges and scratches are invariably created by collisions.

A larger much more powerful bomb exploded farther away would have damaged a larger area.

The only realistic explaination is that a bomb of some sort caused the damage.

It either exploded a before it was quite close enough to the ship to work in its intended fashion, or else it was undersized in relation to the strength of the ships outer hull.

If you wanted to close the Strait of Hormuz and not be a complete maniac about it, you'd need to use non-lethal deterrents. Perhaps one has been deployed.

I wonder if some type of munition has been developed to explode some distance from the hull of a ship with the aim of concussing it with a blast without impact.

The damage looks to be from an explosion to my eye. The individual plates are are buckled inward between the joints, which are stronger than the plates themselves, which points to the pressure of a blast wave. A collision with a hard surface would place a uniform dent or crease at the point of impact. Also, the greatest damage is at the water line and yet there is also damage spread at greater height above the water line. Here's a photo of the damage to the USS Cole due to an explosion of a small craft at the waterline. It might be that this was a failed attack, perhaps detonated prematurely, or one which was not intended to sink the tanker, only damage it with a small blast.

E. Swanson

Is the photo while the ship was still loaded? Could the impact point have been blow the water line at the time?

I have to say the two look quite different. The Cole was damaged below the water line. There were radial scorch marks around the hole. The shape of the damage was irregular.

Another Idea I read was that maybe it was an implosion of an internal tank. Say it was a fuel oil tank in the skin of the tanker. Oil is pumped out of the bottom of the tank but the pressure relief valve got stuck. Would external pressure of one atmosphere be enough to crumple the skin of a supertanker?

The photo only shows what damage there might be above the waterline, thus we don't know about the comparison with the USS Cole. We do know that the attack on the USS Cole used a shaped charge, which concentrated the blast in a small area. Comparing the damage between the two, It's apparent that size of the device used on the Cole must have been larger, since there was much greater damage and it's also likely that the thickness of the hull on the USS Cole was much greater, since it is a warship and thus designed to withstand some level of attack.

As for the suggestion that the damage was due to an implosion of an internal tank, consider the other facts, such as the damage to the railing at the top of the hull and the report of considerable breakage of glass in the ports also located above. More over, an imploding tank wouldn't produce different damage at the waterline and progressively less higher up the hull.

I still think the damage was caused an external explosion. If the forensic investigation finds that there is chemical residue from an explosive, that would confirm my thinking.

Edit: Here's another report with a photo taken from a different camera angle.

E. Swanson

I suspect that it occurred during the night while in their last port of call.
A drunken sailor got too close to the hull while attempting to park on the pier.
Then, to deflect suspicion, he made noises at the appropriate time and suggested to people that an attack had occurred.

Hastings, Watson, why didn't you two see this?


Or a drunk tug boat pilot....

Gas injection this week was only 28 billion cubic feet. The five year average for this week was 52 billion cubic feet.

AmericanOilman.com Weekly Gas Storage Report

Ron P.

Are there any climate change deniers still hanging around the Drum? If so, did you look at the NOAA report? Admittedly it doesn't address why the climate is changing, that's a separate issue, but you cannot legitimately claim that the world is not rapidly and unambiguously getting warmer.


Three factors at work here (maybe lots more, but let's simplify...).

Business/self-interest: Any business which has a vested interest in keeping things just the way they are, will say or do just about anything to keep their profits up, including DENYING and various other ways of manipulating opinion.

Psychology: Whether concerning this subject or anything else controversial from Bigfoot to UFOs, there are always those who are seemingly incapable of taking the centered view of fairly unbiased agnosticism or at least "I don't think this is true, but lets get the all the facts and evidence we can, then see." The total skeptics,
seem to have something else going on which many times involves Religion (third and significant factor), and a worldview that does not permit the intrusion of anything that might alter it. Climate shift can be readily seen by taking a good look at the geological past showing overwhelming evidence of its occurrence (and the only reason that we as a species have been so "successful" in the last 10,000 years or so is that the global climate has been ABNORMALLY stable. We see evidence of past climate reversals in as little as 10-12 years (ice core sample analysis).

The "absolute skeptics" react even more strongly to the possibility that we might not be alone in our little corner of the Galaxy despite growing evidence that Earth sized planets do exist around other stars.
The Catholic Church might well have finally forgiven Galileo, but to many peoples minds the Sun still revolves around the Earth...


Come on Conservationalist, BlondieBC, Rainsong, Wall Street express?

With news like this and letters from U.S. National Academy of Sciences it's hard to understand how a denier can rationalize their position.

I would like to know how after reading the letter signed by 255 top scientists, you still do not believe AGW is a serious threat to the Earth, as we have known it, for the last 10,000 or more years?

To save time here are some ways I think you may rationalize your position:

1 I refuse to read it.

2 It’s a fake.

3 These guys don’t know what they are talking about.

4 They are not saying it’s the worst catastrophe man has ever faced.

5 I have done my own research, collected and analyzed my own data and have come to a different conclusion.

6 I have thoroughly examined all available data and conclude all the scientists are reading it wrong.

7 The basic principals of greenhouse gases and radiative forcing are wrong.

8 The increase from 280ppm to 392ppm carbon dioxide over the last 150 years is not from man.

9 I still believe Rush Limbaugh over these guys.

Just indicate a number. Don't want to start a flamewar.

Edit: Forgot to run spellcheck.

10. Everyone knows that the scientists are just trying to get grant money, and therefore science is bunk. All science.

1. I refuse to read it.

If God had meant for us to read, we would all be born with Kindles.

I'd rather we not go there. There are plenty of other places on the web where people can bash each other over their views on climate change.

More interesting to me is what is happening, how fast, and how it will affect our adaption to peak oil.

your post from NOAA says it all.

More 'weird' weather to come.

More Frequent, More Intense Heat Waves in Store for New York

Heat waves like those that baked the Northeast in July are likely to be more frequent and more intense in the future, with their effects amplified in densely built urban environments like Manhattan, according to climate scientists at The City College of New York (CCNY).

Data collected by City College’s New York City Meteorological Network (NYCMetNet), indicate that during the first July heat wave overnight low temperatures ran 10 to 15 degrees (Fahrenheit) higher in Manhattan than in Long Island or in western New Jersey, while daytime highs were roughly the same.

...Split storms, like the ones that deluged some Long Island communities earlier this month while leaving neighboring villages dry, could also be a phenomenon influenced by cities. “Because of heat and aerosols, cities could play a role by acting as a barrier to storm fronts, resulting in very concentrated storms in scattered areas.”

From your link:

This process is inherently adversarial—scientists build reputations and gain recognition not only for supporting conventional wisdom, but even more so for demonstrating that the scientific consensus is wrong and that there is a better explanation. That's what Galileo, Pasteur, Darwin, and Einstein did. But when some conclusions have been thoroughly and deeply tested, questioned, and examined, they gain the status of "well-established theories" and are often spoken of as "facts."

Unfortunately the average climate change denialist thinks he or she, despite having no background or expertise whatsoever in climate science, is somehow qualified themselves, to come up with a better explanation. Usually it turns out to be an explanation which allows them to continue with their current world view intact.

Either that or they uncritically accept the views of vocal non scientists such as Lord Chirstopher Monckton, often filtered through the presentation of the likes of Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh, never bothering to check if such views are based in reality.

Here is one nice take down of Monckton http://www.stthomas.edu/engineering/jpabraham/

Rational discourse and presentation of scientific facts have no effect whatsoever on such individuals, they are by definition in a state of denial. They are in dire need psychiatric help.

Naomi Oreskes' book, Merchants of Doubt, gives us some insight as to how we got to where we are.


I have no doubt that Climate Change is very real. However, IMHO the main reason we're calling it "Climate Change" (which is accurate) and not "Global Warming" is because of the arguments of the denialists.

The scientific community would have been ready to call it a fact that the GW theory is correct years ago if the denialists weren't there arguing tooth & nail against every scrap of climate evidence. The scientific community would not back off the Global Warming claims until a suitable alternate theory name was arrived at. It was more important to them to decry some kind of problem with our modern civization's habits than it was to decry the correct problem. That is a bias, and a potentially dangerous one.


What? The scientific community felt some generalized need to decry modern civilization's habits? Why is that, pray tell? You seem to be pushing an agenda. Or maybe you just don't know what you're talking about.

Global Warming is just as accurate as Climate Change. I prefer Global Weirding myself.

"Climate Change" would seem more inclusive of the range of effects, including changes in cloudiness, changes of rain and snowfall, melting of glaciers and ice caps, changes in ozone layer, impacts on thermohaline circulation, etc.

However, it would still not capture some phenomena such as ocean acidification.

I'm not talking about a big organized viewpoint, just a subconscious thing among the scientific community. I think the SC has the accurate viewpoint on climate change as a whole, but I'm not sure they came to it through an unbiased thought process.

Just a pure hypothetical: What if some strong good data emerged next year that refuted all this and explained our previous conclusions as wrong? What if it indicated that burning fossil fuels & CO2 emissions was not negatively affecting the global climate after all? (Yes, I know the odds are slim to none. BUT WHAT IF IT DID?)

If that info came to light, I suspect the SC would initially reject it with almost as much religious fervor as the denialists show today. No matter how strong the new case might be, IMHO it would take another generation for the SC just to accept it. And that concerns me.

What you are talking about is discussed by Thomas Kuhn in his book "The structure of scientific revolutions". Kuhn's thesis was that when a scientific discipline becomes established science is done within an established paradigm of accepted thought. Anomalous results may begin to challenge the accepted paradigm until it can no longer be supported and then a paradigm shift takes place to a new accepted paradigm. No such shift is taking place in climate science. The vast majority of climate scientists accept the evidence that increased greenhouse gas concentrations are raising average temperatures. No credible evidence has been produced to suggest this thesis is wrong. You denigrate scientists if you think they never question their results, and if they don't there are plenty of other scientists who will. The current understanding of climate science has grown up over a century or more with much questioning and false turns along the way. See Spencer Weart's site on the discovery of global warming.

the main reason we're calling it "Climate Change"

Because it's an alliteration silly!
Don't you CC that yet?

Never mind. Your brain does.
The ape brain loves Cranial Candy (CC).
Any Simple Simon pattern will do.

Interpreting Headlines -- Natural Gas 'Squeeze' in the Middle East

Natural-Gas Squeeze Prompts Switch of Fuel in Middle East: Energy Markets

They are running short of gas, especially in the U.A.E and in Saudi Arabia, where they require gas for power generation as well,” said Siamak Adibi, head of the Middle East gas team at Facts Global Energy Inc. in Singapore.

Energy exporters from the Arabian peninsula are currently developing their petrochemicals industries, increasing desalination efforts and providing for rapidly growing consumer power demands. We should not be surprised to find that these nations consume an ever increasing amount of their indigenous oil and natural gas supplies. Despite expectations that Qatar will be boosting LNG exports in the next few years, the region as a whole may see declining LNG exports by the end of the decade.

Here are the Energy Export Databrowser graphs for the two countries mentioned in the article above. The UAE, largely because of Dubai's insane building boom, became a net importer of natural gas in 2008. Saudi Arabia still has no international pipelines or re-gassification terminals and their consumption is currently limited to what they produce themselves. One wonders how much they would import if they could.

Peak Oil Exports is only the first of the peak exports issues we have to deal with. Peak LNG Exports will be only a few years behind. If shale gas doesn't turn out to be as prolific as hoped we can expect to see increasingly expensive natural gas in the next decade.

Forewarned is forearmed.



I was surprised at how low Qatar's net natural gas exports were in 2008, only about 10% of 2008 US natural gas production (EIA).


I agree. It is surprising how much more natural gas the US uses compared to just about everyone else. I guess it's because we created the industry in the first place and built up petrochemical industries and a national pipeline infrastructure long before anyone else.

Putting the US and the entire Middle East on the same scale is instructive:

Even if Qatar quadruples their production as expected, it won't save the net exports curve for the whole region from its inevitable decline. Consumption in the region is growing much too fast.


This was published by US DOT this month (with data through May 2010). This the Vehicle Miles Traveled report, showing that we're back to driving at about 2005 levels. Warning: PDF.


Chart on page 9 is the famous Peak VMT chart. Looks like a bumpy plateau since the peak.

United Kingdom oil production forecast to drop by about 5.5 percent per year for next 10 years.

United Kingdom Oil & Gas Report Q3 2010

Between 2010 and 2019, we are forecasting a decrease in UK oil production of 40.4%, with output slipping steadily from an estimated 1.38mn b/d in 2010 to 0.82mn b/d at the end of the 10-year forecast period. Given that oil consumption is forecast to decrease by 2.1%, imports should rise from an estimated 0.29mn b/d to 0.81mn b/d during the forecast period.

I worked it out on a spreadsheet and that works out to be an average of about 5.5 percent per year.

Ron P.

It's a good job that the global all-liquids post-2010 decline rate is only 1.6% per year (Colin Campbell).

You have to hand it to the British politicians and industry leaders for their wanton lack of long range planning! They exported the national oil patrimony at <$20/bbl throughout the 90's and will be importing it all back in the next decade or so at an inflation adjusted >$100/bbl. Makes the careful Dutch planning and development of natural gas seem positively oracular by comparison.

'Free' markets are good if the goal is to maximize production and consumption. It's unclear to me what sort of markets we need if the goal is conservation/reduced consumption.


They exported the national oil patrimony at <$20/bbl throughout the 90's and will be importing it all back in the next decade or so at an inflation adjusted >$100/bbl.

isn't global capitalism great ?

personally, i think maggie thatcher was a nit wit (and ronald reagan aficionado).


I wonder what some Saudi would say in a few years of KSA selling oil at $75 today? Maybe that is what the king of KSA is thinking about.

Water under the bridge, as they say, but my guess is she (Margaret T) was pretty easily manipulated by cleverer persons. Absolute gift. She thought she did it all herself. What more could you ask?

MT head

MT thoughts:

Pennies do not come from heaven.
They have to be earned here on earth.
--Margaret Thatcher

But wasn't copper forged from the heat of the Bi(n)g Bang?

Oh never mind.
Economics always trumps science.

Yes I know. Pennies are not made from Cu anymore.
It takes time for that to Zinc in on us old foggies.

It is not the creation of wealth that is wrong,
but the love of money for its own sake.
--Margaret Thatcher

Where was it that we lost that piece of insight?

Oh yes, now it comes back.
On that voodoo climb towards the shining city on the hill.

Nobody loves money for it's own sake except coin collectors and similar. People want money in order to buy stuff.

Gordon Gecko does

I think the sequel is coming out next month

As my buddy Chris says,

"I don't want to buy Happiness.. just a boat and some other stuff."

Same Report:

Gas production should fall from the estimated 2010 level of 66bcm to 45bcm in 2019. Demand is forecast to rise from an estimated 92bcm to 100bcm, requiring imports reaching 55bcm, largely in the form of pipeline gas, with some liquefied natural gas (LNG).

We import most of our food as well (perhaps >60% as calories).
I think we export mostly ... er ... 'financial services'?

Just a reminder for those who may not have seen this chart before:

United Kingdom production of energy from all sources has dropped by >40% in the last decade!

The trend for every major source of energy, including nuclear, is down, down, down.

Time to wake up!


The UK has had a pretty good run of prosperity over the last half-century based on North Sea oil and gas, but you have to realize that it has come to an end. The oil and gas are mostly gone, as is most of the coal that sustained the Industrial Revolution.

This was highly predictable based on the geological data, but apparently the British government saw fit to ignore the data and base their planning on some kind of miracle occurring to forestall the energy crisis they face.

At this point in time the situation is critical because the situation has acquired a lot of vertical momentum in the downward direction, somewhat like an airplane that has run out of fuel due to the pilots ignoring the fuel gauges.

You need a "Plan B", but I don't see a workable one on the drawing boards. Wind power is theoretically possible, but Britain is a rather small island not really big enough to support enough wind turbines to supply its rather large population. I could suggest nuclear power since Britain's former colonies (Australia, Canada) have more than enough uranium to supply them, but Britain has largely abandoned its nuclear power technology.

You could talk to the French about building some new reactors, since the French have built a lot of them. I realize that talking to the French is a very non-British sort of thing to do, but it may be the only viable option under the circumstances.

Given that oil consumption is forecast to decrease by 2.1%

How that fit with a return to growth that our politicians/MSM keep talking about?

B.C. adopts new limits for greenhouse-gas emissions with new ‘cap and trade’ system


Welcome news:

Toward a Cleaner and Greener New York

It was like Earth Day for the New York City Council on Thursday as members passed legislation to improve air quality and expand recycling programs.

As announced earlier this week by the City Council speaker, Christine Quinn, and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, one of the new laws will halve sulfur levels in a common type of home heating oil, No. 4, starting in October 2012. The law also will require that biodiesel fuel make up at least 2 percent of all grades of petroleum heating oil.


Another environmental group, the Environmental Defense Fund, praised the improvement in heating oil as a way of reducing the hospitalization rate for children with asthma and raising the failing grade the city now gets from the federal government for its air quality. In a report last year, the group said that about 9,500 buildings in the city burning the dirtiest grades of heating oil – No. 4 and No. 6 – account for more pollution than cars and trucks.

New Yorkers burn more than one billion gallons of heating oil a year. Bloomberg administration officials said they were working on a plan that would further limit the use of No. 4 and 6 heating oils by phasing out the boilers that burn them.

See: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/29/toward-a-cleaner-and-greener-n...


Nate worked for Lehman Brothers?

;) Knew it was someone or another Gordon Geckoesque. Nice profile, would like to see a clip on YT etc of you in action as you "roared and lunged at the audience."

At least he didn't end up working for this guy!Photobucket

My heartfelt congrats to Dr. Hagen!

ditto, well deserved

"Daley calls for probe of Michigan oil spill"

July 29, 2010 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Chicago's Mayor Daley is demanding a criminal investigation into an oil spill in the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. The leak is now just 80 miles from Lake Michigan.

The governor of Michigan says it would be a "tragedy of historic proportions" if the oil is allowed to reach the lake.

The oil began leaking into the Kalamazoo River on Monday not far from Battle Creek, Michigan. It has moved 35 miles downstream and is getting close to Kalamazoo.


Up top, concerning Beyond the limits to growth, by Richard Heinberg, Heinberg not surprisingly correctly hits the target here in his review of LTG, and its critics.

As I have mentioned before, I personally studied in 1972 in great detail the conclusions of LTG, its computer modeling methods and assumptions made. In 1972, I never imagined that almost 40 years later we will still be studying the conclusions of LTG, even though it was a very eye opening experience at that time.

It also seems strange to me that many critics, and even some posters here, came along many years with their comments - usually without even understanding what the goals of the LTG model were in the first place.

without even understanding what the goals of the LTG model were

To err is human,

To understand is beyond their means.


Looks like I was the only one to see this one when it came out. The fact that one has to look "across the pond" to find it is hardly surprising.

Let's invade Iraq, they've got loads of oil they're not using. If anyone protests, we can pretend it's all about getting rid of Saddam and bringing in democracy... What!? It's 2010!? I've been in a coma for 10 years!?

What!? It's 2010!? I've been in a coma for 10 years!?

Well, you missed quite a performance then. Not only did they rush to protect the oil fields first, they didn't even bother to protect the priceless anitiquity of Iraq in its museums. There was mass chaos in the Iraqi cities, and in particular Baghdad. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's died or were maimed. There was no WMD nor any ready to launch missles in Saddam's palaces. Democracy did not spread like a chain reaction to other ME countries. In the final analysis it was about securing good ol' crude, i.e. BAU.

Re: Weird weather

It's been hotter than ever before here in Finland.

Thursday was a day for the history books in Joensuu as the temperature hit 37.2 degrees Celsius at the Liperi weather station -- the highest ever reading recorded in Finland.

The previous hottest day on record in Finland was July 9, 1914, when a reading of 35.9 degrees was made in Turku, several years before the nation gained its independence. The previous highest reading in independent Finland was made on July 15, 1934, when the mercury climbed to 35.6 in Lieksa, near the Russian border.


Most summers the hottest temperature in Finland doesn't even reach 30s.

I don't remember if anybody at TOD has posted links to news stories about wildfires in the Greater Moscow area. Anyways, there are loads of them, the whole city (where the air quality is not great at the best of times) is in a smoky haze, and now we're getting a lot of that smoke in Finland too. There has been quite a bit of smog in southeastern Finland, and friends tell me you can smell the smoke even on the west coast. I am quite far up north and haven't noticed anything so far.

You are here:


I think I see a pattern.