Drumbeat: August 5, 2010

Arab States Go Nuclear to Close Power Gap, Catch Up With Iran

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates need to satisfy demand for electricity that is growing at a rate approaching 10 percent a year. Their interest in nuclear energy has in part been sparked by a shortage of natural gas, the usual fuel for electric power plants. Without enough gas, the Saudis and the Gulf Arabs have been burning oil to generate power, which is inefficient and polluting. These countries also consider themselves energy specialists and want to prepare for an era when carbon emissions may be penalized.

“There is more to this than straight economics,” said Ian Jackson, a nuclear specialist at London’s Chatham House think tank. “It is clearly about strategic energy positioning.”

Oil Rig’s Owner Had Safety Issue at Three Other Wells

The company that owned the oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in April had widespread safety concerns about several of its other rigs in the gulf, and a month before the disaster it commissioned a broad review of the safety culture of the company’s North American operations, according to confidential internal reports.

In response to “a series of serious accidents and near-hits within the global organization,” Transocean, the world’s largest offshore drilling company, commissioned the risk management company Lloyd’s Register to investigate its Houston headquarters and three other gulf rigs besides the Deepwater Horizon to assess its safety culture.

The confidential internal reports, obtained by The New York Times, offer an unusually candid view of safety and maintenance concerns within the world’s largest offshore drilling company, and they indicate that the problems highlighted in earlier reports provided to The Times about the Deepwater Horizon were not limited to that rig, which exploded on April 20, leading to an oil spill that is estimated to have poured at least four million barrels of oil into the gulf.

BP has backup plans for oil spill if kills fail

(Reuters) - While U.S. officials welcomed the initial success of BP's latest attempt to plug its Gulf of Mexico oil well, the company still has backup options in the event something goes wrong again.

Fla. developer sues Halliburton over Gulf spill

NEW YORK -- Florida real estate developer St. Joe Co. is suing Halliburton Co. over its role in the rig explosion that led to the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. sanctions on Iran may exempt oil exports

The U.S. is unlikely to include oil exports as part of its sanctions program against Iran, which will be revealed in October, a senior government official said yesterday.

“Sanctions being imposed on Iran are creating problems for Korean firms, and the Korean government is reviewing ways to minimize the damage,” Knowledge Economy Minister Choi Kyung-hwan told reporters yesterday. “The oil sector, however, isn’t likely to be included in the sanctions against Iran.”

Belarus to import Venezuela oil via Lithuania

(Reuters) - Belarus is testing new routes for its oil imports from Venezuela, eyeing shipments via Lithuanian ports, as Minsk seeks to diversify crude deliveries due to strained relations with Russia, its main energy supplier.

China Overtakes U.S. as Saudi Arabia of Wind Power

The United States has been called the Saudi Arabia of wind. But for the first time ever, China has exceeded the U.S. in newly installed wind capacity.

Go into free solar panel deals with your eyes open – warn campaigners

Following an announcement from a company who say they intend to provide free solar panels to 100,000 households, Consumer Focus and the Centre for Sustainable Energy are warning consumers to investigate the details of such schemes to avoid future problems.

As It Shrinks, the Dead Sea Nourishes Promises of an Economic Bloom

The water level has been dropping steeply since the 1960s, mainly as a result of Israel, Jordan and Syria diverting almost all the waters of the Jordan River, which used to feed the Dead Sea, for domestic use and agriculture. Potash industries on both the Israeli and Jordanian sides of the lake also play a significant role in depleting the Dead Sea, since the extraction process relies heavily on evaporation ponds. The southern basin, where the industries and the Israeli hotel district are located, was always shallow. Now it would be completely dried out were it not for the industrial evaporation pools, whose water is artificially pumped in from the northern part.

One proposed solution is to construct a water conduit from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea, which would generate hydroelectricity and provide desalinated water, primarily to Jordan, which is acutely short of water, and also help refill the Dead Sea. The governments of Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority agreed to a World Bank-sponsored feasibility study that has begun.

The Sand Smugglers

The causeway linking Singapore to the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsula is normally clogged with cars and trucks making the short international journey, but things got particularly bad on Feb. 1, when traffic came to a grinding halt. Thirty-seven trucks were abandoned where they stood on the Malaysian side, just yards away from a customs checkpoint, their drivers having simply walked away. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that they were carrying an illegal substance -- but not drugs, illegal migrants, or precious jewels. They were carrying sand.

John Michael Greer: A friendly greeting from annelids

As the old proverb has it, talk is cheap, and talk on the internet seems to be cheaper than most. One of the reasons behind this blog’s recent shift from analysis to action is precisely that we have plenty of the former and not enough of the latter. Thus it’s time to roll up our sleeves, break out the tools, and get grubby. In this post, and over the weeks and months to come, I’ll be examining specific pieces of the appropriate tech toolkit, sharing my experiences with them, and offering tips on at least some of the available resources. Not all my readers will be in a position to use all of the things that will be covered; some of my readers may have been doing one or another of them longer than I have. If you’re in either group, please be patient; many other readers won’t know this stuff, and each of the techniques I’ll be covering casts useful light on green wizardry as a whole, so you may just learn something anyway.

What the Zapatistas Can Teach us About the Climate Crisis

Probably the most commonly asked question of people just arriving at a deep concern for the ecological crisis is, “What can I, as an individual, do to make things better?” The simple answer, which I learned from living among Zapatista villagers, is nothing. Because we have to stop acting as individuals if we are to survive; the Earth won't be affected by our individual actions, only our collective impact.

Megan Quinn Bachman: When truth is unbelievable

As a college junior I frequented a website (www.dieoff.org) where prognosticators observed that with accelerating rates of environmental destruction, overpopulation and fossil fuel depletion, modern civilization was on the verge of collapse.

Despite the alarmist tone, these writings were not pseudo-scientific rants, but well-researched articles by eminent authors spelling doom. And there were books on these subjects, too, such as Richard Heinberg’s The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies. I kept my new-found realization that life as we knew it was coming an end to myself, for fear of being labeled a “Cassandra.”

Only that’s exactly what I would soon become.

Oil glut in Middle East as crude sales falter

The Gulf region, which supplies 40 per cent of the world’s oil, is glutted with crude that producers cannot immediately sell, even as US and European oil has risen above US$82 a barrel.

The amount of oil in long-term floating storage in the Gulf and Red Sea is estimated at 30 million barrels, or enough to supply all of North, South and Central America for a day.

The trouble is that most Middle East crude is not sold in the Americas. Instead, it is shipped to the growing economies of Asia and, to a lesser extent, markets in Europe.

While Europe is not oversupplied with crude because of a seasonal drop in North Sea oil output from maintenance and repairs at production plants, Asia has as much as it can use.

Weak sales feed glut in Gulf

The increasing problems Iran is encountering in marketing its crude have placed a giant oil boom around the Gulf and Red Sea.

A regional oil glut, which also affects sales of crudes produced by Gulf states, was expected to dissipate at the end of the spring refinery maintenance season in the Far East.

Instead, although it has shrunk by about 40 per cent from a peak of more than 50 million barrels of Gulf crude in floating storage at the end of May, the oversupply is persisting well into the summer.

Kuwait's crude oil exports to Japan drop 47%

(MENAFN) Japanese official data showed that Kuwait's crude oil exports to Japan have fell by 47 percent year-on-year in June to 4.86 million barrels for the sixth consecutive month, plunging 47 per cent year-on-year in June to 4.86 million barrels, state-run Kuwait News Agency reported.

Oil Falls in New York After Surprise Increase in U.S. Gasoline Stockpiles

Crude oil fell for a second day in New York after U.S. gasoline inventories unexpectedly rose last week, signaling that economic recovery in the world’s biggest oil consumer may be stalling.

A U.S. Energy Department weekly report yesterday showed gasoline supplies climbed to the highest level in at least 20 years for the last week of July. The country’s jobless rate rose to 9.6 percent last month from 9.5 percent in June, according to a Bloomberg survey before a Labor Department report tomorrow.

“The market is vulnerable at best,” said Johannes Benigni, chief executive officer of consultants JBC Energy GmbH in Vienna. “A correction is to be expected if fundamentals lead the market. I don’t see oil prices above $85, it’s more likely we’ll stay in the $70 to $80 trading range.”

Oil Futures Contango Collapses as Cushing Inventories Swell

Record oil stockpiles in the U.S. Midwest are reducing the premium traders will pay for later deliveries amid signs that fuel demand may be ebbing as the pace of the economic recovery slows.

Inventories in the 15-state region that includes Illinois rose to 97.7 million barrels in the week ended July 30, the highest level recorded since the data started in 1990, according to an Energy Department report yesterday. Supplies in Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for New York futures contracts, were less than 1 percent below the all-time high set in May, the report said.

Crude Oil to Climb Toward Fibonacci Target of $83.55: Technical Analysis

Crude oil in New York may reach $83.55 a barrel as upward momentum pushes prices higher, according to Societe Generale SA.

Oil for September delivery in New York will rise in an ascending channel toward the 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement of the contract’s drop in May, said Stephanie Aymes, a cross- commodity technical analyst at France’s second-largest bank by market value. First, prices must move through $82.85, the upper band of crude’s current conduit.

Nomura to Boost Commodity Trading in Japan Fivefold to Meet Hedging Demand

Nomura Holdings Inc. plans to increase the volume of its energy and commodities derivatives trade in Japan more than fivefold as producers seek to hedge fuel and raw materials against price movements.

Abu Dhabi to hike oil output capacity 29.6%: report

ABU DHABI (AFP) – Oil-rich Abu Dhabi is planning to raise its oil production capacity by 29.6 percent to 3.5 million barrels per day by 2018 from 2.7 million bpd today, according to a report published on Thursday.

"Abu Dhabi has set ambitious targets to increase total production capacity from the current 2.7 million barrels of oil per day to 3.5 million bpd by 2018," said The Oil and Gas Year, Abu Dhabi 2010.

Venezuela Pares China Debt With $20 Billion Oil Accord

Venezuela, the largest oil producer in South America, is shipping 200,000 barrels a day of oil to China to repay $20 billion of debt borrowed from the Asian nation to finance power, agriculture and technology projects.

The OPEC member, planning to ramp up China shipments to 1 million barrels a day by 2012, is selling oil at market prices to repay the 10-year loan, Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said yesterday in an interview in Caracas. Shipments to repay the cash represent half Venezuela’s daily crude exports to China.

Halliburton balks at telling U.S. early of major deals

(Reuters) - Halliburton Co, which did the cement work for the BP Plc oil well that ruptured, has balked at an Obama administration request to provide advance notice of major transactions it may make, while Transocean Ltd said it would provide some details.

BP Russia Talks Stoke Rally for TNK-BP Bonds, Erasing Loss Since Oil Spill

Talks between Russia’s government and BP Plc’s newly appointed Chief Executive Officer Robert Dudley are stoking the best rally in 17 months for bonds of TNK-BP on expectations asset sales will help the Moscow-based affiliate.

Russia stresses keenness on bolstering ties with Kuwait

(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Acting chairman of the Russian side of the Kuwaiti-Russian Joint Cooperation Committee Julikov Maxim stressed Monday on the importance of bolstering ties with Kuwait and keenness on the Russian side to further cooperation and coordination with the Gulf country.

Workers Question China’s Account of Oil Spill

DALIAN, China — Three weeks after a flood of heavy crude oil fouled scores of miles of this immense northern city’s beaches and rocky coastline, a remarkable — some would say heroic — cleanup effort has scrubbed away most traces of the spill.

Whether Dalian’s government can eradicate damning accounts of a major industrial accident and a narrowly averted catastrophe that could have killed thousands, on the other hand, remains in considerable doubt.

Refiners scramble as Enbridge reworks cleanup plan

Alberta (Reuters) - Refineries in the U.S. upper Midwest and southern Canada scrambled to secure alternative crude supplies on Wednesday as Enbridge Inc was forced to rework some of its cleanup plans for the company's ruptured pipeline in Michigan.

BP gets nod to seal runaway well in Gulf of Mexico

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AFP) – BP got the go ahead to cement over its runaway well in the Gulf of Mexico Thursday, one of the final steps needed to plug the oil spill at the center of the worst US environmental disaster.

Looking for the oil? NOAA says it's mostly gone

WASHINGTON – With a startling report that some researchers call more spin than science, the government said Wednesday that the mess made by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is mostly gone already.

Out of sight, though, doesn't mean out of danger, nor is the Gulf now clean. The harmful effects of the summer of the spill can continue on for years even with oil at the microscopic level, a top federal scientist warned.

Gulf oil spill could have impact for 'decades': US official

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill could have an "impact for years and possibly decades to come," a top US official said Wednesday, speaking after BP successfully plugged the leaking well.

"We remain concerned about the long term impact," Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said at a White House briefing.

The Gulf oil spill's cost comes into focus

NEW ORLEANS — Long after the cleanup crews and BP paychecks are gone, Gulf Coast fishermen will be dealing with dead oysters and a perception problem.

Salt marshes will struggle to regrow grasses raked by oil and digest stray pools of crude. Business owners will work to revive shuttered businesses and bruised economies in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico spill.

But the recovery is underway.

BP May Seek to Avoid Full Spill Responsibility, Transocean Says

Transocean Ltd., owner of the Gulf of Mexico drilling rig destroyed in an explosion that triggered the worst accidental oil spill, said operator BP Plc may seek to avoid its full contractual responsibility for the disaster.

Transocean, which leased the Deepwater Horizon to BP, said in a regulatory filing that the company’s contract protects it from penalties and liabilities other than for contamination resulting from operations controlled by the rig owner on or above the surface of the water.

In Gulf, Good News Is Taken With Grain of Salt

NEW ORLEANS — There is little celebration on the Gulf Coast.

Even with the news of the tentative plugging of BP’s well, the attention here has largely been focused elsewhere, on a week’s worth of reports, culminating in a federal study released on Wednesday, that the oil in the Gulf of Mexico has been rapidly breaking down and disappearing. These reports have been met, for the most part, with skepticism if not outright distrust.

White House: no one owes BP's Hayward an apology

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House said on Wednesday it owed no apology to outgoing BP chief executive Tony Hayward, after welcoming a report that showed pollution from the Gulf oil spill was less than many initially had feared.

"Nobody owes Tony Hayward an apology," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told a news briefing, insisting the better-than-expected capture of the oil was in part due to the pressure the administration had put on BP to do more faster.

Russia oil boss welcomes Dudley

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia's top oil boss gave a cool nod of approval to BP Plc's new Chief Executive Bob Dudley on Wednesday, while praising his predecessor Tony Hayward, ousted over his handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Russia is a key part of BP's global operation, providing the company with a quarter of its reserves before the U.S. oil spill, so it is vital for Dudley to establish a good working relationship with the world's largest oil exporting nation.

Oil Spill Cleanup Workers Include Many Very, Very Small Ones

Among the hidden stars of the gulf cleanup is an oil-hungry bacterium that Dr. Seuss could have named — Alcanivorax. It and fellow microbes are breaking down a significant amount of the oil that gushed into the environment from BP’s runaway well, scientists say. The microbial feasting is known as biodegradation.

Reliance Agrees to Buy 60% Stake in Carrizo Shale Acreage for $392 Million

Reliance Industries Ltd., India’s biggest company by market value, agreed to buy its third shale- gas asset in the U.S. this year, acquiring a 60 percent stake in acreages held by Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc. and its partner.

In Dubai, a small challenger to SUV's hegemony

Mazda is hoping for a little miracle.

The car maker hopes a new austerity will mean the Mazda2, its smallest car yet, will be able to leave its mark on roads ruled by the monster sport-utility vehicle.

Ford hopes free driver's ed in Vietnam leads to sales

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — The cars idle at the starting line of an empty airfield that seems primed for racing. The engines start. And one by one, they take off — but with a steady glide rather than a screech of tires.

This is not an adrenaline-pumping driving school. But it's how Ford Motor is hoping to turn a nation of bikers and walkers into safe drivers. By offering driver training, the American automaker wants to gain an edge over the competition — and increase its modest foothold in this nascent auto market.

ANALYSIS - Empowered US EPA will not spark energy revolution

WASHINGTON - The Obama Administration may yet notch some victories tackling planet-warming emissions but the larger war on climate change will not be won without legislation to kick-start innovation to ease the country's addiction to fossil fuels.

Bike agenda spins cities toward U.N. control, Maes warns

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes is warning voters that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's policies, particularly his efforts to boost bike riding, are "converting Denver into a United Nations community."

"This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed," Maes told about 50 supporters who showed up at a campaign rally last week in Centennial.

Home appliances get tough new efficiency standards

Industry and environmentalist groups agreed Tuesday on tougher efficiency standards for home appliances that, over the next 30 years, could save enough energy to power 40 percent of American homes for a year.

Beyond the leadership contest

The crying need in political and civic life is for building convergence on the issues of economic and ecological reality that will be playing out over the next 20 to 30 years. No matter which party forms the next government, we are all staring down the double-barrel threat of peak oil and climate change - with the debt barrel on the side. And we will all be dealing with the effect on our region of world-wide economic and social upheaval as the fossil fuel era fades.

Might it be possible for those devoted to public service and civic life to move beyond the adversarial mode of party politics into a convergence on best practices that sets up a new model of governance for the common good? Is this too much to hope for?

Indonesia: Greening our energy, greening the economy

Concerns surrounding of global warming, peak oil, resource depletion, prices increase and tougher competition to get energy has contributed to the fast development of green energy. What this implied for Indonesia?

Indonesia is a fossil fuel producing country, exporting a significant amount of its natural gas and coal to East Asian industrial nations and recently to China and India. It was also formerly an OPEC member and was known as the world’s largest exporter for LNG.

While traditional biomass energy resources are still widely used particularly in rural areas, Indonesia’s commercial energy consumption is largely dominated by fossil fuels. In electricity generation, for example, fossil fuels’ account for more than 95 percent of energy resources used to generate electricity, with coal accounting for the largest portion of this figure.

While demand for fossil fuels in Indonesia is increasing rapidly (both for domestic supply and exports), its fossil fuels reserves are on a declining trend.

Italian Investor's Biofuel Project Sparks Kenyan Opposition

Kenyan conservation groups are opposing the biofuels project of an Italian businessman, saying the proposal to produce energy from jatropha may cause environmental damage.

Wheat Hits 23-Month High as Drought Shrivels Russian Crop

Wheat extended a rally to the highest price in 23 months as Russia, the world’s third-biggest grower, said it would ban grain exports from Aug. 15 because of the country’s worst drought in at least a half century.

A ban would be “appropriate” to stop domestic prices rising, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told a government meeting in Moscow today. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov later said a temporary ban would start Aug. 15.

Travelling by car contributes more to global warming than by plane

LOS ANGELES (Bernama) -- A new study has found that driving a car increases global temperatures in the long run more than making the same long-distance journey by air, China's Xinhua news agency reported.

The new findings released by the American Chemical Society on Wednesday, however, said in the short run travelling by air has a larger adverse climate impact because airplanes strongly affect short-lived warming processes at high altitudes.

U.S. Companies Lobby for Technology Fix, Not CO2 Limit at Climate Talks

U.S. companies are lobbying at UN climate talks in Bonn for incentives to spur technologies that could slow the pace of carbon emissions, abandoning a push to encourage a cap on gas emissions, a business lobby group said.

Raymond J. Learsy is at it again. The New York Times Slays the "Peak Oil" Dinosaur

And the dragon slayer, he claims, is this article: Tracing Oil Reserves to Their Tiny Origins

Actually the article in the New York Times only confirms what peak oilers have known all along. That is that oil comes from aquatic microscopic plankton and not from dinosaurs at all. Learsy is simply wrong in believing the article has anything to do with peak oil.

But Learsy, being the genus that he is, brings up what he believes to be the true origin of oil.

Combine this information with equally impressive work done by Russian and Ukrainian geologists on the theory of Abiotic Oil, (which states that oil is inherent to the geological make up of the earth) and the dimension of extant oil takes on a whole new meaning.

He brings up this point in all his reports on the subject of oil. Learsy, is denying everything in the New York Times story he refers to. How can he have any credibility when he uses one story to trash peak oilers then in the same article deny everything in the article he uses to support his theory?

But not to worry, we peak oilers are all in the employ of Big Oil. They are promoting the peak oil story to drive up the price of oil. Big Oil is behind this whole damn peak oil scam!

The peak oil geologists and their prediction of the imminent arrival of peak oil is science paid for in large measure by the best geology that oil money can buy. One after another, the Peak Oil Pranksters are falling all over themselves, fine tuning their prophecies of physical depletion to "well its not so much that there is a physical shortage, but it is more difficult and costly to access." That may be the case (especially with regards to offshore reservoirs, as we all now know). But that is a very different argument than the oil industry's self-serving cries of, "there just ain't no more, so please pay, pay, pay."

Ron P.

Too bad your comment couldn't be an Op Ed in the Times. But we live in the Age of Stupid. Suggest TOD be changed to POP. A lot more fun, to be sure.

I wish Big Oil would hurry up and send me the check for my efforts regarding Peak Oil. It's been more than 20 years and I haven't seen a check in the mail (or a job offer) yet...

E. Swanson

Hello E,
As I read TOD often, but mostly comment on Huffpo, i would like to use your "where's my check?" comment on Learsys' post. It is a great line.
There are a few of us Pranksters who dog, er, follow Learsys posts on Huffpo, and this weeks post was a trollish invitation on his part for us to respond.

Yep I think your right most of the comments are either saying he is a moron or that even if he is right that is still HORRIBLE because it is bad for the environment so we should quit using it anyways.

I think it's mostly about getting people confused, and keeping them that way.

Then, conspiracy theories can jump into the intellectual vacuum. As in the link above about the UN controlling US cities through biking programs.

Boulder County, Colorado is rife with UN commies riding their bikes up and down the highway to my mountain town. The multi colored jerseys are the giveaway. Now I understand why so many here hate them so much and want to run over them and/or shoot them. And I am not kidding about the run over/shoot part.

After reading that article one has to wonder if there is even a single remaining sane member in the entire Republican Party?

On the other hand...

"Rand Paul Gently Rebuked By GOP Senators Over Civil Rights Act Opposition"

"Senate Republicans are cautiously distancing themselves from the controversial comments about civil rights legislation made by the GOP candidate who wants to join their caucus."


Perhaps some of them are starting to see the edge of the cliff...

Why are you mulling over the mental status of Republicans? Learsy writes for the Huffington Post, the King of the Hill Dem blog besides (after?) (I really don't care, tell the truth) Daily Kos. His scribblings are little more than grade Z conspiracy theory junk.

Why are you mulling over the mental status of Republicans?

Asking about the sanity of either Republicans or Democrats who are believers in BAU, is purely a rhetorical question...

While I agree that Learsy is living, breathing proof that Democrats can be as idiotic as Republicans, I think Fred was referring to a different idiot - the one who claims that riding bikes will lead to a UN takeover of Denver.

Well, sounds plausible enough to me. Cuckoo, cuckoo...

Oh, that's nothing. Colbert's done two profiles of Basil Marceaux, candidate for Tennessee guber, here and here. This guy's wholly out of his mind; has a distinct mentally feeble charm, too.

"Hi, I'm Basil Marceaux dot com," he began in a bit of web savvy marketing (except that's not his campaign's Internet address). Among his ideas:

• "Everyone carry guns. If you kill someone, though, you get murdered and go to jail."

• "Vote for me and if I win I will immune you from all state crimes for the rest of you life."

Hmmm. Wish someone was running for Oregon Gov who'd immune me for life. Between Zach Wamp's secessionism, Ron Ramsey's cult of Islam and Basil Marceaux dot com, the governor's race couldn't get much weirder | Woods | Nashville Scene

I told you not to mess with them genes.
Now look what's happened.
You've all lost your marbles.

Yes, that would be correct, Leanan.

The Republican side of the governor's race in Colorado this year is... well, let's just say interesting. The Republicans will decide in the primary next week between Maes and McInnis. Maes is having a number of other problems in addition to the bicycle bit. McInnis has the modest problem that supposedly original white papers for which he was paid $300K contained large amounts of plagiarized material, and the conservative foundation which paid him has demanded their money back. Several state Republican leaders have suggested, some in print, that whoever wins the primary should then withdraw and allow leadership to pick a "viable" candidate.

In addition, Tom Tancrado, former Republican firebrand, is running as a third-party candidate. Polls suggest that he will pretty much split the Republican vote with whoever the party puts on the ballot.

The candidate that got kicked out early (technically, he withdrew rather than start a right-veering primary fight with McInnis) was Josh Penry, the current State Senate minority leader, who is young, bright, very popular on the Western Slope, and would have had a reasonable chance of winning enough votes in the Denver suburbs in November to win overall.

As in the link above about the UN controlling US cities through biking programs.

Heh, somehow I missed this little gem...

Ford hopes free driver's ed in Vietnam leads to sales

... But it's how Ford Motor is hoping to turn a nation of bikers and walkers into safe drivers. ...

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Albert Einstein

Ride a bike or take a hike

But not to worry, we peak oilers are all in the employ of Big Oil.

My royalty bribe cheque this month is down quite a bit. Anybody else?

Figured had something to do with all that BP mess.

Now I am wondering? Based on performance?

Remember the glory days: one could jack up the price to $147/bl just by making some scary noises. What went wrong??


Way to go, Darwinian!

I think that it is appropriate that George Mobus's guest post Peak Oil: How Supply Crunch Can Lead to Lower Prices (for a while!) is up today.

A lot of people don't understand that peak oil can be expected to to play out with supply gluts and lower prices, because of forces built into the system. If prices go up (even to levels that are today not considered very high), it sets off recessionary impacts and problems with credit, that also have recessionary impacts. We are now seeing these impacts play out.

For a while, governments were able to hide the impacts with stimulus programs, but these are losing force, and credit problems are starting to show up more. So the downward forces are starting to show again.

If prices go up (even to levels that are today not considered very high), it sets off recessionary impacts and problems with credit, that also have recessionary impacts. We are now seeing these impacts play out.

I think this is called, "lurching."

Right now, for instance, our economy is laconically lurching, listing to the right. When it tips far enough, the tea from the tea party will fill the damned boat and sink it. Or else it will suddenly reverse its rightward roll, and go over from the other direction. One way represents deflationary depression, the other hyperinflationary hypoxia, as business is deprived of any captial, even from loan sharking banksters, and things grind to a halt.

Meanwhile, though, there is a buck to be made. Greed is good. Greed is great. Let us thank it for our doom.

Of course, there is unusual gloom and doom hereabouts today. I'm not sure why. I mean, BP is capping the top of the WW, getting ready for a final bottom kill (according to Captain Kirk of the Keystone Koastguard), and all the oil has already disappeared. There are 30 MBL of the MidEast's finest, floating in tankers, that no one will buy, and abiotic oil is flooding the earth (we know this, because oil is made from tiny tiny plants, and not from dinosaurs). God is in His heaven, and all is right in this, the best of all possible worlds.


God is in His heaven, and all is right in this, the best of all possible worlds.


I love life and life loves me
I'm as happy as can be!

A happier man nowhere exists,
I think I'll go and slash my wrists!

"Let dreamers dream what worlds they please;
Those Edens can't be found.
The sweetest flowers, the fairest trees
Are grown in solid ground."

"We're neither pure nor wise nor good;
We'll do the best we know;
We'll build our house, and chop our wood,
And make our garden grow.
And make our garden grow."


Second lowest July Arctic sea ice extent. Thickest ice begins melt out, so we may see record low volume


The financial markets sometimes get discussed here, so for those interested here's a link to some visualisations of high-frequency trading patterns:


I still think this amounts to trading firms "clipping the coinage" ever more aggressively, and that the only way for an individual to avoid this loss is not to be have any money directly or indirectly in the financial markets.

Now that's scary!


...the only way for an individual to avoid this loss is not to be have any money directly or indirectly in the financial markets.

I watched the ever laughable CNBC this AM and a startling statistic was divulged. Only 16% in a poll were willing to invest in the stock market. The lead anchor admonished his colleague for offering up that stat, considering they are a TV program about stock investing. The arguing then led to incoherent exchanges.

16%! So your point made above is backed up statistically.

Travelling by car contributes more to global warming than by plane

The report discussed in this report can be found here:

Borken-Kleefeld, Berntsen, Fuglestvedt, Specific Climate Impact of Passenger and Freight Transport, Environ. Sci. Technol., 2010, 44 (15), pp 5700–5706 DOI: 10.1021/es9039693

As usual, the results depend on the assumptions within the analysis. For example, they discuss emissions per passenger km. I wonder whether they consider the case of automobiles with more than one person on board. Also, do they consider the energy consumption of the necessary transport at each end of the trip by aircraft, energy which is included in the total trip by car.

The authors do include a comment about short term impacts:

Air travel’s specific climate impact becomes four times higher than the impact from car travel per passenger-kilometer at 5 years time horizon.

Int he end, only the long term impact will count...

E. Swanson

Good Point!

I think it was A.K. Dewdney in his book "200% OF NOTHING" who analyzed that whole formula of passenger-miles vs. passengers vs. passenger-hours and how you can get figures to say whatever you want.

For instance, say you work for a company that requires a lot of travel by car & plane. Over a 20 year period you lose 3 people to 3 car accidents & 10 people to a single plane crash... depending how you calculate you could either say that car travel is "safer" or that air travel is "safer."

Either way, 13 people are still dead.

When planes fly, lots and lots of people make a lot of very long trips.if there were no planes, a very large portion of such trips would be forsaken, as people simply don't as a rule have the time or stamina to drive five hundred or a thousand miles one way to spend a day or two visiting or on business in a faraway place.

And of course nobody at all is going to drive from New York to Sydney.

The demise of air travel might be enough in and of itself to push passenfer real and high speed long distance express buses back into economic vianbility, assuming it's not too late to pay for the new tracksand trains.

I believe we can scrape up the money for the buses, and a dedicated lane could be set aside for them in at least a few corridors, perhaps with traffic barriers, on existing intercity highways.

I would not object to riding a well designed super bus driven by a good driver in a dedicated , isolated lane at a speed of one hundred mph or more, if the bus a mile or so of that lane to itself;and buses running every five minutes would have at least a couple of miles front and rea safety cushions.

Such a bus, if properly streamlined and sufficiently large might be very economical and practical in terms of fuel economy and environmental impact per passenger mile.

It might also be possible to close the bus lanes to other traffic only at specific times of day, when demand for the buses is heavy, and allow cars to use the lanes the rest of the time.

It does after all seem rather likely that traffic will be rather light in the future , does it not?

We might even see some lanes of some freeways closed permanently and trck laid for trains on them.

This would certainly be a dynamite way to get new rail in place fast and cheap, in dollar terms.

Politically it is probably impossible at the moment, but ten or twenty years from now-who knows?

A trucker could possibly load his own truck onto a car on an automated siding in Norfork, swipe his credit card, retire to the dedicated drivers club car/sleeper, get in his ten mandatory hours off duty, and unload his own truck in Ohio,after the train master cut the hauler car out of the train on another automated siding.

Such a scheme would require a heck of a lot of land for the sidings, but they could be built ten or more miles out in the country, and still work out just fine, in terms of saving diesel fuel.

Furthermore the trains could be easily fitted with pneumatic streamlining covers, inflated with compressed air, that would render the trains themselves reasonably aerodynamic, even thought the train is loaded with trucks.

I 'm trying to think outside the envelope here, in respect to anticipating some unexpected circumstances and opportunities.

Commentary welcome, could these scenarios become realities?


Hmm. Perhaps trains are a better idea.

Last year we traveled in Argentina (after burning some carbon to fly there). They have a system of double-decker super-luxury overnight buses. The seats recline to form a bed with curtains around, and stewards serve regular meals, snacks, and drinks for the 20+ hour trips. Although the double-decker sleeper buses still seat less people than a Greyhound, they are vastly more efficient and comfortable than car travel.
After one 22 hour trip where I slept and worked on my laptop, I was better rested than at any hotel. The after dinner whiskey was a nice touch.
Although I am a big fan of trains, seeing Argentina's bus system (all private sector) made me think about ways that US bus travel could evolve.
New Slogan "The Bus, It Is Not Just A White Trash Terrarium Anymore!!"

A trucker could possibly load his own truck onto a car on an automated siding in Norfork, swipe his credit card, retire to the dedicated drivers club car/sleeper, get in his ten mandatory hours off duty, and unload his own truck in Ohio,after the train master cut the hauler car out of the train on another automated siding.

Such schemes (using contractors and less automation) are common in Europe. The Steel Interstate people promote them here.


Best Hopes,


I drove my car unto a railroad car in Switzerland in 1966. We rode the train through an Alpine tunnel and drove off. Not exactly a new idea but pretty darn practical.

It might be just the thing for when a lot of people have electric cars. Maybe the trains can have a charger for them!

I personally don't see why not. When I was a kid these were all the rage in my town


Cheap oil killed them. but I don't see why a modern version of such a bus with a lithium Battery with a range of twenty miles could not get it too a motorway fitted with a set of overhead wires, ride to the nearest motorway exit too your destination while recharging your battery.

And of course nobody at all is going to drive from New York to Sydney.

I KNEW I should not have taken that left turn at Albuquerque!


Hey, these guys drove from Cuba to Miami...


And of course nobody at all is going to drive from New York to Sydney (II).

No - but in the 1960s and 1970s, it was all the rage to drive from Sydney to London - airfares were very high (six months salary), and most of the countries between X and Y were either under the British yoke to some extent, or at least friendly.There is surprisingly little sea between Sydney and London, in fact - lots of dust & sand of course.

And the Lonely Planet empire of today started as some photocopied notes for hippies doing this trip.

In the 1980's when the southern route was not safe, my wife and I did the northern route through USSR, China and SE Asia. I took a little longer, 12 months, mainly trains & boats.

Great trip learn a lot about other people, and myself.

Study Concludes “Peak Coal” Will Occur Close to 2011

A multi-Hubbert analysis of coal production by Tadeusz Patzek at The University of Texas at Austin and Gregory Croft at the University of California, Berkeley concludes that the global peak of coal production from existing coalfields will occur close to the year 2011.


As I said yesterday, this article is a very good exemple of how not to fit a curve. I wrote to the editor to raise my concern. To me the 2011 peak is obviously an artefact of the fitting method they used. It has no physical basis.

My concerns about this analysis are here.

The logic of the HL approach, that production of fuel follows the mysterious Hubert's curve (rather than demand) borders on the ludicrous.

Really, it's about time the HL mathematicians think about 'modifying' their
studies to include a demand factor of some kind(Hubbert was making long range predictions and would probably have mocked the TOD prognosticators).

In 2009 oil production fell by 1.7% according to BP and natural gas production fell by 2.1% while coal production grew 2.4% over 2008.

Hmm..so why isn't Patzek talking about Peak Gas?

Because he's on a new crusade against CCS for coal.

His 'work' on ethanol is now considered a weird outlier by real scientists.

"The current global hysteria around carbon capture and sequestration is leading to desperately poor government policies," says Patzek. "For instance, large-scale subsurface sequestration of CO2 will decrease power plant efficiency by up to 50 percent(not 30 percent?). The same resources could be spent more wisely on increasing U.S. coal-fired power plant efficiency by 50 percent(not 45%) from the current 32 percent."

This is a false choice as IGCC is 46% efficient and is also capable of CCS;
.46 x (1-.3)=31.5% no loss over pressent coal plants.

But his real point is to undermine the IPCC consensus.

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

Actually there is a lowest energy consumption scenarios B1,B2 based on a world commitment to renewables and CCS in the IPCC.
The B2 scenario will result in a 1.3 degreeC rise in temperatures over 2000.

Patzek thinks that in 50 years world coal production will fall from 3.4 Gtoe to 1.7 Gtoe(the coal level in 1975 when the world had 4 billion people in it, in 2012 there will be 7 billion people and 12 billion in 2060?) because of his HL study(regardless of USGS surveys going back a century).

The US, Australia, and Russia will get their electricity cheap from more efficient coal plants while other countries suffer heat waves and famines caused by uncontrolled CO2 emissions without air conditioning.
If we at least bury our CO2 emissions we won't be adding to their pain.

The logic of the HL approach, that production of fuel follows the mysterious Hubert's curve (rather than demand) borders on the ludicrous.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?
How is it that this mysterious force called "demand" will cause the oil/coal/NatGas to rise up out of the ground to meet it?

The point that I would make is that the basic premise of Hubbert analysis is that the only factor determining production rates for some resource is the geologic availability. There is no role in Hubbert analysis for above ground factors like econmics, environmental concern, political collapse or war.

If you review the historical data you will see that there are a few cases where production of a resources was determined primarily by geology (US, UK, Norway) but many more where these other, human factors come in to play.

I agree with you that "demand" will not magically create any level of matching supply. Geology places an upper bound on production. But "demand" creates all kinds of hills and valleys and rugged terrain in the historical production (= consumption) record. "Demand" (i.e. human activity) shapes the production curve within the constraints of geology. This renders the historical production profiles for many nations and for the world as a whole unsuitable as input for Hubbert analysis.

As a test, all you have to do is take the production data up to 2000 and then use Hubbert analysis to fit the next 10 years. For most places you will find the results have had no useful predictive value.


I can't disagree with you, the failures of the Hubbert model are old news around here.

This is why the tone of Majorian's post (let alone the content) is so shocking to me.

It is also why people like WebHubbleTelescope are continuing to look for alternative mathematical models that reflect reality better.

The bit that gets my undies in a bunch is that people complain that the shape of the curve is inaccurate, and then make arguments that because the shape isn't exactly in line with what was predicted that somehow this means that the total area under the curve (total production) is whatever they want it to be.

The simple fact is that we will produce a finite amount of oil from Earth's crust, however one wants to define "oil", and that is going to be the total integral of the production curve. You can change the shape of .

We have a lot of signals right now that indicate that we are at a local maximum for oil production. The persistence of price increases over the past few years without any corresponding increase in production is the biggest.

The main issue for analysis here is determining which of the variables are dependent and which are independent between price, demand, and supply. The main argument is between those of us who currently consider supply as the primary independent variable, and those who consider demand as the independent variable.

And now, I need to go. There is much more that could be said on this, obviously.

Both supply and demand are independent variables. In the long run, supply dominates demand, and in the long run decreasing supply will cause rising prices for oil. In the short run, fluctuations in demand dominate short-run price fluctuations. For example, I expect weak global demand for oil over the next six months to result in a price decline to about $60 a barrel. In the longer term, despite rising oil prices causing recessions and depression, I expect declining supply of oil to increase the price of oil to the marginal cost of producing additional barrels of oil.

The marginal cost of a barrel of oil will increase as EROEI declines. Thus I see the long term trend as one of increasing price based on decreasing supply, but the short-term weakness in demand as a force that will dominate the long-term trend for at least six months to cause a decline in price.

Speculation is a wild card that can amplify price movements; I think it is mainly responsible for the price increase of the last week, and when the price falls I think speculation will amplify this movement, though it is impossible to say by how much.

Don Sailorman July 1, 2010

What I expect to tip the balance toward a positive growth rate of roughly 1% in real GDP for the third quarter is falling oil prices. As mentioned elsewhere, I predict that oil prices will fall to $60 per barrel--and perhaps lower--before the end of the third quarter.

So when can we start dating that 6 months from Don?
And that imminent collapse of the Chinese economy, you say they are already experiencing negative real growth?
July 17-

In my opinion, China's growth is over for now, and their imports of oil will fall to reflect a falling real GDP.

or did those words mean something other than what they appear to mean?

Date the six months from July First.

The Chinese economy slowed down in June; we don't have July data yet and won't for a while. I expect the Chinese rate of real GDP growth to slow down in the third quarter and to go negative by the end of the fourth quarter.

Similarly, I expect the price of oil to decline to about sixty dollars a barrel over the next two months. By December 31 I think that it will remain at or below the sixty dollar mark.

I see no prospect for a rebound in the global economy between now and the end of the year. Global real GDP will probably not decline, but I expect it to slow to about a positive 1% per year rate of growth by year's end.

Of course we all know that God created economic forecasters to make weathermen look good by comparison. Events such as a new war in the Middle East or an extremely destructive hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico would cause me to revise my forecasts.

While I'm sticking my neck out, I expect the stock market to be substantially lower at year's end than it is now.

ok, fair enough.
btw, i do agree with most of your stated opinions just find myself losing patience with repeated warnings of an imminent crash in Chinese GDP while they continue to rack up astounding (and in my opinion, real) double-digit growth figures.

A tree does not grow to the sky.

Hmm.. I wonder if there's a way to estimate the marginal cost of a barrel of oil in 2010 dollars going forward...

Hmm..so why isn't Patzek talking about Peak Gas?

Here is Patzek's 2010 AAAS paper. His graph for global NG puts peak production around 2040. In the material accompanying his US gas graph, which suggests that we're past the peak, he acknowledges that it is almost certainly low overall, as there will be unconventional gas effects that are currently unknown -- new sources, truly new production techniques, etc. Methane-saturated geopressured brine reservoirs under onshore Texas and Louisiana contain enormous reserves -- but no one knows how to produce it safely.

The US and Russian coal curves are interesting on a separate basis. They include production from the now-believed-to-be-massive-but-uneconomic coal deposits in Alaska and Siberia, which are clearly not included in his global curve. As some people on the Web have noted, such coal deposits (and equally large offshore deposits in Norwegian waters) may be more likely to be sources for unconventional gas rather than coal.

Thanks for the link.

For the US Patzek gives a URR of 1000 Tcf of US natural gas and we're roughly at the halfway point, which about what USGS estimates(not including shale gas). No sign of geopressured gas or methane hydrates to the rescue.

For coal he has East coal peaking at 1975(EIA shows 1990) with about 400 XJ left(USGS says Appalachia has 30 billion tons of coal left) and West coal peaking at 2020 with about 400 XJ left; something like 40 billion tons of coal. Coal prices will have little effect on coal demand.


Patzek seems not to count high sulfur Illinois coal(50 billion tons--) or Montana subbituminous coal(70 billion tons). This is Rutledge's thinking.
He gives a 1500 XJ for Alaska's coal--75 billion tons?(out of a 5000 billion ton coal resource per USGS--no USGS official reserve estimate yet).
The Alaska resource suggests that the IPCC could be right as far as CO2 potential.


If coal technology stands still and nobody uses low rank, sulfur coal for electricity as we descend from the fossil Peak maybe Patzek's dream will come true.

majorian,when are you going to realize that scaled up carbon capture and storage is just not going to happen?

This is because of the huge and expensive infrastructure which will have to be built,the energy cost of capture,transportation and sequestration and the unreliability of the sequestration in the longer term.

Please turn your mind to practical solutions and a combination of nuclear with renewables should be obvious.

When are you going to realize that scaling up nuclear is just not going to happen?

Too expensive, payback periods much too long, need for regulatory support and government guarantees too high.

The objective should be to set up a level playing field, largely through a carbon price and removal of fossil fuel subsidies, and then see what evolves.

I suspect that increased use of renewables, a shift to more natural gas (some bio-derived), and price driven efficiencies will be the big changes.

I can't see nuclear working outside of commend economies. No private sector entity is really going to risk capital against nuclear power given long payback periods, uncertain economic and regulatory environments and the industry's history of massive cost overruns. Without socializing nuclear's costs and risks, it is dead. And few governments, outside of China of course, can expend to have abundant cash for boondoggles anymore.

Too expensive, payback periods much too long, need for regulatory support and government guarantees too high.

Nuclear is quite cheap, have quite short payback periods, need less regulatory sabotage and less unreasonable demands for security and insurance.

The objective should be to set up a level playing field, largely through a carbon price and removal of fossil fuel subsidies, and then see what evolves.

Agreed, and less nuclear regulation. Nuclear will shoot through the roof.

I suspect that increased use of renewables, a shift to more natural gas (some bio-derived), and price driven efficiencies will be the big changes.

Not so much.

Renewables provide 7% of our energy mainly wood, hydroelectric and ethanol. Nuclear provides 9% of our energy. Electricity from nuclear and renewables together amount to 33% of current consumption(2009) versus 44% from coal.

Only 10% of US nuclear fuel is domestically produced. The US has 613,500 tons of yellowcake reserves at $100 per ton which is equal to 22000 Twh.
According to Patzek the US has about 40 billion tons of coal left in the lower 48 states(the USGS says 250 billion tons) which is equal to 80000 Twh.
If the whole world turns to the nuclear 'solution' competition, uranium prices will explode.
Of course, with our military power we can take uranium from other countries by force.
Then there are the dangers of nuclear waste and proliferation.

The price IGCC-CCS is estimated at 17.3 cents per kwh versus 15.4 cents per kwh for nuclear.

We get 2000 Twh per year from coal so the annual cost of IGCC-CCS would be $346 billion dollars(90% capture) versus
$308 billion dollars for new nuclear plants. There are about 340 Gwe of coal fired plants in the US.
A program of replacing coal plants with 600 500MW IGCC-CCS
powerplants would reduce


The US has been sequestering millions of tons of CO2 in oil fields since 1980 without major escapes. The US DOE puts the leakage rate from CO2 sequestration at less than 1% in 1000 years.

Won’t the carbon dioxide leak from underground and cause
No, this is very unlikely. For well-selected, designed and managed geological storage sites, experts calculate that the rock formations are likely to retain
over 99 percent of the injected CO2 for over 1000 years. At the Weyburn
Project in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada has determined that the likelihood of any CO2 release is less than one percent in 5,000 years. There is a
strong economic motivation for the operating company to fully understand the geology of the subsurface reservoir before it makes a multi-million dollar investment in infrastructure and pumps millions of dollars of CO2
underground. The investors want to know where it is going more than anyone does.


IGCC-CCS will produce clean energy using domestic sources of energy with the CO2 being safely sequestered by methods proven over 3 decades.


Uranium prices may go A LOT higher before they are a problem. And resources will expand enormously with such price increases. 15.4 cents per kWh for nuclear seems extremely pessimistic, btw. Perhaps you should build some powerlines to China and let them produce the power for you?

All the nuclear plants we have here and now are very much one off affairs like architect built houses using state of the art techniques and materials.

Such houses tend to be VERY EXPENSIVE.

On the other hand, the technology in actual existing nuclear plants is now decades old.

We could now build, such plants like tract houses-cookie cutter style.

Of course we should take advantage of the opportunity to upgrade.

Opponents of nuclear power never seem to give the nuclear industry credit for being able to achieve economies of scale and lowered costs-perhaps because these economies haver not materialized PRECISELY because of thier opposition to nuclear power.

Of course this does not prevent these same folks from constantly reminding us how much faster renewables can grow if we only vote enough subsidies to keep new renewables capacity growing.

Failing to tell the whole truth is not altogether different from telling a lie now, is it?

I personally advocate flat out efforts to build both new nukes and new renewable capacity.

We are going to need all we can get of both when the depletion monster crawls out of the closet.

Really, it's about time the HL mathematicians think about 'modifying' their studies to include a demand factor of some kind(Hubbert was making long range predictions and would probably have mocked the TOD prognosticators).

The difficulty — and I'm not disagreeing with you, I'm just saying that it's hard — is in deciding what to include. Certainly Hubbert knew, even if he didn't include it in his published work, that the logistic-like production curve could be disrupted. By the time he published, world coal production had clearly been knocked off its curve by the wide-spread adoption of petroleum as a superior fuel.

In some ways, this discussion smacks of the ideological fight over whether "macroeconomics should have microeconomic foundations" which started some decades ago. At least in academia, the microeconomists have largely won that one, so we have macro models largely based on the "rational utility-maximizing single representative agent". Such models share one common feature with HL analysis: both include a bunch of simplifying assumptions so that the models are mathematically "tractable". And in both cases, as soon as you start trying to add "realistic" detail, you're off into the realm of nonlinear dynamics.

AlanfromBigEasy has posted in the past about his work with the group that built T21, which does attempt to model the complexities of interactions between political choices, resource limits, etc. When you look at what goes into such models, you realize that you're in a realm where you can "simulate", but you can't "solve".

And in both cases, as soon as you start trying to add "realistic" detail, you're off into the realm of nonlinear dynamics.

The nonlinear argument is a crutch to avoid invoking disorder and variation to the analysis, which is the true missing behavior.

The non-linear solution crashes period.

Screw the web of multiple outcomes once TSHTF is in the equation it will be taken.

The Ethanol study is from 2006, before most researchers thought of direct and indirect land use change.

Global rebound is another issue: who believes that biofuels really replace fossil fuels please raise their hands. Biofuels are just an additional fuel, and cause additional emissions.

The more recent the study, the more damning the evidence that first generation biofuels hurt the environment (through eutrophication, water use, and so on), hurt the poor (through increased food prices), and actually contribute to climate change (with the possible exception of ethanol from sugar cane: jury is still out, and the clear exception of biofuels from real waste).

What is "close?" And what if BAU is wrong?

Oh... one more thing. Coal is made out of plants, so ... maybe it is abiotic?

When should we expect peak peat?

Sorry... I have seen so many contradictory statements on coal, mostly hedged in terms of "if oil" and "if gas" do peak, and if the economy recovers, and if population continues to grow at its present exponential rate. Also, depending on who is doing the study, you have different results. The Texas study is spin for the Pickens Plan. In Illinois, they claim a two hundred year supply, just from their mines. Of course, you will have to strip off about 10% of the corn and soy bean growing area of the world to get at it, but, hey. There's a buck to be made. And that is where you find the rub. We live in a corporatocracy, and our corporate masters will do what they want until there is only one mega corporaiton left. And, they really believe that they can change reality just by saying so. So, don't bother to try to argue with them, they will slap you down. Don't try to fight them... you don't what to go there!

Is today Monday, or something? It has that Monday feel about it.

Best wishes for a fossil fuel free future.


Best wishes for a fossil fuel free future.

Heh, I haven't had my second cup of coffee yet and at first I read that as:

"Best wishes for a fossil tree fuel future."

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss


Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report

Working gas in storage was 2,948 Bcf as of Friday, July 30, 2010, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 29 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 132 Bcf less than last year at this time and 221 Bcf above the 5-year average of 2,727 Bcf.

Injections were only 29 Bcf. The 5 year average for this week is 53 Bcf. This is the second week in a row with way below average injection. Last week injections were 28 Bcf while the 5 year average for that week was 52 Bcf. People are blaming the heat wave for the below average injections.

Ron P.

From April 2008: The Oil Drum | Russia's Oil Production is About to Peak. Sam Foucher's forecast was as follows:

                2007  	2008  	2010  	2012  	
Low Case 	9.44 	9.43 	9.57 	9.47 
Middle Case 	9.44 	9.43 	9.64 	9.67
High Case 	9.44 	9.43 	9.73 	9.93

Here's a chart with the latest EIA numbers:


2010 average through May is 9648.01 kb/d. Good call, Sam! Megaproject Wiki shows 585 kb/d of new Russian oil for 2011, as opposed to 250 for 2010 and 575 for 2009 - 315 kb/d of the latter was from Vankor alone. Wonder how the megaprojects outlook in Russia has evolved lately.

I try to understand what the current worldwide oil situation is. Russia always seems like a bit of a monkeywrench thrown into the mix.

Is there any article/link/thread/etc that would help me make sense of Russia's situation? Their production is supposed to have peaked a long time ago. I get the feeling that they shouldn't be producing as much as they do now. What gives?

Sometimes I read people saying their modern high production is due to unsustainable factors. (Overproducing fields for short term profits, finding big batches of unswept oil that the Soviets missed decades ago, etc.) But year after year the inevitable crash in their current production never comes.

The absolute Russian peak was back in the Eighties. What we have been seeing is a post-Soviet rebound in production, but their production has basically been flat, with slight year over year fluctuations, since 2007. As Ron noted, their older fields are in an advanced stage of depletion, and their newer fields are keeping them on a plateau. IMO, the Russian frontier basins are to Russia as Alaska is to the US, i.e., helpful but no panacea. My personal opinion was that the slight decline that occurred in 2008 would continue in 2009, but they showed a small rebound in 2009.

Here is a link to our original top five net oil exporters paper, including Sam's forecast for Russian net oil exports:


Here is what the EIA shows for recent combined net oil exports from Saudi Arabia, Russia, Norway, Iran and the UAE (which fall between Sam's middle case and best case projections), along with average annual US oil prices:

2005: 23.8 mbpd & $57

2006: 23.0 & $66

2007: 22.1 & $72

2008: 22.4 & $100

2009: 21.4 & $62

Incidentally, the item uptop about Russia banning wheat exports is pretty interesting.

Alex Burgansky: Russian Oil and Gas Industry Surprises Analysts

There are plenty of projects in Russia, both, new projects and existing brownfield projects. Russia is a very mature producer. If you exclude all the drilling activity taking place every year, then Russian organic decline in production is close to 19%. To compensate for that organic decline, Russia drills somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000 wells every year.


This year, as I said before, some people expected production to collapse. We certainly never thought it would collapse, but we did think it would decline. Instead it's actually growing as a result of benefits from past investments in the new fields coming on stream this year. But we're simply running out of the pipeline of these new fields. Therefore, next year there will be a lot fewer fields coming on stream; in the absence of new incentives to put more money to work to grow Russian oil production, it will naturally start declining, with organic decline rates of around 19% and growing.

Also: Russia 2010 oil output to fall -Bernstein analysts

Obviously Russian oil production has not declined, so far, in 2010. I think the decline may have begun however. It looks like August production will be down considerably. But things could turn around. Russia's old fields have hit a cliff but new projects are keeping production up. They must keep the new projects coming just to stay even now. The infield drilling in their old fields have reached their limit.

Ron P.

Thanks for the clarification guys.

That's more or less what I suspected. Russia's big older stuff is indeed in major geologic decline, but they're keeping production up by running themselves ragged on the smaller & newer projects.

But it does provoke mentioning the "horizon" effect. I get the feeling that I could pick up an article about the state of the Russian oil industry from 5 or 10 years ago and read how this situation today isn't possible. They would be saying Russia was soon headed for an inevitable huge geologic production drop with no way around it.

I follow Russian oil production pretty closely. Their daily production can be found here:
Russian Energy Production
They give a daily summery but never a weekly or monthly average. Sometimes they have wild swings which I suspect are to make the averages come out right, but they never post those averages.

Anyway according to my data Russian Oil production peaked, so far, in June of 2010. Production dropped off slightly in July and dropped rather sharply the first three days in August.

New projects are what is keeping Russian oil production up. Their old fields have a very steep decline curve. As long as they can keep new projects coming on line their production will not drop very fast but if the new projects stop coming then their production will drop off a cliff.

Ron P.

Thanks for the link, Ron. I posted this to show that the bottom up approach is effective, at least short term; it requires some dedication to keep the database up-to-date though. Skrebowski's megaprojects tallying, which I'd assume he's been managing more than the Wiki, still suggests a world peak ca. 2014. Robin Mills pointed out in his Myth of the Energy Crisis book that this whole approach is susceptible to the horizon effect - each year new projects will come on line, negating what seemed like an inevitable decline a few years previously. True enough, but I still feel this is a worthy realm of inquiry. Many of these megaprojects were mothballed decades ago, for instance; can they really be brought back to life with massively higher production?

From the Archives

Matt Simmons referenced these Congressional inquiries in Twilight in the Desert; here's some contemporary coverage of them from the redoubtable Seymour Hirsch.

Ocala Star-Banner - Mar 5, 1979

Saudi Oil Production Questioned In Decade
By SEYMOUR M. HIRSCH The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Two major United States oil companies, under subpoena, have submitted documents to a congressional committee that raise serious questions about the long- term productivity of Saudi Arabia's oilfields, according to administration officials familiar with the documents.
The material was furnished to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by the Exxon Corp. and the Standard Oil Co. of California, both members of the Arabian American Oil Co., the consortium that produces Saudi Arabia's oil.

The documents, citing a study com­piled for the Saudi government by a British consulting company, showed that the oilfields. If producing at 8.5 million barrels dally, would not begin to diminish until the year 2000 if producing at 12 million barrels dally, the documents Indicate, the Saudi fields would begin to become depleted within 15 years.

—A report that the Aramco consor­tium has not made any significant finding of new reserves In Saudi Arabia since 1970. That failure is known to have distressed many oil experts in the Carter administration, who say they had apparently been misled by repeated Aramco claims of reserve findings. Knight said the com­pany has increased its probable reserves between 1973 and 1977 by 15 billion barrels.

Japan is hybrid crazy with Prius sales up 24.3 percent to 34,456 in July.


While in the U.S. Prius sales drop 26.4% to 14,102 in July.


In the US, the Prius posted July sales of 14,102 units, down 26.4%. Overall in the US, sales of light trucks surged 17.8% in July to 522,428 units according to figures from Autodata, representing 50% of the new vehicle market, up from 44%.

Light trucks rule in U.S.. Looks to me that fuel conservation still doesn't matter much to Americans. No surprise there.

Japan's green car subsidy helps boost July sales by 12.9%

Meanwhile, sales in the US are down because cash-for-clunkers ended, which artificially inflated our sales for awhile. Since the Japanese subsidy expires in September, you can bet that Prius sales will post a sales decrease afterwards. Proof of nothing more than the power of subsidies to influence behavior.

As Paul Harvey used to say... "And now you know the rest of the story...

The subsidy is temporarily inflating sales, but their loss hasn't historically affected sales too much: Do Hybrid Sales Fall After the Tax Credits End?

My "light truck" is a Prius.

My family's 2nd Prius, bought used a couple of months ago, is also my light truck. I have a 4.5 x 8 foot trailer that I tow when I need to haul stuff. I get the usual 50+ MPG in car mode and about 36 MPG as a light truck with the trailer, depending on how it is loaded and aerodynamics. Sometimes I have a lead foot, so that's very good for a light truck.

My previous "light truck" was a Subaru Legacy Wagon with trailer that still did significantly better than any other comparable family capable real light truck. So, unlike most Americans, I have been trying to conserve for a while. I don't expect the rest to change until gas prices go up a lot more.

So I thought trailering was supposed to be a no-no? (I have an 07 Prius, and an 09 Camry hybrid). Is what you are doing recommeneded? Of course I'm sure there is a big difference between hauling a small versus large trailer. Years back I used to sometimes tow a 14foot aluminum fishing boat -even the Suburu "thought" the load was so little that it "ignored/laughed at" it (i.e. it didn't feel any different driving with/without -xcepting when you looked in the mirror you saw you were being tailgated by a boat).

The hybridcars website has a periodic dashboard that may be useful:


Just one data point, but kind of interesting...

Cancer cells slurp up fructose, US study finds

"They have major significance for cancer patients given dietary refined fructose consumption, and indicate that efforts to reduce refined fructose intake or inhibit fructose-mediated actions may disrupt cancer growth."

Americans take in large amounts of fructose, mainly in high fructose corn syrup, a mix of fructose and glucose that is used in soft drinks, bread and a range of other foods.

Politicians, regulators, health experts and the industry have debated whether high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients have been helping make Americans fatter and less healthy.

did it all begin with the fructose wars ?


It all began about thirty years ago.

Three things happened around the same time and the combination opened a window for corporate America to profit. A window they dived right into.

Richard Nixon encouraged the food industry to keep prices as low as possible so rising food prices wouldn’t be an issue in the reelection.
High Fructose Corn Syrup aka HFCS was invented in Japan and then brought over to the USA in 11975. HFCS is half the price of sugar and twice as sweet so they replaced all natural sugar with it.
The USDA and AHA in 1982 told us to reduce our fat consumption to stop heart disease, thus starting the Fat Free Craze. With no fat to give food taste the food industry turned to High Fructose Corn Syrup and put it in everything.

I wonder if the inventor(s) of HFCS were seeking revenge for the firebombing of Tokyo or for Hiroshama and Nagasaki. If so, they've succeeded.

My prescription for a healthy life in North America: don't buy a car and don't consume any product with HFCS.

How is it that table sugar (50% fructose) and honey (~49% fructose after you factor out the water) are always forgotten in stories like this? The story is about fructose causing health problems, not just HFCS.

Even worse, the article fails to differentiate HFCS 55 (55% Fructose, used in soft drinks) from HFCS 42 (42% Fructose, used in baked goods). Note that HFCS 42 actually contains less fructose than either table sugar or honey.

So, an honestly written article would have to acknowledge that all forms of fructose containing sweeteners, HFCS, sugar and honey, have the potential to cause these health problems.

Personally, when given the choice, I sweeten with Splenda. I do believe that there are a lot of potential health issues with fructose, which is why I try to avoid it personally. It drive me nuts, however, to see HFCS constantly demonized when sugar and honey get a free pass, even with the same basic composition. Find me something only in HFCS that causes health problems and I might be willing to listen. Until then, substitute the phrase "sugar, honey and HFCS" in your mind, every time you read "HFCS" in a story.

I don't think sugar and honey get a free pass.

In Good Calories, Bad Calories, Taubes suggests that some people need to avoid even complex carbs like whole grains.

He also describes some research that suggests why HFCS is worse than sucrose or ordinary fructose. It's complicated, but basically, it seems to screw up your metabolism, so you're hungrier, rather than satisfied.

However, he also says the jury's still out.

Find me something only in HFCS that causes health problems and I might be willing to listen.

How about this?

Here is a quote from http://www.caloriecontrol.org/sweeteners-and-lite/fructose

There is also a difference between table sugar and HFCS, though this appears to be of little consequence. It is that the glucose and fructose in table sugar are linked chemically and so table sugar needs digesting before absorption can occur. This digestive process occurs very rapidly for sucrose and so there is no significant difference in the overall rate of absorption. Because both table sugar and HFCS are absorbed into the blood stream as glucose and fructose, their subsequent metabolism is identical.

Given that very small inputs to a dynamic system can have a significant impact, especially over extended periods of time, I suspect that their dismissal of the digestive process for sucrose as not significant is not very well thought out.

Yes. From the Princeton article:

High-fructose corn syrup and sucrose are both compounds that contain the simple sugars fructose and glucose, but there at least two clear differences between them. First, sucrose is composed of equal amounts of the two simple sugars -- it is 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose -- but the typical high-fructose corn syrup used in this study features a slightly imbalanced ratio, containing 55 percent fructose and 42 percent glucose. Larger sugar molecules called higher saccharides make up the remaining 3 percent of the sweetener. Second, as a result of the manufacturing process for high-fructose corn syrup, the fructose molecules in the sweetener are free and unbound, ready for absorption and utilization. In contrast, every fructose molecule in sucrose that comes from cane sugar or beet sugar is bound to a corresponding glucose molecule and must go through an extra metabolic step before it can be utilized.

This creates a fascinating puzzle. The rats in the Princeton study became obese by drinking high-fructose corn syrup, but not by drinking sucrose. The critical differences in appetite, metabolism and gene expression that underlie this phenomenon are yet to be discovered, but may relate to the fact that excess fructose is being metabolized to produce fat, while glucose is largely being processed for energy or stored as a carbohydrate, called glycogen, in the liver and muscles.

From Leanan's Princeton link..

"Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn't true, at least under the conditions of our tests," said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction. "When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they're becoming obese -- every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don't see this; they don't all gain extra weight."

"...Compared to animals eating only rat chow, rats on a diet rich in high-fructose corn syrup showed characteristic signs of a dangerous condition known in humans as the metabolic syndrome, including abnormal weight gain, significant increases in circulating triglycerides and augmented fat deposition, especially visceral fat around the belly."

How about this study, published earlier this year?


I've just trained myself to drink my tea (hot and cold) and coffee unsweetened. I just cut out the sweetners cold turkey, and don't add them to anything any more. I do still need some milk or cream with the coffee, but avoid artifical "creamers" (which are mostly sugar in disguise). It really didn't take very long to adjust, you just have to decide to do it and get on with it. Now I don't miss the lack of sweetner at all. Actually, I now find sweet tea to be almost undrinkable.

As for "soft drinks", I do without those, too. Those also seem way too sweet, now. I do drink fruit juices that don't have any extra sweetner added, and those now seem more than sweet enough to me.

I agree - I have been drinking non-milk, non-sweetened coffee for a long time, as well as green or black tea unsweetened and without milk. I find they both taste awful with milk or sweetener.

For a cold, (non-alcoholic), beverage, tap water, generally, or sometimes soda water with lime or lemon. Or 100% fruit or vegetable juices, no additives.

I do sometimes find myself wanting something sweet, especially in cold weather, at which point, I take raw honey, or add it to whatever is on the menu. Real chocolate is good, too - not the plastic stuff one finds everywhere.

The flavored soda waters are so good I hardly ever miss sweetened sodas.

And what kind of people ruin perfectly good coffee with milk and sugar? Or worse, those actinic tasting artificial flavors that so many "gourmet" coffees have. Ick.

Of interest is the miracle berry story
per wiki

"The miracle fruit, or miracle berry plant (Synsepalum dulcificum), produces berries that, when eaten, cause sour foods (such as lemons and limes) subsequently consumed to taste sweet. The berry has been used in West Africa since at least the 18th century..."

But an attempt to comercialize this wonder met with resistance
"An attempt was made in the 1970s to commercialize the ability of the fruit to turn non-sweet foods into sweet foods without a caloric penalty but ended in failure when the FDA classified the berry as a food additive.[3] There were controversial circumstances with accusations that the project was sabotaged and the research burgled by the sugar industry to prevent loss of business caused by a drop in the need for sugar.[8] The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has always denied that pressure was put on it by the sugar industry but refused to release any files on the subject.[9] Similar arguments are noted for the FDA's regulation on Stevia now labeled as a "dietary supplement" instead of a "sweetener".

For a time in the 1970s, US dieters could purchase a pill form of miraculin.[6] It was at this time that the idea of the "miraculin party"[6] was conceived. Recently, this phenomenon has enjoyed some revival in food-tasting events, referred to as "flavor-tripping parties" by some.[10] The tasters consume sour and bitter foods, such as lemons, radishes, pickles, hot sauce, and beer, to experience the taste changes that occur."


For an interesting interview by a writer (Adam Leith Gollner, The Fruit Hunters: A Story of Nature, Adventure, Commerce, and Obsession.) who tells the tale and others see http://www.democracynow.org/2008/7/9/the_fruit_hunters_a_story_of
Start at 51:43 if you want to skip the United Fruit Co part and just want to see the miracle fruit section.

Watch Amy Goodman's face as she eats a lime after the miracle fruit. It is priceless (if you are a regular watcher of Democracy Now that is).

I stopped eating almost all refined sugar, honey, HFCS 20 years ago. Fruit started tasting sweeter to me about 2 weeks after getting the refined stuff out of my system. When I accidentally taste something sugared it doesn't taste good to me.

Personally, when given the choice, I sweeten with Splenda.

I was agreeing with everything you wrote until this. Ugh, this stuff is arguably worse! The stuff is chlorinated (3 additional Cl atoms per molecule to stabilize the ring), the people who sell it basically flat out admit that ~15% of it remains in your body yet can't or won't account for the chlorine specifically, has been shown to be toxic to rats at FDA-approved dosages (e.g. http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all?content=10.1080/15287390...), etc. There are probably better references than that nowadays, I am out of the loop, but, Splenda, gag. Tastes nasty anyway...

I see Runeshade never came back to this thread. I guess we'll never know if he was willing to listen.

Calderon: Mexico drug gangs seeking to replace state

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has warned that drug gangs are seeking to replace the state and impose their own law in parts of the country.

On the final day of the meeting in Mexico City, President Calderon said the drug gangs had moved beyond just trafficking narcotics and were seeking to dominate everyone else.

"This criminal behaviour has become an activity that not only defies the state but seeks to replace the state," he told delegates, including officials, researchers and religious leaders.

The gangs were imposing fees like taxes in areas they dominated and trying to impose their own laws by force of arms, said President Calderon.

The U.S. gov. always talks to the real people in power. Should the U.S. begin negotiating with the drug cartels (like we negotiate with the Taliban in Afganistan)?

It's occurred to me that if things do get apocalyptically bad, it won't be hordes of formerly well-off, or the government, or foreign armies, or purple-haired mutants that are the problem. The marauders are likely to be organized crime of various sorts. There's already evidence of it. The people who pay their mortgages on time, being run out of their neighborhoods when pimps and drug dealers squat in the surrounding vacant homes. The drug cartels building vast marijuana plantations in remote areas of national parks. And Mexico.

That got me thinking about the Russian Mafia's filling of the power vacuum after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Maybe, as things tumble down we'll be dealing with local gangs (like Kunsler's 'Made By Hand'.

In a very remote country, I need not tell you which one, I have personally seen senior Russian diplomats mingling openly with people that everybody knows are mafia. It really makes you wonder... Or perhaps it's just the new normal. :-/

I agree and that is one reason I disagree with those who cheer the collapse of government, at Federal or other levels. Power abhors a vacuum, and if legitimate government fails the result will not be anarchy or agrarian self-reliance but thugocracy. Government by warlord or by the winner of the "most brutal" competition is just about the worst system, among all the imperfect choices.

tommyvee: I'm in full agreement with you. Libertarians never seem to get the connection though (might be harmful to their cherished ideology).

Although there are "vigilante" libertarians who assert that the problem is self-correcting, as armed neighbors take care of the bad guys without the need for police, courts, or jails. Well, maybe those are still not consistent, as I have yet to see one who explains how they're going to deal with "Well, they looked like a drug dealer" mistakes.

Heinlein's Moon is a Harsh Mistress as a model? "Ninety percent of early transportees died, but those that were left were very polite."

Heinlein's "Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" was Libertarian fantasy. And fiction.

It's got a good angle on resource limits, though. I've sometimes wondered if it could be made into a movie that pointed towards resource issues..

As far as 'The armed neighbors will take care of the bad guys..' it leaves out the difficult question of how many of them would become bad guys, and how exactly one makes the distinction if which is which? (or in other words, how one chooses sides..)

Good points jokuhl.

I grew up on Heinlein - in fact, I think I've read everything he's ever published. Even did my Senior English high school project on his works (in 1972).

Lately, on various blogs and such, I've seen people citing RAH and other science fiction authors as some sort of realistic depiction of how societies actually work, and what technologies will come along and save our bacon. We need to remember that it's entertaining story-telling, not telling us what's possible.

I've read him a bunch as well. I heard one descr. of him that said he was so far right, that he'd come around the back way almost to the left again.. that might match up a little with Thom Hartmann's idea that 'Libertarians are Conservatives that want to get laid and smoke pot.'

He does love to glory in the self-made man, no?

I like Manny, but Wyoh would have to change a little to broaden the world these characters represented a bit. I still think the development of "Mike" would be fun to watch, too.. even tho we've seen other versions of 'conscious computers'.. I like the way Heinlein handled this one.

RAH was really out of it the last few years of his life.

Of course, he would not be favorite of the Republican Christian Right, since he was bi, and really wanted to make it with his mother.

Wierd guy, but very entertaining. I especially liked, "All You Zombies."


Little late to reply, but there seem to be quite a few of us longtime Heinlein fans out here. What concerns me most is how "prophetic" some actually are. The one that frightens me the most and should frighten you as well, is that we now seem to be in "The Crazy Years", and scarier yet is that the right-wingers would dearly love to elect a "Prophet" (whether a he or a she...). They have on the order of 2000 years of pent up disappointment (since no Messiahs have bothered to show up...), and finding targets for their "crusade" wouldn't be difficult. Neither would they have too much trouble finding military support, as the military is rife with "True Believers" who wouldn't be in much of a moral dilemma when it came to the "cleansing" of certain other countries, then the "cleansing" of the non-believers in THIS country.

Another teen-age Heinlein fan here. I still remember the disappointment when I realized that I had read every book he wrote, although I returned to read some of them again.

Nehemiah Scudder is a little too real, although maybe the real one will turn out to be femaile. I think Heinlein was mostly wrong in his predictions and his philosophy, but at least he was trying to think about issues and the future.

He certainly had his moments..

"I looked at a cageful of monkeys and suddenly I saw all the mean and cruel and utterly unexplainable things I've seen and heard about in the time I've been with my own people - and suddenly it hurt so much I found myself laughing."


"I had a thought- I had been told - that a 'funny' thing is a thing of goodness. It isn't. Not ever is it funny to the person it happens to. Like that sherriff without his pants. The goodness is in the laughing. I grok it is a bravery... and a sharing .. against pain and sorrow and defeat."

"But- Mike, it is not a goodness to laugh at people."

"No. But I was not laughing at the little monkey. I was laughing at US. People. And suddenly I knew I was people and could not stop laughing."

Stranger in a Strange Land 1961

I thought the wildest one was "I Will Fear no Evil" - the old billionaire who wakes up with his brain transplanted into his female assistant's body. Only to find out she's still in there.

He writes about her using a "stenodesk" - which has been likened to a contemporary computer workstation.

You seem to be confusing Libertarians with Anarchists. Libertarians believe in the minimal amount of government necessary to keep law and order. Anarchists are the ones who desire the total collapse of government.

It's occurred to me that if things do get apocalyptically bad...

Leanan I've been Peak Oil aware for over 6 years now and reading the Oil Drum on a daily basis for over 3 (It's addicting and may be hazardous to your health). In spite of a massive economic meltdown starting 3 years ago (which had little or nothing to do with peak oil or global warming) people are still getting by OK and there appears to be a glut of fossil fuels.

Then I read the article you posted from The Energy Bulletin this morning and it leaves me shaking my head:

In 2005 Harper’s Magazine did a cover story on a conference I organized on peak oil, calling the movement a “liberal apocalypse” and likening its adherents to Christians preaching Armageddon. Not long after that I appeared on MSNBC’s “Scarborough Country,” where I was ridiculed for the notion of composting toilets, criticized by media personality John Stossel and had my “talking head” intermixed with scenes from the apocalyptic movie Mad Max.

But seven years after I began a crusade to educate and mobilize my fellow citizens, I find the environmental movement seems largely ineffective, the culture more distracted and people more ambivalent than ever. Climate change is seen as a hoax perpetuated by grant-greedy scientists, peak oil remains the territory of kooks and pessimists and the next iPad version is more important to the public and media than the next version of Earth we are creating by radically altering the atmosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere.

If the environmental movement is going to be relevant it needs to leave behind the preachy apocalyptic predictions that don't come true and then lead to these movements being marginalized. What I've learned is that Earth systems are far too complex to model effectively.

350.org looks like a popular delusion. We're already past 392 and climbing. We can easily get to 600 ppm with no substantial human die-off and that might take a couple of hundred years but I won't stick my neck out and make any grand predictions. What is measurable and more predictable is biodiversity and as industrial civilization continues to destroy habitats and push out endemic species we are staring at an emerging planet that is far less interesting than the one we grew up in.

As a moral mandate global warming, poverty and deforestation are compelling; but the perception of "high minded, liberal, self-serving scientific predictions" are not.


"high minded, liberal, self-serving scientific predictions"

Umm, would that be better or worse than, low brow, conservative, self-serving pseudo-scientific predictions?

To be clear, I view science as apolitical and not conforming to liberal or conservative ideological view points.

If the environmental movement is going to be relevant it needs to leave behind the preachy apocalyptic predictions that don't come true and then lead to these movements being marginalized.

In my personal opinion the environmental movement has become too fractious to be considered a single monolithic group and seems to be mostly composed of political ideologues these days. They don't seem to care much about actual science.

Though there are many great scientists who are doing serious environmental science and are very open about their political views as well, Jay Hanson comes to mind.

What I've learned is that Earth systems are far too complex to model effectively.

I think scientists such as Hanson would strongly disagree.


Edit: just came across this...


I think scientists such as Hanson would strongly disagree.

Let's agree that science can predict that CO-2 levels will rise to let's say 450 ppm by a specific date based on empirical data. They can also run reliable models that show rising temperatures over time and disruptions to global precipitation patterns as well. They can even predict that due to the altered biochemistry of Earth many species endemic to specific habitats will go extinct as a result. Where it gets whacky is when people start making wild predictions that humans will be nearly extinct by the 21st century as a result of climate change or peak oil. That's hysterical!Humans are generalists and can adapt to almost anything.

Climate change is coming and there isn't much we can do at this stage to stop it. Scientific arguments with dire, ramp up the fear arguments haven't been persuasive; they're too easy to discredit. Actions to curb consumption, reduce human populations humanely and preserve biodiversity are moral imperatives which places it in the arena of right and wrong where it might get a fair hearing.


If the environmental movement is going to be relevant it needs to leave behind the preachy apocalyptic predictions that don't come true and then lead to these movements being marginalized.

Joe, the article you refer here, When Truth Is Unbelievable, is about Peak Oil, not Global Warming. I point that out because the consequences from Peak Oil, in my opinion anyway, are far more immediate than the consequences of Global Warming.

You must realize that you are attempting to dictate to millions of people how they should behave. That is, there is we are not part of any organized environmental movement, therefore you are telling all concerned about global warming how they should behave. Do you actually believe that your words will have much affect on how they behave?

That being said, I very seldom write anything about Global Warming, Peak Oil is my forte. And I am not part of any movement. But I often make statements about the future of oil production and so far none of them have been wrong. That is largely because my predictions have stated that we are on the peak plateau right now and we are not likely to fall off this plateau for at least two more years.

So Joe, thanks for telling me how I should behave but I decline. I decline because the response to the dire predictions of Peak Oilers like myself is exactly what anyone would expect. The consequences of Peak Oil are, in my opinion anyway, are just too horrible, no one will accept them willingly, nor should we expect that they would.

We will never be taken seriously. We will always be labeled as screwballs, nut cases, doomsayers, latter day Jeremiahs, peak oil pranksters and any other such name you may dream up.

Considering the message we are trying to convey, what else could you expect?

Ron P.

We will never be taken seriously. We will always be labeled as screwballs, nut cases, doomsayers, latter day Jeremiahs, peak oil pranksters and any other such name you may dream up.

You forgot to mention the fat royalty checks from Big Oil.

... If the environmental movement is going to be relevant it needs to leave behind the preachy apocalyptic predictions that don't come true and then lead to these movements being marginalized.

Environmentalist are not the only ones who are preaching this tune.

If I recall correctly the DoD Joint Operations Environment 2008 (JOE 2008) made mention of Mexico and Pakistan heading toward 'failed state' status.

And the National Intelligence Council (council to the President and DNI - Director of Intelligence) suggested the same thing in the 'Global Trends - 2025' and several individual conference briefings.

When Hitler came to power in Germany, the Nazis already had an alternative govt of sorts in place,already functioning to a considerable extent, ready to displace the existing govt almost overnight.

They proceeded to move to complete thier takeover with such speed that there was essentially no hope of another VALID election ever being held and thier being kicked out.

Edit:this is way down stream from the comments I responded to, concerning mafias, collapse, and govts.

If you're unsure which comment a post is responding to, click on parent, and it will take you to the post being replied to.

Russia to impose temporary ban on grain exports

Russia is to ban the export of grain from 15 August to 31 December after drought and fires devastated crops.

"I think it is advisable to introduce a temporary ban on the export from Russia of grain and other agriculture products made from grain," Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said.

This is coming at a bad time for Pakistan. Pakistan floods spark fresh chaos

"We see urgent need of food assistance to people affected by floods to prevent a starvation-like situation," a spokesman for the UN World Food Programme warned.

"Eighty per cent of food reserves have been destroyed by the floods, which also caused massive damage to livestock, markets, roads and overall infrastructure," he said.

FELM (Food Export Land Model) in action.

wouldn't flem work better ?

Let me get right to the point – the article about floating storage in the Persian Gulf, Oil Glut in Middle East as crude sales falter, is more than a little misleading.

First of all, 30 million barrels is less than ½ day supply for the world. If world demand increased, say by only 1%, that extra supply could be used up in about 40 days. Then what?

Secondly, check out what the Economic Intelligence Unit just recently said about those Gulf supplies:

In addition, floating storage is high, particularly of Iranian crude and concentrate (although this is partly owing to a lack of price competitiveness and the heavy nature of the crude).

So this big supply problem is mostly about the embargo of low quality Iranian oil, and not a glut. Just aAnother article like that about abiotic oil meant to sow doubt.

Population Trends databrowser

For the last couple of years we've been building 'databrowsers' to make it easy for folks to browse through important historical datasets and generate publication quality graphs for use in papers, blogs, etc. We've been working on another to help get a sense of population trends -- an important aspect of the peak ~resource~ story.

For now it's called the Population Trends databrowser and is based on the US Census Bureau's International Data Base (IDB). This is an early release version which still needs a lot of cleanup. But I think it's good enough to get some initial feedback from the TOD readership.

I would really appreciate any and all feedback and suggestions for further improvements.

I'll demonstrate the story-telling power of these charts by placing total energy consumption (from Energy Export) on the left and population growth (from Population Trends) on the right:

Canada's population growth and energy consumption are following similar trajectories.
The trends in Spain also look similar.
The 1990-2010 dip and recovery in Kazakhstan is also seen in total population but is less pronounced.
The UAE brought in lots of foreigners to build up their oil and gas infrastructure in the 1970's. That, combined with high fertilitiy rates, has led to insane population growth. All their increase in natural gas production has been consumed by the local population

Bottom line -- population growth is important.

Happy Exploring!


I would really appreciate any and all feedback and suggestions for further improvements.

That people use energy when it is accessible and convertible into work, which is essentially the information contained in these charts, is not really revealing anything particularly new.

Those of us following the energy/resource depletion issue since the 1970's learned along the way that the important information regarding, for example, mid to long term hydrocarbon production, was not contained in current gross production statistics, but in indicators such as linear feet of pipe per unit of production, etc.

Similarly, the interesting information in population studies is contained in the trends revealed by looking at the average age of mothers at first birth, the average births per woman, average age of the population, and so on.

As I've mentioned before, a discussion of the trends revealed by this more profound analysis of population data can be found in Philipp Longman's, 'The Empty Cradle', in which he expresses his own concerns about a rapidly declining worldwide population from about 2070 onward. (In my own opinion, his alarm is as exaggerated as the concerns of those who anticipate the end of civilization due to declining hydrocarbon supply.)

In any case, if you were to provide us with charts showing what's going on in the bowels of the population ship, even as momentum maintains its previous course, then you would be doing a service to those who prefer fully informed prognistications.

Similarly, the interesting information in population studies is contained in the trends revealed by looking at the average age of mothers at first birth, the average births per woman, average age of the population, and so on.

Thanks for the suggestion. I do have those data and will have a look at "The Empty Cradle" and a few other books and articles on population trends to see how other folks are making use of these data.

I can't promise huge progress in the immediate future but I hope to continue to develop this databrowser. (And include a per capita option in the Energy Export databrowser.)

Congratulations Callahan !

There's one big difference in the population graphs between Spain and Canada -at least in my browser you need to click on the Spanish population graph to see it.
Canada's show a steady increase without change in slope, but Spain's suddenly increases around the year 2000.
At that time an enormous immigration of young workers, male and female, mostly from Latinoamerica but also from Africa and the East of Europe came to work in the building trade and related fields, agriculture and services.
There had been fears that Spain was going to fall into negative population growth around the year 2030, and the usual complaints about who was going to pay for pensions for the elderly.

The population that in 2000 was around 40 million people is now 46:951,532 January 2010.

In the second half of the 19th century the population growth of Spain was very low, 24%, against 65% in the Lowland Countries (Holland and Belgium), 51% in Great Britain, about 42% de Italia.
It was about 19 million in the year 1900 -an easy number to remember!

I think that we are going to regret that short-lived success of the Early Noughties, 2000-2008. Now unemployment is, the government says, about 20% of the population, some of the immigrants return home and the engines of growth of the Spanish economy GDP -Building, Tourism, Cars, Foreign Debt!- have dried up.

Those 19 million Spaniards in the year 1900 were straining already the carrying capacity of the land. If I may say so -me being Spanish I think nobody can take offense- most were dirt poor, 70% illiteracy, dirty (hot water was in general availability only after the 1960s; even cold water was a problem), lousy, going hungry, tuberculous, ragged, living in urban hovels and poor peasant houses.
In Madrid the 'muses' that is girlfriends and lovers of the Intellectual Class, such as it was, and Artists were all syphilitic (Cansinos Assens says it in La Novela de un Literato, an account of Literary Life in Spain 1900 up to 1936)
The fuel of 'choice' to cook and heat was Vegetable Coal, Wood and Coal. Most of the land was treeless because of this use, not so different from Africa at the time, or even now some places.

In the 20th Century Industrial Development, Coal, Electricity (Hydro) and later Oil (imported from other countries, the production of Petroleum in Spain is insignificant, just a couple of Oil Wells), Trade, Nuclear Power and indeed hard work from a frugal people boosted the Spanish Economy and its population.

The Financial Crash and Peak Oil in the face of this enormous population growth presents a very difficult challenge, as the Spanish people have enjoyed some 40 years of continuous economic improvement the present downturn, so sudden and sharp since 2007 -just 3 years ago the Spaniards thought they were on top of the world, and President Zapatero said that surpassing the economy of France :-)) was within reach - although most people understand that the economy was built on bricks that have turned to dust nobody sees any kind of solution.

My preaching that we will never go back to the level of 2006 because of Peak Oil meets with incredulity and if I post it on internet, with regular insults to me, my poor old mother and all my dearests.

Some links about the demography of Spain and its evolution from pre-census time to the present



Gotta love the news organizations. No wonder the country is so polarized.

Article 18 above - Record oil stockpiles in the U.S. Midwest are reducing the premium traders will pay for later deliveries amid signs that fuel demand may be ebbing as the pace of the economic recovery slows.

Article 27 above - Refineries in the U.S. upper Midwest and southern Canada scrambled to secure alternative crude supplies on Wednesday after Enbridge ...

Since the oil in Cushing relates to crude futures contracts, it doesn't necessarily mean there is a surplus of supplies. In fact, it could mean the opposite. Bare with me here - those inventories may represent an investment by a commodity fund they don't intent to sell, so it's not available for refiners. Granted there is a physical limit to Cushing, but that problem was previously resolved by storing oil tankers located in the GOM.

Also, as I said yesterday, refiners in the upper Midwest downstream of the Enbridge pipeline break are scaling down refinery output due to 'issues' with oil supplies.

Okay, I'm bare, though it's a bit chilly to be honest. What now?

Hey, hey, point that moon somewhere else... sheesh!

Food stamp use hit record 40.8m in May

WASHINGTON — The number of Americans who are receiving food stamps rose to a record 40.8 million in May as the jobless rate hovered near a 27-year high, the government reported yesterday.

Recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program subsidies for food purchases jumped 19 percent from a year earlier and increased 0.9 percent from April, the US Department of Agriculture said in a statement on its website.

Participation has set records for 18 straight months.

Yes, I've been following this trend for a while now, I don't have a link handy but I read in one of the studies that a full one third of all eligible Americans are not currently receiving food stamps because they are not yet even in the system. So things are worse than they seem, which is already pretty bad.

BTW that link gives the unemployment rate at 9.5%, I find that number to be bordering on ludicrous.

Off topic, just yesterday I was removing boxes of connector wires from a cabinet maker shop that had just gone out of business. They needed to get the stuff out of the space real quick and they were just tossing it and giving it away. Free money for me because I use those connectors in my own business but it didn't look good for them or their employees... It's really quite depressing out there.

Up until 15 months ago, I was a legislative budget analyst who was responsible for keeping track of the part of our Dept of Human Services responsible for SNAP (for those who don't know the financing: SNAP is a federal program that states are required to administer; the feds pay all the benefits and the states are reimbursed for administrative costs up to 5% of total benefits paid out). Two factors are going into the steady increase in usage.

  • The obvious one is that more people are hurting. In my state, I believe that we're up to 11% of the population are in eligible households, and a higher percentage if you just look at kids.
  • The feds are paying for advertising campaigns with two purposes. One is to make more people who are eligible for some level of benefits aware that they are eligible -- in some states, as few as 50% of households that are eligible actually participate. The other is to remove some of the stigma associated with receiving public assistance -- "Grandma can get help paying for nutritious food so her budget goes farther."

The US mainstream media has been very quiet about this. Full document at link below.


By Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
August 3, 2010


FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: War With Iran

We write to alert you to the likelihood that Israel will attack Iran as early as this month. This would likely lead to a wider war.

Israel’s leaders would calculate that once the battle is joined, it will be politically untenable for you to give anything less than unstinting support to Israel, no matter how the war started, and that U.S. troops and weaponry would flow freely. Wider war could eventually result in destruction of the state of Israel.

This can be stopped, but only if you move quickly to pre-empt an Israeli attack by publicly condemning such a move before it happens.


Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

Ray Close, Directorate of Operations, Near East Division, CIA (26 years)

Phil Giraldi, Directorate of Operations, CIA (20 years)

Larry Johnson, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA; Department of State, Department of Defense consultant (24 years)

W. Patrick Lang, Col., USA, Special Forces (ret.); Senior Executive Service: Defense Intelligence Officer for Middle East/South Asia, Director of HUMINT Collection, Defense Intelligence Agency (30 years)

Ray McGovern, US Army Intelligence Officer, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA (30 years)

Coleen Rowley, Special Agent and Minneapolis Division Counsel, FBI (24 years)

Ann Wright, Col., US Army Reserve (ret.), (29 years); Foreign Service Officer, Department of State (16 year

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veteran_Intelligence_Professionals_for_Sanity They are mostly retired intelligence analysts, they don't appear like they have access to any actual intelligence these days.

Yep, VIPS are retirees and do not have access to the same intelligence data as before. But they can read on-line newspapers and watch on-line news networks from around the world. Watching these sources can be as accurate and informative as any official channels feeding briefs through Langley.

What I find odd is that U.S. and western news media are basically ignoring the politics of the Middle East precisely when the political stakes could turn "mistake" at any time.

Then again that may be wise. The public's attention span is short. No point in getting the natives restless over things that haven't happened yet.

Btw, I do not honestly think Israel will attack Iran without either a green or amber light from Washington. And Washington-Tel Aviv relations are not as friendly as before. I doubt it if Obama has given anything but a red light to Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel is a basket case with the coalition propping up the Likud Party in the Knesset a daily circus. A clear statement from the White House stating that the U.S. would not countenance a preemptive strike against Iran would no doubt tie Israel's hands.

Don't expect the U.S. to do so only because the State Department will want no doors closed and all options open. It will exercise the usual precaution just in case diplomats are called on to put out any unintended fires. In Realpolitik, like in real poker, it never pays to show your hand early.

Faux News is going with it, so you can be assured it's probably AIPAC planted propaganda conviently sanitized by laudering it through a 3rd party analyst group.

The tip off is the "pre-emptive condemnation before it happens" phrase.

Yeah, let's ask the president to do something that would be diplomatic suicide, then rake him over the coals in the domestic media for not doing it.

The sad part is the number of people who buy this shinola.

They are mostly retired intelligence analysts, they don't appear like they have access to any actual intelligence these days.

Once an intelligence analyst, always an intelligence analyst. Who pays their pensions?

It's time to Power Down , but the consumers do not want to.

Especially the wealthy . and they have a lot of control.

How soon will we have $4 gas ?

If we went to pedal power , with a little electricty, , I feel we could do it
on the existing Nuclear and Hydro power generators , ....supplemented with solar.

You know, it doesn't matter what consumers want. They will be Powering Down sooner or later. Choices that "the consumer" has grown used to will go away. I read so many comments to the effect "oh, that will never work, because consumers want x". As if it's a matter of choice.

In my area folks will support launching nuclear weapons to maintain there "lifestyle" ... even middle and lower class folks.

they do not want there level of convenience to go down no matter where they are on the social ladder.

We are so ill-prepared to deal with what must be dealt with.

And I have been a member only 2 weeks longer than you ....see what happens.

In my area folks will support launching nuclear weapons to maintain there "lifestyle"

I may be old-fashioned, but how does nuking a third party maintain the non-negotiable lifestyle of your neighbours? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Psh, don't try to confuse us with side issues, we know what we want!


Right then. I'll just retire to the bunker shall I? I'm sure Australia has things you want ...

So they are now saying that the damage of the Japanese tanker in the Strait of Hormuz recent WAS a terrorist attack.


So if they take this as a learning experience and follow the usual al-Qaeda method of trying again, can we expect shipping limitations on exports from the Gulf in the foreseeable? With a small boat packed with explosives, focused on the Strait - they seem to be taking their play straight out of the book.

Even a small boat would be picked up radar long before it got close to a tanker in the straits.

The boat used in this attack was probably the ship's own lifeboat, lowered over the side by the stowaway suicide bomber.


'Fires Devastate Russian Crops as President Medvedev Points to Global Warming'

I think this story of the heat wave, fires, crop losses and wheat export ban in Russia on the surface seems like just another regional weather anomoly, much like the monsoon rains that have devastated Pakistan and now India. However, it might turn out to be much bigger. How so? Peat bogs hold a tremendous amount of CO2. Here is a link:


'Carbon storage by peatland ecosystems can affect global warming—for better or worse'

Peat bogs and related peat-forming wetlands called fens (precursors to bogs) are found over large expanses of the far north. They are great reservoirs of carbon. Peat, which has been used as fuel since prehistoric times, is about 50 percent carbon, and deposits can be many feet deep.

"About one-third of the world's soil carbon is in these northern peatlands," Vitt says. "If all of it were released, it would double the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere."

Did you read the part that says peat has been used as a fuel? If all released it doubles CO2 in the atmosphere!

This means the burning of these peat bogs in Western Russia is yet another tipping point in the direction of runaway global warming. The tale of the tape as to how much CO2 has been released will be etched in the monthly CO2 measurements taken and displayed at this link next May:


With each successive decade, annual increases in CO2 are rising compared to previous decades. This past year the increase was 2.61 ppm (june 09 to june 10, May comparison no longer shown on website above), which is very high historically. We shall see next May, the annual high water mark for CO2 measurements, how many ppm are added. It's not inconceivable with these peat bogs burning and or just drying out, that the ppm will at some point jump to 3+ ppm added per year.

Arab States Go Nuclear to Close Power Gap, Catch Up With Iran - Interesting. AFAIK the uranium supply for the world's nukes is strongly supported these days by the demolition of Russian war heads under an agreement with USA that is soon to expire.

If Arab States want nukes, then they will be taking fuel out of a pool that is even more finite than the mineral energy resource. Europe and Japan in particular will not be amused.

Any amazing uranium finds by Arab states will take along time to get up to production, and will not stop the mine-based production rot.

For example:


"The world’s endowment of uranium ore is now so depleted that the
nuclear industry will never, from its own resources, be able to
generate the energy it needs to clear up its own backlog of waste."

"Shortages of uranium – and the lack of realistic alternatives –
leading to interruptions in supply, can be expected to start in the
middle years of the decade 2010-2019, and to deepen thereafter."



on page 13:
"Supply crunch
And, indeed, there is a widely-shared recognition that there will be a
severe shortage of uranium around 2013. This is frankly acknowledged
by the NEA itself, and set in context by the First Uranium Corporation.40
Here are the reasons (remember that the numbers are approximations).
At present, about 65,000 tonnes of natural uranium are consumed each
year in nuclear reactors worldwide.41 The number of reactors in existence
in 2013 will be the product of (1) retirements of old reactors and (2) startups
of new ones. There is no basis for a reliable estimate of what that net
number will be, so we will assume that there is no change from the

About 40,000 tonnes of this total demand of 65,000 tonnes are supplied
from uranium mines, which leaves the remaining 25,000 tonnes to be
supplied from other sources.43 10,000 tonnes comes from “military
uranium” – that is, from the highly-enriched uranium salvaged from
nuclear weapons, chiefly from the arsenal which the Soviet Union built up
during the Cold War, and which is now being dismantled with the help of
subsidies from the United States. The remaining 15,000 tonnes comes
from a range of “secondary supplies”, consisting of inventories of
uranium fuel that have been built up in the past, together with recycled
mine tailings and some mixed-oxide fuel (MOX), a mixture of recycled
plutonium and depleted uranium.44

The expectation is that neither of these crucial supplements to mined
uranium have much longer to last. Military uranium is being depleted
rapidly. At present, it is sold to the United States by Russia on a supply
contract which expires in 2013....

So seriously folks; that's what new nukes are: Just rot.

The number of reactors in existence in 2013 will be the product of (1) retirements of old reactors and (2) start-ups of new ones.

I don't actually think it can be the product ... perhaps the sum of existing plant, plus start-ups, minus the retirements. Pretty sloppy language.

Mining will expand according to need - the reserves are simply vast. That's why the Chinese and Indians are confidently ramping construction fast with the intention of building hundreds of reactors.