Drumbeat: January 26, 2011

James Howard Kunstler: Peak Oil and Our Financial Decline

In this fifth video in the series “Peak Oil and a Changing Climate” from The Nation and On The Earth Productions, author, blogger and social critic James Howard Kunstler opens up on two circumstances he sees running neck and neck “that are going to put us out of business as an advanced industrial civilization”—the “fiasco” in banking, money and finance and the unfolding “energy predicament.” He explains that the crises are really all about "capital" and that we need to look at how wealth has been accumulated and deployed for productive purposes.

Kunstler suggests that “cheap abundant energy” has facilitated ever-increasing industrialization for centuries. But now that society is in a period of self-destructive capital accumulation, he expects debt to increase as abundance in energy drops. The tremendous amount of accumulated debt, “a by-product of cheap abundant energy,” will mean that in the future governments will be less able to make investments in socially-beneficial programs.

He also criticizes the US environmental movement for shying away the problem of energy. The movement is unable to talk about walkable neighborhoods, smaller cities, or investing in rail or water transit, an “intellectual failure of the culture to have a coherent conversation from people who ought to be leading” such a conversation.

The Exorbitant Dream of Arctic Oil

International oil companies are racing to develop new oilfields in the Arctic. But developing the vast reserves could be far more expensive than first thought, according to new calculations by US geologists obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE.

U.S. already halfway to Obama's clean energy goal

(Reuters) - The United States is already halfway to meeting President Barack Obama's goal of generating 80 percent of the nation's electricity from clean energy sources by 2035, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Wednesday.

Rosneft, BP sign agreement on strategic partnership

DAVOS (Itar-Tass) -- Russia’s state-owned oil major Rosneft and British Petroleum (BP) signed an agreement on strategic partnership on Wednesday, January 26.

The agreement was signed at the World Economic Forum n Davos by Rosneft CEO Eduard Khudainatov and BP Chief Executive Officer Robert Dudley.

BP chief defends new exploration deal

The head of British oil giant BP said Wednesday the Gulf of Mexico disaster had "shaken us to the core," but defended oil exploration, including a new mega-deal with Russia's Rosneft.

"What happened in the Gulf of Mexico has shaken us to the core," Robert Dudley, BP chief executive told AFP, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Mixed results shown from dispersants in BP spill

The most extensive scientific study yet of dispersants injected deep in the Gulf of Mexico to counter an oil gusher last spring found a mixed bag of results.

Researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution found signs that the chemicals helped keep some oil from the busted BP well from bubbling to the surface, where it could do more damage. However, the chemicals didn't appear to break the oil apart as fast as promised.

Saudi Arabia’s Oil Production May Rise 3.4% This Year, BSF Says

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, will increase production by 3.4 percent in 2011, according to Banque Saudi Fransi.

Saudi Arabia will pump 8.48 million barrels a day, from 8.2 million in 2010, the Riyadh-based bank known as BSF said in an e-mailed report dated yesterday. That compares with an average of 9.1 million produced from 2004 to 2008, the bank said.

Global Concern over Security of World's Energy Infrastructure

As oil prices continue to rise, striking a two-year peak above 98 dollars per barrel only last Wednesday (12/01/11), fears over disruptions in energy supplies are acute as governments acknowledge the crippling effect security breaches could have on their national economies.

Forecast to spend $14 billion on security systems and services over the next 6 years, Saudi Arabia is among those already taking precautions, opening up what is set to be the largest national energy security market worldwide.

Continued Drilling Delays to Negatively Impact Deepwater GOM

Policy advisers for the American Petroleum Institute (API) warned that continued delays for deepwater drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico would negatively impact deepwater Gulf development as well as Gulf region jobs and the nation's energy security.

On the event of the President's State of the Union address, API policy advisors cited a Wood Mackenzie study released in December that found long-term Gulf of Mexico deepwater development could be seriously jeopardized if permitting timelines are extended. The study projects nearly one-third of U.S. deepwater production could be rendered uneconomic, which could significantly impact deepwater production, resulting in less energy production, less investment and less revenue to government.

Oil-Rig Contractors' Liability Takes Focus at Hearing

WASHINGTON—A proposal to extend liability for an oil spill to contractors such as Halliburton Co. and Transocean Ltd. was among the ideas floated Wednesday morning at a U.S. Senate hearing on the Deepwater Horizon incident.

Eni to operate Angola pre-salt block

Italy's oil and gas major Eni has won an international tender to operate Block 35 in deep-water offshore Angola as it pushes to expand on its core African market and boost deep-water development.

Valero named in case

Tim Brink, the CEO of a now-defunct company who has been convicted of selling stolen petroleum condensate to U.S. energy companies, said he sold some of the pilfered fossil fuel to Valero Energy Corp.

San Antonio-based Valero strongly denied his assertion, which came to light in recently released court documents.

TransCanada says shippers back Cushing project

(Reuters) - TransCanada Corp, said on Wednesday it has received shipper support for its Cushing Marketlink project, which will take 150,000 barrels of oil per day from the Oklahoma storage hub to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

TransCanada, the country's biggest pipeline company, said enough oil shippers have contracted space on the proposed line for the company to proceed with it.

Conoco, Occidental profits rise with oil

HOUSTON (Reuters) - U.S. oil companies ConocoPhillips and Occidental Petroleum reported higher fourth-quarter profits on Wednesday as higher crude oil prices and an improving global economy lifted demand for fuel.

Fourth-quarter earnings reflect the sharp rise in oil prices over the past year, with benchmark U.S. crude averaging about $85 per barrel in the fourth quarter, up 12 percent from a year ago.

As the world economy recovers, demand for crude is also on the rise.

Iraq's biggest oil and gas fields

Production in Iraq dipped dramatically during Saddam Hussein's rule, especially throughout the Gulf Wars. However, it currently estimates that 143bn barrels of oil and 112 trillion cubic feet of gas are lying beneath its soil, meaning the country is likely to become an increasingly dominant producer. So which are the companies best set to develop these riches?

Valero expects refineries running over 2 million bpd

Valero Chief Executive Bill Klesse said Valero will not increase the ethanol content of gasoline it sells to 15 percent until refiners have regulatory protection from vehicle owners who might claim damage to older cars and trucks not designed for ethanol content beyond 10 percent.

HBSC cuts Petrobras target, sees buy opportunity

(Reuters) - HSBC Holdings, Europe's largest bank, on Wednesday cut its price target for Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras but recommended investors buy the stock after a prolonged slump.

Eight bids qualify for UK offshore wind links - Ofgem

(Reuters) - Eight companies have qualified to bid for the construction of three more high-voltage transmission links to connect offshore wind farms to the British power grid, energy regulator Ofgem said on Wednesday.

Miss. still seeing tar balls from Gulf oil spill

JACKSON, Miss. - Mississippi is still seeing some lingering, visible effects from the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the director of the state Department of Environmental Quality told lawmakers Monday.

Africa Oil closes farmout deal on E.Africa blocks

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Canada's Africa Oil Corp said on Wednesday it had completed a farmout agreement for three east African exploration blocks to London-listed Tullow Oil Plc, which now holds a 50 percent stake in each of them.

Kenya has yet to discover any commercial oil deposits but interest in its exploration blocks has grown since neighbouring Uganda discovered billions of barrels in its Lake Albert rift, where Tullow is expected to start oil production next year.

Dutch lawmakers grill Shell on Nigerian operations

AMSTERDAM—Royal Dutch Shell executives defended their much-criticized operation in the Niger Delta before Dutch lawmakers on Wednesday but said the company will not pay compensation for pollution caused by sabotage and vowed to fight a $100 million fine imposed by a Nigerian court for a 40-year-old oil spill.

In a parliamentary hearing in The Hague, Amnesty International and environmental groups accused Shell of abusing human rights, failing to clean up disastrous environmental damage and continuing the hazardous practice of flaring gas from about 100 wells.

Chevron strikes oil in wells off Congo coast

Chevron Corp. said Tuesday that it has hit oil in two wells in the Atlantic Ocean about 40 miles off the coast of the Republic of Congo.

Looking Beyond BRIC - Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman Forge Ahead

Qatar (19) fell three places as a result of a decline in its growth prospects. Although the country has enjoyed rapid economic growth on the back of the energy sector, it is expected to have reached peak oil and gas in 2011. As a result, investments in its energy sector are expected to come to a halt - and Qatar's GDP growth forecast for 2015 has fallen. Qatar is currently undergoing major infrastructure and tourism developments in an attempt to replace energy revenues in coming years and is, therefore, likely to improve its position in the future.

Davos, Dakar and a ton of BRICS

And even with multipolarity, the outlook ahead is bleak: peak oil; energy wars (first Iraq, next Iran?); the ramp-up of greenhouse gas emissions; climate change; water wars; and rampant poverty while the richest 1% of the population controls 43% of the world's assets.

Bottles of Moet can be bet that the global elites at Davos won't be giving much thought to what the world really needs - a new political culture, horizontal and diverse, promoting the convergence between citizen networks and social movements.

Record cold has South Korea telling citizens: wear long johns

Freezing temperatures in South Korea are pushing energy use to record highs and threatening blackouts. The crisis may prompt Koreans to rethink how to stay warm.

Ofgem could demand uniform tariff

The energy regulator Ofgem could force energy suppliers to offer a new uniform basic tariff to protect customers against rocketing bills.

The move is one of the options being considered as part of the regulator's investigation of the energy market, which reports in March and could recommend that the industry be referred to the Competition Commission.

Grid-isolated electric coops seek solution to NPC’s fuel shortage

MANILA, Philippines – With state-run National Power Corporation (NPC) literally stripped of cash, the grid-isolated electric cooperatives were prompted to bring to the attention of President Noynoy Aquino the dilemma on diesel shortages that practically cripple them from continually serving their customers.

Thousands defy Egypt's leader in fresh protests

An economist warned that nervous investors could begin liquidating investments in Egyptian equities and securities if the protests gained momentum.

"People are talking about liquidating positions," said Raza Agha, an economist with the Royal Bank of Scotland. "They're getting unnerved. I think the crucial test is today and tomorrow if these things persist, and obviously how the government responds."

The Arab crisis: food, energy, water, justice

The explosive combination of mass unemployment and rising food prices threatens social explosion in other parts of the Arab world. Jordan too witnessed violence on 3 January in a jobs-related dispute between two rival tribes in the southern city of Maan, which led to three deaths, dozens of wounded, and over ninety arrests. A few days later, an inter-tribe clash took place in Karak. The government took urgent measures (such as cancelling taxes) in order to reduce market prices, while the United States government sent an emergency grant of $100 million to help the Jordanian authorities stabilise the markets and ease social tensions.

Egypt, where the government heavily subsidises imported food products and spends some 7% of gross domestic product on food and energy subsidies, is also at risk. Even Saudi Arabia is taking precautions; the kingdom aims to double its wheat reserves to 1.4 million tons, enough to satisfy demand for a year.

Saudi has no plans to give up right to enrich uranium

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia has no plans to forfeit its right to enrich uranium domestically, but is willing to consider alternatives in an effort to better relations with Iran, a key royal said on Wednesday.

Energy: Hydrocarbons in North America

North America is at the top of the food chain when it comes to consuming energy: Its inhabitants have nearly four times the average global per capita energy consumption.

Although Mexicans consume less than the global average, Americans consume 4.5 times and Canadians nearly 6 times as much. In absolute numbers, we in North America consume one-quarter of the world’s primary energy production, even though we make up less than 7 percent of the world’s population.

Dallas highway interchanges a waste of valuable space

Below is the High-Five at 75 and 635. How many hundreds of millions did this cost? Also costly, the land it takes up...

At the same scale, you can nearly fit the entirety of the independent nation-state of Vatican City.

Why fuel tokens will not work!

I already have fuel tokens. They reside in my wallet and bank account and are called money.

Sign Of The Times: Lights Going Dark On Major Area Highways

NEW YORK (CBS 2) – A sign of the times is turning into a potentially deadly danger for commuters.

In a dark manifestation of the new normal, lights on major highways are blinking out – and staying that way – and the American Automobile Association says New Yorkers may have to get used to it, reports CBS 2’s Lou Young.

Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change

Many deny either the timing or the reality of these challenges. They argue that global demand for oil will not outstrip production and that climate change is overstated, nonexistent, or somehow not related to our actions. Setting aside such debates, my book, “Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change,” accepts the premise that both climate change and peak oil are pressing realities that need aggressive solutions.

Civilisation Has a Future Beyond Oil

HAMBURG (IDN) - Each generation takes care of its descendants: This basic tenet is ignored when it comes to the energy systems deployed by most of the industrialised nations. The 'western' lifestyle today is based almost exclusively on fossil fuels. This will have to change if we want to pass on a more-or-less intact world to the generations to come. Not sometime in the distant future but now!

Stuart Staniford: Obama on Energy and Climate

I find it sad that there was no explicit discussion of the incontrovertible scientific fact that we are destabilizing our climate with our energy system. Elsewhere in the world, this can be discussed frankly, but in the US, out of deference to half the political spectrum being in total denial, the elephant in the room cannot be named. There are aggressive goals for converting the energy system to "clean energy" with no discussion at all as to why that might be necessary. I understand why the President did this: he needs Republican votes to pass anything and there's no point in antagonizing them.

Oil giant Saudi Arabia looks to alternative energy

RIYADH (AFP) – With vast oil reserves that are far from exhausted, Saudi Arabia, facing rising domestic energy demand that could cut into its oil exports, has decided to explore nuclear and renewable energy, Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi has said.

"We have started to take the required steps to utilise several energy sources locally, in particular solar and nuclear energy," he told a conference in Riyadh.

The kingdom has massive proven reserves. In November, Naimi put the figure at 264 billion barrels, and said Saudi Arabia was capable of supplying crude for the next 80 years at current production levels "even if we never found another barrel."

However, Saudi Arabia anticipates a rise in domestic energy demand, which within 20 years could see an increase in domestic oil consumption to around eight million barrels per day, approaching its current output, a former commerce minister and head of a Saudi energy research centre said.

Crude Oil Rises From Eight-Week Low as Chinese Demand Signs Prompt Buying

Oil rebounded from an eight-week low in New York as forecasts of rising Chinese demand this year spurred bets that crude’s slump was exaggerated.

Futures climbed as much as 0.5 percent after the relative strength index, a technical measure used by traders, slipped to the weakest in five months, signaling prices may rally. The March contract dropped 7 percent in the six days leading to yesterday’s settlement of $86.19 a barrel, the lowest since Nov. 30. China’s crude processing volume may rise 7.5 percent this year, the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Association said in a report today.

Saudis boost term crude sales to China as oil use jumps

BEIJING/SINGAPORE Jan 26 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia will boost contract crude sales by 10 percent to Asia's biggest refiner Sinopec this year as the world's top oil exporter cements its share of the world's fastest growing fuel market.

Riyadh is boosting exports to China for a third consecutive year, ensuring needs from the world's second-largest oil consumer are met, even as the kingdom stuck more closely to the late-2008 OPEC production targets than many of the group's other members.

Jeff Rubin: How do oil shocks cause recessions?

There are many ways that oil shocks affect the economy, and none of them is good. As the prices of gasoline, diesel and home heating fuel rise, consumers’ energy bills eat up a growing share of their after-tax income, forcing cutbacks in more discretionary areas of spending. The next thing you know, people are going out to restaurants a lot less, taking fewer vacations and buying fewer clothes.

Slower oil price rises are in Saudi interests

When it comes to international oil markets, Saudi Arabia, the biggest OPEC exporter, has unparalleled power to move prices.

Knowing this full well, neither King Abdullah nor his oil minister Ali al Naimiare prone to making off-the-cuff remarks. So when one of them does make a statement on oil, traders from New York to Singapore sit up and listen.

Brent Oil’s Record Open Interest Threatens WTI

Rising purchases of Brent crude contracts have driven holdings of the European benchmark oil grade to the highest level in five months relative to New York futures as investors bet it’s a better gauge of global demand.

BlackRock Prefers Oil Explorers Over Exxon, Shell as Crude Prices Rebound

BlackRock Inc., the world’s biggest money manager, said independent explorers and oil services providers are a better investment than the largest energy companies as crude prices rise.

Heritage Oil investors shun its giant Iraqi gas find

Shares in Heritage Oil unexpectedly plunged by 16pc on the news that it has made Iraq's biggest gas discovery for 30 years.

The frontier explorer, run by former mercenary provider Tony Buckingham, had been hoping to strike oil in Iraq's semi-autonomous northern region, Kurdistan.

'UK energy policy too gas focused'

The UK's new energy policy may cause overreliance on natural gas, hinder investment in low carbon technology and make climate change targets impossible to reach, according to a new parliamentary report.

Deep-Water Oil Drilling Stalemate Pits Explorers Against U.S. Regulators

Eight months after BP Plc tried using a device the size of a motor home to snuff out the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history, top oil companies haven’t convinced regulators they can prevent another disaster.

The U.S. Interior Department is refusing to issue deep- water exploration permits because energy companies haven’t shown they have “access to and can deploy containment resources” to deal with out-of-control wells on the sea floor, Melissa Schwartz, an agency spokeswoman, said yesterday.

China plans to expand energy tax nationwide

China's finance minister says Beijing plans to impose a nationwide tax on production of oil, coal and water to raise money for poor areas.

Mexico raises view of peak oil from Ku Maloob Zaap

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico expects output from its Ku Maloob Zaap offshore heavy oil complex to continue to rise over the next three years as satellite deposits of crude are developed, according to a government report released on Monday.

Output from Ku Maloob Zaap (KMZ) should peak at 927,000 barrels per day in 2013, up from approximately 850,000 bpd at present, with the start-up of the Ayatsil and Pit satellite fields, Mexico's energy ministry said in its annual forecast of crude oil production.

Gazprom may use Belgian underground gas storage

Russia's gas giant Gazprom may use underground gas storage in Loenhout in Belgium, Gazprom said on Wednesday following a meeting between its CEO Alexei Miller and Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme.

Russian oil firms fined 15 bln rbls for price fixing

Large Russian oil majors LUKoil, Gazprom Neft, TNK-BP and Rosneft will have to pay a total of 15 billion rubles ($500 million) in fines for inflating petrol prices in 2008-2009, Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) head Igor Artemyev said on Wednesday.

"The total volume of penalties will amount to 15 billion rubles," Artemyev told the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament.

EU 'to clear French takeover of British energy giant'

BRUSSELS (AFP) – The European Commission will clear the takeover of Britain's International Power by French energy giant GDF Suez on Wednesday, creating the world's second largest electricity producer, a source close to the matter told AFP.

Pirate Attacks Spur 36-Fold Increase in Ransoms

Somali pirate attacks are increasing, spurred by a 36-fold jump in ransoms in five years, raising costs for shippers and the threat to vessels carrying 20 percent of world trade.

Iraq and Kuwait seek to improve relations

BAGHDAD -- Iraq and Kuwait pledged Wednesday to work toward resolving border disputes and debt issues as the two former enemies seek to repair relations damaged by Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of the oil-rich emirate.

Clinton: Hezbollah govt in Lebanon bad for US ties

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Tuesday that formation of a Hezbollah-dominated government in Lebanon will mean changes in the U.S. relations with the country.

The Obama administration is considering exactly how to respond to the new government forming this week in Beirut and has opened a review into its assistance programs to the country. Cuts or realignment to political, economic and military aid to Lebanon are likely if Hezbollah takes a major governmental role, officials said.

Organizers call for 2nd day of protests in Egypt

CAIRO – Egyptian activists on Wednesday used social networking sites to call for a fresh wave of demonstrations, a day after they staged the biggest protests in years in Egypt to demand the end of President Hosni Mubarak's nearly 30-year rule.

However, the Interior Ministry warned that police would not tolerate any gatherings, marches or protests, suggesting that security forces would immediately crackdown at the first sign of protesters gathering.

Regulators: Ice triggered gas fires in Ohio town

FAIRPORT HARBOR, Ohio – Ohio regulators say ice caused the buildup in natural gas pressure that triggered a house explosion, fires and an evacuation in one village.

Florida lawmaker seeks to block Cuba oil drilling

MIAMI (Reuters) – A Florida Republican congressman has sent a proposed bill to Congress seeking to block Cuba's plans to start its first full-scale offshore oil exploration with a deepwater rig located off the Florida Keys.

If approved, the draft bill by Congressman Vern Buchanan could deal a blow to Spanish oil giant Repsol YPF, which leads a consortium of international oil companies looking to drill for oil beneath the Caribbean island's part of the Gulf of Mexico.

Iran offers energy projects to Turkey

ANKARA (AFP) – Iran has offered Turkey several small oil and gas fields to develop, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Monday.

Ankara plans to pass the proposal on to private companies, Yildiz told reporters, adding the offer would require an investment of $100-200 million. He did not give other details.

The Peak Oil Catastrophe-in-waiting

The United States continues to slumber while a catastrophe lies in wait. Increasing numbers of analysts and policymakers are warning of another super price spike for oil and the likelihood of "peak oil" more generally.

Peak oil is the point at which global oil production reaches a maximum and then declines. The speed of the decline is a key unknown and if it is relatively fast, the results could be truly dire for economies around the world.

Obama sets 2035 clean electricity target

(Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama set a target for power plants to produce mostly clean electricity by 2035 -- including power from sources like clean coal and natural gas -- in his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Obama also called for investment in clean technologies and urged Congress to eliminate billions of dollars in subsidies for oil companies.

Obama targets oil firms in State of the Union speech

Barack Obama rounded on oil companies calling for an end to tax breaks for energy giants in a highly charged State of the Union address which will be keenly read by major crude exporters such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The US president also urged Americans to boost their clean energy consumption to 80 per cent in the next 25 years, a change he wants Congress to support.

Mr Obama's speech comes less than a year after a disastrous oil rig spill in the Gulf of Mexico that left many Americans resentful of energy companies that have benefited from generous tax breaks.

Roads, Bridges, High-Speed Rail Are at Top Obama's Transportation Agenda

Barack Obama said he will intensify efforts to repair the nation’s roads, bridges and mass transit systems, calling the work necessary to create jobs and compete with nations that have made those investments.

In his State of the Union address yesterday, Obama said he will look to attract more private capital for big projects. Details on the spending and programs won’t be provided until the budget is released next month, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said before the speech.

Fuel standards may boost auto sales

Because the higher standards will cause makers to give consumers more technologies from which to choose, McManus forecasts Americans will buy 1 million, or 6%, more vehicles than they would without the higher mileage mandate.

McManus predicts the Detroit Three will sell 60% of that increase, which is significantly more than their combined U.S. market share of 45% in 2010.

Study: Roads are safer in urban areas

Your odds of dying in a motor vehicle crash vary dramatically because of one simple thing: where you live.

The safest places to drive in the USA are Washington, D.C., and Massachusetts. Among the most dangerous: Montana, Wyoming, Louisiana and Mississippi. Those conclusions are based on federal data of traffic fatalities per 100,000 population and per 100 million miles driven.

Consumers not yet warming to new light bulbs

Under federal law, incandescent bulbs are being phased out beginning next year when American manufacturers no longer will be allowed to make 100-watt bulbs. By Jan. 1, 2014, the only incandescents left on the market will be three-way bulbs, plant lights and appliance lamps – plus the final, old-school stragglers from 2013 assembly lines which could become pricey novelty items.

But while Thomas Edison’s invention is slowly being dimmed into retail oblivion, consumers have been slow to accept the two emerging alternative technologies, known as CFLs and LEDs. The main complaints: CFLs, or compact fluorescent lights, cast a harsh, greenish beam, unlike the warm, amber glow of incandescents. LEDs are expensive and relatively unknown among American shoppers. Neither variety is universally available in dimmer form and, therefore, not always ideal for people partial to mood lighting.

Alternative Fuels Don’t Benefit the Military, a RAND Report Says

The United States would derive no meaningful military benefit from increased use of alternative fuels to power its jets, ships and other weapons systems, according to a government-commissioned study by the RAND Corporation scheduled for release Tuesday.

The report also argued that most alternative-fuel technologies were unproven, too expensive or too far from commercial scale to meet the military’s needs over the next decade.

In particular, the report argued that the Defense Department was spending too much time and money exploring experimental biofuels derived from sources like algae or the flowering plant camelina, and that more focus should be placed on energy efficiency as a way of combating greenhouse gas emissions.

The Future of Algae Fuels Is … When?

Certainly a number of investors continue to bet on the promise of squeezing oil from algae in amounts substantial enough to put a dent in the use of petroleum-based fuels. And dozens of companies and academic labs are busy chasing that dream.

Despite all this, the Rand study’s lead author, Jim Bartis, remained steadfastly skeptical that the technology would be ready for prime time within the next decade — and certainly not ready for widespread military use.

Pa. nuclear reactor shuts down after steam leak

BERWICK, Pa. - A steam leak has shut down one of the reactors at PPL Corp.'s Susquehanna nuclear plant in northeastern Pennsylvania.

France launches 10-billion euro tender for wind turbines

SAINT-NAZAIRE, France (AFP) – President Nicolas Sarkozy said Tuesday France was seeking bidders for a 10-billion euro (13.6 billion dollar) contract to build the country's first offshore wind-power facilities.

"Our aim is to have an outstanding national sector emerge to build the means to produce these off-shore wind turbines and to look towards exporting them," he said in a speech in the western port of Saint-Nazaire.

AP Interview: Gingrich calls for replacing EPA

DES MOINES, Iowa – Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called Tuesday for the elimination of the Environmental Protection Agency, which he wants to replace with a new organization that would work more closely with businesses and be more aggressive in using science and technology.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Gingrich said the EPA was rarely innovative and focused only on issuing regulations and litigation.

Industry Boos Oscar Nod for ‘Gasland’

“Gasland,” a film that turns a harshly critical eye on the perils of natural gas drilling, has earned an Academy Award nomination for best documentary.

The Oscar nod guarantees even wider exposure for the controversial film, which uses images of flames leaping from kitchen faucets and polluted streams to make an argument for the dangers of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a drilling technique where water and chemicals are injected at high pressure deep underground to free up previously inaccessible natural gas deposits.

Author Jane McGonigal explains why 'reality is broken' (Q&A)

I investigated the reasons why games seem to have an increasing pull on us. We're up to 3 billion hours playing online games a week. I realized that compared to games, reality feels broken: it doesn't engage us or motivate us or inspire us or connect us as effectively and reliably as our best games do. This isn't necessarily a problem. Many people are effectively using games as a way to recharge from reality. But I think it clearly points to a problem with reality itself. Why should virtual worlds make us happier than the real world? Why shouldn't we feel as motivated, optimistic, ambitious, determined, resilient, and collaborative in our real lives?

Careful urban planning can help hold line on emissions - study

LONDON (AlertNet) – Cities are often blamed as the biggest producers of greenhouse gases, a concern for efforts to curb climate change as the world becomes increasingly urbanized.

But a new study shows wide differences in carbon emissions from cities and neighborhoods around the world, and suggests that thoughtful urban planning as cities expand could play a big role in limiting carbon emissions.

Why Seattle Will Stay Dry When Your City Floods

What's the best way to adapt to our rapidly warming world? That's the question journalist Mark Hertsgaard asks in his new book, Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth. The following article is the first of a two-part adaptation about how American cities are preparing for global warming.

California, U.S. Agree on Emissions-Standards Announcement Date

The Environmental Protection Agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the California Air Resources Board — the three agencies with primary responsibility for setting the next round of standards on fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions for cars and light-duty trucks — have agreed to announce their proposals for 2017-25 model-year vehicles by Sept. 1, 2011, according to an E.P.A. press release issued on Monday.

CO2 Trading Halt Entering Second Week; EU Registers Still Closed

The European Union has yet to give notice that any of the bloc’s 30 national offices for tracking emission allowances are ready to reopen, indicating a halt on spot trading will extend to a second week.

Waxman Presses Climate Skeptic on Industry Funds

In February 2009, Patrick Michaels, a former climatologist at the University of Virginia who is now a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a conservative think tank, appeared before a House subcommittee to testify on the issue of climate change.

He stated that current climate models “can no longer be relied upon” in predicting future warming and that drastic action to curb emissions was unwarranted — conclusions welcomed by Republicans already disinclined to support the Democrats’ cap-and-trade bill, which was approved by the House that June.

Now Representative Henry Waxman, a Democrat who served as chairman of the powerful House Committee on Energy and Commerce and co-sponsored the bill, is demanding answers on whether the scientist misled the committee on the sources of his financing.

Canada urged not to wait for U.S. on climate plan

VANCOUVER (Reuters) – Canada should push ahead on its own with climate-change policies that would a price on carbon emissions, and not wait for the United States to act, a federal panel urged the government on Tuesday.

Harmonizing the two closely tied countries' rules for cutting greenhouse gas emissions is a reasonable idea, but Ottawa should develop its own rules first because U.S. climate-change policies are currently caught up in political uncertainty, the panel said.

Arctic isn't 'Wild West,' U.S. Navy says

TROMSO, Norway (UPI) -- It's unlikely that the five littoral nations of the Arctic Ocean will go to war over undiscovered oil and gas reserves, an assessment by the U.S. Navy says.

Melting sea ice is exposing untapped reserves of oil and natural gas in the polar regions of the Northern Hemisphere. U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Dave Titley said at an arctic conference in Norway that commercial shipping lanes could open through the arctic as early as 2035.

In the Arctic, Canada willing to fight to keep the true north free

Despite Ottawa’s conciliatory approach toward the mineral and fuel-rich Arctic region, however, Canadians have adopted a confrontational stance.

A new opinion poll finds that Canadians are generally far less receptive to negotiation and compromises on disputes than their American neighbours. More than 40 per cent of Canadians said the country should pursue a firm line in defending its sections of the North, compared to just 10 per cent of Americans.

New shipping rules urged to avert "Arctic Titanic"

(Reuters) - The Arctic Ocean needs tough new shipping rules as a rapid thaw opens the remote, icy region and brings risks of disasters on the scale of the Titanic, politicians and experts said on Monday.

Cold Jumps Arctic ‘Fence,’ Stoking Winter’s Fury

Europe and the United States have had two consecutive severe winters, but it is freakishly warm 2,000 miles to the north.

Survey to probe Arctic ice melt

This year's Catlin Arctic Survey will focus on the thin layer of water immediately under the floating ice.

Arctic ice is melting faster in summer than many computer models predict.

Survey data could improve forecasts of the region's future, and also show how likely it is that the flow of warm water in the North Atlantic, known as the Gulf Stream, will switch off.

This would bring colder weather to the UK and other parts of western Europe.

Ancient mass extinction tied to torched coal

A massive toxic coal ash burn 250 million years ago may have helped lead to the biggest episode of mass extinction in Earth's history, geologists said.

Known as the "Permian" extinction, the event led to more than 90% of marine species recorded in the fossil record disappearing, and 70% of land animals, largely amphibians. The event has been tied to massive eruption of Siberian volcanic fields, at a time when the world's continents were melded into one super-continent, Pangaea.

Local boy from tiny Leland, Iowa, Terry Branstad
is Iowa’s new old governor, more or less like Jerry Brown in California only a Republican.

His brother is local farmer Monte Branstad who managed to get in trouble with the Iowa DNR by spilling silage runoff into the Winnebago River.


Governor Branstad is pushing E15 with a tax incentive proposal that currently applies to E10. The idea is that E10 is old hat and no longer needs the incentive while E15 would benefit if the incentive were applied to it.

Though Iowa produces 3.5 billion gallons of ethanol, state lawmakers have resisted adopting a renewable fuels standard that would mandate ethanol blends in all fuel. Instead, the state has used the tax incentive that gives retailers a sliding tax credit based on the volume of blended ethanol they sell. The credit averages about 1/2 cent per gallon for E10.

Given the success of selling E10 statewide, said Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa RFA, the credit is no longer needed for that fuel. Instead, the group would like to see that now moved to E15 as a way to reduce some of the liability fears that retailers may have over selling E15.


More ethanol politics:

He compared the concern over ethanol's 46-cent-per-gallon tax credit, or the $1-per-gallon credit for biodiesel, with the depreciation and foreign tax credits for oil companies, which he said total $286 billion annually.

"We have to defend our subsidies every year while Big Oil enjoys permanent subsidies buried so deeply into the tax code most people don't know where to find them," Dinneen said.


I didn’t vote for Branstad, but he got elected anyway. His idea is probably a good one since it will likely make Iowa more liquid fuel independent over time. It also makes for an overall transport savings in the economy if ethanol can be used near where it is produced.

And using more ethanol in Iowa reduces conflict with those who resent it and feel they are being forced to use it.

Trouble is, Iowa’s ethanol surplus is so large it can’t be consumed here unless E85 were mandated which will not happen. As it is, Iowa’s farm based economy is doing very well with $6 corn and skyrocketing land prices.

At least until the bubble bursts.

Slight tangent: Does anyone know if new autos will be tested for fuel economy (CAFE) using E15, E10 or just straight unleaded? Since a given car will get less miles per gallon with ethanol in the mix, It will be a taller task to meet the new standards with ethanol in the test fuel.

The EPA gas mileage site lists estimated fuel use for unleaded and E85. Adding 10% ethanol would increase the octane rating over that of just the unleaded, but there are probably other additives in straight unleaded which would effectively boost the octane level. In some vehicles, particularly those with higher performance engines, the increased octane can provide greater fuel economy. Around here, there are some retailers who sell unleaded regular without ethanol at a slight premium in price to unleaded with ethanol...

E. Swanson

Baltic Dry Index (BDI) (-58) 1234
BCI (Cape index) 1447 (-47)
BPI (Panamax index) 1427 (-85)
BSI (Supramax index) 1318 (-53)

... and the fall continues!

Baltic index near 2-year low

Australian officials warned of the risk of further severe flooding in the coming weeks, with a cyclone forecast off the coast. Weather-related problems in Colombia, South Africa, Russia and Indonesia were also compounding coal shipment disruptions.

I noticed several people on TOD actively contribute to Wikipedia page entries, such as paul_the_engineer and others. I have started to do that myself but notice the moderators on Wikipedia are inconsistently anal about undoing useful additions. We are only going to make changes a step at a time so if anyone sees this happening, make a note and others of us can support your additions. Thanks.

...the moderators on Wikipedia are inconsistently anal about undoing useful additions. We are only going to make changes a step at a time so if anyone sees this happening, make a note and others of us can support your additions. Thanks.

Yes, they do tend to revert anything that conflicts with their view of the Conventional Wisdom, e.g. what they read in the East Podunk Daily Bugle or saw on Fox News. It can be quite irritating when they demand citations for things that you would consider obvious to a Subject Matter Expert (SME), because it is difficult to chase down sources in the oil and gas industry that they can access - much of the key information is proprietary and not available to the general public.

They also need a lesson in logical thinking - and fortunately Wikipedia has a lot of articles on the classic logical fallacies. It's just that many of the amateur editors on Wikipedia have never read them and think their reasoning is in some sense logical.

The editing on Wikipedia is poor due to how one gets to be in that place is a combination of a popularity game (aka groupthink) and a willingness to spend time over the years in the wiki 'system'.

Any "truth" you submit should stay around in the edit history - the best you can do is provide the links to the source material and use their silly talk about the page system to point out the source material backing the change.

Otherwise, go to wikia.com, create a group that one feels others would join and start your own wiki there. You get to be in charge of the wiki that way :-)

Good point. The claim on the Peak_Oil page is that no links go to TOD because it is "just a blog". But then you click on the Export_Land_Model topic within that page and you find plenty of links back to TOD, which is perfect because that is the source material location.

So the whole set of rules is completely arbitrary, except to make Wikipedia look like a completely objective view.

Otherwise, go to wikia.com, create a group that one feels others would join and start your own wiki there. You get to be in charge of the wiki that way :-)

A new Wiki site is at http://AzimuthProject.org. This is just gaining momentum and has some great stuff and science-savvy volunteers.

I think you're running afoul of the No Original Research Rule - Wikipedia does not publish original research. Editors can't cite themselves as reliable sources (unless, possibly, they have been published in a widely respected peer-reviewed journal). This is because they are basically at a conflict of interest in the matter. You have to publish it in a widely respected peer-reviewed journal first, and then you can cite it as a source.

Unfortunately, many Wikipedia editors have an exaggerated concept of what "original research" is. If you were to say, "The US currently has 20.68 billion barrels of oil reserves, and produces 5.36 million barrels of oil per day, which means it has 10.56 years of reserves left at the current rate of production" and cite the US Energy Information Administration as your source, some people would revert it as original research because you had to use a four-function calculator to derive the R/P ratio.

Others would think that looking something up in a professional journal rather than seeing it on Fox News constitutes original research, particularly since they have no idea of how to find anything in a professional journal themselves. Neither do the talking heads on Fox News, but they don't seem to think that is a problem.

It can be quite irritating when they demand citations for things that you would consider obvious to a Subject Matter Expert (SME)

You must appreciate the rationale behind this though, surely? Otherwise what's to stop every Tom, Dick and Harry from clogging up any article with their own rubbish 'theory' and citing their own 'expertise'?

What kind of expertise lies behind "the Chewbacca Defense" entry?
This theory/premise is based on a cartoon, but since the wikipedia entry is well-referenced, it gets a pass on any scientific criteria.

What's up with that?

The correct attitude to take is one of force and conviction. You believe that you have good information to convey and if enough people back you on this, it will stay on Wikipedia -- just because you will exhaust the patience of the maintainers. This is pure wisdom of crowds behavior. Sometimes it backfires but that is how 90% of Wikipedia works.

I agree that it does seem like that there are hoops to jump through at times.

But the 'wisdom of crowds' behaviour you describe above is still there. Just because the Chewbacca Defence has a citation doesn't mean that it can't be removed by the general public who think it's irrelevant / misleading.

The point is that it's better to start building up information that can be traced / verified and then censor the article from this knowledge-base than having to second-guess whether a theory has any grounding / background work whatsoever. It helps the 'experts' on the article as well as the mods. It's just good scientific practice, surely?

Otherwise what's to stop every Tom, Dick and Harry from clogging up any article with their own rubbish 'theory' and citing their own 'expertise'?

On Wikipedia, nothing, actually. However the amateur editors often cite some self-appointed "expert" who knows nothing about the field, but has published a popular book on the subject or has been widely quoted in the media. The respected professional journals may completely disagree with his theories, but the public does not have access to these.

If you cite the Oil and Gas Journal, they say, "But I don't have a subscription to that! I can't check the reference." Woe betide you if you have to cite the American Petroleum Association Manual of Petroleum Measurement Standards (API MPMS), the standard industry reference manual - it costs $8,800 a copy, not including chapters 11 and 19 which cost extra. Most members of the general public don't even know it exists, but a professional in the industry would have access to a copy and would have read large parts of it.

And then, as noted elsewhere here, there's the Chewbacca Defense, widely used by people with a weak grasp of logical thinking. Typically they refute the possibility of Peak Oil occurring here on Earth by citing the existence of large lakes of methane on Saturn's moon Titan.

Hmm, yes I can see that is an issue. The trouble is trying to get a balance between maintaining a credible article and trusting the expertise of contributors unknown or 'inaccessible' to the general public.

Just to point out in case you've missed it there's an item in the Discussion page about the Oil ConunDRUM:

In the last week I have twice reverted an addition by WebHubTel. The point being made is obscure enough, but the citation is to an ISBN number that does not exist on Google Book Search, Amazon.com, WorldCat etc.[7] It is easy enough to find, by Googling the title, a blogger saying, "I synthesized the last several years of blog content and placed it into The Oil ConunDRUM".[8]. There is a link to 750 pages of these blog posts on Google Docs, but this neither satisfies WP:SELFPUBLISH ("Anyone can create a personal web page or pay to have a book published") nor WP:V ("Articles should be based on reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy"). Which of the 750 pages of this blogger's opinions are we meant to look at? Is he a recognized expert in this field? I can't tell from WebHubTel's text whether he thinks he's disproved Hubbert peak theory, or verified it, but surely if he has made a significant contribution to the world's understanding of Peak Oil, someone somewhere must have published something about his writings in a fact-checked source. Also per WP:V, "The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material", so it is up to WebHubTel to explain what he is trying to do here before adding this stuff back again. I see WebHubTel has also added the same text and reference to Hubbert peak theory,[9] which I hadn't been watching. --Nigelj (talk) 20:01, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

And here is Wikipedia's entry on their standards for self-publishing:


So I don't think it would be worth picking a personal fight with Nigelj, it's the established standard for Wikipedia.

So I don't think it would be worth picking a personal fight with Nigelj, it's the established standard for Wikipedia.

Agreed. It is the established standard at Wikipedia, and trying to get all your friends to support your edits is not going to get around it. It's liable to get the page locked instead.

This is so damn funny it hurts. The Wikipedia entry for Peak Oil has a figure front and center showing all the models of oil depletion. This was contributed by Sam Foucher of TOD and it includes my Oil Shock Model.
So the blatant hypocrisy is that they show unsourced material from a blog, which they complain about, yet refuse to link to a book that contains source information for this graph.

Haha, well best not poke the hornet nest too much or they'll remove that too!

Re: Oil giant Saudi Arabia looks to alternative energy (uptop)

. . . facing rising domestic energy demand that could cut into its oil exports . . . Saudi Arabia was capable of supplying crude for the next 80 years at current production levels "even if we never found another barrel."

Here is a chart that we did for our 2007 ASPO presentation that shows Saudi total petroleum liquids flat at 11 mbpd (2005 rate was 11.1 mbpd), versus consumption rising at 5.7%/year (note that BP shows the 2005 to 2009 rate of increase in consumption at 6.9%/year).


But here is what actually happened. Following are the actual Saudi production, consumption and net export data through 2006, along with Sam Foucher’s projections for same, that I presented at the 2007 ASPO conference.

The actual subsequent 2007, 2008, and 2009 data points have then been added. For 2010, I am estimating total petroleum liquids production of 10.0 mbpd, consumption of 2.8 mbpd and net exports of 7.2 mbpd (versus net exports of 7.1 mbpd in 2009 and 9.1 mbpd in 2005).

Note that annual oil prices have shown year over year increases for seven of the past eight years (2002 to 2010) and note that all annual oil prices after 2005 have exceeded the $57 level that we saw in 2005. Given that, note the sharp increase in Saudi net exports from 2002 to 2005, versus the sharp decline in Saudi net exports after 2005.

Compared to, for example, the prediction back in 2007:


They are 2-3mbd better off than we thought they were going to be.


I'm pretty sure that the chart that you linked is for crude + condensate. The above projections are for total petroleum liquids.

Regarding C+C, note that the initial observed five year decline rate (2005 to 2010) for Saudi Arabia is going to be about 2.4%/year, which is quite close to the initial five year decline rate for Texas, 2.7%/year:


We shall see what happens in the next five years.

Re: Consumers not yet warming to new light bulbs

Under federal law, incandescent bulbs are being phased out beginning next year when American manufacturers no longer will be allowed to make 100-watt bulbs. By Jan. 1, 2014, the only incandescents left on the market will be three-way bulbs, plant lights and appliance lamps – plus the final, old-school stragglers from 2013 assembly lines which could become pricey novelty items.

Another nonsensical story on the supposed demise of incandescent lamps, with no mention of the latest generation of high efficiency incandescent lamps that meet these new federal standards -- lamps such as the Philips Halogená Energy Saver and Osram Sylvania's Halogen SuperSaver which have been available on store shelves for several years now. Rubbish journalism.


Could you give us some numbers for the efficiency and life expectancy of the new halogens?



Hi Chris,

The Philips Halogená Energy Saver (http://www.lighting.philips.com/us_en/products/halogena_energy_saver/hou...) has a rated service life of 3,000 hours or roughly three to four times that of a conventional incandescent. The 40-watt version produces 800 lumens and replaces a standard 60-watt incandescent (~850 lumens) and the 70-watt version supplies 1,600 lumens and replaces a 100-watt incandescent (~1,690 lumens). Light quality and dimming performance are identical to that of incandescent, although colour temperature is slightly higher (2,900K versus 2,700) and so the light is not quite as yellow.

These Philips lamps currently retail for about $4.00 each (Home Depot) and so are similar in cost to that of a CFL, but for those who want to keep with an incandescent-like light source, they're a good choice.

Osram Sylvania's Halogen SuperSaver lamps are rated at 1,000 hours (http://www.sylvania.com/ConsumerProducts/New+Products/HALOGENSuperSaver/) and are slightly less efficient, i.e., 43 and 72-watts versus 40 and 70 for Philips. They're available at Lowes and retail for about $1.80 each.

For now, the Philips product offers better overall value, but as production ramps up and more players enter the field, cost should come down across the board.


For low usage applications they still have a substantially greater life-cycle cost than the traditional bulbs.

That may be so, in which case you can always install an equivalent wattage appliance bulb, although the difference in cost vis-à-vis the aforementioned Osram Sylvania offering is likely to be modest.

I should note that you can pick up a four pack of 13-watt CFLs at Home Depot for under $6.00 (http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-100687000/h_d2/ProductDisplay?la...) and that utility rebates and/or promotional discounts/coupons can often reduce your cost to near $0.00.


This is yet another political football. Any change in energy efficiency policy will be met with angst from the anti-green gorilla movement. LOL. They want us all to still be burning whale oil for light. (((sarcasm I know)))

My view is that it is time to get lighting down to a more efficient level. Minimal costs are required for CFL bulbs or efficient halogens. Why not save some money and power?

That's my thinking as well, Oct. If you want to stick with an incandescent-like light source, then fine, here's one that uses one-third less energy and lasts up to four times longer; no one is forcing you to switch to CFLs or LEDs. These articles annoy me to no end because you know the author hasn't bothered to do their homework or they just want to stir the pot by engaging in falsehoods and misconception.


Indeed . . . the hyperventilating over "Oh noes, we can't continue using an incredibly wasteful out-dated product from over a 100 years ago!" is ridiculous. You'd think they were being turned into soylent green.

Sorry people. You are being forced to save money on your electricity bill! The horror! You'll pay less money for more light with the newer bulbs. And you'll pay less in air-conditioning since your air conditioner does not need to fight with those bulbs pumping out heat.

And yes, even in the winter when you are heating, it is better to have your heater do the heating since it is more efficient to heat with natural gas, oil, wood, or whatever you use than to heat via bulbs.

I'll give up my incandescents when they pry them from my cold dead hands!!!

"If you want to stick with an incandescent-like light source, then fine, here's one that uses one-third less energy and lasts up to four times longer; "

And they also probably work in the 4 outdoor fixtures I have that are problematic for CFL.

Good to know.

I have have 10 CFLs in outdoor fixtures that have been going strong for 18 months now.

It doesn't rain a lot here, but we have had a few days of steady rain and a few gully-washers now and then.

>90% of my house lighting is CFL, and it has been fine.

Don't remember if you're in a cold climate or not.. I recall PV Guy was in VT/NH for a while. My Outdoor CFL's have worked, but are SLOWWW to warm up to full in the cold.. and then, if they are in a tight enclosure, might actually be more prone to early retirement from overHEATing in those small glass boxes, which has been a deathknell for many CFL's of mine, indoors or out.

Hi Bob

Heat is a killer, for sure. Philips has a couple of outdoor CFLs that reported work well in temperatures ranging from -10°F/-23°C to 120°F/48°C.

See: http://www.nam.lighting.philips.com/us/ecatalog/cfl/pdf/p-5095.pdf

If the fixture is relatively small and has little or no venting (e.g., the classic jelly jar), I would opt for the lowest wattage CFL that still meets my needs and, preferably, one with a service life of 10,000 hours or more. A 7 or 9-watt CFL will obviously generate less heat than a 13 or 15-watt lamp, and longer life CFLs generally use higher grade components that would be presumably more heat tolerant.


I still don't care for them. They are very SLOW to warm up, esp in the unheated shop. And inside I can use the extra heat of standard bulbs most of the year. Even with normal glitches in quality control, I have CFLs with melted ceramic bases from regular indoor fixtures. Plus, as they say about longevity, "your mileage may vary"

Hi Doug,

For an unheated shop/garage, I would recommend an enclosed T8 fixture such as a wrap. You can pick one up at Home Depot for just under $20.00 (see: http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-100654395/h_d2/ProductDisplay?la...). Bear in mind these are residential grade, not commercial, so I'd pop a few extra bucks and get a more robust version from a lighting distributor. I like the Cooper WB series wraps because their lenses snap on to a side rail so they won't fall out and crash to the floor like the ones that slide in and out horizontally (http://webconfigurator.cooperlighting.com/dynamicfiles/specSheet/SpecShe...). Good quality construction and a more attractive low-profile design. For extra energy savings, ask for a NEMA Premium or high performance electronic ballast. Expect to pay $35.00 to $40.00.

Also, stick with a 32-watt T8 lamp as opposed to a 25 or 28-watt energy saving T8 as these lower wattage lamps have a tendency to "raccoon" (shiver) at colder temperatures (preferably an 800 series 5,000K lamp). A 2-lamp 58-watt T8 fixture will supply roughly 5,500 lumens when equipped with a normal output (0.88 BF) ballast; by comparison, a 23-watt CFL might provide 1,500 lumens. Much more light, better light quality, faster warm-up, longer lamp life (30,000 to 40,000 hours), greater tolerance of frequent on-off switching and better lumen maintenance. Much less glare and a more even, shadow-free distribution of light to boot. Lastly, T8 lights don't flicker or strobe like their older T12 counterparts and this is an important safety consideration when working with table saws and other cutting tools.


Cree Banishes Last Century’s Lighting with Revolutionary LED Light Bulb

DURHAM, N.C., January 27, 2011 — Today, 131 years ago, Thomas Alva Edison was granted U.S. patent 223,898 for “Improvement in Electric Lamps and in the method of manufacturing.” Today’s LED lighting revolution heralds the demise of Edison’s 1880, horse-and-buggy-era invention.

In an industry first, Cree, Inc. (Nasdaq: CREE) has demonstrated the brightest, most-efficient, LED-based A-lamp that can meet ENERGY STAR® performance requirements for a 60-watt standard LED replacement bulb. This unprecedented level of performance is the result of Cree innovation, Cree barrier-breaking LED performance, Cree TrueWhite® Technology and patented Cree remote-phosphor technology.


LED's work great as PAR's since they are a point source, but must have a new cluster or lens setup.

Some people simply cannot be satisfied with any technology less than 100 years old.

I assume efficient halogens are good but the ones in my apartment (I rent) in Ireland are terrible.
They fail in almost every aspect v conventional bulbs (now banned in Ireland) as follows:
Cost: €4 for 20W, as against €1 for 100W for conventional last I remember.
Life: They break down all the freaking time.
Ease of use: They are more difficult to replace
Access: It can be difficult to find them in supermarkets.

I've asked about switching to a more efficient source but my mate the landlord won't, citing the cost.
I must admit I don't know the figures for fluorescents or LEDs but I'd imagine they're far superior to the particular halogens we have.

In theory the energy savings and bulb life make the CFL cheaper. Newer CFLs are faster starting and better colored and last longer in my hands. I have been pure CFL since (9/11) when I thought the whole terrorism thing was about energy.

I thought saving energy was patriotic lol.

Two outside bulbs are halogen -- but I have not had to do much with them yet. Will put in CFL or whatever when the time comes there too.

"I thought saving energy was patriotic lol."

Friends made this..


Re: Obama targets oil firms in State of the Union speech

The US president also urged Americans to boost their clean energy consumption to 80 per cent in the next 25 years, a change he wants Congress to support.

Are they also proposing a repeal of the laws of thermodynamics?

"With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels," Mr Obama said in his annual address before Congress last night.

Oh, yes, they *ARE* proposing a repeal of the laws of thermodynamics?

The president urged the US, the world's largest energy consumer, to source the major part of its energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar as well as natural gas, nuclear and "clean coal".

Notedly there was no mention of any need for sacrifice or a need to change our ways and reduce our consumption of energy. The Technocopia Party keeps on running like the energizer bunny, I sure hope they have lots of spare batteries, cuz they're gonna need em!

Umm, I work with solar energy and really wish that was possible, sorry Mr. President, it ain't!

Nuclear power now provide the US with one fifth of its energy, and renewables with a little over 11 per cent.

That growth, Mr Obama hopes, can be catalysed if Congress cuts the tax breaks it currently hands out to oil companies. The president began urging Congress to do so a few months after the BP Deepwater Horizon spill, but proposals to cut those breaks have not been succeeded on Capitol Hill, where major oil and gas companies are represented by one of the US's most powerful lobbies.

"I'm asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies," Mr Obama said. "I don't know if you've noticed, but they're doing just fine on their own."

The president made mention of the fact that this was a 'Sputnik Moment' in our country's history... Uh, I'm thinking it's more like "Houston, we've got a problem!"

Further, he is just defining "clean" to meet his goals. Natural gas may be better than coal (although a recent study seems to refute this", but it is only "clean" in a relatively sense and won't cut carbon emssions sufficiently.

Will the fossil fuels used to produce ethanol also be "clean"?

Suggest we don't set goals to include so called clean coal, unless we are sure this is viable both technologically and economically. Even if it is possible, this doesn't change the fact that a lot more coal will have to be mined because of the resultant inefficiencies. This still leaves the problems of mountain top removal, river destruction, valley destruction, mercury, radiation, etc.

All in all, a perfect illustration of what I expected. Obama, the mass delusion perpetrator in chief.

If he believes all this, he is a fool. If he is not a fool, he is a liar and a coward for not telling people what they need to hear.

And as you, say no mention of things that could really hope like conservation, efficiency, walking, bicycles, and restructured cities.

I get it though. He is telling people what they want to hear but not what they need to hear. Those who tell the truth don't get reelected.

To be fair, however, it would not have mattered what Obama said or proposed. Nothing he wants will be approved by a Republican congress unless he proposes to kill health care, social security, or Medicare..

Clean energy won’t save the world!
Posted on January 26, 2011 by gailtheactuary

"President Obama, why don’t you start talking straight to the American people? Start telling the story as it is. Quit sugar coating the “clean energy” story"

My gut reaction to the speech is that he should tell the truth, assuming he knows what the truth is. And yet, the last President who tried the truth was Jimmy Carter. And we know how that worked out. He was replaced by the master of self and crowd delusion, Reagan. Obama is following in Reagan's foot steps. He is good, if by good we mean good politician.

His call for clean energy is a lie, pure and simple. Just redefine "clean" and it's all good. Obama is a master cynic and the people who saw the speech are buying it hook,line, and sinker.

But does it really matter what he says? Chances of getting through anything meaningful or useful through congress are zero, null, nada.

There is no hope.

My gut reaction to the speech is that he should tell the truth, assuming he knows what the truth is. And yet, the last President who tried the truth was Jimmy Carter. And we know how that worked out.

I appreciate Carter's conservation ways . . . but what he said did not turn out to be the truth. His views were overly pessimistic. Alaskan slope, North Sea, and other oil really came and saved the day. After the 79 Iranian crisis subsided, we did have about 30 years of not much worry about oil.

But it is different now and the situation really is starting to get difficult but no one wants to say anything that turns out to be overly-pessimistic like Carter did.

And yeah, the 'clean coal' stuff is a lie. But he is politician. Politicians lie to us because we want them to lie to us. That is a sa

When Carter spoke oil production had been increasing historically at about 7% per year (although that had begun to fall to about 5%). Had that rate of increase been maintained then we would have hit Peak Oil a long time ago just as Carter said. Carter's oil speeches were in the context of the then current rate of oil production increase. A combination of OPEC cut-backs and substitution of other fuels for oil reduced the growth rate forward and got us this far. Both the North Slope and North Sea were well known at the time.

Jimmy Carter televised speech on April 18, 1977

The world now uses about 60 million barrels of oil a day and demand increases each year about 5 percent. This means that just to stay even we need the production of a new Texas every year, an Alaskan North Slope every nine months, or a new Saudi Arabia every three years. Obviously, this cannot continue.

...The world has not prepared for the future. During the 1950s, people used twice as much oil as during the 1940s. During the 1960s, we used twice as much as during the 1950s. And in each of those decades, more oil was consumed than in all of mankind's previous history.

World consumption of oil is still going up. If it were possible to keep it rising during the 1970s and 1980s by 5 percent a year as it has in the past, we could use up all the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade.

Also although it seems to be common for people to say Carter's energy speeches helped get him voted out of office, the Iran Hostage Crisis probably did him far more damage.

Anyway OPEC decided to conserve their supplies while the UK pumped its new found fields dry as fast as possible for the lowest price. And now we're stuffed. Incidentally the US government bought a lot of this oil at bargain prices and stuck it back underground in the SPR.

FM - Now now. I was also confused at first " U.S. President Barack Obama set a target for power plants to produce mostly clean electricity by 2035". He couldn't be serious. But then it became obvious how he would achieve this lofty goal: "..including power from sources like clean coal and natural gas". What I don't understand is why he didn't set the date for tomorrow. Just as easily done as 2035: simple start using "clean oil" as an energy source immediately. Since "clean coal" and "clean NG" will get us there all we have to do is also redefine oil as "clean".

Wow...what a relief...Mission completed. Now on to solving global warming by producting only "green CO2". Make it so! Wow again: two of our most pressing problems solved before lunch on a Saturday morning. Can't wait to see what we solve this afternoon. Oh...oh...I got it it: I heaarby redefine Blue Bell ice cream as "health food".

Sorry...gotta run to Krogers and start stocking up on health food before they sell out.

Rockman - "clean coal" could be a euphemism for burning coal in a plant with carbon capture and sequestration. But it probably ain't happening.

Valid point Merill. Just as seq. emmisions for oil fired plants would be "clean". We chated about sympathy for the public/politicians. I think I may be at a tipping point. Not only is any sympathy I have left is quickly depleting I may be close to the point of out right hostility. I never expect much from such speaches (either R or D) but last night confirmed that no one (R & D) in D.C. is going to try to make any substantial changes to BAU.

I'm off to a well now and will grab a choc. dip cone on the way at Dairy Queen...the heck with all these self serving buttheads. LOL. BTW...I also recently declared all items at the DQ to be "health food".

Obviously there is a lot of b.s. in the state of the union but look beyond that and I think the language shows a realization of peak oil or at least an understanding of the dangers of the "end of cheap oil". Oil is "the fuel of yesterday" while renewables, coal and natural gas are "clean" i.e. good. Emphasis on mass transit and electric cars. The framing was meant to try and get business on board with these objectives. Not a lot of hope for progress, granted, but interesting that the speech was framed so that oil is the only "bad" energy source.

Lots of talk about deficits, debts, etc...

Why can't we pay off our debts with Iraqi oil? Isn't that oil the property of the US taxpayer? Spoils of war? We didn't invade that country for nothing, or did we? Iraq has $10+ trillion worth of oil in the ground at a $100/barrel. Give the Chinese a trillion, the Japanese a trillion ... etc etc..
Not to sound evil, but we should be pumping Iraq dry before they notice!

Afghanistan too... They must have a few trillion worth of resources... We can divide that up to for these stupid debts...

"Not to sound evil, but"

I'd say epic fail on that one Daddy. But at least you are honest, I'll give you that (Are you directly related to Dick Cheney by chance?).

Sadly, I think your opinion here would be backed by 99.9999% of the U.S. population if they were awake enough to have an informed opinion.

I can't believe you did not re-read and delete this post by now.

I will respond just to keep this up as a reminder for all of those who are still Fat and Happy and want to pretend they are "the good guys"...

(Edit: I wonder, what does the lack or response to daddy's post say about the audience here at TOD... I just fkin wonder...)

I've got mixed feelings about it. I don't think we should have ever gone back to Iraq in the first place, so promoting the bleeding of the country to pay for the invasion seems a bit unethical. But, the deed has been done, so letting the prize slip away seems like a waste.
I honestly would have felt a whole lot better if the Prez. would have said "They gots' a whole bunch of oil, and we's gunna go take it!" It's not "nice", but any student of history knows that the world is a hostile place. Instead we went with the WMD's argument, and then we got there and there were no Weapons of Mass Distraction. And, yet, we're still there n years later. I guess its all smokescreen to protect Civilized folks' from the nasty realities of Realpolitik. Must be easier for them to support "spreading democracy" than "invade and conquer". Delusion is a powerful thing. We still want to believe we are peaceful pilgrims here to bring Salvation to the Heathen natives.
To someone who has worked hard to free themselves from delusion, it's a gross tragedy.

aardy - I just assumed it was sarcstic hyperbole offered for our amusement. Honest.

I thought the same thing at first.

I just assumed it was sarcasm as well. I can't believe he doesn't realize the strategic implications of what he said.

Iraq's neighbors control the majority of the world's oil exports, in addition to which they collectively have the strategic location and the weapons to shut off oil exports from Iraq. If the US said, "We are taking Iraq's oil and you can't stop us", the next day half of the US oil supply would be cut off, and shortly thereafter most Americans would have to start walking to work.

This is why George W. was very nice to "our friends in Saudi Arabia" after 9/11, despite the fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. He didn't want to make the situation worse than it already was. Saudi Arabia controls too much of the world's oil supply.

Yair...I thought he was being fkin facetious!!!

I wonder, what does the lack or response to daddy's post say about the audience here at TOD...

I thought it was sarcasm. And if that's really how daddy thinks then I don't think it's worth my time to rebut him. I'm old enough to start worrying about keeping my blood pressure from getting too high.

Deprive Iraq of oil profits and watch the country blow up. You have to have SOME law and order to plunder a nations resources. I also thought by this time it should be clear that US imperial actions only enrich the military industrial complex while the country falls apart.

nate - I agree with you to a degree. But this is what I meant about reaching a tipping point: I'm on the verge of not giving a hoot about what the president, congress (both R & D) or even my dog "realizes ...appreciates...deems important...etc.” I don’t know how old you are but I’m almost 60. When I started with Mobil Oil my first mentor gave me a thorough lesson in PO (and as I’ve said before we call it the reserve replacement problem and not PO). For 35 years I’ve waited for everyone one else “to get it”. IMHO we are way past when getting it will make a difference. We are out of time. We have to start changing the system now and very radically if we are to pass into the gut of PO without great pain for the masses. We need action today. Not a couple of years after some congressional committee issues a report with conflicting ideas. Not another election cycle or two when “they” are out of power when “we” can call the shots.

I can’t think of anyone who held as powerful a position and “got it” as well as President Carter. And how was his point of view received: they laughed at him and even worse…ignored him. Basically I could care less about anyone’s proclamation that they get it. Do something…NOW.

OTOH I’ve never been a very patient person so maybe it’s just me. LOL

Dang, Rock. You say it like it is. Agreed 110%. Post of the night.

and as I’ve said before we call it the reserve replacement problem and not PO

FYI, I did not call it the reserve replacement problem in my book (The Oil Conundrum) and stuck with peak oil because your mentor and your colleagues never published anything revealing to the public-at-large that you referred to it as such.

For 35 years I’ve waited for everyone one else “to get it”.

Now, put this statement together with the previous statement.

If youse guys don't say anything, we ain't gonna know nuthin'. Capiche?


Web - All true but remember who in the oil patch gets the serious media attention? The CEO's of the public companies not only have't done so but have spent many ten's of millions of $'s pushing the standard: "don't worry...be happy" propaganda. Their job is to keeo folks buying their stock and not to warn them of the end game. I don't have any references handy but I'm sure there have been any number of tech papers written about PO by some oil patch hands. But aside from you and the other 0.1% of the population that would read them they might as well not exists.

IMHO the only folks who'll listen to my ramblings or study your excellent body of work already get it for the most part. But all of us on TOD and similar venues are invisible to the great majority of the public. The same public that readily smile when they watch those cute little deer romp on in those Chevron ads.

I would still like to get my hands on those papers, just to see if there are any hidden nuggets. You know that's why I keed, to get a rise and perhaps coax some references out of a walking fountain of knowledge.

And, aye, that is the role of a wholly-owned corporate media

Web - I can offer a guess why you don't see much written about PO from the oil patch (especially from the grunt level): why waste time reporting the obvious that yopur peers already knows? This may shock some folks but I never hear anyone in the oil patch talking about the reserve replacement/PO situation. The best analogy: when was the last time you saw a medical profession publish a report about the importance of washing ones hands before doing surgery? I doubt you'll overhear a conversation between two doctors about the subject. We're fortunate to have folks on TOD like you, Euan, WT, etc who'll do the dirty work. I certainly won't use up what's left of my gray matter doing so. Sure, I shoot from the hip and mouth off occasionally but that's about my limit.

No doubt the majors have done significant studies along those lines but we'll never see that body of work for two reasons. Companies don't want the competition to see where they plan to focus efforts. But I think an even more important reason is, as I've already mentioned, stock valuation: what CEO of Big Oil is going to put the public on notice of it's increasing difficulty (an ultimate failure) to add to its reserve base? Imagine if the CEO of General Motors had some years put out a press release indicating a realistic vision of his company's future? Obvious folks would have dumped the stock just as quickly as the board would have fired that CEO.

To put it bluntly the grass roots of the oil patch isn't responsible for showing the public the future. We drill wells and make money selling oil/NG. We leave the education of the public to the politicians and academians (any wonder we're skrewed up). You want the truth about life? As we say in Nawlins: Go talk to your priest. LOL

"I doubt you'll overhear a conversation between two doctors about the subject."

I have, between my dad and another surgeon. Not on the importance, but how they were taught. Dad (UCSF) had to rub lampblack on his hands, go into a dark room, and come out with clean hands in 5 minutes. Ben, from Stanfurd, said "They just taught us to scrub". Ben was a few years younger, and antibiotics were in wide use by then. The Sulfa drugs hit the market while Dad was in school, and penecillin came out while he was in the army.

That's almost too much information, Rockman. If I were you I would get a remote starter for my car in case it happens to blow up when I turn it on, and avoid walking into dark alleys in case someone follows me with a silenced 9 mm automatic.

But seriously, folks, pay close attention to what Rockman just said. Go through it line by line and memorize it. He just told you why the oil companies are not ever going to give you a straight answer on future oil production. The oil companies will not tell you what they really think because it could impact their stock prices. The key to it, as Rockman says, is the reserve replacement ratio, and the news there is really grim, which is why the executives won't mention it, and the employees are just too depressed to discuss it among themselves.

I find it really humorous when people cite the BP Statistical Review of World Energy as the gold standard for global oil information because, as their disclaimer says, it contains no proprietary information. The BP Statistical Review is free, and you get what you pay for. The proprietary information is where the money is, and they're not going to release that.

How do I know that? I used to design the software that extracted the proprietary information from their databases. I could tell you more, but then I'd have to kill you. More seriously, they might sue me because I signed non-disclosure agreements, so you won't find out the real truth even from me. I only said this much because I am retired, getting ornery in my old age, not looking for consulting work, and don't have any investments in BP.

True Rocky. But you know why I can break our CODE OF SILENCE (imagine the loud trembling sound of a gong being hit as you read those words). Once folks realize I'm an oil patch hand 98.3% of them will assume I'm lying or at least trying to mislead them. Thus I can hide the truth in plain sight. I'm not retired yet but I work for a private owner who doesn't care what I say. He knows the public won't pay attention to the truth. Heck...that's the basis of our business plan: the public's ignorance only adds to our bottom line. But like me he also gets very upset by the public's willingness to swap blood for oil. Otherwise we would both just be laughing all the way to the bank.

Well, that's true, Rockman. When you're an oilman you can absolutely count on most of the people thinking you are lying most of the time. It's also true you can make a lot of money benefiting from their disbelief. I've made a significant amount of money that way myself.

OTOH the CEO of a major multinational company has to be very careful, because if he was to say, for instance, "We're not finding any oil and the future is looking grim", it could cost him millions in stock options when his company's stock tanked. So he will always be upbeat.

Myself, being retired and having cashed in all my stock options, it bothers me to see people get blindsided by events that are totally predictable. I'm not likely to get caught out, but I've seen a lot of otherwise intelligent people lose their jobs and their houses because they didn't see what was coming. The events of 2008 were a classic example. The events of 2011 may well be similar.

Thanks RMG. Getting some golden information from the two of you.

Rocky - I use to be more sympathetic in my youth. But each day I'm getting a little closer to qualifying for my MOF certification (Mean Old Fart). I've been involved with groups that try to try to help the disadvantaged deal with life. Sometimes the problem has been the lack of education and/or opportunity. But as I've grown older it seems that often the problem is that many are just *ssholes that don't really give a cr*p (this is where the MOF kicks in). What brought to respond was your use of "blindsided". I'm sure many here who did see such situations and they are truly heartbreaking. But I've seen many more situations where folks knew the risks but didn't care. I tried to help a friend of my wife to deal with his upside down mortgage. I quickly learned he wasn't blindsided. He was pretty sure he couldn't maintain payments but as he put it more or less: "What the hell...at least I'll have a house for a while and it will cost less than the apartments his family was paying for". Had an extended family living with him. His basic attitude was "screw the mortgage company".

Just one example, of course. But after the events of 2008 it's difficult for me to accept that many folks in America will be blindsided by the forth coming serious energy crunch. If you walk across a busy highway with your eyes closed and get hit I don't think most folks would say you were blindsided. You decided to ignore the risks. I've always been bothered some by the survival of the fittest attitude some folks have. We are not wildebeest: we can chose to help the weak to survive and thwart evolution to some degree. But when it becomes obvious that much of the problem is self-induced I tend to start leaning back to Darwin: leave the weak behind and move forward with the rest of the pack.

Like I said: a MOF.

"We need action today. Not a couple of years after some congressional committee issues a report with conflicting ideas. Not another election cycle or two"

Or as Chomsky said in the intro video of The Nation's PO&CC series, the last election sealed our collective fate.

That was my take too. My Facebook friends didn't like that message much.

I think Chomsky was being overly optimistic with that statement.

By the time the election came around we had two choices that most of the country considered "reasonable", and as far as methods to deal with energy issues I think we got the better of those two choices (not by much of a margin, though).

The real turning point was the 1980 election where we as a country turned our collective backs on responsibility for the future in favor of feeling good now.

I thought of that just after posting. I guess it is the depth and intensity of the high level of denialism among those who were voted in that really put any meaningful action far beyond our reach even at this very late date.

Doubtless, even if it had been a Dem sweep, the best we could have expected was very weak tea, too little too late...

But now we have no chance of even too little in the right direction and have a near guarantee of a whole lot in the wrong direction.

The reality is that Obama is powerless. Even if we said and believed all the right things, he would be totally stymied by the congress. I understand his strategy. It is not the strategy of hope; it is the strategy of hopeless. All we can do is prepare for le deluge.

Sorry, I can't let that slide by.

The executive has almost unlimited emergency powers. They are staggering in scope and breadth. Frightening really.

And emergency is very loosly defined.

Rock, you're killing me today.

By the way, add one more. We got what amounted to the 'Clean GOM' last night as well, since that dispersant seems to have worked so well that it erased the whole story, not just the slick stuff, tho' I get this uneasy feeling that the 'slick stuff' is still there, it's just in some other guise.

Ice Cream is about my speed right now.. thanks for opening the door! (Ever try it with hot pancakes and (real) Syrup? It doesn't GET much healthier!)


Now on to solving global warming by producting only "green CO2". Make it so!



About CO2 Is Green

CO2 is Green is a 501(C)(4) non-profit organization. Our mission is to support scientifically and economically sound public policy on environmental issues. Currently, we are especially concerned with federal proposals that would interfere with nature's dependence on carbon dioxide (C02).

CO2 is not a pollutant. CO2 makes Earth green because it supports all plant life. It is Earth's greatest airborne fertilizer. Even man-made CO2 contributes to plant growth that in turn sustains humanity and ecosystems.

CO2 Is Green just shows that astroturf is also "green". But, we all know that from watching football on TV...

E. Swanson

The latest data show the opposite:

Global plant productivity that once was on the rise with warming temperatures and a lengthened growing season is now on the decline because of regional drought, according to a new study of NASA satellite data.

Drought drives decade-long decline in plant growth

There you go again. Injecting fact based reality into the discussion.

If I recall the strong yes-we-can rhethoric and see now such a poor performance, there comes Carl Valentin, a famous german comedian to mind, who uttered 90 years ago:

Wanting to be able we certainly wished,
... but being allowed to try we didn`t dare

But then the Nazis appeared and they had a try. ...

well, we may just be getting 80% from clean sources by then. but that in no way implies our total energy use is going to be anywhere near today's levels. if this little peak oil phenomenon plays out like a few people on this site have been mentioning, we may not really need to increase renewables by that much to make them account for 80% of what we're left with 25 years from now.

but really i think anyone can say whatever they feel like about 2035, there's so much that's going to happen between now and then that setting specific numbers on things 25 years out is all talk.

but really i think anyone can say whatever they feel like about 2035, there's so much that's going to happen between now and then that setting specific numbers on things 25 years out is all talk.

Of course. Jimmy Carter said we would not burn any more foreign oil that we burned back in 1977.

Whenever I read these silly statements with percentages in them that first thing that pops to my mind is that there are two ways to get to the 80% level--add more clean energy or reduce the total. If we have 80% of our electricity from clean energy in 2035, it may mean that practically the only electricity left in 2035 is hydroelectric from way back when. The statement may be true, but the implication we get from understanding the hype now may be way off.

Obama targets oil firms in State of the Union speech

I'm asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies," Mr Obama said. "I don't know if you've noticed, but they're doing just fine on their own."

No the oil companies are not doing just fine. Their deepwater drilling platforms are idle and they're not finding any new oil. Deepwater drilling has been pretty much the only game in town in recent years, responsible for drastically slowing the decline in US oil production. In the absence of same you can probably expect a production decline of about 1 million barrels per day in the next decade.

Rather than being a "Sputnik Moment", this is beginning to resemble the voyage of the Titanic. We're unsinkable so why worry? Clean and green and no need to conserve power! Damn the icebergs, full speed ahead!

I'm beginning to detect a large white object ahead in the dark, and I don't think it's the light at the end of the tunnel.

Note that I don't have any pecuniary interest in deepwater drilling companies, I've got my money in oil sands and uranium - but I'm counting on the Chinese to keep that going. I'm just warning other people it's not too soon to start lining up for the lifeboats.

Yes, it would seem the oil; companies that are doing fine are the national oil co's of Saudi, etc. The domestic production divisions of Exxon etc are not doing that well.

I see nothing wrong with incentives for domestic production, regardless of who does it - it is the imports that are the problem.

And having "80 % clean electricity" will do squat to solve that problem.

I see nothing wrong with incentives for domestic production

Government subsidies --especially on the scale that oil & gas are receiving-- provide a competitive advantage to the recipients, and a competitive disadvantage to companies that don't receive them. Another problem with subsidies is, once they're in place, they are almost impossible to abolish (how many "temporary" subsidies added decades ago are still in the tax codes?). That is why I have a problem with them. To borrow a popular conservative meme, it's "government picking winners and losers", and creating permanent bias/distortion in the marketplace. Why not let energy producers compete on a more level playing field, and see what investments are made as a result (e.g., wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, nuclear...)?

Those points CAN be valid, but it's clear that when an entrenched (or 'established') industry has an unfair advantage, that the use of subsidies is of course to 'RE-Level' the playing field to some degree.. it's a dangerous game, littered with errors and abuse, but there are reasons to help out certain choices that might have a long-term advantage, but are hamstrung by short-term disadvantages, such as the above.

And THEN, there are those interests who will loudly complain that the way a subsidy is going to level things out, will make life harder for them.. as in having a new competitor on the block.. which is exactly the idea, no?

Do you toss the new kid in the pool 'Sink or Swim', when there are other kids in the water that don't want your kid to stay above water?

but it's clear that when an entrenched (or 'established') industry has an unfair advantage, that the use of subsidies is of course to 'RE-Level' the playing field to some degree..

I can see your argument here, but how can today's oil & gas industry claim its competitors have "an unfair advantage" today? Maybe in 1870, the whale oil or timber industry had powerful lobbies and an unfair competitive advantage, but in 2011 the reality is quite the reverse, no?

Another problem is, the (almost politically impossible to end) "temporary" subsidies are one of the greatest "unfair advantages" that established industries tend to have over their smaller, newer competitors. This is the big-picture problem I have with all government subsidies (and bailouts) --how do we prevent the subsidies from creating even bigger/worse unfair advantages than they were ostensibly created to prevent in the first place? In many cases the answer is, "we can't".

it's a dangerous game, littered with errors and abuse,

I couldn't agree more.

The oil subsidy should be eliminated because it encourages the depletion of a limited, depleting resource. In addition, it is a resource that pollutes and is a source of further subsidies through military expenditures and the highway system. On the one hand, we mandate mpg standards for cars to discourage use while encouraging production of oil. That is insane.

If anything, we should be providing incentives to discourage its decline rather than encouraging it. That is different from providing subsidies for a resource that has the potential to be longer lasting, clean, and renewable. In any event, the oil lobby is so entrenched and powerful that the subsidies for oil are not going away.

And what is a level playing field, anyway? If oil and prices truly included all externalities, I think you would see gas in excess of $10 per gallon. So, okay, if you take this to its logical extreme by eliminating all subsidies and externalities to reach a level playing field, then let's go for your plan.

But back to square one. Oil subsidies are impossible to eliminate and it will never happen even under a liberal government.

China released their preliminary December crude production last week. Dec production was 17.52 million tonnes. This was the same as November but as December has one more day, December production was down slightly to approx 4.14mb/day. Chinese claimed production was up 9% on December last year and 6.9% for the whole of 2010.

The EIA has finally woken up and updated their ludicrously inaccurate Chinese forecast in the Short Term Energy Outlook. The EIA has upped December Q4 All Liquids Chinese production from 4.14 to 4.40mb/day and for 2011 has upped the forecast from 4.16 to 4.42mb/day then to 4.55 in 2012

An alternative explanation is that the Chinese figures are ludicrous but the EIA has to accept them at face value and alter their projections accordingly. Whatever the cause China appears to have found 260,000 bpd of crude in Q4 alone that the EIA did not expect. If the last couple of years are any guide, Chinese reported production will continue to exceed EIA and IEA projections and both organizations will be playing catch-up. The late Matt Simmons claimed that China was actually post-peak.

See last month's thread on this at http://www.theoildrum.com/node/7242/750865

On the other hand, given that the Chinese have imprisoned an American citizen, of Chinese descent, for disclosing historical Chinese oil data, it's probably pretty hard to verify what is going on:


BTW, have you had a chance to update the Thunderhorse production data? I was wondering what happened after they shut down a good deal of the production for maintenance.

Haven't looked at Thunderhorse recently but I believe Darwinian is monitoring it month by month. I'll dig into it when I have time if Ron doesn't see this. Of course they know we are watching now ;-)

Thunderhorse monthly production thru September 2010. Contract GG14658 is the main field, then I added all the contracts in the secondary field.

Ron P.

Thanks Ron. After being down for some time, there is usually something of a "rebound" effect, but so far at least the production from the main field is still below the March, 2010 level. And notice that water production is at all time high. It's hard to avoid the conclusion that the main field is quickly watering out. And then what happens when the water hits wells in north structure?

WT, I just noticed that the water on the chart is for main field only. When I started the chart it was the only one with any water. Now another contract, G09866, is starting to produce a lot of water. That one, in September, produced 31,369 barrels of oil per day in September and another 13,362 barrels of water. That is 30 percent water cut. The main field has a 45 percent water cut.

The above chart is in barrels per day. I forgot to mention that fact. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, (formerly MMI), report just gives barrels per month so I have to divide their number by the number of days in each month.

Ron P.

october production is available: 206438 bopd, 186891 mcfpd, 53901 bwpd

corrected data.

Tinfoil hat theory could be Chinese are getting oil from elsewhere and they do not want it to look as if they are outbidding the West in such great excess
or it is real production
or it is accounting fraud.

If it is fraud then they are really afraid of the idea that investors know oil is a problem right now.

I have trouble believing China held back production until now myself. So I am thinking choice 1 or choice 3.

China is a communist country they should not be expected to behave the same as a capitalistic country. I guess they planned for how much oil they needed and made the necessary investment but did not invest more. US, UK, Canada, Norway ... are capitalistic countries and investment are driven by profit instead of need. Profit made now is worth more than profit earned tomorrow and a lot more than profit earned ten years away.

US and UK exported oil as much oil as possible and then the reserves depleted and they started to import oil. Norway have chosen to accumulate the excess in funds but they have as for as I now not saved anything for future internal use.

China is a communist country they should not be expected to behave the same as a capitalistic country. I guess they planned for how much oil they needed and made the necessary investment but did not invest more. US, UK, Canada, Norway ... are capitalistic countries and investment are driven by profit instead of need.

China is a communist country in name only. In reality, the Chinese are more capitalistic than most Westerners. They are very heavily driven by profits. However, their bureaucrats do a lot of forward planning, compared to Western politicians, so they are ready for the coming era of scarce oil resources. They have bought up as many of other countries' oil reserves in advance as they could.

Re: Obama's State of the Union Speech

Afterwards, Lawrence O'Donnell observed that it was like a speech that would have been given by the head of a much smaller nation. And indeed, it was a refreshing departure from the usual speech weighted towards foreign affairs, defense policies, and the US' role in the world as the sole superpower bent on spreading democracy, free markets and the American way of life.

Instead, it appears that Obama and his circle have come to the realization that a major responsibility of government is the management of the national economy for the benefit of its citizens. This gives some hope that a rational plan for addressing actual economic, trade and business problems, including energy, will result in the coming years.

While most governments do have the management of economic affairs at the top of their agenda, this has not been true of the United States. The traditional Democratic and Republican positions have been as follows:

  • Democrats: The economy is evil and the main task of government is to regulate it to prevent it from harming people and to tax it with a view to redistributing wealth.
  • Republicans: The economy is good and the main task of government is to not interfere with it except for the occasional subsidy or tax break.

Note that both of these positions are politically convenient in that both parties are absolved from any real responsibility for ensuring that the economy performs well.

It is unclear whether the position that Obama has staked out, that politicians and government bear siginificant responsibility for the performance of the economy, will actually receive support. The Republican response reiterated their position that government should shrink and let the economy evolve unfettered toward whatever future it may have.

It may well be that the politically connected and wealthy that make up both parties recognize our problems and our uncertain prospects for the future. Like many here, they may be pessimistic that national solutions are possible, and they may have come to accept the idea that the era of mass afluence is over. Therefore, they are mostly interested in amassing as many resources here and abroad as they can, in order to better their chances of entering the ranks of the oligarchy, rather than being pushed down into the impoverished masses.

Dems do not see the economy as evil. They see the damage done to the economy and the people by big business. The GOP sees big business with blinders on which resulted in things like poisoned eggs that sickened hundreds of thousands. Then there were the blinders that couldn't see the threat of unregulated hedge funds and things like CDOs which stole billions from peoples 401ks. Somehow the GOP can't see that firing the regulators means coal miners and oil rig workers will die. They can't see how not checking to see that people can afford to pay back the money they borrow harms everyone's pocketbook. Big business has shown time and time again that they will do anything, even if it kills their employees and their customers, in order to increase profits. We need big government to protect us from big business.

And have we already forgotten the gulf oil disaster?

the GOP can't see...

I would add to that list, GOP voters are in denial about (and can't see) their party's involvement to cause their loss of home equity and stock market losses. I have an inlaw that lost his financial shirt in 08, yet still clings to that party like their Gods. Very perplexing.

Very perplexing.

Not at all - the US vs Them model is alive and well. Vilify the them, claim the only alternative is the Us and there ya go.

The lesser of two evils is still evil.

Nothing of much value will come from that speech because that would require cooperation from the Republican congress who is determined to defeat O in the next election.

There may be some common ground in lowering corporate tax rates, further increasing the deficit under the illusion that somehow this means more jobs. Jobs will continue to bleed and unemployment will continue at a high level. The few jobs added will not be the kinds of jobs that one can actually make a decent living on.

Nothing will be done on global warming and peak oil. And congress will certainly not agree to get rid of tax subsidies for oil companies.

Democrats do not believe the economy is evil. That is just silly unless you believe Republican talking points. There is a difference in believing that we should enforce environmental laws and health laws, for example, and thinking the economy is evil.

Obama's speech was good only in the sense that it might help him garner a few more votes in the future. His popularity is fairly high and the main objective was to retain or increase that popularity. Mission probably accomplished as it showed that the Republicans have no ideas other than to cut, cut,cut. On the other hand, how are we going to increase spending on conservation, efficiency, technology, and a lot more renewables with a frozen domestic budget. What are they going to take the money out of, the EPA?

He made vague reference to defense spending but that it what should be cut and reduced. Start by closing down some of the bases we have overseas and getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Have an honest debate whether all this money is really needed to defend ourselves.

Oh, and we are going to compete against the Chinese and "win". Not gonna happen. Does he think this is all going to be possible with a frozen education budget? Even if we had the talent, the Chinese will underbid us every time.

Any attempt to manage the economy, as you say, will be fought tooth and nail by those who consider government management of the economy as socialism.

Instead, it appears that Obama and his circle have come to the realization that a major responsibility of government is the management of the national economy

The use of State power for the benefit of the Economy.....where has that been done before?

Well consider R&D funding for alternative energy. The Democrats will dissapate billions funding academic research and tiny startups because they hate big business and corporations. The Republicans will dissapate billions in R&D tax credits that companies will get for doing completely uncoordinated and conventional R&D that they would do anyway.

Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans would organize and fund a significant energy R&D effort by the major energy industry corporations and their capital equipment suppliers. Yet that is the way that you build an atomic bomb or go to the moon.

Each party in their own way have constructed ideologies that excuse them from responsibility for economic failure.

I agree. Back years ago, there was government-sponsored co-ordinated research among the big companies/academia in the natural gas arena, and that was what led to increases in production, when it looked like the only way with US natural gas production was down. But no one thinks about that route now.

Um, no, not really. You go to the moon by placing hundreds of recruiters at the gates of Canada's AVRoe corp. the day after Cdn stupid conservatives shut down the supersonic Arrow fighter-bomber. You build an atomic bomb by exploiting conditions which caused almost every competent scientist in the world to flee to the US.

The cancellation of the Avro Arrow supersonic fighter project on February 20, 1959, initiated the breakup of the extraordinarily talented team of engineers at Avro Canada, a team that had put Canada at the forefront of world aviation technology with the design and development of such projects as the C 102 Jetliner, the first jet passenger plane to fly in North America, the CF 100 all-weather fighter, and the legendary CF 105 Arrow.

In the meantime, the newly formed Space Task Group at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) facility at Langley, Virginia, led by Robert Gilruth, former Assistant Director of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, was overloaded with urgent work on the Mercury space capsule design. At the time Gilruth was desperate to find experienced engineering personnel to develop the project. Gilruth had been involved in the wind tunnel and free-flight model testing of the Arrow models at Langley and the firing range on Wallops Island and was well aware of the unique capabilities of the Avro engineering team. He was quick to take advantage of their availability and made an arrangement with Avro to borrow a team of approximately 25 engineers to go to Langley and work on the development of Mercury.

The idea was to keep the ex-Avro engineers together as a team, with the intention of returning them when Avro sorted out the future of the company in the light of the Arrow cancellation. On the later demise of Avro Canada, the loan became permanent and the Canadian engineers were integrated into the Space Task Group, later contributing to both the Gemini and Apollo projects.


Conditions not repeatable at all, despite several attempts. The theory that "USA"'s exploits are entirely the result of "USA"'s efforts is at the core of the problems/delusions. They are the result of worldwide efforts, logically largly executed in the home territory of the imperial centre. What form of government or market system operating in the USA has practically nothing to do with it.

When the "Sputnik moment" is mentions, one is tempted to ask, "but where will we get German rocket engineers this time?", considering how badly the Vanguard failed.

But in fact, during the '60s engineers and scientists from many large companies were contributors to the space program. The Bell System's contribution was to form a company named Bellcomm. I'm not sure how many were involved but it must have been hundreds. The technical archives are at the Smithsonian Institution as Bellcomm, Inc Technical Library Collection which gives the bibliographic indexes.

Bellcomm, Inc was a subsidiary of the American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) established in 1963 for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Bellcomm was originally organized to provide NASA's Office of Manned Space Flight with technical and management advice for the Manned Space Flight Program. As the NASA-Bellcomm relationship evolved, the latter became directly responsible for systems engineering and analysis and assisted in the overall spacecraft integration for the Apollo program. Bellcomm's Technical Library provided company personnel with immediate access to technical reports and studies dealing with a wide variety of topic affecting the American space program. When the Apollo Program ended in 1972 the company also ceased operation and the library was transferred to the National Air and Space Museum (NASM).

The reports and correspondence titles identify many of the major subsystem contractors.

The atom bomb project relied not only on immigrant scientists, but it also relied on the US' major construction companies to build Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Hanford, and other complexes. Plants at Oak Ridge were run by companies like Union Carbide and Tennessee Eastman. Dupont operated Hanford.

What are you smoking? Every last action by Obama has been supportive of the oligarchy.

At least the Republicans have a plan of action to restore sanity, by gutting entitlements. The Democrats believe in keeping both the military state and entitlements, which is a sure road to bankruptcy.

And I absolutely guarantee you: if the politicians, in this age of peak oil, think they are going to take away my hard earned cash (or gold and silver, as it were) and distribute it to the elderly and various ghetto/barrio/trailer park dwellers of America, they have another thing coming.

But anyhow, I'll probably leave this zoo well before the mudslinging begins, if it hasn't already.

Only interesting that Roscoe Bartlett (R), peak oil guru, sat next to Nancy Pelosi (D) at the SOTU.

A new report for analysis:


apologies if it's old news..

Solar must obviously be a big part of the future. Hydrogen for vehicles . . . not so much. It is just not very efficient.


Edit: Well, that paper did wisely avoid fuel cells and went with internal hydrogen combustion. But it is still more efficient use electricity directly in an EV than it is to create hydrogen from electricity and then burn the hydrogen in a vehicle.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending January 21, 20

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.1 million barrels per day during the week ending January 21, 212 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 81.8 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 8.8 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging 4.3 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.4 million barrels per day last week, up by 386 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 8.9 million barrels per day, 517 thousand barrels per day above the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 644 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 254 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 4.8 million barrels from the previous week. At 340.6 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 2.4 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 0.1 million barrels and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 3.3 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 2.4 million barrels last week.

What was expected:

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Energy Department on Wednesday is expected to report a 1.7 million barrel increase in commercial crude oil inventories for the week ended Jan. 21, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

...Analysts expect gasoline stockpiles to grow by 2.1 million barrels and supplies of distillates -- which include diesel and heating oil -- to decline by 700,000 barrels. Refinery utilization was forecast to drop 0.55 percentage point to 82.45 percent.

Regarding inventory changes it would be interesting to see such data repesented in hours of consumption instead of bulk numbers. I think more folks could judge the change better if they had said inventories increased 2.3 hours of our daily usage. That probably would seem more meaningful to J6P than reporting millions of bbls.

Just a random thought.

The report knocked prices down from about 35 cents up to just pennies down but they soon rebounded. As I write this, just after noon EST, WTI is up $0.64 and Brent is up $1.88 to $97.13. The WTI-Brent spread is now about $10.25.

There was a bearish report on CNBC just after the numbers came out that OPEC was increasing production by 2 percent. I googled it to find out the details and this was all I could find:
Oil prices advance on rising US optimism

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) could raise output to meet a "two percent" increase in demand during 2011, Saudi's oil minister Ali al-Naimi said.

He added that he expected average oil prices to be around last year's level of $80 despite a recent spike towards $100 a barrel in London.

Ron P.

The WTI-Brent spread is now about $10.25.

New Canadian oil is continuing to flood into the trading hub at Cushing, Oklahoma and forcing down the price of West Texas Intermediate. By contrast, Chinese demand is growing and forcing up the price of Brent. China is expected to take nearly a million barrels per day of Saudi oil this year.

There's no practical way to get Canadian oil to China, yet, but they're working on it.

China interested in Sasakatchewan oil

TOKYO—Canadian National Railway Co. and some Chinese companies are in talks about possible exports of crude oil produced in Canada's inland province of Saskatchewan via railway to a West Coast port, Saskatchewan's energy and resources minister said Monday.


Think what the US economy would look like if WTI were priced right on top of Brent!!


China interested in Saskatchewan oil

The Chinese are not only interested in Saskatchewan oil, they already own a significant share of the oil production of the province. However, at this point in time the oil (mostly heavy) is being refined for Canadian consumption or exported to the US.

What is new is that the Chinese want to start moving Saskatchewan oil to China because Chinese consumption is rising rapidly. Rail tank cars are one way to get it to the West Coast, and then it's a simple matter of shipping it to China.

The Chinese would be happy with this because they would get the oil, the Saskatchewan government would be happy because they would get the royalties and taxes, and Saskatchewan consumers would be happy because the Saskatchewan government would ensure that enough stayed in the province to keep them supplied. American consumers might be not so happy because they would have to find alternative supplies elsewhere.

"Luckily" US consumption dropped by 300kbpd last week and the EIA found an extra 1 million barrels of crude and 280,000 barrels of product by "adjustment"

Had these things not happened total petroleum inventories would have decreased by 1 million barrels instead of the reported 2.4 million barrels increase.

Will also be interesting to see where the increased imports came from later today when the full set of data is released.

WTI is now more than $10 below Brent. About $15 below Tapis and nearly $6 below Alaska North Slope. More at http://www.upstreamonline.com/marketdata/markets_crude.htm

And a $9 spread between WTI and Louisiana Sweet, versus less than $2 a year ago. As of this morning, WTI is the only global spot price that is below $90.

wt, what's the word on this increasing gap? They're the same grades as a year ago, so what's changed since last year to substantiate the increasing spread?

I was thinking that local means something in oil markets. I also began to think that California is the result of exploiting Alaskan fields, since it is the best land nearest to the Alaskan oil.

So with US demand down due to the poor economy, the oil traded in the US is worth less money.

The trick will be for Canada to learn how to export its oil to China or India via a pipeline or port system that presently is not there. Then once Canadian oil can go to China easier the US/North American market may lift up to higher oil prices seen for Brent.

I am an amateur here though ;-)

Well, there is one simple way for Canada to get more oil to China, that doesn't involve any new pipelines to the coast. The Cdn and Alaskan oil companies should just arrange a "swap". The Cdn oil companies buy the Alaskan product and ship to china from Alaska, and the Alaskan co's buy the Cdn product and ship to the midwest/Gulf coast via the Keystone and Keystone XL pipelines.

Each product is then shipped to the market it is closest to, instead of crossing paths on the way to the markets they are farthest from.

Works out well for everyone - except California - who are the main recipients of Alaskan oil, but they can always drive electric cars, or something.

They would have to send almost all of Alaska's production to China to make much of a difference. I think that would make many Americans upset. Note that Canada is now delivering about four times as much crude oil to US refineries as Alaska, and Canadian volumes are steadily growing while Alaskan volumes are steadily decreasing.

At some point in the not too distant future, Alaska oil volumes will fall to near-zero when they have to shut down the Trans-Alaska Pipeline due to insufficient flow. It will freeze up in the winter if flow rates are too low.

Agreed RMG - the place that will still have the real problem is California. When Alaskan oil is gone, and Canada is shipping to China, where will Ca get is oil from?

Other thing about Cdn-US exports is that Canada still imports almost 1mbd onto the east coast from elsewhere. So while we do export 2mbd south, the net exports are only 1mbd.

When Alaskan oil is gone, and Canada is shipping to China, where will Ca get is oil from?

From Canada. However, they are going to have to bid against the Chinese for it, so I think people in California should plan on doing a lot less driving in future than they did in the past, because they won't be able to afford to drive very much. In retrospect they shouldn't have abandoned their interurban rail network, which at one time was the biggest interurban electric railway system in the world.

Other thing about Cdn-US exports is that Canada still imports almost 1mbd onto the east coast from elsewhere. So while we do export 2mbd south, the net exports are only 1mbd.

Actually, we export about 2.5 mbpd south if you include products. Most of the big Atlantic Coast refineries specialize in importing foreign oil and exporting the products directly to the US. The Canadian market is a minor part of their business.

If foreign oil imports into Eastern Canada are curtailed, the biggest losers will be US consumers and Atlantic Coast refiners. I'm thinking of Irving Oil in particular. They own the biggest oil refinery in Canada, most of their oil comes from Arab countries (particularly ones the US is not on good terms with), and most of their output goes to the US.

What you really want to look at is net imports of petroleum products from Canada (that is, imports minus exports, and including refined products besides crude). EIA shows them here. For Canada, the graph looks like this on a monthly basis:

And this on an annual basis:

The impression one gets is much more of stalled imports from Canada, starting about 2006. We are importing more than what Canada produces from the tar sands. Canada is an importer of oil, so some of what we get is either Canada's imports, passed through after additional processing, or oil produced in Canada that they have available because of Canada's imports from the North Sea and Saudi Arabia, etc.

I wouldn't get concerned about what appears to be a pause in Canadian exports because it is somewhat temporary in nature.

First of all, some big East Coast Offshore fields were put on production in the early 2000s when prices went up, and by 2008 these had started to decline (it is characteristic of offshore fields that companies produce them as rapidly as possible to recover their investment). Now that oil prices are back up, the companies are going to drill up the satellite fields and we should see another, higher peak in offshore production shortly. However, the next peak is going to be the last one because there's nothing much left to drill offshore of Canada's East Coast.

Second, the oil sands companies deferred some of their oil sands expansion projects in 2009 when oil prices fell. However, now that oil prices are back up, companies are moving to build these deferred projects. Imperial Oil/Exxon Mobil has 30 loads of overwide, overlong, overheight and overweight equipment sitting on the docks at the Port of Lewiston, Idaho, with a further 170 loads on the way from Korea, waiting for permits to move them to the Canadian border, after which they will move them to Fort McMurray for their Kearl Oil Sands project. In Alberta, loads this big are routine, but it's a new experience for the people of Idaho to see things this big on their highways.

Mega-Loads: Ready to Roll, or Back to Court?

ITD [Idaho Transportation Department] employees testified no one could ever remember a permit being challenged, so the steps to follow weren't clear. The agency issues thousands of special permits for the area each year, although Laughy says the sizes of these shipments are larger than anything ever approved to move along the two-lane highway.

I've driven that road many times. Lolo pass with something like that behind you?

Like the song says;"You don't have to be crazy to drive the Black Bear Road, but it helps."

I never know whether to believe the stuff the Telegraph publishes or not, but...

US trader Hetco drives up oil price

An American trading group reportedly building up a "huge" physical position in North Sea oil has driven London Brent prices above $98 a barrel.

Oil prices follow stock market higher

Sandy Shore, AP Business Writer, On Wednesday January 26, 2011, 1:03 pm
Oil prices rose Wednesday as investors focused on President Obama's ideas for more jobs and overhaul corporate taxes.

Benchmark oil for February delivery added 68 cents at $86.87 a barrel in midday trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

So much of increased inventories and promised additional Saudi oil reducing oil prices?

That was a short honeymoon.

Yes, we have those unexplained oil inventory adjustments again from the EIA, which have now accumulated to about 11 million barrels added over five weeks. Since we don’t need the advanced statistics skills of some posters to realize that adding inventory ‘adjustments’ weekly is statistically unlikely, we can conclude there is some flaw in the preparation of the report – that did not exist until late last year.

The biggest anomaly in this week’s report was an unexpected increase in imports of 500,000 bpd from Iraq. I did not expect that and I presume it came from western/northern Iraq - as it was not consistent with Arabian Gulf shipping reports. Despite what the average American might think, imports from Iraq to the US have been recently, well, rather paltry. This week’s numbers are a departure from the new (low) normal which is post war Iraq.

Still even with that gift of extra oil from Iraq last week, oil imports may not keep up with demand. Net product imports are running well behind last year (700,000 bpd less in the latest four weeks as compared to last year). In other words, US oil imports must increase over last year just to keep up with falling product imports and rising product exports. Then the US must also increase imports too for any growth in the demand for oil. Gasoline demand has been running at least 1% over last year, so there some, albeit small, amount of growth in the US economy.

Although OPEC may indeed be increasing its ‘output’ by 2% in 2011, that extra output will not necessarily end up as exports, and out of those Middle East exports more and more are going to China. In fact there was a mini-surge in exports to China there in mid-January, which appears to be explained by China ordering in advance of some upcoming holidays. However it does not yet appear that a large surge in mid-December Mideast exports to China is yet reducing arrivals of imports into the US – as there may be up to a six week oil tanker transit time from the Mideast to the US.

This afternoon, the wholesale diesel and gasoline market was unpleasantly greeted with news of another shutdown of North American refinery capacity. This is a subject in itself, so I won’t go into the reasons here, but you can get a better picture from the links below. Therefore any dim hope that the net product import/export balance will improve in 2011 is probably now a distant and fading dream. Platts Oil reported today that it expects growing diesel demand from South America to be met by exports from the US. It may be just a matter of time before the US eventually becomes a net exporter of oil products. This has the benefit of keeping refineries busy; however the strategy of selling products to the highest bidder could leave the US short on supplies later in 2011 – for products such as gasoline and diesel. So in sum, as I said before, for the US, 2011 will be the year of living with a dangerously low amount of oil imports – that are inadequate in the long run, no matter how ‘comfortable’ supplies look at present.

HOVENSA L.L.C. to Close Some Units and Reduce Crude Oil Distillation Capacity


Hovensa's St. Croix refinery mothballs older units
Jan 26, 2011 2:30pm EST


The refinery you reference as dropping from 500,000 to 350,000 barrels a day in capacity is in the Virgin Islands. Anything we get from it shows up as imports from the Virgin Islands (regardless of where the oil came from--I suppose Venezuela would be a likely guess). It looks like imports were already down from there, so it may be that the capacity wasn't being used much anyhow. Our imports have been way below 350,000 barrels a day recently--261,000 bpd last month.

Yes indeed, good point about output slipping at the units closing. In the last few years over time, refinery problems in the Vrigin Islands have been more numerous, especially in the last few months. Still I believe there was some expectation that output was going to resume, so maybe that is why there has been some disappointment.

Trying to keep up with daily events, during the undulating plateau, is enough to make a man crazy.

New-home sales in 2010 fall to lowest in 47 years

then you read:
Sales of New Homes in U.S. Rose More Than Forecast

Dow hit 12,000 for the first time since 2008, and consumers are opening up their wallets.

The news is less cheerful across the pond.

So now we're told to expect inflation to continue to rise this year and that the real term value of incomes will be falling faster than at any point since WWI.

As the ship of SS UK slips under the waves, we'll try and keep a commentary going for those of you lucky enough to be on the outside looking in.

The only ray of sunshine is that with the recent spell of warm weather, we haven't used all our stored gas yet.

George Soros doesn't think much of the government cuts.

Soros Forecasts Recession in U.K. If Deficit-Reduction Plan Is Implemented

Billionaire investor George Soros, who reportedly made $1 billion selling the pound in 1992, said the U.K. government will have to rethink its budget deficit- cutting plan or risk pushing the economy back into recession.

“They will probably have the sense that they will have to modify it when the effects are felt,” Soros told reporters today at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. The plan cannot “possibly be implemented without pushing the economy into a recession.”

Britain’s economy unexpectedly shrank 0.5 percent in the final three months of 2010 as the coldest December in a century hampered services and retailing, data showed yesterday.

Never mind. Looks like loads of us are just giving up and dying of swine flu (and/or freezing to death) anyway.

If the government can encourage more of us to just do the right thing and die then just think of how much more energy there will be for the rest of us.

How influential is the BNP? Are they winning more seats? Do you think they will become more powerful as hardship increases? They seem to be the only political party that open acknowledges peak oil.

I don't pay much attention to the BNP. I do expect their vote to go up though as things get worse but I am not expecting them to be a major political force any time soon though. If/when things get really bad then all bets are off.

How influential is the B.N.P.( British National Party )

The answer quiet simple is not very popular, What support they do have is from the working class in the more culturally enriched area, usually the places with heavy Muslim populations. The MSM the BBC being the worse vilify them every possible chance they get. Xenophobe Islamophobe Racist, and right wing fascists being about par for the course. The Government tried to put Nick Griffen the leader of the party away for a few years a couple of years ago when he said that Islam was vicious and evil religion or some such words at a private meeting. I can't remember the exact wording of the charge something to do with defending the rights of some minority. They tried it once and he got off, then they tried it again and he got off. There is a lot to be said for jury trials cost the government millions. I am personally very ashamed of my Government, Political blasphemy trials do no sit well with me.

The chance of wining seat in the British Parliament is a big ZERO, like America it is first past the post system and you need to win about 20% of the total votes before you even stand a chance of winning a seat. They have two Euro MPs but the voting system there is proportional representation. They have an excellent website, recommend it and was when I checked last a year ago they were receiving more hits than the other parties put together. They are by the way the only party that acknowledges peak oil.

Whether they become more powerful as hardship increases that is hard to tell, the Government a few years ago bundled all the old emergency powers acts into a new act can't remember the name and got rid of the treason act so the powers that be have been expecting something to happen for a long time. They did get a lot of support when the one eyed Cyclops Prime Minister Brown got up and said British jobs for British people and immediately after an Italian firm who had won a contract at an oil refinery brought in its own labour force and lodged them on a ferry. Britain is in a very bad state politically at the moment. The voters feel they are not listened too they are bitter resentful and more than a little bit cynical they feel powerless while the politicians seem to be in denial spouting the same old boilerplate drivel.

The only thing I can tell you is that there are going to be very rough times in the not too distant future Britain is rapidly approaching third world status, as a nation and it will only take a pensioner to burn himself too death and we might end up like Tunisia.

Its not the country I grew up in and at the moment I am certainly not proud about it

One things about this government is it makes sure to burn its bridges behind it as fast as possible. Harriers scrapped, carriers scrapped, everyone sacked this April etc.

And here we go scrapping some more brand new never flown hardware.

Nimrod aircraft scrapping starts at Stockport BAE factory

Work on the controversial scrapping of nine multimillion-pound Nimrod aircraft is under way at a BAE Systems factory in Greater Manchester.

Diggers moved in to dismantle the empty aircraft behind large screens at BAE Woodford, Stockport, on Wednesday.

Unions have criticised the decision to break-up the planes, which is costing the Ministry of Defence (MoD) £200m.

...Unite national officer Bernie Hamilton said: "The lunatics have taken over the asylum when the government orders the Ministry of Defence to break up £4bn worth of world-class defence equipment.

"The decision to scrap the Nimrod leaves a huge gap in the UK's defence capability and is a betrayal of the workers that played a part in its manufacture."

An MoD spokesman said: "Ministers and service chiefs have made clear that the decision in October's SDSR (strategic defence and security review) not to bring the Nimrod MRA4 into service was difficult, but it will not be reversed and the dismantling process is under way.

Loads of bankers bonuses for our masters though.

We just let gravity and vandals take it. No sense wasting good fuel on demolition. Try these grim, arresting photos of Detroit.

Try these grim, arresting photos of Detroit.

Probably a representative look into a post peak oil future. How much for the Salvador Dali lookalike melting clock? That's cool looking!

Detroit also makes a good backdrop for Detroit 187.

Hey Pri-DE;
Regarding your following post, if you go into it in Edit and put a space at the end of the Link, it should become clickable. Great pix, and good work! .. but the decline shots are still very compelling too.


Please don't engage in such decline porn if you don't know the full story. This is also Detroit: http://www.facebook.com/pages/PRI-De-Permaculture-and-Resilience-Initiative-Detroit/183237338284?v=photos&ref=ts#!/album.php?aid=194871&id=183237338284

Given, the photography and photographer for the Detroit photos were excellent. What grabbed me also was the breadth of the institutions/places photographed. Not just old auto factories, but schools, churches, banks, residences, municipal buildings. Not your standard dilapidated mom and pop storefront.

The obvious prior wealth, the builder's/building's vision of the future was quite a juxtaposition.

It contrasts even better with the greenbelts that are trying to emerge.

The value in discussing what Detroit is and will be is not in the decaying buildings, but in the survival despite the long, slow Katrina that has been the last 60 years and in the hope still there.

What history has provided is the first large city in the US, maybe the planet, that has the potential to demonstrate what cities of the future might become. There is water, space, resources that can be recycled and reused and a population in need of something to do. Detroit could make Havana look like a sustainability piker in comparison.

If people were interested enough in the experiment and if the city gov't wasn't in the process of trying to re-inflate the growth balloon due to the leadership of a businessman who thinks people and neighborhoods exist to serve business interests.

But Kresge, Dave Bing, Marja Winters, and the rest don't call me, nor do any of the other businesses or organizations involved in Detroit Works.

Go figure.

Anyone interested in a collaboration to offer an alternative redesign of the city, contact me.

If they leave the things lying around then someone will reverse the decision and they will be around another 30 years.

They are well, well, past their scrap-by date and getting rid is the most sensible thing to do - although I'd use them in trials and blow them up.

a declining energy standard of living in slow motion

The irritating thing is both are true. It is just how you spin the data.

"Oil giant Saudi Arabia looks to alternative energy"

this is good news. the shrill cry here is usually who will have the capital? the oil companies and producing nations.

And confirmation of the validity of the Export Land Model. It is an admission that they cannot keep the rest of us fully supplied without alternative energy.

This is something people commonly forget about Iran: they also have a legitimate, perhaps desperate need for civilian nuclear power as a means to free oil for export.

They have got more than enough gas

They had identified the need back in the latter part of the 20th century.

What I find interesting is how few pro-nukers rush in to support Iran and its fission plant plans.

Its almost like fission energy has problems .... or somehow its only for the "right kinda people".

Wonder how Tunisia is coming along on their fission plant plans?

How about support for Egypt's atom splitters these days - vs say last month?

"Its almost like fission energy has problems .... or somehow its only for the "right kinda people"."

It is only for the right kind of people. Ones who are disciplined, patient, meticulous, thorough, fanatical about following the rules, and don't expect for the local deity to run it, and do not let the local political officer run it to make the local politicians look good.

"disciplined, patient, meticulous, thorough, fanatical.."

I didn't know the Boy Scouts had one!

RE Saudi, Staurt and Euan

Few years back (when I was a lad), I enjoyed the series of exposes and debates on Saudi production that you guys posted over a period of a few months. It was a fantastic incite into where their production appeared to be at, what state their wells were in and what the future might hold for production.

Now a few years on that all seems to have been forgotten or at least well hidden by Saudi press eg top story, but given the conclusions reached in that series you both did it appeared that Saudi was on the cusp of something:

1) water cuts looked very high.
2) Advanced recovery methods looked to be in advanced stage
3) Gas caps were being blown
4) nasty heavy and/or sour wells were being re-visited


Do either of you have some new incite / info or analysis that would let you compare earlier predictions with current state or are you planning on any articles in the near future,

kind regards,


Regarding Sam's work, you might want to take a look up the thread:


No, I had already given that info careful consideration. Thats why I'm asking because if anything the production graph (albeit noisy year to year) is looking not too bad from a Saudi viewpoint despite the negative outlook concerning the points I mention that Staurt and Euan raised a few years back.
i.e. they offer up no evidence of any production collapse.

Of course we are short by a couple of billion barrels of oil--the gap between what they would have (net) exported at the 2005 rate and what they actually exported from 2006 to 2010, inclusive--and as noted up the thread, the initial observed five year Saudi decline rate is quite close to the initial five year decline rate for Texas, but we shall see what happens in future years.

Stuart has his own blog now; you're probably better off asking him there. I don't think Euan reads the Drumbeats regularly, so you might try asking him in one of his threads (assuming it's on-topic).

I believe Stuart came to believe that Saudi Arabia actually could increase production, but it wasn't as easy as just turning on the taps. They had to build new infrastructure first, and that takes time. Hence, they could not quickly increase production when prices spiked, but neither was there a "nosedive into the desert."

Splitting the bill: State eyes private sector, bank revival to press growth

Other than 2008 when prices soared to record peaks near $150, an average price above $80 a barrel in 2011 would be the highest annual price recorded this decade. Still, oil production, set to rise to 8.48 million barrels per day (mbpd) from 8.2 mbpd in 2010, remains well below the average 9.1 mbpd produced from 2004 to 2008.
We estimate public and private sectors will need to invest SR1 trillion to build capacity in power and water through 2032 just to keep up with demand. Measures to curtail overuse are therefore crucial. In July 2010, SEC raised tariffs for commercial and industrial users by 9.6%, while excluding residential users from the change. The company is still selling electricity 3.5% below production cost.

Title doesn't do the article justice. Covers wide variety of Saudi sectors: finance, construction, manufacturing, agriculture, trade, transport, inflation, debt, outlook.

A site I found interesting and I agree with their aims:


Fortune magazine just added 712 billion barrels on Obama's SotU disrespect of crude oil energy.

Alarms about peak oil are still sounding in certain circles, but the world, for now, is still awash in petroleum. There are many oil reserves around the globe that remain untapped, and explorers continue to discover new fields deep beneath the earth's surface. Depending on how the controversy surrounding the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge turns out, the U.S. could exploit oil reserves in the area.

Steve Forbes learning new metaphysics for 2012?

I am convinced that ANWR is going to be saved for a rainy day. Senators know the real reason why. That place will never be opened up until we desperately need it.

Fueling SUVs is not desperate enough. If only people knew why gasoline was expensive.

I thought long ago that the best use would be for our military forces

Oct - Let's hope those clever politicians realize it would take 10 to 5 years (at a minimum IMHO) to bring such an area to max production rate. If we hit that hypothetical "desparite" moment in 2015 then ANWR won't likely make a significant difference until 2025...at the earliest IMHO. Probably long after those politicians are run out of office. And I would think they know that.

Good point on production lags. That is an issue. I guess timing is everything on when they decide to initiate drilling there.

I am for environmentally sensitive drilling (if done right) but I also would like a little oil to be left for my kids too.


Oct – It really is a classic damned if you…damned if you don’t. Imagine if they had developed ANWR hard 10 to 15 years ago. We might not have had the price spike in ’08. But then we would have floated on the extra cheap oil and still have done nothing about PO. So the TSHTF 10 years or so later…but it still hits and we're not any better off than we are today. “Saving it for our children” hits me right between the eyes. Though an old fart I do have an 11 yo daughter I adopted in China 10 years ago. In 7 years she wants to go to vet school at Texas A&M. But where will our world be in 7 years? With some luck I will probably be able to support her effort. But then what? What will her world be like in 20 years…30 years? We have saved ANWR (whatever really is here) for our children but when do we cash that check in? If we had been able to put another 2 million bo (a huge maybe IMHO) wouldn’t today’s children be in a better place. But what about the kids born 10 years from now? Or 20 or 30 years from now? There doesn’t appear to be an obvious answer IMHO. It’s no likely I’ll make it to the average life span so I won’t have a problem taking care of myself for as long as I have left. But what about my daughter? And her children? I just can’t see a good answer floating around out there.

Sorry for the deadly serious reply. Yep: often torn between LOL and tears. But getting more pissed off every day.

I feel the same way, but I am no geologist. I am convinced there is a serious oil problem and now I consider all the old political items like ANWR and off-shore drilling near CA or FL.

I imagine these final taboo lands and waters will need to be drilled to prevent misery but when and how is not clear.

Yes, I think about my children and there futures more and more each day.


How much oil is estimated to be in the ground, and how much of that is estimated to be recoverable at $150/bbl?

Didn't USGS or some such agency de-rate their reserve estimates for NPR-A by 90% last year?

If so, what, if anything, does that indicate about ANWR's potential?

I haven't heard anyone beating the drum to open ANWR in the political gab-o-sphere like they used to a few years ago...maybe there is no there there?

IIRC, previous postings on these subjects on TOD indicated that AK may have a lot of NG, but not so much more unproduced oil.

Same same with the Atlantic and Pacific OCS...from the stuff I remember reading, not much there there either.

I would guess that the drilling at ANWR will be set by the potential closing of the Trans Alaskan Pipeline. Apparently, shipments are fast approaching the miminum operating level. A decision will have to be made fairly soon.

Or if the pipeline is in too bad shape to be used for the number of years required to pump out ANWR, it seems like ANWR oil would be effectively stranded, since the amount wouldn't justify building a new pipeline. Or would ships be an option? Has anyone looked at this in detail?

Ice breaker tankers would be needed and yes that was explored before the pipeline was constructed but decided not really practical.

Quick search turned up these two links


The Fortune article Where the oil is: 6 huge untapped fields:

Most of these fields are not untapped, nor are they anything new. We've known about them for a long time. The main reason they are not being produced is that they are very problematic.

Mexico: Chicontepec Basin - This field has been known since the 1930's. The main reason it has not been developed is that it is very expensive. Mexico is trying to develop it now that its Cantarell field has collapsed, but they're not having much success. The Mexican constitution prevents outside companies from investing in it. Mexicon's production is declining rather than rising.

Venezuela: Orinoco Belt - This region has huge amounts of oil, but it is more similar to the Canadian oil sands than a conventional oil field. Unlike Canada, Venezuela has neither the capital nor the technology to develop it, and political problems are preventing outside companies coming in. Venezuela's production is declining rather than rising.

Brazil: Santos and Campos Basins - This is a rather new development, and Brazil has the capital and technology to develop it, in addition to which it has no qualms about calling in outside companies to help. Score 1 for Fortune.

Iraq: Supergiant fields in Iraq's southwest desert - This is more a desert mirage than an oil field. Nobody has drilled these southwestern deserts, and until you put a drill bit into an oil field, you don't know it's there. They're assuming Western Iraq is just the same as Eastern Iraq, which is a pretty rash assumption. It could be gusher, it could be a duster. I wouldn't bet money on a gusher. They're counting 100 billion eggs as chickens before they're hatched.

Kazakhstan: Kashagan Field - Kazakhstan used to be part of the former Soviet Union and they took more than their fair share of the oil fields with them when they left. This field is technically difficult to develop, but Kazakhstan is willing to let the big multinationals try, and the big multinationals are willing to give it a shot. Score another 1 for Fortune.

Ghana: Jubilee Field - Well, this is a nice big field, but in no sense a supergiant. The politics of Ghana are problematic and the oil companies are not sure what they own and when it will be taken away from them. If all else fails, the Chinese will come in, bribe all the generals, and take all the oil away. Semi-huge and semi-untapped. I would give Fortune a 0.5 on this one.

Overall, Fortune scores about 2.5 out of 6, so I would give them a "D" on this test. That's generous.

"Production in Iraq dipped dramatically during Saddam Hussein's rule, especially throughout the Gulf Wars. "

Lol, what a "funny" way to say things, and overall completely false of course

While Nissan says the LEAF can travel 100 miles on a single charge, the EPA recently downgraded this to 73 miles.


But it's a little more complicated than that. Testing by the EPA under real world conditions reveals that the LEAF can get anywhere from 47 to 138 miles depending on the driving style, traffic conditions, weather and whether the air or heater is being used.


This is consistent with my prediction that real world range will be between 50 and 60 miles if one wants to keep the battery for more than a few years.

That has been my experience with electric cars. The range varies greatly depending on things like how many passengers are in the car, and whether you have the heater on. It's just not something normal drivers are used to thinking about.

Today as I ate dinner watching the heavy snow come down in the DC area here, I took interest in the unfolding traffic disaster on the beltway. Traffic stopped for hours, snowing like crazy, cold and windy, dark (headlights). I wondered what would happen if even 25% of those people had LEAFs. I can only imagine it would be a crisis of epic proportions. You'd have a ton of cars with dead batteries and no effective way to get them off the road at all. I can already see mass calls for governments to ban electric cars without a gas backup engine as soon as the first large scale disaster like this happens.

It is clear that the Leaf will take off in more temperate areas.

Only air conditioning is a problem and honestly who needs it most of the year?

Heavy snow causing lots of problems, like truck jackknifing, but Congress has not outlawed trucking during snow storms yet.

Life is tough. Best to just deal with it.

Some real disconnects in ty's thinking here.

A stopped electric car uses zero energy. So why would the batteries run down?

The unknown always seems scary, but I would hope that people on THIS site, at least, wouldn't come up with such completely idiotic non-problems to worry about. EVs have plenty of other problems, but running out of juice while standing in traffic need not be one of them.

A stopped electric car uses zero energy. So why would the batteries run down?

The trouble is that the electric resistance heater in the Leaf uses a lot of electricity. If people turn the heater and/or defroster on, they will kill the battery in a few hours whether they go anywhere or not.

By contrast, the heater in a gasoline car runs off waste heat from the engine, so it can heat the car and defrost the windows more or less "for free" - i.e. it doesn't take much more gasoline whether you use the heater or not.

As a rough estimate, I would say the battery in the Leaf would last about 5 hours if the heater was on, whereas a gasoline car would last for about 2 or 3 days at idle. This could be an important survival factor in rural Northern areas because help can take a day or more to arrive in a bad blizzard.

I know that most people aren't the most 'technical' and all.. but noone in an EV is going to blithely run their battery down with the heater without being keenly aware of the implications of that. It seems likely that what would develop is that EV owners in cold places (who are unlikely to be THAT far out on remote highways in the first place) will have the requisite blankets and probably some pocket heaters or even a camping stove or other such chemical heaters as the safety gear in their vehicles.

Personally, I want to have an extra set of pedals in my EV (dreaming here) on a bike-generator setup, that would let me keep warm with exercise, while trickling a bit MORE juice into the car. Then again, I want an EV that's light enough to MOVE with pedals in the first place.

but noone in an EV is going to blithely run their battery down with the heater without being keenly aware of the implications of that. It seems likely that what would develop is that EV owners in cold places (who are unlikely to be THAT far out on remote highways in the first place) will have the requisite blankets and probably some pocket heaters or even a camping stove or other such chemical heaters as the safety gear in their vehicles.

Well, you could always put a propane tank in the trunk and a catalytic heater in the car, but if you did that why wouldn't you just convert a gasoline car to propane?

I think that people driving an electric car in northern climates are going to suffer from Chronic Anxiety Disorder when the winter blizzards hit. When they drive to work in the morning, they are going to have a radio tuned to the weather reports all day. And of course they are going to plug their electric car in the moment they get to work and leave it charging with the heater on all day, which is going to wreck the theories of those who thing they will confine their recharging to the low-demand period overnight.

Most of the people driving Chevy Volts in Northern states are reporting driving ranges of less that 25 miles on the battery under winter conditions, versus the 40 miles the car is supposed to get. Other than the energy consumption for heating the car and defrosting the windows, there is the problem that the battery efficiency drops drastically in cold weather, and the electric motors require far more power to push the car through snowdrifts versus driving on bare pavement. At least in a Volt, when the battery gives out the gasoline motor will cut in and you can keep on driving. And if your Volt stalls in a 6-foot-high snowdrift at 40 below, you and the other people with gasoline engines can keep your cars warm for a couple of days until the snowplows finally get through. The people in electric cars are going to be frozen blocks of ice by that time.

Electric cars might do okay in California, but I think Minnesota is going to be a challenge for them.

As an EV owner in MN, I actually agree with this.

Mostly because it is harder to keep a charge in the cold, regardless of heater use (we bundle up pretty well before going out, anyway). Special units to heat the batteries while they are charging can help some, but I think people should expect a pretty big reduction in range in extremely cold climates (I do not consider DC area as a place with extreme cold).

(Of course, ICE cars also perform less well in extreme cold for similar reasons, but the difference is not as extreme.)

I think most people in colder climate will have the EV as a second car.

But mostly, we need to give up on trying to continue the car culture. I walk most places I need to go, winter and summer. If I, an out of shape 50-something, can do that here where we regularly get temperatures get well below zero, most others can, too.

We have two major problems--a need to reduce our dependence on ff energy and an obesity crisis.

It strikes me that the answer to one is largely the answer to the other.

Cars are coffins.

Snowdrifts? Enough already, RMG.. a bunch of hyperbolic handwaving.. if my car has been 'plowed in' a little by the street cleaning, I might have to go over one drift to unpark, and one more to park somewhere else.. beyond that, our roads are plowed. If there's going to be a serious storm, EV owners will know about it, and will know their range, and whether they have options en-route, and how much leeway they've got.

Yes, batteries will have less range in the cold.. the world comes with conditions, why treat such things as if they are really a surprise?

No, people charging at work will probably NOT keep the heaters on all day.. tho' they may well get a dose of heat during the last half hour or such..

"The people in electric cars are going to be frozen blocks of ice by that time."

-Already told you at least three ways people will deal with cold..

.. and why wouldn't you make your car a propane car, just because you had already put a little tank of it in the trunk for emergency heat? That's not even worth responding to.

Snowdrifts? Enough already, RMG.. a bunch of hyperbolic handwaving.. if my car has been 'plowed in' a little by the street cleaning, I might have to go over one drift to unpark, and one more to park somewhere else.. beyond that, our roads are plowed. If there's going to be a serious storm, EV owners will know about it, and will know their range, and whether they have options en-route, and how much leeway they've got.

You apparently have never experienced a real blizzard.

You don't necessarily get a lot of warning - I remember one in which the first warning I got was looking out the window of the skyscraper I was in, and seeing a solid wall of black coming at us - horizon to horizon and a mile high. I immediately got on the bus and headed home, but when I stepped off the bus, it was into a snowdrift that was thigh-deep. The wind was absolutely screaming and I couldn't see a thing, but I managed to flounder through the drifts to my house.

My brother lived farther out, and although he got home, he said the only way the buses got that far was by running up on the sideslopes of the roads since the driving lanes were full of stuck cars. Fortunately buses have much more ground clearance than cars, and the drivers are much better than your average car driver. However, the bus only got as far as his subdivision before it got stuck, so he had about a dozen of his fellow passengers spend the night in his house since they couldn't get any further.

It took the snowplows about three days to clear the main roads, and they never managed to clear the side streets at all - we just packed down the snow and drove on it until spring.

And as for the rural areas - in the same blizzard the Canadian Pacific Railway had one of their freight trains get stuck in a snowbank that was 12 feet deep and half a mile long. They had to send out a trainload of bulldozers to dig it out.

And this is in Calgary, which usually doesn't get a lot of snow. I knew someone from Winnipeg, which DOES get a lot of snow. He said that after one of their blizzards he was walking down the street in snowshoes (the only way he could get around) to get the corner store. He stepped on something in the middle of the road that went CLUNK! so he scraped the snow off it to see what it was, and it was somebody's car.

Naaah. You haven't experienced a real blizzard. It's not hyperbole, it's reality in the Great White North.

.. and the roof of that car, and the others.. they were EV's, you're saying?

Cars get stuck.. so will EVs. That doesn't counter what I've been saying, which HASN'T been that EV's will be ideal for all of us in every clime, and will never be stranded by the weather or traffic jams.

It's like complaining about whole wheat toast, and how it could land jelly-side down if you dropped it.

Here, you could take one of these home, in case the drifts got too bad. (But the GPS only comes in an electric version, so you'll have to keep ANOTHER set of batteries charged if the white-out's gonna be a problem.)

So going downhill, you can pop into reverse gear, and your throttle suddenly becomes a perfectly progressive regen brake pedal. There's no messy blending of regen and regular hydraulic brakes to speak of. And it even mimics the throttle feathering trick used in gas power snowmobiles to engage the clutch, so it shouldn't be too hard to adapt for experienced riders.

Personally, I expect most Mainers who'd get EV's would have snowshoes or skis in their cars if they were driving anywhere they stood a chance of getting stuck.

'Adventure is just bad planning' Roald Amundsen

.. (where the Biggest part of the bad planning is creating this Auto-utopia that has us IN daily traffic jams full of single-passenger commuter cars.. which is a waste of materials and energy with EV's no less than other cars. But that doesn't mean 'no cars. no EVs' ..it means use them in better balance with all else.)

With all due respect, doh, there's no need to throw out insults. it's a valid thought experiment. I know nothing about you, but from your response it would seem that you haven't had much experience driving during rush hour in a blizzard in a place like DC, which took top honors for the nation's worst traffic this year.

Let's revisit last night now that we have hindsight on our side. It started snowing extremely hard at about 5pm last night, just as it got dark. Even this morning there are *still* people trying to get home on the GW Parkway and 495 Beltway - that's over 12 hours stuck in traffic. There are abandoned cars in the fast lane of the beltway that are causing difficulties for morning commuters and snowplows.

On the beltway (4 lanes each way) in a blizzard like last night it's not like you can just stop and conserve energy until the traffic magically clears itself. You're part of the traffic, you have to go with the flow. You stop for a few seconds, go for a few seconds, stop, go...all the while your lights are on, your defrost has to run at least sporadically to keep the windows clear. People are going to use their heat from time to time to keep the car bearable, regardless.

Then it's only going to take a couple stupid people to run their batteries down and become trapped out on the expressway, and they will. Once that flow of traffic (that was marginal to begin with) is interrupted for even a minute, it's all over. The beltway is basically shut down. Then a cascade of electric cars who might have normally had plenty of juice to get home are now at risk and they too eventually die - as traffic crawls at a walking pace for hours.

And once your electric car is stuck in the snow (I assume most electric cars will be front wheel drive and not 4wd), it's not like being stranded in a gas car. You can't just wait until a plow goes by and then drive off. You've worn down your battery trying to stay warm with your emergency lights on or trying to free yourself and now you have to get towed or wait a long time for the magic charge truck to recharge your battery (along with hundreds or thousands of others in the same situation). Not to mention hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses are without power so throw in another variable WRT finding power to recharge.

I could go on but I think I've made my point. One good thing is that a situation like this probably happens once every year around here. And it's not like we're going to wake up one day and suddenly 10% of the cars on the road will be electrics so there will some transition time to try and adapt. Mark my words though, this situation is going to happen at some point and it's going to be a complete disaster. And depending on who is in power at the time I could see some very reactionary legislation occur.

One good thing is that a situation like this probably happens once every year around here. And it's not like we're going to wake up one day and suddenly 10% of the cars on the road will be electrics so there will some transition time to try and adapt. Mark my words though, this situation is going to happen at some point and it's going to be a complete disaster.

The problem with this vision of the future is that it assumes some sort of continuation of BAU, complete with traffic jams consisting of massive quantities of private transport vehicles commuting to and fro to various functions such as jobs, schools, hospitals, shopping malls and all this on functional well maintained highways...

I'm sorry, but I hate to burst your fantasy bubble, the probability of that being an accurate picture of the future is IMHO, slim to nil.

In a roundabout way, that was the whole point I was trying to make. There's no way that the system would function BAU with a meaningful number of electric cars like that and last night was a prime example. But BAU does appear to be the goal right now, and it has proven to be quite resiliant so far.

But BAU does appear to be the goal right now, and it has proven to be quite resiliant so far.

True, what remains to be seen is, if it is going suffer a slow gentle decline from myriad, minor, cumulative ills leading to its ultimate peaceful demise, ...or is it going to exit while operating at full tilt, suddenly suffering a massive heart attack while driving down the speedway as it ends up plowing into the concrete barriers and violently explodes into a massive fireball? Care to make your bets?

But BAU does appear to be the goal right now, and it has proven to be quite resiliant so far.

How do you figure? It's busy crumbling in the face of the first real threats it as ever encountered.

"it's only going to take a couple stupid people"

Stupid people are always dangerous to those around them, whether they drive EVs or not.

I am just not understanding why running out of electricity is more likely or more dangerous or harder to deal with than running out of gas.

How many times have your run out of gas on the highway or anywhere else?

You probably haven't because you know the limits and can read your meters and avoid putting yourself in this situation.

Why do you think EV drivers will be any different than you or than any other drivers in this respect.

Apologies if my language was a bit rough, but really, you are assuming that EV drivers will be for some reason enormously more idiotic than almost all ICE drivers and that is frankly insulting.

I am just not understanding why running out of electricity is more likely or more dangerous or harder to deal with than running out of gas

Because I stop and refuel my car when I get down to less than a hundred mile range. The EV is "full" at that point.


So obviously people will not be driving EVs who need to drive hundreds of miles every day.

I have had an EV for years and have never run out of juice in the middle of a trip.

Owning an EV does not make you suddenly blind and stupid, unable to read or interpret the monitors.

You do deal with a different level of limits.

But guess what--it is long past time that we all start living within limits; EVs can be good practice for that for some.

But mostly we need to get used to living within the limits of where our own physical bodies can take us on a day-to-day basis.

It's not all that hard to imagine a situation where you were trying to get home and had enough juice left to do that. But then you get stuck in an unexpected traffic jam. Stop and go traffic. Its cold out (or hot) so you are conditioning the cabin.

Now you are stuck on the side of the road or worse in the road an now you are the cause of the traffic jam.

Just the thought of such a situation can lead to range anxiety.

A situation like what Ty454 described would be even worse.

Well sure. You can Imagine just about anything, really.

Please, HOW would an EV be so uniquely stuck in the lane of traffic that it was a cause of a jam that couldn't JUST AS WELL be any other car..??

I suspect that this 'Range Anxiety' is really the fear of being laughed at for having the Weird Car that didn't work.. while anyone in a gas car can simply laugh and say 'The damn thing is busted!' ..or, 'I'm a putz, I didn't refill when I should have..'

This came up a couple of weeks ago, when there was a snow-induced traffic jam near Buffalo, NY, that left cars stuck on the Thruway for 12 hours.

They sent out fuel trucks to refuel the cars that ran out of gas, and many of us wondered what they'd do about Leafs in a similar situation.

A really long extension cord, maybe?

Please, HOW would an EV be so uniquely stuck in the lane of traffic that it was a cause of a jam that couldn't JUST AS WELL be any other car..??

Try driving you car around with your empty fuel light on all the time. That's pretty much what you do in an EV.

No, the point I think is not sinking in is that it would make no difference how good the EV driver was. It was snowing at a rate of up to 3"/hour - if you live in the US surely you must have seen the news stories about how it was a record snowfall rate in many areas. Or people stranded in their cars overnight in traffic.

With thousands of people on the beltway stuck in a blizzard, someone is bound to f-up, whether it be an accident or just plain running the battery down due to ignorance. If in an EV, it's night, a blizzard raging, traffic jam, freezing temperatures...the worst possible conditions for battery longevity, it's going to happen to some people. Hell accidents happen on a daily basis in the best of weather during rush hour. But now when it happens people aren't running out of gas left and right because a car can idle for a very long time even with the lights/heat/ac on before getting close to running out of fuel.

It doesn't do a lick of good if I know my batt dies in 15 miles but I'm stuck for 4 hours creeping along in the middle of I-495 due to the snow (or a serious accident)...if I can't get off the freeway then I can't get to a charging station in the first place! If that happens to even a couple people then there's a snowball effect and all of a sudden EVs eveywhere are going dead at no fault of their own.

It seems you are taking this as a personal insult to you, I'm not understanding it.

"... and all of a sudden EVs eveywhere are going dead at no fault of their own."

Why, from despair?
Do they talk to each other?
General Strike?

You know that a dead EV can still be rolled off the road, right? It's not like they would simply freeze up in the lane and block all the other EV's ..

"Why, from despair?
Do they talk to each other?
General Strike?"

Are you that dense?

It must be a whole different world out here in DC, I'm starting to wonder if I'm the only one to have actually experienced a real traffic jam in a blizzard before. You're not going to roll a car uphill on the beltway through 4 lanes of traffic during rush hour in a blizzard with 10" of snow on the ground within any reasonable amount of time. Like I said, even if you were able to get the car off the road within, say, 10 minutes, it's too late. Traffic is hosed for miles and the damage is done.

You know that a dead EV can still be rolled off the road, right? It's not like they would simply freeze up in the lane and block all the other EV's ..

You have no idea what he is talking about.

Yes, they would freeze up and block all the other EVs. No, you would not roll it out of the road - unless you had a 4x4 vehicle with a push bar on it, and even at that there would be the issue of actually getting to it to push it. If you have a road full of stalled vehicles you have a huge problem on your hands.

He said that it was snowing 3" per hour. That means after 2 hours the snow will be 6" deep, after 3 hours it will be 9" deep, and after 4 hours it will be 12" deep. The Nissan Leaf has about 6" of ground clearance, so after two hours the snow will be up to the body panels and you will be going nowhere until a snowplow clears the road for you.

"..and you will be going nowhere until a snowplow clears the road for you."

The SAME as every other car out there. Sure I know what he is talking about. It's ALL about "Oh No! EV's could get stuck!"

I would think creeping along would have very little drain on a battery. Heat is another matter (bundle up).

The EV is better equipped for slow driving than gasoline and Ty knows this to be true. The gasoline car is idling and that means it is more likely to run out of fuel than an EV. LOL. The EV does not use electric power unless it is moving or using accessories.

The logic escapes me.

Now the heater is another matter. But I imagine that the driver will turn off the heat in an EV. Hell, I was in a 12 hr blizzard traffic jam and I turned off my gasoline engine to avoid running out of gasoline, when traffic was dead stopped, since I was in the middle of nowhere and I had no idea when the cops would let us move again.

I probably had enough gas to idle but I did not know so I turned it off. i was wearing gloves and a hat and a winter coat and I was plenty warm enough.

stuff happens. deal with it.

"The EV does not use electric power unless it is moving or using accessories."

But it is moving. Stop/go/stop/go in this case for 30+ miles and 13 hours. And people are using accessories - like headlights and heaters/defrosters/windshield wipers and radio to listen for updates. You certainly aren't going to see dozens of cars flashing their headlights on and off every time the car stops in a traffic jam, people would be having seizures in the middle of the expressway.

Rates of fuel usage for a 4-cyl idling seem to be around 0.25gph, so my car could theoretically idle for about 4 days on a full tank of gas if that's to be trusted. That's not a very helpful number since you'd be stopping and going, but at least you wouldn't have to worry about running out of gas for a loooong time.

At this point I think I've beaten this topic to death so I'll leave it at that and be done with it. Time will tell, but I don't see EVs being very practical in places with harsh winters or extreme traffic. And no I don't consider DC a harsh winter place with the exception of last year. It more than makes up for it in nightmare traffic though.

Ty the headlights are LED on the Leaf.

Perhaps you have a point that in the most extreme conditions something bad may happen, but same can be said for a regular old car too. Like the engine explodes and a gasoline fire erupts. Hey there are like hundreds of extra parts to fail, die on a gasoline engine. Water pumps, exhaust system, transmission, sparks, timing, fuel pumps, radiator, starter motor. Seems a lot of problems could develop for a gasoline car. I see many stuck on the side of the road all the time. I have not seen a Prius on the side of the road yet and I live where Prius is quite prevalent.

I imagine the reliability of the Leaf far excedes the average auto -- much like the hybrid Prius.

I am not into Black Swan events when I drive. Of course I generally ride my bike and only drive a beater Honda Civic from the mid 90s. LOL.

I see EV as a local vehicle and probably a robust option for many folks.

I see your point but tend to feel that people in DC will drive Leafs as well. Not everyone, but plenty will.

Yes this is a superb point and I have had the same thoughts.

What is interesting is how cold weather is conducive to development, because people quite simply need to build sturdy roads and homes to withstand the elements, learn to cooperate effectively, etc. Generally speaking the warmer regions just don't develop in the same fashion.

Still, the colder regions became just as dependent on fossil fuels and perhaps even more so.

Without a car or electricity, a guy in Mississippi can just sit around on the porch of his shack and not do much at all, and still be relatively comfortable and live.

This isn't possible in the North.

Thereby I suspect that although all regions will suffer, northern regions will suffer immensely at first. They will learn to get by, of course, but it won't be the same. They have farther to fall.

The South will stay like it is: ass backwards.


Wood. We'll burn everything. We'll strip the bluffs bare. There are a lot of trees in this area, but I bet we could thin them good in just a few years. By then some (most?) will have moved south or west. I plan on staying until every last neighborhood tree is fallen, chopped, split and turned to ashes :)

Lyle over at gm-volt.com talks about his real world range with his chevy volt

Over this period my average EV range was 26.2 miles with an average driving efficiency of 71% and cabin efficiency of 19.4%. The average temperature was 29.2 degrees. EV range appeared further reduced when the roads were slippery from snow and/or ice.

His results are no where near the 40 mile GM claimed.

Let's not forget the Leaf's Uncle, the Rav4-EV, and wonder why they got away with a 100 mile/chg EV a decade ago, with batts that seem to hold on really well.

http://www.evnut.com/rav_owner_gallery.htm (lots with Solar PV charging, several with 100k on the batts)

"Pittsburgh, PA
White 2002. Purchased and moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where it's been driving on snow without issue. About 19k miles in May 2005, with the batteries doing just fine. "
"At first the RAV4 felt way too big, and I felt stymied by the lower range (100 miles rather than the EV1’s 120 miles), but now I LOVE it. Ian drives a 2001 Toyota Prius, and we have a 1996 Ford F250 that we run on 100% biodiesel, but we both think the RAV4 EV is the best vehicle of the bunch. "
"As of 02.2010 the odometer shows 100,000 miles. Have not had it in for service in 2 years / 30K miles. Seems to be doing fine. internal battery resistance obviously climbing over time. My 75 mile round trip commute still works, with 20% remaining when I get home!"
"White 2002. Purchased at the end of the lease in 2005. Passed 100,000 miles in 06.06, with no battery problems or range loss. Driving about 100 miles a day as the primary commute car. The charger is carried in the car which enables charging at work. Have been driving electric since December 1996 with two EV1s and the RAV4-EV."
"Driven 87 miles round trip from Rancho to Downey weekdays. Fills 95%+ of driving needs. 100,000 miles on 1/13/07. Batteries are still going strong! Installed a 7 kw solar system from EE Solar to power my house and car in 08.03. Use a portable charger to charge at work."

Probably because they were only sold in California where you don't need AC or heat for most of the year.

My guess is these early adopters know how to take care of their batteries.

'Yeah, but, yeah, but...'

I get a strange silence otherwise about this group of people who've reported such a good experience with their EVs. What in California wouldn't apply to Kentucky or Carolina?

Personally, I think we'll see more of an E-scooter thing happen, where the smallest possible vehicles will, like the wee mammals so long ago, scurry under the slowing trod of the great lumbering behemoths of 'before' (Need to have Stravinsky's 'Rite of Spring' playing here, like in Fantasia) .. taking advantage of the simplicity and power of the electric motor, but using as small a battery as possible, and carrying the least amount of redundant weight.

Still.. the main thing is that it's already been shown to work. These vehicles weren't cheap, but they are cheap to run.. and they made like 1500 of them!

yah, but...

I get a strange silence otherwise about this group of people who've reported such a good experience with their EVs. What in California wouldn't apply to Kentucky or Carolina?

What in California wouldn't apply to Minnesota, Montana, or Alaska? Let me think. Could it possibly have something to do with the near total lack of snow and cold weather?

For that matter, even parts of California wouldn't be very hospitable to EVs. You need only consider what happened to the Donner Party to realize what driving an EV could be like in some parts of California in the winter.

As a Minnesotan I learned early in my driving days to dress for the weather when leaving the house whether I thought I needed to or not.

Were I driving an EV I would simply not turn the heater on if I were in any doubt as to driving range. The body of the car will protect me from the wind and warm clothing and gloves will keep me in good shape for hours if need be.

The problems with EV ranges and heaters will mainly manifest in states with normally less hostile winters where people aren't used to dressing appropriately for the cold (and may not even have the clothes to do so).

The DONNER Party? .. ok, so EV's aren't being proposed as your 'Local Car', but instead it is expected to form the next Wagon Trains, proudly besting the Rockies.

I know you like your mountain range, there, but that has nothing to do with my question. The point is that there are THOUSANDS of towns and cities that are just fine for EVs.. and where running out of juice would be NO different than running out of gas.. which is to say, you're stuck unless you have a phone, a radio or someone comes along.

But if you and Mel Gibson want to make a fiery epic about it, you can stick to your guns with the drama and the intrigue.

Nissan Prairie on Island NORTH of Norway

"The Nissan EV became a symbol of our pledge at the International Arctic Research Village that the environment would not be damaged by the execution of research activities," recalls Dr. Hajime Ito, Chair NySMAC. "VIPs visiting our village were welcomed at the airstrip by the Prairie EV, which transported them to town without the slightest noise or exhaust gas. It was also an excellent vehicle for scientific purposes, such as the observation of wild animals, which you could approach without sound or smell."

In 2006, after six flawless years of service, the Prairie EV stopped running. Since Ny-Alesund, with a permanent population of just 35 residents, lacked a Nissan dealership, the vehicle was returned to Nissan for investigation and evaluation. When the car was examined, Nissan engineers were delighted to find that the problem was simply a disconnected condenser. Once repaired, the Prairie EV started right up (though cell performance had degenerated slightly but within projections), proving the feasibility and durability of the Li-Ion battery under extreme conditions.

The DONNER Party? .. ok, so EV's aren't being proposed as your 'Local Car', but instead it is expected to form the next Wagon Trains, proudly besting the Rockies.

I know you like your mountain range, there, but that has nothing to do with my question. The point is that there are THOUSANDS of towns and cities that are just fine for EVs.. and where running out of juice would be NO different than running out of gas.. which is to say, you're stuck unless you have a phone, a radio or someone comes along.

The Donner party only came to mind because we had a snowstorm here a couple of weeks ago which shut down the Trans-Canada Highway for 5 days, and my wife was trapped in the middle of it. She was on a ski trip to Rogers Pass, and they got much more snow than they bargained for. I thought for sure they would be trapped at the hotel at the top of the pass with diminishing supplies, and they'd have to draw straws to see who to eat first.

However, they decided to make a run for it during a break in the avalanche control exercises (the army came in and used 105 mm Howitzers to bring down the avalanches) and got out before the snow got really serious. Unfortunately, they lost one of the cars when a pickup truck ran into it going sideways. Fortunately nobody was injured although both vehicles were totaled. Happily, some of the local park rangers happened on the scene and took their skis and other equipment back for them in their 4x4 truck, because the girls didn't have room in their surviving vehicle.

Personally I would have just stayed at the hotel and eaten stale hamburger buns and soggy chips until the snowstorm and the avalanche cycle was over.

However, to get back to the EV issue - no they'd be completely useless here because the distance between gas stations is greater than the range of your average EV. In addition, there are times when they close the main roads due to avalanches, landslides, or forest fires, and you have to take a 6 or 8 hour detour through the more remote parts of the mountains to get home. In my wife's case it took an extra 12 hours to get home.

I'm sure in the mellower parts of California EVs would be okay for people who didn't want to drive very far. However for less EV-friendly less urban places, and particularly ones which get very cold in the winter, I don't think they'd do that well.

you can stick to your guns with the drama and the intrigue.

Well, it's all about drama and sticking to your guns. The US National Park Service gets away with wimpy little 75 mm recoilless rifles for avalanche control, and where's the drama in that? Real men use 105 mm Howitzers with extra-high-velocity rounds and bring down avalanches two valleys away. I'm sure throwing bombs out of helicopters is a lot of fun too, although it shakes the whole house when they do it and disturbs my afternoon nap. Frankly, I'm getting old and I need less drama in my life.

Well, I'm glad your wife made it back ok, but doesn't it really illustrate the other end of the whole issue? I mean, which one is really the Unsustainable one? At least with electric cars, you KNOW that there's a budget you have to operate under..

Driving for hundreds of miles through the Northern Rockies in wintertime for a recreational outing is how completely we expect vast quantities of surplus energy to glide us through what are really daunting obstacles, as if it were nothing. It's all from the 'Trust Fund' of cheap oil, and it has framed our thinking to believe that what you experience living in that environment is normal.

Howitzers to deal with Avalanches.. nice work if you can get it, but our ability to focus Brute Force this way is looking to hit upon some limits, and I hope we have enough 'modest energy' pieces in place for that day.

(I'm still going for the Pedal-Electric Velo, which can have Skis replace a couple of wheels for snowfaring.. with pedals available for each seat, we probably won't get stuck for too long anywhere.)

The "100 mile" claim by Nissan is using the LA-4 drive cycle which is city driving with an average speed of less than 20 mph! The EPA is the more realistic rating but if you plan to drive fast on the freeway, you should expect even less than the 73 miles they give.


The EV batteries are expensive. Really expensive. So the auto makers want to put the smallest battery that they can put in there. Anyone getting a pure EV has to realize that it will have a limited range (unless you spent a lot for a big battery). But if you can make it work for you (and most people can as long as they have access to another car for long trips), you'll save a lot of money on gasoline.

I'm not concerned about the gasoline savings...I think those don't make up for the price difference.

I want to keep my waiting in line for gasoline rations to the smallest amount possible while still being able to make an occasional long(ish) trip. Hence, I'll be asking if my local Toyota dealer has started a waiting list for the Prius plug-in hybrid, possibly even tomorrow afternoon on my way to Macworld.

Even though I am open to EVs, especially since they represent an alternative that would stick it to the bike and public transport nazis, I don't think they really solve anything, and they certainly won't prevent catabolic collapse.

After all, if you are only using an EV to go a couple of miles here or there, might as well just use the gasoline car to do the same. Your expense will probably be lower, and it is still a form of peak oil mitigation/reaction.

See that's the thing. First, and foremost, distance and speed will be reduced. This can happen very easily in ICE cars. Of course there are systemic economic effects, but the point it, it can be done. There's no need to drive that Suburban 60 miles each way for a commute and to Aunt Betty's on the weekend who lives 200 miles away, all at 60 to 70 mph. Might as well move close to work (or work close to home), drive 15 min. at 45 mph, and tell Aunt Betty to have a nice life and you wish her well. And if you can trade in your Suburban for a Cruze and avoid rebound efficiency paradoxes, well, all the better.

In each of these instances, though, whether EV or merely more efficient/less use of ICE, freeing up that oil simply allows whoever else is out there to use it instead.

So basically peak oil forces Americans into European style and finally Asian style poverty. Nobody can get anywhere, everybody is hitching a ride with each other, a taxi/rickshaw, some are biking, some are using buses, some are using EVs, some are using this or that. But the net effect is ongoing, relentless economic contraction, especially in areas where the built infrastructure simply isn't good for efficient, local transportation.

So much for a kindler and gentler world. Bike and public transport nazis?

Well basically what I mean is that I personally would much rather go nowhere fast in an EV than go nowhere fast on a bike or a subway.

But there are some social utopians out there who would despise me for this, because they despise individualism and everything it represents.

Neither the horrors of Nazism or Communism was enough to convince such people that you can't force everybody to think and act in the same way.

If you want to ride a bike or take a train to get around, be my guest. And if you thrive doing that, I'm happy for you. In fact, I strongly agree that the U.S. is sorely lacking in its public rail infrastructure, especially since this can potentially be an affordable means of transport.

Still, I'd much rather have the comfort and freedom of a personal vehicle, at least as an option for some if not most trips. As long as I can pay for one, I will do so. I will give up a lot before I give up my car.

And no, I won't change my mind to save oil or cool the planet.

Well basically what I mean is that I personally would much rather go nowhere fast in an EV than go nowhere fast on a bike or a subway.

This is the sort of thing that Knunstler is talking about, above.

He also criticizes the US environmental movement for shying away the problem of energy. The movement is unable to talk about walkable neighborhoods, smaller cities, or investing in rail or water transit, an “intellectual failure of the culture to have a coherent conversation from people who ought to be leading” such a conversation.

If your own personal preference is not to use bikes or rapid transit, then it's your own personal decision. However, if everyone does it, it turns into a social and environmental disaster. It's a matter of numbers - if the numbers are too big, if everyone tries to solve their own personal problem in their own personal way, you're looking at a systemic crash rather than a personal inconvenience.

The thing about walkable cities, bicycles, and rail transit is that we know they work under difficult conditions - which is what kept European cities going when their economies collapsed in WWII. Walking always works, bicycling always works, and it wasn't hard to fix the tracks and put the trains back in service. However, rebuilding the roads, rebuilding the automobile factories, and rebuilding the oil refineries - that took decades.

I have to say that having lived in north east and in Buffalo NY I've been through a blizzard or two and somehow I always managed to get off the roads in time and when my car was plowed in I didn't drive it and made do either by staying home or walking...

But I really have to wonder what goes on in the minds of people who think like this:

Still, I'd much rather have the comfort and freedom of a personal vehicle, at least as an option for some if not most trips. As long as I can pay for one, I will do so. I will give up a lot before I give up my car.

You all are talking blizzards? Big deal, try standing in gas lines, because there is no gas for your car, weeks after a hurricane to get some gas for your generator...

I nave ridden my bicycle past plenty of these lines and wondered why these people didn't have solar generators at home and were still so stuck on the automobile paradigm... Note: at least after a hurricane there is usually lots of sun around here!

Also blizzards, pfft!... try driving through flooded streets (guess what you can't plow liquid water) with downed power lines and big trees blocking the road and navigating streets with no traffic lights, that alone kills more people than the actual storm. We will give up our cars when we can't get fuel for them and there is no where to drive them to, it's that simple! Ask those people in line if they're driving anywhere...

We've been getting a good dose of Snowfall this winter, and even when the slush has been heavy, and in mid-January, we've got cyclists bopping about, even after dark, with their fine little LED lights blazing away. (Of course, they are each followed closely at gunpoint by Hummers full of our able-bodied "Psychle-StormTroopers", which is really what keeps the whole thing viable!)

Oilman and so many others are sure that the move for Bikable and Transit-oriented cities is simply to force them screaming out of their cars, while they still obligingly pay for the fuel as if that's some kind of a privilege, and the alternate to it, the backup plan.. that constitutes a New Nazism/Communism ..

"So basically peak oil forces Americans into European style and finally Asian style poverty.."

Whew, Oilman, you sure come up with some doozies! Don't knock it, when air-travel is too exorbitant, you'll get to have your Paris and Taipei vacations right downtown!

I never knew biking was so maligned.

I bike and generally find that people in cars (like 99%) are nice to me and they go out of there way to give me right of way I do not even need or deserve. Occasionally a nasty driver (1% case) revs his engine and blow by me in disgust or shouts a nasty at me, because I am on his road, but I attribute that to a car driver who is filled with rage in the first place. He likely revs past people that are walking too. LOL. He likely has other mental problems and deficiencies or imbalances.

Bikers seem to be happy and stable in my view. Never met one I did not like. Now I will not excuse couriers, who are a different kind of biker. Couriers in big cities are annoying, as they ignore almost all traffic laws and the rights of pedestrians, but they are actually controlled by a business demanding an impossible delivery time -- so the businesses are driving couriers to do the insane. LOL.

Funny thing. The nasty views on biking seem to remember issues with couriers and they like to extend their sneers at the little commuter guy or gal based on these couriers.

Go figure.

He likely revs past people that are walking too.

That's not revving the engine, it's just the Doppler effect you're experiencing :) :) :)

What happened to the link for the final story (re: the Permian extinction)? I might be able to shed some light on that once I can read the entire article. Thanks.

Apparently the general idea is that the very large area of massive volcanic activity was overlaid with coal and tar sand deposits and that these deposits were forced to the surface and/or exposed by the volcanos, and of course they would have burned, once exposed to the air.

These carbon deposits were supposedly big enough to pollute the hell out of the seas, as well as the atmosphere, thereby leading to the big dieoff.

You can find articles by searching "permian extinction and coal".

The truth is probably far more complicated, but this theory seems reasonable enough at first glance .

Yes, certainly more complicated.

Paleo-climatologist Peter Ward says that another piece was the shut down of ocean currents leading to massive death of ocean life as oxygen and food sources vanished. Anaerobic bacteria then flourish on the dead matter and produce huge clouds of hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell), one of the most poisonous gasses. Besides turning the sky green, these clouds would wipe out all life they come in contact with.

Numerous other feedbacks and secondary effects were doubtless in play.

This time, rather than magma oozing up from the mantel, it is our own petrochemical extractive industry that is doing the work of bringing these once relatively safely sequestered sources of carbon into the atmosphere at a rate of about 30 billion tons a year--far faster than the rates in these earlier extinction events.

And we keep knocking holes in the bottom of our sinking boat at a furious rate. This is why I appeal (in vain) to rockman and his ilk to organize and put an end to this madness.

Cutting off our supply of crack cocaine, err, ff, will obviously lead to severe withdrawal symptoms. But maybe it will help prevent us from killing everyone else in the family.

(Apologies for mixed metaphors--ultimately all metaphors fail to even suggest the enormity of the tragedy we are enacting.)

This is why I appeal (in vain) to rockman and his ilk to organize and put an end to this madness.

We can't put this on the Rockman and is ilk, they are outnumbered 1000s to 1 by the daddylonglegs among us. And the odds will get worse for the Rockmen and their ilk as the remaining Fat and Happy piglets become skinnier and much less happy.

We are the pig people. This is our pigstye. Just because we are not directly involved in the Parade of Cannibalism, does not mean that we are not the cannibals. We can keep eating other people's and our children, or we can stop it.

All we have to do is unplug and refuse to participate in the Greater Pigstye.

I work with Peter (who is not a paleoclimatologist, by the way, although we do involve ourselves in that sort of thing), and indeed, the first part of your post is basically how I would have responded. The Permian extinction is a rich tapestry; the simple version involves declining atmospheric oxygen, a huge CO2 spike, oceans that were not only anoxic but richly euxinic, and in which the nasty water reached all the way up into the photic zone, ~6 degrees C of global warming, et al.

This is not a "Murder on the Orient Express" scenario, where a bunch of bad but unrelated things happen; these are intimately related. The end Permian was basically the extreme end-state of the earth-atmosphere-ocean system. Pangaea's accumulation and location had major consequences for the equator-to-pole temperature gradient and thermohaline circulation, leading to stratified oceans. These almost invariably accumulate hydrogen sulfide because it is the end product of bacterial sulfate reduction, which quickly becomes the dominant metabolism in anoxic waters when the other suitable alternative are exhausted. Enough sulfide accumulation leads to its venting into the atmosphere (see Kump et al 2005 in Science for the model), which has all sorts of nasty side effects e.g. ozone depletion, hydroxyl depletion, a huge increase in methane, etc. The CO2 spike, presumably associated with the Siberian Traps, along with related feedbacks, was also perhaps enough to fire the "clathrate gun", really ratcheting up the warming quickly. The simple version perhaps looks something like this.

There is a much more to it than the simple narrative everyone seems to want to distill it down to.

"The climate is like a wild beast, and we're poking it with sticks."
-- Wally Broecker

Excellent preface, it doesn't take much for a h@#! of a response.

"The climate is like a wild beast, and we're poking it with sticks."
-- Wally Broecker

That's a pretty good analogy but to add to it I think we are like some stupid kids running along the fence with the beast on the other side but what we haven't noticed is that the fence ends abruptly and we are going to find ourselves face to face with a very angry wild beast and the fence won't be there to protect us from our own stupidity. Hahahahaha... oops!

A bit serendipitous; CNN did a spot on the Yellowstone super-volcano this morning (no link yet). Guest Michio Kaku said the fact that the ground has risen ten inches in some places there in the last year, has gotten scientists attention (if not worried), and that this eruption is overdue. We may get more geothermal than we hope for :-0

More here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20110125/us_yblog_thelookout/un...

Ghung - Saw a report sometime ago that they've been able to document several swelling and relaxation events in recent history. A major eruption would certainly destroy the U.S. economy. Typical vulconology problem: We're certain X will happen but we have no clue when it will happen until it actually starts to happen.

Besides Rock, we don't need no stinkin' super-volcano to destroy our economy. We've got it handled ;-/

Amen +10

It's not the only one, either.


I'd be interested in your thoughts, AshenLight, since you spend a lot of time working on that extinction event.

To me, the prospect of volcanic activity interacting with coal deposits highlights the role of coincidence in the path-dependent nature of history, the frozen accidents which created our current reality. Perturbations are only one side of the coin; the other is the totality of the context being perturbed. Sometimes a meteor impact may cause mass extinctions; while at other times a very similar impact causes none which can be found. Because the system is not long in truly equivalent states.

This also plays out in things like wondering "what the oil price that will cause a recession?" There's no way of easily predicting, because the simplicity of the question does not reflect the hidden connectivity, criticalities, and barriers to information flow of the total system.

Thus, raising atmospheric CO2 at a time there are huge amounts of methane hydrates in fairly delicate balance is not the same as raising CO2 in their absence. Coincidences both lucky and unlucky are the way of the world. The chance evolution of thumbs, exosomatic information storage, and pyrophilia in tribal apes might be the coincidence that nudges earth into a venus state 400 million years early.

Not all monkey-traps are made by monkey hunters; some are emergent, and we're not good at seeing them. And when things get weird, we're not very good about unclenching our fists.

Coincidences both lucky and unlucky are the way of the world. The chance evolution of thumbs, exosomatic information storage, and pyrophilia in tribal apes might be the coincidence that nudges earth into a venus state 400 million years early.

However the rest of the biosphere might get an unforeseen break if those pyrophilic apes engage in some mutually destructive pyrotechnics... Just sit back and enjoy the show.

Could be. I know if I was a dolphin I'd be hoping for a light show sooner than later.

Bearing in mind that I don't have all the tools to evaluate the geological claims (my expertise is in marine invertebrates, both present and paleo), to me, this is merely an additional detail. We have long known that the Siberian Traps were the largest flood basalt province in the Phanerozoic, we've known for at least 15 years that there is a mammoth CO2 spike coincident with the extinction (an estimated 3000 ppm CO2 according to Berner's GEOCARBSULF model). If the Traps were indeed covered with coal, that does help explain where so much CO2 came from, and how oxygen was being drawn down as fast as it was (it continued to shrink into the mid-Triassic to a low of perhaps 12%, vs. a mid-Permian value that probably exceeded 30%, on the cusp of the global forest spontaneous combustion danger zone), but those are just contributing details in an already-established framework. Interesting to think about, though.

Sorry, coding error. I fixed it.

First Study of Dispersants in Gulf Spill Suggests a Prolonged Deepwater Fate

To combat last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill, nearly 800,000 gallons of chemical dispersant were injected directly into the oil and gas flow coming out of the wellhead nearly one mile deep in the Gulf of Mexico. Now, as scientists begin to assess how well the strategy worked at breaking up oil droplets, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) chemist Elizabeth B. Kujawinski and her colleagues report that a major component of the dispersant itself was contained within an oil-gas-laden plume in the deep ocean and had still not degraded some three months after it was applied.

...“The decision to use chemical dispersants at the sea floor was a classic choice between bad and worse,” Valentine said. “And while we have provided needed insight into the fate and transport of the dispersant we still don’t know just how serious the threat is; the deep ocean is a sensitive ecosystem unaccustomed to chemical irruptions like this, and there is a lot we don’t understand about this cold, dark world.”

Many of these materials are a mixture of components with varying half-lifes. The shorter duration half-life components decompose well before the longer half-life ones. This is the unintended form of dispersion, that of dispersion in the break-down rates. Described in http://TheOilConundrum.com : page 599

Aging well with a hoe, spade

People older than 62 who have an allotment garden are significantly more healthy than people without an allotment. In general, people of all ages with an allotment get more physical exercise. This was confirmed by research conducted by Agnes van den Berg and recently published in Environmental Health.

32 hours/week seems like an awful lot of time for a garden. Must be huge.

Evenin' TODers - (or mornin' as the case may be...),

Has anyone posted or commented upon the USGS report on the likelihood of a washed-out, hyper-Katrina California? (I'd use the word "event" - but really, it appears more like "the end, period.")



A comment on "Yahoo news" emphasized the likelihood in the next ten years: (and I've contacted the author for details):

"Based on the 208 year solar cycle, and the fact that no 2 floods have been missed (1800 did not occur), there's a good chance it will happen in the next 10 years."

In 1860 California had been a state for 10 years. The state hired an excellent team of men from Yale, including Josiah Whitney and William Brewer, for a long term in-depth investigation of the state’s resources. They were just two years into their studies when the great flood of 1862 bankrupt the state, and soon thereafter terminated their lofty project. A fourth of the state’s economy was destroyed.

This flood transformed the Sacramento Valley into an inland sea, covering the tops of telegraph poles with steamboats passing over the farmlands to deliver goods and rescue survivors. The Santa Ana River formed two large lakes – one in the Inland Empire and another in the flood plain of Orange County. Probably the only definite high water mark in Southern California is at the Aqua Mansa, just south of the present city of Colton. Hydrologic studies at Aqua Mansa, document a discharge in 1862, three times the magnitude of anything since. In Northern California, a high-water measurement on the American River in 1862, suggesting a very high flow, appears to be ignored.

January 10, 1862 - Due to flooding, newly elected Governor Leland Stanford had to travel to his inauguration at the Capital in a rowboat.

Home, sweet home.

Good questions from Bruce Krasting. Any answers here? http://www.zerohedge.com/article/questions-wtibrent-spread

I’m looking at something in the oil market and can’t make sense of it. Possibly someone could straighten me out.

The Brent/WTI spread hit $10 today. I can’t remember that happening before. The spread has been widening for some time. It jumped $4 recently.

The excuse offered is that the Cushing Oklahoma facility that is the settlement for the WTI contract is flush with oil. Not only is it full, a new pipeline is coming.

I find this interesting. It would appear that the US has a cheaper source of oil than does Europe. Yet we import more than half of what we consume. How do we save $10 over Europe? Do we really save that $10?

A significant amount of crude comes to the Gulf coast. That is priced as Light Louisiana Sweet (“LLS”). The LLS is trading at a premium to WTI of $8.50 LLS tracks Brent, at least it is now.

My questions are:

I) Is WTI a good measure of what the real cost of crude for the US is?

II) If the real cost is closer to Brent and therefore pushing $100 does it mean that we are about to see a big bump in gas?

III) Many (like Southwest Airways) hedged their fuel cost. Are “they” long WTI but paying LLS and therefore losing on their hedges?

IV) Is there a two-tiered energy market? If so, which region is paying LLS and which is paying WTI?

My answers, but I’m open to a better interpretation:

I) It used to be. But much less so today.

II) I think so. We will find out in 30 days or so.

III) I think some folks are getting creamed.

IV) I don’t know.

As of about 8:30 EST the WTI-Brent spread has widened to $10.55. What does this say about actual oil traded around the world? Well you can just check This Week in Petroleum and find out. At least the EIA is still good for something.

Crude Oil Estimated Contract Prices

            Week Ending    One Year Ago
	       1/21/2011   1/22/2010
Total OPEC	 94.87	     75.39
Total Non-OPEC	 91.6	     75.1
Total World	 93.48	     75.26
United States	 88.57	     74.29

Last year the average difference between OPEC and the US contract price was $1.10, last week it was $6.30 and the gap has widened since then.

Ron P.

Nearly $12 as of 09:00 EST...

Yes, I made an error this morning when trying to catch the price on CNBC. I was a dollar off. The spread at that time was actually $11.55. It is now $11.62.

That spread just seems unsustainable. That's a 10% difference between contracts. Something has to give and my guess is that WTI will trend up to Brent, over time. I base that assumption solely on the limited growth in world supplies, the depletion of the floating storage and greed. If I were a gambling man, I would buy WTI and sell Brent. Someone will take advantage of this spread, somehow.

How about manufacturing products in the US using WTI oil and then exporting those products elsewhere?

Or how about refining oil and exporting it as the oil complex is now currently doing as Charles is so nicely reporting?

The US is becoming a net exporter of refined products. LOL. Does that not take advantage of the spread?

How about manufacturing products in the US using WTI oil and then exporting those products elsewhere?

The thing about WTI is that there is not very much of it being produced any more. What is depressing the price of West Texas Intermediate is the increasing volumes of cheap Western Canadian Heavy coming onto the same market. Refineries don't really care about the quality of the oil if the price is right.

Do I have to show the graphs of Texas oil production and US imports of Canadian oil again, or can you visualize it? Canada is producing far more oil than Texas these days, and it all goes into the same market. Of course the Chinese are working to change that by taking the oil to China, and the Canadians are onside with that agenda, but it will take them a while to do it.

The US is becoming a net exporter of refined products. LOL. Does that not take advantage of the spread?

It does, and it's a source of strength for the US oil industry. Production is certainly not a strength.

I find this interesting. It would appear that the US has a cheaper source of oil than does Europe. Yet we import more than half of what we consume. How do we save $10 over Europe? Do we really save that $10?

The key factor is that Canadian pipelines added an additional 885,000 bpd of pipeline capacity to the US during 2010 (with another 850,000 bpd under construction). However, the pipeline system moving oil south from Canada ends at Cushing Oklahoma, so it is piling up in the storage tanks there and depressing the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI), which is priced FOB Cushing.

If you think that's a big spread, you need to know that Western Canadian Select (WCS) at Edmonton is trading at a $20 discount to WTI. The discount has been over $30 at times.

Another factor is that the biggest increases in US production have been in North Dakota, and this goes into the same pipeline systems as Canadian oil.

All this, of course, has oil traders in a complete frenzy, trying to think of ways of moving this oil into the Brent market. The big demand there, as you know unless you have suffered a serious head injury or been working for the US government, is from China. So far the system is completely bottlenecked at Cushing until some major pipeline projects are built. There are lots of pipelines in the approval stages, but they actually have to put the pipe into the ground to get it to work.

Some oil is starting to move by rail tank car, and given the price differentials we may see a lot more of this in the near future.

Excellent column:

Opinion: Do We Really Need More College Grads?

In their new book "Academically Adrift," researchers Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa have provided us with a sobering picture of higher education in America today. According to their findings, after two years of college, 45 percent of students fail to show any improvement in "critical thinking, complex reasoning" or "written analysis."

. . . college isn't for everybody, and college doesn't offer the training necessary to do everything. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 17 million college graduates have jobs that don't require a college education. (There are more than 100,000 janitors with at least a bachelor's degree.) At some point, students have to decide to do something, and the ethical thing to do here would be to make them cross this bridge before we saddle them with an insane amount of college tuition debt.

The point I am driving at is that real solutions will only materialize after we acknowledge that a large chunk of that 45 percent not learning at college should not be there. Even more sadly, these students wouldn't be wasting their time and money if their high schools had encouraged them to consider pursuing additional education outside of going the conventional, liberal arts college route.

And high school students aren't doing so well in science and math:

American children are failing in science and doing poorly in math skills

The results are disturbing:
•    Only one in three children in middle school and junior high school show proficiency in science.
•    Only one in five graduating students from high school showed proficiency in science.
•    Specifically, in 2009, 34% of fourth grade children performed at or above the “proficient” level in science, while only 30% of eighth graders performed at or above the "proficient" level and, even worse, only 21% of those 12th graders participating in the study could perform at or above the "proficient" level in science.
•    In fourth grade, 28% of students could not meet the “basic” level of science knowledge; in eighth grade 37% of students couldn’t meet the "basic" science level; and in 12th grade, 47% of students couldn’t achieve a "basic" level of science.
•  Only between 1% and 2% show a strong knowledge of “advanced” scientific concepts.

Our educational system is rotten to the core.Any politically noncorrect or honest teacher will tell you the same.

Universal education is one of the best ideas ever, and a good grounding in history and the nature og government would go a long way to ensure that we are able to retain a more od less reporesentative system of government.

But the simple truth of the matter is that most of a mediocre to poor students time is wasted , applying to him a very thin veneer of useless knowledge-knowledge so shallow he will never be able to make any use of it, and will soon forget it anyway.

The student body itself has found , collectively, that passive resistance and apathy, real or fiegned, is all that is necessary to gaurantee a race to the bottom in actual class content.

Most of us don't realize it, but the typical public school which is large enough (nearly all are ) to have offocially or unofficially sanctioned class tracks does so ;a group consisting more or less of the college bound students, the middle of the roaders, and thiose who have in essence been written off by the snooty establishment as future laborers.

It is impossible , for the most part, except for the truly exceptional individual teacher, to set high standards in the general or vocationally tracked classroom.Students, and their unwitting parents, learn to seek out the easy grade and the teacher who assigns no homework; and the politics have degenerated to the point that graduation rates are everything, creating perverse incentives to lower standards still further-students who are not required to do anything except socialize with their buddies are apt to stay in school ust to have something fun to do all day- that's where all the other girls "n guys are.

I could write a book about this subject, as many others have previously, but it wouldn't sell, and it wouldn't do any good.

The key to the problem is that our political system has degenerated to the point that partisanship determines what happens-I was once a card carrying ACLU guy, and helped organize an abortive actual teachers union movement back in the seventies in Virginia.

The teachers as a political group are now so firmly wedded to the democrats that there is little hope for any realistic change, given their dependence on the govt monopoly in education for their paychecks, and their ( mostly no doubt sincere belief) in a free public education system.

Higher education is mostly in the same boat-politics and the nature of big business education have obliterated standards, except at elite universities;the name of the game is enrollment and revenue.

The republicans who are so frequently castigated here either go along willing or out of fear of the voters with pretty much anything the educational establishment wants, pleading only the poverty of the taxpayer for their lack of zeal-and what it wants is an ever bigger, more elaborate , and more suffocating monopoly of education.

We can't count on the press to set us straight on such matters;the press consists mostly of people who have swallowed the conventional wisdom hook , line, and sinker; and of companies such as the one which owns both the Washington Post and the so called University of Phoenix-which spends more on marketing than it does on faculty, and derives nearly all of its revenue from student loans which are of course added directly to our overall tax burden.

The only real hope of reforming this mess would be to create a system whereby parents who are alert enough and care enough can take direct control of their own children's education-this would necessarily involve some sort of voucher system, and private schools of course.

My guess is that the possibility of such reform is vanishingly small, and that those of us who live in smaller communites absolutely stuck with our local public schools-as are those of us who live in larger communities with private schools but cannot affford private school tuition, in addition to school taxes.

The only practical advice I can offer is that as a parent one should pay very close attention to what is going on in the local schools, and make sure one's own child is in the appropriate classroom , with the best of the available teachers;this is easier done than you might expect, as schools are desperately afraid of any public controversy, and willing to do whatever is possible to avoid it.

We are overdue for a collapse of complexity.

Yup, on many counts. I'm a chemistry instructor at a community college and have been very involved with our interaction with high schools for math and science placemnet and coordination. I've mentioned on other posts that we do have a few excellent students. However, the overwhelming majority lack the tools and foundation for success in science. To me the most troubling point you touched on is "the name of the game is enrollment and revenue". All too true; topics that are "too hard" have been dropped, textbooks with too much rigor get tossed aside, teachers with few As find they have no students and the sections get cancelled. The wrting component of many classes has contracted to the point of merely writing one's name on a Scantron form. (And even that has declined with the explosive growth in "distance education"!). I'm not sure private schools do better...when one pays top dollar, one expects a good grade. There are plenty of schools that rake in the dollars by "selling" units to people who want Master's degrees, or just credit hours to move up a pay scale. I've seen some of this first hand, and the level of instruction is a joke.

Well...I'm cranky as I just now got my coffee going, but I hsould be fair...there are good students, and there are great classes and instructors. The problem is that almost everyone wants the easy way...

I don't disagree with much of what you say, just that I was rereading an old book last night, published 1964, that precedes your comment by over 45 years. We are always complaining about education, and we tout out some new magic fix like clockwork. More math and science (from the 50's). More student control, less memorization. 60's. I'm sure you recall when main fix was teacher salaries. Then merit based pay, smaller class sizes, NCLB. What's the fix today?

I look at our rural school, and see problems with parental control. Many parents here are not far beyond their parents "What's he need to cipher for?" And the other ends, of taking their child out when the athletic program doesn't meet their expectations, or the lack of religious values, or a dearth of college track rigor. I'd hate to be a school principal.

One option tossed around is the return to the one room school, or similar. Alot of pluses, all the grades in one room with the older kids effectively instructing the younger (learn by doing), cheaper-teacher lives in a room off the back, is given only a stipend--don't laugh too hard, there are still, at least quite recently in some Hutterite colonies, some Montana districts that way, and probably due to the novelty, had quite a few applicants.

I don't think we'll ever fix it, esp as you note, it's become such a big business. But we can't afford it as presently structured, and can't afford not to educate.

mac - a couple of short anecdotes to go with your thoughts. My stepson wasn't college material...he knew and so did his mom. So instead of building that big tuition debt he became an electrician. Being a hard working kid he became a master electrician in no time. Living the good life with no debt. Life was even sweeter when he was in Las Vegas working on the convention center until they pulled the plug.

In 1970 there were 46 of us sophomores in the geology department. By the end of 3 years 18 got their B.S. Maybe 14 got jobs as geologists. Can only make a WAG but maybe as few as 6 or 8 are still working geologists. And let's be brutally honest: geology is not the most demanding science and engineering discipline out there. And less than 20% who began as geology majors ended up as working geologists. That's a lot of money flushed away. But not wasted in the eyes of the university systems, of course.

The freshman orientation for engineering students included, "Look to your left, look to your right, only one of you three will graduate with an engineering degree."

However, the ones who dropped out of engineering usually got degrees in other fields, and some of them went on to very sucessful careers.

So instead of building that big tuition debt he became an electrician. Being a hard working kid he became a master electrician in no time. Living the good life with no debt.

I have often thought that instead of going straight to university after high school, I should have gotten a technical certificate and used that to fund myself. It was not as if my father was going to contribute more than $100 a year to my college education, so financing it was a bit of a struggle.

A buddy of mine got a certificate in instrumentation technology before he went on to get his engineering degree. During the summer he would work turnarounds at gas plants. Turnaround means they shut the plant down and do all the necessary maintenance when demand is low. The plants would be losing hundreds of thousands of dollars a day until they came back up, so they didn't particularly care home much they had to pay people, as long as they got the plant back on line as fast as possible. He would work four turnarounds every summer. Four months working 12-16 hours a day, time and a half after 8 hours, double overtime after 12 hours and on weekends, board and room provided free by the company.

He would arrive back at university with a huge pile of cash, but since he wasn't into expensive living, he rented a basement apartment and just hung out with the rest of us. The only thing was that, while we were counting our nickels to see if we could afford an extra topping on the weekly pizza we had budgeted for, he would be bolting four nice shiny new dual-choke Webber carburetors on the car he was racing at the track that weekend.

He was ended up as a VP at one of the companies I consulted for, and I could see that, while my own career planning didn't work out that badly, I could have done better if I had known what I know now.

Anyhow, amidst all the "Do we really need so many college grads?" debate, the thing I would say is that you can never have too much education or too many skills. College is the new high school, because high school qualifies you to do nothing.

If I had to do it all over again, I would get a PhD, because a PhD is the new standard for keeping you somewhat above the common rabble and looks really good on your resume. However, I would pick up a technical certificate along the way so I could afford extra toppings on my pizzas during the process, and come out of it with no debt, or as little as possible.

Why reinvent the wheel? Europe largely has two tracks for HS: college and vocational. Testing is required, moving between tracks not hugely common, but there is a mechanism.

Keeping it simple, for the rest means changing society, which is necessary, but not worth the hour to track down the links and write the post.

Generally, college is for the mediocre. The really smart people like Bill Gates don't need it. However, I used to say that college increased my critical thinking skills. Maybe that had to do with the school I went to or maybe I was just fooling myself.

Anyway, college is overrated. Makes more sense to track people a bit earlier like in Europe. But then, don't some people go to college for self esteem? Does it make the janitors feel better?

Bill Gates isn't that much smarter than everyone else, just smart enough in the right ways to take advantage of the lucky break that fell into his lap with the IBM deal.

Life ain't fair, and that applies to the good stuff, too.

Microsoft is a legal firm, that sells software on the side.

Gates is not that smart (but smart enough), but got a good roll of the dice.

Life is mostly luck, and I have benefited from my conditions.

One does need to show up with a white shirt on in some circumstances.

The perspective of one who is in the trenches: Is there a role for elitism in higher education?. By elitism, I refer to intellectual elitism, not financial privilege. My concern is as much to fix the university system as avoid unnecessary student debt for those as in the first article. Baccalaureate education has suffered terribly by the belief that everyone should get a four-year degree. We have dumbed down in order to accommodate the lower average intelligence/intellectual capability that has been the result of expanding (and commodifying) higher ed.

Question Everything

I agree whole heartedly-those who can benefit from higher education should get it-as well as those who are willing to work hard at learning complex and useful subjects, such a chemistry, biology, engenieering, and medicine.We even need a few good lawyers-probably about a quarter at most of the current supply.

I do not believe it is possible, and it is certainly not efficient, for even a very bright person to learn a complex field on his own within a reasonable period of time-a few newly emerging fields might be exceptions, as was computer engineering and programming in earlier days.

And we need without a doubt need as many people around as possible who have mastered the basics of a good liberal arts education-especially if they are grounded in the basic physical sciences.

If I were in charge, nobody would get a degree without passing the real chemistry , biology, and math courses taught to freshman majoring in these fields.

Ideas are extraordinarily important, but also extraordinarily dangerous in the minds of those who don't understand physical reality.

Nearly all of the people I know who have degrees are pathetically behind the eightball in terms of understanding the "big picture" in terms of the way our world necessarily works.

Private schools do indeed pass out a lot of worthless diplomas and inflated grades-but if they are once again well established, and commonplace, and numerous enough to compete, parents would soon learn which ones offer value for the money.

My two best local area friends are making great sacrifices to keep their own kids in private schools-schools with very high standards-the sort of schools that turn out students accepted at elite universities in exceptionally high numbers.

If I could get such a school organized, I could teach vocational students probably three or four times as much useful material as I was able to teach in a public school.

When Daddy and Mommy are directly invested in terms of time and money, and are willing to back up the teacher in terms of the student having to exert himself, and there are no nonperforming studenrs present simply because the law and the guidance department/principals office deems it so, this level of learning is to be expected as a mattewr of course..

WT, we are close to the *-POP-* part of the Educational-Industrial Complex Bubble. Just like the internet bubble and housing bubble, the education-industrial complex bubble is being exposed as a fraud and it will pop.

Higher Ed is currently being used by TPTB as a holding pen for the sheeple - it gives some a job, and it gives many others something to do while they pray for a job... and it produces very little of value (unless you are earning interest on your student's loans, that is something someone somewhere finds valuable I suppose).

For every teacher there are dozens and dozens of others behind them who need to be supported... I can hear the text-book publishers singing, "churn baby churn, disco inferno" as they update graphics and re-arrange page layouts so as to pretend they are producing "New Editions."

"churn baby churn" is the anthem for the For-Profit higher education system in general now.

Your best snarl yet sa. Sadly, sadly. I began preparing for peak oil in 1970 and thought we could get through it if nothing worse came along. I'm glad I over prepped. It's not just peak oil, the whole social fabric of this once great country (say about 1955-65) is coming apart. They were many dreamers then that dreamed of an even greater country ahead; I know, I was one. I wonder if there are any high school dreamers still.

Hi Ed, I have been watching many high schoolers, and many undergraduates, and sadly they are almost without exception still in some kind of "dream."

And we in acadamia seem intent on keeping them dreaming - at several hundred dollars per credit per dream.

I am very grateful for people like yourself, both locally and on the internet. I just wish there were more of you around.

Here is an interesting coincidence: If we extrapolate the rate of change in the 2005 to 2009 US oil consumption to production ratio (EIA), and if we extrapolate the 2005 to 2009 rate of increase in Chindia's combined net imports, as a percentage of global net exports (BP + EIA), the US would cease (net) importing oil around 2023, while Chindia would be consuming 100% of global net exports around 2025.

Link up top: James Howard Kunstler: Peak Oil and Our Financial Decline

No one, so far, has commented on this video. This is Kunstler at his best. He is very articulate and I find nothing in his presentation that I can argue with.

Ron P.

Liked his socks.

He makes reference to the "levitation" of the stock market. Despite everything, including those like Stoneleigh who recommend people be in cash, the stock market has had an extremely good run after the depths of the recession. In the face of massive unemployment and not much hope for improvement, it continues to "levitate". I think he sees that as kind of a mystery. I think it is less mysterious. Companies have done well because their earnings have been boosted by laying people off, automation, and moving jobs and capital to Chindia. The S&P 500 does well because the companies within it continue to abandon the United States. In fact, to call this the U.S. stock market is becoming increasingly disingenuous.

He did not have any firm recommendations about where to invest one's money and did not reveal where he puts his money. One would think he probably has most of his money in cash, but one never knows.

Anyway, as always, I enjoyed listening to him.

I found it interesting that he thinks of himself mostly as an artist of language (I forget is specific term).

He spends a lot of time crafting his message, and he's been correspondingly more successful than many others in getting his message across.

I wish the whole series involved more than just talking heads (although they are great heads to be talking).

Some charts, stats, pictures...interspersed would make for a more engaging program. The production values (sound in particular) are often quite low, too.

I have asked my students to watch one of the first four videos and comment on them tomorrow. It will be interesting to see what the reactions are.

Some of us here would probably like to hear their reactions as well. I would think that it is difficult for most of us here to judge the quality of these videos because we are probably constantly filling in blanks with our own knowledge of both the presenter and the subject. For me, the Long Emergency was seminal.

Yup, that is the response I got - not enough charts, stats, pics...

No disembowlments or explosions...

And the same people ask me, "Why are they (oil companies) raising gas prices when they know we are in a recession ?!?!?" When I tell them the truth, using "stats, charts" etc, they look at me like they look at Rockman - they think I am lying to them. They think I am part of some conspiracy...

WFK what goes on inside the heads of sleepwalkers nowdays.

When I tell them the truth, using "stats, charts" etc, they look at me like they look at Rockman - they think I am lying to them.

Well what did you expect? Have you ever seen what Rockman actually looks like?!


I agree with Ron P that this is overall an excellent presentation
by Kunstler. I am pleased that he comes back to the Rail and
transit issues as central to getting away from our car dependency.
The only factor he did not mention which is critical is the waste
of literally trillions of dollars of our short capital and resources
on endless Wars and militarism.
We have already spent over $1 Trillion on the Afghan/Iraq Wars
directly. This year's $160 Billion+ cost of the Afghan War alone
is more than ALL the State's deficits.
We spend almost $1 trillion annually on all the costs of War when
you add up Afghan/Iraq, Pentagon official spending, DOE nuclear weapons, Homeland Security/Spying apparatus, and Veterans Administration to take care of all the poor souls blown to bits
in US Wars.
This could easily build high-speed rail, light rail, windmills,
solar energy etc.
And of course the Pentagon is the world's biggest oil consumer...

Kunstler's frustration with the myopia of many alleged Green
thinkers is understandable. It seems they all think that the problem is solely with greenhouse emissions and not that we are
running out of cheap energy period. Thus very expensive projects
like $7500 for 1 million electric cars, cash for clunkers are
considered as viable.

"..the myopia of many alleged Green thinkers is understandable."

Sorry. They're just an easy target.. and it's so juicy to pick on a group that people from both sides can agree to disdain.

First, I don't know any greens who DON'T want Energy addressed, and in an urgent way.. but do you think it's possible that they have a LOT on their plates already, just trying to handle habitat loss, pollution, ag. standards, riversheds, public awareness.. etc? They are underfunded, no matter WHAT you hear on Fox, and are fighting the SAME entrenched interests as we are, the ones who don't want to hear about ANY rules (AKA 'Regulations') constraining how they stomp around on the planet, whimpering about how tuff that would be on their share values, and on our endangered economy.

Kunstler makes the HighSchool level argument, time and time again, picking on the stereotypes, from Salad Shooters and Trailer Parks, to the Effete Eco Snobs.. and he gets to wear Teflon, deriding all and smugly remaining aloof of any of complicity.. remember the Geezers on the Muppet Show? That's who I see when I hear that stuff. Possibly 'what we were all thinking' complaints, but ultimately not really taking the next step. It's ultimately an infomercial for JHK.


"I don't like JHK"

I'm faulting his arguments with clear examples to what he does.

So no, as a result of the above, I don't find his writing to be that useful, if that's what you mean. He makes some good observations, and then trots out that snarky adolescent junk and so discredits what little objectivity the piece may have had. It makes me think I'm watching 'The Real World' or 'Cops' ..

Energy is the key component of every green group I have ever been involved with going back to the early 70s. Some greens, just like everyone else, have made mistakes over the years. But that is just the nature of change, not unique to the environmental movement itself. For example, it is likely there are environmentalists who support nuclear today that would not have supported it in the early 70s, myself included. But global warming was a small dark spot on the horizon back then even though some of us were aware of the theory.

As far as EVs go, it gets complicated. Personally, I think their promise just diverts us into thinking we are fixing the problem. There are a bunch of reasons why one would include they are not a panacea, but I don't think there is one monolithic "green" position on the efficacy of their introduction.

JHK is an entertaining and informative author of fiction and nonfiction and is not the leader of a movement. I don't expect much of him beyond that. Does he walk his talk? I don't know but he does seem to do a lot of traveling around and not just for his lectures. On the other hand, I don't think he is trying to present himself as some kind of leader.

I'm with you. He always comes off as horribly obnoxious and mocking everyone else. Basically, everyone but him is a complete idiot it would seem. But in reality, he is theater/writing guy. He has no science, engineering, urban design, geology, economic, any background related to what he is talking about.

And when does a talk somewhere and his comments are not well received, he'll talk about that previous audience as being a bunch of idiots.

I certainly agree with him on some things but he certainly makes it hard to agree with him. I guess it is good to have a passionate voice out there but his obnoxious delivery and frequent apocalyptic pronouncements are intolerable.

"He always comes off as horribly obnoxious and mocking ..."

Kunstler isn't running for re-election so he doesn't have to sugar-coat his message like those that we pay to TELL US THE TRUTH. I see the PTB as obnoxious and mocking, not those who call it as they see it. I find it refreshing, 'cause this ain't no party.

Perhaps you need to revisit the part where JHK talks about the truth being too painful for most people.

Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report
Working gas in storage was 2,542 Bcf as of Friday, January 21, 2011, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net decline of 174 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 9 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 29 Bcf above the 5-year average of 2,513 Bcf. In the East Region, stocks were 96 Bcf below the 5-year average following net withdrawals of 104 Bcf. Stocks in the Producing Region were 117 Bcf above the 5-year average of 795 Bcf after a net withdrawal of 56 Bcf. Stocks in the West Region were 8 Bcf above the 5-year average after a net drawdown of 14 Bcf. At 2,542 Bcf, total working gas is within the 5-year historical range.

Things seem to be improving with respect to the unemployment picture. Total covered employment has only decreased by 285,000 this quarter compared to more than 900,000 last quarter and nearly 1.5 million in the prior quarter.

Covered employment stood at 133,902,387 the last quarter of 08 and at 125,506,066 today.


As the crunch gets tighter, look for more of this. For a good laugh, read the comments. It's stuff like this that has me thinking happy hour before noon = good-as-any way of coping.

Breakthrough promises $1.50 per gallon synthetic gasoline with no carbon emissions.

UK-based Cella Energy has developed a synthetic fuel that could lead to US$1.50 per gallon gasoline. Apart from promising a future transportation fuel with a stable price regardless of oil prices, the fuel is hydrogen based and produces no carbon emissions when burned. The technology is based on complex hydrides, and has been developed over a four year top secret program at the prestigious Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford. Early indications are that the fuel can be used in existing internal combustion engined vehicles without engine modification.


Although to be fair, these aren't a bunch of hippies:

The development team is led by Professor Stephen Bennington in collaboration with scientists from University College London and Oxford University.

It's also important to remember that a lot of these reports go from scientist to marketer to journalist to editor to the final printed word. Along the way the truth often gets distorted or sometimes completely lost. When something sounds to good to be true it usually is.

Notice the key phrase: "when burned". EVs don't emit any emissions either, "when driven". It's all good. And we already knew that about hydrogen. But then there is all the nasty stuff that occurs in getting the hydrogen.

Professor Bennington, Chief Scientific Officer at Cella Energy said, “our technology is based on materials called complex hydrides that contain hydrogen. When encapsulated using our unique patented process, they are safer to handle than regular gasoline.”

Yeah, promises, promises, promises... this not really breakthrough technology and claiming it will be able to produce $1.50 per gallon synthetic gasoline with no carbon emissions is probably stretching the truth a bit. Are they saying the entire supply chain for producing complex hydrides is going to be done without the input of fossil fuels? Dream on!


Complex Hydrides for Hydrogen Storage
Darlene K. Slattery and Michael D. Hampton
Florida Solar Energy Center
1679 Clearlake Road
Cocoa, FL 32922
Complex hydrides, containing a minimum of 7.5 wt% hydrogen, are being investigated as hydrogen storage compounds for automotive use. As a new project, the work to date has largely involved refurbishment of equipment and acquisition of study materials. Initial experiments have confirmed that the instrumentation is functioning and that the data being obtained agree with that in the literature.

Thousands march in Yemen to demand change of government

SANAA — Thousands of Yemenis took to the streets of Sanaa Thursday to demand a change of government, inspired by the unrest that has ousted Tunisia's leader and spread to Egypt this week.

Reuters witnesses estimated that around 16,000 Yemenis demonstrated in four parts of Sanaa in the largest rally since a wave of protests rocked Yemen last week, and protesters vowed to escalate the unrest unless their demands were met.

Booming city of Suez microcosm of Egypt's anger

People migrated to Suez from poor, rural areas to participate in the type of prosperity cited by the country's longtime ruling party as evidence of its success.

But even in a city known for its growing middle class, people say improvements have benefited only a small and well-connected elite, leaving the majority struggling to find money for food and housing. Anger over that imbalance has erupted on the streets more violently in Suez than virtually anywhere else in Egypt, leaving at least three people dead and dozens injured.

About 1000 people gathered in front of the morgue Wednesday night chanting anti-government slogans and calling "God is Great" as they waited for the release of Gharib Abdelaziz, a 45-year-old baker who became the third person killed by police here when he was shot in the stomach during a protest.

Real time tweets claim government buildings including the main fire station in Suez on fire.

I wonder about the consequences of the Saudi effort to stockpile wheat in the face of political unrest abroad, something that could be described as large scale hoarding behavior, what effect it's going to have on other parts of the developing world. It's easy to imagine a political unrest/food price inflation domino effect that causes more and more instability as it spreads. The countries most able to afford grain stockpiling and price controls will deflect their food crises to even poorer countries. In 2008, the process was stopped by the sudden collapse of global trade and commodity prices. The fragility of the global economy and the food supply makes Obama's State of the Union commitment to biofuels look almost like a deliberate attempt to spread instability among developing world nations.

I think this is the real threat to globalization. Not high oil prices leading to prohibitive shipping costs, but the loss of trust in the market that comes with supply shortages.

China used to get a lot of criticism for their food stockpiles. Modern countries trust the free market, and don't stockpile food. But China, with their long history, remembers that food scarcity = rebellion. They see their food stockpiles as essential for their government's survival, and I think a lot of other countries will be following their lead.

The fragility of the global economy and the food supply makes Obama's State of the Union commitment to biofuels look almost like a deliberate attempt to spread instability among developing world nations.

I think Obama is clueless regarding peak oil. We expected a different kind of politician that promised to end lobbying and tell us the truth, and what we got was a BAU cheerleader, mediating the idealogical divide for 2012 votes. He apparently has no idea what is coming with high oil prices on this continuation of the oil plateau or how crazy things will get during the descent, whenever that begins.

He's become a pivot person. He pivots to appease the right, then pivots to appease the left, then pivots to pander for 2012 votes. He's been rendered by his desire to please all into no more than the bumpers and flippers in a pinball machine, trying to keep the ball in play. Proof of this is his 93% State of the Union address approval rating. Please the populace with grandiosity rather than substance, and above all avoid the really hard subjects like the growing ranks of the poor and the reality of peak oil.

If he wasn't the way he is, we would respect him a lot more, assuming we had ever heard of him. If he wasn't the way he is, he would probably still be a state rep in Illinois, at best. It is very difficult to see the truth when it is not in your interest. He is better than the alternatives on offer. However, better, in this day and age, is far worse than is necessary. That is, assuming,however, that there really is any set of solutions to our predicament. There are those here who believe there are no solutions. Accordingly, whether or not Obama is clueless is not all that important. Personally, I think he is less clueless than he lets on but has his vision on the prize, the prize being reelection.

Meanwhile, things are going to get a lot worse very quickly as the Republican'ts dismantle and defund the few things that we are doing to address conservation, efficiency, and renewables.

Obama is clueless regarding peak oil.

IIRC, ex-President Bill Clinton indicated he fully knew about Peak Oil but could do nothing about it because the public did not see it as a "voting issue" and unless you can get votes for an issue, as a politician you are going to be spinning your bicycle pedals backwards wasting time on a non-voting issue

Can't yet find the on point link, but did find this: Clinton & PO

Here's a useless back up: (me saying same thing 5 years ago)

Here is a You Tube of Clinton talking "voting issue" as it pertains to Climate Change

Looks like the global economy is beginning to feel high oil and food commodities.

Every corner of the globe is getting angry.

And yet only $86 for oil right now. It is a steal.

In terms of numbers, it's not North Africa and the Near East where the real food insecurity is. It's the Asia/Pacific countries and sub-Saharan Africa that bring the numbers of undernourished near a billion. I imagine 2011 will see that number rise above a billion again. Food protectionist policies in India and China will drive the worst of the problem into Sub-Saharan Africa where people can starve quietly and without the rest of the world taking much interest.

The fate of the world all boils down to peak per capita caloric intake, so to speak. I imagine the place Americans most want to deter food riots right now would be in a country like Pakistan.

Egypt is the number 1 wheat importer in the world. Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen are all in the top ten of wheat importers per capita which I think is a valid measure of food insecurity. If these countries go Somalian, good luck shipping anything through the Suez Canal.

Egypt is also the second largest recipient of foreign aid from the US, just behind Israel.
This is a client state they will defend and keep. A democratic Egypt would be dangerous for the elite, and bad for business.

Why would a democratic Egypt be a problem for anybody?

The last time a Egyptian democracy was in full action, Nasser nationalized the Egyptian economy, and his political support came from the USSR rather than the US.
Free Market capitalist were not happy. He was probably the most important Arab leader of the 20th century.


Democracy and Egypt have made the West shudder.

1) Israel.
2) Suez.

Good points, but where are you getting your data? I can't find anything more recent than '09, and they don't include Tunisia and Yemen in the top ten:


This is from eight years ago but I don't think it would have changed much. My list was based on per capita, the link you provided is by total imports.

Wheat Import (per Capita)

Where else besides the ME and North Africa are there such riots (sorry, I haven't been keeping up with the general world news, lately.)

So far I have heard of Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan and Yemen.

What's the likelihood that they will spread to SA? Is stocking up on wheat supplies going to be enough? Is this all only about food prices?

Consequences for oil supply?

Indonesia's another huge wheat importer, to the extent wheat prices and wheat stockpiling in North Africa is an immediate threat to political stability elsewhere. Their president brought it up at Davos, so I guess it's on his mind a bit:


Mr Yudhoyono said the global population could rise from seven billion now to more than nine billion by 2045.

"Imagine the pressure on food, energy, water and resources," the Indonesian president said.

"The next economic war or conflict can be over the race for scarce resources , if we don't manage it together."

Try reading Al Jazeera English on-line news. I've gone back over there for real news: food and water shortages, police brutality, what's going in most of the world, human rights, women's rights, indigenous people's rights, news outside the Empire, etc. I've had it up to here with Lady Gaga, Dancing with Stars,sports, etc. There's a real world out there with people hurting and it sure doesn't get covered in mainstream North American media. Al Jazeera tries to make a decent contribution and has been doing some good coverage about the riots in North Africa, Jordan, Yemen etc.

I agree- one of the best sources of what is actually happening.
They have their biases, but refreshingly chewy and nutritional after being exposed to the junk food media of the US.

Same here. It's so refreshing to see the right things given priority in the headlines. Even the BBC seems to be falling victim to gossip to some extent. I mentioned an article I saw to my friends and they responded "You want to be careful with that type of thing."

I think they thought I was sympathising with Al-Qaeda.

Both Aljazeera and Der Spiegel are a good read for in-depth timely analysis.

Where else besides the ME and North Africa are there such riots (sorry, I haven't been keeping up with the general world news, lately.)

Add Gabon

Egyptian protests intensify, as clashes spread across the Middle East

Egyptian police have been fighting protesters in intensifying clashes, and demonstrations have reported from Yemen and Gabon – a sign that defiance against authoritarian rulers in the Middle East is spreading.

On account of the snowstorm, we lost electrical power last night. It was a minor nuisance - we obviously have no heat (other than a stove and a gas fireplace), and we have no hot water (on account of having a tankless gas water heater).

But this morning two of our neighbors were idling their cars in the alley in order to charge their cellphones. I just had to shake my head. My wife said she would have done the same thing, but I pointed out that you don't actually need to start the engine to charge the cellphone (in fact I was charging mine off of my laptop), but she said she would have worried about running the car battery down.

I don't own a cell phone, but I do have one of those crank-powered radios that will charge cell phones as well as serve as an emergency flashlight.

Cellphones should just have Solar Panels on them. Plain and Simple.

Steal them from all the busted 'Garden Pathway Lights' that litter the underside of hedges and shrubbery across this great land..

'From PV to shining PV'

..naw, it'll never work.

(another great absurdity is spending power to make the backlights on Iphones bright enough to see on a sunny day. You should be able to flip it right open and USE the sunlight behind the LCD, and SAVE that precious backlight battery power.)

Good luck getting any modern mobile device running off a portable solar cell. I have a PowerMonkey for my devices, and on a bright sunny, cloudless day, I can't get enough charge from the PV to power a Nokia 3310, let alone something like my DS Lite or iPhone.

Battery and solar technology just aren't up to spec. If Moore's law had affected batteries like it did processors, we'd all have miniature nukes in our pockets. Sadly, not the case. Even a winding dynamo wouldn't cut it given how hard it is to power my LED torch with winding it for a couple of minutes.

??!! I have a 15 year old HP 200lx that's been running beautifully on solar for the last 2.5 years. (2 AA Nicd batteries, a PV panel from an old Solar Bike-Flashlight, plus one Diode..)

It has NOTHING to do with the tech not being 'up to spec'. It's that there aren't products designed with integral Battery/Solar, aside from a few trillion desk calculators (look at the size of the PV cell that drives those), and those somewhat unhelpful 'Emergency Radio/Flashlights'.

Considering the size of a cell-phone battery, it's abundantly clear that the power requirements for these devices is well-within the abilities of a panel the same size as the phone. (Assuming you're not talking continuously, I suppose.) Currently, you just have to get under the skin of these devices, I'm afraid, since you don't want to deal with the losses incurred by their cheap charging circuits.. which are probably trying to fast charge the cells.. shortening their life and begging for too much wattage from the PV, hence the 'failure'. Li-Ions do need custom charge circuits, but there's nothing stopping them from getting a slow charge on the windowsill, aside from our will to do so.

Of course, I'm sure the battery mfrs don't want to rock the boat TOO much, either. But I don't plan on plugging my HP in again. Ever.

You're not running that in real-time, which was the point. Spending 12 hours charging in a sunbeam != PV powered cell phones.

And that's assuming you get a decent amount of sunlight for one device. You need a home PV panel to charge everything you may need if you require a decent phone, laptop and other peripheral.

Addendum: I'd rather have superconducting batteries that could hold a week of charge than have to rely on a PV-to-lithium battery charger. While being able to charge without a socket is handy, being able to have a unit that can be used heavily for long periods is more useful given, short of a Kunstler doomsday, we're not losing our power sockets any time soon.

"being able to have a unit that can be used heavily for long periods is more useful given, short of a Kunstler doomsday, we're not losing our power sockets any time soon."

"everything you need.."

"decent phone, laptop.."

Great. If you want to write up all your conditions, go for it. I have a decent, but not a fancy phone that uses a 3.7v, 1.1ah (4.07wh) Lithium Battery, and it would NOT take "12 hours of Sunbeams" to get it running on a pretty small PV. I have a simple 4.8v Nicad pack that charges against a small set of panels, and this is easy to keep charged, as long as it finds its way back to a window, and that 4.8v 2.9ah pack is clearly meaty enough to drive that phone as well.

My experience with the HP is not about 'expecting the Plugs to be yanked away' from me, but that I have a charger in every window of the house, and in not much of a pinch, I can stick it under any old lamp as well.. tho' even ambient daylight has held it aloft as well.. I can bring it places with me, and there are chargers in my Car windows, and everywhere else I go. There is more than a couple day's charge there, but if the Sun is hiding, the workaround is Painfully Easy.

There is a trick to designing them into a balanced setup.. and another of convincing 'Heavy Users' about how a little bit of give and take makes up for a long legacy of entitlement and unwavering demands..

Methinks the Admiral suffers from a lack of ambition.


We've just got so many wasteful systems around us, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that people don't think we can do useful things on small bits of well-placed power.

That phone of mine goes for 3-4 days on a charge, which means 1watt/hour a day should sustain it. But what's really impressed me with the Calculators and the Palm-computer I mentioned is that I don't have to keep finding accessories and packing extra junk, buying spare batteries, shopping for adapters or asking someone at a job if they've got the right kind of plug.. Just stick it in the window when I'm not using it. If I find a device is getting low on me, I can just figure out whether I should use a bit bigger of a PV, or a bit more Battery Capacity.


It sounds silly, but the USB power cord is one of the things I like most about my Blackberry versus the Nokia phones that preceded it. I leave this USB cable plugged into the back of my laptop's docking station and plug the phone in the other end whenever I return to my desk, so it's fully charged and ready to go whenever I need it, plus there's no fumbling with a wall charger. And, as you point out, your laptop is a ready source of backup power should the grid go down, as it did for us all day Tuesday. One other thing -- you can use any USB charger from any other phone manufacturer to charge it, so no worries about various charging voltages and incompatible plug ends that don't fit should you need to borrow someone else's charger whilst away from home.


Mish is buried one mile deep he says.

Rand Paul: Eliminate Energy, HUD and most of Education department.... 100,000 People in Oakland Expected to Apply for 650 Subsidized Housing Openings... New York State Seizes Finances of Nassau County... Churches Walk Away

I love Mish. He and Denninger are like idiot savants counting toothpicks on the floor as the roof and walls are crumbling around them. Same with Fat and Happy Barry "The Narcissist" Ritholtz at "The big Picture.com.

everywhere there's lots of piggies, living piggy lives...

Brother. Mish's view of the Nassau takeover is predictably silly. The problem is public employee unions? No, the problem is people want government services but don't want to actually pay for them.

Why is it that the takeover is possible? Because Nassau has run into trouble before. They were bailed out after a GOP anti-tax takeover resulted in near bankruptcy, and in exchange they agreed to financial oversight.

The previous county executive had worked out a deal to share the pain - there would be union concessions and an increase in taxes. But the Tea Party guy who won the election eliminated the tax increase. And demanded that the public workers take an 11% pay cut to make up for it. That pretty much hamstrung him in dealing with the unions.

And he refused to raise taxes or cut services. Instead, he made up fantasy budgets that only balanced due to incorrect math. They gave him a chance to fix it. He didn't. So they took the checkbook away.

"Rand Paul: Eliminate Energy, HUD and most of Education department"

I love these discussions sometimes. Once we eliminate government the economy will pick up again. LOL. Funny how disconnected these proposals are from: (a) ever happening; (b) ever working even if implemented.

People should be worried when politicians are not there to do the practical things that need to be done, but instead they are proposing the impossible or things that likely would bring the whole house of cards down.

Does Rand know what Nuclear Energy is by chance? Maybe DOE kind of deals with that little thingy. Imagine all those homeless running around the cities. LOL. Maybe as long as they do not wonder into Rand's backyard.

Education could be trimmed down a bit. But it is like bare bones anyway. I guess the idea with Education is to only let the wealthy have access to education by defunding public ed. Maybe that is a good idea, but better school than gangs in my view.

Oh well. I guess I am still a little left-leaning relative to Rand ;-) Not that any of this matters.

In respect to eliminating govt departments and organizations:

I suggest that everyone who has not done so read the amazingly revelan t little pair of books titled "The Peter Principle" and "The Peter prescription".

We had mandatory public education across the board in this country before there was an education department-and we would still have the same mandatory schools if the department were eliminated.

I am a former teacher, and keep up with the profession.I seriously doubt that the education department is contributing anything, net, to our educational system.It doubtlesssly funnels some extra money into some poor school systems, but only at the cost of supporting another vast nonproductive bueracracy.

A local school superintendent is fond of saying that a dollar in federal money is worth only fifty cents in local money.

Taxpayers cough up a dollar, run it thru the Washington gristmill, and get back ninety some cents then further depreciated by half due to having to deal with Washington.

Of course for those of us who happen to believe that Uncle Sam can afford anything because he is as rich as Daddy Warbucks, this probably seems like a good deal.

Govt does a lot of useful and necessary things-but it is also plagued with overlapping and duplicated agencies; we can easily get along without some of them, including the Department of education.

This does not mean the federal govt would not have a role-the ustice dept would still be enforcing civil rights laws for instance.

The feds could reduce the federal tax burden and thereby leave the states with more local money for the schools, thereby maintaining local control and avoiding the enormous expense of another huge mostly useless dept.

Of course such a middle of the road sensible solution would never occur to those of us who see the govt as the solution, rather than the problem. ;)

Please note the smiley face, all you guys who don't recognize sarcasm when it is delivered with a scoopshovel.


I am pretty much there on education dept. I only see education dept as a means to level out disadvantaged areas with additional funds. In some places, the heat is not working in the winter in these schools. Sorry state of affairs indeed.

I would like to see local areas do the lion's share on education.

But the DOE is such as odd one to hack down. That is like selling Pandora's Box on the open market. How is that ever going to work out?

I know subcontract DOE to Blackwater or whoever. Scary thought to me in any case. What is the difference? The US allocates funds to a private company to run the government. Huh? You do not get something for nothing in the end. Nuclear resources are not free to set loose into the environment. Little or no savings can be had in DOE.

Now Cutting waste and redundancy. Ding ding ding. I think that is a great practical idea that these politicians should be debating how best to accomplish that goal. Rand Paul should refocus on true savings -- abolishing Depts is just rhetorical gamesmanship. Probably not nearly the kind of savings he imagines in those actions.

That is rational thought. Yeah so education dept should be only there to help these dire educational situations in my view -- like housing those stricken with extreme poverty.

Either that or set up more prisons. Which will it be? The dollars are coming from the same place.

It is a scary world indeed.

I am unable to come up with anything useful coming from the Dept of Education. It's a complete failure. The more money they get, the lower student achievement drops.

The Dept of Energy has some good R&D facilities. They have done good work on solar power and improved steels for supercritical steam power plants. But is the rest of it worth the budget?

I have no idea what HUD does as I don't live in an urban development. In the past they were responsible for major public housing debacles, but what they do now is a mystery to me..

"That is rational thought."

That will be our most rapidly depleting resource going forward I bet. The daddylonglegs will be coming out of the woodwork then.

Warming North Atlantic water tied to heating Arctic, according to new study

The temperatures of North Atlantic Ocean water flowing north into the Arctic Ocean adjacent to Greenland -- the warmest water in at least 2,000 years -- are likely related to the amplification of global warming in the Arctic, says a new international study involving the University of Colorado Boulder.

... "Such a warming of the Atlantic water in the Fram Strait is significantly different from all climate variations in the last 2,000 years," said Spielhagen, also of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in Keil, Germany

The story refers to a new study in SCIENCE:

Enhanced Modern Heat Transfer to the Arctic by Warm Atlantic Water, R. Spielhagen, K. Werner, S. A. Sørensen, K. Zamelczyk, E. Kandiano, G. Budeus, K. Husum, T. M. Marchitto, M. Hald, Science 331 pp. 450-453, 28 January 2011
DOI: 10.1126/science.1197397

They appear to have found a new example of the "Hockey Stick" curve...

E. Swanson

This stuff was reported on last year. Is this an independent study, an enhancement, or...? Same thing going on down South, of course.

Gotta love non-linear systems.

I've been saying time is short for a few years now. And it is. And, it is still, sadly, accurate to add and it's going even faster than most think... even the scientists.

Anyone got a hanky?

So...when will the U.S. take the same medicine that the British have signed up for?


While certainly painful, the military’s budget emerged relatively unscathed: It underwent a total reduction of only 7.5 percent, and not the 25 percent cuts seen by the Home Office or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, or the half-million government workers who are now finding their “talent released into the private sector,” as one government minister described the experience of being fired. In the context of across-the-board retrenchment, the defense cuts come across as a heroic rearguard action by Trans-Atlantic-minded leaders in the British government.

Or does the U.S. still believe in the myth of our 'exceptionalism'?

These issues notwithstanding, the reality is that the British have made some extremely tough decisions in directly facing the link between economic security and national security, and, moreover, forthrightly facing a fiscal environment that is arguably not as severe as the U.S. faces. At the time when the British conservative coalition felt forced into action, the U.S. debt stood at over $13.7 trillion (almost 90 percent of GDP, compared with the British fears of heading toward the 60 percent level) and the Office of Management and Budget showed the U.S. budget deficit at $1.3 trillion in fiscal year 2011. In essence, Britain’s nightmare scenario remains America’s normality.

I want to see the budget balanced as a result of the up-coming debt ceiling limit vote.

As long as the pain is shared, and the wealthy folks and corporations are made to pay their appropriate share, in addition to British-style spending cuts.


Free portion of an article from Foreign Affairs:


The national defense budget accounts for 56 percent of all U.S. federal discretionary spending. Defense is now one of the country's "Big Four" accounts, consuming roughly the same share of federal spending as do each of Social Security, income-based entitlements (such as welfare), and the total nondefense discretionary budget. And the United States is expected to spend over $700 billion on national defense in 2011 -- twice as much as it spent in 2001, more in real dollars than for any year since the end of World War II, and as much as is spent by the rest of the world's militaries combined.

Here is a current poster-child for weapons development gone awry ( I have years of experience in this arena to make this judgment):


And this evolving clown show comes right on the heels of our Coast Guard's 'Deepwater' debacle:


Yet it has been the holy writ for years that 'Thall shall not ever question any military expenditures'...if non-military programs were run half this poorly you betcha that TPTB would have it all over the news for years and folks would march and have rallies in D.C. to howl in protest...

OPEC Boosts Exports for First Time This Year, Oil Movements Says
By Grant Smith - Jan 27, 2011 11:30 AM ET

Loadings will advance 1.4 percent to 23.67 million barrels a day in the four weeks to Feb. 12 from 23.34 million barrels in the period to Jan. 15


The Oil Movements report is consistent with other shipping reports indicating a possible 1% to 2% uptick in oil shipments out of the Mideast in February, and also, a possible 2% increase in OPEC 'output' as recently proclaimed by KSA.

However a 1% to 2% February increase would only take us back to December 2010 levels, and the world demand is on track to significantly exceed 2010 levels. This of course is assuming the KSA holds together in 2011, and does not turn into a Taleb type 'black swan'.

the world demand is on track to significantly exceed 2010 levels.

Demand may be headed that way but I see no reason supply will follow. And as we know demand can never exceed supply. As Nicole Foss put it, demand is not what people want, demand is what people can afford to buy.

If as you say OPEC will have delivered more oil in December than in February, then that is still well below their 2010 record month of February and just barely above their average for 2010. OPEC will have to significantly increase production, and therefore exports, if there is going to be a significant increase in 2011.

I don't see it coming from non-OPEC this year. Russia and the USA, non-OPEC's largest producers, are projected to be slightly down this year and I see no "significant" increase from any of the other non-OPEC members. Both the IEA and the EIA are predicting a slight increase in non-OPEC NGLs and other liquids but not much increase in C+C if any.

Ron P.

OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri denied that the world's largest producer had raised production

1/28/11 Reuters News 00:22:09

Yes, demand can not exceed supply for long, but as a very rough guess, we could be in overshoot territory for about three months while any excess inventories above minimum operating levels are drawn down.

Considering that most of the extra US supply is in landlocked Cushing, OK, the US may even experience supply problems before that - which I assume will be met by more agressive bidding for available exports.

Talking about tipping points, it's been pretty intense viewing Egypt's protests today - things have quickly escalated out of control in the space of about 2 or 3 hours: http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

Gives you an idea of how quickly things can change sociologically if it comes to the crunch.

Lets hope for Saudi Arabia, that would also leave Ben Ali from Tunisia nowhere to run with his plunder.


I though the same and talked to it with my colleagues today - classical tipping point, first Tunesia, than...

There is a hole in the Berlin Wall but no one yet knows how it will undfold, will it be as peacfull as the breakdown of the Sovjet empire or not?

At least it happens now and not ten years into the post peak oil downslope, that would be a lot worse.