Drumbeat: October 14, 2010

Gazprom warns EU to stop gas industry reform

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Gazprom warned the European Union on Thursday that proceeding with the bloc's gas industry reforms would mean the end of stable supplies as the Russian energy giant would send more gas to Asia.

Gazprom's export chief, Alexander Medvedev, said that Europe's gas-sector initiatives would build "a sort of Great Wall of China" that would cut off his company, which supplies a quarter of the EU's gas needs, from gas transmission infrastructure.

EU legislation requires pipelines to be open to all companies, which threatens Gazprom's position in countries such as Poland where it is a dominant supplier via its Yamal pipeline.

The abominable gas man

FOR years, the idea that Europe might get gas from the Caucasus and beyond, breaking Russia’s monopoly on east-west pipelines, seemed fanciful. Not any more. The leading contender, the Nabucco pipeline, backed by the European Union, is gaining speed (see map). Last month the project won $5 billion in loans from the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Poland not to extend gas supply contract with Russia until 2037

Poland has decided not to prolong its contract on increased natural gas import from Russia until 2037, Polish Economics Minister Waldemar Pawlak said on Thursday. So, the new agreement currently being discussed will be valid until 2022, the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita writes.

U.S. producer prices up twice as fast as expected

Rising food and energy prices pushed inflation at the wholesale level up twice as fast as expected last month, and prices excluding those staples rose at the fastest annual pace in a year, data released by the Labor Department showed on Thursday.

OPEC Worried About Impact of Additional Fed Easing on Oil Prices

The increasing likelihood that the Federal Reserve will ease monetary conditions further, in an attempt to boost a flagging U.S. economy, has OPEC fearing a resurgence in speculative investment in commodities, due to a weaker U.S. dollar, that will in turn lead to a rise in oil prices to uncomfortable levels.

French students up protests over retirement reform

PARIS — French students intensified blockades of high schools and universities Thursday, as the third straight day of nationwide strikes over the government's retirement reform snarled train travel and sent worried drivers to the pumps ahead of possible fuel shortages.

While the protesting students won't reach retirement age for decades, the government is keeping a close eye on how their rallies play out. Students have brought down major government reforms in the past and student action has resulted in violence.

Creating the OPEC Of Fertilizer

The world's largest potash miners, whose control over output already exceeds that of OPEC over oil, are poised to tighten their grip on the industry even further.

Energy and Food Constraints Will Collapse Global Economic Recovery

We may rail against the regulators, politicians, and others who failed to understand and manage past risks, but we are just as culpable for our failure to engage with severe, well-signposted, imminent ones. Impassioned arguments over bank nationalisation, battered government finances and the austerity-stimulus debate consume us today, but in reality may be little more than a Lilliputian tussle over the fag-end of our globalised economy. But it seems we cannot see our own predicament.

David Suzuki’s Five Kids

None of his children were adopted. Nor are they step-kids. Rather, a man who spends his time preaching that humans are desecrating the environment due to our sheer numbers nevertheless indulged himself five times in this regard.

'Suburban Nation': 10 Worst Things About Suburban Sprawl (PHOTOS)

Over a decade ago, when we started writing our book, "Suburban Nation," we had no idea how quickly the conversation was about to change. The New Urban critique of sprawl, initiated by my co-authors in the late seventies, was at first an aesthetic discussion -- by God, this stuff is ugly. But then, when they discovered that it was possible to build real towns again, it became a social discussion -- we shouldn't have to live our lives stuck in traffic between the soulless subdivision and the plastic shopping mall.

But now, a preference has become a mandate, as sprawl has quietly been identified as a central cause behind a growing list of mounting national crises including foreign oil dependency, climate change, and the obesity epidemic. With economists, environmentalists, and epidemiologists all bemoaning suburbia, it is a good time to step back and remind ourselves what we're still up against.

Review: When Oil Peaked by Ken Deffeyes

The chapter on possible responses to energy-related environmental problems is brimming with sound ideas. Above all, Deffeyes recommends practicing conservation and instituting government-mandated minimum support prices for fossil fuels. In his case for minimum support prices, he cites late peak oil legend Matt Simmons, who pushed vehemently for them. Minimum prices for oil and other fossil fuels would help ensure that existing reserves don’t run out as quickly and that new prospects are more economical to produce. Deffeyes’ other suggestions include using the planet-cooling capacity of jet plane contrails to combat climate change, and employing underground salt and anhydrite beds in the storage of nuclear waste. (These geological layers’ impermeability is proven beyond any doubt—it has prevented vast volumes of oil and natural gas from escaping to the planet’s surface over millions upon millions of years.)

Is the Food Price Inflation Scare Mostly Hype?

While it’s true that India is facing very real and extreme food shortages that will significantly impact many people who cannot afford to pay higher prices, Americans don’t have much to worry about in terms of food shortages and price inflation—at least not yet.

Russia backs away from plans to break up the unique Pavlovsk seed bank

A backlash over this summer's wildfires has derailed plans to redevelop the unique open-air gene bank established by the botanist Nikolai Vavilov outside St Petersburg.

At newest W hotel, your keycard doubles as your power switch

It's supposed to be an energy saving system, and you may have already used it in Europe or Latin America.

But since US consumers are set in their ways, this hotel - Starwood's 37th W - has tweaked the system.

Pentagon going green, because it has to

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US military's heavy dependence on fossil fuels is a dangerous vulnerability, officials said Wednesday as they made a fresh push to develop renewable energy solutions for the battlefield.

In the wake of a spate of deadly attacks on tankers carrying fuel to foreign troops in Afghanistan, Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke of a "strategic imperative" for the US military to become more efficient and find new sources of energy.

The Department of Defense is burning through 300,000 barrels of oil a day, using more energy per soldier every year and its top import to Afghanistan is fossil fuels, the highest ranking US military officer said as he kicked off a Pentagon discussion on energy security.

Venezuela, Libya Tout $100 Oil With OPEC Poised to Keep Quotas

(Bloomberg) -- Venezuela and Libya said oil at $100 a barrel will compensate producers for a slide in the dollar without derailing the global economic recovery.

Crude at $90 to $100 won’t “harm” growth, Venezuelan Energy and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said as ministers gathered for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ meeting in Vienna at which members are likely to keep production quotas unchanged. Shokri Ghanem, chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corp., also called for higher prices even as other nations said they were content with prices at $70 to $85 a barrel.

“No one will hate oil at $100,” Ghanem said. “The weakening dollar is weakening our income.”

Oil Rises a Second Day on Forecasts of Increased Demand, Dollar's Decline

Crude climbed for a second day as growing speculation the Federal Reserve will bolster the U.S. economy stoked gains for commodities, while Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said demand is “very healthy.”

Crude advanced as much as 1.3 percent amid evidence that supplies are falling after the American Petroleum Institute said U.S. inventories slid the most since July. The U.S. Department of Energy will issue its supply report later today. Oil has gained 2.3 percent since Oct. 12, when the Fed released minutes showing policy makers are prepared to buy more government debt.

Rising fuel costs mean higher heating bills this winter

Households will spend more on heating this winter as fuel prices rise and colder weather than last year in the Northeast increases demand, the Energy Department said Wednesday.

The average cost to heat a home will rise 2.5% — or $24 to $986 — because the price of all fuel except electricity will rise modestly, the department said in its annual winter heating outlook.

Gasoline Rebound in U.S. Fans Europe's September Exports

Bookings of tankers to ship European gasoline across the Atlantic increased in September as the profit margin from the trade rebounded from the least in a year and U.S. supplies fell to a three-month low.

OPEC begins output meeting, oil price firms

VIENNA (AFP) – OPEC, which pumps 40 percent of the world's oil, began a ministerial meeting here on Thursday to decide whether to change production levels amid a rise in demand, as the oil price edged up.

Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister Naimi Says Demand for Oil Is `Very Healthy'

Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al- Naimi said oil demand is “very healthy.” He spoke to reporters this morning at the Vienna headquarters of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries shortly before ministers began their meeting. Al-Naimi made the following comments:

Iran faces fuel policy fears: IEA

PARIS (AFP) – Iranian energy policy is seriously constrained by several dilemmas over petrol rationing and concern about social unrest if fuel subsidies are reduced, the IEA said on Wednesday.

Tehran has postponed reducing subsidies for fuel, leaving domestic demand high and petrol (gasoline) sold at "a huge loss," the International Energy Agency said in a regular monthly report.

Iran: Sanctions an 'opportunity' for domestic firms

VIENNA - A large-scale withdrawal from Iran by international companies as part of economic sanctions represent an "opportunity" for domestic companies, the Islamic republic's oil minister said Thursday.

"Iran is not a poor country," Masoud Mir Kazemi told reporters going into a meeting of OPEC oil ministers in Vienna.

"The refraining of western companies was an opportunity for our own banks and companies to find themselves. Absorbing investment is not a problem."

Iraq to Add 300,000 Barrels a Day of Capacity in 2011, Shahrastani Says

Iraq plans to add capacity next year to produce 300,000 barrels of oil a day, Minister Hussain al- Shahristani said.

The country, the only OPEC member not subject to production quotas, also will present a draft agreement to the Iraqi cabinet for a gas joint venture with Royal Dutch Shell Plc by the end of the year, al-Shahristani told reporters today before the beginning of closed-door talks.

Iraq oil ambitions not viable

Iraq will be a game changer for world oil supply but not any time soon, energy experts told the Oil and Money conference in the British capital. The panel cast doubt on the agenda set by the Iraqi oil minister Hussein al Shahristani for foreign oil companies to boost production from Iraq's biggest oilfields by huge amounts, raising the country's output capacity almost fivefold to about 12 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2017 from about 2.4 million bpd currently.

Shell Philippine Unit Has $567 Million Smuggling Complaint From Government

The Philippines filed a 24.5 billion peso ($567 million) smuggling complaint against the local unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, saying it was shifting its drive against tax evasion “to a much higher gear.”

Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. evaded 2.72 billion pesos of excise and value-added taxes by misdeclaring and misclassifying 52 shipments from 2005 to 2009, the Bureau of Customs said in a statement. It said it was seeking the maximum fine of 800 percent, or 21.8 billion pesos, on top of this.

French Strike Extended as Sarkozy, Unions See No Common Ground

French labor unrest threatened to trigger fuel shortages as refinery workers extended their protest against a plan to raise the retirement age, and disruptions in public transport eased.

Total SA, Europe’s biggest oil refiner, started to halt operations at all its French plants. Workers at the company’s Donges refinery near Nantes voted to remain on strike until Oct. 18, according to the CGT union.

Shell's Voser talks up natural gas

Natural gas will become an increasingly important energy source in coming decades, says the chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell. "Natural gas has a key role to play. It provides a low-cost pathway to clean electricity," Peter Voser told the Oil and Money conference yesterday in the British capital. Environmentalists often snub gas as a non-renewable fossil fuel associated with greenhouse gas emissions, although it produces less emissions than arise from the burning of oil or coal. It will be needed to meet global energy demand that is expected to double in the first part of this century while governments seek to limit climate change, Mr Voser argued.

US Shale Discovery Bonanza Is Over - Chesapeake CEO

Chesapeake's Chief Executive Aubrey McClendon said that most significant natural gas and oil shale fields in the U.S. have already been found, and that investors shouldn't hold their breath for major new discoveries.

"If you decided, I'm going to pass on the Barnett, pass on the Haynesville, pass on the Marcellus, and you were going to wait for the next four or five--there won't be any," McClendon said Wednesday during the company's annual meeting with analysts, referring to tight, hydrocarbons-rich rock formations in Texas, Louisiana and the U.S. Northeast, respectively. "By the end of 2011 it will be over. There won't be any basins that have escaped investigation."

Sakhalin-1 budget balloons

The ExxonMobil-led Sakhalin-1 development off Russia's far east is looking to double its budget to $100 billion, according to reports.

Shell urges U.S. to adopt North Sea drilling rules

(Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell said the United States should adopt tougher drilling rules applied in the North Sea, adding they could have helped prevent mistakes that contributed to BP's Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Judge asked to dismiss drilling moratorium claims

NEW ORLEANS – The Obama administration is asking a federal judge to throw out part of a lawsuit challenging its moratorium on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico now that the ban's been lifted.

A court filing Wednesday requesting the dismissal of claims filed by Ensco Offshore comes a day after the Interior Department lifted its temporary moratorium. The Justice Department says some of the company's claims are moot.

Feds Rush Incomplete Environmental Review of Oil and Gas Drilling in Arctic Ocean

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Alaska office, formerly the Minerals Management Service, today released a draft supplemental environmental impact statement for offshore oil and gas Lease Sale 193 in the Chukchi Sea in America’s Arctic Ocean. The statement comes just two months after a federal judge tossed out the Bush-era environmental impact statement and on the same day Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced plans to lift the moratorium on offshore oil drilling.

Today’s draft supplemental EIS chronicles these statements of missing information—over 130 pages worth in the government’s rendering—but concludes that none of the information is needed to make the decision to lease the Chukchi Sea to oil and gas companies.

China Pledges to Strengthen Ties With Southern Sudan After Secession Vote

China will continue to improve ties with Southern Sudan after a referendum in January in which the oil-rich semi-autonomous East African region will vote on secession.

A delegation of Communist Party of China officials met Southern Sudanese leaders today in Juba, the capital. China is the biggest importer of oil pumped in Sudan, where output of 490,000 barrels of oil per day ranks the country as sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest producer.

Part 2: What consitutes overpopulation in America--carrying capacity

It all boils down to "carrying capacity'. A glass holds only so much water. A restaurant seats a limited amount of patrons. An airplane can hold exactly a limited number and not one single added person past the number of seats on the plane. Why? Because of finite space or limits!

The Earth remains finite. Therefore, it carries a limited amount of space. At some point, no matter how much humans fool themselves, they must come to terms with limited water, soil, oceans, food, energy, air and resources.

Carolyn Baker: The Witch Of Hebron And The Myth Of Post-Peak Uniformity

Take it from someone who rarely reads fiction: A World Made By Hand and The Witch of Hebron are nothing less than spellbinding.

My enchantment in reading both novels, however, has been profoundly subdued by Kunstler's disappointing portrayal of women. All female characters without exception are either spouses or partners of males or are in some way engaged in the world's oldest profession. The witch of Hebron, herself a prostitute, is a beautiful, charming, intelligent caricature, overly-idealized by Kunstler who argues that in a post-collapse world, the rights of women and minorities, so dramatically achieved in the twentieth century, will become virtually extinct in a "world made by hand."

World Food conference looks at subsistence farming

About 1 billion small farmers worldwide, many of them women, face drought, the effects of climate change and a lack of technology as they struggle to feed families on what they can raise on an acre or two of land.

Searching for Crumbs in Syria’s Breadbasket

AR RAQQAH, Syria — The farmlands spreading north and east of this Euphrates River town were once the breadbasket of the region, a vast expanse of golden wheat fields and bucolic sheep herds.

Now, after four consecutive years of drought, this heartland of the Fertile Crescent — including much of neighboring Iraq — appears to be turning barren, climate scientists say. Ancient irrigation systems have collapsed, underground water sources have run dry and hundreds of villages have been abandoned as farmlands turn to cracked desert and grazing animals die off. Sandstorms have become far more common, and vast tent cities of dispossessed farmers and their families have risen up around the larger towns and cities of Syria and Iraq.

“I had 400 acres of wheat, and now it’s all desert,” said Ahmed Abdullah, 48, a farmer who is living in a ragged burlap and plastic tent here with his wife and 12 children alongside many other migrants. “We were forced to flee. Now we are at less than zero — no money, no job, no hope.”

Fishy sustainability myths debunked

Beyond the farm, it's important to also consider the total effect of food preparation. Driving to the store alone and then cooking alone at home has a big environmental footprint.

Going out to dinner more, or just eating more frequently with friends and family at home, is more beneficial, the researchers said.

Thomas L. Friedman: Build ’Em and They’ll Come

Kishore Mahbubani, the dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, is over for tea and I am telling him about what I consider to be the most exciting, moon-shot-quality, high-aspiration initiative proposed by President Obama that no one has heard of. It’s a plan to set up eight innovation hubs to solve the eight biggest energy problems in the world. But I explain that the program has not been fully funded yet because Congress, concerned about every dime we spend these days, is reluctant to appropriate the full $25 million for each center, let alone for all eight at once, so only three are moving ahead. But Kishore interrupts me midsentence.

“You mean billion,” he asks? “No,” I say. “We’re talking about $25 million.” “Billion,” he repeats. “No. Million,” I insist.

The Singaporean is aghast. He simply can’t believe that at a time when his little city-state has invested more than a billion dollars to make Singapore a biomedical science hub and attract the world’s best talent, America is debating about spending mere millions on game-changing energy research.

South Korea Injecting 40 Trillion KRW Into Renewable Energy

South Korea is banking on the global renewable energy economy reaching $400 billion per year by 2015, and it is willing to invest 40 trillion KRW - roughly $36 billion USD - in solar, wind and other clean energy technologies to set the nation up for the future.

Iberdrola to Build Solar Power Plants in U.S.

Spanish energy group Iberdrola Renovables announced plans on Oct. 14 to build its first two solar power plants in the United States, where it is already the second largest wind power operator.

Taking a different measure

CAMBRIDGE — Like a NASA control room tracking a spacecraft, Akamai Technologies Inc.’s Network Operations Command Center in Kendall Square monitors the moment-to-moment state of the Internet from a variety of vantage points: page views, media streams, bytes delivered. But over the last two years, the firm has been focused on a measure that doesn’t show up on standard Internet traffic reports: greenhouse gas emissions.

Time to find a second Earth, WWF says

PARIS (AFP) – Carbon pollution and over-use of Earth's natural resources have become so critical that, on current trends, we will need a second planet to meet our needs by 2030, the WWF said.

UAE has world's largest footprint

The UAE had the world's highest per capita environmental footprint for the third time in a row, according to a report released yesterday by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The Living Planet report, conducted with the Global Footprint Network and the Zoological Society of London, put the UAE's per capita environmental footprint higher than those of Qatar, Denmark, Belgium and the United States.

How to deliver energy efficiency in the EU

Using energy more efficiently is the cheapest way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It also has economic, energy security and employment benefits. In a speech to a conference on EU energy policy on 30 September 2010, energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger identified energy efficiency as his “first priority”. However, EU policy and performance in this area has been disappointing to date.

Computer model reveals measures needed to cut greenhouse emissions

What is needed to cut Abu Dhabi's carbon emissions by 15 per cent in two decades? A computer model has calculated the answer.

The emirate would require a functioning nuclear programme, notable renewable energy capacity, a new technology called carbon capture - and the price of electricity and water to double. And if the goal were to cut CO2 emissions by 40 per cent? As well as those measures above, Abu Dhabi would need to recycle all its sewage water, mandate energy efficiency appliances and cut the cooling demand by 60 per cent.

Sand dunes threaten Northern Nigeria – Climate Change group

A team of experts from Network of Nigerian Environmental Study/Action Team (NEST), one of the groups building Nigerians’ adaptation to the effects of climate change, has warned that sand dunes and the harsh arid climate in Sahel area Toshua in Yobe State of North-Eastern Nigeria, are another climate change reality.

'Strong evidence' climate change caused devastating Pakistan floods

MAN-MADE climate change was a major cause of devastating floods in Pakistan this year, shifting monsoon rains away from flood defences and into areas of the country incapable of dealing with the deluge, according to Pakistani scientists.

This is very old news, but I've always been so impressed by seeing Hubbert on this video from 1976 that I've typed out a transcript for my students to read. The view usually propagated is that Hubbert was "wrong" about his prediction that world crude oil production would peak in 1995, but bolded passages show that the truth is more complex and that he was essentially correct:

M. King Hubbert [Using pointer on chart of the curve of World Crude Oil Production]: "Now...This complete cycle for the world, I'll give you a time scale on that—bear in mind, that's starting in 1857. Here's where we were about 3 or 4 years ago [1972-1973]. This is proved reserves in here [under the curve], which would add up to about here. And the estimated peak would occur about 1995, and we go into the decline. That middle 80 percent again [of estimated total world oil production] is spread from the … late sixties to a little beyond 2020. I've computed it out here, about 56 years. That assumes an orderly evolution [that is, rate of increase is continual]. That says that a child born, say, within the last ten years will probably see the world consume most of its oil if he lives a normal life. [Host: In his lifetime.] Now, there are OPEC countries that are tampering with this curve right now, they're actually curtailing production somewhat. And so it's conceivable that this peak up here might be shifted over to the backside a little bit. We might cut off this rate of growth, stabilize. If we did, that would extend this middle 80 percent by about 7, 8, or 10 ten years maybe [to a peak of approximately 2005]. But it doesn't alter the basic thing that I'm saying significantly.

"To appreciate again the situation, our modern industrial society is contrasted say with [past-future?] with regard to the fossil fuels...to appreciate the fossil fuels in human history...[Pointing to new chart of historic “spike” of fossil fuel consumption.] I've taken this time span here from 5000 years ago, to the present, to 5000 years in the future. And what we call recorded history began about 5000 years ago. So what this shows is, that this Washington Monument-like spike here is the episode of the fossil fuels, coal, oil, and natural gas, and every other kind of fossil fuel in human history. It's the most disturbing thing that's ever happened to the human species, it's responsible for our technological society, and in terms of human history it's a very brief epoch."

(I've commented on the video under the name TheProphetNabob.)

Very importatant quote about other factors affecting the world peak and postponing it until 2005. Another factor besides OPEC limiting exports was the oil energy crisus of 1979-1980 that caused a spike in prices and decline in economic activity, thus temporarily reducing oil demand for over three years. After 1984 oil demand resumed its rise, but the projected peak of 1995 had been put off for several more years.

In 1980 I was enrolled in engineering school at the U of MO and took a class on energy use and sources. The main textbook had a chapter on Hubert and his mathmatic model for resource depletion. The idea of "peak oil" stuck with me ever since.

Any chance you could track down the Name/Authors of that Textbook?

That's great that you got exposed to it that early.

Thanks for posting that. To focus too closely on the exact date becomes a meaningless distraction. Yes, a couple of years + or - could make a big difference in an individual life, but it does not matter much at a societal level.

To focus too closely on the exact date becomes a meaningless distraction.

Yes. The date at which it is broadly accepted that oil production is in decline is far more important, IMO, since that's when any serious actions can begin. From current production (say, the EIA's 85.5M bbl/day number for 2008), I'd guess that point would be when we cross 80M bbl/day. Laherrere's (PDF) pessimistic all-liquids forecast dated 2008 puts that around 2018, his middle forecast about 2030, and his optimistic about 2040 (followed by a long plateau at about that level that doesn't begin declining again until 2060). Plus or minus a couple of years for this date doesn't affect the long-term outcome; plus or minus ten might.

There may be a chicken-and-egg problem with convincing people. Will they believe that the economy is crappy because oil production is in permanent decline, or will they believe oil demand has fallen that far because the global economy is so crappy? Laherrere's "soft crisis" view has production declining to 80M bbl/day at about 2020, but recovering to 85M or so, with the terminal decline crossing 80M again around 2035.

And the ELM factors confound the problem when looking at an individual country. Total oil "production" in the US -- domestic production plus imports -- may decline sooner and more rapidly. Complicated analysis problem.

I'm not really motivated to try to convince people of anything. If someone really wants to know what I think is going on, I will be more than happy to do my best to explain it. For that purpose, "about now" is sufficient accuracy. But then I have not run in to many of those. To say the least!

Mostly I do not think all that many will ever understand what hit them even long afterward, no matter what kind of tracks it leaves. I sometimes hope that as things deteriorate there may be a few who are interested in understanding, and that the things I have learned with become relevant to them. But I also expect that far more charismatic folks with a lot to gain will be supplying explanations that are more satisfying to those who are angry. I'm more interested in learning useful skills that can be passed on to others, and by that method maybe doing something useful.

For peak oil, climate change, economic and social collapse "about now" is as good an answer as you can get. The details and timing for any individual are not very predictable.

Many thanks for this.

Deffeyes's new book has some recollections of Hubbert and commentary on his predictions; the review linked above covers this in brief.

I give Ken's book a B. It's "Beyond Beyond Oil" for me. Still enjoyed it, he's a witty and engaging writer.

The EIA yesterday released the latest issue of the International Petroleum Monthly with the data for July. Total world C+C production was up 399,000 barrels per day with most of it from Norway. Norway production, recovering from June maintenance was up 253,000 bp/d in July. They still have heavy maintenance in August and September when their production numbers will be back down near their June figures.

Saudi Arabian production was up 100,000 bp/d in July while Canada was up 92,000 bp/d. The biggest loser was Iraq, down 100,000 bp/d.

Non-OPEC was up 385,000 bp/d to 42,325,000 bp/d. That is still 290,000 bp/d below their peak month but it does look like non-OPEC might set a new production record in 2010, average for the entire year. So far the record production was in 2004. It will be close. But that does not change the fact that non-OPEC has been on a plateau for seven years, 2004 thru 2010. The non-OPEC peak month was December of 2003. Though July production was only 290,000 barrels per day below that record, I doubt that this monthly record will be broken.

I am not sure what to make of the EIA's numbers. The EIA only has data for OPEC crude only production through June. But for June they put OPEC production, crude only, at 29,530,000 bp/d. However OPEC, in their Oil Market Report, reported they produced 29,075,000 bp/d in June. That is 455,000 bp/d less than the EIA says they produced.

Ron P.

The EIA only has data for OPEC crude only production through June.

EIA has data for July (29,518,451.9 b/d), see: http://www.eia.doe.gov/ipm/supply.html (table 1.2)

Pollax, the problem seems to be with my cache. I get every page, posted October 13th, except table 1.2. That one still comes up posted on September 10th. Thanks for the post though, now I know I have a problem. I never noticed the date on the spreadsheet before.

Anyway, using your data the EIA has OPEC producing, crude only, 357,000 bp/d more than OPEC's report says they produced in July.

Ron P.

Ron, just a guess, but may be it has something to do with eleminating the offshore storage. The EIA counted it as production of the month when it was harboured in.

From link above:

Iraq plans to add capacity next year to produce 300,000 barrels of oil a day, Minister Hussain al- Shahristani said.

At that rate of increase in oil production, it'll take Iraq 30 years to reach its target of 12 million barrels per day.

Still very little discussion of the "C" word (consumption). Here is what the EIA shows for Iraqi consumption:

If we skip the invasion year (2003) and measure from 2004, the production, consumption and net export (total petroleum liquids) numbers for Iraq are as follows from 2004 to 2009:

Production: 2.02 mbpd to 2.40 (+3.4%/year)
Consumption: 0.50 mbpd to 0.69 (+6.4%/year)
Net Exports: 1.52 mbpd to 1.71 (+2.4%/year)

If we extrapolate the 2004 to 2009 rates of change in production and consumption, the numbers would look like this in 2020 (from 2009 to 2020):

Production: 2.40 mbpd to 3.49 (+3.4%/year)
Consumption: 0.69 mbpd to 1.40 (+6.4%/year)
Net Exports: 1.71 mbpd to 2.09 (+1.8%/year)*

*An increase in net oil exports of 35,000 bpd per year from 2009 to 2020.

Your graph tells a lot about domestic consumption eating into exports. The economy of Iraq is has been depressed for 8 years, as seen by present electric power outages for half the day over much of the country. When the power is available to everyone and the political scene stabilized, then the economy can grow when fueled by oil revenues. Then also watch the domestic consumption rise by large amounts, maybe 15 to 20% per year.

But, here is the conundrum: no stable government and security, no sizable increase in oil production and exports. If the government is stable and in control of the country oil production will rise but to nowhere near the predicted 10 mbpd, more like to 4 -5 mbpd that the US predicted. This will result in a domestic rise in consumption much faster than the economy grows, thus limiting export growth.

Another factor for OECD countries is that Iraqi oil is being developed to a large extent by Chinese oil companies that will ensure their share of the oil, perhaps as much as 50%, never gets to world market. The new Iraqi oil (of 3 to 4 MBPD over 10 years IMHO) may be exported, but will be sent to China instead of US and EU.

My calc says they were consuming 138.85 kb/d in 2006 for power generation, that's 26.05% of 532.99 total. One story I came across pointed out that plants built post-invasion were optimized for NG, but there isn't any infrastructure to deliver it, so they burn oil at lower efficiencies.

Iraq derived 98.5% of their 2006 power from oil, #4 in the world. #1 is Yemen.

Be sure to read that article linked above about Iraq, with opinions from Sadad al-Husseini and Chalabi. Verdict: 12 mb/d = pie in the sky.

It look like the US propaganda and invasion of Iraq have succeed and the Iraqis have learn how to use oil.

Hey, they are only going to add 300,000 bp/d of capacity. They will produce that extra 300,000 bp/d only if they decide they need it. ;-)

Anyway the next link up top is much more realistic, Iraq oil ambitions not viable

"It's easy to throw big numbers out there but these are very challenging production targets," said Sadad al Husseini, the founder and president of Husseini Energy, based in Manama, and a former head of exploration and production for Saudi Aramco. "To reach even 6 million bpd will mean going to smaller fields, tighter reservoirs, enhanced oil recovery. It requires planning and co-ordination. It's a major job."...

He agreed Iraq might realistically be able to raise its oil output to 4 million bpd within five years - a level that would be unlikely to cause waves within OPEC. But he said there was huge potential in the country, adding Iraq was "the last place on the planet where you will find this much oil in such big fields that hasn't been produced. "There is nowhere like Iraq."

Four million barrels per day would be about 1.6 mb/d more than they are producing now. I doubt they can reach that level but even if they did that would be about half a million bp/d above their peak of 1979 of 3,477,000 bp/d.

That comment, by Husseini, that Iraq was the last place on earth where that much oil can be found was very interesting. That means, if you read between the lines, that Saudi Arabia, his old stomping ground, doesn't have much oil left.

Ron P.

Our local Congress person (Virginia Foxx, a Republican) was in a debate with her Democratic opponent last Tuesday evening. When the topic of energy came up, she commented that the Bakken oil formation contained another Saudi Arabia amount of oil and could give the US independence from imports or some such (I don't remember her exact words). Hyped up claims such as that might be a standard from the drill-baby-drill camp...

E. Swanson

IOW we are still a few years away from Peak Stupidity.

("No Virginia, there is not a santa claus...)

Personally I doubt that Virginia Foxx knows "shxt from applebutter" as such things are so quiantly expressed in this part of the country.

But you can bet that she had been asked this question before, in getting prepped for being questioned, and that her coaches provided her with the answer she gave-which would have went over well with her core constituency.

You can't really blame people for believing such stuff-they believe whatever they are told by the people they look to for guidance.

Among these people are just about all of the economics and business profession, as well as the vast majority of the political types.Virtually everybody on the right believes in the possibility if not the inevitability of eternal growth, with an occasional hiccup and a spell of indigestion from overeating along the way of course.

I can number the exceptions on my fingers and have lots of fingers left over.

There are many times as many ecologically and economically aware people and politicians on the left, but as a PERCENTAGE OF THE TOTAL they are very few.Most liberal politicians so far as I can tell do themselves believe in eternal growth-or at least growth for decades on end-which is why they can propose such schemes as social security and medicare with a straight face and an untroubled heart.

I suppose if I were able to have a heart to heart buddy to buddy talk with somebody like the Ken nedy who just recently passed away that he would admit knowing that such schemes are necessarily temporary-but still insist that they are justified.

These programs are the primary reason we don't have old folks dying in the streets on a daily basis.

They will continue to work until, as Hiesenberg put it in relation to our military solutions to our oil supply problems, until they don't.

If my luck holds, I might well live to see the day when such welfare nets are really and truly unravelling to the extent that old people are living three or four to the room to save on expenses;the only bright side might be that they won't be much troubled with obesity.

It doesn't need to get this bad here in the US, and I hope it won't, but I fear it will get much worse in most of the world.

Malthus's last laugh will go rolling down thru the ages like something out of the work of Kafka, Edgar Allen Poe, Harlan Ellision, or Stephen King.

Yeah, that is what I call "Faith-based energy policy". Not exactly a prudent way to run things.

I am making that about 1/20th the reserve of Ghawar and about 200 days of US consumption. Doesn't sound much like independence or is my math wrong?


Be careful not to assume a linear trend. It could go either way.

The Obama administration granted a request from ethanol producers to increase concentrations of the corn-based fuel additive in gasoline for vehicles made for 2007 and later. Ethanol makers rose in New York trading.

The Environmental Protection Agency today agreed to let refiners add as much as 15 percent ethanol to a new blend, up from the current 10 percent. A decision on using more ethanol in fuel for vehicles in model years 2001 through 2006 will be made after further testing, the EPA said in a statement.


You guys know ethanol is the answer to all our problems. Rip away more and more of the topsoil to fuel my trip to the drivethru to eat my GMO burgers!@

The tax credit given to blenders (refineries and oil marketers) for ethanol is set to expire in Jan of 2011. The EPA has mandated that separate pumps be available at the gas station so it does not get put into vehicles made before 2007 or off road equipment. The public knows the effect of lower miles per gallon from ethanol. My prediction: gas stations will sell little of the 15% as consumers see it as a bad deal, especially since record high corn prices will up the price of ethanol.

Unless they force all gas to have 15% ethanol, don't expect much change in current use. This was simply a political chit thrown to the ethanol producers since Obama knew he could not push for renewing the tax credit.

What gas station owner is going to invest in new pumps to sell the 15% ethanol fuel unless he has to? Darn few. The only reason I could see for doing so would be if 15% is slightly cheaper so he can advertise a lower price on his sign, knowing that most will buy the 10% once they pull in to the station.

I think it depends on the relative prices. cars made after 2001 can take 30% Ethanol in tests.

Since Americans like to buy cheap stuff at Walmart from china, then they would buy cheap ethanol gas by the same logic.

Most the americans I know hate ethanol. Some of them even hate Wally-world.

Knowing that the cheap things is what got us in this mess in the first place along with the greedy things that people do.

Some people see china as the next Russia from the cold war era.


well there goes my car. a old 97 i use in bad weather. and my bike a 08 honda rebel. both can only handle at most 10%...

Societies evolve slowly, just like biological species

It has been a contentious issue for some time among historians, anthropologists, and archaeologists whether societies and cultures arise slowly or in sudden bursts and if they collapse in the same way. Now researchers using the tools of evolutionary biology instead of anthropology have created an evolutionary tree of political forms in the Pacific Islands and concluded that cultures evolve towards higher complexity by a slow process of incremental steps, but may take larger steps towards lower complexity.

Well, I'm not an evolutionary biologist or an anthropologist, but this makes sense to me. Increasing societal complexity involves a shift from occupations like farmer and merchant to occupations like pet groomer and social media liaison. Convincing people that they can support themselves with such abstract, hands off modes of work would pretty much have to be a slow, gradual process. By contrast, if all the banks fail and the grocery stores are empty, jobs like gang member, scavenger and whore are the kind of things people will take up to try to survive.

The author of the paper gives a presentation on Nature Podcast this week, if you want to pursue this further. Jarred Diamond follows up with his view (positive).


The king is dead (shale gas). Long live the new king (oil)!

From Mr. SG himself, the CEO of Chesapeake: "McClendon pledged that Chesapeake, which he co-founded and took public in 1993, would shift its focus from natural gas to become a major oil producer. Natural gas prices have been in a prolonged slump due in part to the glut of supply created by the shale frenzy." He stated that all the SG plays have been evaluated and investors shouldn't be waiting to see any new US SG plays that will improve the future NG supplies for the country. Essentially he sees little value in playing the SG plays until prices significantly improve. Until then we can color CHK gone from the play. And this from the man that most SG advocates defer to.

Thank goodness that all you have to do is decide to look for oil to be able to find it. Now if more US companies make that decision we can finally become independent of imported oil. Talk is always cheap but I don't recall it ever being discounted as much as it is today.

I suspect that this is probably a buy signal for natural gas.

They need to get those contract prices to increase, since gas is so darn cheap right now. Good call.

Rock, this is why I pay attention when you say something. You've been suggesting just this scenario more or less for quite a while now.

Re: Pentagon going green, because it has to

Anyone want to estimate the EROI of a tanker truck of fuel burned by insurgents in Pakistan?

The same or better than a truck load of fuel burned by the military. Neither accomplishes anything of value.

The locals who would like not to go back to the days of heads lopped off in soccer stadiums might disagree with that.

The timeless, comforting rationalizations for colonialism and imperialism.
Not that the argument is fraudulent or advanced in poor faith, but it advances a profound thought and then neglects to answer the profound questions that follow.
Which locals? Those who have aligned themselves most closely with their occupiers?
Those vulnerable to having their heads lopped off?
Those locals who could never hope to achieve political power under the old regime?
Or perhaps you would appeal to a concept of a great 'silent majority' of Afghans who theoretically are opposed to the chopping off of heads in stadiums and welcome the arrival of Western 'justice' even if administered by their traditional enemies?
Tricky business, empire, particularly when the center cannot hold and our own economy and culture are in shambles.
The dishonesty is baked in the cake as we elevate our values and demonize our enemies.
Americans would prefer to avoid the hard questions of who we are, of what justice is, of why we fight.
Just stick to the script- invade, depose, hold elections, pat ourselves on the back, rinse lather repeat.

Excellent! Exactly. mos6507, how would you, as an america I presume, appreciate having your nation bombed, your present leadership proscribed as criminals wanted dead or alive (dead preferrably) and your government system overthrown by, say, the Scandanavian countries, simply in the name of the victims of execution of prisoners convicted of murder? The parallels are perfect.

And the decisions of local peoples everywhere are all about "what it takes to get ahead". If getting ahead in one place amounts to supporting some less than perfectly rational Islam religious leader in order to get appointed to a post in city government, or earn a living in bureaucracy, how does that make them different from someone in the US who supports some less than perfectly rational Christain religious leader for all the same reasons?

And note - here I am agreeing with something Lengould said.

Perhaps Darwinian would like to say something agreeable on this topic eh?

I wish I'd said that. Absolutely poetic.

Somebody is going to run the show and you can bet your bottom dollar its not going to be those who lack the will to do so. Of course, to have the will to do so requires a certain belief in self that entails many elements: ability, motivation, purpose, etc.

If all social orders were of equal benefit to the society in question, then it matters little who runs the show. Few, however, actually accept that all social orders are of equal value. Fewer still, unfortunately, believe enough in their own social order to impose it upon another.

So, the question is: Why do we subject _ourselves_ to a social order that we find lacking?

Yeah, that's my take. The EROI is roughly equivalent to driving the tanker into Afghanistan and using it to refuel the drone aircraft we use to blow up villages and wedding parties. Either way - a colossal waste of time, effort and resources.

The whole war is a political stunt. What security is obtained by all this?

The whole war is a political stunt. What security is obtained by all this?

None. I am still astounded that Obama decided to keep troops in Afghanistan, after he said of Iraq something to the effect of, "You can't win a political war with the military". But that's exactly what it is in Afghanistan, a political war of corruption and no military action will change that situation. Obama must have felt he couldn't get re-elected if he pulled the troops out. What a waste!

Maybe I can answer your question:
1) By occupying both Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. keeps tremendous pressure on Iran with the assumed threat of a pincer move. Despite all the stuff about Saddam Hussein, he was always small potatoes. The chief enemy of Israel and the United States (but I repeat myself!) in the M.E. is Iran.
2) By occupying Afghanistan the U.S. keeps pressure on Pakistan, which is rightfully seen as a very unstable nation, and one with nukes, at that.

So basically it's all about containing Iran and Pakistan.

Not to mention the usual resource stuff: rare earth minerals, natural gas pipelines, etc.

I don't agree with any of this, by the way, I think it's a waste of time and money that will contribute to the collapse of America. But I call them like I see them.

Exactly right, OMS.

We simply can't afford this crap, and it's going to ruin us, if it hasn't already.

Bases in Afghanistan are no threat to either Afghanistan or Pakistan. They are too far from the coast to be securely supplied by sea. Our airlift capability is too thin and too expensive to support any sizable force for long. Only with the cooperation of Pakistan and Russia can they continue to operate in Afghanistan.

In the oriental game of Go, they would be what are known as "dead stones" -- stones on the board that lack freedom and connections not blocked by the opposing players stones.

What security is obtained by all this?

The job security of political leadership. I believe the historical quote was "you don't change horses in mid stream".

The security of a fat wallet of money. There has been a large transfer of cash involved. Odds are its not your wallet that is fatter now is all.


For every 1 gallon of fuel used for warfighting purpose, 40 are used to get it there. A tanker along a supply route is probably only a percentage of the way through that ratio, but its still significant.

"The line between disorder and order lies in logistics..."
Sun Tzu

There's a great line in that article.

"Critics of such public transportation lines claim that the trains are mostly empty, a claim easily disproved by anyone who’s ever tried to squeeze onto one. Even if that were true, for example, no one ever points out that the cars on the highway are also mostly empty."

I've been wanting to put up a 'Christmas Toy Train' in a window in Portland to have that fun sight for people to gaze at while out and about during the Holidays (while keeping trains in peoples' consciousness..) , but maybe I should make a Layout/Miniature of Monument Square from early the the 20th C., with some of our robust old Trolley System rolling through it. As our asphalt crumbles every winter, we get to see the old tracks down under in the cobblestones here and there around town, where they were put in their shallow and unremarked graves in the late 40's.


Until the late Forties, even Dallas/Fort Worth had something like a combined total of 350 miles of electrified streetcar lines. A small revived relic of the system in the Uptown area north of downtown Dallas is all that is left.

"Until the late Forties, even Dallas/Fort Worth had something like a combined total of 350 miles of electrified streetcar lines. A small revived relic of the system in the Uptown area north of downtown Dallas is all that is left."

I rode on that late 40's system. In my opinion the reason it no longer exists is that compared to a post WWII automobile, it was a miserable way to get from point A to point B. I have also ridden the revised relic as a tourist. I am otherwise uncertain as to its practical value??

. . . compared to a post WWII automobile, it was a miserable way to get from point A to point B.

I think that someone did a video on the problems inherent in an auto centric, low density suburban way of life:


Granted, 2008 is not 1948.

The end of suburbia was far too nice. If it is not possible to continue using point to point transportation then we are on the road back to the Olduvai Gorge, not some public transit utopia.

Here's a pic of Portland with Trolleys, back in the day..


Passenger trains were of great importance during my early years. From the 30's to the 60's Amarillo had three railroad stations, Santa Fe, Rock Island and the Fort Worth and Denver. I rode on trains from Amarillo to Missouri, Dallas, Waco, Houston, Chicago, Montreal and Los Angeles and up and down the East Coast, including one round trip from Montreal to Miami Florida. I also traveled on Greyhound and Continental buses which in the early days had no air conditioning or toilets. Travel was restricted during WWII. The trains were severely overburdened with troops and war supplies. It was sometimes joked that during WWII that the only time the trains ran on time was when they were 24 hours late. Over subsequent years it gradually became more convenient to fly. Car trips were also popular both before and after WWII. Athletic teams tended to travel in chartered buses or in multiple cars.

Car trips were also popular both before and after WWII.

After the war was over and gas rationing stopped - the tradition of "The Sunday Drive" started.

Guest Post: Future Chaos: There Is No "Plan B"

Note: This article builds on my recent report Prediction: Things Will Unravel Faster Than You Think. It explores the coming energy crunch in more detail by looking at existing government planning and awareness, and the implications of what international recognition of peak oil as early as 2012 might mean.

The hard news is that there is no "Plan B": the future is likely to be more chaotic than you probably think. This was the primary conclusion I came to after attending the most recent Association for the Study of Peal Oil & Gas (ASPO) in Washington DC in October, 2010...

...The main conclusion from Rick's presentation was that peak oil is being examined closely and taken seriously by military analysts but not civilian authorities. What few plans that do exist on the civilian side are decades old...

“No one will hate oil at $100,” Ghanem said. “The weakening dollar is weakening our income.”

Dude . . . we hate oil at $80/barrel. We will really hate it at $100/barrel. But I can't begrudge you for trying to get the highest price the market will bear.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending October 8, 2010 [PDF]

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 13.9 million barrels per day during the week ending October 8, 231 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 81.9 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 8.7 million barrels per day.

Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 4.2 million barrels per day. U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.1 million barrels per day last week, down by 798 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 8.8 million barrels per day, 444 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 708 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 188 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 0.4 million barrels from the previous week. At 360.5 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.8 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 0.3 million barrels and are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 0.3 million barrels last week and are in the lower half of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 4.7 million barrels last week.

That net import number of 8.1 mbd is pretty low. I guess we are finally seeing the effect of Enbridge pipeline and Houston port problems. I have just begun to realize that infrastructure issues could be just as large of an issue moving forward as actual oil left in the ground. Matt Simmons had repeatedly warned of lack of investment in infrastructure but it didn't hit home until lately.

EIA Net Imports 4 wk average

We are probably not very far from Chindia's annual net imports exceeding US annual net oil imports. Based on BP data, Chindia's combined net imports went from 5.2 mbpd in 2005 to 7.3 mbpd in 2009 (and from 11.3% of global net exports to 17.1%), an 8.5%/year rate of increase (I think that the EIA shows somewhat lower numbers).

The net import number may be low due to the fact that most of the floating storage of oil has come ashore. One number does not make a trend, but could be a real concern should it continue.

The fall off in oil imports, which started gradually a few weeks or so ago, has now picked up a little steam. It appears that the OPEC tanker tracker “Oil Movements” was correct in predicting a drop in OPEC exports during September (although their recent forecast for October seems to be MIA).

Also the Enbridge pipeline problems and some other mostly weather related problems from Mexico way are also slowing oil imports.

Oil product imports also have slowed for a few weeks or so, and we probably haven’t even begun to see the full impact from the French strike – which is bound to absorb some product imports that otherwise would be heading for the US.

Westexas is correct – the exportland model is already in effect. The delicate balance between supply and demand may now have shifted back to the supply deficit side as Chindia shows strong import demand which competes with the US. As I mentioned yesterday, it appears that both EIA and IEA keep revising demand expectations upwards these last few months. I think that was caused by an intentional understatement of demand last spring back when oil was in the upper 80s, as a way to push prices lower.

But more specifically, oil imports may have reached a near term low. As a side note, I’d like to point out that the drop in oil inventories would have been steeper had the EIA not made one of their almost weekly adjustments. This week they added for unknown reasons about 1.8 million barrels to oil inventories, but they subtracted a very similar amount from oil product inventories.

I finally found a new Oil Movements report, please note it is only an improvement measured from a very low point in late September/early October:

October 14, 2010

DJ OPEC Sailings Seen +490,000 B/D In 4 Weeks To Oct 30 -Tracker

LONDON, Oct 14, 2010 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) -- Seabourne oil exports from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, excluding Angola and Ecuador, are forecast to rise by 490,000 barrels a day in the four weeks to Oct. 30, U.K. tanker tracker Oil Movements said Thursday.

Exports from the 10 OPEC members tracked by Oil Movements are seen increasing to 23.39 million barrels a day in the one-month period from 22.90 million barrels a day exported in the one month-period to Oct.2.

Mason added forecast for demand "looks weak," and he expects the number of sailings from the Middle East to both the East and West to continue falling.

source: dowjones.com

Yet the global peak in oil production coincides with the global peak in exports.

ELM is supposed to be an inequality but here we have a case where
dP/dt = dPe/dt = dPc/dt = 0

All peaks coincide and the ELM inequality where dPe/dt was supposed to be a leading indicator never came to fruition. Weird how this happened.

(although their recent forecast for October seems to be MIA).

I am far from sure but I suppose MIA here stands for Missing In Action?

Ron P.

Yes. Also, Oil Movements keeps talking about a drop in 'demand' leading to a drop in supply.

I think it to be the other way around. However I would not discount the figures OM comes up with, because basically, no one has any better - at least among the subscription services I have access to.

If someone has anything better, I would certainly like to know about it.

Europe's heavy lorries face new "green" tax

AFP - Europe looks set to agree Friday to slap a new pollution and noise tax on heavy goods vehicles despite vocal opposition from road haulage groups.
At stake is a review of an existing levy known as the "Eurovignette Directive" which covers some 15,000 kilometres (9,300 miles) of motorways, allowing member states to set tolls at levels required to maintain and replace infrastructure. The revised directive would for the first time add air and noise pollution costs in the calculation of the tax. Levies that currently amount to an average 15-25 euro cents per kilometre would increase by 3-4 cents in case of an agreement.

Wal-Mart looks to stock more local produce

NEW YORK — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to double its sales of locally sourced produce in the U.S. by the end of 2015.

The move by the world's biggest retailer is part of a new sustainable agriculture strategy that looks to steer more business to small and medium-sized farmers globally while also reducing farming's environmental impact.

Wal-Mart plans to buy more of select U.S. crops. It also plans to train 1 million farmers and farm workers in emerging markets in crop selection, sustainable farming practices and other subjects and selling $1 billion in food sourced from 1 million small and medium-sized farmers.

Wal-Mart said Thursday that it will start asking suppliers about water, energy, fertilizer and pesticide used per unit of food produced. The retailer also wants to lower food waste at its stores, with plans for a 15 percent reduction at emerging-market stores and clubs and a 10 percent reduction at stores and clubs in other markets by 2015's end.

Thinking of what vehicle to get for the post peak oil future, where only strongmen get access to petrol? Look no further, I have just the vehicle for you: The Toyota Hilux. A no frill no nonsense vehicle that can do it all!

An experiment conducted by British TV show Top Gear in 2006 offers one explanation. The show’s producers bought an 18-year-old Hilux diesel with 190,000 miles on the odometer for $1,500. They then crashed it into a tree, submerged it in the ocean for five hours, dropped it from about 10 feet, tried to crush it under an RV, drove it through a portable building, hit it with a wrecking ball, and set it on fire. Finally they placed it on top of a 240-foot tower block that was then destroyed in a controlled demolition. When they dug it out of the rubble, all it took to get it running again was hammers, wrenches, and WD-40. They didn’t even need spare parts.

You won't regret it! I stand by my trucks, and I'm glad I own its cousin the Toyota Tacoma.

'Future Shock' team issues predictions for next 40 years

Today, Toffler Associates releases "40 For The Next 40" — trends it says will shape our world from now to 2050.

The Tofflers appear to be cornucopians. Nary a worry about resource limits.

Toffler has been a cornucopian from day 1. I remember reading "Future Shock" back in the day, and though it made some good points (some that I see coming into play now, nearly 40 years later), it was Star Trek Cornucopian all the way.

Megatrends was Toffler's big book, but I prefered MEGAMISTAKES: Forecasting and the Myth of Rapid Technological Change

Nice! I hadn't encountered that one before...

There is not much said there (at the Amazon site) save for these 3 reviewers' comments

Reviewer #2 notes:

there is evidence that it can take society from 10 to 25 years or even longer to accept a radically new idea

It seems like Peak Oil fits well into the "or even longer" category.
1956 (Hubbert's paper) was 54 years ago
Limits to Growth (1972) was 38 years ago

Malthus was ... (well what does that matter?)

I agree that white collar workers may very well be "freed from their cubicles", but probably not in the same way he is thinking of.

In World Without Growth, Buy "Water, Food and Warmth," Chris Martenson Says

"Growth is a thing of the past, or soon will be .....

Production of conventional oil (i.e. easy to exploit) peaked in 2005, Martenson says, expressing a firm belief that 'peak oil' is fact, not theory. (Definition: when the maximum rate of oil extraction is reached, production then enters terminal decline). The rest of the harder-to-find oil will peak in the next one-to-five years, he says. “Economically speaking [that's] a blink of an eye.”

If the world can't meet it's energy demands, “growth might be something we factor out of our equations,” Martenson warns."

Good Main Stream News Video IMHO


Hacland, perhaps you should have made a comment. At least you could have given us the title of the article which is: Economic growth will deliver us from the pessimism of WWF predictions. The WWF is World Wildlife Fund.

The WWF says that humans are using more natural resources than the world can sustain, and that during this century resources will dwindle, harming biodiversity and the environment. This could not be more wrong.

And what is their solution?

The way to promote biodiversity and reduce carbon emissions is not to retard economic growth but to encourage it.

Got that? We are using more natural resources than the world can sustain and the way to fix that problem is more growth. More growth will promote biodiversity. Humans taking over more of the territory and resources of other species will promote biodiversity. Growth will cause us to use more fossil fuel and this will reduce carbon emissions. Or so goes the reasoning of Sam Bowman, research manager of the Adam Smith Institute.

The Adam Smith Institute, that tells us all we need to know about the motives of Mr. Sam Bowman.

Ron P.

Good luck. Reality will show us sky high gasoline prices, food prices will rise, shortages will occur... These clowns will see what happens when the oil starts becoming scarce.

Thanks Ron - you sum it up nicely. I couldn't bring myself to comment on it personally. Too hard. I did actually sit here for half an hour trying to comment on it with out using words which would have Leanan delete my entry in a flash. But I had to get it out of my system, hence my curt post. The fact that he references Julian Simon should be enough to signal the comedy factor of the article.

I think he's missing the fact that biodiversity is decreasing fastest in developing countries because they are the only ones with any biodiversity left. We in the "developed" world killed ours off long ago...that's how we got so "rich".

Time to shift growth to Alpha Centauri. I hear Pandora is nice this time of year.

Dream of an Easter Islander

This morning, while half asleep, I dreamed I was an Easter Islander.

The high priestess of Moai Head Economics appeared live on our E-SPAN TV network.

A viewer called in and asked about "abiotic" trees.

The priestess feigned understanding and said:

"Yes, you probably mean the new technology where they take sea water kelp (or algae) and transplant it into our fresh water soils where it then transmutes into a new tree. Thanks to the power of the market and our ever advancing technologies, this will surely become an important part of our ever expanding energy productions."


OK. You called my bluff.
I wasn't sleeping.
I wasn't on Easter Island.
Instead I was watching the modern C-SPAN Washington Journal, not E-SPAN this morning.

The high priestess was Rayola Dougher, the American Petroleum Institute Senior Economic Adviser.

And the viewer who called in live (probably a TOD reader) was challenging her cornucopian views about energy "production" by asking her what she thought about the "abioitc oil" theory.

She didn't have a clue, but pretended it had something to do with algae to fuel conversion.
The C-SPAN host then congratulated her on her deep knowledge of the subject area.

Here is the link to the interview.

Peter Lehner, Natural Resources Defense Council Executive Director, and Rayola Dougher, American Petroleum Institute Senior Economic Adviser, offered reaction to President Obama’s recent decision to lift the ban on offshore deepwater drilling. API, while expressing pleasure in the decision, expressed concerns about potential delays in the processing and approval of permits.
Washington, DC : 49 min.


If only it had instead been a dream. Sigh.

My bad,

Actually at 15:52 into the video segment a "Frank" calls in and claims:

[15:52] ... the Russians have confirmed abiotic oil ... shortage is a scam

Then at 18:43 someone else twitters in saying No one has confirmed "abiotic oil"

Then the C-SPAN host turns to Rayoloa and asks, "BTW, What is abiotic oil?"

Whereupon she starts talking about converting algae into fossil fuel

sb - once again I'll make the silly assertion: As a career petroleum geologist I here by acknowledged that all oil is of abiotic origin. But, then again, that knowledge doesn't make it any easier to find oil then when all my foolish cohorts thought there was an organic source. Doesn't really matter if the oil was originally formed 2,000' below the sea floor of the GOM or at 90,000' below Kansas. I can only produce what I can find. And we've already drilled much of the earth where physical conditions allow oil to exist.

That's the problem with the abiotic crowd: they talk on and on about how the oil was formed but not one word on where to find it. Without exception every time I've challenged an abiotic believe with this proposition they'll eventually fade away without a response. That's why I don't get drawn into the debate anymore over the theory. I accept the abiotic theory...now tell me how to use it to find more oil.

...now tell me how to use it to find more oil

You'll find it on the Moons of Endor --Yoda

Seek it out in the Mutara Nebula --Kahn, Wrath of; Star Trek

Any place where no man has gone before --Kirk, Captain James T.

Hello Rockman,

I've listened to the Abiotic Oil stuff for awhile and it does not make sense when you compare it to making gasoline and other light weight petroleum products. According to Abiotic oil theory, gas in the 2,000 degree plus magma regions travels up through the cracks in the mantle and turns into crude oil in the relatively cool parts of the earth. Whereas crude oil is turned into light hydrocarbon chains by heating the oil through a cracking process. What would cause these lighter hydrocarbons to "de-crack" back into heavier crude in cooler temp regions? Would moderate heat and pressure cause hydrocarbon chains to grow over millions of years? Is a catalytic process possible? If not then the abiotic oil theory is non-sense. Until these questions or ones like them are answered, any arguments are just BS and we are wasting our time on them.

Like Matt Simmons, who has done their homework???

The bigger point to be made is that the "Senior Economic Adviser" of the American Petroleum Institute does not have a clue as to what the abiotic crackpot theory is.

She blindly accepts (because she is an economist sir, not a doctor or a scientist) whatever propaganda is thrown at her so that she can later regurgitate it back to the even more clueless audience and the clueless C-SPAN hosts.

Abiotic hydrocarbons do exist.

But they exist only in certain sweet spots of our solar system where formation conditions were just right.
In other words, they exist far away from the Sun and on massive but nonvolcanic planets like Jupiter and Neptune.

The Earth is too close to the Sun and still volcanically active and therefore during formation of the Solar System, even if there were some abiotic hydrocarbons around, they would have been volatized away by the extreme heat of early volcanoes and exposure to strong UV via the oxygen free atmosphere of early planet Earth.

That is why abiotic oil theory for Planet Earth is just plain nuts.

Methane, CH4, is a hydrocarbon and the fact that it is so simple means that it does exist in non-biological contexts.

Do you mean the methane hydrates trapped deep down in the cold ocean floors?
Good point.
I don't know what the origin of those are.
When the methane bubbles up into the warmer atmosphere above and becomes exposed to sunlight plus oxygen, it eventually converts to CO2. Isolated methane cannot last for long in our oxygentated atmosphere.

If it gets oxidised that quickly,, then how do we get the "220 x CO2" GHG rating for methane? It may be that good at trapping radiant heat, but if degrades quickly, then this number is way over estimated.

It is a significant contributor on the spot, and it degrades into water vapor and CO2, so each molecule of methane has it's own greenhouse impact plus that of 2 water vapor and a carbon dioxide.

It also has a different absorbtion profile than CO2.

(Not looking anything up right now, but that 220X number seems a bit high to me, I thought is was in the double digits).



More to the point as to why CH4 exists on Mars, which obviously has no biology.

Higher-order hydrocarbons are rare because they are not as simple.

but if degrades quickly

Well, now you forced me to do the hard numbers research.

I was surprised.

An estimated lifetime of 8 years in the atmosphere


So I was too lazy to even Wiki it. I had read the 220x number in some government document, but that of course does not mean anything.
Interesting the life is only 8yrs - hard to see it being a long term issue then. The arctic ice cores show some very rapid decreases of methane - presumably this is actually a decrease in the rate of release, as the rate of degradation would not change much.

I'm thinking 8 years is a long time --particularly if we have some giant methane bubble release due to AGW

Perhaps it is the ozone layer that prevents methane from being decomposed even faster by UV radiation?

Well, 8 yrs is short compared to CO2, which doesn't degrade, it can only be fixed, and only by plants at that.
if methane is no longer released, it gradually dissappears, CO2 hangs around for a long time.

Which is a good thing as it is essential to life, methane is not.

Wait . . . she works in the oil biz but doesn't know what 'abiotic oil' is? That is embarrassing. I mean jeez . . . take some interest in your business, lady.

And Rockman has the right attitude . . . there is no point in arguing with boneheads about the merits of abiotic oil. If it isn't refilling Spindletop fast enough so we can keep using up oil at the current rate, then it really doesn't matter if the theory is correct or not. It simply doesn't not produce the needed oil . . . end of story.

she works in the oil biz but doesn't know what 'abiotic oil' is?

Pay attention man, she is a Senior "Economic" Adviser.

Just listen to what she says about how the market "produces" energy. Listen to the whole interview. You are listening to the High Priestess of the Moai Heads on E-SPAN TV (E is for Easter Island).

Welcome to my (no, make that our) nightmare.

she works in the oil biz

Actually, she works for the American Petroleum Institute (API)

You will probably be delighted to learn that the API has an education program for young children:

Progress Through Petroleum --Grades 3-12

there is no point in arguing with boneheads about the merits of abiotic oil

My comment was never about arguing with the C-SPAN viewer (Frank) who called in with his whacko belief about "abiotic oil".

It was about what the "Senior Economic Adviser" said in response at time point 16:54 out of the 48 minute program.

After "Frank" gives his spiel about contrived shortages and the bountiful pool of abioitc oil (as confirmed by the Russians), the API "Senior Economic Adviser" responds something like this:

Well, you are absolutely right ... 80% of our energy needs are met by fossil fuels ... we are going to need these resources for decades to come ... as we move into the future, we will develop new technologies ... we have to do all this well

In other words, as an economist, she is a firm believer in the abundance of oil (for decades to come) and in the inevitability of futuristic replacement "technologies".

Later, at time point 18:41 out of the 48 minute program, a Jeffrey Hines twitters into the C-SPAN show:

No one has confirmed abiotic oil --correct the last caller

It goes by very fast and then the C-SPAN host asks:

"What is abiotic oil and has it been confirmed?"

At that point, the API "Senior Economic Adviser" (with a big smile on her face) goes
into a whole spiel about how the Big Oil companies are investing more than anybody else into new technologies ... new non-hydro-carbon technologies (time marker 19:15) and ... carbon mitigation technologies ... all part of "moving forward" .. we (API) are looking into the future (hydrogen technologies, you name it) and investing in that future (time= 19:32)

At (time= 20:07), an "Elizabeth" calls in to praise Rayola Dougher on how she explained everything so clearly

At (time= 21:11), Rayola Dougher explains that we have 100 years worth of natural gas (so no worries mate)

At (time= 21:46) Rayola Dougher continues her well rehearsed propaganda drop by saying:

We as an industry are doing all we can to make sure we have the fuel supply we need ... we are evolving the technology ... I am very optimistic about our future in terms of the energy we can produce .. we will be less dependent moving forward than we are today

Ha. Now there is a backhanded way of saying we won't have oil. Gotta love the propaganda machine and its clever use of phraseology.

The Science Barge... Its powered by solar, wind, and biofuels... Looks like a barge that they just slapped a greenhouse on. I want it! No property taxes, unlimited freshwater, waterfront property, girls in bikinis! Throw a couple of huge electric DC motors with props on it and add a slide.

I've come across this in the past, but only first saw the pics today. Wouldn't something like this work awesome on the river system and even on the great lakes? The only problem i could see is ice up in the winter. You'd have to head south or get frozen in until spring.

The Science Barge is able to grow 2000 pounds of fruits and vegetables in an area about the size of a single bedroom apartment, all in a single growing season. Unlike field grown plants where there’s only one growing season a year, because you control the plants environment when growing hydroponically, you can have anywhere from 4 to 8 growing seasons in a single year (depending on crop/plant). There’s no off season in hydroponics, plants are grown and when their done their immediately replaced with new plants, all year long. So along with being able to grow 7 times more produce in the same amount of space, and using less than 1/4 of the water to do it, then multiplied by many more seasons per year in the same space. Well I’ll let you do the math. And on top of all that, it’s completely environmentally sustainable too.


"it’s completely environmentally sustainable too."

A Big assumption

"The only problem i could see is ice up in the winter. "

And disgruntled locals with rocks.

Seriously, it looks like fun and all, but it also seems a bit... fragile.

You'd sure need a lot of fuel to heat that thing in my area most of the year.

That thing would make it through the locks on the Mississippi...plus the current would push you right down the river... I'd stop in some backwater in the far south and set up shop...probably get robbed by bandits and held hostage.

I've thought about this as I look at all the peaked roofs in the US and wonder about turning the Wasted Space and Solar access of the Top Floor/Loft Space into a growing area and probably heat collection as well (have collector panels beneath the glass, so within the building's envelope instead of outside in the cold..)

One of the costly additions to such a plan, similar to what I would want for MY greenhouse barge on the Hudson, would be deployable insulation that bundles your big fishbowl up at night. A little complex to engineer, but really just more unusual than it is difficult.. In a similar vein, I'm currently devising some insulated shutters to cover some of the Glass on my house at night.. debating whether to have mechanical controls come through the Window Frames to open/close them, or to use small Elec. Motors.

I'm also drawn to the design of the Chinese Greenhouses, which have a sloped or curved glazing towards the south, but keep the North Wall Insulated and more structurally based. Leaves all sorts of options for other building functions to happen along the north stretch, including thermal storage. I've also considered building Compost Hoppers along the outside of that North Wall, where you could allow the heat of a compost pile to insulate and share warmth with the Greenhouse. If you were following the 'Jean Pain' composting idea, you would also be putting water piping into the compost and directly extracting heat from these piles as well.. and maybe NG, too.

(Post on these greenhouses)


I've thought about this as I look at all the peaked roofs in the US and wonder about turning the Wasted Space and Solar access of the Top Floor/Loft Space into a growing area and probably heat collection as well (have collector panels beneath the glass, so within the building's envelope instead of outside in the cold..)

You can stop thinking about it.

1) water.

With the heating/cooling and the water needed for the plants you'll get moisture condensation which will run down into the wood and that will cause the structure to rot out.

How many long standing wood greenhouses do you see?

People with attached to homes greenhouses have rot problems due to the flux in the heat/cool cycle.

2) roof orientation

3) The building codes have increased roof insulation, not decreased it.

4) Roofs with less seams leak less. What you have in a greenhouse is a whole lotta seams that have different thermal expansion coefficients.

These people have greenhouse designs based on the phase change of water and use the moisture issue.

I've thought a lot about that, and will continue to. No need to tell me not to think about something, Eric. It just doesn't work, no matter how confident you make yourself sound.

Yes, water is a key issue, and as I said, so is insulation.. and inSOLation.. too much sun needs to be considered, possibly with shading provided by the internal collectors I described. But these are problems that have been solved before in other circumstances.

The Structure and flooring needs to be thorough, panned like a shower stall and properly drained into a catchment system. It would probably require rebuilding the whole roof and top floor.. it would be expensive, but I think it could provide enough inputs to make a long-term benefit out of the project.

I don't mind hearing a laundry list of problems.. but your initial comment is the key problem. 'Don't think about that any more..' People who 'debunk' merely to disprove and push things off the table.

'I don't claim to KNOW anything, because then, I'll stop thinking about it.' - Einstein

It would be a challenging project, but a beautiful home.

I'd love to see one well done.

You have costs of the glass greenhouse, the costs of trying to make the structure moisture resistant, and the final insults:

1) The Tax Man. Improvements to the property will get taxed. Doesn't fall under the 'renewable energy exemptions' so you'll have to bear additional taxes for the structure. "Provide enough Inputs" has to then be balanced VS the cost of the tax increase.
2) The building code enforcer. Not something they've seen and odds are won't approve. They don't like structural engineered wood beams....this idea won't fly far. The building code enforcer can whip out the pot growing homes in California that are turning to mold inside due to the moisture.
3) Resale. Like it or not, having an "odd" house is not a + in the resale market.

I've got one for Kusnlers 'eyesore of the month' - but it doesn't matter 'cuz the owner is rich.

but your initial comment is the key problem. 'Don't think about that any more..' People who 'debunk' merely to disprove and push things off the table.

*smile* Tis OK if you don't like the plan. Its a bad plan or nothing more than a toy for the well off.

It's ok, Eric.
I understand that your online persona depends on this defiant stance. Far be it from me to deny you your smirksome ways..


Hopefully you can use the sunny john phase change data in your scheme.

Jeez, Eric. Easily solved proplems. Ever heard of continuous waterproofing membrane? We've used this with great success:

Bituthene® 3000 and Bituthene® Low Temperature (Above Grade)
A composite membrane with a thickness of 1.5mm (0.060 in). It consists of 1.4mm (0.056 in.) of rubberized asphalt and 0.1 mm (0.004 in.) of cross laminated, high density polyethylene film. They combine to provide a tough waterproofing barrier. Bituthene 3000 is self-adhesive and cold applied. Ideal for waterproofing concrete, masonry and wood surfaces where in-service temperatures will not exceed 54° C (130° F). Use with Bituthene Primers.


Peel and stick! An excellent solution at an affordable price. Most of our roof is sealed with a version of this stuff in anticipation of a green roof. The roof pitch is 2"/12' for slope. We haven't greened the roof due to a huge invasion of fire ants which will eat holes in almost anything. Instead, we plan raised beds and a hoop house.

We built an attached greenhouse for some folks and used this stuff as a barrier between the greenhouse and the home (replacing the original vapor barrier). We used white FRP panels againts the house to reflect light. Bowed aluminum frame with polycarbonate panels for the greenhouse. The owners added a trombe` wall and black 7 gal. water containers for heat retention. In winter, on sunny days, they open the sliding patio door to warm the great room. 15 years, no problems.

Hydroponic solutions and equipment are expensive and the additives are no more sustainable than other chemical fertilizers. Some examples of popular additive prices: http://www.atlantishydroponics.com/General-Hydroponics/General-Hydroponi...

While "organic" options are available, they are even more expensive. We used to grow winter veggies in our sunroom hydroponically (flood and fill mostly, but tried other methods) and we were quite successful. The expense of materials and energy caused us to switch to soil beds using organic compost and fertilizers, all locally sourced. I hope to try aquaponics in the near future.

Hydoponics is generally cost effective only when producing high value crops such as choice out-of-season veggies and pot.

From the article:

The only downside would be the higher start-up costs, mainly from building the greenhouses, wind turbines, solar panels, and battery bank to store the energy. That’s the main stumbling block, but due to the much higher yields will quickly more than pay for itself.

Show me the numbers. One would have to grow and sell a lot of very expensive crops just to break even. I could show you a few acres of nice bottom land (with a creek) that could be had for this level of investment. However, it's a neat idea and I wish them success.

I was just visiting a newly opened store in my neighborhood called "Brew and Grow". They are doing awesome things with hydroponics, but everything is really expensive. If you consider just the sodium lamps, which are better for tomatoes, the energy usage alone would double my electric bill.
They are bringing out LED lights now, which should help. The setup costs are still considerable.


I spent a fascinated half hour walking around, though. It appeals to my inner geek.

One has to decide whether the investment is really worth fresh tomatoes year-round. Although I would very much like a solar greenhouse for my back yard - it would really extend my growing season.


Now is a good time to buy hoop houses used, as quite a few nurseries are going out of business. I'm trying to get some friends to go in on one I found that could be divided into three smaller greenhouses.

I have a set of LED grow lights that I use to extend the growing day. I added a T-5 grow light to up the intensity/spectrum. HID lights are too expensive to operate, especially being off grid. I got the LEDs free as a tester for a company several years back. The first 2 sets failed and they replaced them with the latest/greatest. I was supposed to send them back, but the company went out of business. They work OK, but need additional lights for intensity.

The Science Barge
It is a very innovative concept bringing together all the known energy saving technologies. Hope some smart person takes this to the next level by producing economically viable numbers and market the same.

Choosing the 1970s Over the 1930s

Ben Bernanke has weighed up the evidence and looks to have decided that, on balance, it is preferable to have a repeat of the 1970s than of the 1930s.

To that end, the Federal Reserve will do what it can not only to prevent deflation, but to ensure plenty of inflation. Although the aim is to get consumer prices rising by something in the region of 4% to 6% per annum for a couple of years, if this spills over into 1970s-style double-digit inflation, then so be it. That’s because the central thinking at the Fed is that while it knows how to deal with inflation and recognizes the problems associated with fairly high rates of price appreciation, embedded deflation is not only more pernicious, but harder to defeat.

Gee, that's great news for those of us on fixed incomes.

...and since wages haven't kept pace with inflation for years.....

From the article:

the Fed has been considering some radical moves that would inspire a high degree of inflation in future. These include an increasing willingness to consider targeting nominal economic growth, which is to say high inflation at a time of low growth. Or to target price levels; in other words higher rates of inflation would be tolerated in the future to make up for excessively low levels now. Or to fall back on once again inflating asset bubbles, in the hopes that they trickle through to the real economy.

WTF! Perhaps the author should simply say that the Fed is desperate to restore some illusion of control.

Hope you're all working on your SWR, remember that one?

(TOTO's 'Strategic Wheelbarrow Reserve') I've still got some Million Mark German Postage Stamps somewhere.. wonder if I should EBAY them?

On a slightly different angle, there are only 3 ways for us to deal with the Federal debt:

1. Inflation
2. Default
3. Pay it off

Intentional or not, I've always assumed that we would try to inflate our way out of it.

I don't think there's any disagreement on that.

The disagreement comes in whether you believe the Fed has the power to do it. What they want to do was never much in question.

Gee, that's great news for those of us with fixed rate home loans! Oh baby, that's what I like - finally!!

There are some pretty stinky articles in this batch. The one lambasting Suzuki for having kids in the early sixties is particularly obnoxious. The world only had 3 billion people in 1960, arguably a sustainable number. And calling Lester Brown a continual pessimist is particularly hilarious. Yes, Brown points out serious problems (and even occasionally overblows them, as he did with his predictions of major food crises in China a few years back). But he is most famous for having all sorts of Plans--B, B.2, B.3...--that suggest ways out of various predicaments, plans that often seem pollyannish to me.

The "fishy" article seemed itself a bit fishy. Everything I've read has shown that eating out in restaurants is massively more wasteful/higher foot print than getting basic ingredients and making the food at home. But they claim the opposite, apparently unaware of these other studies. Of course, one can always create scenarios with the absolutely most wasteful way to home cook compared to the absolutely most efficient eating out experience (soup kitchens?), and perhaps that is what was done here.

I liked the match up of articles at the end, massive and devastating flooding in Pakistan and desertification of north Nigeria both GW driven.

GW can indeed cause extremes both of flooding and of drought, not only on different parts of the globe, but of the same country or even state. The extremes are getting so extreme that it does seem to be possible to pin particular wildly extreme events on gw, events that are way outside of the bell curve of expected ranges of rainfall, temperatures...The first such event that I have heard of (and experienced,as it happens) was the killer heatwave in Europe in the summer of '03. 35,000 or so died from it. Temperatures were so far outside the norm that most researchers now say that it can be directly attributed to GW.

Generally, the way to look at it is that we have loaded the climate dice so that they are much more likely to turn up more and more extreme weather events more and more frequently in more and more places.

So if you haven't experienced one yet, you probably have not got too long to wait--coming to an environment near you, the latest weather catastrophe! May you and yours survive it (only of course to see another one, and another, ever more extreme and ever more frequent...)

I thought the "fishy" article was interesting (though IIRC, it was done in Europe, so may not apply so much in the US).

For example, pointing out that eating frozen foods is better for the planet than fresh...if it means delivery via cargo ship vs. air freight.

As for eating in restaurants...I could see that making sense, if you don't drive your SUV 30 miles to do it. Communal cooking is more efficient, which is why ancient villages often had a communal oven.

And eating in restaurants isn't your only option. Eating at home, with friends and family, also reduces your footprint. It's one person, cooking for only themselves, that's wasteful.

Of course, you could cook a bunch of food at once and freeze it, but IME, that's an American thing to do. They tend to have small refrigerators in Europe, maybe a little larger than the "dorm size" in the US. They shop every day, because they have to.

I wonder which is more energy efficient: having a big fridge and freezer that allows bulk cooking, or having a small one and cooking and shopping daily?

I wonder which is more energy efficient: having a big fridge and freezer that allows bulk cooking

Seems a chest freezer modified to work at room temp is the efficiency win.

My chest fridge (Vestfrost freezer turned into a fridge) consumes about 0.1 kWh a day. It works only about 2 minutes per hour.

I think the Euro model is more energy efficient - leave the bulk storage - fresh or frozen, to the suppliers. The surface are to volume ratio is much lower, and they manage the energy use and minimise spoilage much better than any homeowner.

It may not be as time efficient, but that doesn't seem to worry them. A trip to a European market is a pleasant experience - doing it every day or two is nice.
A trip to Costco in the Urban Assualt Vehicle, on the other hand, is something to be minimised...