Drumbeat: August 3, 2010

New York Weighs Drilling Ban on Natural Gas From Rocky Shale Deposits

Companies led by Chesapeake Energy Corp. would be banned temporarily from drilling for natural gas in shale in New York under state legislation proposed because of disputes over environmental risks.

The measure would suspend drilling until May 15 in New York’s portion of the Marcellus Shale formation for further study, said Kate Sinding, senior attorney with the New York- based Natural Resources Defense Council. The drilling moratorium may come up during a special session weighing legislation to close a $9.2 billion gap in the state’s $135.6 billion budget.

To get gas from shale, companies use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in which water, sand and chemicals are injected deep underground to break up rock and allow gas to flow. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is planning a study to determine whether fracking fluids have contaminated drinking water.

Sri Lanka says China to not operate oil bunkering

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka said on Tuesday China would have no operational role in new oil bunkering facilities being built as part of a $1.5 billion port due to open in November on the island nation's southern coast.

BP Hasn't Sought Permission to Sell Venezuela Units, Energy Minister Says

BP Plc, seeking to raise funds to pay for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, hasn’t requested permission to sell assets in Venezuela for which it would need his country’s authorization, said Rafael Ramirez, company president of Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the state-owned oil company.

PDVSA, as the Venezuelan company is known, has the first option to purchase BP’s local assets, calling them “very attractive,” Ramirez, who is also oil and energy minister, told reporters in Caracas today.

BP Could Face up to $21B in Oil Spill Fines

(AP) BP could face up to $21 billion in fines stemming from the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The other Gulf oil crisis

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a rude reminder of the risks inherent in an economy dependent upon petroleum. But there's a quieter crisis in the other gulf - the Persian Gulf - that should call Americans' attention to the even more severe consequences of relying upon imported oil.

The costs of using the military to protect the transport of oil from the most turbulent part of the world should convince our country's policymakers to increase investments in researching and developing affordable, American-made clean-burning alternative fuels. But, first, we have to understand the real causes, costs, and consequences of importing 12.9 million barrels of oil per day, which make up nearly 60 percent of U.S. oil consumption at a total direct cost of roughly $300 billion per year.

The Progressives and the Virtue of the Small

Dr. J. chats with Phllip Longman co-author of The Next Progressive Era: A Blueprint for Broad Prosperity, and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation. They discuss the need for progressive policies to break up the concentrations of industrial and financial capital, and to support small, local banks and businesses. They also discuss the proposal for all American youth to receive “stakeholder accounts” as proposed by Thomas Paine. Then a short essay by Robert Reich, and a piece from Marcelo Rinesi on “Peak Oil and Climate Change.”

French Power Prices to Rise 3.4%, Government Ministers Say

(Bloomberg) -- French electricity prices will be raised 3.4 percent, Finance Minister Christine Lagarde and Energy Minister Jean-Louis Borloo said in a joint statement.

Prices will rise 3 percent for households and between 4 percent and 5.5 percent for companies, they said in an e-mailed statement. The increases will be effective Aug. 15, they said.

China Working Toward Green Energy Solutions

The huge turbines at the Guanting Wind Farm are popular backdrops for photos of newly married couples who find the 60-meter-tall structures a symbol of modernity; an endearing addition to the distant mountains, corn fields and lake a few dozen kilometers outside bustling Beijing.

The hum of the spinning blades is the sound of China going green as it seeks to address the growing energy demands of its rapidly modernizing consumer society and fast-paced industrialization.

States turn to tolls to fund roads

Toll roads are increasingly emerging as the go-to strategy for states and metro areas eager to build and maintain expressways amid a recession that has battered government budgets.

"There's more interest in tolling today than there has been" in more than three decades, says Jack Finn, national director of toll services with the Kansas City-based consulting firm HNTB.

A traditional main source of road funding — gasoline taxes — has eroded as motorists drive fewer miles and more fuel efficient vehicles. The Obama administration opposes increasing the 18.4-cent-per-gallon federal share of the gas tax. It has been at that level since 1993. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says that public-private partnerships and tolling are additional ways to support transportation projects.

July sales gains at automakers GM, Ford

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- General Motors and Ford Motor reported improved U.S. sales in July, kicking off what is expected to be one of the best months for industrywide sales over the last two years.

Tesla Subsidy Vanishing Amid Electric Vehicle Boom

Twenty years ago the California Air Resources Board established the zero emissions vehicle mandate requiring the largest automakers to build and sell electric vehicles. Twelve states adopted the same aggressive targets, creating what remains the strongest regulatory force driving the development of battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

With General Motors and Nissan delivering EVs by year’s end and Toyota, Honda and Volkswagen, among others, promising them within a few years, it looks like manufacturers will have no trouble meeting what they once considered an onerous requirement. This can only be considered a success for CARB because its goal of electrifying the fleet is being achieved.

But it has negative implications for electric vehicle startups — particularly Tesla Motors — who depend upon selling zero emission vehicle credits to subsidize their bottom lines.

GM makes a move into electric trucks

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- As it prepares to begin sales of the Chevrolet Volt electric car later this year, General Motors is spreading out into electric delivery vans with an investment in Indiana-based Bright Automotive.

Builders try to prove green homes can be affordable

Can green homes really be affordable? To stand out in a still sluggish housing market, more builders are beginning to offer average-priced, ultra-efficient homes.

'The Colony' envisions the worst-case scenario

(CNN) -- Could you survive a global catastrophe that wiped out most of humanity?

That's the premise of "The Colony," a reality show on the Discovery Channel that drops seven strangers in a deserted area for 50 days where they are left to fend for themselves without food, running water, electricity and assistance from the outside world.

But before you dismiss it as a "Survivor" copycat, know that the contestants are not competing for any money, nor attempting to dodge being "voted off." They are willing participants in an experiment meant to simulate a real post-calamity society.

America’s delusions of energy independence

The public is on the “energy independence” bandwagon. The “Drill Baby Drill” crowd likes the idea that if we only open every conceivable acre of U.S. territory to oil drilling, the U.S. will be energy independent. The environmental crowd likes the idea that wind and solar can replace oil, natural gas and coal to power everything in the United States, including our extensive transportation system. I personally think both positions are delusional.

The problem I see with our current situation is that the vast majority of people, including pretty well all politicians and the media, don’t understand why oil is so valuable and why it is not easily replaceable.A major aspect of oil that makes it such a great energy source is that the Energy Profit Ratio for oil can be extremely high, particularly for the large fields we have historically relied upon; fields such as Ghawar, Prudhoe Bay, the Black Giant, Cantarell, Burgan, Ekofisk, Samotlor and many others.

Pakistan's largest city descends into deadly chaos after assassination

KARACHI, Pakistan — At least 45 people were killed overnight in Pakistan's commercial hub of Karachi after a member of the dominant political party in the city was shot dead, police said on Tuesday.

Dozens of vehicles and shops were set on fire as security forces struggled to gain control of the city. Karachi residents stayed off the streets Tuesday in anticipation of more violence.

The latest unrest came after Raza Haider, a provincial lawmaker, was shot dead along with his bodyguard in a mosque in the Nazimabad area of the city while attending a funeral on Monday.

Is the Middle East on the Brink of a Big New War?

Tuesday's cross-border firefight between Israeli and Lebanese government forces might simply have been a misunderstanding. And the rockets fired from Gaza and the Israeli air strikes on the besieged territory over the past week could be viewed as periodic blip in business as usual on that front. By the same token, last Friday's unprecedented joint visit to Beirut by the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Syria could be viewed simply as a move to stop the conflict between their Lebanese proxies turning nasty. And British Prime Minister David Cameron's pleas to Turkey to keep open its communication channels with Israel's leaders are quotidian diplomatic common sense. Viewed in a wider context, however, each of those events could be taken as signs of why many in the Middle East believe that despite the outward calm, the region may be on the brink of another catastrophic war.

Argentina Has Colder Winter Than Antartica, Spurring Record Power Imports

Argentina is importing record amounts of energy as the coldest winter in 40 years drives up demand and causes natural-gas shortages, prompting Dow Chemical Co. and steelmaker Siderar SAIC to scale back production.

Electricity supplied from Brazil and Paraguay rose to a daily combined record of about 1,000 megawatts on July 12, while consumption peaked at 20,396 megawatts three days later, according to Buenos Aires-based energy broker Cammesa. Shipments of liquefied natural gas are set to double this year.

Analysis: Shale Gas to Help Meet Chinese Future Energy Demand

Wood Mackenzie reported that unconventional gas, particularly shale, will increase significantly to help meet China's strong gas demand growth.

In its recent study, Race for Supply – the Future of China's Gas Market, domestic unconventional production will account for over a quarter of total gas supply by 2030. However, unconventional gas resources will take a significant time to develop and therefore meeting its gas demand will require China to import significant additional volumes of liquefied natural gas and piped gas, particularly up to 2020.

FACTBOX - China's refinery expansion plans

BEIJING (Reuters) - PetroChina (0857.HK: Quote) has started to expand its Hohhot refinery in northern Inner Mongolia that would more than triple the plant's refining capacity to 100,000 barrels per day.

China will likely add some 3 million bpd of new refining capacity between 2010 and 2015, industry officials and Chinese media have said, in a new refinery building boom to fuel its robust economic growth.

Saudi Aramco to Cut Prices of Crude Oil to Asia as Refiners' Profits Slump

Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world’s biggest crude exporter, may cut the official selling price of all of its September-loading crudes to Asia as processing profits for refiners have declined.

Mexico produced 2.573 mln bpd oil in July

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican oil production rose in July to 2.573 million barrels per day, up from 2.546 million bpd in June, according to a preliminary estimate released by state oil monopoly Pemex on Monday.

Pemex said the bulk of the increase was due to higher output at the Ku Maloob Zaap heavy oil project, which pumped 833,000 bpd in July, up from 810,000 bpd in June.

Chesapeake Changes Mix to More Liquids, Less Gas

Chesapeake Energy has accelerated its efforts towards a more liquids-rich asset base in recognition of the "significant and persistent" value gap that has developed between natural gas and oil prices, the company reported in an operational update released August 2.

The company has redirected a significant portion of its technological, geoscientific, leasehold acquisition and drilling expertise to identifying, securing and commercializing unconventional liquids-rich plays.

'America's Bubba': Is Nungesser an oil folk hero or an opportunist?

More than 100 days into this historic catastrophe, few officials or institutions have escaped Nungesser's unholstered, often heart-stopping rants. As a result, the 51-year-old Republican who made millions building offshore housing for oil rig workers has become point man for the region's uncapped rage and frustration.

For Clean Power and Not-So, New Midwest Lines

A major Midwest utility, Ameren, said Monday that it had created a new subsidiary to build transmission lines in Missouri and Illinois that will bring more wind power onto the grid – not to mention coal power, from clean to conventional.

Manila nuclear plant is slowly dying

MANILA // On a windswept bluff overlooking the South China Sea, the Bataan nuclear power station stands as a reminder to the UAE and other nations of the Middle East as they pursue similar solutions to their own energy needs.

The plant, which was completed in 1984 at a cost of US$2.3 billion (Dh8.44bn), has never produced a kilowatt of electricity.

Groups Seek Ban on Lead in Sporting Ammunition

Lead, for centuries the core ingredient of ammunition, is now coming under attack itself.

As the American military begins to embrace “green bullets,” environmental groups are pushing state and federal officials to ban the use of lead in hunters’ guns and fishermen’s tackle.

Their goal is to protect both the animals that scavenge the carcasses of hunted prey and the people who consume meat from hunting expeditions.

Predictions of Coal, CO2 Production Flawed, Says Latest Research

AUSTIN, Texas — The CO2 emission estimates used for government policy decisions assume unlimited coal and fossil fuel production for the next 100 years, an unrealistic premise which skews climate change models and proposed solutions, according to new research published by Tad Patzek, chair of the Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Austin.

Based on widely accepted studies predicting coal production will peak and decline after 2011, Patzek warns climate change predictions should be revised to account for this inevitable peak and decline. His research appears in the internationally peer-reviewed journal, Energy, The International Journal.

"Governments worldwide are basing their policy decisions on the uninterrupted increase of coal and oil production worldwide," says Patzek. "These policy decisions will be inherently in error, and will lead to expensive and false technological solutions."

Oil Rises to Three-Month High Before U.S. Supply Data Amid Weaker Dollar

Oil rose to a three-month high in New York as the dollar weakened and analysts forecast that crude inventories declined last week in the U.S.

Crude-oil supplies probably fell by 1.5 million barrels last week, a Bloomberg News survey showed before an Energy Department report tomorrow. Futures earlier breached $82 a barrel for the first time since May as European equities pared losses after an index from the Institute for Supply Management yesterday showed that U.S. manufacturing slowed less than analysts forecast in June.

Kuwait says satisfied with oil at $75-85 a barrel

Kuwait is satisfied with oil prices between $75 and $85 a barrel and doesn’t expect OPEC to lower production quotas, the nation’s oil minister said.

“We are satisfied with the range of $75 to $85,” Sheikh Ahmad Al Abdullah Al Sabah said in Moscow on Tuesday. “We don’t anticipate any cuts but we do encourage other OPEC countries to be more compliant.”

China's Oil Demand May Continue to Slow in Third Quarter as Economy Cools

China’s crude oil demand growth may continue to slow in the third quarter as a cooling economy cuts requirements for fuel including diesel, according to data from the country’s largest oil company.

Coal Imports May Drop in China on Less Growth, More Hydro

China, the world’s largest energy consumer, may reduce monthly coal imports to the lowest level in more than a year in the second half as the economy cools.

China Diesel Demand Falls After Heavy Rains, Floods, Cutting Sinopec Sales

China’s diesel demand has fallen because of heavy rains and flooding, cutting sales of China National Petroleum Corp. and China Petrochemical Corp.

Tropical Storm Colin Forms as Winds Reach 40 Miles per Hour, Center Says

Tropical storm Colin, approaching the southeastern Caribbean Sea from the Atlantic, was upgraded from a tropical depression, the National Hurricane Center said today.

BP gears up for 'static kill' operation

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AFP) – BP will attempt to mount a "static kill" operation Tuesday to finally plug the worst spill in oil industry history, freeing it to concentrate on the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Engineers must first conduct a "injectivity" test that was delayed Monday but they hoped to begin pumping heavy drilling fuel, known in the trade as "mud," into the well as early as Tuesday to permanently shut the giant gusher.

BP faces insider dealing probe as nears well kill

WASHINGTON/HOUSTON (Reuters) – BP faces an investigation into whether its employees profited illegally from the Gulf of Mexico spill, as the oil giant prepared on Tuesday to kill the blown-out well for good.

U.S. securities regulators are investigating potential insider trading in shares of BP, including by BP employees, two sources familiar with the probe told Reuters.

BP oil well gushed 4.9 million barrels: US

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US government on Monday said BP's ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico gushed an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil, making it the largest accidental oil spill of all time.

"Overall, the scientific teams estimate that approximately 4.9 million barrels of oil have been released from the well," the joint response command that includes BP and the US government said in a statement describing the new estimate.

Kuwait Raising Stake in BP Depends on Market Conditions, Oil Minister Says

Kuwait is satisfied with its stake in BP Plc and may increase its holding if market conditions are favorable, the Persian Gulf nation’s oil minister said.

“We already have a stake there,” Sheikh Ahmad al-Abdullah al-Sabah told reporters in Moscow today. “If Kuwait investment authorities see that there are more attractive opportunities, I am sure they will take them depending on the situation in the market.”

Tests show BP dispersant no worse than the others

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Dispersants mixed with crude are no more toxic to marine life than oil alone and the type of dispersant used by BP in the Gulf of Mexico is no worse than the alternatives, a study showed Monday.

Biologist Using Noah's Ark Idea To Save Sealife

PANACEA, Fla. -- On the chance that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill threatens some sea creatures with extinction, naturalist Jack Rudloe hopes his laboratory can save them.

Rudloe has launched Operation Noah's Ark, using his four-acre facility an hour south of Tallahassee to preserve more than 350 different specimens - everything from sharks to starfish, shrimp and batfish - in an environment that includes a grassland and duplicates high and low tides. And he's not doing it two-by-two. The fiddler crabs, for instance, number around 50,000.

NJ senators vow to reschedule BP-Lockerbie hearing

NEWARK, N.J. – New Jersey's U.S. senators said Monday they'll continue their investigation into what role BP PLC may have played in the release of convicted Pan Am 103 bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi last year, and will consider issuing a subpoena to BP CEO Tony Hayward.

Investors See Petrobras Peril of Ignoring BP Oil Drilling Spill

Lucia Rodriguez Ilaria figured it would be easy to get a big crowd together in Brazil’s largest city to demonstrate against BP Plc, the company responsible for the largest oil spill in U.S. history. The June 12 event in Sao Paulo was part of Worldwide Protest BP Day, an event organized in 52 cities across five continents that aimed to start a boycott of BP products. About 350,000 people signed on for the protest on Facebook.

In Sao Paulo, eight people showed up for the rally at Ibirapuera Park, Bloomberg Markets reports in its September issue.

Speakers at Bayonne public hearing voice concerns over natural gas pipeline

Speakers yesterday told federal regulators they do not want a proposed natural gas pipeline that Spectra Energy wants to run through Bayonne's Bergen Point anywhere near the residential neighborhood, as reported in today’s editions of The Jersey Journal.

Electric Vehicles Top Clean-Energy Venture Capital, Better Place LLC Says

Better Place LLC, which makes charging stations for electric vehicles, led a 64 percent jump in venture capital investments in the clean technology sector during the second quarter, according to Ernst & Young LLP.

Venture capital firms invested $1.5 billion in clean technology companies in 65 financing rounds, the highest level of private funding since the third quarter of 2008, according to Ernst & Young analysis.

Gov't Motors' Electric Edsel

The administration's electric car represents both the genius of American technology and the stupidity of its government. Imagine Rube Goldberg with $50 billion. Buy now and get a free 40-mile-long extension cord.

Bioenergy From Wood Capable of Substituting for a Fifth of German Oil Use

Energy from wood, corn and plants has the potential to replace as much as a fifth of Germany’s oil consumption within a decade, according to a study by a renewable energy lobby group.

Why do we worship at the altar of technology?

If there is one true religion in the US, it leads us to worship at the altar of technology. Christian or Jew, Muslim or atheist, we accept the doctrine of this shared faith: that technology provides the main path to improving our lives and that if it occasionally fails, even catastrophically, it will just take another technology to make it all better.

Australian election campaign hungry for food security

Simmering concerns in Australia about food security have prompted the governing Labor Party to add a national food policy to its list of election promises. Experts say it's an area of emerging concern for Australia and the opposition Liberal Party has already promised a food security minister at cabinet level if it wins this month's general election. As a food exporting nation - but also an attractive destination for food related investment - Australia faces important decisions about food security.

Farmers outline food plan priorities

Biosecurity, research and development and water are the top issues Labor needs to address in its promised national food plan, the National Farmers Federation (NFF) says.

Welcome to the Interboom

According to Pombriant, the three most pressing issues to test our economy in the coming years are:

1. the end of high technology as a driving force in the economy;
2. the aging of the Baby Boomer generation; and
3. the Peak Oil milestone.

Developed nations should not shift responsibility for climate change: Chinese envoy

Huang Huikang, who took over Yu Qingtai as special representative for climate change negotiations of China's Foreign Ministry, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview that developed nations should stop shifting focus from their promises and pledges on climate change.

"In the past 200 years, developed countries have caused a large accumulation of carbon dioxide due to their mode of production and way of life -- the historical responsibility is quite clear in this regard," he said.

Climate Loopholes May Wipe Out Greenhouse Gas Cuts, Island Nations Say

Loopholes in the Kyoto Protocol climate treaty risk wiping out emissions reduction pledges made by developed nations for 2020, an alliance of island nations said at United Nations global warming talks in Bonn.

The pact’s rules mean current pledges by developed nations to reduce greenhouse gases by 12 percent to 18 percent by 2020 could end up leading to cuts amounting to just 1 percent to 7 percent from 1990 levels, Al Binger, a delegate from Grenada, told envoys. That may wipe out the treaty’s goal of a 5 percent cut in its first commitment period, which runs from 2008 through 2012.

Climate-proof 'cool refuges' needed

Cities may need "cool refuges" as climate change brings heat waves and the risk of mass casualties, engineers warn.

They've raised the prospect of vulnerable people - including the elderly and the sick - heading into air-conditioned shopping malls to survive, possibly at night.

Warming Is Real. Now What? (review of The Climate War and Weather of the Future)

Even as Democrats abandoned efforts late last month to advance a major climate change bill through the Senate, books about global warming continue to pour forth. Two of the more interesting ones do not waste time rearguing debates over the science (in 2007 a United Nations panel, synthesizing the work of hundreds of climatologists from around the world, called evidence for global warming “unequivocal”), but instead take as a starting point the clear and present dangers posed by the greenhouse gases produced by burning fossil fuels.

Russia burns and crops fail as global warming’s 35th 'birthday' approaches

Today, the news got even worse. A significant portion of the Russian wheat crop is now considered to be in jeopardy, causing the most dramatic rise in wheat prices in more than 50 years, according to the Wall Street Journal. The specter of wheat shortages in the months to come is now stalking the markets.

According to other reports, the drought and heat have decimated the wheat crop in a belt stretching all the way from Romania to Siberia.

And now there are fears that next year’s crop is at risk too. The winter wheat sowing season in that part of the world begins at the end of August. But right now, the soil is bone dry, so without rain soon, farmers won’t be able to sow their seed.

Will Russia's Heat Wave End Its Global-Warming Doubts?

At a meeting of international sporting officials in Moscow on July 30, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev announced that in 14 regions of the country, "practically everything is burning. The weather is anomalously hot." Then, as TV cameras zoomed in on the perspiration shining on his forehead, Medvedev announced, "What's happening with the planet's climate right now needs to be a wake-up call to all of us, meaning all heads of state, all heads of social organizations, in order to take a more energetic approach to countering the global changes to the climate."

For Medvedev, such sentiments mark a striking about-face. Only last year, he announced that Russia, the world's third largest polluter after China and the U.S., would be spewing 30% more planet-warming gases into the atmosphere by 2020. "We will not cut our development potential," he said during the summer of 2009 (an unusually mild one), just a few months before attending the Copenhagen climate summit, which in December failed to reach a substantial agreement on how to limit carbon emissions.

I hope Ted Patzek is right about peak coal. This is about the only potentially good news I have heard in a very long time. God knows nothing will be done otherwise. And I see Russia is waking up about global warming. If only Oklahoma could do the same.

This is the same case (peak fossil fuels) that Kjell Aleklett from ASPO international has been making for some time now....thereby reducing CO2 buildup from what is show in the IPCC reports.

You mean global cooling don't you?

Oklahoma is just cooling their heels for now.. but soon, the Heel-cooling will be supplanted with a proper Keel-Hauling, and the Layers and Lawyers of Denial will be properly skinned from the carcass.

I don't know if it's the weather or the climate, but Maine has been absolutely lovely this summer. Calm before the storm, no doubt.

Oklahomans are Climate Change aware, save two Senators. We are also miles ahead on water planning and peak oil awareness. Finally got a demand side management plan in last year, not as good as I would have liked, but it is far better than many states have.

As President of the Oklahoma Sustainability Network, an org with 11 Chapters across the State, I know a lot of the people who are working on many programs - Transition Town in OKC, a statewide energy building codes revision program, local foods and farmers markets to supplement a really good state-wide food cooperative are examples of our hard work.

The voters have elected the two Senators based on massive dis-information campaigns and Bible belt politics - but we did provide the impetus for the drastic weakening of the Christian Coalition several years ago. Most of the state's regulation is done through a virtually non-partisan structure, and hope for a continuing functional State government no matter who gets elected Governor.

I fully understand the slur, but it is really not deserved.

Being Sooner born and Sooner bred, I stick by my original slur. Elect some sane Senators and the reputation might begin to turn around. Just because it has a Sustainability Network does not contradict the general sentiment.

Sorry, Woodychuck;
Didn't mean that as a slam on the whole population. Just being cute.. butOK does sure have some noisemakers that need to get countered by some of you on the other side.

Good luck with your groups. Get Noisy!


I have just read the paper. What bother me is that his prediction is for a global peak in 2011, with a rapid drop after that. Also, this date is almost the same for various region. For me this is an artifact of the logistic curve fitting they used. I have played with logistic curve fitting in others context. In absence of other constrain, the predicted peak is almost always now. Only when the peak is already passed, you can make a claim about the peak date.

Anyway, it is argue than safe CO2 level is 350 ppm and 450 ppm is a limit not to pass. We have already passed this mark. Today, we are very close to 390 ppm growing roughtly at 2ppm/yr. The window is closing fast.

Yes, we must continue to try and mitigate CO2 production in any event.

Current Co2 - 392.04


450 is a slam dunk! Possibly already baked in the cake.

and current levels have already triggered...

"Methane levels in the Arctic have been rising every year for 4 years now, currently at 1850 ppb, a level scientists described as being higher than at any time in the previous 400,000 years."


So hurry out and get your PV pannels, Hybrid EV, plant a garden, and kiss your A$$ good by.

Patzek calculated the EROI of ethanol wrong and he's doing his phoney prophet shtick again.

But let's assume the PO CC skeptics are correct in their estimates.

There are currently 3000 Gt CO2 in the atmosphere with a level of 392 ppm.
Since 1800 when there was 2000 Gt of CO2 in the atmosphere we've added a net of 1000 Gt of CO2.

If we take the Peak Oil FF estimates we come up with;
450 Gt coal(a 75 year supply at current rates) x 2tCO2 per ton=900 Gt CO2
1000 Gb of crude(a 37 year supply at current rates) x .37tCO2/t=370 GtCO2
6600 Tcf of natural gas(a 63 year supply) x .053tCO2/1000cf=350 GtCO2

We will put 1.6 times as much CO2 into the atmosphere in the next 75 years
as we have in the last 200 years of industrial civilization.

Total=1620 Gt CO2 additional within the next 75 years leaving 4620GtCO2 in the atmosphere or 647 ppm; 280 ppm x (2000+1000+1620)/2000

At this level of CO2 the IPCC simulation average gives a year 2100 temperature rise of 2.3 degrees C(4 deg F) over 1990 and a final equalibrium temperature of 4.1 degrees C(7.5 degF) over 1990 in a a couple of centuries(who cares!).

I cannot think that such a simple analysis could not occur to Rutledge and Aleklett, which raises the question 'why are they raising the FALSE notion that we will escape GW because we will run out of fuel?'.

It is fairly obvious to me that our massive world population based on productive temperate zone agriculture cannot survive 4-7.5 degrees hotter ON AVERAGE than we have now.

After the polar ice caps go the next zone most effected will be the temperate zones which rely on a wide flucation of annual temperatures.

Can we please stop this pointless messing about and get down to the hard work of reducing CO2 emissions and increasing energy from renewables?

Part of this project will clearly be to let people like Eeyore keep babbling about it being impossible, and not let it hold the work back or let it get to those of us who want to try doing what we can.

Of course, that egregious pessimism does get to me, not for it's great 'truthiness' or self-described rationalism.. just that it's so mired in self-satisfied hopelessness that it infects anyone in the conversation that is trying to keep their own spirits from sinking into the same doldrums. It's a favorite conceit of pessimists that they think they can conflate their doomy predictions with 'realism', because clearly, doomy things have happened in the past. Any of the good stuff was of course just a fluke and should be dismissed.. and the future will no doubt prove this once and for all..

You got it all wrong jok

Its all of the folks throwing up "solutions" such as I listed above, as the best reaction to what is happening. This has the net effect of allowing 99 percent of the population dismiss the problems and the need to do something.

People like you have given up on trying to effect any REAL change. And worse you dismiss anyone who understands those paltry efforts fall WAY short and instead advocate a revolutionary level change.

You go ahead and discuss the details of you cobbled together solar nose picker.

Personally I am going to stick with getting angry and speaking out at every opportunuty and telling people "NO its not alright. we can't all just plant a garden and buy a prius.

Go for it, EE. In a really furious and righteous tone, would you tell me..

What is your revolutionary change?, or is that demand merely your rhetorical device to say we have to make a thousand mile journey in one, big leap (or else just do nothing, and Kiss our Butts Adieu), and those people who are making their first, long-overdue steps in the same direction are wrong, because they're not even there yet.

I have never said that getting the PV, planting the garden or having an EV was "Enough".. that's just what your furious crowd always puts onto it, so you can prattle on about how inadequate it will be, and how anyone who has made those steps will simply stop there and think everything is fine.. and their neighbors will have magically concluded that the whole town is secure, since they know Two neighbors with a little bit of solar.

I don't see people who are stopping, or who are dumb enough to draw that conclusion.. while I do see a lot of people who don't know much about energy issues at all. And Yes, I do see people who are happy they've made a few steps, and I have to suspect that this enthusiasm and encouragement that they show must be what makes you think they're 'done', they've paid their dues and they think they can stop. They aren't stopping, Eeyore. They're looking for the next things to do. They are reducing consumption, they are building community groups, going to city planning meetings to get Bikes designed into the Traffic systems, they're working on solid waste, on food supplies at several levels. This complacency you accuse is not something that applies to the people I know and hear from.

It's a magical 'What if!?'.. "What if they get blinded by the overwhelming majesty of that 17amps that their array is taking in, and forget that there are still problems out there to be solved, HUGE ones?? Oh, no!!" Heaven forbid they take a little satisfaction in having gotten started.. that's just as bad as going right back to sleep in their Big Blue Suburban Heaven. not.

Is dancing still illegal where you live?

Obviously we have enormous changes to make on countless fronts.. it doesn't mean we should ignore useful tools that will help us in one corner, just because they won't take care of every corner.

WoW Jok - You can really sell that hopium. Your little "silver bullets" approach is criminally negligent in that it involves at the best case 1% of the population (more like 0.5% in reality, and less than 1/10a% globally). What about the other 99%? (99.9% globally) Oh I guess they don't matter. I suppose you still think we will go all CUBA when TSHTF? Even though that scenario has been widely de-bunked.

Me. I am 100% convinced that your hopium will lead us to the WORST possible outcome. You will be massively overwhelmed, but hey, keep your dream alive.

There is one hope and one hope only and that is if everyong gets mad enough to demand an end to BAU and DEMAND an equitable power down.

If this does not happen then your efforts, and those of survivalist like Todd and others amounts to squat. Watch "The Road" to understand what I mean.

For the rest of you out there who are reading TOD for information because you are scared, concerned and confused...PLEASE do not think that ANY tech, or any combination of tech will make it OK. GET MAD....GET ANGRY... DEMAND CHANGE...and I am not talking about OBAMA kind of change.

No more movies for you, EE.

Basing your predictions on 'The Road' is like the Senate Republicans bringing Crichton in with his 'State of Fear' to defuse any silly concerns about Climate Change.

But ok, you did say 'Controlled Powerdown'.. you at least stuck your neck out that far. Is there a first step, or would that possibly require tools.. like Bikes or Wheelbarrows or a new pair of Boots? That's when you start getting dangerously close to advocating for ANY sort of manufacturing or business and consumer activity. Uh oh, that's BAU! I'm too MAD to allow any such treachery!

No. You don't want to talk about the details of getting there, because that might start looking like some kind of a plan that a more committed doomer could then ridicule in their dark and confident wisdom, and make YOU look like another foolish 'Hopium Addict'. It's just a safe and angry Cop-Out.

.. only a half of one percent can plant gardens, get some solar heating or cooking, make use of windpower, insulate their houses, find electric or hybrid transportation options, move closer to work, take the train/bus, get some bikes ( I do mention bikes regularly, no? Do they get to have shiny parts, or should they all be rusty and rattly?)

.. "I say lots of BB's; you say Silver Bullets - I say tomatoes, you say torpedoes - let's call the whole thing off! "

Ok, back to your movie.. you're clearly not happy unless you're miserable.

While reading your exchange, I couldn't help but remember when Al Gore says that many go straight from Denial to Dispair without bothering to take the intermediate step of doing something.

The two books next to me are "The Long Descent" and "The Long Emergency". It takes time to transition to whereever we are going and it's going to happen in steps, kind of like you said. I recall on this very site two years ago the discussion was cashing in IRAs for gold because of the impending bank holiday where one out of every 10 pieces of currency were going to be voided. While it may happen, I'm guessing not tonight.

Take me for instance. I spent my 20s and 30s in a Suburban with a Sea Ray almost permanently attached to it. In my 40s I drove a Prius. I have a big ass Diesel Motorhome that I fill up at the first pump and have to stop for fuel by the second pump, but I'm transitioning to a Sprinter which gets 23 mpg (Hardly a miracle I know, but my daughter is in a wheelchair and the van has a lift). I had a Harley, now I have an electric bike. I have a grid tie array on my roof and a DC only array over the patio. I ate MacDonalds, now I eat the zuchinni from my back yard and organic veggies from the farmers market which I walk to.

I've been a member here for 3+ years and I've made much progress. I have much to do going forward.

I was angry for a while. I believe you will find, if you haven't already, that those who are most angry are those who are just finding out the bad news. Whether they stuck in depression or acceptance is entirely up to themselves. Kunstler is obviously angry and depressed, while Greer is firmly in the acceptance camp. They both say essentially the same thing.

I hope everyone can find a way to enjoy tomorrow.

Jokuhl, eeyore-

If you guys can stop chest-beating, screeching and throwing leaves at each other for a minute, get this:

I think you're both right.

Your positions are not necessarily mutually exclusive. I think it's important for every person who can, do whatever they can- they will be the most likely source of the one or two billion who survive, and who wouldn't want to be in the success/survive group? I also think that what individuals can do can't possibly make enough of a difference to stop the other five or six billion from dying, and in the absence of massive change the period of flux will be deeply ugly and large areas will become uninhabitable. See? There is no reason why both propositions can't be true. Each of you should work for the part that motivates you the most, because both are important.

Now kiss and make up.

Hi Johkul,

I gotta agree with you in regard to staying engaged and doing the practical things within our power.

So far as I can see there is ZERO chance of any sort of draconian power down scheme ever being implemented,until after it is forced on us by utter necessity.

Anyway, examples speak louder than words.

I am well into the construction of a solar domestic hot water system and contemplating a few (possibly ) innovative substitutions of salvaged materials into the job.

There will be one pressurized (by the well pump or by gravity if/when we use the backup water supply)loop of copper pipe in the hot water reservoir that will absorb the heat and deliver hot water to the kitchen and bath.

I am contemplating using as many as half a dozen automobile radiators ,painted black and connected in series inside my collector box, which has ample room for them , being almost 4'x8'x 16" in the actual under glass inside dimensions.I would like to use a single radiator as the heat exchanger in the reservoir, as one should be ample,considering it will be submerged in water.

This will save a substantial amount of money as I can get the radiators, which are constructed of aluminum and plastic, for five to ten dollars each.I can put antifreeze in the hot loop,consisting of the radiators, hot loop tubing,and circulator pump and will not have to consider draining the system in extreme weather.The pressure should not normally exceed a pound or two in this loop, and I can run a vent from a two pound pressure release cap to the outside of the collector box.

The layout of the system is such that even if both the pressurized domestic supply loop leaks, and the collector loop leaks, no antifreeze can get into the domestic water, since siphoning is not possible;the reservoir tank is located at a level well below all the faucets, and the entire domestic system has vacuum breakers already installed.(Vacuum breakers are required by some codes nowadays and are a very good idea on a farm where garden hoses may be put to such uses as filling chemical tank or washing down a truck used to haul manure.)

It occurs to me that if I had a sufficiently large collector and storage tank-one large enough to supply space heat- that an automotive radiator could serve very well as a space heating radiator inside the house, if it were fitted into an attractive cabinet or a wall cavity and a small electric fan used to push the air thru it.

As to the price of radiators-if you ask for a specific one, they sell for fifty bucks and up;but most older wrecked cars are crushed with the radiators still in them, and a small time one horse auto wrecker will take some out for you, or allow you to remove them yourself, for very little.

I believe this system will save us about 200 kilowatt hours per month year in and year out and that it will last more or less indefinitely with some occasional maintainence.I will have less than eight hundred dollars cash invested in it, and between sixty and eighty hours of unpaid personal labor .

Any comment from anyone with real expertise in the field is most welcome.

I really hope you let us know when it's up and running, and show a picture or two.

One of the reasons I like these small homebuilt collectors, (or 'Solar Nosehair Clippers', as they're sometimes called) which can be either really simple, or as much more complicated as you can stand it; is that the effort is applied by the homeowners themselves, which means the potential labor pool is enormous.. they will sadly only be incentivized in real numbers when there are really hardcore problems around to hit them on the head with the need for it.. but still, with the volumes of scrap material that can work for many simple solar heat, small hydro and wind setups.. and with the numbers of people who currently put their 'home crafting skills' to use making Plaster Figurines, R2D2 replicas, Modded out Vintage Cars or Carpeted, Home-Theater ManCaves.. there is potential for this to add up significantly.

You might browse around www.builditsolar.com for some comparisons to the wild array of homebuilts that people have submitted there. Could offer some thoughts you haven't had yet, while it sounds like you've got a pretty good plan started up. I've got a few larger radiators, and have considered using one with concentrating Mirrors in a similar fashion to your idea.. but my other proposal for one of these is to mount it in a Shaded Exterior Space near the kitchen, and plumb some Propylene Glycol (The 'foodsafe' variant on Ethylene Glycol) into a tank in the fridge, so I can capture some winter 'coolth' with it.

Lots of things we can be doing. Lots of surplus material and available plans to be doing them with.. and Lots of people around who are sharing their ideas freely. And just like voting or paying down a mortgage, the activities of a given week sure seem ineffectual.. but you have to remember the 'Additive Function', as a stubborn and gradual challenge against the 'Exponential Function'..


Thanks for the link, i might never have found it myself.

Indeed there are millions of professional mechanics and adequately skilled hobbyists out there, and we can make a huge difference.

Sometimes all it takes to get a ball game going is to get a couple of guys together to toss the ball around.

Everybody who has been to our house has expressed great interest in this project,and I expect that it will lead directly to the construction of at least three or four more systems within the next year, as we know plenty of people capable of building thier own who are also worried about running short of money later on.

Being the self sufficient sort, they will not even consider the labor involved, as it will be unpaid.

And they are sick of constantly rising electric bills and 2 percent interest on thier savings.

This is even without taking CH4 release from melting permafrost and the east Siberian shelf. Instead of engaging in these idiotic debates action has to be taken now. It is incredible how much resistance there is to dealing with peak oil and climate change. As if we have a choice.

It is incredible how much resistance there is to dealing with peak oil and climate change.

Yes, amazing. How many ways must the subject matter be dissected and regergitatated in an ongoing form of illogical dry heaves, before we can all settle on a unified effort to actually do something concrete. There are lag times with GW, so even if a concerted effort occurs soon, there will be much more warming and climate effects to come. But at least it will give us all a sense of collective effort to join together to do something.

As far as peak oil goes, ditto.

So hurry out and get your PV pannels, Hybrid EV, plant a garden, and kiss your A$$ good by.

eeyores - You seem to be implying that extinction is "baked in the cake" or am I wrong? If that is true then buying "PV panels, hybrid EV or plant (ing) a garden" would be a waste of time. The more logical action would be to live as large as you can as long as you can. No?

Most long time regulars on TOD have already gone through the 5 stages of grief over this. But if you're still on the beginning stages here is a short primer:

1-Denial-"...this isn't happening, Peak Oil and Global Warming are myths." You can find lots of support for this postion so a lot of folks decide to stay here.

2-Anger-"Why don't those idiotic SUV drivers wake up?" Have you seen the new Lexus RX-400 Hybrid? It is impossible to drive it and remain angry about anything. "It has an automatic rotating but-plug with 3 discrete settings." Car and Driver

3-Bargaining- "Come on let's reform our societies!" see: 350.org and other popular delusions.

4-Depression- "Got suicidal thoughts?" Get out of this stage quick! Q: What's worse than suicide? A: A failed suicide; what a mess!

5-Acceptance- "The Party's Over!" Let's do what we can to adjust to the coming changes. Predicting what those changes might be is futile so don't try. If you know what's going to be here in 6 months you should be making a fortune on Wall Street with other like-minded genuises.

In the end it ain't worth getting your knickers in a twist over!


"So hurry out and get your PV pannels, Hybrid EV, plant a garden, and kiss your A$$ good by."

I am not sure that the order should not be reversed, just in case. I know the garden will help ahead of the Hybrid, on a personal level. And, if you plant and tend the garden ahead of the last component, you may have worked the intended target of the kiss off first.

By baked in the cake I mean that unless 5 or 6 billion people disappear off the face of the earth over the next 10 years or so then we will likely reach 450 just keeping them all alive until we burn everything that will burn.

I disagree. The earth is not some kind of fragile flower. Her systems are pretty resilient. We are going through an extinction event (Late Quaternary Extinction) but it takes a long time to completely break down the systems. We need to get to 850ppm before we need to start measuring up the loss to humans. Remember humans are generalists. We can adapt to almost anything. It will be a pretty barren planet by that point though.


... I see Russia is waking up about global warming. If only Oklahoma could do the same.

I think Oklahoma's sole pupose for existence may be to be a warning to others.

When the last 2 inches of their topsoil gets blown off in the next dust bowl, senators and congressman in Washington D.C. will once again be able to say "There goes Oklahoma" (Mentioned in Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression - Studs Turkel) Maybe then they will start acting like adults.

Many of the windbreaks are still there, reducing the likelihood that will happen. Sadly, many have been destroyed or neglected, but that beautiful growth is what restored the area. If you have not seen them, then you should before you comment on the dust bowl again. And, Eastern Oklahoma, a/k/a Green Country, was not destroyed by the drought. I have 80+ acres with many old growth trees still there. Of course, there was nothing to clear it for - the only thing which will grow on much of it, besides Black Jack Oaks, is rocks. And we occasionally have a bumper crop, not so much on my acreage, but across much of the area.

Actually, the human race will serve as a warning to others. Now how can I make a time capsule that will last 1 million years at least, so that the next sentient beings that discover it will heed my warning? All I have to do is include photos of our nutjob society with all the cars, people, pollution, greed and fighting. Should be enough to scare anyone from a different time.

I posted this detailed counterpoint to the Patzek paper a couple of days ago. In summary:

In my estimation it is possible for coal production and use to increase and stay at a high level for several more decades. It is also possible for production to decrease below current levels. Niether case is difficult to imagine but the outcome will be determined primarily by above ground economic/environmental concerns rather than by any geological limits. For this reason, any Hubbert analysis needs to be moderated by a look at the purely human factors involved.

I agree that Hubbert analysis is less likely to be relevant to coal production. The technologies and physical processes of extraction are so different. That said, I think the run up in China's coal production cannot be continued for many more years, and once they top out (and have problems importing latent demand from Australia or further afield due to limited infrastructure development) we are likely to see at least a hiatus in coal production worldwide. I think Gail's point is also correct, we have done so little preparation for peak oil, that the economic shock will prevent a transition to alternatives on any significant scale for decades to come. The global economy will implode with much of the coal still in the ground.

I have written to the editor to point that the statistical method us by the authors is fondamentaly flawed. You cant predict anything with an Hubbert curve unless you have already pass the peak. If they had produced error bars on there graph this would have been obvious.

It's true that you can't use the "Hubbert curve" by itself to make predictions. However, IF you can make a very educated guess as to the amount of recoverable resource that you are trying to extract, then I believe that it can give you a very close approximation.

Remember that Hubbert's original calculations took up 50 pages of calculus equations. Prof. Ken Deffeyes (who worked (and occasionally ate lunch) with Hubbert) did a very good job of simplifying those equations into something that the average layman with a high school education could understand.

Deffeye's first book on the subject gives a very good explanation on determining the size of the recoverable resource.

As the energy content of coal decreases, due to having mined all the good stuff already, does the CO2 generated per energy unit go up significantly?

I can imagine a few factors, such as increased transport costs, increased pollution controls and reduced efficiencies due to contaminants. It doesn't seem like that would add up to a lot, but it still be significant. Has anyone looked into it?

If only Oklahoma could do the same.

I've frequented Oklahoma to visit relatives just outside Oklahoma City. There's something very strange about that place. The weather is always changing and it's always extreme. Super heavy rain, followed by super hot days, followed by super windy days. I think climate change arrived in Oklahoma a million years ago, so folks there don't seem to understand why everyone, everywhere else are against suffering just as they do. Also noticed people seem like their in a funk. Maybe it's the weather.

Inhofe once said, "The weather here in Oklahoma is the same now as it was when I was a kid. Hasn't changed a bit." That was his reasoning for an argument against global warming. Ok, Senator!

Yeh, I guess the argument is just whether OK is more of a hell hole now than it was decades ago. I grew up there and will never go back if I can help it.

A lot more of us here than I would have guessed. I was raised on a farm there, and left in 1988 at the age of 21. Had never been on an airplane, nor to any state that didn't border Oklahoma. I was away for 15 years before going back to work for 2 years for Conoco in Ponca City. When I returned, I had reverse culture shock. So many things I had forgotten.

A large portion of my childhood friends are either dead or in prison. My senior English teacher once predicted that I would be in prison within 5 years of graduation. I might have been had I not gotten out, because I was surrounded by bad influences. But moving away allowed me to leave the past behind and reinvent myself.

what did you do to make the english teacher think you were going to prison ?

There was something about making unnatural requests of a Termite Colony in order to come up with a new combustible fuel..

He was the only kid in the class who could write: "This is a hold-up. Put all the money in the bag, or I will shoot you."

I was stationed at Ft. Sill in 1964-65 (Southwest OK). For a boy from Califonia the weather was staggering. I arrived there July 10th as I recall. It was 99 degF and 99% humidity. I couldn't breathe. Six months later I almost froze to death one afternoon as the temperature dropped something like 50 degrees in 30 minutes, from chilly to downright scary.

I went to Germany from there. It was practically Eden by comparison.

Please see my 2009 book BLACKOUT: COAL, CLIMATE AND THE LAST ENERGY CRISIS for a review of similar analyses of global coal, including discussions of supply forecasts for the U.S., China, India, Russia, and other nations. See also my essay "China's Coal Bubble...And How It Will Deflate U.S. Efforts to Develop 'Clean Coal'" (http://www.postcarbon.org/article/96251-china-s-coal-bubble-and-how-it-will)

Your article has many true facts in it is but its conclusion, that high coal prices will make coal CCS impossible, is not supported and just wrong.

Why don't you make the same argument vs. nuclear as many now are saying uranium will soon double in price to $100 per pound?

All the uranium in the world (at 443,000,000 MJ per ton) 5 million tons, is the energy equivalent of 2215 XJ versus 9000 XJ for 450 Gt of coal(Rutledge's calculation).

Or 6000 XJ of natural gas which is more than twice as pricey as coal?

Or oil at 5700 XJ of energy?

CCS coal requires ~30% more input(actually less) for the same output so it would still be the cheapest fuel. It's still cheaper than today's nuclear.

CCS is the fastest way to meet 2050 goals (except hydro-maxed out and offshore wind).


And China is not so different from the US. China has more CCS storage sites

You should be pushing for the conversion the America's huge 350 GW coal
power plant to CCS.

Instead you assure us that we will run out of coal before GW becomes a problem. Unbelievable!

What kind of weed are they smoking at the Post-Carbon Institute?
Were you sold to the Heartland Institute?

"Instead you assure us that we will run out of coal before GW becomes a problem. Unbelievable!"

You're right, it IS unbelievable, because that statement bears no resemblance to my views. Anyone who gets that conclusion out of what I have written is intentionally misreading.

We had an interesting discussion on Sunday's DB about people "clustering" when times get bad which lead to concern about the "hordes" moving out.

In any case there was an interesting article linked on Survivalblog that seems to be somewhat germane to this issue. CW2(civil war 2)

It talks about races. But it's not racist. What I found interesting was the idea that if you are going to "cluster", it makes a lot of sense to hang out with people similar to yourself and not to be an island.


Well, I'll hang with the middle distance runners.
FYI, got an e-mail..

In Mendocino County, two Grange chapters -in Willits and Anderson Valley- have been given new energy by diverse groups of people who are interested in building healthy, sustainable communities. I believe we can do the same in Laytonville.

If the above interests you, join others who feel likewise and attend the “SAVE THE GRANGE” MEETING on WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4, at 6:30. Please bring a potluck dish

Hi Mike,

Ya, I hope we can save the Grange here. What's interesting is that in the late 70's a bunch of us considered "taking over" the Laytonville Grange since it offered a non-profit "front" to do things for the community. Remember the Yellow House School?

See you next Tuesday. I've got a lot of articles you and Kent might be interested in.

Well, off to irrigate and pick stuff. I love growing but hate harvesting.


"Well, off to irrigate and pick stuff."

I hope people pick up on what Todd keeps saying. This is the 4th or 5th time in the last few weeks in which he says "I have to go pick..", etc. This life can be a full time job for months on end. Planting, irrigating, weeding, thinning fruit, picking, preserving... oh, and the occasional problems with water lines and pumps. Not to mention things like bringing in the firewood, etc. Then, if you have chickens, goats, rabbits, bees,... (I don't anymore, but did when I was married).
Also, things happen...I slept in the garden last night, cuz I have a deer getting over, under, around, or thru the fence. Need to get an electric fence charger this week. That went with the ex, too.


I have an old solar fence charger I'd be glad to give you. It would need a new battery. Let me know and I'll bring it when we meet.

FWIW, it didn't work for me. The problem seemed to be that the deer never made a ground when the soil was dry. But you're welcome to try it.

My answer would be to buy plastic deer fencing. 360' is under $200 and you can use T posts on 15' centers to hold it up. I used electric fence wire to attach it. That's what I did last year to replace some old graduated fencing the bears had crushed. I know it won't last forever but probably as long as I'm able to grow stuff.


PS one problem I've had with the plastic is that the rabbits have eaten holes through it a few times.

Sure, I'll be glad to take it. Thanks.

I'll talk to you about the fencing...the T posts are on 10' centers now.

Tood, Rat et al,

I used to have this vision of Todd (and Co.) giving workshops and classes - (and I'm glad to know you'll accept visitors, Todd, if still true)...

Now, though, another "business model" comes to mind: Todd, WR and company going around and setting up homesteads for people. You know...like those who need to get it all done in a hurry. Suburban, exurban, maybe even some urban...

A couple of director's chairs, a small, well-organized team of young strong workers taking directions, a little cash and...voila!

Ready for peak. (More ready, I should say.)

Buy some of the electric fence tape, white, 1.5", and put it on poles about 2 feet above your regular fence (6-8 feet). You only have to support it about every 20 feet, and it doesn't need to be electrified. It makes a visual barrier that the deer are afraid to jump. It also moves in the breeze and acts as a sort of scarecrow it seems. I used the cheap little 3 foot steel t-posts and the insulators made for that tape. Screwed the steel posts to every other wooden fence post. Not a deer since.

Electric is for the 'coons!

Not much posting going on right now so I'll stick this in. Mama deer and her two unspotted fawns were grazing about 50' outside the garden this PM. I think one of the keys to deer is to never let them know that food is available. So long as they don't know a banquet is available, its like it doesn't exist. The deer can still get into the lower part of our orchard but it has english walnuts...they took a few bites and have never been back - hope they puked their stomachs out. This part isn't fenced with the new fence.


Why not just stick a dog in the garden at night? Wouldn't the scent and barking keep them away?

I've used wire in the past, but was thinking about the tape. My neigbor is grazing horses on most of my place, and uses the tape for the one stretch without a fenceline. He says the horses can hear the current going thru it.

Saving , joining, taking over your local GRANGE is where it is at ...


Another step forward for new UK nukes

A new pair of nukes in Wales, first by 2020. One utility (of 3) plans 6 GW of new nukes by 2025 at two sites. One more step forward today:


Best Hopes for not being "Too Little, Too Late",


Are we on the right track? We have invested heavily in "conventional" reactor designs, but have not really explored others like Thorium breeder reactors nor liquid Sodium reactors.

Are we investing in a dead end?

Radical new designs cannot be counted on for reliable, economic power, and construction cost estimates are much more likely to see massive cost over-runs (not that Gen III nukes like EPR & AP-1000 will be immune).

Multiple decades of operating experience with multiple new design nukes will be required to generate the necessary confidence. Build prototypes by 2020/25, a few more by 2030, even more by 2035 and convert most new nukes to a new design by 2045 or so.


The other thing is that the current number of contractors and designers with practical experience of this is obviously relatively small at the moment (since very few nuclear reactors have been built over the last 30 years). I'm all for starting to build new nuclear reactors as soon as possible (ie, yesterday) but at a small number as the number of people with practical experience of both conventional and newer design issues builds up.

I earlier noted a Dept. of Energy study that concluded that the USA could build a maximum of 8 new nukes in a decade due to supply bottlenecks, but mainly too few experienced people.

I did note that no allowance was made for Mr. Murphy, so I would like to see six or seven new nukes built by 2020 just to expand the experience base and give the USA a "more nuke" option in the 2020s and 2030s. Watts Bar 2 + two AP-1000s for Georgia Power + an EPR for Calvert Cliffs + two or three elsewhere.


Best Hopes,


I am confused by people being big boosters of nuclear; I have read that there is only something like 30 years of uranium left in the ground for the plants that are already online or being built right now. Is it wise to spend so many billions of dollars all over the world for power plants who will have no source of fuel available by the time they are finished? What am I missing here?

Things are not nearly so dire as that. IIRC, there are enough uranium resources proven up to run the existing fleet to end of life, and lifetime fuel for a replacement fleet.

If you search TOD, there have been many articles about uranium resources.

Re: Electric Vehicles Top Clean-Energy Venture Capital, Better Place LLC Says, up top. And Why do we worship at the altar of technology?

While technology can not permanently solve problems like death and Peak Oil it can delay the inevitable for awhile.

Take the OPOC high efficiency engine for example.


If it is as good as the PR and evidently Bill Gates and some others think so, it may be able to extend the remaining oil supplies longer than now foreseen. Diesel and ethanol versions would drag out liquid fuel supplies even longer.

It seems to me that a OPOC engine would be ideal for cars like the Volt and the coming plug in Prius. It is light weight and takes up less space which is important in hybrid cars which need room for a big battery. And due to its modular design parts of the engine can be shut off when not needed thereby increasing efficiency even further.

Mileage increases of an order of magnitude or more might be possible.
Doubling mileage would have the effect of making remaining oil supplies last twice as long if growth in the number of cars is held constant, a big if.

If the OPOC engine is for real and automakers don't fight it, there could come a day when OPOC powered plug-in hybrid electric cars running on ethanol might mitigate the end times of oil. Technology will have postponed the inevitable perhaps for the lifetimes of those now living.

Thanks, interesting. I see Vinod Khosla is also throwing shinola at this particular barn. The efficiency gains certainly seem to be there, but engineers/accountants sometimes run the numbers on ideas like this, only to stick with the tried and true. An example is the Wankel rotary engine; GM and MB gave it the once over and concluded that it just wasn't worth retooling for them. Mazda is still the only maker of note to utilize the Wankel. Note that refurbishing a plant to build OPOCs would cost $280 million, as opposed to $400 million for a new plant. It might catch on in developing markets, though.

Opposed piston 2-cycle diesel engines have been around for at least 80 years. The OPOC seems to have just updated the design by adding electronics and an electric supercharger (instead of a mechanical one). This should allow increases in output for a motor similar to the increases already made with more conventional 4-cycle TDI motors. 2-cycle motors in principle should produce more power than 4-cycle motors of the same size and weight, but in the past this has been achieved at the expense of fuel efficiency and air pollution.

Overall, I would expect an OPOC motor to be lighter than a conventional 4-cycle TDI motor of the same power, but certainly not 50% lighter. After all, a significant part of the weight will be the accessories, which are the same. For automotive use, the weight savings will be trivial. For example, the VW Jetta TDI weighs about 1320kg. The 1.9l TDI motor weighs approximately 136kg. Reducing the motor weight by 30% will reduce the unloaded weight of the vehicle by 40kg, or 3% of the vehicle weight. If the vehicle is loaded to capacity, the weight saving is only 2%.

The power output per pound quoted by Ecomotors of 1hp per pound is not exceptional either: the Audi V10 TDI used for racing weighs about 200kg (440lb) and has an output of 650hp. Of course, this is not exactly a "street legal" engine. But neither is the OPOC motor which claims 325hp for a 196lb weight.

I would imagine building the OPOC motor would be a lot easier for a manufacturer already tooled for mass producing flat opposed engines. I can only think of one such manufacturer: Subaru.

"I would imagine building the OPOC motor would be a lot easier for a manufacturer already tooled for mass producing flat opposed engines. I can only think of one such manufacturer: Subaru."

Both BMW and Honda have horizontally opposed engines...in their motorcycles.

Don't forget the Porsche sportscars - they all have flat, horizontally opposed engines. The old Volkswagen Beetle that Dr. Porsche designed was also a flat engine. A lot of sports and racing cars such as the Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer have had them because designers like the low center of gravity. The format is called the "boxer" layout, because the pistons appear to be like boxers punching at each other.

Opposed piston 2-cycle diesel engines are hardly new. Some WWII German bombers had them. Some US railway locomotives had them. The real problem with them was mechanical complexity, and consequently maintenance costs.

The ultimate opposed-piston engine was the Napier Deltic which had multiple sets of opposed-piston cylinders arranged in the form of a triangle, or Greek letter delta. They came in two forms - 9 cylinder and 18 cylinder. They were commonly used in British warships and railway locomotives. They were light, powerful, and extremely complex (they had three crankshafts), to the point that the standard method of fixing them was to take them out and send them back to the factory because the mechanics in the field couldn't handle it.

Eventually the British realized that if you wanted something reliable and fuel efficient, you should use a conventional 4-cycle diesel engine, and if you wanted something light and powerful you should use a gas turbine. The Deltic fell in the middle where there was no real reason to use it because either a 4-cycle diesel or a gas turbine could do the job and would be more reliable.

That Napier Deltic is diabolical!

I think Wankel design was way ahead of its time. The main problem I recall at that time was the metallurgical issues relating to the moving parts. Since then we have come a long way with development of various exoticc alloys. Is it not worthwhile to relook at wankel since a rotary engine is bound to be more energy efficient than a sliding piston engine?

Among other problems the Wankel engine has a pretty horrible combustion chamber shape, which I think puts it out of contention. They were sweet to drive though.

The big issue is that there's too much combustion chamber surface area versus the amount of displacement, and it's difficult to fully seal. The latest generation's side porting managed to take care of some flow issues and they can make the same power with natural aspiration that the older models had to use turbos to get. But it'll never be a really efficient engine.

Agreed - The surface area problem is related to the squashed banana shape. You can't get good flame propagation and the surface area sucks the heat out.

The OPOC engine is basically a diesel engine. Similar opposed piston designs have been around for more than 60 years. The Germans in WW II even used a diesel aircraft engine based on an opposed piston configuration (PDF). Thus, one would not expect any large gain in efficiency, since the new layout is based on the same old cycle. The author of the article mentions the idea of using 2 smaller engines and thus being able to shut down one for a "50 percent boost in fuel economy", which is not likely, since it's a diesel, not a spark ignition engine.

Mr. "X" suggests that this engine will be able to produce "mileage increases of an order of magnitude or more", which ignores the basics of engine design and operation, as well as thermodynamics. Even a 50% increase in mpg over a conventional diesel, such as a VW TDI, would be difficult to achieve, IMHO. There would be some gain from the lower mass of the engine, but when compared with a turbo diesel in a vehicle which is otherwise the same, the gain would be less significant.

E. Swanson

This design is new though. A real forhead flattener of a single-cam opposed piston design.

All the previous opposed piston designed were dual-cam, which required more complex and heavier mechanisms for syncronization and energy extraction that washed out the advantages of the opposed piston design.

Less overall engine mass due to more compact fundamental design.
Fewer moving parts.
Uses more efficient 2-cycle combustion pattern.
Smoother operation due to balanced dynamics.

I could easily see the combination of these factors yielding a high percentage improvement all by themselves.

The bit that you are pinging on for the "50% boost in fuel economy" is the multiple-module configuration.
It's basically the same thing that was tried in the past with turning off unnecessary cylinders to improve efficiency, but this design dances around a lot of the problems that were seen in the past with attempts to do so.

Engines that turn off banks of cylinders have been in volume production for some time now. It might be a slightly better mousetrap, but then maybe not in practice, and it won't have any revolutionary impacts. Yawn.

You are right, there is nothing at all new about the OPOC engine.

Every design feature it has has been done somewhere else.

Nobody has ever put all of those design features together into one package before, which is what makes it different.

This makes picking at one feature and saying "well, that's nothing special" misleading.

It's like saying there is no difference between a jet engine and a wind turbine because they both rely on a fan driven by moving gas.

Nonsense. The original comment in this thread claimed "Mileage increases of an order of magnitude or more might be possible." This is merely an assemblage of existing ideas. It may well turn out to be a heads up, well executed design, but at best it will be an incremental improvement. It might be worth doing but it will not have a huge impact.

What is the goal anyway? To build really fuel efficient cars? There is no technical obstacle to doing that now, nor has there been. Do an update of the Suzuki Swift with a direct injection, variable valve timing 1000cc 3cyl and a 6 speed manual. That is run of the mill tech now. How much better would it be with an OPOC? Does it make the automobile a workable solution for a planet with 7 billion people that has peaked in oil production and is hating rapidly due to CO2 emissions from fossil fuels?

It doesn't solve the world's problems.

What it is is a lighter, more efficient IC engine with fewer moving parts than a conventionally designed IC engine.

The "orders of magnitude" claim is obviously as part of a hybrid electric system making use of multiple features of both the OPOC and the electric drivetrain to maximize efficiency. I think that claim is rather extreme myself, but I could see a well designed vehicle of that type running 5* better efficiency than a conventional vehicle of similar specs.

You cannot get a 5X improvement from a vehicle powered by gasoline or diesel. I doubt 2X is possible. Therefore you are left with incremental improvements in a concept (the personal automobile) which ultimately cannot be continued in anything like its present incarnation. Maybe still worthwhile - for a time anyway.

You cannot get a 5X improvement from a vehicle powered by gasoline or diesel. I doubt 2X is possible.

I agree. Unless it allows a plugin hybrid to cross the line between unattractive and attractive to the consumer. More likely if it is a reasonable cost and more eficient ICE, it would delay the market for the plugin, rather than advance it.

When I see the word "efficiency" coupled with car engines, I think in terms of mpg, not being an engineer or anything like that. It seems to me it depends on where you start from.

A 2x improvement, for example- now, I drive a 1999 Ford Taurus wagon. It gets a respectable 26mpg in town and 32mpg highway, from a six cylinder engine. It is the last car I will ever own; you can't just go out and buy a new hybrid or EV when you're on disability (something the 'let's just all switch to EVs!' crowd just can't comprehend). We drive it around 1,000 miles a year. (Yes, that's one thousand. Like I said, I'm disabled. Don't get out much.) We use it like a pickup truck; you'd be amazed what you can stuff in a station wagon or pile on its roof.

But years ago, I drove a 1993 Geo Metro. The real Metro, the 3 cylinder one. That wonderful car got 38mpg in town and 52mpg on the highway. How I loved it. But when our daughter was born, we discovered that a child car seat simply could not be installed safely and correctly in the small Metro seats. So regretfully, it had to go.

The difference between a Ford Taurus and a Geo Metro is almost a 2x improvement in efficiency, right there. It would be even more if what you started from was a Hummer or a F350. No weird expensive new technology needed. Just a- well, essentially a motorcycle engine- with a small lightweight car built around it.

How I miss that Geo Metro. :( I wish they would bring them back. I wonder if the tooling for them still exists?

How I miss that Geo Metro. :( I wish they would bring them back. I wonder if the tooling for them still exists?

Until a few years ago I owned a mint condition Suzuki Swift, it was rear ended by a distracted driver in a large Ford van at a red light... I'd also vote for bringing them back!

This is the point - there is not a technical problem making much more efficient automobiles. People seem to think we need to wait for a technological breakthrough - a new engine design, a complex hybrid system, etc. A Metro/Swift size vehicle with an engine such as I listed above would get very high mileage. It would be inexpensive to make with present technology and tooling. That would be a good thing to do, but ultimately it will not be near enough to make the automobile as we use it now viable. It's also not a car that people want to drive in the US, for all of the cultural reasons that are wrapped up in how we perceive the automobile as we use it now.

So the problem is not how to make a fuel efficient automobile that would work just fine for the vast majority of transportation needs. The problem is how to make a car that meets all the other needs of our car culture and allows that to continue - which cannot be done.

Add to that the fact that we're all broke and getting broker, and there won't be enough of a market. I'll just keep running my 2100lb, 1500cc car that I bought 11 years ago when gas was pretty much free. I've thought about finding an old Metro/Swift, but the difference would not be worth the cost and effort.

The problem is how to make a car that meets all the other needs of our car culture and allows that to continue - which cannot be done.

Unless you change the culture... which may a couple orders of magnitude more difficult to accomplish but I'm not quite willing to say that it will "NEVER" happen.

This looks like an April fool joke to me. let's consider the claims:
From their website:
"Simplicity of design for manufacturing efficiency, economy and operating durability
* 50-percent fewer parts than a conventional engine"

If you look at the cutaway each pair of cylinders Has, in the crankshaft/piston assembly, 32 more parts than a conventional engine. That is almost enough to replace a convention valve train. The reciprocating mass is probably 3-4 times that of a 2 cylinder engine which will consume large amounts of power to overcome inertia and increase wear.

From their web site:
"Electrically Controlled Turbocharger
This development in turbocharger technology incorporates an electric motor into the turbo assembly. In essence, it provides a supercharger, driven by the electric motor, as an adjunct to the exhaust-driven turbocharger. Boost pressure can be created by the electric motor, the turbocharger, or both. The ECT effectively eliminates turbo lag because the electric motor provides much faster turbine response, and also provides boost when there is low energy from the exhaust flow. The motor is actuated by an electronic controller, which can be integrated with the engine control unit. When it is being spun by the turbocharger, the electric motor acts as generator, producing electricity."
This is sounding like perpetual motion. Driving any supercharger electrically is a massive loss of efficiency as you convert mechanical energy to electricity and back again.There are better ways such as that of locomotive engines where the blower is engine driven until exhaust takes over via a freewheeling clutch. plus when it is running are getting intake boost or electricity? The charging system is a variable load. A turbocharger needs to have as little mass as possible to avoid wasting energy just to turn it.

They claims in at least 3 places for reduced emissions. Not going to happen with a 2 stroke engine. Diesel locomotives are changing over to 4 stroke engines and trucks hang on only due to electronic injection.

With the enormous reciprocating mass this engine wold not respond rapidly to changes in speed requirement. It might have a place as a constant speed engine turning a generator in a hybrid. As a direct driving engine it will never succeed due to the high reciprocating mass ans 2 stroke emission problems.

Chinese imports of Russian electricity begin to ramp up

1,000 GWh this year is the output of one medium size coal fired plant. But Russia has significant installed hydroelectric power in Siberia and the potential for more.



The last thing we need in Siberia is more hydro---

Building power lines is much cheaper and faster than building natural gas pipelines. This could be an excellent way for Russia to export 'natural gas' to China while retaining the benefits of building power plants on its own soil.

They've raised the prospect of vulnerable people - including the elderly and the sick - heading into air-conditioned shopping malls to survive, possibly at night.

Am I the only person who thinks, hmm, what if a deadly virulent pathogen gets into the air conditioning ducts... maybe not by accident?

"The death rate for patients who develop Legionnaire's disease while in the hospital is close to 50%, especially when antibiotics are started late," according to the NIH and U.S. National Library of Medicine service's MedlinePlus. Most infections occur in those who are middle-age or older.

As for me I'll just go for a swim...

Am I the only person who thinks, hmm, what if a deadly virulent pathogen gets into the air conditioning ducts... maybe not by accident?

No additional action needed:

They've raised the prospect of vulnerable people - including the elderly and the sick - heading into air-conditioned shopping malls to survive, possibly at night.

including the elderly and the sick

Yes... It -could- be nasty.

I can imagine that already - sick people sleeping there; as they cough and sneeze and spread the disease and some poor sap will buy those vitamin virus-fortified fruits and veggies on the next day...

And if some bring their MRSA* with them, or some shiny, new, even more resistant MRSA v2.0, then... the author would have to rephrase it to:

heading into air-conditioned shopping malls to die, possibly at night.


* Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

Oil Rises to Three-Month High Above $82 Before U.S. Supply Data - Bloomberg

Oil rose to a three-month high in New York as the dollar weakened and analysts forecast that crude inventories declined last week in the U.S.

Crude-oil supplies probably fell by 1.5 million barrels last week, a Bloomberg News survey showed before an Energy Department report tomorrow. Futures earlier breached $82 a barrel for the first time since May as European equities pared losses after an index from the Institute for Supply Management yesterday showed that U.S. manufacturing slowed less than analysts forecast in June.

$82.70 average for international blends.

From Jan 2008: SPIEGEL INTERVIEW with OPEC's Secretary-General : 'International Oil Companies Are the Real Dinosaurs' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

El-Badri : I have no concrete sense of target prices, not even of a specific range. We at OPEC don't want extremes, prices that are too high or too low. What we do want is a stable price. This would benefit the producers and the consumers. But, as I said, the market determines that.

SPIEGEL: A market over which you don't have decisive influence? Has OPEC lost so much power, OPEC, the feared organization that dictated prices in the 1970s and 1980s and has even used oil as a political weapon -- during the Yom Kippur War, for example?

El-Badri : We only dictated things for a short period in our history. Those days are long gone. The countries that belong to OPEC currently supply about 40 percent of the petroleum consumed in the world. One cannot exactly say that we truly control the market.


SPIEGEL: Some experts doubt that OPEC can even expand production volume to a significant degree anymore. These specialists say that Saudi Arabia, for example -- the world's only oil superpower -- is already putting too much pressure on its oil fields today, and that the reserves are generally smaller than was previously assumed.

El-Badri : Don't worry, we still have capacity. We are currently able to increase production by 3.5 million barrels. And we have also invested up to 2012 in new projects at a total cost of $150 billion, which will give us additional capacity of 6 million barrels in four years. However, we have to know how high the demand for oil will be in the future, so that we can plan our investments accordingly.

So you don't control the market but have 3.5 mb/d of spare cap lying around? It's one or the other, dude. Looking at the production graphs at Early Warning: Global Oil Supply Now Contracting? you can see that barely a trickle was subsequently forthcoming.

Interviewer next asks El-Badri about peak oil - you can guess what the answer was.

The above article, Oil Rises to Three-Month High before U.S. Supply Data amid Weaker Dollar, states that oil inventories may fall about 1.5 million barrels in the EIA report to be issued tomorrow. In reality that may be true – excluding the effects of the Enbridge pipeline shutdown. Since the pipeline shut was shipping oil from the US (Michigan) to lower Canada, this may result in an unwanted increase in northern US oil inventories of 1 million barrels or more last week. However it is not clear if exports from Canada to the US were also reduced upstream as a result of the pipeline problem, although there are some reports which indicate Canada may have offset at least part of that increase.

Last Friday, the EIA also revised its inventory figures for May 2010. This is bound to create confusion tomorrow, since the weekly figures should include the adjustments. Basically, crude oil inventories were revised upwards about 5 million barrels, but products (including propane and misc. categories) were revised downward about 10 million barrels. However the net adjustment between oil, distillates, and gasoline is close to zero, so it is more a matter of reclassification for the widely followed figures than anything else.

As to the issue of OPEC exports, it's been on a plateau for most of 2010 since March, and recent reoprts indicate that, if anything, it's starting to fall down off the plateau - although this may somehow relate to the very hot summer air conditioning season in the Mideast.

My opinion is that 'spare capacity' now will only be used in emergencies - such as a sudden world event or rapid increase in price above $100.

So you don't control the market but have 3.5 mb/d of spare cap lying around? It's one or the other, dude.

i dont know about that, maybe they want to have excess capacity.

i dont know about that, maybe they want to have excess capacity.

I'll entertain any concept; maybe they had it in reserve and just let the price spike to crash the economy to have that much more when demand went through the floor. Or figured that speculation would run its course soon enough and bring things back to earth without any intervention on their behalf.

Course another possibility is that the numbers we play around with should have massive error bars around them, too. Darn OPEC...

$82.10 for the close. May 3rd had $86.19.

dificult to say what happened in '08. china was supposedly stocking up on diesel so the lights wouldn't go out at the olympics. economies were overheated. mexico was faltering. looking at how fast oil dropped, it seems speculation was in play. the difference between over supply and under supply is probably not all that great either.

ksa may have been caught with their pants down in '08, not able to react. there have been some major projects brought on since then too. from the interview you cited, ksa continues to spend $b's on developing their capacity.

Futures Weirdness.

For the last couple of weeks the natural gas futures out past 2019 have been bouncing up and down by over a dollar every couple of hours. Anybody got an idea what might be causing this?


The volume for July 2020 is three times higher then the current month contract [grin]. I think it must be a software glitch...

NYMEX (formerly)

You are probably witnessing the application of algorithm driven trading to commodities markets. It has not become so blatant and obvious in the stock market that it's jokingly referred to as "Crop Circles". To see examples of the kinds of patterns that emerge repeatedly and regularly in the stock market, check out Nanex - Market Crop Circle Of The Day.

The patterns you point to here bear similar resemblance to such algorithmically controlled bid/offer patterns as seen in high frequency trading (HFT) of stocks. HFT is being used by the big banks to basically "front run" their own customers, thus siphoning off profits from every customer's trade along the way regardless of whether it is a sell or buy order. And now that Obama has signed the financial reform bill, making the SEC 100% immune to Freedom of Information Requests, I fully expect even more such manipulation to occur and to spread to other markets, such as the commodities market. In fact, I was recently contacted about a position supporting what appeared to be such a team at major investment firm where that particular office was working in the commodities market, not the stock market.

Why anyone would stay invested in such a market is completely beyond me.

The tide is changing, but there's still alot of inertia now, especially when it comes to funds/institutions/pensions etc. Much of this money is going to be withdrawn in the coming years.

Some of the biggest holders of American stocks in aggregate are upper middle class boomers. They are beginning to retire, and slowly but surely they will liquidate. Driving their Suburban 200 miles to visit nephew Johnny and to the doctor's office to get Viagra and Botox is too important, and they'll need the cash. Not to mention paying for expenses for their children who have moved back home and need the latest iteration of iPhone to feel fulfilled, seeing as how there are no good jobs left.

This is very bearish for equities as there will be more sellers than buyers, at least for the next 20 years if not longer. The last generation of boomers was born around '65, and they will start turning 65 around 2030. This demographic change is completely independent of peak oil, mind you.

The combination will be bad for stocks, to say the least. Bonds may tread water, just about. The truly adventurous, if they have enough confidence in the stability of our economic system, will look into alternative energy, biofuel, or agricultural stocks.

Like you I have no such confidence, and consequently prefer cash and gold. The latter should shine.

Or I'm a complete idiot who has no idea what he's talking about.

Wind power potential only possible with upgrades: industry executive
Energy: New transmission grid needed in order to move electricity from Atlantic Canada into export markets, Canadian Wind Energy Association president says ahead of conference

The Atlantic provinces cannot reap the full potential of their wind power industries without upgrading the regional electrical transmission grid, says the president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association.


Many questions remain, however. Where should the regional transmission grid be bolstered? What are the costs? And who should pay?


According to Keir, the Atlantic provinces must also improve their ability to balance wind power with existing base sources of power, like coal and oil.

See: http://nbbusinessjournal.canadaeast.com/journal/article/1160403

Best hopes for capitalizing on this region's wind potential and reducing our dependence upon imported coal and oil.


An Introduction to Ecological Economics (e-book)

IMO, this is a classic work well worth a read. I also see Bob Costanza, et. al. are updating this work and taking reader comments. You can easily link to this e-book via google.

Just ran across this cute little bugger: http://www.ecomotorcompany.com/ECOimages/ECOimages.htm

Three wheeler...looks like a Scootcoupe but has a full engine in it that appears to be similar to, if not, a Metro engine.

I can't find anything current about these guys. They seem to have dropped off of the map about spring '09. Anyone?

I know most positive comments about our potential energy supplies are usually met with derision on the board. Dont' get me wrong, I have one foot in the doomer camp and I'm a big fan of Jeff Rubin. With that said, there was a fairly up beat interview on On Point with Tom Ashbrook called The Energy Future's Outer Edge. I found it quite interesting. You can listen to the mp3 here: http://podcastdownload.npr.org/anon.npr-podcasts/podcast/330/510053/1287...

3D Express Coach (PICTURES): China Plans Huge Buses That Can DRIVE OVER Cars

China may have found an environmentally friendly way to save money while easing congestion on city roads, Engadget reports.

Instead of spending millions to widen roads, the Shenzhen Huashi Future Parking Equipment company is developing a "3D Express Coach" (also called a "three-dimensional fast bus") that will allow cars less than 2 meters high to travel underneath the upper level carrying passengers.

AKA The El. What could go wrong? Yes, I'm being semi-rhetorical.

Energy independence is a dream. Probably not achievable in the US due to massive waste and over consumption. If everyone in the US lowered their consumption to 1/3 of current use, then it might be possible.

As an adjunct to yesterday's article regarding the GE and EDF partnership on energy efficiency:

Crazy for Savings: The Value of Energy-Obsessed Employees

During my eight weeks as an EDF Climate Corps fellow at The JBG Companies, I’ve become obsessed with energy efficiency savings.

One example: Working late a few days ago, I stayed until everyone else had left the office. Then, standing precariously on the seat of my rolling chair, I pried open the back panel of an “EXIT” sign outside my cubicle just to make sure it was lit with LEDs and not incandescent bulbs. Fortunately, the former was true (don’t worry, I replaced the panel). More significantly, I hadn’t even been asked to evaluate efficiency in the office. This was, for all intents and purposes, an illicit, off-the-books energy hunt. I had gone rogue.

See: http://www.favstocks.com/crazy-for-savings-the-value-of-energy-obsessed-...

Best hopes for more nut cases !


A couple of years back there was a report in an IT blog about some enterprising HR staffer working late on Friday night who noticed that the air conditioning system in the office's unattended data centre had been left switched on by mistake so she helpfully switched it off. She also sent a memo to the IT staff pointing out the waste of electricity and the harm to the environment caused by their unthinking carelessness.

The IT guys were seriously impressed by the fact that only about half their servers crashed over the weekend when the server room air temp peaked at 120 deg F. The HR person in question had cleared her desk and left the building by noon Monday, never to return.

You definitely don't want to mess around with servers. We replaced the lighting in the main server room of a local telephone, cable and internet provider. The plenum space was a huge rats nest of wiring and data cables. Our most senior electrician was asked to do this work personally because we didn't want to take any chances. We thought things were going swimmingly until I received a call informing me that a large number of their servers went down and that this had resulted in customer outages. Naturally, all fingers pointed at us. I jumped in my car and burned rubber to get to their offices, my heart pounding in my throat. I asked if we could review the security cameras which we did. Fortunately for us, the servers went down fifteen minutes after we had completed our work and vacated the room (you could see the blinking lights inside the glass cabinets suddenly stop flashing). As it turns out, the power to this equipment is feed through multiple UPS systems and the one supplying this set of servers unexpectedly died. Normally, these things are suppose to send e-mails and pager notifications when they're about to shut down but the IT staff claim there were no such warnings. In any event, we were ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing which was a tremendous relief given the potential liability implications and the impact it would have on our firm's reputation and our relationship with Nova Scotia Power.

BTW, as a complete aside, I noticed a picture of one of our lighting installations on the CBC's website (http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nova-scotia/story/2010/08/03/ns-rocky-lake-rink...). This is an inflatable building and originally the engineers had specified forty 1,000-watt indirect metal halide fixtures that would bounce light off the fabric roof. The total connected load, including ballasts, would have been 44.0 kW. We proposed that we install forty 6-lamp high bay fixtures instead; at 222-watts per fixture, our total connected load would fall to just under 9.0 kW, for a net savings of 35.1 kW. These lights operate 6,000 hour a year, so we reduced their annual lighting load by over 210,000 kWh. However, when you take into consideration the corresponding reduction in their ice making loads, the actual savings are close to 400,000 kWh. This was one of our most challenging installations because the fixtures are suspected from the fabric roof and this roof can move a metre or so in high winds. Also, let me tell ya that fishing the feeds to those fixtures was no bundle of joy.


My thanks to RebelFarmer who posted a French method he called RWC.

I am encouraged to once more return to my own chipped wood scenario and mix it as I did in the past with a supply of Red Wigglers.

Since autumn is coming and that means turnips and getting my greenhouse built instead of just sitting there on the sawhorses I will start again my chipping.

I hope next season to not have to use cottonseed meal for amending my soil.


Those living in Ontario where electricity rates are expected to increase 20 to 30 per cent this year can only read and weep...

Hydro-Québec proposes rate freeze
Quebec's consumer watchdog approves the announcement

Hydro-Québec is proposing to maintain its electricity rates for 2011 and 2012.


Hydro says it is also prepared to invest $333 million towards its energy efficiency program.

By improving the grid's efficiency, Hydro says it can save an additional 805 GWh in the upcoming year.

Hydro says it will also spend $27.7 million in 2011 to assist lower-income clients.

That money includes $7 million to help families replace older, less efficient fridges.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2010/08/03/mtl-hydro-rates-.html...

Hydro-Québec's domestic tariff is just 5.45-cents for the first 30 kWh per day and 7.51-cents for any additional kWh thereafter.


The Quebec economy is humming along strongly, population growth in Quebec matches that of Ontario for the first time in 25 years, but the Premier is extremely unpopular.

This rate freeze might have something to do with the latter point.

And even at this bargain price we are using less electricity than in Ontario!

I'm afraid I'll have to challenge you on that, Yvan. According to Hydro-Québec's 2009 Annual Report, domestic sales last year totalled 165.3 TWh whereas those of Ontario topped out at 139.0 TWh. Also, Ontario's population is over one and a half times that of Québec, i.e., 13.2 versus 7.9 million.


Another day of skirmishes across the Israeli-Lebanese border.


Saad Hariri, the Lebanese prime minister, called the raid a "violation of Lebanese sovereignty and demands".

He called in a statement for "the United Nations and the international community bear their responsibilities and pressure Israel to stop its aggression."

Michel Sleiman, the Lebanese president, issued his own statement denouncing the clash as a violation of UN resolution 1701. That resolution ended the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, and called for both Israel and Lebanon to respect the Blue Line, the UN-administered border between the two countries.

Sleiman also called on the Lebanese army to "confront any Israeli aggression, whatever the sacrifices".

"This is a very significant development," said Rula Amin, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Beirut. "For the first time in years, clashes are taking place between Israel and the Lebanese army, not Hezbollah."

Something seems to be coming down the pike and this has potential to bite us hard. Saudi King Abdullah met with Syrian President al-Assad in Beirut last week (31st July) in an attempt to show solidarity amid mounting tensions. This highly symbolic gesture spoke volumes about the lack of stability now threatening Lebanon.


Assad last visited Lebanon in 2002, and King Abdullah is the first Saudi monarch to visit the country since 1957. Also coming to Beirut later on Friday is the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. The emir, who is staying until Sunday, is to meet separately with Lebanese leaders and is due to visit the south of the country.

Not only is Lebanon's government unstable but so is Israel's. Paul Danahar, Middle East Bureau editor for the BBC, in an article published today, Off the record: Candid views from Mid-East officials asks the question, "When's the right time to punch your annoying next-door neighbour in the face?"

"If you have a big sword over your head, when does it become urgent? When it's being built? Or when it's five inches away or three or one inch away?"

This from a key figure involved in the planning for a possible future assault on Iran.

Apparently, the politics of the region are unusually messy, yes even more messy (and uncertain) than normal, which isn't good news for anybody.

Another factor that complicates things is that the White House doesn't seem to like the Israeli government very much these days.

Someone very senior in the Israeli government put it to me like this: "I know the American people support us but I'm not sure about the White House. In Europe, I know the leaders support us - I'm not sure about the people."

And that's not hard to understand when you think that the Israeli government doesn't even like itself much these days. Israel's messy coalition politics gives horse-trading a bad name.

So the country has in Avigdor Lieberman a foreign minister who not only doesn't support government foreign policy; he at times won't even return the calls of the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Hezbollah is rearmed. Israel, in those rare moments when the right hand does know what the left is doing, is looking for a knock-out blow against Iran. Iraq is degenerating into violence as the U.S. prepares to pull out. Iran is seeking maneuvering room around the sanctions. Lebanon is a basket case. Syria and Saudi Arabia are watching and poised for heaven knows what.

This has potential to become very nasty, very quickly. If this turns regional - think 1967 or 1973, not 2006 - be prepared for oil prices to go berserk and pump line-ups to quickly reappear.

Obama will be living LBJ's, Nixon's and Carter's nightmares rolled into one.

Are you sure you're not into the communion wine?

Are you sure you're not into the communion wine?

Perhaps, although I'm more a beer man than a wine man.

I'm hoping to be wrong on this.... all a tempest in a teapot.

Yet... even on a cursory examination, the geo-political ingredients are volatile.


"The region has enough tension as it is," US state department spokesman PJ Crowley said.

"The last thing that we want to see is that this incident expand into something more significant."

EU foreign policy chief Baroness Ashton urged both sides to take "immediate steps" to prevent "a further escalation of tension or any form of further violence".

Pressure is being applied to keep all parties in line. All that said, Israel, Lebanon and Iran are each politically messy right now, with considerable factions in each itching for a fight. It wouldn't take much for this to spread beyond the local scene to a regional conflagration.

A Lebanese-Israeli War, involving the armies of both countries directly, is a far more dangerous situation than the Israeli incursions on Hezbollah in 2006. By implicating other players, such as Syria, it has the potential to become very nasty, very quickly.

One mitigating factor this time (unlike 1967 and 1973) is that there is no secondary superpower, like the Soviet Union, edging on the belligerents. Another helpful factor is the presence of U.N. peacekeepers manning the buffer zone inside Lebanon. (Although judging from past wars in the region, this hardly constitutes a guarantee.)

What is worrisome is that the U.S. has less of a grip on Israeli actions today than in past years. What's more, it is even less certain how much say Syria and Saudi Arabia have on rival factions warring inside Lebanon.

Another unknown is how Iran will play its card, being particularly isolated and vulnerable right now. It's not exactly on friendly terms with any of its neighbours. The ace it possesses is its influence on Hezbollah and Hamas, which are prickly irritants to Lebanon and to Israel. Iran may choose to exert leverage on how things unfold. Hardly likely to play nice-nice if it can stir up trouble.

Keep an eye on this. My gut is telling me this ain't over yet.

Oil prices spiked in 2006 with the uncertainties over the then Israeli-Lebanese conflict. Any regional conflict is certain to see prices rise again significantly. The days of geo-political oil shocks are not yet confined to the dustbin of history. The world economy is shaky enough without any further surprises. That alone is a tempting calculation among some of the bellicose participants at play here.

"...My gut is telling me this ain't over yet..."

after 9/11, it's easy enough to see most of the possibilies, but unless you've got printouts from aumann's "Center for Rationality", it's kinda hard to judge the probabilities of any particular thing happening... unless, of course, you have the wherewithal and intend to make it happen.

...and even with those printouts ---judging from the success so far of the global war on terror... well, the computed probabilities arent too reliable.

we should remember that aumann thinks war is rational.

then there are the big surprises that could occur even in a world soaked in post-9/11 paranoia...

for instance, if israelis are entitled to a samson option, are the pakistanis?

War is as rational or irrational as any other human endeavour. And in the post-Westphalian system of sovereign autonomous nation states, Carl Von Clausewitz maxim, "war is the continuation of policy (politics) by other means" is as applicable today as ever.

And when a prime minster of a sovereign nation-state, Saad Hariri of Lebanon, calls the raid "a violation of Lebanese sovereignty and demands" and when the president of the same republic, Michel Sleiman, instructs his army to "confront any Israeli aggression, whatever the sacrifice", then arguable both the head of state and the head of government are skirting precariously close to a declaration of war.

And while there is little doubt that Israel has both the manpower and the firepower to militarily answer such diplomatic impertinence, there is also little doubt that other "nation states" would merely stand idly by and let Lebanon go down to defeat. It is this sequence of reasoning that causes my gut to say, "this don't look too good from where I'm sitting".

May cooler heads and diplomatic channels succeed where fractured political systems fail.

do we know what really happened?

for instance, if israel crossed the line into lebanon to incite this event, would we get the facts?

to tell you the truth, i've mostly quit paying attention to stuff like this, because it routinely gets so garbled up by the propaganda machinery that it's indecipherable until months after it happens, and even then, who really knows?

i got to admire your loyalty, though.

i mean, who in their right mind is gonna pay attention to these little incidents when israel clearly has the capability of starting world war III any old time it chooses to do so?

what's the big deal?

you think arabs are gonna start WWIII when israel has tons of nukes and is backed by the most powerful nation ever?

you want to take a stab at answering the question about pakistan's samson option?

Sorry, blade, you've lost me completely. What do you mean by the samson option?

your google broke again?

Everyone who studies Israeli nuclear strategy knows about the "Samson Option."

This is generally thought to be a last resort strategy wherein Israel's nuclear weapons are used not for prevention of war or even for war-waging, but simply as a last spasm of vengeance against a despised enemy state that had launched massive (probably unconventional) countercity and/or counterforce attacks against Israel.

Faced with the "End of the Third Temple," Israel's leaders would decide that the Jewish State could not survive, but that it would only "die" together with its pertinent enemies.

origninally appearing as "Remembering Sun-Tzu: Israel and The Art Of War" at israelinsider...

now then, if israel is entitled to a samson option, are the pakistanis?

Sorry, you've still lost me on the samson option... Pakistan? Israel? If either wants to bring the house down on themselves, be my guest.

National governments, however, are in the business of self-preservation. They tend to like their own people, too.

Having the biggest club at hand doesn't hurt one's chances for preservation. Being the most ruthless bully on the block usually means the other hoodlums will leave you alone.

Pakistan has the right to exist. Israel has the right to exist. All of Pakistan's neighbours, including India, recognize the right of Pakistan to exist. That's a privilege Israel has been hard pressed to get from many members of the international community.

Under the system of international anarchy that we enjoy, the state is sovereign and autonomous. Size matters. Influence matters. Recognition matters.

Nation-states don't have morals, they have interests. It is up to Israel to determine what is in its interest. It's up to Pakistan to determine what is in its interest. It is up to the United States to determine if Israel's interest and Pakistan's interest corresponds to its interest. Being the world's only superpower, that means a lot. That's the way the system works.

It is the answer to the age old question, "where does an eight hundred pound gorilla sleep?" "Any where it wants to."

the problem seems to be that the US, at the behest of israel, seems bent on dismantling pakistan, with the intent of grabbing pakistan's nukes.

if it becomes obvious to pakistani leadership that their country is about to be dismantled, are they entitled to nuke whoever's in range, just for spite, as israel is apparently entitled to do?

here's a map of neocons' plans for pakistan...

here's a google search for the article, "blood borders" by the neocon loon ralph peters, who seems to be fronting for the most rabid of the neocons... the article first appeared in "armed forces journal", with the map included, but the map must have been too loony to survive.

here's a google search for more of peters' maps... they seem to be very popular in some circles in southwest asia.

caroline glick has established a legend for north korea providing nuke weapons to iran.

the question then, is: who would iran use those weapons on?

one thing that's discomfiting is the reports that our capability for nuclear forensics is languishing, which means: if little nukes went off in half a dozen of your favorite cities, we couldnt tell, from examining the entrails, where the bombs came from...

...so the attack could be blamed on any convenient patsy, even if the bombs came from... say... canada.

after all, wasnt it a once and future prime minister of canada that thought 9/11 was such a good deal?

I was talking to a friend of mine who works in Beirut for the US government. She is usually more optimistic than I am, but she's seriously worried about the current situation.

She says Israel provoked the conflict by clearing trees at the border as the tribunal on Hariri's assassination was beginning. They were hoping Hezbollah would respond, giving them an excuse to attack. They didn't, though. Instead it was the Lebanese government. That will likely keep things from going to heck in a handbasket immediately. But if it escalates, she expects Iran, Syria, and even Saudi to get involved.

Surfing the Arab news sites, that's been my read on it, too.

It is a very dangerous situation and not receiving much press coverage in the West.

So far, Hezbollah has gone out of its way not to provoke the Israelis. That's been one brake on escalation. Another brake, I suspect, is that the United States will do everything possible to calm the waters. The last thing the Obama administration needs is further trouble in the region.

He's trying to get troops out, not put more troops in.

A war directly involving Lebanon and Israel would likely bring Iran and Syria into the toxic mix. And King Abdullah's historic and symbolic visit to Beirut last week was meant to press home the point that the Saudis are not prepared to stand idly by and look pretty.

This is a tinderbox ripe for ignition. And there are enough dingbats on the ground willing to light the spark. A general war in the Middle East right now would make $150 barrel oil look cheap.

I seriously hope diplomacy and cooler heads do prevail. Otherwise, the descent on this roller coaster ride will be beyond thrilling and downright gut wrenching.

Sniping at an Israeli officer, with cameras rolling, firing RPGs, and then katyushas, sure is an interesting way to "go out of their way" to avoid a provocation.

When I was in 6th grade, my class went to a trip to that very area, and our bus went down that border patrol road, which has been there since the late 1970's. It's a multi layered fortification. There is a fence on each side of that road. The road itself is conventional asphalt on the side facing the rest of Israel. On the north side, it's pea gravel and sand, carefully "zambonied" once a day to make sure infiltrators passing across it will leave foootprints. After the gravel lane there's the fence you saw in the news, which the cherry picker leaned over. Then comes anotehr full 100 meters of Israeli, yes, Israeli territory, open ground, interspersed with electronic monitoring hardware, land mines, et cetera. Finally, the actual border, which is yet another fence, and a Lebanese road.

This has been the case since the late 70's. Now, that open ground is Mediterrenean pigmy forest. Which means wild cypress trees. These trees are thick. So thick we use a domesticated relative for windbreaks in orchards on both sides of the border. As they grow, they provide cover for infiltrators. So they have to be trimmed.

What you saw back there was a routine trimming, which Israel has been doing for years. Lebanon chose that day to do some sniping practice, and went so far as to tip Reuters in advance, which is why Reuters had 5 people there to watch an IDF soldier engage in topiary.

Nothing you said contradicts anything my friend said.

It's a very complicated situation, and she's pretty aggravated with all parties involved. Including the U.S. government.

Anyone out there living in Connecticut? If so does Peter Schiff stand a chance of getting the GOP nomination?

I've been following Schiff's online broadcasts for over a year now and am impressed with his candour. I have an ex-girlfriend in Pittsburgh; just got off the phone with her and managed to convince her to put one hundred bucks into Schiff's election fund. I can't, not being a US citizen. I'll give it her back when she comes to London in the autumn!

Now, I am no Shill for Schiff. Never met the man, but sitting here on my couch in Hove, East Sussex, UK I think I do at least get where he is coming from. And, as the saying goes, what happens in America also happens here in the UK. So if he has a chance to go to Washington and speak Truth to the debt-a-holics then it is worth my 65 quid.

Democracy and the World Wide Web in action!


Here's his blurb on Energy at the Campaign site. What were you hearing that drew you to him?

Bob -


We need to end our dependence on foreign oil. The U.S. Department of Energy should be eliminated as it wastes money and produces no energy. Instead, we should empower the private sector to produce the energy our nation needs.

Let's allow losses on passive investments to be deducted from ordinary income. This will immediately free up investment capital to fund the oil and gas drilling and exploration we badly need."


(Is England doing what it can to keep BP empowered at this point? How does England do the regulatory dance with big biz?)

(What does 'Losses on Passive Investments' mean? Sincere Question.)

I'm pretty sure that means that if you lose $100 in the stock market you can deduct that loss from your paycheck earnings when you file your income tax.

The stock market investment is "passive" because you have no real involvement in the company other than giving them your money.

Interesting. That sounds like what it would mean, and what this guy would advocate..

I don't know the thinking on the effect of this.. but of course if all that freed up capital just went into more Exploration and Drilling, I can't say it sounds like it brings us anywhere good.

Actually, much of the mandate of the Department of Energy is to do with nuclear weapons and defense. It absorbed the Atomic Energy Commission created in the 1940's :-


Here is the DOE budget appropriation :-

http://www.mbe.doe.gov/budget/11budget/Content/Apprsum.pdf (PDF warning).

It includes little things like cleanup and remediation after all the nuclear testing during the Cold War.

Is someone suggesting all this should move to the private sector ?

HAcland, perhaps you should do more homework before investing in US politics.

The story above, "Oil Rises to Three-Month High Before U.S. Supply Data Amid Weaker Dollar", has been reported with a new spin here: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Money/Story/STIStory_561785.html

Is there a new definition for "fall"?

There is an interesting quote from the last part of that article on Oil rises to 3 month high..., that I pasted in below.

'The scary thought is what happens if oil hits US$86 and keeps going,' Sander Capital said. 'The US economy cannot take oil at US$100 a barrel again.

I agree with his assessment, but know there is considerable differences in what people think the economy can handle. My take on oil price is there was little if any mainstream connection made between oil price in 08 and the collapse, preferring to push all the blame onto the bursting real estate bubble via sub-prime loans.

However, it seems likely that if oil goes over a hundred again, at some price probably much less than 147, we will have another round of loan defaults. That of course will increase inventory and cause real estate prices to drop, leading to another economic downturn. Greenspan said a few days ago, that the only way he sees the possibility of a double dip recession is if real estate prices drop again.

If that scenario plays out again, much like it did in the 08 collapse, that will mark the 2nd leg down since oil peaked in 05. Maybe when the 2nd leg down occurs, the mainstream media will understand:

1. Oil price is not speculation driven, but instead is subject to supply and demand.

2. Crude oil production peaked past tense.

3. GDP and tax revenue will continue to drop as unemployment and debt rise, as these step downs occur.

4. We need a plan B pronto, before step down #3.

My speculation is only 4-5 step downs will need to occur to cause a complete collapse. So 1 down, and the 2nd one on the horizon, with not much time to change course. But then again, I don't even know what that course change might look like. Is there even a viable window of opportunity for a plan B? Simmons in Twilght in the Desert mentions in the summary the need for a plan B, but also cautions against waiting too long to implement it.

Crude oil prices are indeed creeping ever upward. But perhaps the deleterious effects of these costs to the economy will remain stuck below the radar screen of the mainstream analysts. The reason being that it's probably inevitable that housing prices must resume their swoon because the banks are sitting on huge inventory that they cannot put on the market without marking these homes to the current market price (vs the now well obsolete original mortgage value). And they cannot hold onto this inventory forever either because without owners living in them with a vested interest in their upkeep, this inventory of homes will deteriorate to zero value.

I'm afraid that things haven't even begun to get scary yet.

And they cannot hold onto this inventory forever

Oh, so true. The property in our area dropped in value about 200k. The house next door was held by the bank for 1.5 years and had a mortgage on it of 525k. It just recently sold, and I'm yet to find out for how much, but it must have been for far less than the mortgage. That sale unfortunately will solidify our home equity loss, but also as you say bring down real estate values. So the point that banks cannot hold onto properties forever hoping to get the full mortgage value back, is beginning to take hold in our area and across America presumably. Selling for whatever the auction house can get will drive prices down much farther.

However, having dealt in stocks before, how low something can go is often an illusion. Right now people think it can't go lower and are buying what they think are bargains, but there is no guarantee of that, and in fact, prices will probably continue to decline as we march down the net energy decline ladder. Bargains today, may be underwater tomorrow.

The Manilla nuclear powerplant story were a sad one, I hope it will have a happy ending with a renovation, comissioning and 60 years of power production.

It should be criminal to snuff out such an investment right in front of desperately poor people, its like burning their fields.

i am hearing all over the news today about oh ' el (oil) instead of oi - el , the way it used to be pronounced.

the english speaking world may have trouble with this.