Drumbeat: August 4, 2010

Mexican oil industry on the defensive

State oil monopoly Pemex is struggling to sidestep mounting lawlessness in remote areas of northern Mexico, underscoring how the country's escalating drug war has touched a once relatively immune industry.

Pemex and the private companies it employs have scaled back drilling, maintenance and other activities at some isolated sites in the Burgos basin due to deteriorating security, a senior executive with a large Pemex contractor in the region said.

"There are places where we cannot go, where it is not safe for our workers to go, so for now those projects are on hold," the executive said on condition of anonymity.

Refiners feel pinch from Enbridge line shutdown

NEW YORK/CALGARY (Reuters) - A second oil refiner has reduced operating rates as some U.S. and Canadian refineries processing more than 700,000 barrels per day of crude oil felt a supply pinch on Wednesday due to Enbridge Inc's ruptured crude pipeline.

United Refining said it has cut rates at its 70,000 bpd refinery in Warren, Pennsylvania due to Enbridge's crude oil pipeline rupture early last week.

Gasoline prices rise following rally in oil

The recent rise in oil prices is translating into higher prices at the pump.

The national average for a gallon of regular unleaded rose 2.1 cents to $2.747 a gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. Oil has traded above $82 for two straight days. It was around $77 a week ago.

So long, new deepwater drilling regulations

FORTUNE -- Yesterday, Democrats in the Senate rejected taking up a new oil spill response bill because of a dispute over who foots the costs of future spill cleanups and more importantly, how much those parties -- largely oil and exploration companies -- will pay. The Senate is voting on the bill, vaguely titled "a bill to promote clean energy jobs and oil accountability, and for other purposes" in response to BP's spill in the Gulf at the Macondo well.

Other parts of the over 400-page bill about energy in general and offshore drilling in particular include safety measures. Until some version of the bill passes, important issues with offshore drilling will remain caught in legislative limbo.

Hyundai: Boost fuel efficiency to 50 MPG by 2025

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Hyundai Motor Co. announced Wednesday that it has set a goal to boost the fuel efficiency of its U.S. vehicle lineup to an average of 50 miles per gallon by 2025.

That target would put the the South Korean automaker more then 40% above the 35.5 miles per gallon level that U.S. government is pushing automakers to reach by 2016.

Biofuels industry leaves hazy environmental footprint, report says

OTTAWA - The biofuels industry leaves behind a hazy ecological footprint because each facility measures its environmental performance differently, says a new report.

This makes it difficult for the government to gauge how ethanol and biodiesel affect the environment.

Livin' the Dream, Off the Grid and Thriving

Twenty years ago my wife Michelle and I had a dream to get out of the city and move to the country. We wanted to live more sustainably and have space around us. Almost 14 years ago we found our little piece of paradise on 150 acres in Eastern Ontario. The nearest utility pole is 3 miles to the east and 4 miles to the west and we power the house entirely with the sun and wind. It truly is a dream come true.

Carpooling down, even with green awareness up

Despite greater awareness about vehicle emissions and spikes in gasoline prices, Census figures show there are fewer people carpooling than there were 30 years ago. State and local governments, grass-roots organizations and even the Defense Department are trying to do something about the decline.

BP offers cheaper gas

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- In an effort to help struggling gas stations and appease furious consumers following the Gulf disaster, BP is lowering its gasoline prices.

BP is offering a series of incentives to its distributors that could shave two cents off the price of gasoline at the pump.

Who should pay for 'smart' electricity in Maryland?

AMERICA RUNS ON electricity, but the nation's antiquated power grid struggles to meet the demand. The Obama administration believes digital equipment and other "smart grid" innovations can reduce outages and direct the flow of power with greater precision, saving energy and money while creating jobs. The Energy Department is spending $3.4 billion in federal stimulus money to help utilities build a smart grid.

The hard question is measuring costs and benefits precisely -- and apportioning them between utilities and ratepayers.

Low voltage

For the near future, electric cars will be far too expensive for anyone but upper-income Americans. The only way to sell them, even to the well-off, will be with a large federal subsidy.

World view: Not by experts alone

More and earlier public involvement is required to steer powerful new technologies wisely.

Auto sales: China blows past U.S.

FORTUNE -- For a view as to where the world is heading, take a close look at automotive sales data coming out of the two largest markets, the U.S. and China. It is instructive -- and a bit frightening.

Analysis: Coal to Remain Critical to China's Energy Mix

While China's growing population, economy and energy usage has prompted the Chinese government to encourage the development of other energy resources, coal is still expected to play a significant role in the nation's energy future.

"In the absence of national policies and/or binding international agreements that would limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions, world coal consumption is projected to increase from 132 quadrillion Btu in 2007 to 206 quadrillion Btu in 2035, at an average annual rate of 1.6 percent, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported in its International Energy Outlook.

Tom Whipple - Deepwater Horizon: The Aftermath

With BP's oil well close to being permanently sealed, we are beginning to gain more insight into the effects the blowout will have on oil production in the years ahead.

Deepwater Drilling Ban Could End Soon

The deepwater drilling ban in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico may end well in advance of its Nov. 30 expiration date, the Washington Post quoted Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEM) Michael Bromwich as saying on Aug. 3.

Gulf Spill Has Us Seeing Oil, Oil Everywhere

Every week seems to bring fresh news about a disastrous oil spill. But the question is whether more such spills are taking place — or whether news outlets are simply paying more attention to them in the wake of the record-breaking spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Australia: Don't believe the Greens, we'll be running on gas

IF you thought Kyoto and Copenhagen were nonsense, wait until you see what the Greens have in store next with their global oil depletion protocol.

Aramco Cuts Oil Prices on September Crude Sales to Asia, Europe

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest state-owned oil company, lowered official selling prices on all crude grades for customers in Asia and Europe for September, and cut prices for light grades to the U.S.

The company reduced the formula price of its Arab Super Light to Asia the most among cargoes heading east, dropping it by 85 cents a barrel to 25 cents a barrel above the benchmark Dubai price assessment published by Platts.

Saudi's PetroRabigh halts gasoline output

Saudi Arabia's Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co (PetroRabigh) experienced a technical difficulty that halted production, meaning the leading oil exporter needs to import around five cargoes of gasoline, traders said on Wednesday.

The nuclear Gulf

Experts in alternative energy stress that the world is at a stage where crude oil and gas are no longer able to cope with global energy demands, and the steady rise in the price of oil is accompanied by an even higher rise in the cost of its production and export. This is slowing down the industry's growth because the quick profits made by some exporting countries are barely enough to cover their own financial deficits, as is the case with Iran, for example.

‘Local production of wind turbines to be encouraged’

The Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) is planning to increase the local manufacturing and fabrication of various components of wind mills from 20 to 50 per cent within the next three years.

“Pakistan has immense alternative/renewable energy (ARE) resources, modern facilities as well as highly-skilled and hard working manpower — enough to make a strong manufacturing base of RE equipment in the country,” AEDB Chief Executive Officer said while addressing a consultative workshop on Tuesday.

Political violence rages in Karachi, 12 more killed

KARACHI — More than a dozen more people were killed overnight in Pakistan's Karachi, deepening fears of instability in the commercial hub after the killing of a member of the dominant political party in the city.

Electric cars face bumpy road to acceptance

General Motors’ new extended-range Volt is just one of many advanced electric vehicles that will charge into showrooms over the next several years. Proponents believe the nascent switch to electric propulsion will be a critical step in reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and toward the goal of reducing global warming.

But skeptics question the viability of vehicles like Volt, citing their high cost and limited range as factors that could minimize demand, especially at a time when gasoline prices are relatively affordable.

American Shakespeare Center firing a sign of budget, employee changes

Curren this week started a marketing agency, Curren Media Group, which he plans to operate with his wife, Lindsay. The company will focus on clean energy and the arts, Curren said. He also hopes to launch an online magazine targeting the issues of peak oil, he said.

Bill McKibben - Climate change: It's time to talk, and act, tough

I'm a mild-mannered guy, a Methodist Sunday school teacher. I'm not quick to anger. But the time has come to get mad, and then to get busy.

New garbage patch discovered in Indian Ocean

Scientists previously mapped huge floating trash patches in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, but now a husband-wife team researching plastic garbage in the Indian Ocean suggest a new and dire view. "The world's oceans are covered with a thin plastic soup," says Anna Cummins, cofounder of 5 Gyres Institute.

EU Seeks Caspian Gas Accord to Cut Russian Dependence

The European Union is seeking an agreement on a natural-gas pipeline between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan as the 27-nation bloc aims to import Caspian fuel and reduce its dependence on Russia.

The EU regulator’s energy unit drafted a document that the parties could use as the basis for a deal on building at least one pipeline across the Caspian Sea, according to a copy of the non-binding paper obtained by Bloomberg.

Oil Falls From Three-Month High on Concerns Over U.S. Recovery

Crude oil traded near its highest level in three months before a report forecast to show that U.S. crude inventories declined for the first time in three weeks.

Oil pared earlier losses of as much as 1.1 percent after a report showed that U.S. companies added more jobs than forecast in July. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News before a Department of Energy report today said stockpiles probably fell by 1.65 million barrels.

US Senate delays action on scaled-back energy bill

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The biggest maritime oil spill was not enough to get US senators to agree on a scaled-back energy bill that would have tackled oil exploration and spill cleanup, a top lawmaker said Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the offshore oil drilling reform bill would be delayed to September, after legislators return from their summer August recess, because there is not enough support for it at present.

Death and oil in Niger Delta's illegal refineries

Niger Delta, Nigeria (CNN) -- The young man, his body glistening with black oil and sweat, poured more oil onto the fire. The flames roared, heating two barrels of oil to explosive temperatures. He escaped to a safer distance, a slight smile breaking his grim face ­-- he had survived.

"This job is very dangerous," he explains, asking to remain anonymous. "The smoke, the heat ­-- I cannot count the number of people who have died in explosions because they cannot escape the flames."

He is risking his life trying to refine diesel from oil in the swamps of Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta.

Saudi Aramco, Dow Chemical Shift Joint Venture Chemical Plant to Jubail

Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest state-owned oil company, and partner Dow Chemical Co. will shift the location of a proposed chemical and plastics plant to Jubail on the Persian Gulf coast.

The partners expect to complete the engineering and design by mid-2011, the companies said today in a statement distributed by Business Wire. They moved it from a planned spot at Ras Tanura in Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia.

BP 'plugs' Gulf of Mexico oil well

NEW ORLEANS (AFP) – BP reached a "significant milestone" Wednesday in its bid to end the worst oil spill in history, using a procedure called a "static kill" to bring its runaway well in the Gulf of Mexico under control.

After pumping heavy drilling fluid into the busted well for eight hours, the company said "the MC252 well appears to have reached a static condition -- a significant milestone."

75 percent oil from Gulf of Mexico spill is gone: official

WASHINGTON (AFP) – About three-quarters of the oil spilled from the ruptured BP well in the Gulf of Mexico has disappeared, a top US official said Wednesday.

"The scientists are telling us about 25 percent was not captured or evaporated or taken care of by mother nature," said Carol Browner, a top energy adviser to President Barack Obama, on the ABC network's "Good Morning America" programme.

Deepwater Horizon: A scientist at the centre of the spill

Vernon Asper was one of the first researchers in the Gulf of Mexico to study the oil gushing out from the BP well. But it has not all been smooth sailing.

Mexico says it will sue BP over oil spill in the Gulf

(CNN) -- The Mexican government is planning to make BP and the United States pay for damages and for costs associated with the company's ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, the state news agency Notimex reported Monday.

BP could learn from Exxon's safety response to Valdez oil spill

Little details like that, Exxon says, may seem so minor they don't matter. But the company, which before BP was known for the USA's most notorious oil spill, says they add up to a culture that makes deepwater oil drilling safe. The Exxon Valdez spill 21 years ago in Alaska marked a turning point for Exxon that gave rise to processes that have made Exxon a safer operator, industry analysts say. BP needs a similar change, many argue, given the devastating spill.

BP faces massive lawsuit over Texas site: report

LONDON (AFP) – BP has been hit with a 10-billion-dollar lawsuit over an alleged leak of toxic chemicals at its Texas City refinery as it struggles to recover from the Gulf oil spill, a report said Wednesday.

Jeff Rubin - Just keep spilling: Is gas any better?

Just as BP has finally succeeded in capping the ruptured Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, Canadian pipeline giant Enbridge has sprung a leak in the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. 2010 certainly hasn’t been a banner year for the North American oil industry.

The Enbridge leak in Michigan is a poignant reminder of the thousands of miles of pipeline that crisscross North America. The Kalamazoo spill is not the first pipeline to burst on the continent, nor will it be the last; spills are a fact of life in the business. But this one may have broad implications for the future of tar sands production.

Fire put out at British nuclear weapons base

London, England (CNN) -- Fire crews have extinguished a fire at a nuclear weapons base west of London, the British Ministry of Defence said Wednesday.

Local food network can take root here

Our wild global ride is made possible only through the availability of abundant cheap energy. Hello, Jeff Rubin, author of Why Your World is Going to Get a Whole Lot Smaller. His essential thesis is that because of peak oil there will be very little more cheap energy. Global demand for petroleum energy and its available supply are beginning to diverge, signaled by the great price run-up in 2008, and the likelihood is that prices will return to those heights in the not-too-distant future.

According to Rubin, the era of cheap energy is coming to a close. The train is still rocketing along, but the ride is getting distinctly wobbly.

Carbon Capture Closer to Profit as Brent Rally Continues

Capturing pollution from European power plants and using it to force oil from underground reservoirs may turn a profit for the first time as crude prices rise toward $100 a barrel.

Gathering carbon dioxide and pumping it into deposits to extract more crude for so-called enhanced oil recovery became too costly for companies after Brent crude fell 73 percent between its record high in July 2008 and December that year, according to Thomas Greenwood, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The 115 percent rebound since then may make it profitable even without government subsidies that are designed to curb the emissions, he said.

FACTBOX - Differences at U.N. climate talks

Following are the positions of key negotiating groups and countries as stated so far this week. Agreement on a new U.N. deal will require complete consensus.

Poll: Action needed on global warming

PALO ALTO, Calif. (UPI) -- Large majorities in three U.S. states say global warming is a threat and they support government efforts to control greenhouse gas emissions, a poll indicates.

More than three quarters of the residents of Florida, Maine and Massachusetts contacted in a Stanford University poll think that if the world has been warming, it has been due primarily or at least partly to "things people do," a university release said Tuesday.

Is Environmentalism a Luxury Good?

Add environmentalism to the long list of things the Great Recession may have successfully pulverized.

That is one implication of a new working paper titled “Environmental Concern and the Business Cycle: The Chilling Effect of Recession,” by Matthew E. Kahn at U.C.L.A and Matthew J. Kotchen at Yale. Using survey data, it finds that high unemployment rates are associated with less concern for the environment and greater skepticism about global warming.

I've posted links in the past to other very tiny houses. I really think it is the way of the future.

Got to say I disagree intensely.

Very tiny houses are generally poorly insulated ("thin steel") and very inflexible. They are predicated on a few ideas; that packing people into an area is 'ecological', that the energy used can be limited as a consequence; and that people will put up with them.

Fairly obviously, they are hair shirt solutions.

Better to think wider and deeper about decentralising society, multiple use residences, and above all - insulation and distributed energy generation.

Good point, especially the part about multiple uses.

I have a "full size" house and I "need" every inch of space in it even though I live alone as a bachelor. I have a garden; gotta have a tool shed. I have a versatile set of craftsman skills; gotta have more tools, AND suitable work space. I have multiple hobbies (all cross-useable for various practical applications) requiring MORE space and MORE tools.

All of it, the house and everything I own inside of it, is ALL paid for by the way, so it ain't goin' anywhere anytime soon.

Well, garyp, I agree with you about the priority that insulation deserves and see value in distributed energy 'conversion' systems, including 'passive' systems such as clotheslines, but when you say "think wider and deeper about decentralising society", I'm left to wonder just what it is you're talking about.

How, for example, do you decentralize society, when you are one in millions engaged in a system of production and distribution that inevitably, by all empirical evidence, concentrates wealth? And, seemingly, therefore concentrates power.

What do we do about the following, which appears to be the work of the plutocracy, with the 'guided' support of masses of people, especially, almost hilariously, self-described 'conservatives'?

There are today 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies working on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States, The Washington Post reported in an investigation by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin. These agencies employ an estimated 854,000 people, all of whom hold top-secret security clearances, the Post found. And in Washington, D.C., and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together, the paper reported, they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings—about 17 million square feet.



We live in a command and control society where the means of survival are centralised and shared across very large number of peoples. From the accountants view of 'efficiency' that's a good thing; but its hellishly unstable and has little resilience to trying times.

Better to strategically look to distribute the means of survival (and everything else) so that if one area goes 'tits-up', it doesn't have a knock on effect across tens of millions of people. Even if it costs a little more, the benefits are significant in a time of uncertainty.

One example of that is to look to break down the monolithic city, keeping the groupings of like minded individuals, but not putting lots of such groups together. The reliance then comes on networks to connect groupings, and mass transit for the times when physical meeting is required. The quid pro quo is less commuting - and a net effect of reduced fossil fuel usage.

At the limit, you live and work in the same building - your home. This is not too strange, until the industrial revolution it was the rule, and its where we are headed in the future as well. However that's not going to work if you build rabbit hutches.

I don't think the single life , one person per unit living alone, is going to persist into the future, and it never really caught on even in the recent past-most of us have significant others and kids, excepting older widows and widowers.

Tiny little houses cost a lot more per square foot of space to build, to heat, and aircondition, everything else equal,than larger houses.

And the amount of space needed per in habitant does not rise in proportion to the number of people in a house;bathrooms, utility spaces, kitchens,storage clostes, and other spaces are generally shared in larger dwellings.One electrical, one water, and one sewer hookup serves a thousand or five thousand square foot house.

Larger houses actually lived in by several individuals will prove to be far more economical and less environmentally disruptive in the end.

But I agree that we have way too much junk.

I agree with the first sentence of this Oldfarmermac. Reading that 'off-grid' story above, I wonder just how off-grid you can be when you have a fridge and freezer, and, as can be seen in photos, lots of plastic stuff. All this has to be manufactured somewhere? All this is dependent on industrial society. Though this is an inspiring story I think the only future we've got is within communities, towns and villages, even small cities. Only by sharing expertise and resources will we maintain some semblance of civilisation. Heroic or rugged individualism will perhaps be unsustainable. Ironically.

As a designer, I know that if I make design a house to just be like a tin can, I am doing the people living in it no good at all. Just making a blanket statement like you did is not correct.

Some designs will be good, some will be bad. You can make small earth shelters, small straw bales, small cave dwellings, all of them passive solar and of very low energy use.

It is not what you can't design, it is what you can design.

The problem with small houses, is that they aren't a total fix solution and not everyone is going to want to live in a cell with the outside being the true home. Timy homes are more for people who like camping out, who can handle living in a small space, who are fit and young, or fit and old, but the key word here is fit.

Break a leg, or break an arm, and your tiny home gets to be a bit rough climbing the ladder to the loft. Or if you are elderly, and getting around if hard for you, they don't in most cases meet handicapped standards. So like I said, that are a novel way of solving some problems, but not a cure all, like you said.

It is according to the designer how tin box like they are. I have lived in house trailers( the old trailer park kind) and in the summer they are hard to keep cool and in the winter time they are hard to keep warm, they never seemed to be made for the extremes of the weather cycle. And strong winds tend to mesh them up pretty badly.

People in big cities the world over are living in small spaces, using the space to the fullest is the best way to go. You can also design apartments in such a way to use the space given in unique ways to get the best results for those people convined to live there. Or you could just pack them in little square boxes and hope they don't turn into lab rats in a maze.

There is not going to be one size fits all, type of designs here, there are going to be as many new ideas on how to pack people into spaces as there are people with pen and paper and sticks and stone to work with them. We all have to watch out for using blanket statements when we talk about designs of houses, and spaces, nothing is going to be like it was before.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed world.
Ice pack hugs(to hot to hug any other way).

...or the tiny cubbies in Japan airports :)

Might be a good austerity measure to have cubby-hole condos everywhere: No need for furniture, just a place to sleep, read, watch TV, surf the 'net, and procreate.

Go easy on the procreate part.

I expect that millions of people living in Mcmansions will be living in a room or two to save on heating and air conditioning within the next few years.

The link to the paper about the destruction of environmentalism due to economic troubles deserves a serious discussion.

Lomnburg(sp?) devoted a considerable bit of space to expoloring the connection between prosperity and the willingness and ability of a society to pay for environmental measures.

Unfortunately, most environmentalists attacked the messenger and and did thier best to slime the message rather than actually reading the book and discussing it in a serious and sober way, in my personal estimation.

I read the book, and while I disagree with the majority of it,I am considerably better informed as a result.

It is well worth reading-even if only to better understand the arguments of the bau camp.

Correcting myths from Bjørn Lomborg. He's about as on the level as your typical talk radio host.

I simply suggest that you actually take the time to read the book;just about everybody has an agenda, and if you want to think for yourself, you must go to sources.

Incidentally, the very first line of the link indicates that there is useful information that needs to be taken into account in the book.

I personally believe in ACC in general and warming in particular.

But just to make my point, I will point out the the entire fricking cc establishment seems to have happily taken the money and operated for years on the untested and unexamined assumptions of the bau crowd-despite the existence of numerous reputable scientists and other professionals working in forums such as this one, laboring mightily to prove that the assumptions of bau will not hold up.

Now maybe all these guys were simply unaware of concepts such as limits to growth, and ignorant of peal oil for instance, but it seems kind of hard for me to accept that, since most of them would at least run into a few people who think differently, considering the ivory tower environment.

It seems to me that they were and are simply willing(in a good cause in this particular instance)to use ethically questionable techniques to advance thier cause-the technique being to operate on the basis of unexamined assumptions which tend to render the results of thier work questionable.

People such as some of my religious nieghbors often try to keep thier kids from seeing and hearing about things commonplace to the rest of the world,from drugs and music to premarital sex.

When somebody tries to discourage somebody else from examining a source directly,I become suspicious of thier motives immediately.Anybody who will actually read Lomberg is either open minded enough to make up his own mind after reading other books, or has made up his mind anyway.

A person who is sure of his ground welcomes the uninformed to examine the ground occupied by his opponents.

Incidentally, the message that impressed me the most, and that rang true as a silver bell, is that a prosperous society CAN AFFORD to clean up behind itself, and generally DOES SO, to a far far greater extent than an impoverished society.

Of course I do recognize that due to the resources and population problem, most societies not already prosperous probably aren't going to make the grade.

Now maybe all these guys were simply unaware of concepts such as limits to growth, and ignorant of peal oil for instance, but it seems kind of hard for me to accept that, since most of them would at least run into a few people who think differently, considering the ivory tower environment.

No. Its just the way science gets apportioned. You do your own specialist piece, in this case given a suite of emissions scenarios, determine the range of likely climate responses. They aren't given license to make up new scenarios, that is someone elses job. If they did that (they aren't expert on FF supply issues, they could be attacked to making up stuff).

Lots of times the "scope" of an organizations study is restricted (i.e. proceed with these assumptions). In any case the job of the climatologist is to determine what the atmosphere will do with the input, not to determine what that input is going to be. In this case the problem is that the organizations charged with doing that part of the analysis (USGS, CERA, IEA) are not credible with the PO community.

So does that stop a tenured professor from saying in other forums that maybe the assumptions used in doing climate science predictions are badly flawed?

I can't say that I remember hearing about any such comments from any of the leaders of the field.

Now I am not saying that any of these scientists are actually telling any lies.

But they ARE refraining from telling the whole truth.

This is why you must always hear what the opposition has to say to really know what is going on.

Remember that I do personally believe in ACC in general and warming in particular.I even will go so far as to say that I think the published estimates of the rate of warming may be way too conservative,and that we may be in deep doo-doo a lot sooner than anybody except the worst case doomers thinks.

Even stopped clocks and wingnuts both left and right are correct once in a while.

i'm inclined to shoot the climate change deniers' messenger when that messenger was also involved in the campaign to convince people of the harmlessness of smoking...

...especially now that i'm coughing up gobbets of unidentified slime after smoking for 50 years.

shame on me for believing physicists and chemists when they say co2 is a greenhouse gas, and shame on me for believing we're depositing 30 billion tons of the stuff into the atmosphere every year.

shame on me for believing in cause/effect relationships.

I have not advocated taking Lomburg's work at face value;obviously you missed my point altogether.

It is also obvious that you have not read the book, and therefore really don't have the faintest idea of the actual contents or arguments thereof.

Maybe you failed to notice that in my original comment I said that I myself disagree with a lot of what he writes.

See RMG'S comment below.

you are casting doubt on the competence and honesty of the IPCC scientists.

are you casting doubt because you know the IPCC's conclusions were watered down by pressure from our neocon president and his henchmen?

EDIT: google search: bush administration climate scientists pressure

according to you, we are supposed to "hear what the opposition has to say to really know what is going on"...

...despite the fact that the opposition is spearheaded by some of the same people who protected big tobacco for decades.

does that make any sense?

It does make sense, yes-because even though the speaker may have credibility issues and bias issues, which I readily admit is the case in this particular case, the speaker may still have some useful data, and listening to him informs the listener of the nuances of the thinking of the opposition.

I don't appeal to authority.

As to whether I am casting doubt on the integrity and competency of the IPCC is concerned, that is a matter of opinion-how would you feel if you found out your spouse or best friend was selectively cherry picking data when advising you about an important issue?

Surely you must understand that little old lies, white ones and black, can be told by LEAVING OUT data , as well as cherry picking what is transmitted.Furthermore, since I have stated twice that i agree with thier conclusions, it is obvious I don't doubt thier competence.

I am accusing them of being subject to all the ordinary failings of our species, of being naked apes endowed with hypertrophied brains, able to see on which side thier bread is buttered and not unnecessarily endangering thier own turf.

I advocate listening to both sides of every argument,and that is my personal policy.

Now in some cases,I long ago decided that one side or the other was hopelessly out of touch with reality, and no longer need to hear both sides-of the creationism or intelligent design argument for instance.

But if somebody who truly does not understand this issue comes to me for advice, which actually happens occasionally,I tell them to study the ID argument first, which they have already done in virtually every case anyway, being fundamentalists.

Then I loan them my personal copy of Dawkin's "The Blind Watchmaker" and any old elementary school level geology text around.They make up thier own minds, and the ones who are capable of understanding Dawkins and Darwinian are genuinely shaken by the experience.

In the last analysis ,you, not I make the appeal to authority;you haven't read Lumberg, but I have read the climate scientists-enough of them , at any rate, to be swayed by thier arguments.

I want everybody to hear both sides of the story;it seems to me that you would burn or ban Lomburg's book if it were within your power.

according to you, it makes sense to listen to climate change deniers who were also hired by big tobacco to deny the harmful effects of smoking.

very good, i will remember that as i drown in my own semi-precious body fluids.

as far as appealing to authority... i'm forbidden to quote scientific data that seems to prove co2 is a warming gas, even if that data has been accepted for over a hundred years, because that's an appeal to authority?

i'm forbidden to mention that the amount of co2 supposedly injected into the atmosphere is 30 billion tons per year, because that's an appeal to authority?

sorry, for the time being, until you come up with evidence that co2 is not a warming gas, and evidence that we are not injecting 30 billion tons of co2 into the atmosphere every year, i'm gonna appeal to the authority of my own common sense to say that co2 is warming the atmosphere.

that's just how i am.

Man, Blade. You're still ranting.

You didn't listen to a word Mac said, you just threw all the most extreme conclusions you could muster from your stereotypes, as he was trying to offer something more from the middle-ground.

I don't buy Lomborg's overall case either, but as Mac said, it makes sense to be aware of the full argument, and also to see where they are right, as much as where they are wrong.

humans are supposed to be good at pattern recognition.

the neocons said they needed a new pearl harbor to kick off their project to achieve benevolent global hegemony... they were installed into positions of power, and their new pearl harbor happened.

the new pearl harbor episode was a criminal matter, in which the accused was offered up for justice if the neocons would only provide evidence, which they refused to provide... the neocons preferred war to law enforcement.

to achieve their benevolent global hegemony, and to control oil consumption and co2 production, the neocons need to control oil.

when it came time to morph the afghan war into war with iraq, the neocons lied, successfully, and they got their war with iraq.

now they are attempting to lie us into war with iran.

is a pattern emerging, here?

do neocons have to achieve their benevolent global hegemony before their armies run out of oil?

do neocons have to use their hegemony to restrict production of co2 before the methane gets away from us?

is a pattern emerging here?

or does this pattern instead add up to nothing more than cover for the grandest looting opportunity, ever?

or are there factions of looters, and true believers and opportunists of all stripes, including religious fanatics and racial supremacists?

beats the living dogpoop outa me.

one thing seems undeniable: a pattern is emerging, and maybe that pattern means different things to different people... but meanwhile, we can assume that the neocons, including the global warming deniers, will remain faithful to their pattern of lying when the rest of us would be better served by the truth.

Not every diverging or contradictory view comes from a 'NeoCon extremist', Blade.

You really think it makes things better to push every evaluation farther into pure Black and White?

Actually you still don't get it;I am advocating that people interested in any issue study the positions advocated by both sides.

When I was an teacher,a long time ago, I was hauled into talk to my supervisor for discussing lung cancer in class when I was supposed to be teaching a lesson on the importance of tobacco in the local economy.Tobacco at that time was the eight hundred pound local farm economy guerilla,and parents got irate in a hurry!.

I'm truly sorry about your health problems;and if it were left up to me, the only way you could get tobacco legally would be thru prescription at a drug store if you were already hooked on it.

there comes a point when you have to start wondering why the neocons of the AEI and their exxon allies are denying global warming.

you got any ideas on that?

If he does, it would only be by listening to what they say (and leave out) and extrapolating from there, no?

I read Lomborg's book, The Skeptical Environmentalist. It's actually quite accurate, and backed up by thousands of references. I checked a statistical sample of the references (I don't have time to check all of them), and have to say that they were quite valid. He really did his homework on writing this book.

On the energy front, which is my area of specialty, things are actually rosier than Lomborg claims. There are a lot of energy resources available that Lomborg didn't know about, not being an Earth Scientist.

However, you have to keep in mind that Lomborg is obviously a "glass-is-half-full" kind of person. Most of his critics, on the other hand, are "glass-is-half-empty" types. They will take the same data and come to diametrically opposite conclusions. I think of this as more a matter of brain chemistry than factual data.

On the other hand, Al Gore's book, An Inconvenient Truth, was noteworthy mainly for the number of scientific errors it contained. Many of them were real clangers. Gore is a politician, not a scientist, so he will never admit he made any mistakes (or even realize he made mistakes), but a British judge identified nine of the more glaring. He insisted the British government distribute an error list with the books it sent out to school children, because otherwise it violated a British law against indoctrinating children.

do you ever wonder why exxon and the AEI had to buy climate change denial papers at $10,000 a whack?

what's that about?

what kind of science are you gonna get out of hired guns who are hired for their willingness to toe the neocon party line?

Your appeal to authority misses the fact that Lomborg's book includes numerous errors. While I haven't read the entire book, I did look thru a few sections which I have made some effort to understand and I found it full of errors as well. As with all good propaganda, much of the work is true, but that does not make the result convincing...

E. Swanson

Indeed. There's a whole book by Howard Friel detailing them.

I don't doubt that there are incorrect statements in Lomborg's book, but most of them occur because his sources make mistakes. I think using the USGS estimates of global oil resources is misleading because the USGS tends to wildly overestimate resources. However, Lomborg is right in that most of his references do say what he says they say. It's just that they might be wrong, and in some cases are probably wrong.

However the reference you gave (Lomborg-errors) also makes errors of its own. I reviewed the section on Energy, and it looks like they are quite unclear on what they are talking about. They're particularly confused about what reserves and resources are - even more than Lomborg himself. (He was a bit fuzzy on the subject.)

When they say " by definition the proved reserves means that oil which has already been found," they forgot to add which is producible under current economic conditions using current technology, which as Lomborg correctly points out, means that if economic conditions and/or technology improve, companies will be able to book more reserves and will be able to produce more oil.

This is particularly evident in Canadian production - under 1940's economic conditions with 1940's technology, Canada would today produce almost no oil at all - in fact in the 1940s, Canada imported 90% of its oil. Under 2010 economics using 2010 technology, Canada is by far the largest exporter of oil to the US. Most of it is heavy, offshore, or non-conventional and all of it is expensive.

The US is in a similar position - without vastly increased prices, deepwater offshore technology, Arctic production, and enhanced oil recover methods, its production would be close to zero today. Even Saudi Arabia's production would be in freefall were it not for horizontal drilling technology and waterfloods.

So, really, the error-finders screwed up in this instance. Oil companies are going to be able to spin global oil production out for another century, albeit not at the rate consumers would like to see, and not at a price they would like to pay. This is the source of Lomborg's optimism - at a reduced rate of production and a much higher price, there's a lot of oil left in the world.

Well I have read Lomborg's book. I have quoted from it often here on Drumbeats. My favorite quote, which I have posted it many times, but please allow me to post it again:

At $40 a barrel (less than one-third above the current world price), shale oil can supply oil for the next 250 years at current consumption. And all in all there is oil enough to cover our total energy needs for the next 5,000 years.
- Bjorn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist, Page 135

Virtually everything Lomborg says is a crock of donkey doo. Anyone who thinks we have enough oil to cover our oil needs for the next 5,000 years is a blooming idiot!

Sorry, I don't normally like to call people idiots and really hate it when I do that. But in this case I can find no other proper word.

Ron P.

That's a great excerpt!

But to any errors, RMG will claim that "most of them occur because his sources make mistakes." :)

Hi Darwinian,

I really enjoy your commentary and have learned a lot by reading it, and we generally think alike, with one exception.

I believe a lot of things, but I don't believe ABSOLUTELY in anything having to do with random chance, technology, human nature, and the future.

Now I DON'T BELIEVE that we have enough oil to last five thousand years "all in all", but I am not ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN of that belief.

Nobody a hundred years ago would have believed we could ever drill for oil in ten thousand feet of water, would they?

I don't believe in lots of things that will become realities in the next century, since I can't even imagine what they might be.

I used to read old sci fi and fantasy books one after another;none of the authors foresaw computers.

Furthermore just because an author is wrong-even grossly wrong-in some respects, it does not mean that he is wrong in every respect.

Most of the greatest thinkers in the early days of western philosophy were seriously mistaken in many respects concerning human nature and physical reality; but we still find generous helpings of food for thought in thier work.

got any ideas why the neocons of the AEI are comparing lomborg to galileo?

Lomborg Gets the Galileo Treatment


"got any ideas why the neocons of the AEI are comparing lomborg to galileo?"

Cuz they are both Europeans with 7 letter names?

You insist on making my point for me, Blade....

It seems obvious that you haven't read and comprehended the Galileo link yourself.

I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE everybody to read it-carefully, and soberly, while trying to set asisde thier preconcieved notions of who Lomburg is for just a few minutes.

Most people would rather die than think, and die under torture than to admit they are wrong about something they have said publicly . ;)

Furthermore just because an author is wrong-even grossly wrong-in some respects, it does not mean that he is wrong in every respect.

That is of course true. But, once we've caught him a few times, (maybe his refs check out, but why did he choose those refs and not others...), and you have reason to doubt his integrity, you have to start applying a lot of conditionals to his perhaps still good ideas (i.e. you had better seek independent confirmation).

Yes, SciFi and computers... Watch 2001! Other then sentience how much better are out computers than those in the movie? I'd say at least several thousand times better. How great is our space technology compared to that in the movie? I'd say at least several hundred times less capable than in the movie.

And you can place real limits on oil supply. Like knowing that the deep oceanic crust is volcanic in origin, and being able to drill in 30,000 feet of water will be of absolutely no help there. So we can tell we are getting fairly close to a peak, even if we don't know just how far into the hard-oil rserves we will be able to dip. Remember that tale about the pond weed. It doubles area every day until a month there is no open water left. When is the pond half overgrown? One day before saturation day! So if our pond looks half covered -but we've screwed up and its really only a quarter covered -our estimate is only off by one day. So we can know with high confidence that we cannot be too far away from peak-oil.

Now I DON'T BELIEVE that we have enough oil to last five thousand years "all in all", but I am not ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN of that belief.

Mac, sorry I did not reply last night but I was very busy. But today I must. There is damn little that I am absolutely certain of. But I am absolutely certain of three things. One is death, the other is taxes and third is that we do not have, at current use, enough oil left in the ground to last 5,000 years. That should be obvious to anyone with the ability to reason.

We are currently using about 30 billion barrels per year. We have used, in all of history about 1 trillion barrels of oil. It is estimated, by some, that we have about 1 trillion barrels left. (My estimate is between 600 and 700 billion but that's another story.) If we have enough to last 5,000 years we would have to have 150 trillion barrels left, or about 150 times the average estimate.

I don't give a rat's behind Mac, how deep they drill or how deep the water is or how much salt they must drill under or how much ice they may drill under, they will not find 150 times what most geologists estimate is left.

I hope I made myself clear. ;-)

Ron P.

Morning, Darwinian,

As a practical matter, I am in complete agreement with you about the oil supply.

But as a philosophical matter, you must admit that there is some possibility, however remote, that you and I might be wrong, occasionally, about such matters,if not in this particular case.

It has been so long since I read the book that I cannot remember particulars, but my guess is that the your quote would sound a lot less unreasonable, perhaps even reasonable, within the context of the rest of the chapter or book.

The fact that Lomburg, working from a different perspective, with a different data set, with different training, disagrees with you and me ,in this particular instance, does NOT DISCREDIT HIM in all respects.

The audience here has a distressing tendency to see everything in terms of black and white like an engineer designing a boiler or something.

A discussion of such broad issues as the politics of the economy and the environment cannot be conducted on such terms.

A book of the type written by Lomburg is not properly understood as an operators manual or a text book of design and engineering, but rather as a general discussion of the giant big picture.

Ann Rands novels should be read for the insights into the nature of people and business to be gained thereby, not as blueprints.

But getting the hard core techno types to understand simple literary concepts of this nature is next to impossible.

Oops, I nearly contradicted myself by leaving out "next to." ;)

It has been so long since I read the book that I cannot remember particulars, but my guess is that the your quote would sound a lot less unreasonable, perhaps even reasonable, within the context of the rest of the chapter or book.

NO! Absolutely not. I did not quote him out of context. I never quote out of context. From the book


The evidence clearly shows that we are not headed for a major energy crisis. There is plenty of energy.

We have seen that although we use more and more fossil energy we have found even more. Our reserves - even measured in years of consumption - of oil, coal and gas have increased. Today ew have oil for at least 40 years at present consumption, at least 60 years' of gas, and 230 years' of coal.

At $40 a barrel (less than one-third above the current world price), shale oil can supply oil for the next 250 years at current consumption. And all in all there is oil enough to cover our total energy consumption for the next 5,000 years. There is uranium for the next 14,000 years. Our current energy cost make up less than 2 percent of the global GDP, so even if we were to see large price increases it would still not have significant welfare impact - in all likelihood the budget share for energy would still be falling.

His "conclusion" continues for another page but it is all in the same vein as the above quote. He simply believes there is no energy problem and there will be no energy problem for the next 5,000 years. He believes that oil reserves, though now only 40 years worth, will keep on rising and rising. That is his theme all through the book. That is everything is getting better and better and will continue to do so for centuries to come.

Surely Mac, if you got anything from the book you got that. The theme is that everything is improving and will continue to improve.

No Mac, I did not quote Lomborg out of context. That is something I never do. No matter how large or small my quote I never change the meaning of what I think the author intended to convey.

Ron P.

Ron: I believe the shale oil will last at least 10,000 years, maybe more than a couple million. In two hundred years, humans will use so little oil that a cup now and then will be like $100 fine wine at our house (BTW: we don't have any). In the Olduval gorge the need for oil will be minimum.


I agree Lynford, that is why I specified "at current use" in my post above. After the big collapse we may be down to a few barrels per day worldwide... if that.

Ron P.

At $40 a barrel (less than one-third above the current world price), shale oil can supply oil for the next 250 years at current consumption.

Believe it or not, a 2005 study by the Rand Corporation for the US Department of Energy came up with oil shale costs in that range, and Shell Oil has estimated costs of in-situ oil shale production at $30 per barrel. The Rand study may be what Lomborg is quoting - I can't check because I donated my copy of his book to an ecological organization.

Personally, I think those estimates are excessively optimistic, and real-world costs would probably twice that much, but that's just my opinion. However, I do know that oil sands production costs are well under $40/barrel (I used to consult for oil sands companies), and there's probably twice as much oil in oil sands as oil shales worldwide.

His reserve numbers are definitely out of whack, though. If you added up the total reserves of oil sands, oil shales, and conventional oil, you might get 250 years of supply under very optimistic circumstances. The only way you would get 5,000 years of supply would be to include biofuels. I don't know who he is citing because, as I say, I gave away my copy of his book.

so after we burn shale oil or oil sands oil for another 250 years, at 30 billion tons of co2 per year, what's that gonna do to the co2 and methane levels in the atmosphere?

Believe it or not, a 2005 study by the Rand Corporation for the US Department of Energy came up with oil shale costs in that range, and Shell Oil has estimated costs of in-situ oil shale production at $30 per barrel. The Rand study may be what Lomborg is quoting -

That is doubtful since Lomborg's book was copyrighted in 1998, seven years before the Rand study.

I gave away my copy of his book.

I did not. I keep mine around to look through every time I need a good laugh.

Ron P.

Ron -- I think sometimes the answer is so simple it eludes us: if Shell et al really believe oil shales can be produced profitably at those prices why aren't we seeing them going full speed ahead on developing their oil shale leases given oil is selling for almost twice what they say production costs would be. i think Shell's last statement was that they expected their pilotproject to take 5 to 10 years. And if their answer is that they haven't perfected the technology yet it would also be clear they have no idea what it would costs if they don't know yet how to do it. I've used this approach many times when some promoter starts telling me about the certain profitability of some drilling project: "So how much are you ready to invest in the deal?" Not surprisingly almost no one has ever been willing to put their own money into such a deal. IOW their thought is: It's a well I would really like to drill...with your money.

Well, of course, that is the issue that any seasoned oilman would pick up on. If Shell thinks oil shale is so good, why aren't they proceeding at full speed, putting billions of dollars into an oil shale project? They should put their money where their mouth is, as the saying goes.

In reality, Shell has a lot of other, more profitable, less risky investment opportunities, so those are the ones it will pursue first. By the time Shell gets down to where oil shale is the top opportunity on the list, we'll all be long dead and it will be up to our descendants to develop it.

Of course, everybody is willing to develop it as long as the government pays most of the cost and assumes most of the risk, but that's not an idea that appeals to the government or the taxpayers.

Morning, Rockman,

I hear you! RMG TOO!

For what it is worth, I have drawn MY conclusions about the oil supply in accordance with the general reasoning put forth on this site, and believe that peak oil is here, plus or minus a few trivial years.

I am not asking anybody to accept Lomburg's conclusions, but rather simply too listen to what he has to say.A great deal of his work is relevant to the political debate.

And in the last analysis , next before actual physical facts, this whole issue of energy and environment, is a political debate.What looks like an inevitable collapse based on physical facts could actually be trumped by political action-not that I think it will be.

Life is a giant poker game, and Lomburg is holding some cards.

Only an idiot playing against him would refuse a free look at them.

It is obvious that the majority of the audience here has dismissed the arguments of the bau crowd without understanding them in depth;this is a serious mistake, because the people who believe the arguments find them to be internally consistent and persausive.There are nuances involved.

If minds are to be changed, it behooves those those who would change them to understand these things deeply, given the subtleties involved.

Life is a giant poker game, and Lomburg is holding some cards.

Only an idiot playing against him would refuse a free look at them.

I have looked at Lomborg's cards. I have looked at every single one of them. He is holding nothing but junk. A pair of deuces would beat him.

Mac, I think you should read the book again. Lomborg's theme is that there are no lasting environmental problems. He freely admits that there WERE some problems but they have been basically solved, or they are well on their way to being solved. He says that we are fixing everything.

God, how could you have missed that? And how could you and Lomborg be so wrong. Things are getting worse and worse, not better and better!

You are dead wrong in defending Lomborg Mac. Dead wrong!

Ron P.

Gibbety gibbety ding dang dxxxit,

I am not DEFENDING Lomburg;I am simply trying to get the point across that Lomburg represents the thinking of many tens of millions of people, who think like he does, and who are in charge of the bau world, like it or not.

I have stated several times already that I disagree with ahuge part of his book, but that it is worth reading.That it contains some useful but often overlooked information.


Simply because most of us, meaning the public, and I suspect the noncontributing or lurking audience,don't understand why the bau arguments are so persausive to those who do happen to believe in them.

There is a link somewhere above posted by another detractor listing numerous favorable comments made at the time of publication-by respected environmentalists-the one from the AEI.

I suggest you read it.

So Lomburg was as wrong-twelve years ago lots of people were a lot more optimistic than they are now, including me.So were lots of others wrong.I have not claimed otherwise.

Nobody can win an argument, in terms of changing his opponents mind, without understanding the thinking of his opponent,and formulating his own arguments accordingly.

Lomborg's book was copyrighted in 1998, seven years before the Rand study.

Such is true, so I think Lomborg probably used data from a prior US government study. They all tended to converge on that $40/barrel cost. Unfortunately, I think the US government is completely delusional about the costs of oil shale, so using their numbers was not a good idea. I would use a number about twice as large. Over and above that there's the problem of limited water and fuel resources for oil shale projects.

Fortunately, Canadian and Venezuelan oil sands really are producible at that $40 cost, and there is about twice as much oil worldwide in oil sands as oil shale, but that means the US is stuck with importing most of its oil rather than relying on domestic supplies.

The US government is also quite delusional about its ability to get along without imported oil. The results of that delusion are probably going to be quite unpleasant for Americans, as if they aren't already.

My favorite, courtesy of Joe Romm...

"For instance, Lomborg can't get enough of the IPCC for sea level rise (pp. 60-61):

In its 2007 report, the UN estimates that sea levels will rise about a foot over the rest of the century ... sea-level increase by 2050 will be about 5 inches.
Thanks to this modest sea-level rise, and the possibility that developing countries will have the money in the future to protect their land with levees, he concludes, "a rich Bangladesh will lose only 0.000034 percent of its present dry-land area" (p. 48). No worries, mate!"


The sea level rise issue was the subject of a British Court case against Al Gore's book, An Inconvenient Truth. The judge ruled that it was one of 11 major errors in the book and in the film. The British government is required to issue an errata list with each copy of the book it distributes to schools.

According to the court, a 7 metre rise over the next century is not credible, and a 40 centimetre rise is more likely.

The Gristmill article you cited is completely confused on the subject. The sea level rise after the last ice age was caused by the melting of the huge North American and Eurasian ice caps, which are gone now. The Antarctic and Greenland icecaps are much more stable. They're not likely to melt rapidly in the next century. It would take them centuries to millenia to melt under even the hottest conditions.

The North American and Eurasian icecaps have melted and reformed numerous times over the last few million years, and sea levels have gone up and down like a yo yo - hundreds of feet at a time. But the Antarctic and Greenland icecaps have been there much, much longer. They've survived much warmer conditions.

Of course, when the dinosaurs were here, there was no permanent ice anywhere on the planet, the Arctic Ocean was as warm as the water off California is today, and dinosaurs were running around Antarctica with great big eyes so they could see in the midwinter darkness. However, I don't expect either the dinosaurs or the climate they lived in to reappear in the foreseeable future. (Well, we might be able to bring the dinosaurs back, but not the climate).

While it would take the Greenland ice sheet a long time to melt, one of the troublesome issues with glacier dynamics is that they can slide into the ocean before they are done melting.

I'm not recommending investing in oceanfront property in Iowa, but I'm definitely concerned about the 50-year outlook for our coastal cities.

Well, no, having the ice sheets slide into the ocean assumes they are on an inclined plane sloping toward the ocean, and could slide on meltwater toward the ocean. That's a very simplistic model that dates from the 18th century.

In reality the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are sitting in vast basins, and they would have to slide uphill to get to the ocean. That's probably why they exist in the first place - if they were sitting on inclined planes they would have slid into the ocean long ago (i.e. they never would have formed). The basins allow snow to collect for millions of years without sliding or blowing away.

Unfortunately, people trot out the old 18th century theories without realizing that we know much more about these glaciers today.

I'll need a reference before I buy your claim.

These guys might know a bit more about the matter than either of us:

Hint: they are studying the flow of glaciers in Greenland to the sea. Uphill, by your assertion.

To RockyMtnGuy
I just happened to read this comment of yours.
I am the author of the Lomborg-errors web site. And I want to point out that you misrepresent what I said there.
The page commenting on Lomborg´s energy chapter, which you refer to, is on this link:
At the start of that chapter is very clearly put a definition of what is understood by the word `reserve`. It says:
"The resource is "all that there is". The reserves are a subset of this, namley those quantities that are economically recoverable with current technology."
I think it is impossible to overlook this when reading the text. Then in the NEXT paragraph is explained what is understood by the word `proved reserves´, and it is said that this term desribes that part of the reserves which has actually been found. The formulation is the one that you cite: " by definition the proved reserves means that oil which has already been found". And this is correct, I am sure.
When you cite that sentence as if it were the understanding of the term `reserve´, you are deliberately denigrating the text with no proper reason. I guess that you want to denigrate all what is said onLomborg-errors, because you refuse to admit that Lomborg´s books are permeated with errors. So you just grab the first alleged flaw that you can catch sight of, and then on this basis discard the whole web site. And you do it deliberately, as that flaw does not exist in reality, but is one that you have made up yourself. In effect you are lying to the readers about what you have read so that you do not have to perform the difficult process of revising your own views.
You are a person with a weak case if you have to make up lies in order to defend your own point of view. I guess it is a waste of time discussing with people like you who do this.

I'd like to apologize for speed-reading past the definitions at the top of the chapter, and not noticing the full definition of "reserves" at the top. However, the definition of "resources" as "The resource is "all that there is", is too simplistic. There are various different definitions of "resources", and in most cases it is not "all that there is". In fact, it is best not to use the word at all and use, "total oil in place", or "ultimate recoverable reserves", or some other more meaningful phrase.

The Society of Petroleum Engineers changed their definitions of "reserves" and "resources" after Lomborg wrote his book, so his definitions probably do not match current ones. I was a member of the SPE at the time so I followed the changes closely.

The definitions also vary from country to country. The US definition of "proven reserves" is very restrictive - conventional oil reserves had to be proven to a 90% probability of existence, and for non-conventional reserves, the production facilities had to be built before companies could claim the oil existed. Most other countries used "probable reserves" - which meant a 50% chance of them existing, and some countries seemed to use the "possible reserves" standard - 10% chance of existence. In general, US reserves will always grow as fields are developed, most countries will stay more or less the same, and countries using the 10% standard will see their reserves shrink.

The trouble with the original definitions was that they made reserves meaningless in the context of non-conventional oil. For oil sands, it meant that companies with billions of barrels of economic and technically producible oil sands reserves could claim no "proven reserves" at all, until they built all the production facilities. For this reason, Canadian authorities used the term, "established reserves" to indicate they knew the oil was there, but production facilities had not necessarily been built.

The problem with the American oil shale resources is that the resource is not oil and it is not in shale. The substance is actually a waxy substance called kerogen, and the rock it is in is usually marlestone. This makes interpreting the technical papers very difficult. Your interpretation differs substantially from Lomberg's. I don't think either of you are very accurate about it, and a lot of the information is meaningless in the context of non-conventional oil.

On the energy front, which is my area of specialty, things are actually rosier than Lomborg claims.

This may be true. Lomborg claims, on page 135 of his book, that we have enough oil to last 5,000 years. Hell we may have even enough to last 10,000 years. This man is a genius I tell you. He does his research.

Yeah right!

Just curious RockyMtnGuy, if things are rosier on the energy front than Lomborg claims, as you believe, just how many years of oil use do we have left.

Ron P.

Well, we probably do have 5,000 years of oil in the ultimate analysis, but you have to realize that 5,000 years is an impossibly long time to predict technological advance. Long before 5,000 years are up we will be able to bring in methane from the fabled lakes of Titan by interplanetary LNG carrier. Or we'll sit in our 500,000 square metre orbiting space homes and wonder, "Why would anyone need oil when solar power is so cheap and teleportation is so fast?"

I just don't know. I think the key goal is to get through the next 50 years successfully. After that it will be someone else's problem. Or not, if people are living a lot longer by then.

If that is a serious answer on your part then you live in la-la land. Interplanetary LNG carriers? I have heard such silly solutions for schoolchildren but never before from a serious adult.

But I think you were just trying to dodge the question by trying to be funny. After all, no one could really believe that crap.

Lomborg said we had enough oil to last 5,000 years and you said, very seriously, that things were even rosier than that. So when I challenge you on that statement you dodge the question by just getting silly.

Thanks a lot.

Ron P.

How about we focus on 'reasonably' small houses that folks might actually want to live in.

We are in a functional in-city neighborhood and live in a 1919 house with an 850 sq ft footprint. Between the basement, ground floor and converted attic there is about 1600 sq ft of usable space. We have two builtin closets, one bathroom and one designated bedroom. The basement and attic are open-floorplan, flex space. We also have an 11'x13' cabin in the back yard.

We survive quite happily in this modest home with 2 adults, 3 kids (10, 14 & 16), a large dog and two offices. (We maintain no other office space.) Oh, and lets not forget the grand piano that takes up space in the living room. (Maybe that's why I don't have room for a shop.)

Yes, we have to go through our belongings about once a year and decide what we're not using any more because of limited storage. And we need to be conscious of everything we buy for the house, making sure that it is multi-purpose. But it's a very functional, very efficient home that seems perfectly adequate for a busy family like ours.

Americans who feel they need 1000 sq ft per person need to talk with someone who grew up before the 1960's or go spend some time in Europe to learn how to live a good life with significantly less space/stuff.

Best hopes for small, efficient homes.


I'm living in a 1923 Foursquare with 1st and 2nd floor of 525 SF, a barely tolerable remodeled attic with no headroom of ... 125 SF? and a basement with low headroom for laundry, shop, and spare TV. It wasn't quite enough for 2 adults and 2 kids so we added a ~550 SF addition of a family room and master BR. We're still at 1 1/2 baths, though.

Seriously, this more-or-less 1500 - 1800 SF house is plenty for 4. We have a living room, family room, spare bedroom, office ... what the hell more do you need?

Oh yeah, a dumpster every couple of years. :-)

I had did some research and analysis about the size of houses needed comparing to family size. I concluded that there should be 100 sq m / 1000 sq ft plot per person in family, with ideally 25% of it in the central building and 25% more in 4 side buildings namely toilet, stable / garage / tool shed, kitchen, pool / well. That leaves 50% of building as open place, ideally half of it should be in front side of house, that is, from where the main entrance is, rest half of the open place should be at back side of the house. The front open place should be a lawn with grass and ideally flower plants at sides, the back open place should be free of all vegetation and built on stone.

The central building should be the actual house. It should have three floors, one on the ground (the ground floor), one above it (the first floor) and one under the ground (the basement). The ground floor should be just a large hall that makes all of the drawing room, dining room, living room and family room in one large hall. It should have two doors opening to front side of the house and back side of the house with large, as large that a man can stand in it, windows at both sides. The first floor should be bedroom and private place for the family where non-relative guests such as friends and neighbours are not allowed. The basement should be a storage place for food, clothing and precious belongings. The house must store food for 1 year, food that don't get spoiled in a year or two, such as wheat (but not flour), rice, pulses, dry fruits, powder milk etc. The stairs to go to top floor of house must be at the backyard, out of reach of non-relative guests. Relative guests are ofcourse allowed to go to any place in house. Every room in house must have two doors, at front and back of the room, and two sets of windows at two sides or one set of window.

So why this particular design. Well, once electricity is gone you must have a place to live that is appropriately windy, that requires open place atleast 10 m in front of every window and door of house. Its heat of summer and late autumn that would be disturbing, not cold of winter because there are 101 ways to get yourself warm in winter: warm clothes, cap, shoes, socks, fire, isolation from outside, birds' meat, dry fruits etc, but few ways to get yourself cold in summer. A proper ventilation is almost as much a necessity as water.

Basement is much to save yourself in case of extreme weathers which are likely in future due to effects of global warming and major wars and break up of states etc. Rationing for 1 year is not paranoidal, its a must. Bathroom must be separate from the living place because in absence of sewerage system, flush and pipes the smell can become a big problem. Kitchen also needs to be a separate place to avoid fires which are much more deadly in absence of proper fire brigade provided by state. Ideally the kitchen and toilet should be placed at opposite corners of plot. A water well or pool must be present once state don't provide any supply of water. Finally, a horse, donkey, camel, whatever means of transportation is kept must be separately placed from living place.

The entire plot for a single family house need be 400 sq m or 4000 sq ft with actual building be of 100 sq m or 1000 sq ft. The top floor is 200 sq m with 5 m long balconies coming out at each side. At ground a 15 m open place at each side of house.

The top floor is 200 sq m with 5 m long balconies coming out at each side.

What - so you can sit up there with a machine gun, bravely defending your very large castle, picking off the pitchfork-wielding hordes as they charge through your veggie garden? Your whole post is pretty-much doomer porn I reckon ... I think you're likely to be a long time dead before it comes to anything like your scenario - sorry to disappoint you - better pay the bills.

NO. The wide balconies is to provide shade from sun to lower floor. A very common practise in asia, europe and africa prior to industrial age.

An advice for you: live without electricity in a warm region (summer temperature above 40 degree celsius) for a month or fortnight.

We have wide verandahs in Australia as well - to protect walls from the fierce sun - but usually on the ground floor. Plus we lived in the very humid tropics and very hot central desert of this country for 17 years, with electricity, yes, but without air con - we coped.

Yesterday, I had a very in-depth conversation with people who go into foreclosed homes to see what needs to be done. I was almost at the point of tears hearing how many of these places are still fully furnished with great care... and if one looks at some of the personal things left behind one supposedly finds that these people basically were sold on a dream, then forced to walk away and literally leave their lives behind.

One person ended the conversation by saying, "these are not the right ingredients for a stable society."

After spending the night thinking about that comment, I wonder, are we breeding our own future home-grown terrorists?

Maybe the furnishings were all on credit.

I can't imagine why people would leave without personal belongings otherwise - or, at least, enough to fill a U-Haul...

I can't imagine why people would leave without personal belongings otherwise - or, at least, enough to fill a U-Haul...

I can! You need to transport and store it. That costs money...

The actual ownership of consumer goods purchased on credit generally for all practical purposes remains with the lender until the debt is paid, giving the borrower another incentive to walk away.If they a sell thier stuff, they can sometimes be prosecuted by the lenders.If they walk away,the issue is is resolved in bankruptcy court as opposed to criminal court.

Anyone interested in buying that nice lawnmower or table saw or whatever advertised cheap needs to keep this in mind.

I know of at least one guy (not personally but thru the local grapevine) who bought an older used tractor in good faith from somebody who owed money against it.The lender found out who he was and where he lived and sent a truck for it;and the sheriff's deputy who came to mediate the dispute and prevent a shooting perhaps simply read off the serial numbers, looked over the paper work, and said , sorry bud, you don't own this tractor;it's gotta go on the truck.

If anyone is in need of a job and has the nerve and the stomach for it, "repo man" is something they should consider..the growth prospects seem to be excellent.

This is the basic problem with consumption.

You accumulate goods...many of which are going to become stale or obsolete. Then, what do you do? Endless garage sales and bartering old junk just to eat!

Even though it must be hard, I salute the individual who saves money and has the courage to go without stuff.

The essence of deflation...things lose value. Doesn't matter what happens with the money supply. If stuff is worthless, it's worthless.

...or have we already bred deluded people who believe money appears out of thin air, providing them with SUV's and Mcmansions to which they are fully entitled?

My mortgage is more than I earn?

How can you have a stable society where plumbers demand Hummers and kids all want to drive BMW's?

Have we not bred already a society of international terrorists, asking why Venezuela or Nigeria won't sell us our oil, residing under their country?

Have we not bred already a society of international terrorists, asking why Venezuela or Nigeria won't sell us our oil, residing under their country?

Actually that is an exaggeration. I know of no one who really believes that it is our oil in their country so I don't really know why some pundits keep repeating that phrase. It is nonsense and I wish people would stop doing it. It just makes us look silly.

Bur they are selling us oil so that just goes to show how much some pundits really know. Oil from Venezuela and Nigeria were numbers 4 and 5 in imports to the US.

Crude Oil and Total Petroleum Imports Top 15 Countries

Crude Oil Imports (Top 15 Countries)
(Thousand Barrels per Day)
Country 	May-10 	Apr-10 	YTD 2010  May-09   YTD 2009
CANADA 	        1,997 	1,883 	1,937 	  1,746    1,860
MEXICO 	        1,290 	1,134 	1,110 	  1,088    1,174
SAUDI ARABIA 	1,093 	1,245 	1,068       996    1,079
VENEZUELA 	1,011 	  851 	  918 	  1,228    1,025
NIGERIA 	1,004 	1,092 	  986 	    552      608

Ron P.

Yes, I admit, I was being hyperbolic.

We have had a hard time with plumbers around solar thermal in our business. We try to just do PV, and when we subcontract plumbers they invariably charge beyond exorbitant rates. It's truly criminal.

My point was that we're 4% of the worlds population and 'we' act like we're entitled to 25% or more of the world's resources.

My point was that we're 4% of the worlds population and 'we' act like we're entitled to 25% or more of the world's resources.

Actually we act like we belong in the world we were born into. Americans act like Americans, Brits act like Brits, Chinese act like Chinese. The tiny minority are conscientiously aware that most of the world lives very differently than they do would not know how to change their behavior if they could, or why they should.

I find it truly astonishing that some people expect people to act differently than they do. Question: If everyone is acting pretty much the same way don't you think there is some biological reason for that? Do you actually think that people should be blamed, or as you insinuate shamed, for acting the way they do? Did it ever occur to you that people are just acting naturally, the only way they know how to act.

Some people seem to truly revel in wagging the crooked finger of blame at others, blaming them for the predicament they find the world in.

I am sorry for the rant Got2surf, but people are not to blame for living the only way they know how in the world they were born into.

- As for pointing to our mental failures with scorn or dismay, we might as well profess disappointment with the mechanics of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics. In other words, the degree of disillusionment we feel in response to any particular human behavior is the precise measure of our ignorance of its evolutionary and genetic origins.

- Reg Morrison, The Spirit in the Gene

Ron P.

Did it ever occur to you that people are just acting naturally, the only way they know how to act.

I can't agree with that at all - the US consciously, ruthlessly, and aggressively maintains a military presence (or a military threat) across the entire world, to ensure that 4% of the planet's population control and consume at least 25% of the world's resources and wealth. Every American in every Wal-Mart aisle knows this happens.

I hope you're really happy, standing up for the national anthem (doing what comes naturally perhaps). The jets don't fly overhead at precisely the right moment for no reason! It's called empire. And I am not a Yank-basher - I quite like the place (nut crazy as it is) - but realities are reality.

Last week I had to call a plumber to clear a blocked drain I had worked on myself for several hours with little success.

That plumber has no trouble affording a Hummer, or a condo in Aspen either.

I don't think overpaid plumbers are a new problem. I can remember seeing jokes about them more than sixty years ago.

Having been a licensed plumber for a number of years back in the 80's, I can testify to the falseness of this stereotype. The local doctors where I lived in Western NC made probably 8 to 10 times what the plumbers made. I knew a lot of plumbers and none of them approached the income level of MD's or lawyers.

As for owning a Hummer, I've seen Hummers parked next to single-wide or double-wide homes. People of limited means are not necessarily prudent in the kind of debt loads they take on.

I hear you. My basic point was that if your dreams are delusional then yes they should crumble when reality intercedes.

Delusion is not limited to any particular class or vocation.

Hummers are a handy symbol of retarded thinking.

$200 for less than an hour's work and no materials used works out at $400,000 for fifty 40-hour weeks in a year. Even allowing for travel time and overhead, that's a pretty healthy income, though I'll admit it's not up with the $600 per hour many lawyers are reputed to charge. It is, however, about the same my local general practitioner charges ($50 for a 15 minute consultation), though she has the advantage of working in air conditioning, rather in the sun when it's close to 100 in the shade.

I've noticed a self-employed handyman who lives a few blocks from me has recently replaced his ca. 1985 F150 with a Hummer a couple of years old, which he uses to tow the same ramshackle trailer he's always had. I don't think he's taken on much debt though.

$200 for less than an hour's work and no materials used works out at $400,000 for fifty 40-hour weeks in a year.

This is a great example of logical mathematical thinking that is totally wrong-headed. A plumber who comes to a home to fix a sink might charge $200 bucks and might only have been on the site for one hour, but likely blew the better part of the day doing this one piddly job. Good golly! If you can't figure out the flaws in your argument I'm sure as heck not going to waste my time trying to convince you of them.

EDIT: obviously, if you think plumbers are so vastly wealthy, get a plumbing license and cash in. Boy, what easy money!


At absolute minimum there is transit time to and from the job site.

And of course, there is whether or not anybody else needs a plumber today.

Plumbers are usually businessmen, not employees, and need to charge enough so that they cover their prep time and down time. Additionally they are responsible for the employer's half of SS and FICA withholding.

This would be why most independent plumbers are seen driving beat up pickups or vans, they have to stretch the money they get from the jobs that are available through the times when there aren't jobs.

Its like my son doing musical gigs. Gets say $100 an hour to play for a couple of hours. Sounds great! But, he spent a week practicing the music beforehand. Did he earn $100 and hour, or $5 an hour? Ooops my bad. He had to pay $60 to purchase the music and $25 to drive to the gig!

Having done considerable home improvement, handyman repairs, car repairs, etc., I've come to the conclusion that I'll pay a plumber anything he asks. Electricians and drywall guys still get a raised eyebrow, but I'm utterly incompetent at leaks. Not to mention clogs. The day a plumber told me "Oh, you were runnin' your snake up the vent and scraped all the scale off the pipe and dropped it into the drain, clogging it worse." was the day I threw away the snake and put the plumber on speed dial. I asked how he could tell, and he said "You can just feel it."

As far as the $200 bucks, I'm a consulting engineer and the amount they bill me out for isn't anything remotely like what I'm paid. That $200 has to cover overhead (benefits and burdens, building rent, accounting, lawyers etc) and marketing (adverts, proposals, business development) on top of base salaries. The guy knocking on your door with the spackle bucket full of greasy tools sure ain't seeing $200 an hour.

And neither am I, dammit!

Around here most plummers make about $25/hr and the plumming contractor who they work for makes the rest. The contractor has the normal overhead, insurance, trucks, etc but typically has several plummers working for them. Don't become a plummer, become a plumming contractor for bigger bucks. It is also air conditioned working in some cases.

Never feel sorry for that nation that rewarded a crusader for valuing oil on blood by electing him again. Yes, majority of americans or near majority did voted for him, its not dictatorship yet, its still democracy so people have a share in wrongdoings of their govts especially if they reward such behavior by electing such a govt twice. Getting fooled, hypnotized, propagandized might be something that could be listened if said by a resident of nazi germany, fascist italy or soviet russia but not from an american or european today when free information exchange even on people to people level can be made on internet. Even logically, getting a tax break, economic boom and two wars at the same time can't be expected in a real world, so every thinking brain can understand something fundamental is going wrong in economy, but greed is one of the worse enemy of humans. People are getting what they deserve, period.

Behind a paywall, but viewable through Google:

China Plans Oil-Storage Spree

Beijing may be tapping the brakes on growth, but oil-market bulls can take heart: The tanks are on their way.

China is on the cusp of a major expansion of its oil storage capacity that will boost its oil imports and underpin its refinery runs going forward, even if the country's gross domestic product doesn't again reach the giddy 11.9% growth seen in the first quarter of the year.

I have argued for a long time that the Chinese are getting two birds with one stone.

They are stocking up on whatever they can in terms of nonperishable physical resources such as scrap iron, copper, and lead.Now they are apparently also going for as much oil as they can put into storage too.

I believe thier reasoning is perfectly obvious.

They are getting rid of dollars that they percieve as a shaky store of value;and they expect that the prices of these resources will rise fast enough to more than offset the interest they can earn by loaning out thier money-especially given the high risk of default.

I believe they would be buying even more aggressively if they could do so without spending so many dollars that the market value of thier remaining holdings would crash.

I have been following the same strategy myself a hundred dollars at a time rather than a billion at a time, and it has worked like a charm for me.;)

At some point, the rest of the world must eventually realize that we have nothing with which to redeem our debts, except coal and possibly staple foods-corn, wheat, and soybeans primarily.

(Excepting strong arm protection such that they can get by with small defense budgets of course-so long as they are our friends!)

I really wonder just how big our easily mineable coal endowment truly is, and whether we can reasonably hope to constantly expand food exports-aside from the environmental issues involved, we must stop and give thought to just how the buyers intend to pay us.

If the economy keeps going down hill, as seems likely, we will see labor costs and environmental safegaurds both fall to such levels that we can make our own junk again cheaper than we can import it, assuming we can afford junk at all.

I don't think the Chinese do much speculative buying of commodities. When they buy it is because the state bureaucracy sees the need in the near future. That is the way they manage corn for example.


They are now buying some American corn for the first time since 2001. The demand in China is now there due to a rising standard of living.

It's the same in the case of oil. Car sales are still rising at a good rate although percentages make it appear to be slowing due to the shifting base phenomenon.


When sales were rising at a 50% plus rate a year ago because of incentives, a drop to around a 20% rise in July appears to be a slowdown. But in reality it is still a large increase since last year's cars are now included in the base.

For example if a 100 car market had a 50% increase one year that would mean sales of 150 cars, up 50 cars. The next year the market increases by 20% to 180 cars, up 30 cars.

But now compared to the 100 car year there are 430 cars on the road all demanding fuel. That is over a tripling of the number of cars and the fuel needed to run them in 3 years.

Don't be fooled by percentages. Oil demand is skyrocketing in China and the Chinese quest for oil and storage capacity is mainly because of demand not speculation to avoid losses on the dollar bonds they hold.

Corn's shelf-life is measured in months, oil's in eons. Suppose they decided to fill all of those old coal mines with oil, payed for in dollars.

mac - To add to your comment: I remember after the oil price collapse down to $38/bbl how the consumer nations cut back oil purchases. Don't have the lin but it was rather vivid how China went on an oil buying bing of sorts at that low prices. Not hard to do for a govt run enconomy with a huge pile of US $'s sitting there. Imagine the next time there's a significant oil price drop and the Chinese have 500 million bbls of empty storage ready to fill. And a still big pile of US $'s.

A decade ago, oil 'collapsing' down to $38 would have been an absurd idea. Sic Transit Petrolia.

And the average annual price in 2009 was $62, which so far exceeds all post-2005 annual prices. And as previously noted. . .

We have seen three year over year annual oil price declines since 1997--down to $14 in 1998, down to $26 in 2001 and down to $62 in 2009. Note that each successive annual price decline was about twice the previous decline.

If this pattern holds, the next year over year decline will bring us down to the $120 range.

Meanwhile, the average price to date for 2010 exceeds all prior annual prices except for 2008, when we averaged $100.

Al-Qaeda Linked Group Claims Gulf Tanker Attack

The WSJ has a short report, linked to above, which says:

AUGUST 4, 2010, 6:03 A.M. ET

ABU DHABI—An Islamic militant group affiliated with al Qaeda claimed responsibility for an attack on a Japanese-owned oil tanker while it traveled through the Strait of Hormuz last week, raising fresh worry about the vulnerability of the world's delicate oil-supply routes.

Edit: Here's another report from CNN

I think we have a "Duh" moment on this one...

E. Swanson


Not definitive, though. Militant groups have been known to claim responsibility for things they had nothing to do with.

I think it was rather obvious from the start that there was an explosion. The public comments about wave damage were clearly meant to "calm the waters".

The CNN report includes a photo which I saw earlier and after some thought it occurred to me that the tanker may be riding a bit higher in the water than what would be the normal depth when fully loaded. As I understand it, the waterline at maximum load is at (or near) the top of the red bottom paint. I suspect that some of the oil may have been removed before the photo was taken, to raise the ship above the damaged area for better inspection and also to minimize any leakage. If my suspicion is correct, the damage produced by the blast could have had a focus below the waterline. However, I do also note that the tanker appears to be underway at the time the photograph was taken, so the above comment may not apply...

E. Swanson

I talked to a couple of old soldiers who have seen the elephant as far back as Vietnam;they are 100 percent certain that nothing except an airburst of a powerful bomb or perhaps an artillery shell or rocket some distance from the hull could create such a pattern of depressed and stretched skin and ribs on the side of the ship.

They also said that it detonated just a hair too soon, before it was close enough.Had it been a little closer, the outer skinof the ship would have ripped and beenm forced inward between the ribs that support it, and there would have been a major leak if both the inner and outer hull were penetrated rather than simply deformed-assuming this is a double hulled ship.

The first public comment was that it was a "rogue" wave from an earthquake.

The second public comment, the very next day, said it was a collision with a ship that no one saw.

Both of those comments sounded about as silly as the seagulls explanation for the sinking of the South Korean cruiser.

Yes, either the journalists printing this stuff are that stupid or they believe that you are all that stupid.

The only thing I did was breath a sigh of relief, the thought of a burning sinking tanker in the Straits of Hormuz, where 40% of the worlds oil supply is shipped through could have been a disaster for the world economy with insurance rates going through the roof. I agree with farmer Mac that the explosion happened a distance from the ship. My reading of the event was that some religious fanatics of the cult of death wanted to get too there, heavenly brothel. Filled a rubber boat with explosives and tried to imitate the attack on the Cole forgetting this time that the Cole was stationary and the tanker was moving and the wash most likely drove them away from the ship as they were exploding the bomb. It was interesting to see that Iran and America haven't used it to score political points.

ym and OFM,that is about the most logical explanation I've read so far.

"Cult of death"? I can prove that more than three quarters of all war related deaths that happen ever in human history was caused by christians. Think about the two world wars, who attacked who and why. Think about the korean war, the vietnamese war, the two wars going on now. Oh and the napoleanic wars and frequent war in medeival europe. Oh and the colonization of asia and africa by europeans. Don't throw dust grains on others' iron castles when you are living in a glass cottage.

A true man is never afraid of death. That is his strength. A greedy blood sucker is brave in martyring innocent children (remember half million children dieing in iraq between 1992 and 2000 due to united nations' sanctions of life saving medicines for children?) and adults (almost 3 million people are killed or martyred by american military and its mercenaries in iraq since 2003, no shia and muslims would not start killing each other all of a sudden after living together for nearly 1400 years, see the "coincedence" of that "revival of hatred" perfectly aliging with american occuption, no talibans don't martyr innocent civilians in pakistan or afghanistan, its american soldiers and mercenaries again, one proof is renting of more than 400 houses in islamabad by american embassy, another is frequent discovery of war grade weapons among workers of american embassy, another is "coincedence" of increase of bomb blasts, target killings and general killings of innocent people in pakistan with american troop surge in afghanistan, i can give a hundred and more proofs) but is afraid to die or even participate in a war where he has to actually fight. So many cases of war related trauma in american soldiers in iraq and afghanistan, why, its called cowardness, its called fear, its called losing.

A super power getting severely defeated in iraq and afghanistan from hands of whom, al qaida, taliban, iraqi republican guards, how, because all the darkness of universe together can't kill a single photon but a single photon can kill all the darkness of all the universe.

So much are the life losses of american troops in iraq and afghanistan that daily c-130s loaded with coffins land in quetta, pakistan to put dead bodies in cold storage and that is of whom there is a family back in america to answer back to. 99% of american troops that are reported kill have families to take their dead bodies and attend their funeral whereas its common in america in young people to live separate from their families and ofcourse its these young people that are hired and sent to wars (usually after little training). Most of the american troops dieing in iraq don't have a family whom american govt have to answer back to, so they are secretly buried or forgot in cold storage.

Is iraq under control of usa? No. Is afghanistan under control of usa? Not at all, nothing there except kabul. Still american govt is on schedule to call troops back. Its called defeat, failure and world knows what happens when strong countries lose war against small countries. Sure, usa did lost vietnam war but then it was not actually fighting vietnam, it was fighting soviet union and red china. Now, usa is fighting no country equal its power, its fighting two very small, isolated, already war devasted countries before american invasion (iraq due to 1990 gulf war and then united nations unjustified sanctions and afghanistan due to soviet invasion from 1979 to 1992 and then civil war of 5 years between 1992 and 1997 till taliban came in power and brought piece), still usa is losing war. Last time such a thing happened was in 1937 when soviet union invaded finland and got defeated there with a life loss of a million soldiers, even though soviet union was like 100 times big in area and population and technological lead was immeasurable due to lack of similar things on other side. So great was the defeat of soviet union in finland that nazi germany got courage to invade it. Thats what a country gets when it get defeated by a small country.

No, human nature don't change, thats infact the only real lesson from a study of history.

Yes, either the journalists printing this stuff are that stupid or they believe that you are all that stupid.

Another possibility is they are printing the story as they have been told to print it. Verbatim.

Strange isn't it - a brief look at that photo is enough to determine the nature of what could have caused it. Clearly it could not have been an impact with a rigid object, nor are waves likely to concentrate on such a small portion of the hull. There simply aren't many possibilities. Yet people will look at it and then wait to be told what it was, and when some unnamed official says it was a whale fart then all the news outlets will report that, and it will be accepted as the truth.

Wait, are you saying it _wasn't_ a whale fart?

Not yet. Once it is repeated enough times then it will be. After that, if you should try to point out "but wait, that's stupid", then you will be labeled a conspiracy theorist and brighter, more rational folks will snicker and sneer at your pathetic delusions. Reality is fungible.

My comment the day after the incident, on this subthread:

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

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


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

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

30 years ago I spent 4 years floating the Straits guarding against this very thing. I knew then that it was a matter of time before someone began attacking tankers there. I'm suprised it took this long.

So, suicide is cheaper than remote control these days. Divine Wind Redux?

Daytona Beach Morning Journal - Oct 18, 1976

With the advent of Alaskan and North Sea oil between late 1977 and 1980 the problem could abate until sometime after 1985 when world oil production is expected to peak out. Demand then could force prices to exorbitant levels with possibly disruptive economic ef¬fects. In this scenario, peak or near peak production of oil in the world would be maintained for several years before a decline sets in. Such decline, which will take place in the first half of the next century, would mark the end of the oil and gas era of history, the most dynamic mankind has ever known. The world will then begin to grow short of oil, and if alternate energy sources are not on hand a frantic scramble for natural resources among nations could develop.
In assessing any energy problem, it is essential to remember that lead time for development is considerable. It takes 4 to 6 years to open a new coal mine or develop an offshore oilfield. It takes 10 years to design, license and build a nuclear plant.
But even ignoring further develop¬ment of these three potential energy sources and the lead time necessary to meet their challenges, there is evidence to suggest that energy prices will con¬tinue to rise. Unless there is some cost breakthrough elsewhere, the higher energy prices suggest that future gener¬ations may not enjoy so comfortable a. life as we have had in the past, and that the hopes of the less developed nations may never be realized.


Thanks for posting these and please keep them coming. Could you perhaps preface them with something like:

Wayback Machine:

so that they would be much easier to find in searches? Having easy access to your pre-selected historical gems might make my future life easier.


Can do, although there already is an Internet Wayback Machine, where you can check out the 2006 TOD layout amongst other fun stuff. How about "From the Archives"? Glad you like the clippings; tomorrow's will be an eye opener for those familiar with Matt Simmons's book.

Also found an article about "cold fusion" from 1957. I guess Pons and Fleischmann didn't have to waste any time thinking up that label.

I agree with Jon. If you could post these with a distinctive title, it would be easier to find them later.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending July 30, 2010 [PDF]

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.6 million barrels per day during the week ending July 30, 113 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 91.2 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 9.4 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased slightly last week, averaging 4.4 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.6 million barrels per day last week, down by 1.5 million barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 10.0 million barrels per day, 494 thousand barrels per day above the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 1.2 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 187 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 2.8 million barrels from the previous week. At 358.0 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 0.7 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories decreased while blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 2.2 million barrels, and are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 2.1 million barrels last week and are in the lower half of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 6.1 million barrels last week. Total products supplied over the last four-week period has averaged 19.3

What they were expecting:

Last week's report shocked the market with a 7.3-million-barrel jump in already-high oil stockpiles, but analysts surveyed by Dow Jones gave an average forecast for a 1.6-million-barrel drop in oil inventories this week. Gasoline stocks are seen declining by 800,000 barrels, while distillate inventories, including heating oil and diesel, are expected to fall 1.1 million barrels. Refinery utilization is seen dropping 0.6 percentage point to 90% of capacity.

However, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, on Tuesday reported an 800,000-barrel drop in oil inventories, a smaller decline that could send oil prices tumbling if confirmed by the EIA.

I am having some trouble digesting this week's oil inventory report, in light of numerous retroactive corrections made to May's monthly figures. I am not sure if some or all of those adjustments were included in this week's report.

I would suggest to regular TOD followers of the weekly report to wait until next week for a better reading of where inventories stand. By then, all kinds of techincal adjustments - if any - should have been made. In addition, the leaking Enbridge pipeline in Michigan, has not been as big as an obstacle to oil shipments as previously thought - Enbridge says they are making 'alternative arrangements', possibly shipping oil through other pipelines. However refiners in Warren, Pennsylvania, Toledo, Ohio, and Sarnia, Ontario are reporting minor oil supply 'issues'.

Refiners stepped up capacity utilization to near the yearly high, and probably as a consequence, more refinery problems and interuptions have been reported this week. In other words, there will likely be less output coming out of refiners to be reported in next week's report.

Total products supplied did drop from the perky year 2010 high usage levels we saw last week. If oil product demand only grows about 3% or less, then inventories will be adequate for the next few months. But if we go to rapid pace seen in some recent weeks, inventories will eventually start declining faster than expected. Recent reports from tracking firm Oil Movements indicate that net OPEC exports, after staying on a plateau from March to July, may start falling in August.

International soil conference opens in Brisbane

The world is facing the monumental challenge of doubling its food production by 2050 with fewer resources, scientists say.

More than 1800 scientists are in Brisbane for the 19th World Congress of Soil Science, with food security a key focus.

... Keynote speaker Dr Robert Zeigler, the director general of the International Rice Research Institute, said breeding better rice varieties and developing more efficient water management systems would be critical.

"Yield growth rates for rice have stagnated due to decades of neglect in research and infrastructure, and area expansion has nearly stopped," Dr Zeigler said.

"Projected demand will outstrip supply in the near-to-medium term unless something is done to reverse current trends."

... The congress will hear that Australia, with its phosphorous-deficient soils, will face particular challenges from diminishing global reserves of phosphate rock, used to make fertilisers.

A recent estimate suggests that global production of phosphorus fertilisers will peak in 2033, and will be one third of that peak level by the end of the century

What monumental challenge to double food production?

The monumental challenge is as always to distribute food as equitably as possible. Otherwise the challenge is to diminish the monumental amounts of body fat accruing on growing numbers of people.

How about dealing with the monumental stupidity of permitting food advertising to create demand for health destroying manufactured 'food'?

What about making the dissemination of best practices agriculture, food processing and food consumption our monumental challenge?

If that's too boring, why don't we start identifying the best golf courses for future bio-diesel production? It is in any case time to send this silly game back to Scotland where it belongs.

This ties in with an item in yesterday's Drumbeat, about the Russian wheat crop being toast for this year, and likely next year, too.

Yesterday we did our once a month shopping at Walmart. When you always buy your 'usual stuff' at the same store, and always buy the exact same items from month to month, price changes really stand out to you because you get used to what they normally run.

Last month we had to skip our monthly shopping because of an unexpected expense. So when we went yesterday, we were observing a two-month price change. The vast majority of our items were unchanged in price; some even went down a bit- vegetables, the new crop coming in drops prices temporarily.

But a few items had eye-popping increases. Something began to nag at my mind before we even left the store. So when we got home I sat down with the receipt, and it quickly became apparent:

Most of the items that went up have something to do with grains.

macaroni up 7.8%
flour up 9.1%
el cheapo bread up 10.2%
tortillas up 19.9%

cheese (corn cow food) up 18.8%
crisco (corn oil based) up 19.1%
margarine (corn oil based) up 22.2%

Other things that went up
sugar up 8.9%
honey (bee shortage?) up 16.7%
paper products- toilet paper up 33.1%
paper towels up 12.6%

I wonder if the corn related increases are coming from acreage competition with ethanol. Maybe the wheat increases are from commodity speculation over the bad crop?

The toilet paper one is annoying. Two months ago the manufacturer cut the quality in half and cut the price about a third. Now the quality is still down half from what it used to be, but they bumped the price back up to what it was on the good-quality stuff. Jerks.


Thank you for taking the trouble to post the prices. Good to know. I don't have a good baseline, despite being seriously cheap myself, since I bounce around between farmers, ethnic grocery stores and discount places.

The corn prices might be a perfect storm. Last fall the farmers here were saying that they couldn't harvest rain saturated fields. Meanwhile the USDA was going on about the bumper crop. Sure, a bumper crop, sitting in a flooded field waiting for storms. So, ethanol taking it off the top for sure, drought in Australia and Russia, and the U.S. crop not in great shape.

... The congress will hear that Australia, with its phosphorous-deficient soils, will face particular challenges from diminishing global reserves of phosphate rock, used to make fertilisers.

Our soil is truly ancient - fossilised in effect - we have not been blessed by churning mountain-building or glaciation, let alone the absence of large herbivores for many millennia. So the availability of super-phosphate will be a major issue.

But longer term, the lack of water, plus the risk of more El Niño weather patterns, are very large threats as well - if not bigger. We are having a reasonably lively population / immigration debate here at present ... and a good thing too.

Solar-Powered Plane Breaks Endurance Records

Zephyr was launched on 09 July and is currently still flying above the US Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. Today Zephyr will have been aloft for 14 nights continuously


The future of aviation?
Carbon composite based airframes with no carbon based units inside
using no hydrocarbon based fuels?

It might at least be the future of Skynet, or merely the future of the Internet and Cable.

"We've now proved that this amazing aircraft is capable of providing a cost effective, persistent surveillance and communications capability measured in terms of weeks, if not months. Not only is Zephyr game-changing technology, it is also significantly more cost effective to manufacture and deploy than traditional aircraft and satellites."

And you said we couldn't lower the deficit AND continue killing defenseless third world farmers. Ha!

Link up top: Australia: Don't believe the Greens, we'll be running on gas

He remarked that the "ultimate physical sufficiency of global oil and gas resources is not in doubt, so one can ignore the present-day Jeremiahs. Their predecessors in the 1960s, the 70s and the 80s were all quickly proven wrong and a like fate will overcome the so-called peak-oilers by the end of the present decade."

Got that, the sufficiency of global oil resources is not in doubt. No doubt about it whatsoever. And on who's authority may we squash this silly peak oil rumor? Who is the genius who has settled this question once and for all?

Further, the US Geological Survey estimates the Arctic holds about 22 per cent of the world's undiscovered conventional oil and natural gas resources.

Oh, the US Geological Survey is that authority. And the Arctic holds 22 percent of all undiscovered oil? How much is that? And if the oil in the Arctic is undiscovered, how can that be compared to the rest of the world's undiscovered oil? How can one unknown be declared a certain percentage of another unknown?

And what it the total number of unknown barrels? Let me guess... could it be unknown? Well if that doesn't settle the question of global resources then I don't know what does.

Oh, and there is another handle to hang on us peak oilers beside "Doomsayers", it is "Present-Day Jeremiahs". Actually I would prefer "Latter Day Jeremiahs".

Ron P.

Once they are discovered, then they will no doubt be physically sufficient to supply 22% of all the oil that those undiscovered resources can supply. Wow - I think I hurt something. But it was kind of fun.

Once again Ron: the joy of having a job where your answers can neither be proven correct or not until long after you pass from life.

Ron,we are currently enduring a federal election campaign in Australia so the political spin is even more revolting than usual.

Johns is a Labor hack from the 80s to mid 90s when the Tory hacks took over.There are a lot of living fossils in the political fish tank here.Attacking the Greens is a common sport at any time and the game gets into overdrive during an election campaign in an attempt to prevent the only viable third party from getting more votes.

The Greens mean well but are off with the fairies in some of their policies - what hope? The best we can do out of this election is a hung parliament.

Btw,The Australian is a Murdoch paper and continually runs conservative nonsense.

13% of the undiscovered oil(90 Gb) and 30% of the undiscovered natural gas (1670 Tcf), 44Gb of NGL.
Even 720 Gb of world 'undiscovered oil' is not that much either(26 years).


It's really not that much. Most of the oil is offshore Alaska and is too dangerous to be developed.

Don Quixote(Ron P.) versus the USGS?

How can one unknown be declared a certain percentage of another unknown?

Well, it's really quite simple, first you extrapolate the total amount of oil of all the unknown unknowns from the amount contained in known unknown yet to be discovered reserves.

Once you know this amount you can then calculate the precise percentage that each of your unknown unknowns constitutes of the total of unknown unknowns.

At this point it becomes a trivial excercise to determine what percentage any particular unknown unknown is of any other unknown unknown.

For example say we have calculated unknown unknown reserve Y, to be 15.7348% of the total unknown unknown reserves. If we also know that unknown unknown reserve Z, is 28.6152% of the total unknown unknowns, then all we need to do is calculate what percentage (15.7348% of the total unknown unknowns) is, of (28.6152% of the total unknown unknowns).

We can represent the variable "Total Unknown Unkowns" as TUU.

Algebraically we can write this out as follows:

15.0142% * (TUU) = (X/100 ) * [28.9869 % * (TUU)]

Since we don’t know or care how much TUU actually is...

15.0142% = [(X/100) * 28.9869 %]

0.5006 = X/100

X = 50.0691%


Unknown Unknown Reserve Y is equivalent to 50.0691% of Unknown Unknown reserve Z

So now you know.

Precisely! I agree completely. This means that 22% of what we don't know is out there is somewhere in the Arctic, while conversely, exactly 78% of everything else we don't know is somewhere else. I hope this clears things up, and the exploration geologists can get out there and find all of MY oil.

But don't forget, there are the unknowns we know about, and then there are the unknowns we don't know about. I would have thought that Mr. Rumsfeld made this perfectly clear :-/

OMG, I'm a hopeless geek. This made me LOL.

And I'm still pissed at Rumsfeld, because he was my polar opposite of what I think a Defense Secretary should be, but still his comment on "known unknowns, and unknown unknowns" is on the money and pretty damn serious and important and it just got mocked by the MSM and TPTB.

Can anyone direct me to the (brief?) discussion which took place recently on TOD about the recent solar "breakthrough" at Stanford University? I don't come up with anything on the search function.

For the near future, electric cars will be far too expensive for anyone but upper-income Americans. The only way to sell them, even to the well-off, will be with a large federal subsidy.

People need to stop being so overly negative on electric cars. This is like saying "Personal computers will never get anywhere because only geeks are buying these TRS-80s and Apple ][s.

Yes, the EVs are not economically on an equal footing today. But as battery prices come down and gasoline prices go up, it is only a matter of time before most people start singing the praises of EVs.

The price of the Volt was indeed a big disappointment. But the Nissan Leaf is viable at $25K after the tax-credit for a car that will never use a drop of gasoline.

It is not a foregone conclusion that the cost of battery technology will come down. Not all technology follows the same cost/price curve as the personal computer has followed over the previous twenty years or so.

One of the big problems with the Toyota Prius is that the cost of the original Nickel Metal Hydride battery technology does NOT go down as production ramps up. This is because the Prius battery uses nickel, which is a difficult metal to mine and supply in large amounts. As unit production goes up, raw material's prices increase even faster in step. This is why the Prius cannot be produced in large mass quantities of millions of units per year. Tens of millions of units per year is completely out of the question. The Prius can only be produced in modest quantities (by modern mass production standards) of hundreds of thousands of units per year.

Lithium is supposed to help with this, but the large lithium battery has suffered from engineering development problems and exhibits the "receding horizon" dilemma. A useable mass production version is always "6 years worth of development away".

The truth is, all of the advanced battery technologies suffer from the same problem of diminishing resource constraints. There is simply not enough available materials to ever ramp these technologies up to the level that would make BAU sustainable.

The era of the car is rapidly nearing an end.

I'm of the opinion that one ought to go outside of one's comfort zone to see a "greater" reality. Whenever the chance arise with my environmentally conscious friends, I recommend visiting and touring a refinery and/or a mine (politely of course). If they do so and are savvy, they will quickly realize the tremendous scale and effort it takes to procure these resources. And if they spend a little more time contemplating resource scarcity and EROI, they will realize that not everything can scale up.

It is not a foregone conclusion that the cost of battery technology will come down. Not all technology follows the same cost/price curve as the personal computer has followed over the previous twenty years or so.

As much as a truly wish I had grounds to disagree with that statement, the fact is I don't. We course of bettery technology is just not known. There are no shortage of interesting research leads being followed, but no guarantee that any of them will succeed. We will just have to wait to find out.

My favorites are the air batteries, zinc-air comes to mind, as does sodium air. If they can be perfected storage density goes up severalfold. And neither uses scarce materials.

It is not a foregone conclusion that the cost of battery technology will come down. Not all technology follows the same cost/price curve as the personal computer has followed over the previous twenty years or so.

Oh, I fully agree with that. I am actually quite skeptical about the people that dream of the $200/KWH batteries. I do think prices will come down incrementally as they really start mass producing them. And there will incremental advances as they tinker with chemistry mixes, manufacturing processes, etc.

It will ultimately be the rising price of oil that makes EVs economically practical, not a sharp decrease in battery prices. But EVs are on the border of economically viability right now. Just reduce the battery prices a little bit more and have gas prices go up just a little bit more and EVs will be equal footing.

A $25K Nissan Leaf (after the tax-credit) may actually be a wise economic choice RIGHT NOW. People forget to look at the long term. Cars last 10 to 20 years these days. What will the price of gas be 10 years from now? If gas is $15/gallon 10 years from now, buying a Leaf might be a bargain. But no one really knows. Maybe gas will be $4/gallon in 10 years?

Unfortunately spec if personal computers still cost $15,000+ in todays $'s you wouldn't see too many homes with one. But I fully agree: when e-cars sell for the same price as ICE's and they run the same distance for the cost of the fuel we'll see e-cars as far as the eye will allow you. But we're not there yet and I've yet to see anyone present a viable timeline for that to happen. What is your estimate of the timing of this exciting day?

I do not know. No one does. And there won't even be a single day it will happen because it depends on a zillion factors such as local gas prices, local EV-incentives, local electricity rates.

But most of the back-of-the-envelope calculations that people do regarding EV economics are really poorly done. Almost every time people do a calculation that assumes that the gasoline price will not change over the next 10 years. Everyone knows that is false. At best gasoline will go up at the rate of inflation. But if the peakists are correct then it will go up significantly faster than the rate of inflation.

Most of the papers that you see out there that say EVs are not practical all use a battery cost of $1000/KWH and that value is completely obsolete.

If I had to venture a guess, I would say that within 3 to 7 years, it will be smarter to buy some type of EV than a gasoline car when you consider THE FULL LIFETIME COSTS of the vehicles. The EV will continue to be more expensive at purchase time than an ICE car. But over the life-time of the vehicles, the reduced fuel costs and reduced maintenance costs will make the EV the better long term choice. I assume only incremental reductions in battery costs, continued tax-incentives, and an oil supply crunch that happens within 6 years which leads to sustained higher gasoline prices.

But the Nissan Leaf is viable at $25K after the tax-credit for a car that will never use a drop of gasoline.

Agreed. If the kw needed to move at highway cruise is small enough, then I can even envision using a towed trailer of solar panels like the Solar Taxi uses, for long distance travel:


Actually, a towed trailer as extended power would work for any wheeled transport. Hm... :)

Actually, a towed trailer as extended power would work for any wheeled transport. Hm... :)

I think I prefer to be free of that trailer...


The solar taxi did not run on solar.

check the Whr/mi against the output of the panels

Don't insult me.

Personal computers were successful because they were new. They did things that couldn't be done before, or did them much better. Think word processor vs. typewriter. Or mp3 players vs. cd's. Or e-mail vs. snail mail.

An electric car does no such thing. It's still a car. Except this time you can't refill the tank (or you have to wait hours to do so) and it can only take you to work and back.


Society doesn't go backwards voluntarily. It collapses.

So it collapses.

But an electric car with solar cells does one thing that no gas burner can: refuel itself (slowly, but slowly is still better than not at all).

Maybe to get to a rail line for some food. But freeway speed travel , forget it .

And if the alternative is walking (and multiple trips to carry the same amount of stuff), it still wins.

But freeway speed travel is perfectly reasonable, you just can't do it 2 hours a day every day without bringing in outside energy.

No. Not because computers were NEW.. because we found that they can perform useful tasks that we never thought we'd use them for. Like this task right here.. blogging. Like Spreadsheets. Like word-processing and saving texts..

Cars perform a useful task as well, just like horses did, and walking does. EV's and Ebikes, etc will fit into that very broad need as well. And you can go to other places than just work in your car, right? Society goes all over the place.. your simplifications are you insulting yourself.

Personal computers were successful because they were new. They did things that couldn't be done before, or did them much better...

An electric car does no such thing. It's still a car. Except this time you can't refill the tank (or you have to wait hours to do so)

Ummm... an EV does do something completely new. It gets you from point A to point B without using a drop of oil. So, when the supply of gas gets tight to the point of no gas being available, or gas becomes nationally rationed, or even just gas gets extremely expensive, that EV driver will be in much better shape than an ICE driver.

An EV can also move you without creating any CO2... it can be emission free transportation if fueled by electricity generated by rooftop solar, wind, hydro or geothermal. An ICE can"t match that.

Not only does fracturing shale rock require an enormous amount of water (similar in that respect to tar sands), but it uses a toxic cocktail of chemicals to do the job. And those chemicals (as much as 80,000 pounds of them to fracture a well) have a nasty habit of turning up in the local groundwater. As much of 70 per cent of the chemical solution that is injected for shale fracturing stays in the ground.

But, fortunately for shale gas companies, producers can contaminate groundwater with impunity. Hydraulic fracturing, the process of tapping shale gas, was exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act in 2005 in the interests of promoting American energy independence. Thanks to that exemption, and the environmental practices that it engendered, residents who live on top of the Marcellus Shale formation, for example, can actually light their tap water on fire.

Those assertions are from Jeff Rubin in an article linked above. Many claim it is literally impossible for fracturing of shale to cause these problems because the fracturing occurs much deeper than the groundwater, so is Jeff Rubin mistaken?

Here's the link:

OK, so no one responded to my post on Jeff Rubin's comments on fracturing shale. What is interesting is the two camps that have formed. One says it's impossible for chemicals and NG to get into groundwater because the fracturing occurs at a much greater depth. That, the only way damage to the groundwater can occur is from the unlawful dumping of chemicals at the surface, which seeps into the groundwater. The other camp says, hey look, we can ignite what's coming out of our faucet with a match, we've gotten sick from drinking the water, livestock have died, rivers are polluted, wild animals along those rivers have died, etc.

So either the fracturing of shale does in fact push NG (and with it possibly frac chemicals) into the water table, or it cannot occur and there is some other explantion for igniting faucets. It would be great if an independent study could be conducted to determine the truth in this situation.

I have said it before, but Raymond Learsy is an idiot:

The New York Times Slays The "Peak Oil" Dinosaur

I don't know why they continue to give him a platform to spew such gross misinformation.

Lamèque wind farm shows how communities can demand dividends

Wind farms have been greeted by both keen support and guarded suspicion since giant turbines first speared the New Brunswick sky just a short time ago.

When such large multinational firms bring their money and independent financial interests to the table, both reactions can be expected.

But the people of Lamèque and the Acadian Peninsula were somewhere in the middle when they took a co-operative yet demanding approach to negotiations with the Spanish energy giant ACCIONA.

Now with the company reporting that the $115-million project is on track and set to start producing power in early 2011 on the northeastern tip of the province, the hardball approach seems to have paid off.

See: http://timestranscript.canadaeast.com/news/article/1162177


The case for power sharing

The Maritimes region is similar to this national situation and is a prime candidate for a more integrated approach to electricity as the region plans new electricity investments. The existing provincial systems are among the smallest in North America, both electrically and geographically, so there are some economies of scale to be had. Ottawa's recent announcement that coal-fired generation will be phased out means that a significant proportion of the region's current generating capacity will need replacement. Neither off-shore gas nor industrial wind turbines were available the last time such a substantial generation investment program was contemplated. With new investment required and new alternatives available, a regional approach is timely.

All three Maritime provinces are pinning much hope on increasing their use of wind power. While in most situations we are thankful that the wind isn't constant, for generating electricity it would be better if it was. Wind blows at different times in different places so an integrated approach to new wind generation, involving several provinces, will give a more constant electricity supply than is possible for the smaller area of one province alone.

See: http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/opinion/article/1161969

Best hopes for integrating more wind into our power systems.


For reference - last few bubbles on Macondo BOP stopped in last hour.

It appears to be dead Jim.