Drumbeat: October 19, 2010

Tim Jackson on economic growth from this year’s TED Talks

And this, this is where it gets interesting, because it turns out that human beings have something of an appetite for novelty. We love new stuff -- new material stuff for sure -- but also new ideas, new adventures, new experiences. But the materiality matters too. Because, in every society that anthropologists have looked at, material stuff operates as a kind of language, a language of goods, a symbolic language that we use to tell each other stories -- stories, for example, about how important we are. Status-driven, conspicuous consumption thrives from the language of novelty. And here, all of a sudden, we have a system that is locking economic structure with social logic -- the economic institutions, and who we are as people, locked together to drive an engine of growth. And this engine is not just economic value; it is pulling material resources relentlessly through the system, driven by our own insatiable appetites, driven in fact by a sense of anxiety. Adam Smith, 200 years ago, spoke about our desire for a life without shame. A life without shame: in his day, what that meant was linen shirts, and today, well, you still need the shirt, but you need the hybrid car, the HDTV, two holidays a year in the sun, the netbook and iPad, the list goes on -- an almost inexhaustible supply of goods, driven by this anxiety. And even if we don't want them, we need to buy them, because, if we don't buy them, the system crashes. And to stop it crashing over the last two to three decades, we've expanded the money supply, expanded credit and debt, so that people can keep buying stuff. And of course, that expansion was deeply implicated in the crisis.

Saudi Aramco Continues To Cut Butane Term Exports; 20% For Nov

Singapore (Platts)- Saudi Aramco will slash by 20% the volume of term buta ne exports for November, a source close to the company said Tuesday.

This is the third consecutive cut -- after 20% for September and 25% for October -- that the Middle Eastern oil giant has pressed on its term customers. Besides the term buyers, other importers are also unhappy with the cuts, over the implications these reductions have on the wider market in terms of prices.

"It seems unfair that they [Saudi Aramco] cannot perform on their contracted volumes," said a Japanese importer, who is not a term buyer. "The product is there, but they are using it for their own ends."

"The butane market is tight. That's why they [Aramco] asked customers to cut back," the source said.

Oman crude may become Asia sweet, sour benchmark

SINGAPORE - Oman crude futures traded on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME) will become the main benchmark for Asian markets of both sour and sweet grades, says DME shareholder CME Group.

Middle East producers of sour crude have for years sought alternatives to dwindling Dubai output as a price reference for their exports to Asia Pacific, where local benchmarks have also lost the confidence of regional traders of sweet grades. Some say adopting European marker Brent may be just a temporary fix.

French jets in fuel crisis filling up at Manchester Airport

Planes from Paris are stopping at Manchester to take on fuel – because of a shortage in France.

Fuel imports into France surge as protests imperil transportation

Fuel continues to flow into France -- increasingly, from refineries out of the country -- as the nation deals with the ongoing effects of strikes that have affected car, train and plane travel throughout the European nation.

Running on fumes? Ampride almost ran out of diesel during beet harvest

So why were diesel supplies down? Melbye said he checked with a Cenex Harvest States representative who pointed west to North Dakota, currently home to an oil boom. The big drills that keep boring down into the earth use the diesel as a lubricant, he said he was told, and the last thing anyone involved in the North Dakota oil industry wants to do is stop drilling for any period of time.

"So they suck all the diesel from the area to keep the drilling going," Melbye said.

Hurricane Threat to U.S. Gulf Oil and Gas Fades to Almost Zero

(Bloomberg) -- The hurricane threat to oil and gas development areas in the Gulf of Mexico is fading and may almost be over for the year, meteorologists said.

Russia prepares a new oil tax regime from 2012

(Reuters) - Russia is preparing to introduce a new profit-based tax on oil from new fields starting 2012, which will also be subject to reduced export duties and tax on mineral extraction, a Deputy Finance Minister said on Tuesday.

US Offshore Drilling Chief Calls Anew for More Workers

The top U.S. offshore drilling regulator Monday called anew for bulking up the agency by adding more in-house expertise, putting at as many as 200 the number of additional engineers and other workers the agency hoped to add.

"My hope is that we can add as many as 200 new inspectors, engineers, environmental scientists, and other key staff to support our agency in carrying out its important oversight functions," Michael Bromwich, the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, said at an international regulators conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, according to the text of prepared remarks.

Forgotten: Gulf of Mexico fishermen fear the future

Six months after the largest maritime oil spill, Gulf of Mexico fishing communities fear for their very future while critics say response efforts have evaporated faster than the toxic crude.

BP: Company to drill in deeper water, assess risk

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- BP and the industry will drill in deeper waters and go farther in their search for oil reserves, and must understand the risks so they can mitigate them in the future, a BP executive said Tuesday.

Mexico's Energy Reform and the Future of Pemex

The ebullient celebration in Brazil over Petrobas' historic $70 billion share-issue last month was bitterly received in Mexico City, where the state-owned oil company Pemex is mired in debt, inefficiency and ongoing political wrangling.

With little having changed since Mexican President Felipe Calderón sought to reform the country's energy sector two years ago, the contrast between Petrobras' successes and Pemex's failures has reignited discussion of Pemex's future and renewed the public's interest in the beleaguered Mexican oil giant.

Petrobank boosts Canadian heavy oil assets

Oil and gas explorer Petrobank Energy and Resources said it has bought 50% interests in Baytex Energy Trust's Kerrobert project, and Shell's Dawson project, increasing the company’s heavy oil assets in Canada.

Govt for land acquisition in Africa for agriculture

New Delhi: The government has assured full support to Indian companies exploring opportunities to acquire agricultural land in Africa for cultivation of pulses in order to deal with its domestic shortage.

Cash in on Pakistan's energy crisis

The lights have been going out across Pakistan. From Islamabad to rural villages, residents regularly have to go without power for up to 15 hours a day.

The economy is being crippled and there is a very simple reason for it: for some months now, the country's power stations have been unable to afford to import the oil and gas that is needed to power the generators. And with the country's own production of oil and gas going into decline, this problem is only going to get worse.

But there is a ready solution - coal.

Venezuela-Russia nuke deal a new headache for U.S., IAEA

CARACAS, Venezuela (UPI) -- Russia's agreement to build a nuclear power station and a research reactor in Venezuela has handed the Obama administration and the International Atomic Energy Agency with a headache that won't go away easily.

The problem isn't so much the introduction of nuclear energy to the Latin American country, which has growing electricity needs, but the unpredictable policies of populist President Hugo Chavez.

Eastern Europe Worries About the Next Toxic Time Bomb

"Hungary is a wake-up call," says Herwig Schuster of Greenpeace Austria. "The mining industry produces an enormous amount of waste and the inefficient way in which mining was carried out under the Soviet system has resulted in a large number of toxic deposits across the region." An E.U. report from 2004 highlighted 260 polluted sites in Hungary, and Romania's Minister of Environment recently said in a statement that Romania has "an inventory of over 1,000 contaminated sites."

Gazprom agrees to buy CERs from Chinese wind project

(Reuters) - Russian energy company Gazprom's trading arm Gazprom Marketing & Trading (GM&T) has agreed to buy U.N.-backed carbon credits from China's Datang group, it said on Tuesday.

Local opposition kills C$5 bln Canadian dam plan

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - TransCanada Corp and Atco Ltd have abandoned plans to build a C$5 billion ($4.85 billion) dam on the Slave River in northern Alberta after a local native group refused to back the project.

The planned dam was a run-of-river project that would have generated 1,200 to 1,300 megawatts of electricity from the Slave, an undeveloped river that carries more that two-thirds of Alberta's waterflow north to Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories.

Unrestrained Capitalism Can't Solve Our Problems

Our entire planetary economy is based on one assumption: oil will always be cheap and plentiful. A corollary to this is that if it was not cheap and plentiful, market forces would effortlessly find a substitute for it. Yet this is nonsense. Oil exists in finite quantities, at some point its production must begin to decline inexorably. Its price must concomitantly, rise equally inexorably. Burning coal reserves might provide a brief respite at the cost of tipping the planet into a hothouse equilibrium 10 or more, degrees, Fahrenheit, warmer. Goodbye to coastal cities, reliable climate for agriculture, reliable rainfall for drinking etc. Then coal goes into decline.

A step-by-step guide to greening your local council

If you already have a low-impact lifestyle and want to step it up a level, turn your attention to your local council. Here's how to get the authorities in your area to act.

Bill McKibben: Policy reform to 350

Let’s imagine for a moment that we’re at 2100, and the atmospheric CO2 level is slowly subsiding back toward 350, and the worst is over. Let’s try to figure out how we got there—reverse-engineer a century of halting but ultimately decisive progress.

12 steps to save hundreds on your energy bill

So you've swapped your incandescent light bulbs for CFLs, turned down the thermostat, and only wash clothes on cold. Then why are your utility bills still so high? Air leaks are likely culprits, but so are "phantom" power suckers, such as flat-screen TVs, which draw energy even when they're off.

Living off the grid

Army veteran Juan Beltran broke his neck in 2003 after his Apache helicopter crashed in Iraq, leaving him a paraplegic. Beltran, who is confined to an electric wheelchair, can move his arms, but has no motor skills in his hands, and can't walk.

Despite a handicap that would have slowed the aspirations of many people, Beltran and his wife, Gabriela, have held on to their optimism and their goal of living off the grid.

A Nobel Pursuit

The 2010 Physics prize went to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov for “groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene”. Graphene is a material that is one atom thick, completely transparent, impossibly strong and has better conductivity than copper. If we can scale it up, a process in which huge funds are being invested, it is thought that it could help solve the energy crisis. This would involve effectively piping renewable electricity across vast chunks of land with an insignificant energy loss compared to the incredibly inefficient transfer of energy via copper wire.

Iran's tactics oil play may prove to be risky

Like a high-stakes game played with barrels of oil, Tehran told Baghdad last week: "I see your 143 billion and raise you 150 billion."

The Iranian minister of petroleum Masoud Mir Kazemi topped the Iraqi oil minister Hussein al Shahristani's earlier increase in proved reserves. But Iran is bluffing. Mr Mir Kazemi might hold good cards but he cannot play them.

Iraq's announcement, that its proved reserves had increased by a quarter, was an early move in a contest that will engage OPEC during the next few years.

Other OPEC members somehow have to find room to accommodate Iraq's ambitions which, taken literally, would make it a rival to Saudi Arabia. And Iraq is not the only challenger.

Other states, particularly Nigeria, are looking for the organisation's acquiescence in higher output.

Saudi Arabia says easy oil is not over-Naimi

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's oil minister said on Monday the age of easy oil was not over as the kingdom still holds at least 88 billion barrels of oil in its largest oilfield.

"I am sorry to disappoint people, easy oil is not over," Ali Al-Naimi told reporters in Riyadh on the occasion of OPEC's 50th anniversary.

"How can you say that easy oil is over, when we still have over 88 billion (barrels) in the Ghawar field...You can dismiss that notion that easy oil in Saudi Arabia is gone," he added.

Crude Oil Extends Declines After China Raises Interest Rates

(Bloomberg) -- Oil dropped after China raised its benchmark interest rates, potentially crimping demand in the world’s biggest energy user, while traders bet that U.S. crude stockpiles swelled to their highest levels since June.

Oil Supplies to Rise on Refinery Slowdown, Survey Shows

U.S. crude-oil inventories probably rose to the highest level in more than three months as refineries idled units to perform seasonal maintenance, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

France taps oil reserves amid refinery blockade

France is using its emergency fuel reserves as supplies are hit by strikes over state pension reforms, the International Energy Agency has said.

France, like other members of the body, were obligated to keep at least 90 days of oil imports on hand as emergency reserves, it said.

France Pension Protests Crimp Fuel, Transport

(Bloomberg) -- French refineries remained shut, trains were on half service, schools closed and gas stations ran dry as unions held their fourth strike in two months against President Nicolas Sarkozy’s plan to raise the retirement age.

Government ministers said France has enough fuel to last several weeks and that they’ll continue to use police to break up barricades at oil depots as about a fifth of the country’s 12,000 service stations carried signs saying they’d run out of fuel. The Senate is set to vote on the pension measure this week, giving final parliamentary approval to a plan to eliminate the retirement-system deficit by 2018.

French retirement protests take violent turn

PARIS – Masked youths clashed with police officers and set fires in cities across France on Tuesday as protests against a proposed hike in the retirement age took an increasingly radical turn.

Iran says European nations refusing to fuel planes

TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran said on Tuesday some Western companies were refusing to refuel its planes in Europe and warned it would "confront" such measures, which it deemed illegal under international law.

Chavez in Iran for talks on boosting oil, gas ties

TEHRAN, Iran – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was holding talks Tuesday with Iranian leaders expected to focus on boosting cooperation between the countries' oil, gas and petrochemical industries.

Norway oil fund hits $500bn

Norway's oil fund has hit Nkr3 trillion ($513 billion) for the first time in its 14-year history, the country's central bank said today.

Cheapest electricity since 1998 set for Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi's next big power plant will generate the emirate's cheapest electricity since 1998.

The Dh5 billion (US$1.36bn) Shuweihat 3 project will reduce financial pressure on the capital's subsidised electricity sector.

It also shows Abu Dhabi still has enough cheap natural gas to support at least one more major power project after almost tripling generating capacity in 10 years.

PetroChina, Cosco to Apply for Licence to Sell Marine Fuels in Singapore

A joint venture between PetroChina Co. and China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co. plans to apply for a license to sell marine fuels in Singapore to capture rising demand in the world’s biggest bunkering port.

Iraq to auction gas fields despite uncertainties

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Energy companies face tough terms, shaky security and local opposition when they fly to Baghdad this week to take part in a gas bidding round.

Iraq's plan to auction three gas fields on Wednesday has generated little interest from international energy firms eager to tap the country's vast reserves, compared with Iraq's two oil bidding rounds held last year, analysts said.

Brazil May Allow Petrobras Raise 2010 Investment Spending to $51 Billion

The additional 6.4 billion reais would allow Petrobras to buy a floating production, storage and offloading vessel and production equipment for the Barracuda and Caratinga oil fields and invest in the Urucu-Coari-Manaus gas pipeline.

Woodside eyes China LNG deal

Australian producer Woodside Petroleum may reach an initial agreement to supply liquefied natural gas from its Browse project to China by the end of the year, the head of its China unit said.

Gunmen storm Chechen government buildings

GROZNY, Russia – Insurgents stormed the parliament complex in Russia's volatile Chechnya region on Tuesday, killing at least two police officers and one parliamentary official, and injuring 17 others, authorities said. At least three insurgents were also killed, officials said, ending one of the most brazen attacks on the province's capital in months.

New BP boss says staff bonuses linked to safety

LONDON (AFP) – BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley told staff that fourth-quarter bonuses will be linked to their performance in terms of safety following the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, the Financial Times said Tuesday.

Dudley, who started earlier this month after his gaffe-prone predecessor Tony Hayward was forced out over his handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, told staff in an email about the new bonus policy, the paper reported.

BP waives $75M cap for some oil spill claims

NEW ORLEANS – BP PLC informed a federal judge Monday that the company is waiving a $75 million cap on its liability for certain economic damage claims spawned by the massive Gulf oil spill.

In a court filing, BP lawyers said the company is waiving the statutory limitation on liability under the 1990 Oil Pollution Act even though it denies engaging in any gross negligence in connection with the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig and resulting spill.

Oil cleanup not over in Louisiana's Bay Jimmy

Much of the Gulf Coast has returned to normalcy since the Macondo well 50 miles offshore of Louisiana was permanently capped last month, ending the worst marine oil spill in U.S. history. But in marshy areas such as Bay Jimmy, where the oil had some of its strongest impact, the fight against the crude onslaught continues, even as fewer workers fight it.

Peregrine falcons checked for Gulf oil taint

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas – Once nearly wiped from the wild in North America by widespread pesticide use, Peregrine falcons have rebounded across the continent. Now, scientists are studying whether the predators are running into trouble from BP's oil spill.

The research may also help determine the health of species lower down the food chain in the Gulf of Mexico.

US oil spill hit a key tuna spawning site: agency

PARIS (AFP) – Numbers of juvenile Atlantic tuna at a major spawning site in the Gulf of Mexico probably fell by at least a fifth this year as a result of the BP oil spill, the European Space Agency (ESA) said Monday.

Natural Gas Outstrips Wind Energy

Congress has historically used tax incentives as a proxy for a national energy policy. Twenty years ago, two separate but similar programs targeted new domestic energy sources: wind and “unconventional” natural gas.

Tax incentives for energy production reduced the investor’s financial risk, effectively subsidizing research and development in these new areas. How has it worked out? What can the experience tell us about the merits and long term viability of each energy source?

Medieval Italian town blows hot on wind power

TOCCO DA CASAURIA, Italy (Reuters) – Wind has never been a commodity in short supply for the medieval town of Tocco da Casauria in Italy's central Apennine mountains.

Nestled between two of the country's highest mountain ranges, the Maiella and Gran Sasso, Tocco da Casauria sits in a natural wind tunnel and residents have decided to make it work for them.

Amtrak chugs along nicely to record ridership

In the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, Amtrak served more than 28.7 million riders, an increase of 5.7% from 2009, according to a company statement. Ticket revenue grew 9%, to $1.7 billion. Ridership on the Acela, Amtrak's higher-speed train, was up 6.6%. Manieri says the ability to stay connected by phone and Internet while traveling is just one reason she prefers the train over flying or driving.

"You can make phone calls, and you don't have to turn your laptop on and off," says Manieri, adding she also avoids the airport's long security lines and the highway's congestion.

Amtrak has benefited from the "remarkable lifestyle shift" caused by smartphones, laptops and iPads that let travelers work and communicate almost everywhere, says Joseph Schwieterman, a transportation professor at DePaul University in Chicago. "It's kind of a have-iPhone-will-travel kind of thing."

Young adults especially view trains and intercity buses as extensions of the public transportation system, he says. They can hop on without ever disconnecting from the rest of the world, he says.

New Tactic in California for Paying Pollution Bill

STOCKTON, Calif. — Officials who have tried and failed to clean the air in California’s smog-filled San Joaquin Valley have seized on a new strategy: getting millions of drivers to shoulder more of the cost.

Faced with a fine of at least $29 million for exceeding federal ozone limits, the San Joaquin Valley’s air quality regulators are proposing an annual surcharge of $10 to $24 on registration fees for the region’s 2.7 million cars and trucks beginning next year. A decision is expected when the governing board meets on Thursday.

Tony Windsor's Murray-Darling prescience

It would be reckless to rely on cheap food imports bought on the proceeds of our present massive coal and minerals sales abroad. This bonanza will not last in a world of accelerating climate change and peak oil.

The present temporarily benign weather patterns in the MDB are no guide to the future policy environment. The reality of severe coming climate change must be factored into policy. Against a background of the inevitable desertification through climate change of most of the unirrigated MDB region, especially in the south, our irrigation communities should correctly be cherished, as places that will become like oases in the Arabian or Sahara Deserts.

Australia's ANZ bank says carbon tax inevitable

(Reuters) - Australia and New Zealand Banking Group's (ANZ.AX) chief executive said on Tuesday a carbon tax was inevitable.

"I think it is evitable. So it is best to do something that works for business," Michael Smith told a business lunch.

James Cameron joins Prop 23 fight

Avatar director James Cameron and Intel co-founder Gordon Moore have weighed in with huge donations for the 'no to Prop 23' battle over California's climate change law.

Climate change treaty must address health issues: WHO

New Delhi: The World Health Organisation (WHO) Tuesday said next month's climate change conference in Mexico must address health concerns in any legally-binding agreement on mitigating the impacts of global warming as it threatens human health.

Killer of Aspen Slows, but Worries About a Beloved Tree Remain

A sudden severe drought and heat wave early in the decade set off the decline, according to a paper co-authored by Dr. Worrall this year in the journal Forest Ecology and Management. Wetter, cooler seasons since then — more to the aspen’s liking — have halted SAD’s spread. Other evidence supports the weather as the cause. Although the aspen is the most widely distributed tree species in North America, the die-off struck mostly in the Southwest, where the drought beginning in 2002 was most severe. And lower elevations were affected more than upper ones, which tend to be cooler and wetter.

Climate change leads to landslides in Nagaland: scientists

Global climate change due to global warming, currently the most alarming environmental issue, has led to the natural calamities like landslides and heavy rains in Nagaland.

According to scientists of the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), New Delhi, there had been an increase in rainfall in the Himalayan range during the monsoon season in the last few years and this was due to the global climate change led by global warming.

Lake Mead Hits Record Low Level

"This is the place where the mega-dam began, and it may be the place where it ends," a policy analyst for an environmental group warns.

Egypt’s “hottest summer in years” drives up food prices

"This year, Egypt had its hottest summer in years," said Mohamed Eissa, chairman of the Egyptian Meteorological Authority, adding the trend was set to continue.

Rising temperatures and poor harvests are driving up prices. According to the government’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), vegetable prices soared 51 percent and meat and poultry by 28.6 percent in September.

UK crops to face water supply crunch, may relocate

(Reuters) - Agricultural crops in Britain may need to be moved to new areas as the threat of both drought and flooding rises in the coming decades, a report commissioned by the Royal Agricultural Society of England said on Monday.

NOAA: Year-to-Date Global Temperature Ties for Warmest on Record

The first nine months of 2010 tied with the same period in 1998 for the warmest combined land and ocean surface temperature on record. The global average land surface temperature for January-September was the second warmest on record, behind 2007. The global ocean surface temperature for January–September was also the second warmest on record, behind 1998.

In Kansas, Climate Skeptics Embrace Cleaner Energy

Instead of talking about global warming, a nonprofit invoked patriotism, thrift and religion to persuade residents to save energy.

Link up top: Saudi Arabia says easy oil is not over-Naimi

The motives of Saudi Arabia, and other Middle East OPEC nations, should be quite clear by now. Do not develop any alternatives to oil, do not look to turn coal to liquids, do not do anything that might cause the demand for regular oil to fall. They are really, really worried that the stuff under their sands might turn to useless goo that nobody wants.

Of course most of us know, but not all that's for sure, that that is nothing but paranoia. That nothing will be developed that will be as cheap and as plentiful as liquid petroleum. There may be other liquids developed but nothing close to the quantities or cost or efficiency that we now enjoy from liquid petroleum.

But just like "some of us" they believe that maybe, just maybe, we can exit the age of petroleum, not because we ran out of petroleum, but because we found something better.

The kingdom had reached a production rate of up to 70 percent at some of its fields.

What does that mean? 70 percent depleted? I think we already knew that but at lease they are finally admitting it. And the plural "fields" means more than one. They admitted long ago that Abqaiq was heavily depleted. Now we know that there are more.

Naimi said the world would remain dependent on fossil fuels for at least 50 years and reiterated his country was looking into other forms of energy.

Why? If they have more oil left in the ground than anyone else in the world, why would they be looking for "other forms of energy"? What other forms are they talking about?

Ron P.

What other forms are they talking about?

Fission power plants.
Saudis get serious on nuclear alternative for power plants

Oh yeah, thanks Eric, I completely forgot about that.

Middle East Countries Race for Nuclear Power. I wonder why? ;-)

Ron P.

I was talking to a friend on the phone last night and asking about their knowledge of "Peak Oil" (none) when they came up with some information I had never heard about before.
I seriously question its accuracy and validity, but thought I would put it forth to see if anyone else had heard anything like it.

The statement was made that Saudia Arabia has 1200 oil wells that are having to be changed over from pressure delivery to pumping of the oil from them.

Again, this is strictly hearsay info that I am putting out to see if anyone else has heard anything like it?

Jon - I don't have an answer and I doubt anyone else can put forward "facts". I suspect this "rumor" is based on some partial truths. First, different fields in the KSA have different types of reservoir drive mechanism with water drive and pressure depletion being two common end points. And then there are fields that fall between these two extremes. And that would just describe the initial production state. Over time the exact character of the drive usually changes. Sometimes even water drive reservoirs can benefit from pumping in order to stabilize the well. Often water drive reservoirs aren't pumped but use a different type of system to enhance production: gas lift. In this case a gas, typically NG, is injected down the well into the oil stream. This lightens the weight and allows a greater flow rate.

Again, I don't have any specific info on the KSA wells but given their advanced age I would suspect many are utilizing some form of artificial lift as well as water/NG injection to enhance recovery. IMHO the only really shocking news along these lines would be if none of the KSA wells were using artificial lift.

Jon, I wish you had asked them for the source of this info. The only thing I have heard about Saudi Arabia and down-hole pumps came from Mat Simmons' "Twilight in the Desert", page 92.

Collectively, these reports map out a lengthy paper trail documenting the growing severity of the problems and challenges affecting all of Saudi Arabia's major fields. Reading this paper trail in chronological order poignently reveals how these problems have muschroomed in complexity over the last three decades. During this period, erratic production patterns not only drained an ever-growing amount of Saudi Arabia's proven, commercially recoverable oil reserves, but also, perhaps, diminishing through over-production the extent to which these reservoirs can be produced without resorting to down-hole pumps.

Bold mine.

Ron P.

"In Kansas, Climate Skeptics Embrace Cleaner Energy"

At first reading, this would seem to be a step forward - the deniers can be persuaded to change their personal habits by reframing the motivations.

However, while people may be changing their personal habits to the tune of a 5% energy saving, we still haven't tackled the larger issues at the policy level - at the systems level.

It seems like giving each person on the Titanic a teaspoon and asking them to bail, when we really need to be turning the direction of the ship. Or, maybe, more like placing a box of teaspoons on the deck and trying to encourage people to take one.

A 5% energy savings is like going outside your house to the switch box and turning it off for 36 hours a month.

You could get that with a power outage.

People could turn down the temp, on their hot water heater, use less hot water during the day, use less water period( saving the city's cost of treating it and pumping it). Live outside their air temp comfort zones, I know I have too, but for a different reason, my mom likes it hotter than most people, It seems to have gotten worse with age. I'd do it on my own if I were living alone, although it if gets to hot, I have breathing problems as well as my dad.

Our driving places has gone down to a bare min, we plan trips to kill several errands at once. Though we still help homeless, or near homeless people, and don't get gas money from them, but the more people you carry the less you use on driving alone.

But if the city wants to save 5% on the energy use, they can build walkable downtowns and bring people closer into the city centers by encouraging green spaces, bike lanes, carless areas, shops with housing above them for store keepers, and then use the pattern of bubbles to place other areas like the city center in the outlying areas. If your population will support them.

Parts of North Little Rock are like ghost towns, and I'd love to see someone going in and buying up the land and making gardens and parks out of the area. Or mini homesteads where people could have in town mini farms and sell to the locals the extras. But underneath these streets is all those pipes and cables laid down when the places were built, not getting replaced like other areas, because no one uses them right now.

The Hope for the downtown areas of both Little Rock and North Little Rock is more walkable and bike friendly areas with businesses and homes for people. The problem is the cost of the land makes for high taxes, and high rents and mortgages, so it limits the number of people that can live there. I'd hope for a better income slicing so that poor areas can get the same services that the richer areas get, that would be a prefect world though, which we don't have much of.

It would though reduce costs of energy use in making all those far out in the middle of nowhere gated communities.

BioWebScape Designs for a better fed and housed world.

Responding in between doing my day job ;)

"But if the city wants to save 5% on the energy use, they can build walkable downtowns and bring people closer into the city centers by encouraging green spaces, bike lanes, carless areas, shops with housing above them"

Chicago recently privatised the parking meters in order to raise cash. The parking rates went up considerably, although I still think two or three dollars an hour is not unreasonable for the congestion created in bringing a whole lot of cars downtown. Part of the reason for justifying a rate increase was to try and ease congestion and pollution in the city, and encourage a shift to transit.

People are really complaining, though, about the price hikes. Maybe if we could get our act together and really provide top-notch commuter rail, at reasonable rates, we could overcome that.

I guess no-one wants to face the fact that cheap travel of all kinds, except human-powered, is a thing of the past.

Parking is insane in Chicago and may remain so no matter what they do, but still, I suspect that the shift will not be mainly to transit, but instead to the suburbs, at least for the time being. CTA, RTA, and Metra are all infinitely subsidy-absorbing black holes, and subsidies haven't been as forthcoming lately as they used to be. (Largely due to the economy, but rampant, totally out-of-control Illinois corruption doesn't help; Lincoln must be rolling in his grave.) So the talk seems to about "doomsday service cuts" rather than increasing service to accommodate displaced parkers. Some of that talk is political grandstanding, but nonetheless the service isn't all that great and it's not getting any better.

Maybe they can't afford the side-effects of the parking, but they can't afford the rail either. And every time the Feds pile on more costly regulations, however well-intentioned some of them may be, Chicago and other places can afford rail even less. That may be the real story unless the economy somehow enters not BAU-lite, not even former-BAU, but BAU-plus boom conditions.

"CTA, RTA, and Metra are all infinitely subsidy-absorbing black holes"

And highways aren't? Remove your blinders, man.

The area around downtown Little Rock, what with all the venues and bars and hotels and centers for this and that and the Clinton Library to boot, has made parking a nightmare almost every day of the week. There are lots of free parking up under the I-30 ramps and streets in that feed-off area. But not nearly enough if there is also an event going on at any one given place.

I know a few bands and music players that can't even unload their stuff without having to also hike a bit carrying it, if they get there to late to use the bits of unload space. Parking is a pain because most people aren't willing to park and walk, some folks resort to paking in North Little Rock and walking over the bridges into Down Town Little Rock.

But we also have an Arena on the riverfront area of North Little Rock, so there is a parking issue there when events are big shows. But the area just north of downtown had hit the skids a while back and there is a lot of open land, gravel spaces and old warehousing torn down, but open for parking.

It looks kinda empty for several blocks between 8th st. and down to Broadway in a few sections. Developers or the city owns it, still trying to figure out what they want to do with it and keep things moving smoothly. Up around Main street and points west in downtown NLR is the old Argenta Historic District, so there is a lot of land use issues that they can't build this or that, and any new housing has to be built in a style to match older homes.

But newer cities, and places where they have to have parking for the masses of people coming into town every day, there should be something done better, people need to change a bit and getting them to change habits and bad practices takes time and fussy rants about the costs of doing things over the needs of the masses.

Sometimes having a lot of people trying to settle what to do, is the wrong way of going about getting things done. But we are touted as a free society, and not a ruled by a king or Iron-fist leader, so fixing things takes more time than we might want.

Sometimes we have so many laws and rules on the books that moving even in a positive direction gets stalled and pushed around, so that 5 to 10 years after we wanted to move in it, we are still in the courts or meetings trying to solve things to fit the rules and regs.

Everytime we drive by a local hillside rockfall where a developer cut into a hillside 30 years ago, and just last year the rocks fill out of the hill and the land above shifted and the houses sitting up there got condemned, nothing has been done with that pile of rocks, or the eroded hillside. Because the city does not own it, several businesses and home owners do, so nothing gets done to fix the issue. Almost 2 years after the fact, and the back alley where delivers used to be made is closed, and those houses are empty, and the rest of the hillside is at risk, all because the City says it is hands off and the people who own it, can't get funding to fix it, or don't want to spend it if they could. That's what they get for building in a stream valley between two hills and putting in strip malls and big roads, but it just makes you think.

Who is going to be in charge of fixing things when they really start falling apart, and will someone come along later and just take over as king of the area and get the local serfs to do the work for him. Or will the Kingdoms of North and south central Arkansas fight over something else and war and famine reign till no one cares about hillsides unless they have gun emplacements on them?

At least I can walk the 8 miles to downtown if I had too, no bikelanes up here where I live yet. Then again I don't have a bike either.

BioWebScape Designs for a better fed and housed world.

“Don’t mention global warming,” warned Nancy Jackson, chairwoman of the Climate and Energy Project, ... “And don’t mention Al Gore. People out here just hate him.”

Link to NYT story: here

This sounds like something out of a Mad Max movie.
People going deep into Medieval religion and eschewing scientific thought.

The DisEnlightenement has begun.

Where better than in Kansas?
Oh Toto, I don't believe in Newtonian physics no more. Religious fundamentalism feels so much more like it's for Oz and them.


Beyond Jet8Fueling Future Force recommends that the DoD shift from petroleum-based fuels because of its risks to national security. One option is biofuels derived from renewable sources.

Has anyone done the calcs on exactly how much land/crop would be needed to keep the fly-boys a flying?

The headline from your link: U.S. Military Plan: Get Off Oil By 2040

In September, the Center for New American Security (CNAS) issued a 36-page study entitled Fueling the Future Force: Preparing the Department of Defense for a Post-Petroleum Era (PDF). Now if the title weren't suggestive enough, the target date of 2040 -- 30 years from now -- should set off klaxons from Maine to Guam.

The Center for New American Security, whoever they are, thinks we have until 2040 to get off oil. Boy are they in for a rude surprise. If they knew how much time they really had those klaxons would really be blaring.

Ron P.

I'm far more interested in the question "how hungry will America be to fuel its war machine"

"Due to the lack of rain in the Midwest, the ability to commit to a final push to win the war against Oceania will be delayed"

Hi Darwinian,

I haven't read the CNAS papers, but I will hazard a guess that they think enough oil can be set aside by the govt to fuel the military machine for most or all of that time frame-which will be abouyt the service life of the stuff currently in inventory anyway;a truck or tank lasts the army a LONG time unless it is actually used in war.

It is also a fact that while an on the ground operation of the Iraq/ Afghanistan sort is incredibly oil intensive, a war against a country that is industrialized and which we do not intend to occupy need not be very heavily dependent on oil.

We tend to forget that as recently as WWII we set out to DESTROY the cities and industries of our enemies-not to overthrow the local power structure.

Nowadays doing so would be as easy as taking candy from a baby;one aircraft carrier could launch enough planes now to take out an entire country over a period of a few weeks-without resorting to nukes or losing more than a handful of planes.

Then we also have to take into account the people for whom such papers are published;if the center were to openly advocate near term peak oil scenarios, they would lose thier political access.

one aircraft carrier could launch enough planes now to take out an entire country over a period of a few weeks

Depends on the country.

Air power has proven to be peculiarly ineffective. We've done extensive bombing of several adversaries since WW II, and we have been effective in destroying a lot of their capital investments. However, the populations so bombed have shown a lot of resilience and ability to improvise and resist. So the ability to break stuff and kill people doesn't necessarily result in an enduring result favorable to the US.

Plus aircraft carrier planes cannot reach more than several hundred miles inland on the Eurasian continent without being refueled by tankers flown from friendly bases supplied with liquids obtained from the host countries.

"Plus aircraft carrier planes cannot reach more than several hundred miles inland on the Eurasian continent without being refueled by tankers flown from friendly bases supplied with liquids obtained from the host countries."

US carriers have their own airborn tankers....

The current organic carrier tanker is the S-3B Viking, a family of aircraft that has served a number of roles including antisubmarine warfare and intelligence gathering. But the venerable S-3B’s days are numbered. Boeing and Northrop Grumman, which produce the F/A-18E/F series, have equipped the new planes to convert as tankers.

.....though they are a bit limited compared to the Air Force's KC-130s.


I believe that the S-3s have all been phased out for the F-18 tankers since this article was written.


The F-18 can be equipped as a "buddy" tanker, where is is not carrying munitions, but instead has a refueling pod and extra fuel that it can feed to one or two other companions.

This probably extends the combat radius of the F-18s by a factor of two or so, depending on whether the mission calls for loitering over a target zone, etc. Not a very good EROEI, and of dubious utility for an extended bombing campaign with conventional weapons. However, it would be useful for a long-range nuclear strike.

The last time we bombed somebody the way a general out to win a war would do it , Curtis Lemay was in uniform.

I do understand the argument that people are resilient-but the resilience of an industrialized will end at the point the planes relentlessly target essential infrastructure such as water and sewer treatment plants and the industrial base;of course if a country has a primitive economy, the situation changes, you can't really talke out horses and camels one at a time efficiently.

I wish we weren't involved in such things, but it is important that we understand that the offensive capabilities of air power are many times what they were in WWII-and cities were leveled by the square mile even back then.

you can't really talke out horses and camels one at a time efficiently.

Well it is possible to fly around half the world by being refueled on the way and take out horses and camels but it use ridiculous amounts of energy. The energy is not enough then there must a support team and satellites for recognition and navigation.

Britain slashes troop numbers by thousands in defence cuts

AFP - Britain is to shrink its armed forces and scrap key assets like its flagship aircraft carrier, Prime Minister David Cameron said Tuesday in a defence review which comes as part of stinging overall cuts.
Cameron told the House of Commons that by 2015, army numbers would be cut by 7,000 to 95,500; the navy would fall 5,000 to 30,000 and the Royal Air Force would decrease by 5,000 to 33,000.
As part of eight percent cuts to the Ministry of Defence's budget, the flagship HMS Ark Royal aircraft carrier is also being scrapped immediately along with Britain's fleet of Harrier jets.

They are also scrapping the buy of F-35B vertical takeoff versions and plan to buy the F-35C tailhook version instead. That leaves the US Marines as the only purchasers of the F-35B.

Apparently, economics and costs are starting to matter to the imperial forces.


You are correct about economics, cost and the larger economy.
The focus needs to be less on "fueling the forces" and more on fueling the economy which funds the forces.
This aspect came up several times (both directly and indirectly) at ASPO-Washington:

If only the U.S. could pull its collective head out of its dark place and follow the Brit's rational policies to cut spending...

On top of an 8% cut to the MoD, there is this...

The announcements came ahead of a sweeping programme of wider reductions of up to 25 percent in most government departments which will be unveiled in a comprehensive spending review Wednesday

I guess we will just keep bleeding ourselves dry in our futile and ultimately counter-productive (blow-back...) effort to be the global beat cop...

Just to be clear...cut Social Security and Medicare and other federal spending as well to ensure the pain is evenly spread...everyone should sacrifice...but we won't...it will be intersting to see how long we can keep piling on the debt.

I guess we will just keep bleeding ourselves dry

Ding! We have a winner!

What is the 'solution' for the citizen?

Now-a-days a smited target country (conventionally bombed into the stone age)can exact their own terrible retribution on us if they are passionate enough about getting their revenge...it is likely not a matter of if, but when.

It might take them 10-15 years...we should be mindful of blow-back...

OFM spoke my mind on this issue, but I'll go ahead and say this. We could win a war just making potholes out of everything that used to be a building or road or housing in the target country. We could, but we aren't going to be doing that anytime soon I hope.

But just because we might not be able to fuel jets and tanks, does not stop war and mayham form happening, give a bunch of kids sharp knives and send them out to kill the next village over and you get what has happened within my lifetime in Africa.

Just because in 20 years we might not have the ability to use GPS location targeting, does not mean war and famine and death will take a sideline and play dead themselves.

Hopefully people will learn to play nice in the only sandbox we have, but I won't hold my breath waiting, I have world peace to solve before I get my supper tonight.

Peace to you all.

Hi, Farmer

I have been through the CNAS paper very carefully.
One has to wonder why the authors of a study which expresses such concern and such urgency could not bring themselves to utter those two words, "peak oil."
Their optimism re biofuels is unsubstantiated, with no acknowledgment of the issue of EROEI/net energy of biofuels.

By my calculations, the number of acres to fuel the military is roughly 18 million acres. The corn crop covers roughly 85 million acres currently.

150 million barrels of oil consumption annually
2.7 gallons of ethanol per bushel
160 bushels per acre

160 bushels per acre with modern methods.

Year 1900 - 29 bushels per acre. And you'd rotate that - thus the total number of acres in production at one time would have to be cut.
Not to mention the starch content should drop when the nitrogen isn't being added to the land.

60-70 million acres for corn to power the military....

By 2040, manned aircraft will be obsolete, except for transports. There will be a lot fewer fly-boys a flying, and no need for the extensive training flights.

By 2040, we'll have nuke powered electric motored aeroplanes, or blimps which would not be that bad. I mean the blimps or other airships.

But hey in 2040 the planes will be nothing that we can really know about trully, it is all a guess.

BioWebScape Designs for a better fed and housed world.

Rant on, One cup of rice a day, one tent to sleep in at night, some water and a bit of algae for weekends, rant off.

I don't know about nuke powered aircraft (too heavy shielding) but we can very well have natural gas or hydrogen powered ones - these have even better energy density then kerosine fuel, and only the size of the tanks would present some challenge.

Now for all this talk about the death of aviation, kerosine and jet fuel are taking just 8% of all oil consumed in the world (source). Even if oil production went to 0, we can easily produce that with biofuels or liquify coal if needed almost indefinitely.

But hey we are all doomed, I almost forgot.

Some of my post was snarky tongue in cheek, but part of it was wishful thinking.

We already have solar powered global spanning air craft, not beyond cutting edge right now, at least I can't buy a kit and go flying myself just yet. But the Nuclear Furnace in the sky is giving us hope that we can do some things that the folks in the stone age only dreamed of in their misty caves and huts.

Yet they had bread, and knew how to forge steel in charcoal fired ovens over 500 years ago, so just because we might not be able to bomb someone back into the stone age in 2040, hopefully we won't have lost the ability to make good steel swords so we can keep up the fight to free our lands from the bad guys( snarky comment ).

I have a background in GIS and Imagery tech, and other CAD designs and drawing with hand tools fields, so I know that getting good information is key to knowing what is going on in the rest of the world. Planes help us know things that once the flying bug has bitten we are not going to stop wanting to fly high like the birds ever again. Even if we fall back into a stone age world, there will still be dreamers wanting to fly.

So maybe we don't have a military that can launch jets from the islands in the seas( air craft carriers ) but we will still want to fly.

The UK should sell the ship to the Chinese, they want a good ship and they'd get a good price I am sure, make up some of the funding lost. Or some other NATO country could rent it or something.

Just mothballing or scraping a prefectly good ship is such a waste, one would think someone would be screaming about this more.

At least go put it out on the ocean and put a bunch of windmills on the deck or something, maybe some greenhouses like that barge someone posted about a while back.

BioWebScape Designs for and better fed and housed world.

Bob Fiske, You and I could free cycle it.

"UK crops to face water supply crunch, may relocate"

My village here in France gets its water from a local source, less than a mile away. Although we're generally seen as being in one of the wetter parts of France, we've been recently told that water levels are falling and may not meet demand in the future. We've been requested to conserve water.

Nature's withdrawing her services, globally it would seem.

We're also going through the current round of strikes which is affecting fuel supplies. An early test of resiliency for those dependants of the BAU system. It'll be interesting to see what happens and particularly what side effects will be generated by it. I'll probably do a little shopping on Thursday and have a look at the effects.

I suspect that events in France are a preview of coming attractions in many developed OECD countries, as citizens refuse, initially at least, to accept either resource constraints or constraints on government spending. But on one level, their denial to some degree is understandable, since the prevailing message for decades has been that there are no limits.

At least France has made tremendous progress on electrified rail transportation. I wish we could say the same.

In any case, here is a link to a brief summary of the highlights of our 2010 ASPO presentation, which highlights the problems that I think that developed OECD countries are going to be facing regarding global net oil exports:


TOD posters may remember that in recent years that when the US got into a oil related crisis, because of damage major hurricanes, the US called upon the IEA to help provide inventories.

So if France needs supply, it may be legally justified in asking the IEA for help. Those ‘extra’ supplies of gasoline and diesel some energy analysts keep talking about could disappear rather quickly if they leave the US for France.

Charles, I do not understand this at all. The IEA doesn't have any oil, nor can they call upon anyone to produce more oil, they are just a reporting agency. And, though they are located in Paris, they are an international agency, not a French agency. How can they help provide inventories?

Ron P.

The IEA doesn't have reserves, but its memebers states do. One of the principal purposes of the IEA is to smooth out oil related disruptions by having member states help each other out by using their individual country reserves to help countries in need:

The International Energy Agency is the energy forum for 28 advanced economies. IEA member governments are committed to taking joint measures to meet oil supply emergencies.


Thanks Charles, I was not really aware of that function of the IEA. But really is that not a joke? I mean, are not all IEA member countries producing flat out right now? How much "excess production capacity" do IEA members have? Which IEA member is holding back production in order to meet any unexpected supply emergency? Seriously?

Ron P.

Charles in correct... it was the Arab oil embargo that led to the IEA being formed in the first place.
Assuring oil supply to its members has been its primary function ever since.

You are also correct in pointing out that all members (with the possible exception of Norway, which I doubt) are going flat out.
Only Norway, Canada and Denmark are net exporters (and therefore exempt from the 90-day emergency reserve that the other 25 members are obliged to retain. But Denmark is post-peak and the eastern half of Canada's population is highly dependent on overseas imports, so both of them have reasons to beware.

The IEA itself is on record as saying that their emergency response measures are not designed to deal with a prolonged oil supply problem, nor pricing.
Please see slides 34 & 35 from last week's presentation in Washington:


Rick, I was aware that the IEA was formed after the Arab oil embargo, but I was not aware of the particulars, like the 90 day emergency reserve or that the exporting nations was supposed to take up the slack in an emergency. Anyway the 90 day reserve requirement is a very good idea but expecting Canada, Norway and Denmark to make up any slack in the event of another Arab embargo is a joke.

But Denmark is post-peak...

Err... was there a reason you neglected to mention that Norway is post peak also. Norway produced 3,371,000 bp/d of C+C in July of 2001. In August of 2010, the last month we have data for, they produced 1,682,000 barrels of C+C, a decline of over 50 percent. I would say they are also post-peak.

But I digress. These are the guys that are supposed to pick up the slack in the event of another Arab embargo? Don't you find that a bit funny?

Ron P.

Hi, Ron

You are correct re Norway... like UK, they have been on the downside for a full decade.
I did not mention Norway because it is the only IEA country which could perhaps manage a global oil supply shortage at least in terms of physical supply (though fungibility would present problems of affordability, even to Norwegians).

My main point was that Denmark and Canada would surely get caught (despite their present net exporter status and their exemptions re 90 days of net imports).

Almost everyone in the IEA is a net importer, so there is really no slack for any of the members to pick up....

Central Arkansas gets it's water from a lake or two, that has many streams feeding into them. But we have had a dry last few months, over 11 inches of rain below normal.

We have had an almost state wide burn ban on for a while. Locally we had a fire not but a few miles from here up on Camp Robinson in a live fire test area, so they just had to let it smolder away, the wood burning smoke smell was thick around here last week. I keep my window open and it was kinda cool at first, but it did get rather heavy a few times.

I am reminded of the line, "Water, Water everywhere and not a drop to drink." Even lake water and ground water can get brackish so we have to watch out for that happening.

Industry takes the most water in cities, but so does watering crops or grass. There are many ways to cut into the water use numbers and reduce flows and still get the jobs done. Or in the case of crops adding mulch layer and changing when and how you water, not always an easy thing to do in the farming world, but possible. As to grass and lawns, let them dry out, or use dry weather grass mixes, or other plants.

We are basically going through changes that we will have to get used too, even if we don't like it, even if we might not have ever caused CC( not that I don't doubt it, just for argument's sake). We have to learn to live with the results.

That is something I try in my own Designs, to work around the odd changes in the pattern of things, have as many plants as would normally handle this area and mix in others that can swing across zones. Not everything will grow great, but If I have enough extras I won't be left with nothing. I'd love to have hundreds of species of food plants growing in my yard.

Some of our problems have been caused by monocultures where once stood hundreds of species. And markets where we have handfuls of crops, where once there were hundreds of food species for sale. The general American Diet is so bland, it is pathic.

BioWebScape Designs for a better fed and housed world.

Nature`s withdrawing her services...globally. Yes, it is quite disheartening. We used to have an amazing growth of green plants...weeds, grasses, all sorts of things, because of all the rain (Japan is a rainy country). But now, it is not like that anymore. People are really alarmed. There were localized droughts this year and things are just not growing like they used to.

MAP OF THE DAY: Here's The Real Reason Americans Don't Care About Global Warming

This Climate Change Vulnerability map from Maplecroft finds a low-to-medium risk for global warming in North America, Western Europe, and Australia.
Africa, South America and South Asia are exposed to high-to-extreme risk.

...and 58% aren't concerned with reducing energy consumption.

That figure is about to change... the only question is when. My guess is in about two years.

Ron P.

No. The real reason is that Americans know next to nothing about the impacts of global warming. Our forests here in Colorado are being destroyed by the pine beetle. This would not have happened in past years as recently as the 1970s when it was much colder. It doesn't get cold enough anymore to wipe them out so they keep eating until their entire feedstock is destroyed. Lake Mead is in danger of reaching the critical point in lake level. Further global warming and associated drouths could pretty much eliminate much of the South West.

We are just whistling past the site of our future grave yard.

The evidence to date is that Australia is facing record temperatures, droughts and increased hurricane risks.

Their sea life is likely to suffer severely from rising water temperatures.

The small proportion of the land mass that is currently habitable seems likely to fall further.

I wouldn't call that low-to-medium risk.

I wish people would check sources more carefully and address what intelligent analysists actually say rather than rail against media "tweets" that misrepresent what they said.

Yes, Business Insider did say the following:

This Climate Change Vulnerability map from Maplecroft finds a low-to-medium risk for global warming in North America, Western Europe, and Australia.

Without checking the original source, one might expect that the quote above is a reasonable summary of what Maplecroft actually found. It takes one whole extra click to discover that Business Insider journalist Gus Lubin (Is he even 25 years old?) didn't actually read the news release that went along with the map. Instead, Gus took a quick look at the map and it's title and used that to write a 75 word "tweet" on what he imagined the map was about.

If one actually reads the news release that goes along with the map one finds:

Unlike other studies, the index does not attempt to predict changes to patterns of natural hazards or ecosystems as a result of climate change, but instead measures how vulnerable a country is now and how well prepared it is to combat the impacts of climate change.

In other words, the map is essentially a map of modern development, population density and access to resources. For example, here's what the news release has to say about the lowest risk country on the map.

Norway, (166), is the lowest ranked country in the CCVI and best equipped to address the challenges of climate change. Among the factors contributing to its ranking are its low population density, excellent health-care and communications systems, good governance and a strong institutional framework. Additionally, Norway’s overall food, water and energy security are high and its ecosystems are well protected.

There is aboslutely no mention of any actual "risk of global warming" anywhere in their press release. The map portrays how well prepared a country is to deal with the effects of climate change, not the likelihood that warming or other change will occur.

So the Business Insider article served the purpose of getting a rise out of people and providing a straw man that invites comment, thus increasing their revenue generating views. But it provides no actual information. In fact, the Business insider article provides misinformation by carefully editing the map to remove the title at the top -- "Climate Change Vulnerability Index 2009 / 2010", and the attribution at the bottom -- "© Maplecroft™" and then supplying their own incorrect interpretation of the data.

Best Hopes for ignoring media "tweets" and carefully reading original documents.


Excellent analysis Jon.

We have to be really careful about many of the articles these days, there's too many people saying too many things, and all getting a chance to do so on the internet.

The great benefit of the internet is being able to bypass MSM propaganda.

The great weakness is that there's just too much noise.

Iran's tactics oil play may prove to be risky

Like a high-stakes game played with barrels of oil, Tehran told Baghdad last week: "I see your 143 billion and raise you 150 billion."

The Iranian minister of petroleum Masoud Mir Kazemi topped the Iraqi oil minister Hussein al Shahristani's earlier increase in proved reserves.

What, are we in a proven reserves bubble? To say nothing of Iran upping the ante in a repeat of the 80s quota wars, which might suggest that we peakists have a valid point in decrying those bumps up as purely political in nature. This whole concept of reserves is more than a bit abused by now; would that someone would develop a more robust benchmark of what a producing nation's prospects are.

Yup, one good thing that might come of this is more people realize how reliable "political" reserves really are.

"a proven reserves bubble"

great way to describe it.

This is a strange, rather perverse, story... about us, people, being persuaded to spend money we don't have on things we don't need to create impressions that won't last on people we don't care about.

From the TED talk above, I nominate this to add to the revolving quotes at the top of the page.

Indeed, it captures the roots of our current predicament rather eloquently!

I second the motion!

I heard a similar quote before from a story about someone who stated that they were much happier now that the bubble burst and they had to severely cut back their spending (I think it was in the NY Times).

She stated it as "We were spending money we didn't have on stuff we didn't want to impress people we didn't like".

One thing about folding bikes. They begin to soften at the hinge point and get a little loosey-goosey due to the hinge. Always look into that issue in your research.

I think an electric hub motor 250W on a regular bike is a good option to give you hill climbing power and a little more range. The battery pack can be lithium ion or nickel Me-Hydride.

I am using pedal power for 6 miles each way in hilly East Bay, CA, but my wife is looking at a hub motor for her commute possibly.

I think these hub motors are the next most important innovation in bicycling for the average person. Maybe they can get ridership up to 10%.

With a cart and pannier bags and a front rack -- you can haul a substantial amount of goods, groceries, milk, eggs, and even kids!

I do store trips once or twice a week -- usually a big trip on Saturday.

Check out this option to modify a normal bike.


A folding bike may be what you need to couple with public transportation perhaps but this is the cheapest electric upgrade I could find.

I test rode one of these and I think I prefer this style because a 500W motor is available...but open to being convinced otherwise:

The chain drive is nice. I saw that one too. So many innovations out there -- another sign of people moving to bikes IMHO.

I havent heard of any issues with the chain drive and a friend of mine uses that exact style every day to commute to his office (and he has a large hill in the way).

I say if you like it then go for it, especially if it gets you off of gasoline.

I am still able to do alright with pedaling but eventually I'll get one to minimize the sweat factor ;-)

Good news for trains in UK. The wonderful German ICE trains will soon be running from London direct to Frankfurt, Amsterdam and many other wider European cities. These are the most beautiful modern trains in the world, imo. Watch this report ... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11575331

Big drop in oil prices today. WTI November contract closed down $3.59 at $79.49. The reason was:

OIL FUTURES: Crude Drops Below $80/Bbl On China Rate Hike Behind a pay wall but available via Goodle.

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Crude-oil futures plunged through $80 a barrel Tuesday after China's surprise move to raise interest rates sent the dollar higher and sparked worries that demand for raw materials could slow.

Light, sweet crude oil for November delivery settled $3.58, or 4.3%, lower at $79.50 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the largest front-month percentage decline since February.

The November contract expires Wednesday and trading was concentrated in the December contract, which fell $3.52 to $80.28 a barrel.

Ron P.

I don’t agree with the given reason – China – at all. If anything, raising interest rates in China would make the Yuan more valuable and the US dollar less valuable. In fact today, we got word that China may be cutting all – yes all – exports of rare earth minerals to the US. How is that good for the dollar?

This actually this is just an excuse to explain why basically all markets suddenly dropped today, which mostly has to do with the dollar going up in value. The dollar may have risen in value because of the strikes France, which would depress economy activity there. But even that is not new news.

More likely, this is just a sudden market panic that may – or may not – disappear over the next few days. In any event, I expect within weeks the price of oil to start rising again due to very inflationary policies of the Federal Reserve.

As of this week, they are adding ‘new’ money to money base three times a week (as opposed to 2 times in August and September and one from April to July). The effect on prices will be tremendous.

Apparently, China is only blocking export of rare earth metals in their raw state. High-tech products containing rare earth metals continue to be available.

As great as some of the inflationary forces are (eg. increasing M2 money supply), we are currently in a disinflationary period. Credit is restricted, businesses and indivuduals are declaring bankruptcy and defaults on all forms of credit (mortgages,credit cards,etc.) are still increasing. If it weren't for the great recession (depression?) we would likely be experiencing double digit inflation and emergence of shortages. Serious might occur, but only when or if the economy continues the "recovery".

The JPMC Investor Presentation for 3Q10 has some detailed information on consumer credit - see page number 17. Mortgage payments past due and credit card delinquencies are declining.

US Probes Alleged Halt of Chinese Mineral Shipments
Published: Tuesday, 19 Oct 2010 | 6:27 PM ET

U.S. trade officials said on Tuesday they were checking on a New York Times report China had blocked shipments to the United States and Europe of crucial manufacturing minerals known as rare earths.

China, which accounts for more than 90 percent of the world's production of rare earths, plans to cut export quotas by up to 30 percent in 2011, the China Daily reported on Tuesday, citing an unnamed official with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.


I believe this may have resulted from pressure to revalue the Yuan. I am not sure who will win this battle, but the 'weapon' the US may use in this battle is dollars - that is lots and lots of new ones, to force the value of the yuan up.

I've just re-posted my ASPO talk — this time with audio over the slides — here:

It's a 14-minute overview of the situation as I see it plus a discussion of discourses.

Andre, your stuff is absolutely classic. I might recommend more inflection in your voice, a talking style which resembles reading off a
script a little less? You do a good job of not putting up slides which you just read from (a pet peeve of mine) but a slightly less "written speech" style (whether or not you actually are) could perk the thing up a little.

I did a lot of reading outloud as a kid, I had a speech impediment where some words were hard for me to say, and they long ago told me to read outloud. It stuck with me, I read outloud to an empty room more often than most people.

What you do is you start reading fiction, and you can get the feeling for changing your monotone to ups and downs, and raising and lowering your voice for some sections. Though I do a lot of vocal tall tale telling, in groups or to friends. Or just talking about things like Peak Oil and such, it is easy to forget you are talking to real people and get a monotone and lecture style speech pattern, unless you practice not doing so.

But the key word there is practice. And standing in front of a lot of people is it's own issue, so practice reading in public whenever you can, fictional or poetic works work best. You can train yourself to calm down and just do it.

People have told me that they thought I was a good reader in Church, but I had to get there from somewhere and Not always was I so seemingly smooth inside, as they think I was.

Most skills have to be honed, even if you don't get a lot of practice after you have honed them for a few years, you still can remember and go back into the mode faster than never having practiced them.

Story telling in groups is a good practice venue, to work on delivery styles as well, you might think about taking your notes one day to one of them and seeing how you might make a bland talk more listenable, by bouncing it off a group of story tellers.

Cheers, happy speak-y making.

BioWebScape Designs for a better fed and housed world, with story telling as a sideline.

But the key word there is practice.

But the right kind of practice. During presentations (I do a few a year) I try and use only graphics, charts and figures and zero text, zero notes, nothing to read. That way every presentation is different, and I don't ever come across as reading something, or heaven forbid, reading the very slides I just put up.

But this is a tough one, because I've got colleagues who have been doing this for decades, make fantastic slides and read everything. Others have trained themselves to not read their slides, but they read a script with each slide, so during the presentation they are always reading, looking down usually, as they go through the presentation.

My habit is to watch the people. One glance at the slide is enough for me to know what it is, and the rest of the time I look out across the audience, looking back at the slide and waving a laser pointer at it occasionally.

Everyone does these things differently, though, and this is what works for me. I trip over words occasionally, sometimes I miss saying something I wish I had, but no montone, natural gaps in speech, it tends to be more natural that way. Some people don't like "winging it" during a national or international conference though, let alone teach a day long class on some topic. I can go 6 hours this way if necessary, but the speaking requests I get are never that long unless its a course rather than a presentation. Even keynotes don't tend to run an hour in length.

RG2, not sure how to take your first comment since we seem to disagree on the future of our species. In any case, I realize the tone is not exactly perky...I had to get this done quickly and spent very little time on recording it.

As for reading from slides, I'm actually trying to do that more. I don't have the link handy but research in the topic shows that listener retention is highest when the speaker says exactly what the slide text says. When the slide is dramatically different from the audio, the brain can't process it as well at all and retention and comprehension are lowest. Naturally, this doesn't necessarily apply when it is a graph being described.

RG2, not sure how to take your first comment since we seem to disagree on the future of our species.

Oh...we apparently disagree on alot more than that. By "classic" I meant "a perfect example of 'fill in RGR comment on accuracy of peaker presentations which no one really wants to hear again'".

As for reading from slides, I'm actually trying to do that more. I don't have the link handy but research in the topic shows that listener retention is highest when the speaker says exactly what the slide text says.

I can believe it, if only because they are receiving the information twice, once for the ears, once for eyes.

It seems to me that this presumes something about the quality of the audience however.

When the slide is dramatically different from the audio, the brain can't process it as well at all and retention and comprehension are lowest.

Yup....sounds audience dependent. Whats the usual scientific / non scientific breakdown of your audience? How about the academic/professional/working guy split?

Check your email--
Transition info---

Great talk, angel. Do you mind if I use it with a class?

A couple points you may want to consider:

The third slide title "World Oil 2000-2010" is actually world liquids. Better to stick with conventional oil chart, partly because they are simpler and more honest, and partly because they show the plateau more clearly.

A later slide has the present line marked at 2009--time to update. The same slide shows conventional oil already deep in decline rather than on a plateau--presumably this was from an earlier projection and also needs updating. All in all, though, good stuff, well presented.

Hi, dohboi. Thanks and you can definitely use it with a class. The Keynote slide deck with animations is available on that page, too.

Your points are well taken and I will redo that section but can't do it this week. Maybe on the weekend :-)

Nice presentation. I try to help explain Peak Oil to my father and he thinks it is not true.

He says, "They just need to lower taxes again." I try to say, "Oil is the limit to the economy not money." It is a dead end, and then I give up for a while on him.

It is sad but people think it is pure politics; "it" being the economy contraction we are facing. I feel very bad for folks that either think it is politics or think that it can be fixed in an easy way with say coal to liquids or drilling in Alaska somewhere.

I agree basically that the "exponential-everything-progress-growth" discourse is a very strong one that cannot be easily defeated.

The ecoconscious discourse does not yet fully understand the peak-oil discourse, but they are the natural set of discourses that will hopefully shed some further doubt on the exponential growth discourse.

Naturally the restraint of ecoconsciousness makes sense in a post-peak-oil world.

However, the average-joe, homer simpson-type person will be tricked easily, thinking that environmentalism is the cause of the growth decline and not resource limits. Look at the ad campaign in California to overturn the climate change Proposition -- created by Big Oil Co. from Texas.

I imagine that this counter by money and power will be able to guide most of us away from where we need to go -- leading to a sharper collapse, since the solutions to resource depletion will use the remaining resources not to build out renewables but to build out coal to liquids, shale oil extraction, and more off shore projects. The resources will be poorly allocated in the end.

Yes, I've had that experience too with my father. The key is to remember that the discourse is running the show. We are, in a very real way, simply machines that propagate conversations.

Interestingly, the "sustainability" discourse is actually a branch of the BAU discourse.

We are, in a very real way, simply machines that propagate conversations.

Hence the observation by some that language is a virus.

"Language," William S. Burroughs reminded us, "is a virus from outer space."

Hence the observation by some that language is a virus.

No, I don't think that's a good anaology. Language I believe is more analogous to the protein capsule that contains the RNA and that in turn is more like the essence of the meme that is being transmitted or propagated. Ideas can be encoded into language which then allows them to be disseminated. We've all become accustomed by now to hearing the expression that something has gone viral on the internet. I don't thing anyone thinks that it is language going viral. What is going viral is the content or the message.

What about naked RNA viruses? They may be language encoding an idea.

The protein capsule of a viron is a container. Like a bookshelf that holds a set of books or a web pages that holds a set of links or list of things.

The gene sequences or arrangement of the bases are the ideas in the analogy.

In any case, RNA/DNA are the remarkably universal language of biology.

Of course, images my be another type of language besides written or oral verbal communication -- just another type of DNA.

Of course, images my be another type of language besides written or oral verbal communication -- just another type of DNA.

I'm personally much more of a visual than a literal thinker and happen to have a strong bias toward communicating in images, so I do agree wholeheartedly with that statement.

I have always disagreed with the Marshall McLuhan cliché that the medium is the message, the message is able to propagate itself through many different kinds of media. Pictures, animations, literature, poetry, film, video, physical objects etc... to name a few without any particular media diluting the essence of an idea. Granted some kinds of media may of course be better suited for some types of messages than others.

Go see the movie, "A Serious Man" (by the Coen Brothers).

Bring your college quantum physics book along with you.

Realize that throughout the movie, people are running "scientific" experiments to validate their points of perception, which perceptions are created by the models they run in their heads.

What is Larry Gopnick's model and does it work? (The Mentaculus)

What is Dentist Sussman's model and has he proven anything with his research?

Who is the most perceptive rabbi and why did you judge him to be a jerk?

What are your perceptions as you watch the movie?

Have the movie Directors (the Coens) had some fun toying with you and your belief systems?

How should I know?
I'm not a rabbi.

In my view ecoconsciousness is the understanding that pollution, growth, and climate change are linked and unsustainable due to population growth, i.e. that there are limits to growth.

The false ecoconsciousness is that we can all buy a Prius and a bamboo house and it will be OK.

I feel that there is some strain of ecoconscious discourse that is close to peak oil discourse, but has not connected the dots yet to oil.

I try to explain Peak Oil to my father. He thinks it is not true.

We are simply machines that propagate conversations [Discourses].


To your father, "money" and "economy" feel very "real" while science, math and all that jazz is simply the hokum of ivory tower professors who don't live in the real dog-eat-dog world.

To you, it probably "feels" as if it is the exact opposite, namely, science, math and all that PO jazz is very real, while "money" etc. are mental artifacts conjured up by the sorcerers of Wall Street.

(As Ariana Huffington recently said, the people on Wall Street don't make things, they "make things up".)

Here's the problem. Nothing that we "feel" is real. They are merely mental models of the outside world that we hold in our heads and repeatedly run in our heads. We never truly "see" the outside world. We only see the representations of the outside world as portrayed by our cherished models -as seen through their oft polished windows.

For your father, the "money" and "economy" model has probably proved itself true over and over again. Hence, his gut feeling is to trust that one as being the "true" view of the outside world.

For your father, you are just a still-wet-behind-the-ears youngster who doesn't understand the true dog-eat-dog money world. You are still hooked to your fairy tale college trainings. How can your ivory tower professors know anything? Their windows are covered by all that liberal artsy fartsy mud.

China Hides Rampant Inflation in Money Binge

To an extent few fully appreciate, China’s astonishing growth rates these past two years have been fueled by an even more astonishing expansion of its money supply, by more than 50 percent. Until now, the inflationary consequences have been largely camouflaged in the form of rising asset prices.

High-end property prices in dozens of Chinese cities have doubled during the global financial crisis. Sales of gold bars have done the same this year. Fine pieces of jade are selling at $3,000 an ounce, up 50 percent in the past couple of months...

Massively expand the money supply to fuel a bubble - where have I heard this story before? Oh well, I'm sure "This time it's different."

Drought may threaten much of globe within decades

"We are facing the possibility of widespread drought in the coming decades, but this has yet to be fully recognized by both the public and the climate change research community," Dai says. "If the projections in this study come even close to being realized, the consequences for society worldwide will be enormous."

While regional climate projections are less certain than those for the globe as a whole, Dai's study indicates that most of the western two-thirds of the United States will be significantly drier by the 2030s.

Note that the breadbasket, the northern plains states, will be at or near the top of the chart for drying out. I expect that the western half, already semi-desert in many places, will become simply Sahara-like desert.

Much of Europe looks to turn basically to desert.

Increase in precipitation in the far north, I expect, will be largely due to ice free conditions in the Arctic Ocean in late summer/early fall, a condition we are on the verge of now.



This is not a good situation for the Lake Mead dependent Southwest. It appears at the current rate the water level declining, the level will reach the 1,075ft. level which would initiate water rationing, getting continuously worse as the water drops further

Two under-reported news tidbits:

Ice thickness in the Arctic has fallen by 50% in just the last two years.


We are not many years away from a nearly or completely ice free Arctic one of these Septembers.

On the population front, the global die-off seems to have begun this year, even if it still has a ways to go before it catches up with the global love-in (birth rate). This is not in the news anywhere( I discovered it noodling around in demographic data), but, if it holds, it represents a major shift in the history of global death rate, which has been falling generally since the middle ages.

The global crude death rate last year was 8.2/thousand/year.

Predictions are that it will be 8.37 (and my calculations from available current data are that it is closer to 8.55).

This is the first increase in the global death rate that I have been able to find in the records, certainly for the last four years, likely for decades (though I can only find five-year averages on this), perhaps for much, much longer.

Long term predictions were that, mostly for demographic reasons of an aging global population(especially in advanced countries), global death rates would bottom out around 8.3 about now, but not start to rise till 2025-2030. We seem to be about twenty years ahead of schedule for the rise.

More data, sources and discussion on this at http://peakoil.com/forums/has-the-die-off-begun-t59750.html