Drumbeat: November 22, 2010

Patricia Yarrington's energy fix

In recent years we've seen a surprising number of major new discoveries in unexpected places. Natural gas off the coast of Israel. Afghanistan appears to be huge. You mentioned Australia. Something huge off the coast of Brazil. What is the message in this at a time when people are talking about peak oil?

The message is that technology marches on, and technology improvements day by day, year after year, really do unlock resources. It's finding resources you didn't know were there, and then figuring out how you can develop them, even when it seemed impossible.

A good example is deep water. A few decades ago, deep water was 100 feet, and the well drilling below that was about a mile and a half. Today we're talking about drilling in 10,000 to 12,000 feet of water and drilling down 30,000 to 35,000 feet.

Industry and Government Were Unprepared for BP Spill, Study says

Government and the oil industry were both thoroughly unprepared for a deepwater blowout and oil spill like the one that occurred this year in the gulf, leading to significant delays in capping the well and major environmental damage, the staff of the presidential spill commission concluded in two reports published on Monday.

BP oil spill fight hurt by low flow estimate-panel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - BP's (BP.L) early fight to contain the massive oil spill at its ruptured Macondo well may have failed because the oil giant underestimated how much oil was gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, the White House oil spill commission said on Monday.

BP's complex "top kill" maneuver, which sought to smother the leak by pumping heavy drilling mud into well, likely failed because BP did not pump mud at high enough rates to counter the actual flow of the well,

OPEC Doesn't Need to Increase Production, Oil at $100 `Fair,' Ramirez Says

Petroleos de Venezuela SA President Rafael Ramirez said that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries doesn’t need to increase output and that oil at $100 per barrel would be a “fair” price.

LNG leader Qatar’s future looks local, liquid

DOHA - Qatar’s energy revenue growth now that it has become the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas may depend on whether its gas-hungry neighbours accede to higher prices and on its associated development of other liquid fuels.

The tiny Middle Eastern country is preparing to celebrate reaching a long-term goal of being able to export 77 million tonnes of LNG a year to markets around the world, making Qatar one of the world’s richest countries.

Iran announces major oil find in Gulf

An Iranian state energy firm has announced a major discovery of around 34 billion barrels in associated oil reserves at an offshore gas field in the Gulf, official media reported on Monday. A huge oil layer has been found in coastal waters near the southern port city of Bushehr, said Ali Vakili, managing director of Pars Oil and Gas Co, quoted by Iran's state-run television website.

All 7 pass Petrobras tender test

Petrobras has approved the qualification of all seven bidders on its multi-billion dollar tender aimed at contracting up to 28 deep-water drilling rigs to be built in Brazil and offers may now be opened before the end of this week, UpstreamOnline has learned.

Nigeria militants attack state-owned pipeline

LAGOS, Nigeria—Nigeria's state-run oil firm says militants have blown up one of its pipelines.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company said in a Monday statement that militants attacked its Warri-Lagos Escravos pipeline on Saturday.

The Philippines: After e-jeepneys, govt plans shift to e-tricycles

The Department of Energy (DOE) plans to convert at least a tenth of tricycles in Metro Manila into the electric-powered variety. Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said using electric tricycles, or e-tricycles, would help the country reduce its reliance on imported oil, address environmental concerns and at the same time create jobs.

Gatecrashing - Four reasons why AGIA is failing to get Alaska its natural gas pipeline

When will Alaska get a natural gas pipeline? That seems to be the question on everyone’s minds these days as Alaskans are looking for the next big boom.

For the last three years the State of Alaska has pursued a pipeline strategy called the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA). In doing so, they have ignored all of the fiscal and legal realities that exist when oil and gas companies evaluate projects. These legal and fiscal realities are also known as the four gates.

Wen set to sign Russia energy deals

Wen Jiabao, the Chinese prime minister, is heading to Russia for a visit set to underscore the increasingly close relationship between two of the world's largest economies.

After years of distrust over their political ideologies, Wen is seeking to nail down a pricing agreement for gas supplies to China and to expand trade co-operation.

Rupert Murdoch, Dick Cheney, Israeli Oil Company Form Voltron From Liberal Media Nightmares

Public statements by both Genie and their investors have stressed the firm's American and Israeli (read: non-Arab, non-Iranian, non-Venezuelan) roots. According to a statement by Murdoch, “I believe Genie Energy's technologies and vast shale oil licenses have real potential to spur a global, geo-political paradigm shift by moving a major portion of new oil production to America, Israel, and other western-oriented democracies.” Murdoch also said that “Covering and distributing news has been my life's work […] If Genie's effort to develop shale oil is successful, as I believe it will be, then the news we'll report in the coming decades will reflect a more prosperous, more democratic, and more secure world.”

A Brave New World

The Middle East remains a conflict zone, of course, but with the oil drying up, the fighting has subsided. Saudi Arabia has reverted to a fundamentalist desert kingdom of little strategic significance. Iran, Iraq and Israel remain adversaries, taking turns fighting one another. Dubai collapsed in the 2030s and in the process set one last world record: It is now the largest inhabited ruin on the planet.

No one could say that about Toronto. The city has never been so densely populated or heavily used. After driving became prohibitively expensive, the basis of North American life evaporated. People tried to hang on, but after peak oil, there was no point. And transit was inadequate, not an alternative.

World mayors sign climate change pact

Mayors from around the world signed a voluntary pact Sunday in Mexico City to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a meeting meant as a precursor to UN-sponsored climate talks in Cancun opening next week.

The gathering in one of the world's most polluted cities assembled thousands of local and regional leaders to discuss a wide range of economic and social issues, including climate change.

How the government killed the safest car ever built

Thirty-five years ago, the U.S. government built a fleet of cars that were safer than anything on the road. Twenty-five years ago, the government shredded them in secret. Two escaped the crusher. This is their story.

China's Brazilian shopping spree

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — They’ve snapped up iron mines in the south, bought into oil fields off the coast, and they may be trolling for 850,000 acres of farmland, too.

While Chinese investors spent the last decade buying up natural resources across Africa, this year they’ve begun an unprecedented shopping spree in Brazil. In less than 12 months, Chinese investment has jumped by orders of magnitude — from a registered $82 million in 2009 to more than $25 billion in planned projects reported so far this year.

Diesel in Short Supply

According to figures released by the Petroleum Circulation Committee (PCC) of the China General Chamber of Commerce, by November 12 this year, more than 5,000 privately owned gas stations had run out of diesel fuel and 80 percent of state-owned gas stations had limited the amount of fuel customers could buy.

This isn't the first major diesel oil shortage to plague China. In the past decade, such shortages have happened every one or two years. But this shortage sets itself apart from previous ones, and while it may not impose a serious impact on the Chinese economy, it has sounded the alarm from the country's energy mechanism.

China’s October Coal Imports Fall From 8-Month High

China, the world’s biggest coal user, reduced imports of the fuel by 20 percent in October after purchases reached an eight-month high in September.

The Demand for Oil in the Face of Renewables, Electric Vehicles

But I have to think that those betting on the success of the oil industry for even the next decade are whistling in the dark. More people each day are recognizing that extracting and consuming fossil fuels is simply not sustainable – for a great number of different, independent reasons. Whether the concern is national security, war, terrorism, peak oil, healthcare, global climate – or the dozens of other forms of long-term environmental damage, the world is catching on quickly: the oil industry -- even with money and power coming out its ears -- is in its death throes.

Disarmament In America's Energy Security Battles

Current Obama administration battle strategies directed toward futile wars to control climate change and free America from fossil dependence are hindering, not advancing, progress toward lasting energy security. Development of abundant power and fuel sources--which we will continue to rely on--is being restrained by regulatory headlocks in favor of much higher-cost "renewable" and "green" alternatives with relatively scant capacity prospects.

"Haynesville" to premiere on CNBC tomorrow night

The Haynesville deposit could be the largest natural gas reservoir in North America. When the residents in rural Northern Louisiana learn they are sitting on a fortune, they struggle to weigh their big dreams against the safety of their community. Some will take the money and run while others learn to negotiate with the big energy companies who are looking to drill into the trillion-dollar natural gas reservoir that lies deep beneath their homes. Will this be easy money or the fight of their lives, in what some are calling the "new gold rush?"

"Haynesville" explores how the historic find could affect the nation’s energy picture through the eyes of industry experts, environmentalists and the people of Haynesville, Louisiana.

Scenarios: Possible outcomes of NATO's Afghan exit plan

(Reuters) - NATO has agreed to end its combat mission in Afghanistan and hand responsibility to Afghan forces by the end of 2014, while also promising it will not abandon Afghanistan in its fight against the Taliban.

Following are some scenarios that could result from NATO's bid to extract the 150,000 foreign troops from a nine-year-old conflict widely seen as going badly for the United States and its allies:

Mexico top court may back private oil deals -paper

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's Supreme Court is leaning toward upholding regulations that allow state oil monopoly Pemex to contract private companies as operators, Reforma newspaper reported on Friday.

Aramco plans 6 new power projects - Report

MEED reported that Saudi Aramco is planning a major expansion of its power generation facilities to meet its growing electricity needs.

The move to develop a series of power stations solely for the state oil company’s use is understood to have been prompted by concerns within Saudi Aramco about the capacity of the kingdom’s electricity generation agency, Saudi Electricity Company’s, to provide the required level of power supply.

Saudi Aramco Said to Seek Partners to Build Three Power Stations

Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest state-owned oil company, is seeking partners to help build three power plants for its expanding refining and chemicals businesses, two people with knowledge of the plan said.

Lower obstacles to natural gas investment: Fraser Institute

OTTAWA — Canada is in a favourable position to capitalize on its natural gas resources, though the potential for economic prosperity from this commodity can only be fully realized by removing barriers to investment and production, a report said Monday.

The Fraser Institute said natural gas accounted for one-quarter of all energy usage in North America in 2007, and the continent is well positioned to become fully self-sufficient in meeting its natural gas needs.

Ivory Coast to Expand Gas-Storage Capacity, Fraternite Reports

Societe de Gestion des Stocks Petroliers de Cote d’Ivoire will spend 54 billion CFA francs ($112.3 million) expanding its butane-storage capacity, Fraternite Matin reported, without citing anyone.

Gestoci, as the company is known, has started to build 10 new gas-storage tanks in four Ivorian cities including Yamoussoukro, Abidjan, San Pedro and Bouake to boost capacity by 20,000 metric tons, the newspaper said.

Petrobras: refining crucial to strategy

(Reuters) - Petrobras' refining investments are crucial to ensuring Brazil's long-term energy supply as fuel consumption soars in fast-growing nations such as India and China, the CEO of Brazil's state oil company said on Monday.

Those needing fuel aid urged to apply

Despite reports that federal fuel assistance grants to states may face deep cuts this year, those who run the program here say folks who need help should still apply.

That's because the amount of money New Hampshire will get remains in flux, caught up in congressional inaction on the federal budget.

End to cheap coal closer than we thought?

(PhysOrg.com) -- A report entitled "The End of Cheap Coal," published in the journal Nature by Richard Heinberg and David Fridley, suggests we may reach peak coal in the next two decades.

Kunstler: Gross All Over

I was kind of relieved to be leaving the country again this week with Thursday's Feast of Football looming, followed by the "consumer" buffoonery of Black Friday. Distance affords reflection and this is a good week to ask ourselves what, exactly, lies on the other side of this massive wall of suspense we have constructed around the fate of our money system?

What a scary season! This is what it feels like to hit the wall of limits to everything the earth provides us.

Kurt Cobb: Peak oil and climate change in 13 minutes

At the recent 2010 International Conference on Sustainability I made a brief presentation focused on using concrete illustrations that explain peak oil and climate change in ways that relate to people's everyday experiences. I have been searching for methods to bring the basics of peak oil and climate change out of the realm of the abstract, and this is my first public attempt to do just that.

Eskom monopoly costs South Africans

Extra-ordinary measures are needed to prevent power failures but Eskom will not enable this by letting go of its monopoly over power generation, a legal expert says.

Pakistan: Ashraf announces end of power crises

Karachi—Federal Minister for Water and Power, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf announcing the end of power crises said construction work on more than seven small dams is under way and rental power plants will be needed till completion of other projects.

UK appoints special envoy for climate and energy security

Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti has been appointed to prepare the UK's security agencies for severe weather events, increased migration and greater competition over resources.

Russia Offers India Uranium Resources

According to news reports, Russia has offered to partner with India in exploration and exploitation of uranium resources within its territory in a bid to ease shortage of fuel for India's nuclear power plants.

Nigeria: Firewood Smoke Caused 79,000 Deaths, Says Centre

The International Center for Energy Environment and Development (ICEED) said not less than 79,000 pre- deaths have been recorded in Nigeria as a result of inhaling smoke from local firewood cooking stove.

A statement signed by the public relations officer of the center, Mr Michael Donovan, said use of firewood for cooking is not only dangerous to human health, but also encourages environmental degradation through climate change by releasing hydrocarbons into the atmosphere and deforestation.

Jordan wants Korea to join inland canal project

According to the plan, 2,150 million cubic meters of the Red Sea water is expected to move through the canal every year ― 930 million cubic meters of which will be processed as fresh water.

Fresh water will also reach Amman, the capital with 1.9 million residents that suffers from a severe lack of water.

Residential, commercial, recreational and industrial zones are expected to spring up along the canal as well as eco-parks, water pump stations, desalination facilities and hydroelectric power stations.

Experts claim 2006 climate report plagiarized

An influential 2006 congressional report that raised questions about the validity of global warming research was partly based on material copied from textbooks, Wikipedia and the writings of one of the scientists criticized in the report, plagiarism experts say.

Review of the 91-page report by three experts contacted by USA TODAY found repeated instances of passages lifted word for word and what appear to be thinly disguised paraphrases.

Peak Energy, Climate Change, and the Collapse of Global Civilization

Peak oil and the events associated with it will be an unprecedented discontinuity in human and geologic history. Peak oil crises will soon confront societies with the opportunity to recreate themselves based on their respective needs, culture, resources, and governance responses. Peak oil will require a change of economic and social systems, and will result in a new world order. The sooner people prepare for peak oil and a post-peak oil life, the more they will be able to influence the direction of their opportunities. Nevertheless, there are probably no solutions that do not involve at the very least some major changes in lifestyles. Consequently, peak oil will probably result in some catastrophic upheavals. Peak oil will also present opportunities to address many underlying societal, economic, and environmental problems.

Humanity has already passed the threshold for dangerous anthropogenic interference with the natural climate system. Peak energy resources and economic decline may make it more challenging for societies and their economies to adapt to future climate and environmental changes.

This report considers energy resources, climate change, ecological balance, and the Earth’s capacity to supply food and water to support human life from the perspective of governance and human security.

(Original report is here - 300 page PDF)

Crude Oil Erases Gains in New York as Ireland Seeks Bank Bailout From EU

“The dollar is getting stronger again as the anxiety about European debt lingers on, and that’s putting some pressure on oil,” said Andrey Kryuchenkov, analyst at VTB Capital in London. “But the market is effectively going to remain in a tightly bound range for the foreseeable future.”

Winter fuel demand, China and rising diesel prices

More and more vehicles on UK roads now run on diesel. But the fuel’s price is also affected by industrial demand for heating oil, which is especially noticeable in the winter.

This means there is less of the product being refined into fuel for vehicles, pushing up prices for drivers.

Hedge Funds Cut Oil Bets as Ireland, China Sap QE2 Gains

Hedge funds cut bullish bets on oil by the most in almost three months amid speculation fallout from the Irish debt crisis and China’s efforts to curb inflation will slow economic growth, sapping demand for fuel.

European Gasoil Contango Widens; Total Buys Gasoline Barges: Oil Products

Europe’s gasoil futures contango widened, signaling weakening demand, after customers in Europe’s biggest market for the heating fuel filled up their tanks.

China Oil Use to Beat Record as Monetary Policy Impact Muted, Goldman Says

“The much bigger risk in the near term will come from the current exceptional strength in diesel demand, which could push Chinese oil demand to new highs in November and December,” the bank said.

Enbridge says Line 6B to restart in days

(Reuters) - Enbridge Inc said on Sunday its 290,000 barrel-per-day Line 6B carrying Canadian crude oil into the United States will return to service in "a matter of days."

The pipeline operator said the shutdown would have an impact on shippers but declined to offer further details except to say it was working on mitigating the impact.

$1B Gulf deal with Exxon raises young firm's profile

Exxon Mobil Corp. $1 billion for a swath of shallow-water fields in the Gulf of Mexico, in a deal that significantly boosts both the output and profile of the young, independent oil and gas company.

With the all-cash transaction, Energy XXI's production will jump by 77 percent, making the company one of the top oil and natural gas producers in the region, just five years after it formed.

China's natural gas demand to exceed supply by over one-third in 2011

China's demand for natural gas will exceed its supply by 35 percent in 2011, Yin Jianping, a professor at the School of Business Administration under the China University of Petroleum, said at the first China Energy Forum jointly held recently by the Chinese Academy of Engineering and the National Energy Administration.

Yin said that China's demand for natural gas will maintain rapid growth in the coming decade, and its annual consumption will exceed 150 billion cubic meters by 2015 and 200 billion cubic meters by 2018. The country's demand for natural gas has outstripped its supply since 2008. It is estimated that China's energy supply-demand gap will increase from 38 billion cubic meters in 2015 to 110 billion cubic meters in 2021, and the natural gas supply-demand gap will grow accordingly based on forecasts of the gas supply and demand.

ADNOC to create 7,500 jobs by 2015

ABU DHABI // Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and its subsidiaries expect to add about 7,500 new jobs by 2015, due to a number of projects aimed at boosting the group's capacity to produce oil, gas and petrochemicals.

Nigeria Plans Upgrade of 210,000-Barrel Oil Refinery, State Company Says

Nigeria plans to upgrade and expand its 210,000-barrel Port Harcourt oil refinery, the country’s biggest, according to an official of the state-owned national oil company.

Saudi king's fragile health raises succession questions

Reporting from Cairo — An impending medical trip to the U.S. by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has renewed attention on the kingdom's aging leadership and raised questions of succession in the world's leading oil exporter.

Saudi Arabia tries to reassure over rulers' health

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia is anxious to show its allies there will be no power vacuum in the world's biggest oil exporter as health problems beset its octogenarian rulers, but the danger of open disputes over succession remains.

Welfare funding runs out in Iraq

BAGHDAD -- Iraq has run out of money to pay for widows' benefits, farm crops and other programs for the poor, the parliament leader on Sunday told lawmakers who have collected nearly $180,000 so far this year in one of the world's most oil-rich nations.

Uganda: DP proposes a non-partisan approach to oil sector

Uganda has discovered oil, but the country still does not have a clear and concise strategy on how it will harvest the resource without conflicts as has been envisaged and occurred in other countries.

Indeed, there is already a squabble with the government not disclosing the truth about the concessions, and the companies hitherto given clearance to drill refusing to pay tax, and even leaving the country without fulfilling their tax obligations.

Russia, EU need to pool efforts amid China’s rare earth metals monopoly-Yazev

MOSCOW (Itar-Tass) -- Russia and the European Union should intensify cooperation in the context of China’s monopoly on the market of rare earth metals, which are used in many spheres – from defense to alternative energy projects, State Duma Vice-Speaker, President of the Russian Gas Union Valery Yazev told Itar-Tass on Sunday.

Calif lawmaker wants more gas pipeline inspectors

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Ten weeks after the deadly San Bruno natural gas explosion, a California legislator is pressing regulators to immediately hire more natural gas pipeline inspectors.

The California Public Utilities Commission says its nine inspectors are aggressive and effective, but conceded the agency has fallen short and it hopes to eventually hire another four inspectors. PUC officials say only 1% at most of the 110,000 miles of gas pipelines are inspected.

Police probe Gullfaks C incident

Norwegian giant Statoil today confirmed the police have opened an investigation into whether any laws were broken during a well control incident at Gullfaks C platform earlier this year.

BP claims a gamble: Get check now, risk less later

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. — Fishermen and business owners stung by a summer of lost revenue from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill have until Wednesday to file their compensation claims for short-term damages, and then they have to ask themselves: Do I feel lucky?

Many will eventually be offered a final settlement from BP PLC's compensation fund — but accepting that check is a gamble. To cash it, they'll have to sign away their right to ever sue the oil giant and let a court decide how much they're owed. And if the long-term damages end up amounting to more than the settlement, they'll be out of luck for additional payments to cover those future losses.

BP sells Venezuela and Vietnam assets for $1.8 billion

BP has agreed to sell its oil and gas production businesses in Venezuela and Vietnam to its Russian affiliate, TNK-BP, for US$1.8 billion (Dh6.6bn) as it continues to raise funds after the Macondo oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Arctic spat highlights deepwater dilemma

The ripples from BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster have reached more northerly climes. In a further blow to oil explorers, Canadian authorities have agreed to an interim ban on the granting of oil exploration licences for Arctic regions currently under Canadian control.

Given events in the Gulf of Mexico, the Canadian decision was predictable, but they're not the only ones with an interest. A handful of nations, including Russia and the US, have been involved in a rather unseemly spat over competing territorial claims to the Arctic continental shelf, including its prospective sub-sea regions. And it’s not difficult to appreciate why; it has been estimated that the Arctic could account for at least a quarter of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas reserves, together with huge potential mineral deposits.

Why Japan Fell ... and What It Teaches Us

The second problem is an aging, declining population, which dampens domestic spending. For decades, Japan’s traditional family—a workaholic husband, a stay-at-home wife, and two children—has been besieged, as anthropologist Merry White of Boston University shows in her book Perfectly Japanese. Even in 1989, the fertility rate (children per adult woman) of 1.57 was below the replacement rate of about two. The poor economy further discourages family formation. For men, the age of first marriage is 35, up from 27 in 1990, says White. The fertility rate is about 1.3.

Switch to renewables will take generations, not years

The latest world energy outlook released by the International Energy Agency is a useful reminder of the enduring place of fossil fuels in the global energy mix. Energy demand and supply patterns change only slowly, and moving away from existing carbon-intensive energy systems will take generations, not years. Despite widespread worries about climate change, there is little evidence that the global energy picture is about to be transformed within the next two decades.

I Believe: 'For us to survive and thrive in a new century, we must peaceably dismantle the United States of Empire'

Here's a question I hear asked more and more by friends and neighbors in the Green Mountains of Vermont: How might we in Vermont create a more sustainable world for ourselves, and for our children, and for our children's children, in a 21st century Age of Limits?

Let me answer by starting with first principles: I believe the United States is no longer a functioning republic, but a dysfunctional empire.

NRG’s electric vehicle network needs to expand outside Houston

NRG Energy is taking a big chance with its decision to invest more than $10m to build a comprehensive electric vehicle-charging network across Houston, the energy capital of the world. Houston is such a big, sprawling city that coverage is going to have to be pretty good to make drivers feel confident enough to go out in their electric vehicles without having to be afraid of running out of juice before they can make it to the next charging station.

Palm Oil Slumps Most in 15 Months as China Moves to Curb Prices

Palm oil plunged the most in more than 15 months on concern that China’s plans to cool domestic prices by selling cooking-oil stockpiles will reduce demand from the world’s biggest user of the commodity.

Divided We Eat

As more of us indulge our passion for local, organic delicacies, a growing number of Americans don’t have enough nutritious food to eat. How we can bridge the gap.

GOP ready to fight over global warming

Obama and his advisers claimed they didn't want EPA to regulate greenhouse gases, preferring instead to get the job done with a Congress-approved cap-and-trade plan. But many analysts saw EPA's moves as an implicit threat to lawmakers: pass cap-and-trade or else deal with EPA.

But cap-and-trade failed. Now the Republicans -- along with many coal-state Democrats -- are scrambling to stop the "or else" part of that equation.

Climate Talks Echo 50-Year `Bretton Woods' Process as Clean Energy Slips

It took decades for negotiators to write treaties that curb nuclear warheads and settle trade disputes between nations, and by that measure, efforts to limit global warming may just be getting started.

United Nations climate talks starting in Mexico next week will resemble “sitting in Bretton Woods in 1944,” said Harvard University Environmental Economics Director Robert Stavins, referring to meetings that devised a new world financial system and envisioned an agency governing international trade.

“Climate negotiations are going to be an ongoing process, much like trade talks, not a single task with a clear endpoint,” Stavins said in a telephone interview. “It took 50 years to build the institutions that led to the World Trade Organization. It wasn’t something that was done in a moment.”

Australian scientists say carbon emissions set for record

A new report has found that global carbon dioxide emissions are set to reach record levels this year.

The snapshot, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows that after a dip in emissions last year, greenhouse gases are on the way back up.

Leaking Siberian Ice Raises a Tricky Climate Issue

The Russian scientist shuffles across the frozen lake, scuffing aside ankle-deep snow until he finds a cluster of bubbles trapped under the ice. With a cigarette lighter in one hand and a knife in the other, he lances the ice like a blister. Methane whooshes out and bursts into a thin blue flame.

Gas locked inside Siberia's frozen soil and under its lakes has been seeping out since the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago. But in the past few decades, as the Earth has warmed, the icy ground has begun thawing more rapidly, accelerating the release of methane — a greenhouse gas 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide — at a perilous rate.

Nations That Debate Coal Use Export It to Feed China’s Need

Traditionally, coal is burned near where it is mined — particularly so-called thermal or steaming coal, used for heat and electricity. But in the last few years, long-distance international coal exports have been surging because of China’s galloping economy, which now burns half of the six billion tons of coal used globally each year.

As a result, not only are the pollutants that developed countries have tried to reduce finding their way into the atmosphere anyway, but ships chugging halfway around the globe are spewing still more.

And the rush to feed this new Asian market has helped double the price of coal over the past five years, leading to a renaissance of mining and exploration in many parts of the world.

“This is a worst-case scenario,” said David Graham-Caso, spokesman for the Sierra Club, which estimates that its “Beyond Coal” campaign has helped to block 139 proposed coal plants in the United States over the last few years. “We don’t want this coal burned here, but we don’t want it burned at all. This is undermining everything we’ve accomplished.”

I put up a little post about the changes at The Oil Drum on my blog. I haven't written on my blog for several years, but will probably be writing more at Our Finite World (Or some improved version of the blog) in the future.

I will continue to write at The Oil Drum and also be one of several editors here, but like other authors, I will have a blog as well.

Thanks Gail. Here's a point of interest about the Drumbeat:

I understand that at some point, Leanan is planning to cut back on the number of days per week that she will do Drumbeat. The plan is that on Monday through Friday, some type of content will be provided–either Drumbeat or a new post, but not necessarily both.

While I am not involved in the decision process, I would like to offer a small point for consideration. I've read the newspapers for decades and watched various online news sources as well. Over the years, I've noticed that there appears to be a tendency in the presentation of news stories that Saturdays seem to be the day on which stories with some controversy appear. It's almost as if there is an effort by the various news sources to minimize the impact of such stories on the public. With this thought in mind, I would like to see the Drumbeat continued on Saturdays, if only to bring stories such as these into the light as soon as possible.

Of course, Leanan works hard and cutting the days per week for the Drumbeat would lessen her load, giving her back more of a "normal" life. One other approach might be to cut out a day in the middle of the week instead, perhaps Wednesdays, while continuing Saturday posts. Another approach would be to split the editorial responsibility by adding another person to maintain the recent 7 day a week presentation schedule. Just my 2 cents...

E. Swanson

I haven't been told what the new schedule will be, but stories that appear on Saturday could still be featured on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday.

The reason behind the cutback is not because I can't handle the workload. It's because we are intentionally downsizing - going for a lower-bandwidth, quality-not-quantity site. With fewer keyposts, the Drumbeat would overwhelm the site if it continued daily. We would become a news site, and that's not what we want.

If any one has thoughts /advice on blogging software please e-mail me on GailTverberg at comcast dot net.

I currently have a Wordpress blog at gailtheactuary.wordpress.com, and I can go back to using it, or improve it somewhat.

I also have the domain name ourfiniteworld.com that currently points to the same material as tverbergactuarial.com. The material there is pretty out of date, so I should update it.

I suppose it would be possible to move different software, such as Drupal, instead.

I just use Wordpress. Simple, easy-to-use, heaps of plugins, stacks of themes.

Hi Gail. Good luck! You, Kunstler, Foss, Martenson, Greer, and Heinberg have consistently presented the clearest pictures of our predicaments over the recent years. Much appreciated & I look forward to more -- at least until the web goes down. After that, good luck with your garden. :-) Thanks! - Dan

Divide and conquer? Preaching to the choir? Return to TOD roots?

It seems to me that TOD has attracted a remarkably diverse and intellegent following; many great regulars here have given this forum a life of its own. I'm not sure that putting part of a genie back in the bottle is workable.

Anyway.... Thanks, Gail for this explanation of upcoming changes, and for your and Leanan's unfailing dedication to excellence and hard work. Your participation in this timely and critical experiment is far more important than you may realize. Sincere thanks to all of the staff as well, for all of this.

Bravo Zulu!

Four years ago TOD was focusing more on quality and less on quantity of articles and Drumbeats. I wish it would be feasible just to turn the clock back four or four-and-a-half years.

The approach that seems to have been selected to solve this dilemma is to narrow the focus of the site–although I am not sure how much narrowing will take place in practice. The view seems to be that if the site sticks to analytical posts about energy, it can stay out of difficult questions, such as whether a collapse might occur and what readers should do to prepare.

...I will have to admit that I have been less than happy about the proposed changes. This kind of change is difficult for those involved in the process.

I hope that content will not be cut back too much. It is easy to try to target some imaginary “higher level” reader, but it seems to me that The Oil Drum needs to have posts for real world people, too.

Hope you don't get disappointed and go Gail.

So how does one become a board member of "The Institute for the Study of Energy and Our Future (iseof.org)"? How comes Nate's a board member and you aren't? Also iseof means "Is End Of File" in IT. Not sure I would have picked that acronym.

First Professor Goose, now this. What next?

There are a lot of strains that build up over the years. I see Nate as being a mediator trying to work out a rearrangement in a way that is as fair as possible and that will serve the reader as well as possible. He has been one who keeps saying in various ways, "We don't want you to leave."

There are a fair number of topics I have stayed away from, because my views differ significantly from those of key staff members, or are not considered appropriate by The OIl Drum board. For example, I recently have stayed away from religion and peak oil. (My views on religion are at the opposite extreme from those who take the Bible literally.) Having a blog of my own will allow me to address a wider range of topics than The Oil Drum would choose to write about.

Hi Undertow

re: "First Professor Goose, now this."

What happened to the Professor? (I've been away from TOD for long stretches.)

PG took some time off from TOD for awhile. However, I think he may be returning. Like I said, Nate will be making an announcement soon (I think today).

Sorry, not today. Looks like it's going to be Friday. Nate's investing in social capital today, off to have Thanksgiving with his family. ;-)

Whilst googling for more background on the 'institute for the study of energy and our future'

I found this, and I thought we could all do with more of this



I would like to know the membership of the Board of Directors of the Institute for the Study of Energy and Our Future.


Best Hopes for Openness,


Change is inevitable, and TOD is no exception. We tend to have this perception of permanence, that things are a certain way and that they stay that way. In reality things change constantly, sometimes at greater pace and sometimes at slower. I find that things like TOD are usually a happy accident of a good idea at the right time and the right group of people - they're wonderful when they happen, but they should be enjoyed as one would the colors of the autumn leaves. In reality, TOD has changed quite a bit in the 5 years I've been reading here.

The view seems to be that if the site sticks to analytical posts about energy, it can stay out of difficult questions, such as whether a collapse might occur and what readers should do to prepare.

Truthfully, it is the latter that interest me most now, and I read mostly for the side discussions on the Drumbeat. The peak is past, and from here on out we are caught between a lot of random and unpredictable forces. While detailed analysis of energy sources and how they grow and decline is worthwhile for those who are interested and willing to do that work, I believe it is the "above ground" factors that will dominate our lives. And Peak oil is just one (albeit large) part of what we are facing, and the results will be inherently unpredictable in detail.

TOD has been a wonderful experience, and I'm grateful that I had a chance to participate, even if only in a minor way. In some ways it has been like the education I should have received in school. So good luck to the revised TOD, as well as readers, and thanks to the staff for all their hard work.

I agree totally with your feeling that the side discussions have become more important. It is too late to 'alert' anyone to the reality of Peak Oil now; what needs to happen is more in the survival and mitigation than in prevention and preparation. Still, TOD provides a current events content that may be helpful for just that.

Good luck to us all.

Strange species, homo sapiens. Wonder if they'll be missed...


Mange Monkeys! Can't even grow a decent coat!

And Peak oil is just one (albeit large) part of what we are facing

So good luck to [us all]

That's the way I sort of felt from day one.

Peak Oil is just one puzzling piece of a bigger picture.

The bigger question is whether we live on an Easter Isle (Automatic) Earth.

Are we suffering from a grand delusion, and if so why?

Does our delusion include false understandings about money and the economy, about climate, energy, biosphere and other aspects of nature, and about human nature itself?

Is there hope?

Why do their/our eyes glaze over when you tell them/us?

As I posted the other day, many current posters will migrate to other forua as TOD becomes a site to take a look at once a week. At this point it seems that there is no clear picture as to what TOD is to become. This disturbs me from the point of view that if you are going to make changes, the changes should be clearly packaged/thought out.

In any case, here of a few of the other sites I look at on a daily basis:

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/energyresources (energy)
http://downstreamventures.yuku.com/forums/1/t/Peak-Oil-Petroleum-Energy-... (energy/finance)
http://www.energybulletin.com (energy/sustainability)
http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.com/breakingnews (variety of news - Matt Savinar)
http://www.thetreeofliberty.com (general - very Ayn Randian)
http://www.zerohedge.com (finance)
http://www.market-ticker.org (finance/government - Karl Denninger)
http://www.finacialsense.com (finance)
http://www.independencejournal.com/today.htm (general - George Ure)

That's enough although there are more.


The changes are thought out. They've been considering them for two years now.

Nate was planning to make an announcement this week.

I believe an announcement is planned for Wednesday--at least that is what I heard this morning.

Sorry, you know more than I do.


Not only that, but everything you know is wrong. Noise to signal alert


Speaking of which - the "new" normal...

Ok, we had some snow. The power went for a bit the other day but is back. Today the land line crapped out. We call (on the cell phone) The Phone Company to report it (as did our tenant down the hill). They gave us an appointment for, don't hold your breath, next Tuesday! Only 8 days! You gotta love it.


Hi Todd,

Wow. I'm actually surprised. This is in CA, no less. Verizon?

The reason I'm surprised is that supposedly everyone should have a phone (hence the low-income discounts) for calling 911.

I wonder what the factors are from the co's. POV.

from the {telephone} company's Point of View?

A "company" is not a person.

It is an "it" ... an abstraction that all too often we tend to anthromorphize.

"It" does not have a brain, a heart or a point from which to view things.

"It" has an accounting department.
"It" has a human "resources" department.
"It" has a "bored" group of directors.
"It" has a management group (TPTB) that tells the Bored o'Directors what to tell the management group to do.

Each member of the management group (TPTB) probably has a private escape plan that informs that member when it will be time to cash out, cut, and run. After all, no member of the management group (TPTB) is personally "liable" for wrongs committed by the "It". When the ship starts to sink, that will be a good time to commandeer a lifeboat on the side of the Titanic and row away. [ i.mage.+]

As I noted yesterday, I would be very interested in a post by someone experienced in local and state government finances who could outline some possible outcomes as local and especially state governments start confronting some horrendous projected budget deficits next year. One would think that these upcoming cutbacks in local & state government spending and services are going to have a huge impact on the country over the next two years.

Just to give you some idea of the competing interests, here is an essay by a couple of college seniors who are pleading for more government aid for young people:

How Are the Kids? Unemployed, Underwater, and Sinking

In some cultures asking how the kids are doing is a colloquial way of asking how the individual is faring, acknowledging that the vitality of the younger generation is a good metric for the well-being of society as a whole. In the United States, the state of the kids should be an important indicator. Young workers bear the significant burden of funding intergenerational transfer programs and maintaining the structure of payments that flow in the economy. Today, the kids’ outlook is almost as bleak as the housing market; they are unemployed, underwater on student debt, and out of luck from a reluctant political system. . .

Jobs investment will improve employment. Education will increase productivity (and profits too), increasing tax revenues from businesses and personal incomes and helping balance the budget. Crisis is not the time for austerity, and these types of investments in the viability of the U.S. economy should be done when money is at its cheapest. In a dire job market, facing imminent climate change, and lagging aggregate demand, keeping the younger generation afloat will inevitably be a decision to sink, swim, or at least throw out some life jackets.

It seems to me that the state and local finance problems are one of the pieces that feed into the next step down. Society as a whole is spending more than it is taking in (trying to use more resources than it has.) For a while, it was mostly citizens whose financial situation was very bad, but now it has moved into state and local governments, and to the federal government.

As these governments raise taxes or cut back services, it acts to cause more recession, because more people lose their jobs (if services are cut back) or taxes are higher, leaving citizens with less to spend.

Part of the problem is the general expectation that things will improve in a few years, that this is a 'bump in the road'.

The alternative is for states and localities to simply declare bankruptcy. Legally they can't as far as I know which is why the law should be changed. School boards have declared bankruptcy before. Obviously police and fire functions need to be maintained at the margins but certain things are protected in bankruptcy.

The downside is that a rash of state/ municipal bankruptcies will hurt the bankers who have shown that they are too big to fail(so why weren't they broken up?, etc.).

Majorian, I believe you have hit on a interesting political fight which is about to take place in that the new congress will attempt to pass legislation allowing the bankruptcy of States and Municipalities. The banks will howl and lobby for sure but it is more so the public unions which will go bananas over this fight than the banks. There is no question that if the generous compensation,retirement, and health benefits, which the public unions have negotiated for their members, are not dramatically altered, numerous states and municipalities will simply not be able to afford going forward. As Margaret Thatcher once said" sooner or later you run out of other peoples money". It is a classic fight brewing.

I don't see a problem with allowing bankruptcy- it does not mean that things must stop. GM kept making cars while in bankruptcy, so the police, firemen etc can keep going.

However, it will force a major downsizing of the governments AND restrict/eliminate their ability to borrow, which I think is a great thing - it will force governments to live within their means. If they want to spend money on something, there will have to be a tax to pay for it - no more kicking the can down the road.

It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world. Thomas Jefferson

GM kept going with government loans and gifts. How does the City of Dallas, or Seattle, keep going without any money.

California tried using some sort of Chits as I recall. Like a promisory note saying, to the holder, "we will pay you this amount of money some day." I wasn't there, so I can't say how that went over with businesses. Were they spendable? Could they take one to the bank and deposit it like a paycheck?



The banks agreed to cash them - but they gave a cutoff date. Except for one Bank that thought of it as a way to get public employees to bank with them.

Thanks. I couldn't remember!

Are they going to do that again, do you think?


How does the City of Dallas, or Seattle, keep going without any money.
Good point - nothing like that to get the city administration and politicians really focused on what is important, and what is not.
The great thing about declaring bankruptcy is that it is and admission that the house has fallen down - it is time to sift through the remains, keep what is worthwhile, abandon what is not, and start rebuilding smaller, leaner, smarter.
From a legal point of view, bankruptcy allows a company to terminate employment contracts - and this is the key for the cities - how else can they really "default" on their obligations for retirement etc?

Then they can gave all their new (smaller) workforce on new, lower wage scales, with sensible benefits - basically, the same as what has happened in the real world for anyone not in the financial sector. If the city workers don't like it, they always have the choice to leave and seek employment elsewhere - good luck with that.

And the people of the city, will have to face the reality that if they want all these services,they have to be prepared to pay the taxes for them - nothing comes for free.

The bankruptcy proceeding would have to be a little different - you can't convert debt holdings into equity, but the overall concept of pull it all down, sort the wreckage and come out smaller, leaner, less paid and with reduced pension obligations is exactly what is needed. Nothing short of a bankruptcy style crisis will achieve that.

Until then cities will be cutting back on active firemen (the ones who actually put out fires) so they can afford to keep paying the retired ones - how is that in the best interests of the people of the city?

I believe that cities can file municipal bankruptcy, if they get permission from the state is the way I think it works. States can't file bankruptcy--instead they will presumably default on various obligations.

Hi WT,

How do they function after that?

Do they start up credit again, or what?

How do they function after that?


It's too late for that POV.
You mean "us".

We issue IOU notes with a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger on them.

We sell our government owned real estate and then rent it back.

That will keep us (the good ship Titanicopia) afloat for one more day.

Yes, they start up again. The bankruptcy serves to wipe out their previous obligations, and lets them start over.

Several smaller cities have used bankruptcy to get rid of the previously signed contracts with their employees. They just hire the same people again, for less money.

You call it the "next step down,' Gail. I call it the Snowball Effect.

As local governments raise taxes, local populations will respond by voting out those who passed the tax hikes, and put in others who promise "no new taxes." Services will be cut, causing local businesses and industries to fail. Infrastructure will fail, since there will be no money to pay for repairs. Government employees will see pay cuts, and many jobs will be lost. Again, this will harm local businesses, and the recession will look more and more like the depression. Perhaps some fool will suggest that it is the fault of "them." It is the Muslims, or the Gays, or Illegal Aliens who caused it. Or, perhaps, they will blame OPEC and the Arabs? Maybe a war will bring us out of the depression. It worked in 1941, so why not try it again?

Since we are in a world economy (for now), other nations will have similar situations, and react in similar manners. Maybe they will blame the U.S.of A.?

Far fetched? Maybe, today. Though many pooh pooh the doomers on TOD, isn't this something that needs to be considered in planning for our future? Though TOD has increased its base, has the 'message' penetrated the minds of the PTB? Is BO scheduling meetings to consider these problems? Are any Congressional hearings pending on peak oil, and its impact on the world economy? Does anyone of higher rank than mayor of Wassilla, Alaksa think about anything beyond the 2012 elections? Or for that matter, beyond January, 2011?

How can anyone delay, for instance, the Start Treaty? How can anyone justify continuing a war in Afghanistan that has no goal, and no definition of 'victory?' The last time we had a budget surplus was in the 1990s, when there were no wars and there were military base closings and a drawing down of military spending... we called it the 'Peace Dividend.' Does anyone remember that? Does that cause any bells to go off in your mind about how to (at least) start to bring down the deficit and fund a transition to sustainability?

Some times the way we do things baffles me. We need a new energy paradigm, including infrastructure. Instead we have stimulus of BAU models. Dollars are wasted on an insane 'war on terror' that cannot be won. The wealthy demand tax cuts so they can 'keep more of what the make,' when they are already keeping so much that they are starving, not only the 'beast' of government, but the economy as well. And the American public buys into the corporatist BS, and elects people who promise to keep doing what has failed for the last 30 years and rejecting all that has worked.

Good luck to us all.


Strange species, homo sapiens. Wonder of they'll be missed.

Geewhiz Craig...chill out. It's the holidays. Ho ho ho! Actually I see the same possibilities as you. Not a prediction, mind you, since I'm not even sure what I having for lunch tomorrow. But I do have a less than optimistic view. I know a lot of folks have put forth possibilites that don't look so dark and they might be correct. But a major necessity of those expectation rest with the public responding in a constructive way. And that's where I tend to fall on your side of that ugly fence. To me it's a terrible combination of one portion of the population being unable to understand the reality with the balance seeing it but being unwilling to accept that BAU may be a thing of the past.

the balance seeing it but being unwilling to accept that BAU may be a thing of the past.

I am afraid that the balance are too distracted and propagandized to consider it.

Journalists are paid by advertisers who don't want people to think. Advertisers think they can create reality by printing it as if it exists according to their wishes. Since their reality involves BAU on steriods, journalists in the end are paid to publish propaganda. At least most of them. Those who do not 'toe the line' are denigrated, and black listed. This is why a source like TOD is so important. There are many views expressed here; I doubt anyone agrees with all of them, but at least we all are exposed daily to contrary opinions.

My family has always called me an optimist, yet I try to recognize reality. I would like BAU to continue - after all I have 9 grandchildren (so far), and want the to have wonderful lives. Instead I feel like I should appologize to them almost daily as I see unfolding a great tragedy in the making. And, I can recognize how I have contributed to the problem in the past. Like so many others, I try to correct my past mistakes; and like those many others frequently find myself unable to convey, even to those I love, the importance of learning how to transition to sustainable activities and a world that can at least survive.

Like many of us I doubt I will live to see the worst of the changes coming. At least I hope not, since if I do that means that it will be sooner rather than later. Which is why I can only wish us luck. I hope those whose views "put forth possibilities that don't look so dark" ARE correct. And, I feel like I am looking for the silver lining as the cloud gets darker.



Well, since you don't mention great grand kids I'm sure I'm older than you. In my view, the early stages will be the worst and we will both see it. Why? In the early stages of a disaster things are disorganized with people pulling in different directions or trying to come up with new, untested paradigms. This is why firemen and LEO's have lots of practice trainings - to work out the bugs.

Let me give you a real life example. I had a process development facility located in a separate building on the grounds of a production plant. The plant blew up from a dust explosion and killed 14 men and burned down my building. What happened? The workers went to the local bar and got drunk. A few tried to get back in to get personal stuff. Some went home. The local fire department hadn't considered this scenario so they didn't know who died and who didn't. The fire burned for a week or so and they were still looking for bodies. One of my horrid experiences was rigging equipment to be hauled to another facility while the "body dog" sniffed behind what was left of my building. I kept praying, please don't find one. FWIW, they didn't find two men's bodies but they had a skull and rib cage. These body parts were buried in a common grave with both names on the headstone so the families could get the life insurance.

In the case of society, no one is doing crap. No one can point to an alternative that has been tried and proven successful on a large scale. This means that every faction under the sun will be pushing their own idea with no possible cohesiveness. As I stated above, the early years will be the worse.


No one can point to an alternative that has been tried and proven successful on a large scale.

That is why I am pushing electrified railroads, urban rail, bicycling and walkable neighborhoods. The last one has about 6,000 years of experience and the other three over a century to debug, try variants, optimize and generally mature the technology.

Best Hopes for Mature Technologies,


This is going to be a twofer...


Yes, transportation is needed. But for what purpose? Transportation don't produce anything. Transportation will not provide food, energy; well anything unless someone else is doing it. You can walk and ride on your bike all day and these things will not appear (Craig talks about being grumpy down thread and, maybe, I am too.)


Here's a link to an article/interview that points toward more crap, soon.



I also like hydroelectric power.

Most industrial processes to make something are mature and agriculture (sans GMO) is mature as well.

Wind turbines and solar PV are heading down the curve to maturity.


Transportation don't produce anything. Transportation will not provide food, energy

But it can!!

Place the rails 200m apart. Then you have a 200m gauge.

The "rails" are the top of big water pipelines. (Two of)
They are molded to be three tier so that three locos can pass over each other.

The bottom loco(200m wide) passes over the agricultural land, and is used to go back and forth tending the crops.
The Loco on top of that(the middle Loco) is the shuttle that is used to match speeds with the top Loco that never stops. It goes on endlessly in a circular track measuring many thousands of miles.

So what have you got?
1 Food. Grown in between the rails.
2 Water and comms and electrical power distribution in the rails.
3. Transport and housing because the top endlessly moving loco is 200 meters wide so it is the city.

Power comes from where ever and however you can harvest it and is distributed through the rails.

There. Solved. Next problem please.

Alan, not sure how much you know about the Atlanta Beltline Project. Maybe someone needs to send this link to Kunstler:


I looked at the Atlanta Beltline a half dozen years ago. An excellent project (improved with more bicycling emphasis since my last look).

One overlooked point on the site is that the Beltline is exactly the feeder that MARTA needs. MARTA (Atlanta subway) crosses the Beltline in 5 places (two close together). Radial MARTA subway lines vs light rail loop Beltline.

MARTA was built where it was cheap to build and has never gotten the critical mass to develop significant TOD, which creates it's own ridership. I think the Beltline would do that, as well as being valuable in it's own right.

Then add more spurs off MARTA and more light rail connectors plus some streetcars and the core of Atlanta would be much better off. Not much hope for the more distant suburbs.

Best Hopes for Building It ASAP !


How does Atlanta look with full global warming? Water ok? Temps? Vegetation?

Right now I'm looking at land near smaller towns, near college/university in Iowa/Illinois/Wisconsin. Ames/Iowa City, Rockford, Madison.


Atlanta needs a second water reservoir. No plans AFAIK.


Early discussions on utilizing a large quary west of downtown and building a large subteranian storage system to the north. They can't seem to get their act together on this though:

Had my kids late, so probably about same age. My Great Grandfather was born in 1814. Grandpa in 1876. Whew!


LEO = Law Enforcement Officer

As I stated above, the early years will be the worse.

Every faction under the sun will be pushing their own idea with no possible cohesiveness.

I wonder when Kevin Costner will re-appear as the savior, as "The Postman"?

[ i.mage.+]

In WSJ today

State tests limits of spending cuts

JACKSON, Miss.—Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour hailed the Republican wave at the polls this month as a sign that voters want politicians who can cut spending and reduce taxes.

It's just the kind of image that Mr. Barbour is trying to cultivate as he weighs a run for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

Edited for excessive quoting.

Brad, please don't post entire articles. It's a copyright as well as a bandwidth issue. Post a link and a brief excerpt instead.

Ok, will do. Sorry.

Also in today's WSJ: Some States Weigh Unthinkable Option: Ending Medicaid

States listed where the idea has been tossed around publicly: Washington, Texas, and South Carolina. Wyoming and Nevada have apparently gone farther and done detailed studies. There is what I believe to be a factual error in the piece: while health care reform will add millions to the Medicaid rolls starting in 2014, the federal government will be picking up 100% of the cost of the new people for several years.

The biggest problem facing a state that withdraws is that Medicaid pays for lots of nursing home care for the impoverished elderly and the developmentally disabled (>60% of all nursing home revenue in Wyoming is Medicaid payments). Routine health care for the poor -- inoculations, prenatal care and delivery, setting broken bones, filling cavities, appendectomies -- could probably be provided at lower cost than Medicaid. The 24/7 stuff, probably not.

It's a policy issue I hate thinking about. Grandma's had three strokes. But now that she's on a blood thinner and her BP is under control, and physical therapy has restored her mobility, she can live happily in her room at the nursing home, puttering in the flower beds on the grounds, never recognizing those nice young people who come to visit, for another 15 years. Her assets have been spent, and SS plus her pension cover only a fraction of the cost of her care.

Long sigh. The thing is, that irrespective of the details, all of that stuff - the state and local departments and projects, the employment, and yes, as the quote puts it, the "aggregate demand" - has to be supported physically in order to exist. Even pushing weightless pixels around requires some physical support.

We can quibble indefinitely about what resources will be available to provide and energize what quantity of such support, but the current NIMBY/BANANA culture of "NO, NO, NO" seems to be dead set on guaranteeing a bad, near-zero outcome. Let's see, no coal, because it might inconvenience the polar bears. OK, fair enough, the Disney-movie bears that fools gush over are so cute and cuddly. But no oil either, because it won't last forever and it's, well, so icky and oily. And no natgas, or not much, because it won't last forever either. No wind, it might inconvenience a few bats, and besides, it's flaky and unreliable. No solar, it's expensive, and besides, it's flaky and unreliable too (and anyway it won't last forever either, but let that pass.) No nuclear, because it's potentially hazardous, so some people ought not be allowed anywhere near it (often the same ones who ought to be kept away from sharp objects), and admitting any such thing is too Politically Incorrect to contemplate, even on pain of death by wintertime freezing. No electric transportation, etc., because to build such things we might have to, horror of horrors, dig mines, and the inconvenience to a few worms would be TEOTWAWKI. Nope, no nothing.

In essence the up-and-coming new Rules Of The Game seem to hold simply that no game (other than perhaps the mere survival of a handful living pointlessly as pointless beasts) is permitted to exist. On some days, maybe today will become one, I don't see any remedy short of junking our hopeless, obstructionist political system and hiring one of Don Sailorman's dictators to shove all the airy, mystical rubbish and nonsense into the dustbin of history. On the other hand, that often hasn't worked out too well either. Maybe we're condemned to go round and round forever. No one is truly good enough to play at being king, and no group outside of Lake Wobegon is smart enough to play at being a democratic polity.

I feel the same way Paul. Everything is bad. So the status quo marches on until we collapse.

NJ has sent layoff notices to both the public TV and radio network (WNJN).

A diversity of perspectives to the future path on energy and its inevitable depletion are critical to the success of future generations.

We need to keep as many voices on this to work out solutions, especially at the individual level.

These solutions need to move into local communities since the larger media will not report on the economic problems we face.

While I am not an Oilman or energy insider, I am a scientist and this site has drawn my interest due to its analytical approach to the issues. These issues are well reflected in the actual day-to-day world as I see it.

This site predicted the oil peak rather well, the price of oil at $147 per bbl, the Katrina refinery crunch, and it will predict many other exciting issues.

Maybe list under this post other major resources that can fill the void when Oildrum makes its changes.

Trying to stay informed.


Hi Oct,

re: "While I am not an Oilman or energy insider, I am a scientist..."

Any chance you could give me your feedback, suggestions, etc. on our project to engage the NAS directly?


(My contact info in user profile.) I'd be most appreciative.

Gail, you and Leanan have done yeoman work for years on TOD. There's only so much time a person has, but I actually like TOD, and particularly the Drumbeat, the way it is. There is some spurious stuff in the other posts, and sometimes the comments get into pissing contests, but since I just scan it, it's not a big deal.

I like the news summary in Drumbeat. I would not dig through so many news sources for interesting, relevant stories on my own. Actually, if I had to look at all those news sites for something useful, I would probably just get all my news from the NYT and listening to NPR while I make dinner. Drumbeat has certainly expanded my horizons for years.

Actually, the comments have often been the most interesting part of the site for me. People talk about what they do, what they tried, how that worked, what conditions they are seeing. Farmers, gardeners, folks working in renewable energy, Debbie Cook with her always insightful comments, geologists, economists, historians and the many others who bring so much experience and knowledge to the discussion.

The real world experiences of people grappling with a changing world are the best part. Endless discussion of Peak Oil is less interesting to me than finding out what is happening to real people and how they are coping. At best, I skim the erudite articles on oil production. If that were to become the main focus of TOD, I'd just drop in every couple of months. It's the Drumbeat that I check daily.

Ditto, as you reinforced and amplified what I said elsewhere. The comments on drumbeat are where it's at. The other posts are good, too, but I would come to TOD just for the drumbeat. Some big committee screening posts? Please! The more the merrier. Don't mess with success. Some people seem to think it's broke. It's not. Don't fix it.

Me, too.

Yair...same here. I an uneducated old bushman and have been following oil supply/demand (through the various industry journals) as a hobby since we had boats tied up in the Gulf (of Carpentaria) waiting for fuel in the 'seventy's.

I came late to computers and struggle with the technology but I find the discussions on these pages, informative, educational, and for the most part entertaining. "The real world experiences of people grappling with a changing world" give me a perspective on my own situation.

It is always a mystery to me how Gail, Leanan and the others can devote so much time to what in many cases must be a thankless task.

I certainly appreciate their dedication and trust that the site will continue to provide a forum for the discussion and evaluation of all manner of issues that will affect our lives.

I do not find Drupal all that friendly and considering that various posters have different interests maybe some thought could be given to a format such as vBulletin whereby various topics have a seperate thread and folks can more easily check on responses to their posts.

It was the superb, up to the minute technical coverage of the Macondo disaster that brought me to TOD, it's Drumbeat that brings me back day after day.

There are already a few sections - campfire and the regional bits - that have occasional posts then the main page here with big stuff and drumbeat.

Instead of choosing a certain direction, why not put drumbeat in its own section, one post per day (or five days a week or whatever) and the voted on 'higher quality' articles on the main page. Then different people would link to different bits and the stats would tell what was what.

As others have ditto'd this, I'll just say double ditto. or ditto plus 73,000 and 4.

Finding out other peoples thoughts on this, can't be had just anywhere, I never talk about these issues while playing pool, or drinking a beer at the pool hall. Most people could care less even though some of them know things are going on, live is hard enough, they can't be bothered with more things to think about.

My life is fairly easy, even if I might have to walk 20 miles in a day to do something. I consider that easy, as I know where I can get my next meal, or that I could if I needed too, sleep out under the stars in my hammock( I've rebuilt it to take a lot of punishment, and transport)(I even like sleeping in it in the rain). But most people I know are not like me, they can't fathom their lives being anything other than what they are now, let alone also thinking about peak anything, or climate change.

I also have been trying to amass places to go to get news, but Drumbeat is where I got all those sites from, half of them from posters.

But things change and I've not gotten any younger than I am, all of 3 years old.

Waves to all the people who read this.
BioWebScape Designs.

Gail your blog post struck a cord with me. I had my own waterloo with a powerful group when Apple shot down my proposal of allowing highly experimental variants of WebKit to be officially condoned.

Although it might not seem like it right now I'd say the oildrum is at almost exactly the same point as Apple was a few years ago. Its successful and now its time to pick a future direction. This can either be viewed as a consolidation point or a place where you can encourage new branches and directions and let "market" forces choose.

If you read this paper you will see the intrinsic problem.


Obviously I think that attempts to maintain the Cathedral approach past its natural lifetime will ensure that in the end the project is dead. Fostering a healthy bazaar is critical.

Sure its a noisy and messy place but thats the nature of bazaars you can readily isolate them if you wish from the "mainstream" content. But your dead if you eliminate them.

Back to my own area of WebKit. WebKit is a dead project already its fate is sealed.
Eventually it will be replaced buy something new. Certainly its replacement will be influenced by WebKit but it won't be WebKit. I know HTML 5 is just now starting to hit the streets but its not the start of something new but the finale.

Sorry to focus on a complex project that few probably know about but its one I'm familiar with. Your blog post about the oil drum as I said struck a chord.

As far as I know it seems practically impossible to get a group of humans to consider the r the problem of the Cathedral vs Bazaar as important much less address it.

If I try and explain it I tend to get blank stares from some very very bright people.
Your post seems to indicate your also thinking about this sort of problem.

In the end humans esp in the collective are a rather noisy and brutish lot yet somehow we manage to eventually extract real advances from our open and unfettered communications.
All cathedrals are built out of the mud and stones of the bazaar not the other way around.

Once you realize this then you know the intrinsic importance of open communication. No telling how many fantastic papers and advances in physics and math where born over beers after a conference. I suspect far more than those conceived in a sterile university office.
Heck Einstein did his greatest work surrounded by a flood of lesser idea's at the patent office. Perhaps this daily job of reviewing what was often stupidity played a big role in sharpening his own thoughts.

This suggests that his experiences at the patent office where important.


So there are times when its important to recognize the need to embrace the unknown and messy side of humanity. Few manage to get this right. The Linux kernel project and gcc have been around long enough to provide a detailed history of the struggle. Gcc which has repeatedly opted for the Cathedral has obviously suffered and will be replaced by llvm.

Again sorry to use various open source projects in my examples but for this I have to write from what I know to try and convey the concept.

I wish the Oildrum well however somehow I suspect its changes will make it less friendly to crazy lunatics like me :) Regardless lets see what happens the change itself is not so important whats important is if the new format allows the formation of a bazaar experience.

I presume what you are talking about is voting on which articles to post. This approach might be helpful, if it is used to eliminate the 5% of articles that are biased or off topic, or have some other serious deficiency.

But it can have more than one downside:

1. If it is used so that the only posts available to readers are the ones that essentially everyone agrees on, then the new system cuts the reader off from a great deal of useful information. It is hard to see very many posts (other than very narrowly focused analytical posts) that everyone agrees on. It seems to me that readers would be better served by a wider range of posts, even if some are less than perfect. (Note - I have been assured that voting will not be used in this manner--but I am sure that there is at least a little bias in this direction.)

2. The new system has a lag built into it, so it makes it harder to respond in a timely manner to news items, or even something new like the IEA's World Energy Outlook. Also, some staff members do not feel that we should be offering much in the way of quick response posts to news events. They would rather that we either ignore them, or wait until an in-depth analysis is available later. But this again limits what the readers sees, and is able to respond to.

3. The bias seems to be toward posts that give predigested answers for readers, rather than posts that give partial answers, and ask readers to add more of their own thoughts.

4. If everyone shares responsibility for reviewing posts, then I am not sure any one person gives the job adequate attention. For example, in posts with a lot of numbers, someone really needs to look the numbers over closely to see that they are correct. There is a temptation to assume that someone else has done this. It is somewhat like a number of people passing a person in distress. If there are only one or two people passing the person, someone is likely to take responsibility and do something. But if everyone is responsible, no one really is.

Also, readers may have an impression that the final answer has fully been determined--they don't need to do further thinking.

2. The new system has a lag built into it, so it makes it harder to respond in a timely manner to news items, or even something new like the IEA's World Energy Outlook.

...as in: "Your post is awaiting mediation. Thankyou for responding." ?

Say it ain't so....please!

Sounds like more work for the people running things.

It'll break 'em.

Actually, I don't think it would. It would just mean a slower, lower-traffic conversation. RealClimate moderates all comments. If they don't have time, oh well. No comments appear until they get around to approving them. They're still the go-to site for their topic.

However, that is not what we are planning. Gail was referring to the process of approving key posts, not user comments.

Actually, I don't think it would. It would just mean a slower, lower-traffic conversation. RealClimate moderates all comments.

It definitely slows down the back and forth. So comments on other comments usually end up pages downstream, which makes things harder to correlate. At least RC uses numbers, so it is easy to correlate a comment that is responding to an earlier one. Sometimes on popular topics I've put in comments, and they end up so far downthread as to have lost the trend of thought. So I guess I'm saying it would help to make it easier to track what a comment is responding to (I know we have the parent button, but I'm wary of such tech, sometimes the marking of read/versus unread comments can get mesed up etc. So I'm actually a bit reluctant to click links.

I've never had the "new" flags screwed up by clicking on "parent." If you have, you should report it to SuperG.

And if you're afraid to click on links, you can always open the link in a new tab or window.

Because we use threaded discussion here, the speed of comments doesn't really affect how far down the thread they appear. (Unlike RC, which I believe has a "flat" structure.) If people use the reply function properly, it really doesn't matter if the replies came 2 seconds apart or 2 days apart - the structure will be the same.

never had the "new" flags screwed up

One change that would really help here is if TOD reshuffled the way its time_of_post is displayed.

Instead of displaying something like: "on November 22, 2010 - 7:34pm"

it would be much more helpful if it said:

yy/mm/dd= 2010.11.22 pm 7:34

Then, if I wanted to see everything posted this afternoon, I could search for "11.22 pm" and I wouldn't have to worry about losing the "new" flag after looking at the material just once and then accidentally clicking on a hyperlink, which results in loss of the "new" flags.

Make the suggestion to SuperG.

The international standard for date and time formats is ISO 8601.

For example, "2007-04-05T14:30" uses the extended formats for date and time [YYYY]-[MM]-[DD]T[hh]:[mm],

is what I'd recommend. Unambiguous, sorts properly, and uses 24 hours.

Good suggestion SB. Many a time I have accidentally hit the refresh button instead of Next. The current formatting sometimes works.

For keyposts with a low volume - that sounds like a workable plan due to the volume.

If TOD closed tomarrow - the value in my head I've obtained will still exist. Same goes for the changes - if they end up "sucking", that doesn't change the past value.

Yes thats the heart of it. The problem is you need to foster two disparate approaches not one. The concept that only one approach is viable is itself the problem.

I'm pretty sure that websites are flexible enough to offer a more open forum on one link and a more polished approach on another. Perhaps and evolution of the drumbeat to allow lets call them interesting posts not just public news.

The mistake is in the assumption that you can only do things one way. Underlying that mistake seems to be the fact that because your in control your capable of putting blinders on and ignoring the messy side of human thinking.

Anarchy is a useful concept :)

Its hard to manage, but its hard because its powerful not because its bad.
For me at least posts in the drumbeat from readers and some comments on official posts have been far far more valuable than the posts themselves.

Some exceptions are the the series on coal mining and the satellite posts.
Not that the other posts are not useful simply that they did not result in me altering the way I think. Its the mess that are reader posts that has been responsible for forcing me to alter my own POV. Not that the official posts are not useful but with a few exceptions they have not had nearly the effect that the comments have.

Heck our primary problem with peak oil is not peak oil but inability for people to change my own experience is that the rigid ways of presenting potential information is one of the key parts to the problem. Blogs like this vs the MSM for example. Access to a different information source and different style is powerful.

Its not just a peak oil problem but also one of going back to how people communicate and come to conclusions. As you know I have and awful time communicating but perhaps it also means I'm like a blind person who can see more than people with sight.

Communication and knowledge transfer are as real as trees or stones for me. I can literally see them work and fail. As often as not its from my own failures.

I think people who are more adept at communication are blinded by their own ability.

I hope this makes sense I'm not sure how to explain it just I've got and innate sense of failure to communicate what you outlined is certain failure no better than my often garbled posts despite how it looks.

You are addressing a real problem...As a former programmer in my salad days, I do understand the two models of development. But, those models do not completely describe the problem in the Oil Drum and a number of other blogs I once considered fascinating and informative.

I like to use the metaphor, "hardening of the arteries."

There are many ways to die, i.e., not to think. Sometimes a site will decide to become "professional," newsworthy, citable by the powers that be. To do so, it has to avoid multiple third rails. Gail mentioned one of them--religion. One that has become noteworthy on the Oil Drum is its approach to global warming--do not talk about it. In short, avoid controversy. The heady mix of ideas growing every which way....disappears. Talking head news commentators rarely ever engage in real thinking. Some things cannot be discussed. After all, we want the widest possible audience.

And this is the way the Oil Drum is going. Forget about the ecological disaster of coal, let's talk about the financials of coal and whether coal can fill our energy needs. Such a narrowing of discussion is ...alas...a hardening of the arteries. Corporations love it; governments love it. Soon they will love the Oil Drum as well.

Gail...you and I have exchanged emails. You know a little about me. I wish you the best. And I will be watching your site. Keep walking the edge....pushing back what is possible to discuss. Whether we like it or not, those discussions will be addressing the next ten years of problems. Besides, it's exhilarating thinking at the edge.

Maybe, maybe not. Organizations, including web sites, have to evolve and change as the world does.

Several people have commented that they wish the site could go back to the way it was four or five years ago, but that's impossible. We were a web site dedicated to predicting when peak oil would be. Now we are generally agreed that peak oil is in the rear-view mirror. Obviously, we must change.

"The Cathedral and the Bazaar" would be a good example to look at and I would recommend reading it. Memmel is alluding to the difference between proprietary software and open source software although the approach is applicable to a wide range of activities from cola drinks to micro manufacturing. It is an area where BAU is changing and BAU is trying to fight back the tide of change. In the Cathedral the pronouncements are from the pulpit and the congregation is expected to sing the hymns of praise. OTOH the Bazaar is where contributions can come from anywhere. Applied to TOD the Cathedral approach would be to create a post that is handing down the tablets of stone and comments are more or less superfluous. In the Bazaar approach the post would set the tone and then invite comments to contribute to that post to amplify and extend it.

As a new visitor some of the rant threads have seriously smegged me off to the extent that I have felt that if this is all TOD is about then I do not want to be here. I came here to learn about what was happening with the Macondo spill then stayed to learn about peak oil and what happens next. Religious and political feuding do not interest me. Perhaps a stronger comments policy would help on the quality and bandwidth issues and I have seen Leanan trying to work on this, maybe some more moderators to help the editors.

More quality - yes. Comments - yes. Control - yes. Openness - yes.


Religious and political feuding do not interest me.

I am against outright censorship.

As far as MSM is concerned, the whole Peak Oil discussion needs to be censored.
If we censor, we become like them.

On the other hand, maybe some flame-out threads need to be voted off into their own "Snare Drum Snipes" section of the day (or week) rather than eating up thread space in the Daily DrumBeat?
As the jingle in the M&M candy commercial says: Sometimes I feel like [having/being] a nut, sometimes I don't

But "outright censorship" has always been our policy and practice here. Moreover, I would bet that if we did not exercise censorship over the comments here, you would not bother to read them.

On the Internet, the opposite of censorship isn't academic freedom of speech. It's 4chan. Heck, even 4chan censors some topics.

I presume what you are talking about is voting on which articles to post. This approach might be helpful, if it is used to eliminate the 5% of articles that are biased or off topic, or have some other serious deficiency.

Might want to look at the editors using a form of slashdot's "metamod" ( http://slashdot.org/metamod )

Heck, even the posts on drumbeats may benefit from a metamod concept :)

Hi Gail,

Thanks for writing.

To me, this:

"3. The bias seems to be toward posts that give predigested answers for readers, rather than posts that give partial answers, and ask readers to add more of their own thoughts."

seems crucial.

I'd very much like to see it continue that readers can critique, add comments, and explore new directions.

To me, it's frustrating when the author of a keypost is not engaging in the questions-and-comments process. It's takes the "fun" and learning out of it, for me - not to mention the possibility that the author might actually incorporate and consider the comment. (If I want to read by myself, I can always do this without TOD.)

It's the exchange that makes TOD special, IMVHO - esp, the exchange with authors.

Gotta say memmel, I agree totally. The structure that appears to be forming is a committee-bound, us'n'them academic journal type. Two problems with that:

1) The online world is/has moved decisively in the opposite direction. Talk about swimming upstream - the online world now expects flat and non-hierarchical. I guess certain people feel safer with the top-down approach, but even in the academic world its breaking down.

2) I've never known a similar situation (committee decisions/differing viewpoints) to end up in anything other than a pissing contest, as office politics takes over and the thing degenerates in to acrimony.

For what it's worth, I would have suggested strongly that what the oil drum needs is more categorisation and siloing of differing types of post, together with a structural level that both groups related posts together, and provides context that highlights the holes in thinking. You should be able to look at a picture and see how it all fits together. That would by default require the ability to link-out/bring-in useful articles elsewhere, cementing them into a wider post-peak context - much more akin to drumbeat than an academic journal model.

Oh, and if this place starts posting articles less than once a day, its going to die fast.

I think some of us suggested tags that would tie together different types of posts, and keep readers away from topics they felt uncomfortable with.

"...keep readers away from topics they felt uncomfortable with."

Wouldn't want to make readers uncomfortable now, like telling a bunch of Actuaries they'll need to find a different job ;-)

I feel "uncomfortable" with the whole topic of Peak Oil / Peak sanity / TEOTWAWKI

Not really the focus. I'm talking about not just tagging but actively cross connecting and putting into context posts - a jigsaw of knowledge.

And frankly anyone worried about uncomfortable, isn't going to be here. Its more a question of answering the 'so what?' issue.

Re: Nations That Debate Coal Use Export It to Feed China’s Need

This story highlights the difficulty facing the world as oil runs out and the demand for energy turns toward coal. China has rapidly turned from a coal exporter to an importer and their imports are likely to increase very rapidly. China is said to be building a new coal fired electric generating plant about every week, which will boost their demand for more imports. Not a good prospect, either for the world economy or the Earth's climate. One wonders what the "export land" model for coal will look like...

E. Swanson

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, coal production in the Former Soviet Union fell by 50%. I think the globe may face a similar collapse over the next ten years.

Just curious: has anyone every plotted # of oil industry workers vs. # of new barrels discovered/produced?

With number of oil workers declining due to attrition, I'd like to see what we csan expect in the future.

Iggy - Even if we had a solid data base it would be difficult to project IMHO. First, you would have to seperate the different areas. New drilling would be led by the exploration geologists/geophysicists. The supply of field personnel only becomes critical when there is a big upswing in out put by the explorationsists. But development geologists/reservoir engineers also generate a subset of activity. And a data base of oil company employees won't capture enough. The service companies provide the great bulk of field personnel.

But the primary control on activity will remain capex availability. And that hinges on oil/NG prices. When prices get high enough the capex shows up. But the problem I see with reaching a "happy medium" is how quickly the boom/bust cycles are coming these days. That generates more instability in oil field employment than most folks realize. Workers might make big bucks in the oil patch for a few years but when the bust comes most can't hang on for 4 or 5 years waiting for the next boom. They have to find something else. Then knowling how quickly the cycle turns over many won't abandon their new jobs even if the oil patch gets hot again.

But don't worry about us geologists: we not really very good at doing anything else. So we have to stay in the oil patch until we're dead and/or rich.

Someone asked me once what I would do if I won the lottery. After laughing at him for presuming such a thing, my response was I would keep practicing law until it was all gone.


if I won the lottery. ...I would keep practicing law until it was all gone.

I've heard that one many times for farming, but never for law.

It's the same sort of thing for most of us who run our own businesses, be it a farm, law practice, or retail store like my Dad.

Retirement is for sissies.


Hi Iggy,

You can get an estimation of those numbers from the US Economic Census that tracks number of workers in different sectors every 5 years. Oil is a boom / bust industry so there is going to be some sampling error, but it is a place to begin. Post back if you assemble any graphs!


You've done a fine job as defacto editor-in-chief, Gail and the New TOD Cabal will certainly have quite a challenge doing a better one.
Alas, change is part of life.
Good luck with your blog.


An early winter test of the UK's natural gas supplies comes up towards the end of this week and continues on into next week. As you can see below the mean temperature across the UK and much of Europe is forecast as below freezing for the entire period. Snow also seems likely across much of the UK.

If all supply routes operate as they should then things will be fine. If a few problems crop up as last year then we'll likely have a Gas Balancing Alert within a week. Fingers crossed.

Here's the latest GFS Europe projected 5-day mean temperatures for the period 28th November to 2nd December.


Shows the probability of below normal temps is very high in N Europe (look at Norway)...during the period of 11/30-12/7

The pattern of the air flow over the North Atlantic is very much like that of last winter. Of course, climatological Winter 2011 doesn't begin until 1 December. Tell that to the folks who live in the upper Great Plains. Looks like the Ski Season is going to begin early in the Sierras as well...

E. Swanson

Very very wet in N. Calif. I had a couple of fun bike rides already in tons of rain. Even thunder and lightening over the weekend!

What is going on?

What is going on?


SF Bay area does not typically get thunder and lightning, even in winter. We get soft, multi-hour rain, typically.

I know. We never get thunder and lightening, but in east bay we did over the last weekend. Kind of reminds me of the midwest.

I know. We never get thunder and lightening

We seem to get maybe one very whimpy electrical storm per year. Usually just a few flashes and one or two rumbles of thunder. One August we had an actual (although still pretty mediocre T-storm), people wondered if the world was ending. There were lots of signs from people looking for dogs and cats that freaked out and ran away!

At least in Brentwood this weekend's was just a few flashes and two audible rumbles. Pretty pathetic if you ask me.

Pretty pathetic if you ask me.

I thought this weekend's two thunder claps were pretty cool

But my dog cowered and ran to hide under the table
Didn't understand what was going on

My kids were in awe. They loved it. They are too little to have witnessed it from elsewhere in the US. So My wife and kids watched Nature for a half an hour. my kids get so excited when it rains here. We put on their boots so they can run around in the rain.

I thought "wet" was an unremarkable trademark of northern California at this time of year, at least along the coast and in the mountains. After all, isn't "wet" a meme that Oregonians, just a stone's throw further north, use to keep themselves from becoming overrun by Californians?

I think the wet in Oregon dries up once it hits a little further south in SF Bay Area. so we are not nearly as wet, excepting in the winter when it makes its way further south to us. But my bike rain gear is from Oregon and it is nice. I am glad they have the rain and they have developed the rain gear technology. Made in the USA too. LOL

Free plug for the little shop in Oregon: http://www.bicycleclothing.com/

I also bike in the rain. Thanks for the link. Mostly I use REI gear, but the one you cite looks better than REI for rain gear.

It is winter in Southern California now, too.

Night time temperatures dropping below 50F, and having to wear a jacket when walking to the bus in the morning, or in the evening. Brrr!

I wonder why we in the UK are starting winter with long range gas storage only 90% full?

Is it deliberate to save money or is it a lack of supplies available at any price?

I monitor long range gas storage daily but I have no idea what the situation is in the other 26 EU countries.

Can anybody enlighten me, please?

European storage data at http://transparency.gie.eu.com/daily_storage.php

This is the first time I have looked at it this winter and I'm a bit shocked. Total European Storage is only at 77.8%. German is at 67.8%. This time last year Germany was at 98% full. France is at 81%. This time last year it was 96%. Rune follows European storage - maybe he'll comment.

Edit: Now I'm even more confused as German Storage is changing every time I refresh the page. German storage has just changed from "confirmed" 67.8% to "estimated" 90.23%. A huge drop was recorded on the 18/19th November which now appears to have been removed.

Hmmmm .... thanks for that ... It suddenly occured to me that might be the situation - should have been obvious really considering the recent gas price rises. The only thing you can be sure of is the price you pay ... looks like ELM for gas imports may have cut in ... so potential imports are not there.


I don't know what's going on but the status has changed back again to show German storage "confirmed 67.78%". Here's the screenshot.

And now it's changed back to show this

So we have "all data confirmed" 77.78% for Europe but if we use "estimated values" then European storage is at 90.47%!!!

After an extremely abnormal fall, I'm worrying about the weather too.

We had no frost to speak of thus far this fall, and within a few days, we'll go to predicted temps 20 F below zero. It's scurry and wonder. With cattle, sheep, and a rainbow trout operation on gravity feed water, I like a few system tests each fall of freezing but not frigid weather first, just to see how it's all holding up. With several thousand feet of supply pipe at various depths, every year brings different problems. Once the ground freezes deep, I lose the fix-it window.

Snow also seems likely across much of the UK.

Well the US Global Forecast System model is really ramping up the snow now. The GFS does have a habit of predicting snowmagaddon and then backing away but this time it seems to be getting more confident with each run. Here's the "snow accumulated" output for next Tuesday

The GFS has the snow starting on Thursday across the UK and continuing right through to next week. However the very high resolution models (such as Met Office UKV, NAE) should start getting their teeth into this over the next couple of days so we'll see whether they agree. Anyway it reminds me I haven't bought an LPG cylinder for backup this winter yet. Task to do today I think.

Indeed, that looks nasty. There's a thread on Jeff Masters' Wonder Blog that started last January, with a very large number of posts. Last year, the problem was said to be a negative NAO, which was said to keep the warm flows from reaching Northern Europe, allowing the cold air masses to flow toward the south across the US. I'm seeing a similar pattern which has developed over the past few days, with a storm stuck in the North Atlantic off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. Of course, for a few days or a week, this is only "weather". It will be of great interest to see whether this pattern continues over a longer period, as in, thru another winter season...

E. Swanson

Today's case of comparing things that are different:

Why Japan Fell ... and What It Teaches Us, up top.

I don't where to begin, so I'll start with oil since that is the main purpose of The Oil Drum.

Japan has no oil of its own. That alone explains a lot of Japan's problems. Japan's economy is constantly being drained of real wealth in order to pay for imported oil. That is one reason stimulus has little effect.

The U.S. in contrast still produces about 5 million barrels per day. Plus we have a glut of natural gas which Japan does not. Add in coal, bio fuels, hydro, wind. From an energy point of view even with importing 60 percent or more of our oil needs we are in a different situation than Japan.

Japan runs a large trade surplus to help pay for it all, but that is under threat from China and other cheaper labor countries, even the United States. There are good reasons many Japanese cars are made in the United States.

Unlike Japan the American population is growing, not so much from reproduction as from immigration both legal and illegal. Only recently has Japan slightly relaxed its strict immigration policies.

Americans are self sufficient in food overall as imports of food are offset by exports of grains. Not so the Japanese.

American trade and fiscal deficits are financed by its trading partners who willingly accept paper in exchange for real goods whereas Japan gives up real goods which contain resources like oil and labor for paper.

They then save this paper at a near zero interest rate by buying Japanese debt used to finance its stimulus programs. The net result is a near zero return for the Japanese economy.

In contrast, Americans exchange paper for real goods. Take for example, a Prius. The Japanese get paper which they can invest at home at zero percent or in the U.S. at about 4 percent by buying treasuries. In Japan there is no gain. If invested in the U.S. there is nominal gain, but the devaluing dollar wipes it out. In any case the dollar is back where it came from albeit at interest.

But the Prius produces a gain every day for Americans who drive them. The gain is in oil savings. It is not seen for the most part, but it is still there.

The United States is not like Japan although there may be broad similarities. These similarities are coincidental not causal IMO.

To compare the two is not valid.

You just compared the two countries. Perhaps the problem is that we have a different understanding of the meaning of the word "compare".

Japan entered an era where their economy was depressed and never truly recovered. It is too early to tell whether or not the same thing will happen to the United States. Based upon our current politics and consequent policies, I believe that the U.S. will not recover for at least several years, if at all.

I am tempted to say that the next few years will be a test of what happens when one throws Keynesian approaches out the window. For that matter, there are those in the Republican party who believe we should throw monetary approaches out the window. But it will be difficult to say whether or not we had a true test because of underlying energy and other resource constraints. I am essentially a Keynesian but wonder whether or not it can work anymore given resource and ecological realities.

x, you are turning into a parody of yourself.

You go through this detailed exercise of comparing the US and Japan, then say "to compare the two is not valid".

Now, having compared the two, we can reasonablyconclude that perhaps the 2 cases are not the same. Maybe so, and maybe we have not so much to learn from the Japanese experience.

Or maybe, by comparing them, we find out which parts of the Japanese experience might be relevant to our experience.

But, we only know this by comparing. Yes, they're different. That's WHY you compare them! You can't even know that two things are different until you compare them.

The whole world is one linked economy. Japan should have collapsed and gone back to the solar-powered technology of the Edo era starting back in 1990 when the bubble burst. Or maybe you could set that date back even farther to the 1980s when the bubble was born as the end of cheap energy put a stop to the growth of the cement-based (i.e. run the machines, bulldozers, etc. to make money) economy. Why did Japan not collapse? Simply because it was already linked to the world economy. So the government stepped in to finance more bulldozer-based activity. It is much easier to sit in a bulldozer all day than to be a peasant.

Japan has just been coasting along on the coattails of the US growth engine. Until 2008. China, India...everyone has had to join in to help in the industrial economy, otherwise probably there would not have been enough economic activity to generate the oil production, as oil becomes ever more difficlt to extract.

The collapse process has only just begun, I suppose, in that the whole global linked system is starting to feel a sense of scarcity....

In Japan as well as everywhere else, there are all kinds of people. Those who love cars and those who do not. Collapse will always be harder for those who don`t understand the basic underlying energy situation no matter where they live.

It would seem like Japan's energy costs are more than most other nations, given its much greater share of oil and LNG in its energy mix. It seems like this by itself would have very much of a depressing effect on the economy.

Well, it looks like Al Gore has changed his mind on corn ethanol policy:

At the present time Japan is in a better position than the U.S., but I admit only marginally so.

Death rates are inching up while birth rates remain low, which should ensure population stabilization and/or decline, which should lead to increasing relative wealth for the remaining people.

They have made the right decision not to dilute their successful culture, or further crowd their islands, with immigration.

Moreover, they do design and manufacture quality goods and will always have some market, even if that means further integration with Asia.

As far as energy, they may be pushed into nuclear and alternatives faster than anybody else, which should help them over the long run, and they are quick learners.

Being "self sufficient" in food or energy is a meaningless concept. Except for the deserts, tundras, and high mountains, it is impossible not to be self sufficient in food. And even in those regions humans find creative ways to grow food. As far as energy, well, fossil fuel net exports may decline, but almost every region on the planet has some sort of energy to exploit. It's a question of technical know-how and political priorities.

Besides, self sufficiency is a form of atavism. Even on the other end of collapse humans will continue trading with one another.

I have a feeling Japan will decline and suffer tremendously in the coming years, but that will provide the incentive they need to remake their society.

The U.S. does have all the advantages you state, but for some reason we seem intent on slowly transforming ourselves into a third world country.

That was actually what I found most interesting about the article: the demographic issues. A declining population is a good thing from a Malthusian view, but is almost always seen as a serious social problem. From the Mayans who fed women and let men starve in order to keep their birth rates up to the Japanese politician who wanted to cut off social security for women who didn't have at least one child, an increasing population is usually seen as a solution, not a problem. The Romans and Maya wanted more soldiers, farmers, laborers. Modern economies need ever more consumers at the bottom of the pyramid scheme. (All those talking heads lamenting the fact that old people don't consume as much as young people - as if underconsumption is the problem.)

Some societies want their populations to grow more slowly. A very few want zero population. But almost none want a shrinking population.

What's interesting to me is that the world is so full, that there are almost no populations which are truly at demographic risk, except for genocide such as the Tutsis.

But even then, if it doesn't destroy a population, it merely hardens it. Witness Israel and Palestine. Nobody budges.

The Japanese people are not going to disappear off the face of the Earth just because they don't breed like rabbits.

It's impossible for a people to go away by demographic change alone. It all depends on policy. Sure, if your policy is to flood your country with immigrants, then you will commit ethnic suicide.

But then again with the die off looming all bets are off.

A month ago there was an item about Hungarians going extinct.


LOL! Not to worry, they're already quietly colonizing most of the world, just look at how many live in Cleveland...

Seriously though, they have had a slightly shrinking population over the last quarter century or so. I've even toyed with the idea of maybe retiring there since I'm entitled to Hungarian citizenship and I already speak the language.

If it doesn't destroy a population, it merely hardens it. Witness Israel

Are you sanely serious?
The peace-loving nazi people did a pretty good job of almost exterminating the jewish people and now the peace-loving saudi islamic people want to finish off the job: see this NYTimes piece on islamic schools.

Maybe the "That which doesn't kill you" line is quaint for Conan The Barbarian, but in the real world, extinction has and does come to many a people. Seen many Mohicans around lately?

Seen many Mohicans around lately?


In Shawano County, Wisconsin



One huge and essentially unprecedented problem with ZPG was alluded to in another context up above:

Grandma's had three strokes. But now that she's on a blood thinner and her BP is under control, and physical therapy has restored her mobility, she can live happily in her room at the nursing home, puttering in the flower beds on the grounds, never recognizing those nice young people who come to visit, for another 15 years...

As this illustrates, the real elephant in the room is not underconsumption at all, it's instead a rather horrid form of overconsumption. In the days of the Romans and Maya, or even in the horse-and-buggy days well into the 19th century this issue simply did not exist except on the most minuscule scale and almost exclusively among royalty and the rich merchant class. Infectious disease, periodic famines, heat waves, or cold waves almost always "took care of it" preemptively.

At least one long-time TOD poster has remarked recently on being glad to have had enough children to provide at least some assurance of some kind of care in old age. With the ability of modern medicine to allow all sorts of folks to survive indefinitely who wouldn't lasted a few weeks or months even 50 years ago - and not only old folks long past knowing whether it's morning or night - we seem to be heading for a place where everyone is either a vegetable electronically strapped to a bed, or else a tender of such vegetables, with essentially no time or resources for any other activity whatever. And with medical "care" expenses ballooning 10% or more a year (with the health-care-reform promise of getting them under control apparently a flat-out lie, and ADA and other regulations constantly demanding more, more, more), and incomes level or dwindling, we'll get there well within the lifetimes of many TOD readers and posters. (Or, more accurately, people must eat, so somebody still has to have time to grow and transport food, so something must break very badly even sooner, before we get there.)

Since neither politicians, nor ethicists, nor rabbis, nor priests, nor anyone else has the slightest desire to acknowledge this in any way shape or form, much less the slightest inclination to consider seriously how much is enough, much less even the ability to consider that any concept of "enough" might exist without lapsing instantly into Godwin's Law, there is only one conceivable "out". That "out" is none other than population growth (and the economic growth that has gone with it for all of living memory and then some), and, quite obviously, the faster the better. Now throw in even modest problems - never mind the doomer stuff - with producing the energy to support such an economy, and the population growth itself becomes a negative, and the mess is made even more unholy.

It follows that for the time being, one would have to be downright crazy to "want a shrinking population" - which may be why no one really does, and not just in the USA. With respect to these matters, there seems to be not one adult anywhere on the planet.

Perhaps its time to look at the way the Indians managed aged health care. Each year, in the fall, when they were preparing to move to their winter grounds, those who were to old/frail/injured to make the trip were given a good supply of food and made comfortable in a teepee with a view of the river - (hopefully with a nice bottle of Pinot Noir!)

They simply had to do a triage, or else the young and healthy would expend too many resources on the old and infirm. And the elderly, for their part, would not dream of being an undue burden such as to endanger the future of their children. We may think they did not care enough, but when aged care costs can bankrupt a family, which side of the happy medium is our society on today?

The "Queen Mum" (Elizabeth's II mother) was the firat English (and then British) royal( to ever reach age 100. And only one other Burke's Peerage listing ever reached 100 (1882 to 1982) (and one Irish nobility from 1616 (?) to 1716).

So wealth and status did not buy that many more years in past centuries.


(with the health-care-reform promise of getting them under control apparently a flat-out lie

The CBO projects it will cut the growth rate of medicare substantially -I believe by 2/3rds. Without the grandstanding about "death panels" we would have gotten more savings. But, I'm sure our for profit medical industry will figure out how to overcome any roadblocks to further exponential expansion, so overall we have a huge problem, which with our current political system is unsolvable.

In the past, declining populations were invariably connected to economic and social and political decline. For example, the Roman Empire took it's first big decline when Italy's population was reduced by perhaps half, during the plagues of 166 A.D. and succeeding years. Rome was unable to recover from this abrupt decline in population, which was accompanied by falling birth rates. After the great plagues, age-adjusted death rates seem to have been (very roughly) constant, but birth rates among Romans fell greatly from the levels of Republican Rome.

In contrast, the Goths had highly developed agriculture and high birth rates--hence increasing populations of Goths and Vandals. Indeed, Roman soldiers were seldom defeated on the battlefield, even as late as the fourth century. But Rome lost out to the German tribes because of low Roman birthrates. The Romans practiced contraception, a lot of oral sex, homosexuality, fairly widespread abortion, and female infanticide.

In earlier history, many Greek city-states (including Athens) declined as their death rates remained roughly the same but their birth rates declined. Female infanticide was very common among ancient Greek city states, and some boy babies were also left to die. Both Plato and Aristotle disapproved of infanticide--except under certain extreme conditions. See, for example, the LAWS of Plato (where he approved of outlawing open homosexuality) and also the POLITICS and ETHICS of Aristotle. Both Plato and Aristotle were primarily concerned with how to keep a city-state's population from declining, though both also clearly understood the dangers of overpopulation. To the best of my knowledge, Plato and Aristotle were the only philosophers to put population policy on the front burner--until Thomas Robert Malthus, some 2,000 years later.

In the past, declining populations were invariably connected to economic and social and political decline. For example, the Roman Empire took it's first big decline when Italy's population was reduced by perhaps half, during the plagues of 166 A.D. and succeeding years. Rome was unable to recover from this abrupt decline in population, which was accompanied by falling birth rates. After the great plagues, age-adjusted death rates seem to have been (very roughly) constant, but birth rates among Romans fell greatly from the levels of Republican Rome.

This is sooo true! And this - nothing else - was the main factor of the fall of the Roman Empire (low fertility rates and dysgenetic trends in Italy compared to Germany). It was not the only factor but by shure the most undervalued! But it wasn't discussed until very recently.

Demography drives history!

The modern "declining" states (Japan, Russia, Germany, Italy, Eastern Europe, Japan, soon nearly all South-East Asia incl. Korea, China, Vietnam, Thailand) are without comparison in the whole human history. The main probplem is not the absolute number (but also this number is importend to sustain a given technological level) but the very very unnatural age distribution (many old people 60+, very few young). We don't have a glue what this + dysgenetics + peak ressources + FIAT-money system / dept will bring us. Soon death rates will rise...

I have a feeling Japan will decline and suffer tremendously in the coming years

I actually think they might do pretty well. The most important thing is going to be a population and government that can face the facts and implement a strategy to
get through the hard times as a people. In the US, we are more likely to end up fighting each other over who is to blame. Given the physical and human resource base it should be a slam dunk for the US to comethrough PO is great shape, but given our
destructive partisanship, and a well entrenched oligarchic disinformation machine I think we are toast.

Chinese coal mining is even more dangerous than thought.

Miners gunned down before mine blast in SW China

Some of the nine miners previously thought to have died in a shed explosion last week in southwest China's Yunnan Province, were killed by gun shots, local police said Monday.

A shed of Xiaosongdi Coal Mine exploded after explosives in it were detonated at 9 a.m. last Thursday when Zheng Chunyun, boss of nearby Yuejing Coal Mine, arrived with more than 80 people armed with knives and steel bars.

Nine people were killed and 48 others injured in the incident, most of them were with Zheng.

...Both Wang and Zheng's companies were mining the same deposit of coal and a dispute had arisen over their share of it. Both companies have an annual production capacity of 90,000 tonnes, according to previous investigations.

While I hope that any changes to TOD will be for the better, I must admit that I am happy with TOD as it is, especially with the wide ranging views presented by both posters and commenters. Drumbeat is my favorite part of TOD and is a regular feature of my reading material each day as I routinely go to TOD for information and commentary every day.

Ultimately, I think TOD succeeds or fails largely as a function of its readership. The posters plant the seed and the readers and commenters provide most of the mind expanding ideas about peak oil, related subjects, and the future.

To the extent that so called lower quality posts have gotten through the net, this is not really a problem as the commenters make it clear very quickly what posts can stand up to intellectual rigor and which can't.

It's all good and I don't see the need for any significant changes. For what it's worth.

The people doing this effort are not paid for that effort and we are here by their grace.

If they wanna change it, they can. If they are not careful they will create more work for themselves and that won't help their mental attitude towards the space.

If less people show up, well that will lower the bandwidth bills.

Behind a paywall at Nature:

Questioning economic growth

Our global economy must operate within planetary limits to promote stability, resilience and wellbeing, not rising GDP, argues Peter Victor.

The idea that governments of developed countries should no longer pursue economic growth as a primary policy objective is widely regarded as heresy. Yet a growing number of scholars, policy-makers and citizens are coming round to the idea that the planet cannot sustain continued global economic growth.

EB has some brief excerpts.

I constructed a fairly conventional model of the Canadian economy and found circumstances under which employment can be increased, poverty and greenhouse-gas emissions reduced, and government debt effectively managed without economic growth. A key ingredient is a shorter work year, which would help to spread employment among more of the labour force. ...

What do you suppose is the chance that the PTB will "help to spread employment among more of the labour force. ..."? That would, perforce, demand higher labor costs. We have trained our corporations that decreasing workers, not increasing them, is rewarded by higher stock prices.

Here, in America, we decry the "European Model" of shorter work weeks and longer vacations. Those damned workers are just greedy... they have an entitlement mentality, don't you know. And lazy. Don't they know that factories are built to enrich their owners?

And, as for reducing emissions, that would take money. Money better off transferred to the owners.


Guess I'm just feeling crotchety today, Leanan. And cynical. Sorry.


I think there would have to be a lot of economic desperation, and a collapse of globalization.

They almost did it during the Great Depression - passed a 30 hour work week.

A few glitches. One, les trois-cinq didn't actually work out all that well for the French; one rub is that it's much more economical for a low-wage worker to work overtime at one job rather than pay extra for transportation to a second job. Two, it can't be done under the conditions of the USA, where health care reform just piled on a gargantuan new head tax, and welfare, Social Security, and other social-payment schedules had already amounted almost to another huge head tax. Unless that's reformed and put on more of a percentage basis and with less harsh benefit-withdrawal rates - politically impossible and possibly dicey with respect to creating yet other perverse incentives - it'll remain senseless to hire three people rather than overwork two. Three, it's looking more and more like the "European model" is in fully as much trouble as any other; it's possible that there really is no free lunch.

You are correct: A thirty or thirty-five hour work week would not help the U.S. now or in the future.

During the Great Depression, many (perhaps most--hard to get good data) of the employed actually worked much longer hours than during the nineteen twenties. Some of these extra hours were desired to make up for sharp cuts in hourly pay (i.e. wages that fell faster than prices during the early thirties). And look at it from the employers point of view: Suppose he has five employees before the Depression. Then it makes sense to fire the two least productive ones and work the remaining three (superior) workers for seventy hours a week--or whatever the employer can get away with.

I know my father worked at least 70 hours a week during most of the Great Depression, and that was by no means unusual. Then he continued to work 70-80 hours a week during World War II, which was also common.

Link up top: Peak Energy, Climate Change, and the Collapse of Global Civilization

• The global oil production rate will likely decline by 4 – 10.5% or more per year.

• Substantial shortfalls in the global oil supply will likely occur sometime between 2010 – 2015.

4 to 10.5 percent per year? That's steep!

Logically, OPEC reserves should be declining in recent years, since their oil is extracted while virtually no new fields are discovered or added.

Well professor Morrigan, you are not the first one to make that observation, however there are a lot of people who simply don't understand that simple fact. Apparently there are people who still cannot distinguish between reality and magic.

Ron P.

Very grim. Also,

Furthermore, the peak global production of coal, natural gas, and uranium resources may occur by 2020 – 2030, if not sooner.

• Global peak coal production will likely occur between 2011 – 2025.

• Global natural gas production will likely peak sometime between 2019 – 2030.

• Global peak uranium will likely occur by 2015 to sometime in the 2020's

The global economy is reorganizing to keep China supplied with energy. China doubled its energy consumption in less than a decade, passed the U.S. last year. With the recession, U.S. energy consumption hit an all time peak in 2007. Whether absolute energy consumption in the U.S. can ever return to 2007 levels and grow beyond that in the face of increasing Chinese energy demand, I don't know, but per capita energy consumption in the U.S. peaked in 1979. When absolute energy demand dropped from its 2007 highs, per capita energy consumption dropped to 1968 levels. The EIA believes efficiency gains will decrease per capita energy consumption even more. I'm sure that's true, but nothing has "helped" per capita energy consumption as much as shutting down America's manufacturing capacity over the last two decades and putting millions of people out of work over the last two years. And continued U.S. population growth, as well as environmental and political resistance to building more coal-fired plants makes the per capita energy picture look even more problematic.

It won't be long before the per capita energy consumption downturn looks even more like individual austerity and hardship than in any case it already does now.

Per capita energy consumption in the U.S. peaks and slowly declines. That's the story of the last 30 years. Per capita energy peaked, and the U.S. share of global economic product peaked.

Absolute energy consumption peaks at a national level and begins to slowly decline. Per capita energy consumption plummets. That's the story of now. The decline and fall of the United States as viewed through the lens of energy access, energy intensity and per capita consumption.

but per capita energy consumption in the U.S. peaked in 1979. When absolute energy demand dropped from its 2007 highs, per capita energy consumption dropped to 1968 levels. The EIA believes efficiency gains will decrease per capita energy consumption even more. I'm sure that's true, but nothing has "helped" per capita energy consumption as much as shutting down America's manufacturing capacity over the last two decades and putting millions of people out of work over the last two years

What shutdown of manufacturing?

From the National Association of Manufacturers:

Facts About Manufacturing
Did You Know...

•The United States is the world’s largest manufacturing economy, producing 21 percent of global manufactured products. Japan is second at 13 percent and China is third at 12 percent.
•U.S. manufacturing produces $1.6 trillion of value each year, or 11 percent of U.S. GDP.
•Manufacturing supports an estimated 18.6 million jobs in the U.S.—about one in six private sector jobs. Nearly 12 million Americans (or 9 percent of the workforce) are employed directly in manufacturing.
•In 2009, the average U.S. manufacturing worker earned $72,258 annually, including pay and benefits. The average non-manufacturing worker earned $58,411 annually.
•U.S. manufacturers are the most productive workers in the world—twice as productive as workers in the next 10 leading manufacturing economies.
•U.S. manufacturers perform half of all R&D in the nation, driving more innovation than any other sector.

• Taken alone, U.S. Manufacturing would be the 8th largest economy in the world.


Some people really, really want to believe that using less oil will bring down the wrath of god. Oil, imbued with mythological powers.

The suffering of the US economy, and others, is not because more and more GDP can not be produced from less and less materials, including fossil fuels.

It suffers from bad economic policy, which with the empowerment of the 'destroy-America-before-letting-one-of-them-succeed' Republicans will make worse. Just as the same crowd made things worse under their last empathy and intellectually challenged leader.

Peak oilers who propogate the less oil leads to a 'step-down' economy line are greasing the skids for the political nasties. It's not our anti-full employment policies, they will say, it's the work of an avenging God who only supplied so much oil.

From George Ure today:

most people don't realize that roughly 8.8-million people are in 'financial services' - almost as many of durable goods workers.

The parasite class are almost as large as the people who actually make things.

CNBC is freaking out over the big insider trading investigation today. Goldman Sachs is being hammered, since they seem to be heavily involved.

One explanation: Obama wants to lure small investors back into the market by making the playing field level again.

Considering that 70% of stocks are only held for less than 11 seconds - the wall street 'game' is not only rigged by the parasite class, but its out to make sure that profit of the parasites come from the pocket of the small investor.

The Big O man can make any statements he wants. I doubt the rational will believe.

+1. Declines in US manufacturing employment are not correlated to output; they are the result of increasing productivity writ large. It is the same type of cycle as the one that reduced the number of people living on farms generations ago.

The US still uses far more energy per GDP unit output than many competing nations. Increasing energy costs are transformational for a while anyway. Of course transformation requires a lot of economic input, so it may be the Red Queen scenario rather than growth. The end game still looks rather grim though - no matter how fast the Red Queen runs she can't outrun thermodynamics.

Hi Ron,

Thanks for posting about this - (I was asking late yesterday and see this article up today).

My skimming didn't show any credentials listed for the author, so don't know if he/she is a professor, or what. (Not that it necessarily matters, just saying it's not there.)

Did you read the entire piece? What did you think of it?

Any comments on the use of references and do you think the report does a good job of summarizing them? Anything important missing? (etc.)

When you comment above on the "4- 10.5%" percentage - do you agree with it? Do you think it accurately represents sources you'd agree with?

I just wonder if you or anyone looked at it in detail and if so, what you think.

Also, Ron, I wonder if you have a suggestion for what might be the most important topic of a "next" report. (I realize you may think no paper is best.)

Aniya, I know absolutely nothing about the author of the piece. Yes I did read the article but not the entire PDF file it referred to. I did read part of that however but I am unable to bring it up this morning.
I keep getting "Not Found".

I thought the piece very good but I do not know where the author got the 4-10.5%. I think that is a little steep. My guess that the decline rate during the first four or five years or so will be in the range of 1-2%. But of course everything is just a guess.

I really have no idea what kind of "next report" you are talking about? Do you do reports? I just kinda play everything by ear. I try to read all reports that I think important but obviously I cannot read them all.

Ron P.

Mike and Karen’s Excellent Adventure

We are retiring so we can travel. That’s the official story we generally tell people if we don’t feel like explaining the whole collapse of civilization spiel.

Our close friends and those sympathetic to what we’re trying to accomplish get the real story. We know this might be considered to be the easy way out by some but we honestly don’t care at this point.

We are leaving our high school teaching careers at the end of the school year to become WWOOFers. World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms is the route that best suits our current needs...

Some good discussion on options for exiting industrialia.

I've heard good things about WWOOF. Though usually it's young people, not retirees.

Someone...was it Doug?...said he was considering setting up a program where people could volunteer on his farm in exchange for a room. The work would be less than full time, so volunteers would have time for other things - starting their own businesses, working a part-time job, etc. In anticipation of the Greater Depression.

"I've heard good things about WWOOF."

I've SEEN how it works. Some youngs kids from Manhattan go north to work on an 'organic' farm. They are given a platform on which to pitch their tent. They pick kale all day long and "learn about organic farming." They're awfully cute and smell like moist dogs at the end of an August day.

WWOOF is basically a traveling slave labor camp, but because 'organic' is the new woodstock, it's cool and trendy, not exploitative, and the kids do it willingly.

When the first batch decamps to the next farm, the next batch arrives, only to have to be retrained all over again.

"The work would be less than full time, so volunteers would have time for other things"

That's really cute. I thought it was that part-time help was sooo much easier to deal with than full-time employees.

They're not really employees. As I understand it, no payment is involved.

So what's in it for the volunteers? Sometimes, like the people in the article, they want to learn farming. Often, it's a way to make a vacation cheaper. France seems to be an especially popular destination.

Not to France, please Americans, go somewhere else. You can go to England, same language pick strawberries and stuff. Nicer, tea with milk drinking people -Of course they will fire you if you eat one strawberry, but they will do it with better manners.
I mean, we poor Spanish we need to pick grapes in France now. Well, not me; but my unemployed brother in law, el Paco, tried to get in the list to pick grapes in France, he was told there's a preference for workers that belong to the socialist UGT union.
Serves him right for having been anti-union all his life.
His parents used to go to pick grapes in France fifty years ago, there were trainloads of workers going North. Very bad living conditions at the time in France, ahem, like the African workers now in Spain.
The clock is turning back.

At least folks are doing something semi-productive.

Would you rather they play video games and grow obese on McDonalds?

At least food production from manual labor is a net positive.

I am not going to get into an argument on this, but surely you see a positive to food production, don't you?

I am not going to get into an argument on this, but surely you see a positive to food production, don't you?

You mean like the fact that I WORKED AT THAT FARM? Surely you see that means I think there's something "positive" about food production, don't you?

And thank you for the textbook example of a "false choice": Either work for nothing for someone else's faddish farm, or

"play video games and grow obese on McDonalds"

How about work for a reasonable wage in food production?

The pretzels of rationalization people work themselves into to justify a scam like organic farming....


You had a bad experience, therefore organic farming is a scam.

I actually loved working at that farm and still keep in contact with the folks there. It's like my experience with the Catholic church: loved going to school there, loved being an altar boy; but later, HATED the belief system.

For organics, it was my RESEARCH that really made the difference:





There's tons more, if you look.

Yair...mikeB you are applying the same illogicality to organics that the peak oil deniers use...maybe a little more balance huh?

Where do you see peak oilers advocating anything like this?:

[For treatment of] MASTITIS

-garlic internally 1 or 2 whole bulbs twice per day

-Dilute garlic tincture in vulva

-2 oz. raw apple cider vinegar daily internally

-tea of 1oz/qt water ginger, goldenseal, Echinacea, clove
grated garlic, juniper berries, celery seed, dandelion root,
and leaves, thyme, pine needles cayenne pepper,
cinnamon, allspice and clove, bring to boil then steep 3-4


-aloe vera internally

-epsom salt baths

-emollients (calendula, mint)

-Homeopathic remedies (Bryonia, Phytolacca, Hepar
sulph, Aconite, Urtica urens, mastitis nosode)


And so it goes. I've read all the certification manuals, the standards, the "fact sheets." The organics movement is certifiably pseudo-scientific--and bat-sh*t crazy.

Yair...mikeB closed minds are a problem. Some of the methods used and advocated by organic and biodynamic practitioners can seem strange to us folks...but have you ever looked over the fence or flown over a biodynamic/organic farm in the middle of a drought?

Oh, "yair," this is rich... thank you.

Plant by the stars. Bury cows' horns stuffed full of manure into a compost pile to channel cosmic rays. Let's see what the founder of biodynamics, St. Rudolph Steiner, believes:

According to Steiner, people existed on Earth since the creation of the planet. Humans, he taught, began as spirit forms and progressed through various stages to reach today's form. Humanity, Steiner said, is currently living in the Post-Atlantis Period, which began with the gradual sinking of Atlantis in 7227 BC ... The Post-Atlantis Period is divided into seven epochs, the current one being the European-American Epoch, which will last until the year 3573. After that, humans will regain the clairvoyant powers they allegedly possessed prior to the time of the ancient Greeks ... ***

Yair, thanks for the yucks.

Yair...mikeB. What do you suggest as an alternative to your despised "organic" methods of food production when manufactured fertalizer and sprays...not to mention fuel are very spendy or in limited supply?

I too am a little taken a back by some of the "alternative" ideas but I believe there are things going on in this old world that we will never understand.

For instance...I run a golf course with a very old irrigation system and more times than not I can find the position of underground pipes with a couple of pieces of number eight wire...how does that work then, there is no logical explanation and I didn't know I could do it untill an old farmer bloke showed me in 1975.

Ever since then I have kept an open mind and have accepted the possibility of the improbable.

I don't normaly pick a blue but your ignorant blanket statements tend to get up my nose.

MikeB claims to be involved year to year - so the experience keeps happening.

Jumping in here if I may, taking the middle ground.

Oct said: "At least folks are doing something semi-productive."

The fact that they are trying to do something different, perhaps incrementally changing their world view, is significant (at least for them). Hopefully they'll learn how damned hard it is to grow any significant part of one's own food. I suppose some may even take it to the next level.

That said, if jetting around the world to experience snippets of various forms of agriculture is your idea of contributing to a better world, I hope it makes you feel good, 'cause it doesn't make much sense to me from a practical standpoint. My brother takes a mission trip to Costa Rica 1 week each year to do construction/repair on schools and homes. It seems grossly inefficient to drive/fly/drive a dozen folks from the US to Costa Rica to saw some boards and drive some nails, though I'm sure it makes these folks feel good about themselves.

If you want to return to the land and grow things, decide where you want to be and find a CSA project, or get a piece of land and get to work. Growing food isn't a week-at-a-time excursion, not a vacation.

I'm not sure what these folks hope to accomplish, but I hope they find what they're looking for soon.

These particular people seem to be looking for a new way of life. I doubt they plan to be WWOOFers forever.

Perhaps "deciding where they want to be" is what they're trying to do. Buying a farm in, say, Costa Rica, then finding out you hated it there would be a pain.

There's plenty of affordable/arable land in the US these days.

IMO, it sure beats going to Jamaica for a week and smoking ganja on the beach, or a weekend course on investing in tar sands.

These particular people seem to be looking for a new way of life. I doubt they plan to be WWOOFers forever.

It seems better than paying money to work at a dude ranch for your vacation. Or if circumstances had allowed when I was younger, mountaineering expeditions. Vacation,
as hard work doing something diferent isn't so uncommon. I would think the biggest thing WOOFers get is contacts with like minded people who share a common experience.

I was not giving a false choice as much as a caricature of the consumer/producer dichotomy.

On one hand, you have kid trying to do organic, manual labor-style farming.
On the other hand, you have a kid dedicated to video games, Facebook, and all things a glut of oil energy have given today's children, including McDonalds and so forth. (Yes, I was exaggerating.)

I am not going to fight over this as a matter of argument style.

I am saying that working a farm leads perhaps to a more productive net positive in this world. These kids learn about growing food and perhaps eating things that are far healthier than they are exposed to elsewhere.

Exercise and manual labor are missing in today's fast-paced computer terminal world.

I'll take video games and McDonald's, thank you very much!

JK - but, if the descendants of Yankees - who helped create the modern world and got rich in the process - want to become serfs on a farm, more power to them.

I guess the future of this country may belong to the Mexicans and Asians after all. They know all too well what poverty is.

Yes, because we all know there is nothing in between being a fat diabetic heart-diseased slob eating McDonalds and plugged into a video game 24/7, and being an impoverished serf.

This is highschool rhetoric. Between this kind of nonsense and the mind-numbing crap spewed by x maybe the Drum Beat has met its Waterloo.

Yes, because we all know there is nothing in between being a fat diabetic heart-diseased slob eating McDonalds and plugged into a video game 24/7, and being an impoverished serf.

That wasn't Oilman Sachs' implication, it was the implication of the post he was responding to:

Would you rather they play video games and grow obese on McDonalds?

At least food production from manual labor is a net positive.

I took OS's comment to be tongue-in-cheek.

Well yes I'm only making a shallow cultural observation.

I do find it a litte bit sad that there's a certain breed of people in America who, peak oil and climate change or not, think that if they just grow some tomatoes here or raise some chickens there, we'll solve our problems.

We are the country that pioneered the light bulb, flight, and personal computer, to just name a few. And now, we're back to picking lettuce?

Come on OS,

It's not a binary choice between "we invent atom bombs" or "we pick lettuce". It's this sort of rhetorical obfuscation and totalization on your part that I'm objecting to.

Yes, sure there are deluded people on all sides, from techno-cornucopians to groovy chicken-raisers. My point is that these are not the only positions.

In any case, people are not interested in "solving" "our" problems. They're interested in solving _their_ problems. We are not a "we" any more. We do not have a society any more. It's every man for himself, as though that could ever be...

I agree there with you, not that I did not agree elsewhere with you as well. But I did not want to get in that topical discussion.

We have become a group of us's and them's, little ones really, as in little number of people, smaller than towns. Scattered all over the place, I can see them as little groups, sometimes of former friends who have gone back to joining up on Facebook, but not really being part of the old gang, expect to check in now and again.

Someone a few years ago, wanted me on his team, then later he mentioned that he needed me in his tribe, then I started seeing it online some. Why have we gone backwards? Tribes seem to be the only way people see themselves these days.

There isn't the Good Ole USA anymore, but a bunch of like minded tribes, all trying to get their share of a big pie, only to find out the pie is shrinking.

Sighs, I barely keep the family together, and people want me to join their tribes, thanks, but no thanks. I'll stand over here looking out at the world in my garden, wondering if I can grow garlic this year as another fall planted crop.

BioWebScape Designs for a better fed and housed world for everyone.

I agree that chickens in the backyard with a couple of tomato plants will not solve the energy crisis.

Some people want to grow and pick lettuce. Why not? With 12% unemployment, I think it is better than the alternative, which these days are video games, Facebook and reality TV.

I am not a farmer but I see it as a positive.

If you believe in the economy picking back up then these lettuce jobs can be converted to high tech jobs i am sure -- i.e., when the economy picks back up.

Well managed organic farming can be very productive; if also close to market it is a step forward to sustainability. Still, with 360 Million in the US, not everyone is going to be an organic farmer. We need people who know a few other trades as well. If we are going to see a 'less energetic' society, there will be much work in altering our infrastructures and converting to the new paradigm.

Or course, prediction is fraught with danger. You prepare for X and end up with Y. As I see it, TOD should be engaged in alternative means to make the future not only sustainable but as pleasant as possible. I man not make it there, but my kids and grandkids will.


Yair...most folks gotta eat...or dont you find that necessary OS?... although a little touch of starvation might clarify your thoughts.

What makes Americans so special that you feel it is beneath their dignity to pick bloody lettuce?

The kids that are WOOFING at least are learning to work with their hands. Most folks (probably including you OS) would'nt know HOW to pick lettuce at a rate that could make me a profit.

End of rant.

Hey, Scrub;

Anything new with your Circular Ag Rig? I liked hearing about that. (Was you, wasn't it?)


(Hey, what's 'Yair' mean? Something like 'Yeah'?)

Yair...Hi jokuhl. Circleworker is still going fine. Most folks who see it are enthusiastic about the concept but(as I suspected}it seems that it is too radical and expensive to gain acceptance.

To this end we are developing a smaller modular unit that can be operated by human power. Will post details and a link here when it is up and running.

As far as the "yair" thing...waall, it's an old bush way of talking. If you sort of drawl out "Yair" at the start of a sentence it gives a few moments to get your head around what you realy want to say...if you get my meaning.

Same thing as "but". A lot of us old bushies used to add "but" as a qualifier at the end of sentences...you don't hear it so much these days but.

Light Bulb
Invented by the British, pioneered by the British, commercialised by the British, copied by the Americans

Debatable, powered flight generally accepted as the Wright Brothers in America, non-powered flight developed in Europe. Stalled by patents in America. Developed and advanced in Europe.

Personal Computer
I'll give you that one but where are they being manufactured nowadays? China and Taiwan. If those countries decided that there were too many problems with patents and software monopolies and decided to boycott America you would be in serious difficulties.


Personal Computer
I'll give you that one

You will?
You mean to say that Ada Lovelace was an American?

I would not have classed the computer that the Countess programmed to be a personal computer :) I tried to take the personal computer to be, more or less, its present format of a a general purpose machine for personal use rather than an all encompassing definition that would have included mechanical supercomputers.


When it comes to the semiconductor integrated circuit (IC), American Robert Noyce did invent it.

When it comes to the IC-based "microprocessor", Italian-born Federico Faggin and others on the Intel team did invent it.

The next round of innovations probably will come from China.
It seems that inventiveness always moves West.

Thanks for the link, SA.

As the years passed and self discovery continued we began to realize that most of us were practicing some form of insanity.

One would think that this realization would be liberating, but at this point one must decide whether to swim against the tide, just go with it, or to get out all together. Joseph Campbell would say "follow your bliss". I'm not so sure these days. Anyway, good on these folks!

An article I wrote for actuaries called The Expected Impact of Oil Limitations on the Property-Casualty Insurance Industry has now been published.

What I thought was humorous was that I originally submitted it to the Casualty Actuarial Society Committee on Valuations, Finances, and Investments (VFIC). They did not want anything to do with the paper. The paper ended being published along with precisely those discussing papers in the same edition of E-Forum. The editor of E-Forum wrote a nice note introducing my paper--something that I have never run into before in E-Forum. The introduction says, in part:

Author Gail E. Tverberg, though not offering advice on how casualty actuaries should prepare for or respond to these consequences, provides a very thorough description of the challenges that the members of the Casualty Actuarial Society might be called on to overcome. The more obvious consequences include a reduction in investment income as the economy at large suffers shrinkage. More subtle consequences include the deterioration of homeowners experience as the gap between replacement cost and market value expands.

Indeed it would be overwhelmingly difficult for Ms. Tverberg to offer a roadmap for us actuaries to follow. While it should be stressed that the opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by the CAS, the E-Forum, or its editor, should the anticipated oil shortage be sufficiently severe, only a fraction of the actual consequences can be foreseen, even by the most prophetic among us. Yet we should not too casually accept the vacuums of consequence whereby we respond, “I didn’t even think of that one.”

Though the focus is on the overall economy first, and the property-casualty insurance industry second, the Editor welcomes this paper’s contribution to the E-Forum.

Long-term, this analysis would suggest that the financial services industry in general will shrink greatly in the years ahead. Without continued economic growth, pushed by rising energy supplies, debt products that are of more than very short duration can be expected to mostly disappear. Because of this, the whole world of financial services can be expected to greatly contract, including property-casualty insurance.

Long term?

Jeez, Gail. In short; "many (most?) of you will need to find new jobs..."

Have you had much feedback? This kind of news is rarely well recieved.

Not much feedback yet. This publication just came out this week-end.

I have been working with a couple of actuarial committees on peak oil related issues--one committee in the US and one in Great Britain. (These committees have as their primary focus climate change.) Both of the these committees had already seen an earlier version of my paper. Some of the committee members seemed quite interested--others have wanted to stay away, because of the potential adverse impact on their companies.

A great loss;

"Chalmers Johnson, author of Blowback; The Sorrows of Empire, Dead at 79"


If any are interested in learning more about Japan's situation and how it got there Chalmers is the man.

I highly recommend any and everything he wrote. He wrote "Blow Back" before 9/11.

There is no denying that the US is THE Empire and is not the benevolent one that most pretend.

It's going to get even more ugly as things progress.

I would say rest in peace but I doubt he can, knowing what was happening on his way out.

A great loss indeed. I just went to Amazon and started reading "Nemesis: ..." what a trenchant writer! Unlike Chomsky who, after I have read him always mutter to myself the famous words of LBJ, "And therefore what?" Johnson has red meat hanging from the bones of his writing.

Thank you for the post - you've introduced me to a new and valuable source of insight!

There's a 2007 interview with him at Democracy Now! today..


Re: Saudi Aramco Said to Seek Partners for Power Plants

This article also includes the fuel used to power these plants:

Those facilities may run on crude oil-based liquid fuels since the country lacks natural gas resources to guarantee supply, the person said.

Still burning oil to generate power I see.


Holiday Drivers Face Higher Gas Prices
Refinery Troubles, Weak Dollar Helped Boost Costs at Pump


Americans preparing for Thanksgiving travel face the highest gasoline prices in more than six months, with prices at the pump topping $3 per gallon in New York and on the West Coast.

View Full Image

Associated Press
Since Johnathan Gamez filled up in Los Angeles on Nov. 4, gas price have risen about eight cents nationwide.

The average retail gasoline price was $2.89 a gallon on Nov. 15, the latest weekly reporting period, up almost three cents from the week before, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. At the end of August, drivers were paying 21 cents less a gallon, or $2.68.

Analysts blame the recent price increases on temporary shutdowns at refineries in the U.S. and France, as well as on weakness in the dollar in early November, which led to higher oil prices.

They predict the cost of gasoline will stop rising or will fall by the end of the year, but they fear the relatively high prices could dampen the already sluggish pace of economic recovery, as consumers sacrifice a bigger portion of their paychecks to the fuel pump. This is an especially critical factor heading into the holiday shopping season, when many retailers ring up a large portion of their annual sales.

"We will have to see how recent petroleum-price increases factor into consumer confidence and demand moving forward," said John Felmy, chief economist for the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group.

Gasoline prices are still far below the record highs of over $4 a gallon that pinched drivers' wallets in the summer of 2008. Later that year the recession sent prices tanking to below $2 a gallon as unemployment soared and demand for fossil fuels sank.

But prices have recently picked up and are now 10% higher than they were a year ago. Drivers in downtown Houston, where a gallon of unleaded gasoline was selling for around $2.75 on Friday, said the higher prices were forcing them to tighten their belts just as the Christmas shopping season rolls around.

For what it's worth I'm told by someone who makes a very good living in the commority biz that this guy is one of the most accurate forecasters out there:

Commentary from Francisco Blanch, Head of Global Commodities Research, BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research, is now available for Financial Advisors and clients on MyMerrill.com. Despite continued weakness in the global economy, worldwide demand for oil has been building in recent months and is now “at its strongest pace in five years,” according to Francisco Blanch, head of Global Commodities Research for BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research. And as the Federal Reserve prepares for a second round of quantitative easing—the printing of more money to help spur economic growth—Blanch believes global oil demand could reach a record in 2011, pushing prices to $100 a barrel in the coming year.

If the prediction comes true and we don't see a surge in OPEC production those folks will have to admit to one of two possibilities: either OPEC has peaked or they are intentionally with holding oil from the market in order to ramp up prices. I doubt either admission will readily flow from their lips.

I see 2011 setting up the same way as 2008. If history is any guide, Obama will make a couple of trips to Saudi Arabia.

Here is what the response was in May 2008:

Saudi Arabia’s leaders made clear Friday they see no reason to increase oil production until customers demand it, apparently rebuffing President Bush amid soaring U.S. gasoline prices.
When Bush and Abdullah met in the kingdom in mid-January, the president also sought more Saudi output in a plea that also ultimately was for naught.

If history is any guide, Obama will make a couple of trips to Saudi Arabia.

Interesting you should make that claim. Seems the old King has a blood clot and will be making some kind of trip to the US of A. 10+ hours in a plane and you aren't supposed to be in planes with blood clots.

The King isn't going to be flying economy class with the restrictive leg space. He won't be going business class either, I would guess. The old guy likely has his own 747 with his own private suite and bed for him and his favorite wifey (it's said he has had 30 wives), so he could stretch out and sleep those hours in the air. And, of course, he won't be going thru the TSA scanners, either...

E. Swanson

IIRC, most of the problems with blood clots and flying are related to sitting in a cramped seat for extended periods and dehydration. Given that the King flies on one of two 747s reserved for his use, no doubt with a skilled and well-equipped medical staff on board, he probably avoids most of those bothersome conditions...

Good News from San Francisco Bay

Here's an electric cargo bike that looks like it could replace a lot of in-city trips, at least in temperate climes. It was designed by MacArthur Foundation recipient Saul Griffith:


Best Hopes for widespread adoption of electric bicycles.


(I'll get one myself when I'm too old and tired to pedal up our Seattle hills.)


Really? I get sucker into watching all these ideas (links from this forum) showing Hipsters ever proud of themselves reinventing the wheel. Isn't this just another glorified rickshaw with several Apple MacBook batteries slap together? I mean this in good fun.


Come on. You really think "sucker". I bet deep down you think why didn't I think of that. People will ride bikes in the future.

Why not develop products to meet that changing paradigm? For example trying to meet the costs of fuel by not using fuel.

Or is the 3500+ lb solution we presently have for going to the grocery store in the form of a rather over-sized American Auto your idea of meeting the high cost of oil?

I think it is just rational to look at the alternatives to your car -- most trips are less than 5 miles round trip.

Onward and upward. Let the invisible hand of Adam Smith guide us to a solution for the oil supply crunch.

I agree Cinch, it's nothing new. Plus the typical 300lb american would just flatten that bike - much less carry any cargo.

I can make our major hills to the stores even with my kids, but my wife cannot. This is a great potential solution to the problem.


The price for this custom masterpiece is $2950, which is not bad considering all the engineering that went into it.

Gail - Leanan: Thanks for the wonderful work and great effort on TOD.

You may have already covered this item, but I thought it was worth repeating. The Huffington Post has finally added an Energy page, and they have been cross posting items from the Post Carbon Institute and other energy people regarding Peak Oil.


Unfortunately, the comments on the articles are few and far between. I would just encourage readers of TOD to consider visiting and commenting on Huffington Post as it represents an almost mainstream news source.

Thanks again!

How wise are crowds?

The rise of the Internet has sparked a fascination with what The New Yorker’s financial writer James Surowiecki called, in a book of the same name, “the wisdom of crowds”: the idea that aggregating or averaging the imperfect, distributed knowledge of a large group of people can often yield better information than canvassing expert opinion.
But as Surowiecki himself, and many commentators on his book, have pointed out, circumstances can conspire to undermine the wisdom of crowds. In particular, if a handful of people in a population exert an excessive influence on those around them, a “herding” instinct can kick in, and people will rally around an idea that could turn out to be wrong.
Fortunately, in a paper to be published in the Review of Economic Studies, researchers from MIT’s Departments of Economics and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science have demonstrated that, as networks of people grow larger, they’ll usually tend to converge on an accurate understanding of information distributed among them, even if individual members of the network can observe only their nearby neighbors. A few opinionated people with large audiences can slow that convergence, but in the long run, they’re unlikely to stop it.

I commented earlier on Google.trends searches showing that Bike Lane is increasing in popularity since the first oil crunch of this decade.

here is an article about Bike Lane expansion meeting the wrath and anger of a confused public on the coming reality.


Expansion of Bike Lanes Brings Backlash

Published: November 22, 2010

Over the last four years, the streets of New York City have undergone a transformation: More than 250 miles of traffic lanes dedicated for bicycles have been created, and several laws aimed at promoting cycling have been passed.

In early November, Joseph Schiff, an Upper West Side resident, spoke during a community board hearing on complaints about bike lanes on Columbus Avenue.
The efforts by the Bloomberg administration have placed New York City at the forefront of a national trend to make bicycling viable and safe even in the most urban of settings. Yet over the last year, a backlash has taken hold.

Bowing to vocal opposition from drivers and elected officials, the city last week began removing a 2.35-mile painted bike lane along Father Capodanno Boulevard on Staten Island. In Manhattan, a community board held a special hearing this month for business owners to vent about a new protected bicycle lane on Columbus Avenue — in particular, the removal of parking spaces and the disruption of the normal traffic flow.

In Brooklyn, new bicycle lanes have led to unusual scenes of friction. Along Prospect Park West, opponents protested last month alongside supporters of the lanes. And last year, painted paths along Bedford and Kent Avenues in Williamsburg caused disagreement between cyclists and Hasidim. The lane on Bedford Avenue was later removed.

Energy supply: OPEC calls for demand, investments security

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, has said only assurances on security of demand and security of investments can guarantee sustainable supply for growing global energy needs.

I have heard this before. OPEC says they must have "security of demand" in order to make sure that the world's future oil needs will be met.

I think they are laying the groundwork for their excuse when there is a "call on OPEC" and OPEC doesn't answer the call. "But we did not have security of demand so therefore we did not make the necessary investments to increase production." And that will be the same line they use when their production starts to decline.

Ron P.

For the U.S. it would be an excellent policy to promise to buy oil at $100 per barrel. This would greatly spur development of known oil fields and also exploration for new ones. For a long time the U.S. would buy gold at $35 per ounce, a price that was way above the market price during the middle decades of the 20th century. Result: gold surplus, ending up at Fort Knox, the NY Federal Reserve Bank vaults, and some other locations.

In other words, let us build massive storage capacity (use old dry oil wells?) for oil and set a high and fixed price for oil.

Alas, for political reasons this proposal is impossible to implement. But note that for eighty years farm price supports have strongly tended to create surpluses of grains, peanuts, sugar, cotton, etc.

Dollar debasement, not OPEC or the Chinese, is the driver of "expensive oil."

The stage has been set for a surge in the price of oil to more than $100 a barrel. The culprit is not the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, nor China and the developing world's growing demand for energy--though they will surely be blamed.

I don't know as I buy that. Sure the declining dollar is responsible for part of the high price of oil. But it is rather simplistic to blame the dollar for prices being so high for so long. That would be implying that crude oil production not increasing in six years had absolutely nothing to do with it. And I think we all know that would be a lot of baloney.

If oil production would just increase then we would never see $100 oil. But if production stays flat, or declines, then prices will either rise of the economy will decline, killing demand further.

Ron P.

So a declining dollar will drive prices over $100 but according to Bloomberg News the dollar has bottomed out.

Dollar Bears Pare Bets as QE2 Attacks Prove Unfounded

The Dollar Index measuring the currency’s performance against those of six major trading partners has climbed as much as 5.1 percent from its low this year on Nov. 4. Futures traders have slashed bets for a decline in the dollar against the euro, yen, Australian dollar and Swiss franc, data from the Commodities Futures Trading Association in Washington show.

..."The dollar has found a bottom,” said Lane Newman, director of foreign exchange in New York at ING Groep NV, the largest Dutch financial-services company.

Strategist forecasts for the dollar to weaken have all but ceased. Since mid-October, the average of 38 estimates in a Bloomberg survey has been for the currency to trade at about $1.36 to the euro by mid-2011. It ended last week at $1.3673.

Ben and company should thank the Euro Market for being so shakey that the dollar isn't falling (for now). Think about it! The Greenback is holding its own against - the Euro!!!! Wow!!! How impressive. [not]


it was amazing how well timed the QE2 "easing" was to the calling on the Irish debts. It was perfect orchestration in hind sight. Not that it can cause Oil to magically spring up from the ground, but it seems like a pattern. As Europe bails out the debts from Greece to Ireland to portugal to spain and france the Fed can buy back more bonds.

How long can it last?

Nissan Motor Corp. said Monday the Environmental Protection Agency's fuel efficiency window sticker, which provides information about the car's energy use, would estimate the electric car will achieve the equivalent of 106 mpg in city driving and 92 mpg on the highway.

EPA's tests estimate the Leaf can travel 73 miles on a fully charged battery and will cost $561 a year in electricity. Nissan has said the Leaf can travel 100 miles on a full charge, based on tests used by California regulators.


Just hords of EV technocopianism on TOD today.

A few realities;

If you go for the milage claimed on all these electric propulsion gadgets you will get maybe 200 to 400 cycles out of a battery bank.

If you are using it every day thats a year, give or take.

Cut the miles per day in half and you can get 3 to maybe 5 years.

If you are a total anal retentive engineer type who monitors every watt/amp/volt you can eek out 6 to 8 years but does that sound like the average car driver?

Most battery banks start to deteriorate noticeably after 200 cycles unless you have a very complicated battery management/charger system [$$$$].

The acquiring of raw resources, production, and recycling of batteries is extremely energy intensive.

Most of the electricity used to charge EV's is coal and increasing demand will increase coal generated electricity.

Any hint that EV's are practical feeds into the general belief (fantasy) that there is no energy problem as we will simply shift to EV transportation once oil is too expensive (BAU) leading to profligate FF consumption which overcomes any savings from EV use. (I must admit that this one is a bit circumstantial but it has been the response from most people I come across).

Having said all that EV's can be a lot of fun if you got the Dough Ray Meeee!!!!

P.S. I like Saul but it sure seems like he is trying to rationalize a future where his kids can grow up in and have as much fun as he has had. Don't blame him. I wish the same.


I believe the concept you are articulating is Depth of Discharge vs Battery Life.


DOD vs BL depends on battery type as well.



This is more mind numbing comparison between different forms of energy which is impossible. Energy analysis is full of this nonsense.

Why can't they just state that the Leaf uses no gasoline and leave it at that? Instead they create a hypothetical car evidently with 4 doors and a gasoline engine and come up with a 99 mpg figure.

No such car exists. If it did it would be a best seller beating out the Prius.

Comparing the Leaf to an imaginary car that gets 99 mpg is silly.

This shows the problem of treating all BTUs of energy as the same. A BTU of energy of one form is not equivalent to a BTU of energy of a different form despite what the EPA says.

Electric cars and gasoline cars can not be compared based on energy consumption. They are different.

These forced false comparisons are done for political reasons to satisfy the simple minded who insist that anything can be compared to anything else no matter how illogical it is.

So now the EPA says there is a car without a gasoline engine that burns no gasoline but still needs a gallon of gas to go 99 miles.

Next they will be stating the electricity equivalent KWHs per 100 miles for gasoline engine cars and posting it on the mpg sticker. That would make as much sense as what they are doing with the Leaf.

I don't think they know where they are going with this equivalent nonsense among energy forms that are clearly not remotely equivalent.

Electricity and gasoline are not equivalent in cost, pollution, renewability, or utility. There is no point other than politics for these false comparisons.

But the EPA does it anyway.


Where do you suppose electricity comes from? Electricity mines? Are you really that obtuse? OF COURSE electicity and gasoline are not "equivalent", no one says they are. But the electricity comes from somewhere.

In terms of cost, pollution, renewability - these are directly related to the source of said electricity.

These are not false comparisons, and the politics is entirely on your part. What is your weird fixation on the word "comparison"? Without comparing things, we just drift along not knowing which course of action might make more sense than another.

You are making no sense at all. You are coming across as someone who simply does not understand at all the way the real physical world operates.

Isnt there also the issue that the EPA does its rating system with respect to miles traveled per gallon of gasoline?

As a practical matter, the EPA would have to change its comparison system just for the Leaf. Not going to happen.

In the future, electric will get a scale for efficiency when there are more models to compare and the EPA develops that new metric.

In the future, electric will get a scale for efficiency when there are more models to compare and the EPA develops that new metric.

Perhaps for the US: kWh per 100 miles.
Perhaps for the rest of the world: kWh per 100km.

Recently I've noticed a curious frequent pattern in WTI front month. During Asian trading the price goes up. Then the US gets out of bed and the price goes down. Anyone any ideas why this might be?

Don't know but see here for how the gold market is manipulated. Might give you some clues.

New report reveals Canadian efforts to kill climate change policies in other countries

(Ottawa) - Never-before released documents obtained by the Climate Action Network reveal that the Government of Canada has established an “Oil Sands Advocacy Strategy” in the Department of Foreign Affairs, and that federal officials are systematically trying to kill clean energy and climate change policies in other countries in order to promote the interests of oil companies.

The findings are contained in a new report being released today by Climate Action Network Canada, a network of over 75 of Canada's leading non-governmental organizations.

“We have proof that the Harper government is aggressively intervening in Europe and the United States to kill clean energy policies in the name of promoting the tar sands,” says Graham Saul of Climate Action Network Canada. “Canada is not just exporting dirty oil anymore - we're also exporting dirty policies.”

The report documents extensive evidence of federal and Alberta government lobbying efforts against clean energy policies proposed in three jurisdictions: California, the United States and Europe.

Aw, they're just trying to warm up a little ;-)

"Aw, they're just trying to warm up a little ;-)"

So am I. 10 F outside, 20 mph wind, sideways snow. Blizzard conditions here, and an airplane slipped off the runway in Seattle, where 4 snowflakes in a day is a public emergency.

If anyone sees that Al Gore guy, please stick him in a snowdrift and keep him there until he tells you where he hid the global warming.

It's -33°C (-27°F) this morning, high in the Canadian Rockies. Where is this warming people scientists have been promising us when we really need it?

And people wonder why the Canadian government is lukewarm about preventing global warming.

Al Gore's book had about 1 major error per page. I know, because many of the things he talks about are happening in my back yard. That's what happens when a southern US politician starts telling sub-arctic people about what is happening in the arctic.

I am reminded of a question asked me in the Engineering faculty lounge at the University of Iceland. "Are there really people in the United States who do not believe in Climate Change ?"

There are multiple definitive effects of a warming trend in Iceland that it is not disputable.

Glaciers in retreat/disappeared. New species (European wasps !) showing up and surviving. Trees that had been transplanted centuries/millennium ago by birds and had vegetatively propagated into groves (DNA analysis showed all trees to be clones, no sexual reproduction) bloomed for the first time a couple of years ago.

No more polar bears coming ashore (the Icelanders routinely killed them ASAP and in prior centuries, a noteworthy feat before guns). Formerly every couple of years. Perhaps never again.

And many more.

Best Hopes for recognizing reality,


About how much would it cost to protect New Orleans from a three or four foot rise in sea level?

After all, if the Dutch can build below sea level, we should be able to do that too.

After all, if the Dutch can ...

The Dutch did not go to the moon, therefore they can do any other things

What is needed are a series of diversions of spring high water to build up silt, like the Caernarvon Diversion. MANY millions of tons of silt to work with.


The Louisiana State Legislature has devoted 100% of state royalties from federal offshore oil & gas (37.5% starting in 2017) to coastal restoration, which would include such projects.

Sea level rises, add more silt.

In the 1930s the Mississippi River wanted (absent man) to switch main channels to the Atchafayala Basin. The Corps of Engineers diverted 30% of the flow in that direction. Slow, broad (20+ miles) water flow let the silt settle out. 75 years of silt build-up later, the Mississippi River no longer "prefers" that route. And the Atchafayala delta has grown.

Best Hopes for more,


There are multiple definitive effects of a warming trend in Iceland that it is not disputable.

Before you go too far citing Iceland as a poster child for global warming, let me mention that the Vikings (my ancestors or people closely related to them) settled the island. More recently, one of my nieces moved from Canada to Iceland and got a degree in Icelandic.

Since I can at least read the English translation of the Sagas (I can read a little Norwegian, but Old Norse baffles me), let me point out that when the Norse first landed there, the island was mostly covered in forest. How many forests do you see growing in Iceland today?

When they sailed on to settle Greenland, they lived there by raising cattle and sheep on the lush hay fields. How many cattle are being raised in Greenland today?

And when they sailed on to discover North America 500 years before Columbus, they called it "Vinland" because of the grapes growing wild there. It has been established that they landed in northern Newfoundland. You can't grow grapes in Newfoundland today.

That period of time is well documented in the Sagas and is now known as the "Medieval Warm Period". It was followed by the "Little Ice Age", in which the entire Norse population of Greenland disappeared, and half the population of Iceland died off. Their agriculture collapsed, and those in Iceland only survived because they could trade with Europe, while those in Greenland did not have that survival option.

Unfortunately, many of the proponents of global warming claim that the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age never happened, and this severely damages their credibility in my eyes.

The IPCC said

current evidence does not support globally synchronous periods of anomalous cold or warmth over this time frame, and the conventional terms of 'Little Ice Age' and 'Medieval Warm Period' appear to have limited utility in describing trends in hemispheric or global mean temperature changes in past centuries

I naturally interpreted this to mean that they were a bunch of effing idiots, and their claim that the Himalayan glaciers (which I have also seen) would disappear by 2035 only confirmed that opinion.

The glaciers here in the Canadian Rockies are mostly retreating, but they have been retreating since the end of the Little Ice Age. During the Little Ice Age, they advanced. During the Holocene Climatic Optimum, 5000 to 9000 years ago, they probably disappeared completely. Glaciers come and go - and I've seen them disappear and (more startlingly) appear out of nowhere. Climate change is nothing new.

No more polar bears coming ashore (the Icelanders routinely killed them ASAP and in prior centuries, a noteworthy feat before guns).

According to the Aboriginal People's Television Network (you probably don't get this one in New Orleans), the northern Inuit claim they have never seen so many polar bears in their lives. Polar bears have been through global warming before, again and again. They can handle it. They don't have to survive on seals, they can eat anything. They will even eat you if you get too close.

Okay, maybe there is global warming. Maybe Iceland will have a thriving forestry industry again. Maybe Greenland will start raising cattle again. Maybe you will be able to pick up a nice bottle of Newfoundland Red at the wine store. And the polar bears will switch from a diet of seals to ducks and the occasional tourist. I'm just having a problem seeing the problem.

Forestry in a Treeless Land


The Vikings cut down the forests for charcoal (to make iron) and to clear land for sheep grazing.

5 million trees/year being planted today (the first reforestation efforts were in the late 1800s, so it is not a change in climate).

I know Throstur well and we talk a few times a year.

More on the rest later (basically, I disagree with your points).

Best Hopes,


Pre-Settlement, there was not enough food to support a population of polar bears in Iceland. Sheep changed that.

Polar bears cannot swim from Greenland to Iceland, they hitch-hike on ice floes. They are a number of indicators of reduced ice around Iceland (dates when fishing is no longer possible due to ice, that sort of thing). One indicator is whether there is enough ice to allow polar bears to get to Iceland. There once was enough ice, there no longer is.


Raising cattle today in Iceland is because of a strong cultural tradition (they like milk (especially skyr !) and to a lesser extent, beef). Neither tradition applies to Greenlanders. Cattle stay in the barn for slightly less than 6 months and graze outside for half the year.

Hay has to be put up to last for 6 months. No small feat with their short growing season and limited fertility soils and quite a bit of effort#. Were it not for Icelandic protectionism, fresh milk would be flown in from Ireland or Denmark. It is not economically viable to raise cattle in Iceland today. Nor in Greenland.

# Icelandic hayfields are traditional close to the house/barn. No grazing allowed, but the muck from the barn is thrown on them. And a short distance to haul the hay into the barn.


Thanks for the debunking link to that AGW-denialist talking point.

The "skeptics" manufacture new BS stories faster than the truthers can put them down.

This is exactly what Alvin Toffler of "Future Shock" fame predicted, namely that the technology of deceit would out-race/out-pace those that try to provide truth to the people.

[ i.mage.+]

Forestry in a Treeless Land

Reading the article, I find it interesting that the Icelanders are planting trees (Russian larch, Sitka spruce, downy birch, lodgepole pine, black cottonwood, mountain ash, etc.) that are the same as or closely related to the ones growing (planted or wild) on my property, or places I have lived in the past.

Iceland is close to treeline near the Arctic circle, whereas I am close to treeline at 1400 m (4600 ft.) in the Canadian Rockies. I guess when you live in a sub-Arctic climate, there are a limited number of good options. Also, those species are good at resisting herbivores. The Icelandic problem is introduced domestic sheep and goats. Ours is native deer, elk, mountain sheep, and mountain goats. They all will eat the trees if food gets short.

Iceland's biggest problem is that almost all of their native tree species were wiped out in the ice ages of the last few million years, whereas ours simply migrated south when the ice sheets covered Canada, and then migrated north when the ice sheets retreated. However, with the temperature increases of the last 150 years things are getting easier for the trees and we have more flexibility than in the past.

Polar bears aren't really native to Iceland, whereas Canada has about 15,000 of them (2/3 of the world's population). The Canadian population is generally doing rather well. If the government was really concerned about them, they would stop the natives from shooting them, but that doesn't seem necessary yet. Due to the activities of Greenpeace, et al, Canada has millions more seals than it really needs, and the polar bears are quite effective at reducing their numbers. Unfortunately polar bears eat people, too, which makes them less than desirable as a seal population control mechanism.

When the Norse first settled Greenland during the Medieval Warm Period, they raised cattle, pigs, sheep and goats for food. As the Saga of Erik the Red says:

They had no snow whatever, and all their cattle went out to graze without keepers.

Then, as the climate deteriorated in the Little Ice Age, they lost the ability to farm or raise livestock, and eventually they vanished. It's not really clear whether they starved, retreated to Iceland, or joined the Inuit who were experienced in living in the high Arctic. In today's warming trend, Greenlanders (who are now mostly descendants of the Inuit) will likely soon be growing crops and raising livestock like the Norse once did.

Jared Diamond criticized the Norse for not adopting the lifestyle of the Inuit when conditions deteriorated, but it's not very easy to adopt radically different technology. In the modern age the Inuit have a similar problem adopting the European lifestyle.

The Saga of Eric the Red can rightfully be seen as advertising of the most inaccurate and deceiving type. After all, he also named a land that was 97% covered in glaciers "Greenland" and recruited 25 ships of settlers to sail off to a land that only Erik and his household had seen.

Throstur was responsible for the following in Greenland

planting have continued in Narsarsuaq of Siberian larch, especially of the Arkhangelsk provenance in Russia, delivered from Iceland. In all 75,000 small plants of Siberian larch have been planted in the Greenland Arboretum form 1992-2002.



Part of Greenland's problem is that most of its tree species were wiped out during the ice ages. Here in the Canadian Rockies, the trees survived and were able to follow the glaciers north as they retreated. Probably the first species to do so was the lodgepole pine. The lodgepole pine population hit its current northern limit only within the last century or so. White spruce, black spruce, jack pine, tamarack, and some other species will also grow well in very cold climates.

I have a Siberian larch growing in my front yard. It's very well suited to a cold climate. It should grow well in Greenland. In fact, most of the trees on my property would probably do well in Greenland, at least in sheltered areas.

However, the fact is that, during the Medieval Warm Period, the Norse were able to grow hay and barley, and raise diary cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats in Greenland, albeit only in sheltered areas. During the Little Ice Age, their agricultural collapsed and they died off, to be replaced by the Inuit - a true Arctic people well equipped to live under the coldest of cold conditions. I don't like people trying to deny these things happened because they are very well documented.

Now we're back to MWP conditions, so it should become possible to raise cattle, pigs, sheep and goats in Greenland, and have a viable forest industry. We'll see.

Rocky, your words resonate very clearly with me. Climate change is one of those discussion topics that tend to raise more fires in the belly than synapses in the brain.

A few years ago, surrounded by colleagues at a professional gathering (nary a scientist among them) the topic veered off to climate change. I had the audacity at that time to ask about times in the past when historical evidence (the Viking record being one) seems to point clearly to warmer weather than today. I've learned since to keep my mouth shut. Lefties or righties, especially educated lefties or righties, tend not to like objections being raised to their cherished ideas or ideologies.

On another occasion when raising objectives to a AGW consensus in the room I was told point blank that my attitude was the same as church leaders during the time of Galileo - a throw back to ignorance in face of overwhelming science. When I commented that the church leadership did not object to Galileo's observations on biblical grounds but instead on his disagreement with the universally acknowledged expert Aristotle (how dare he stand outside expert opinion and consensus!), I was greeted not with argument but with a quick change of subject.

As recently as a few days ago, when the CBC news flagship, The National, ran a feature on plight of polar bears, I dared to mention among mixed company that these white arctic beasts are not yet considered to be an endangered species. You would have thought I had just clubbed to death the last remaining dodo bird.

Not being well versed in either geological or meteorological science, I generally tend to go along with policy objectives of reducing carbon (to be on the safe side just in case the IPCC are on to something), but I do reserve the right to exercise a measure of healthy and pragmatic skepticism. And I don't lose sleep at nights if the Kyoto protocols are not quite met by any particular party in any particular year.

Worse case scenario, as you rightly say, we may yet see again the rise of ranching in Greenland, the importation of logs from Iceland, and the savouring of a good Newfoundland Sherry.

I dared to mention among mixed company that these white arctic beasts (Polar Bears) are not yet considered to be an endangered species.

You would have thought I had just clubbed to death the last remaining dodo bird.

Regrettably, the story about Polar Bear numbers appears to be true.

However, in defense of this actual "trick" by the AGW-believers crowd (of which I am a member), the human beast does not respond to rational.

It responds to emotional.

It responds to cute white furred polar cubs.

Eventually, the polar bears will go extinct due to global warming, although not just yet.
The AGW-believers crowd decided to bite the Emotions-versus-Facts bullet on this one and adopt the Polar Bear as their poster child.

But "that" does not make the reality of AGW go away.
(As Galileo said: It moves nonetheless.)

...the human beast does not respond to rational.

It responds to emotional.

It responds to cute white furred polar cubs.

You don't have to tell an Atlantic Canadian about that one. Just look at the seal hunt.

Seals are not an endangered species. My first summer job many years ago was at an industrial supply store that sold, among various things, the clubs and hooks used on sealing ships. The weight of the club alone ensured that the method of dispatching the cute seal pups was relatively humane... or at least as humane as anything that happens on a regular basis at the average slaughter house. Yet all the rational arguments in the world could not preserve this centuries-old hunt once the television cameras and celebrities got involved.

I remember well from the 1970s, a film crew recorded Brigitt Bardot (the French sex goddess) on the ice flows talking about how much she loved to cuddle these soft fluffy bright eyed pups. All was going well until a salty Newfoundland fisherman put stamped paid to her verbal oozing simply by saying: "Sure would like to see that since any one of those seal pups would have bitten her titties off."

Sorry, I don't have much patience for such blatant manipulation. The animal rights protesters in Europe (many of whom sported leather shoes and wouldn't think twice about eating a hamburger) killed off a viable resource harvest. Now the Department of Fisheries simply culls the herd by shooting them and leaving them to rot.

Perhaps that's why I'm not enamored by the AGW propaganda machine. I've seen it all before and it smacks to me of self-righteous and hypocritical pomposity at its worst. My advice to AGW believers - please stick to the argument.

Ah, yes, the seal hunt.

When Bridget Bardot and others started protecting the cute little seal pups from the evil, club-wielding seal hunters, there were about 1.5 million Harp seals off the east coast of Canada.

Now that the environmentalists have been largely successful in shutting down the seal fur trade, there are closer to 5 million Harp seals out there. This is not what I would consider "near extinction" despite what their brochures may claim.

The real problem is that the only predators on the Harp seals (other than club-wielding seal hunters) are polar bears, and people largely wiped out the east coast polar bear population a long time ago. So, the seals have no predators at present.

My preferred solution would be to bring back polar bears to deal with the situation, but that's just my idea. I like to reestablish the natural balance if at all possible. Other people get upset because polar bears eat people, usually with great enthusiasm. In my opinion, that's not really a problem if you can get Brigit Bardot to hug the cute seals out on the ice between you and the polar bears. You don't have to outrun the polar bears, you only have to outrun Brigit Bardot, aging French sex queen.

The Viking record does not support even the Medieval Warming Period in Iceland and Greenland.

One priest, hoping to get more emigrants to Greenland (note the lie in the name for the land, so Vikings were not above lying) did tell some whoppers that have no historic or archeological support and are unquestionably bogus.

But one lying letter, centuries ago, is used to support the lies of today.

Read my rebuttal of "ranching" and lumber claims above.


Two comments:

1) I support a shift to higher quality and less quantity. There is way too much to read, especially if you'd like to also monitor a few other sites.

2) I support keeping TOD focused on energy but energy is central to everything including the economy and climate change. See for example the amazing recent work of Timothy Garrett: http://www.inscc.utah.edu/~tgarrett/
I'd like TOD to focus on energy in the broader sense of how it impacts civilization, wealth, and climate.

I too think a move to quality over quantity is a good idea, though I have to say there hasn't been an overwhelming quantity of bad articles, IMO. What has happened is that the "oil" part in the blog title has become less prominent.

Also, I agree that climate change, especially the policies governments implement to address not just AGW but other environmental issues, directly impact future scenarios for energy production, so I don't see how The Oil Drum will be able to escape addressing those issues.

I do disagree with the sudden-collapse scenarios that seem to have spooked Gail. The path we are on as a civilization is a loooooooooonnnnnnggggg emergency.

Are you quite so sure In Japan today?

Russia sees "colossal danger" of Korea escalation

(Reuters) - Russia sees a 'colossal danger' of an escalation in fighting on the Korean peninsula after North Korea's artillery attacked a South Korean island on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"It is necessary to immediately end all strikes. There is a colossal danger which must be avoided. Tensions in the region are growing," Lavrov told reporters during a visit to the Belarussian capital Minsk.

Leaking Siberian ice raises a tricky climate issue ....

Gas locked inside Siberia's frozen soil and under its lakes has been seeping out since the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago. But in the past few decades, as the Earth has warmed, the icy ground has begun thawing more rapidly, accelerating the release of methane — a greenhouse gas 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide — at a perilous rate.

Some scientists believe the thawing of permafrost could become the epicenter of climate change. They say 1.5 trillion tons of carbon, locked inside icebound earth since the age of mammoths, is a climate time bomb waiting to explode if released into the atmosphere.


The atmospheric half-life of methane appears to be around 7 years (versus centuries for CO2). Of course methane oxidizes and becomes CO2.

So absent a "big belch" of methane, the relatively short half-life of methane limits the cumulative impact.


They say 1.5 trillion tons of carbon, locked inside icebound earth since the age of mammoths, is a climate time bomb waiting to explode if released into the atmosphere.

One could view the 07 Artic massive ice melt as a big warning, but it seems to have been simply reported then forgotten. And recently there have been increases in Siberian methane released and the response is minimal or to completely ignore it.

Even with a car, if a driver ignores the warning lights on the dashboard, sooner or later there is always a price that is to be paid that is higher than if it had been handled as those warnings occurred. I am beginning to wonder if there will ever be a warning signal with enough significance for most people to get it and at least attempt to do something about it, before there is a tipping point that will shout at us so loudly (so to speak) that we will drop to our collective knees and beg for another chance to make it right.

Coal, which fuels about three-quarters of the country's electricity generation, is a special concern, especially in winter months when it also is used in heating systems in the north.

Much of the coal is mined in north-central China and then shipped to big cities, utility plants and factories in the eastern coastal regions.

The planning agency complained that some areas, which it did not name, were requiring coal traders to obtain special permits before they can ship coal. "Coal production in some places is rather chaotic and supplies from small mines are unstable," it said.

This is a good effort..I also wrote an article about the analysis of Global Oil Prices..The

link is below..


Koreas in border artillery clash

South Korea says it has returned fire after North Korea fired dozens of artillery shells at one of its border islands, killing two marines.

The South's military was placed on its highest non-wartime alert after the shells landed on Yeonpyeong island.

..."Houses and mountains are on fire and people are evacuating. You can't see very well because of plumes of smoke," a witness on the island told YTN television station. "People are frightened to death."

...Japan's Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, said he had ordered ministers to prepare for any eventuality.

"I ordered them to make preparations so that we can react firmly, should any unexpected event occur," he said after an emergency cabinet meeting in Tokyo. "I ordered them to do their utmost to gather information."

Re: Rupert Murdoch, Dick Cheney, Israeli Oil Company Form Voltron From Liberal Media Nightmares

According to Amiram Barkat of Israeli business publication Globes, “The company believes that its shale oil cracking technology can free the world from dependence on Arab oil and turn Israel into an energy powerhouse able to produce 300 billion barrels of non-conventional oil at a cost of up to $40 per barrel.”

...According to Rothschild, “Rupert Murdoch's extraordinary achievements speak for themselves and we are very pleased he has agreed to be our partner. Genie Energy is making good technological progress to tap the world's substantial oil shale deposits which could transform the future prospects of Israel, the Middle East and our allies around the world.”

So Lord Rothschild, Rupert Murdoch and Dick Cheney are on the case. I can sleep well at last.

Once again we have oil shale coming to our rescue. I'll save everyone from reading the article: They haven't begun the pilot project yet. Once inplace they plan on producing 500 bbls of oil. Not 500 bopd but 500 bbls. Maybe that's a misprint and they meant 500 bopd. But if they did I would hardly call 500 bopd a pilot project. Maybe their "new" process will be more economical than past effort. But I doubt a 500 bopd pilot project will offer much info about the economics of a scaled up effort. And if they really mean just 500 bbls of oil then it sounds more like a lab test than a pilot project. Given all those what-ifs a projected cost of $40/bbl seems a tad premature IMHO.

As a side note the chairman of the company is also the mayor of Midland, Texas. Not a good or bad thing IMHO but just interesting.

Yes, oil shale to the rescue once again. This time apparently rescuing Israel.

Having considerable experience in Canadian oil sands, I can say that US oil sands will be a much tougher nut to crack.

It has taken us 40 years to get Canadian oil sands to where they are producing more oil than Texas, and that's not really because Canadian oil sands production has increased so much, but because Texas oil production has fallen off so much in the last 40 years.

US oil shales are much further from production than Canadian oil sands were 40 years ago. They have some really serious technical problems to solve that Canadian oil sands don't have.