Drumbeat: June 3, 2011

GE Sees Saudi Energy Sales Doubling as Gas Turbines Cut Oil Use

General Electric Co. (GE) expects to double energy revenue from Saudi Arabia in the next five years by increasing sales of gas power turbines, curbing the amount of oil needed locally to produce electricity.

With oil prices around $100 a barrel, Saudi Arabia and other oil producers in the Middle East will try to free more of their crude for exports rather than burning it to generate electricity, GE Vice Chairman John Krenicki, who heads the Fairfield, Connecticut-based company’s Energy Infrastructure division, said in a June 1 interview.

John Michael Greer: In The World After Abundance

The crucial point to take away from all this, though, is that expectations formed by the extravagance of the recent past are not a useful guide to the best options available to us in the post-peak future. It’s a safe bet, of course, that plenty of resources will be thrown down a dizzying assortment of ratholes in the attempt to keep the infrastructure of the age of abundance up and running even as the abundance itself trickles away. Long after private cars have stopped making any kind of economic sense, for example, what’s left of the American economy will still be being jiggered and poked in an attempt to keep some mummified simulacrum of an auto industry propped up in its corner, and no doubt similar efforts will be made to support the big regional grids even when the impact of shutting them down would be less of an economic burden than the cost of keeping them going.

Russian blast halts pipe flows

Firefighters battled a blaze raging through an arms depot today, forcing a halt to oil pipeline flows from Russia's largest crude producer and causing 28,000 residents to be moved out of the area.

Egypt, Israel rift over gas cut escalates

CAIRO (UPI) -- Egypt's cutoff of natural gas supplies to Israel is escalating a dispute over resources that is wrecking the Jewish state's relations with its Arab neighbor, which, until the fall of President Hosni Mubarak in February, were the linchpin of the Middle East peace process.

Israel has found major natural gas fields off its coast under the eastern Mediterranean, but none is likely to come on-stream before 2013, leaving Israel facing a serious energy crisis.

Drilling Generates 48,000 Jobs

The boom in Marcellus shale natural-gas exploration and production created 48,000 jobs in Pennsylvania during the past 18 months, says a new state report.

"The numbers are absolutely staggering. We certainly project the jobs will grow as production continues to expand," said Travis Windle, a spokesman for the trade group Marcellus Shale Coalition in Cecil in Washington County.

Gas is great, but can it make money?

Hype, awe and bubbles are inextricable from technology-led enthusiasms. So it was with the battery two centuries ago, the light bulb a few decades later, automobiles and planes in the subsequent half century, and laptops and cell phones in the last two decades. One of the latest fads is natural gas -- technological advances that have unlocked vast new volumes, and transformed it from a locally usable fuel into one economically transportable around the world.

Yet, as with all these other technologies, now comes the moment of truth -- how do you scale up and make money? If you can't, the technologies will ultimately return to the shelf until somebody can.

Obama accused of stalling on Colorado oil shale but fast-tracking Wyoming coal, tar sands in Canada

While critics on the right have accused the Obama administration of moving too slowly on the still-unproven potential of oil shale on Colorado’s Western Slope, observers on the left say the White House has been pushing too fast on an agenda promoting Wyoming’s Powder River Basin coal and tar sands oil production in Canada.

Keystone oil pipeline restart depends on regulators

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - U.S. regulators are studying a plan from TransCanada Corp to restart its Keystone oil pipeline, and are likely to impose some conditions for resuming operations, the Canadian company said on Friday.

TransCanada, whose 591,000 barrel a day line to Oklahoma from Alberta has been idled since Sunday, said it was still making repairs and modifications to a Kansas pump station following equipment failure that caused about 10 barrels of oil to leak.

Petrobras hikes 10-yr oil output target-CFO

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazilian state-led oil company Petrobras said on Friday it will produce more than any other publicly listed oil company at 6 million barrels of oil equivalent a day in 2020, 10% more than its previous estimate.

The expanded production estimate, presented by Chief Financial Officer Almir Barbassa on Friday in Rio de Janeiro, is based primarily on the addition of new ultra-deep-water assets and exploration areas near Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

Pakistan: Floods, oil prices, security hit economy

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh said on Thursday that last year’s devastating floods, energy crisis, hike in international oil prices and internal and regional security challenges were the main factors that hit the country’s economy and subsequently slowed down the growth rate during the fiscal year 2010-11.

19-hour power cuts hit textile units

LAHORE – The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman Gohar Ejaz has said that 12-hour daily power outages have hit the textile units located at Manga–Raiwind and Multan–Bhai Pheru roads, which fall in the LESCO jurisdiction. Talking to The Nation the APTMA Chairman said the textile industry was a major sufferer of energy crisis, as continuous suspension of gas supply from the SNGPL network for over three days a week along with power breakdowns have affected production capacity to the extent of 43 per cent.

Five killed, scores hurt as Karachi burns

At least five people were killed and several others were injured including two policemen in the incidents of violence and riots linked to the call of strike against energy crisis by some political groups here in Karachi on Friday morning, police said.

The coming energy crisis

India may be staring at an energy crisis. Shortages of coal and a sharp drop in natural gas output from Reliance Industries Ltd’s (RIL) Krishna-Godavari (KG) D6 bloc have come at a time of galloping demand for energy.

Diesel Shortage Forces Railway to Cancel Most of its Travel Schedules

Following acute diesel shortages in Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar Railways has suspended travel of 11 freight-trains and 4 shuttle-trains for its local destinations. Destinations affected were Bor-Undur, Zuunbayan, Sharyn Gol and Nalaikh provinces.

Some petrol stations run out of fuel

Dubai: High subsidies leave oil retailers strapped for cash, forcing some petrol stations in Sharjah and Dubai to turn away customers from locked pumps without explanation.

"Petrol retailers are having to sell a product for less than they acquired it. Ultimately they will have to get a cash injection. It might have something to do with the government in Dubai dragging its feet too much and not injecting enough money," Samuel Ciszuk, IHS Senior Middle East Energy energy analyst told Gulf News.

Tripoli's Women-Only Gas Pump Highlights Libya's Fuel Shortages

TRIPOLI, Libya -- Weary and frustrated, the women had been lined up for days in their dust-covered cars waiting to fill up at Tripoli's women-only gas station. A scowling female soldier kept order with the help of a few dozen male volunteers.

The men, in groups of two or three, pushed cars with their tanks on empty as the line snaked slowly forward.

Iran Oil Minister 'worst choice'

Iran's newly appointed oil minister is the "worst choice" who will damage the country’s vital energy sector, the head of parliament's energy committee Hamid-Reza Katouzian said today.

34 Syrians dead in restive city after troops open fire

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian security forces opened fire during one of the largest anti-government protests so far in the 10-week uprising, and activists said at least 34 people were killed Friday in a city where thousands died in a failed 1982 revolt against the regime.

More than 1,000 dead in Syria since mid-March, U.N. chief says

(CNN) -- More than 1,000 people have died in Syria since the conflict there started in mid-March, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday, a grim milestone that reflects his alarm over the "escalation of violence" in the authoritarian Arab country.

Oil players set to boost Peru oil hunt by 50%t

Petrobras and Colombia’s Ecopetrol are among energy companies aiming to increase investments in Peru by a combined 50% to $1.54 billion this year, amid the country’s presidential runoff, said the president of state oil contracting agency Perupetro.

Saudi Electricity, Showa Shell to Build 15-Megawatt Solar Plant

Saudi Electricity Co., Saudi Aramco and Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. will develop a solar plant with capacity of as much as 15 megawatts on the kingdom’s Farasan Island, 30 times more than a project announced yesterday.

The Peak Oil Crisis: An Announcement

With little fanfare, a press release appeared last week on the website of the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security (ITPOES). The release said that during a meeting between Chris Huhne, the UK's Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and representatives of ITPOES, an agreement had been reached that Her Majesty's Department for Energy and Climate will collaborate with ITPOES on a joint examination of concerns that global oil supply will begin to fall behind demand within as little as five years. This collaboration is seen by the British government as the first step in the development of a national peak oil contingency plan.

There are many implications buried in this seemingly innocuous announcement. First, American readers should note that the British government recognizes that energy policy and climate change are inextricably linked so that you cannot formulate policies for one without the other. The major step forward, however, is the official and semi-public recognition by a major government that global oil supplies will fall behind demand in as little as five years. After years of official denial this is indeed a breakthrough worthy of note.

OPEC mulls oil supply target hike to ease prices

SINGAPORE — OPEC is considering raising crude supply next week for the first time since 2007 in a move that could weaken $100 oil prices and lessen the drag of high energy costs on global economic growth.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which pumps more than a third of the world's oil, may raise supply targets by as much as 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) when ministers meet on June 8, a delegate said on Thursday.

"There is a need for an increase to replace the loss from Libya," the delegate said. "Oil prices are too high. $100 oil is scaring people."

Bill would allow $500 million emergency oil sale

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A request by the Obama administration to sell $500 million in crude from the U.S. emergency oil stockpile was included in a spending bill released on Wednesday by the House Appropriations Committee, with a spring 2012 deadline to sell the crude.

The Energy Department has to inspect and possibly repair some of the underground caverns that hold the 727 million barrels of oil in the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Part of the oil has to be removed from the caverns so the inspections can be carried out, according to the department.

Oil Falls Below $100 Before U.S. Jobs Report, OPEC; Crude Supplies Climb

Oil fell before a report that will indicate the strength of the U.S. economy and as OPEC prepares to meet in Vienna next week to decide output quotas.

Futures have fluctuated from $98 to $104 a barrel this week. The U.S. Labor Department will say today that employers added fewer jobs in May, according to a Bloomberg News survey. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will respond at its June 8 conference if the world needs more crude, Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi said yesterday. An explosion at a Chevron Corp. refinery in Wales killed four workers.

Baker Hughes sees much better 2nd half in US Gulf

(Reuters) - Baker Hughes Inc, the world's third-largest oilfield services company, expects the third and fourth quarters to be "much better" in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico as work resumes on deepwater wells.

OPEC's Oil Output Got Saudi Boost In May - DJ Survey

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' total oil production continued rising in May, boosted by a hike in Saudi production, a Dow Jones Newswires survey shows. The group's production, however, remains well below its level prior to the Libyan civil war.

Total production from the 12 OPEC members in May was 29.103 million barrels a day, up 355,000 barrels a day from 28.748 million barrels a day in April, according to the survey.

How to play oil volatility now

The quality of supply, however, is not a volume matter simply; it is not a peak oil argument. In my judgment, there is plenty of oil. But it is of lower quality, heavy, sour, high viscosity crude, or representing an expanding range of unconventional sourcing (for example, shale, oil sands or bitumen). New fields also tend to be smaller and require greater commitment to infrastructure. All of this provides supply, but at an increasing cost.

Moscow refinery halts loadings after fire - traders

(Reuters) - Gazprom Neft's Moscow oil refinery with a capacity of 200,000 barrels per day stopped oil products loadings on Friday after a power substation caught fire, traders said.

Chevron launches inquiry into UK refinery blast

(Reuters) - U.S.-based Chevron Corp said on Friday it had launched an inquiry into an explosion at its oil refinery in southwest Wales which killed four people and seriously injured one.

Concerns over refining safety have reverberated through the U.S. oil industry since an explosion at a BP refinery in Texas City in 2005, after which BP said safety shortcomings were common across the sector.

North Sea oil: Trading blows with Mr Osborne

Ever since the tax raid on oil and gas producers, the energy industry and the Treasury have been at loggerheads.

Natural gas environmental impact tied to economics

Folks have lots of questions to ask about the environmental impact of natural gas fracking, but the more important questions to ask may have to do with the economics. Ultimately, the two lines of questioning are intertwined.

House Panel Faults Administration Spill Response

Representative Darrell Issa, the California Republican who is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, charged Thursday that the Obama administration bungled the response to the Deep Water Horizon explosion and oil spill last year.

China meets Libya rebels in latest blow to Gaddafi

TRIPOLI, (Reuters) - China made its first confirmed contact with Libyan rebels in the latest diplomatic setback for Muammar Gaddafi, and France said on Friday it was working with those close to the veteran ruler to convince him to leave power.

Libyan rebels broke despite piles of gold

Abdalgader Albagrmi's office sits above a vault piled high with gold. It's the dwindling pile of cash next to the bullion, however, that keeps the Libyan rebels' deputy Central Bank chief up at night.

As that pile shrinks, so too does the chance of funding and sustaining a revolution to oust one of the world's longest-serving dictators.

Libya says will replace energy chief who defected

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – The Libyan government said on Thursday it will send a representative to the next OPEC meeting, replacing the senior oil official who defected saying he had lost faith in the rule of Muammar Gaddafi.

Libya rebels are not revising oil deals: source

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – Libyan rebel officials are in contact with top oil companies that operate in the north African country but no new contracts are being drawn up, a source in the rebel leadership said.

Bahrain police fire at protesters marching toward landmark square after emergency rule lifted

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Bahraini police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters marching toward the landmark Pearl Square in the country’s capital Friday, eyewitnesses said, just two days after authorities lifted emergency rule in the Gulf kingdom.

The downtown square was the epicenter of weeks of Shiite-led protests against Sunni rulers earlier this year. There were no immediate reports of injuries during the protests. The eyewitnesses spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals.

Syrians Protest Alone as Army Loyalty, World’s Inaction Leave Assad Free

Syria’s opposition is set to defy President Bashar al-Assad’s security forces again after prayers today without any sign it’s winning backers at home or abroad who could make the contest less lopsided and stop the killing.

Egypt: no gas exports until pipeline secured

Egypt's oil minister says Egypt will not resume natural gas exports to Israel and Arab countries until it secures a pipeline that has been repeatedly bombed.

Gazprom to boost gas to India from 2016-18 - source

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Gazprom is set to start increasing deliveries of liquefied natural gas to India starting from 2016-2018, a source close to the Russian gas export monopoly told Reuters on Thursday.

Gazprom eyes gas delivery for German power plants

The chief executive of Russia's natural gas monopoly Gazprom says that supplying gas to European power plants is the future of their work in the continent.

Alexei Miller said Thursday that a recent decision by the German government to shut down the country's nuclear plants by 2022 has influenced his company's strategy.

Reliance disappoints at shareholder meet, shares fall

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Reliance Industries will work with BP Plc to address production issues at its key gas block in India, its chairman said at the firm's annual meeting on Friday, but its shares fell as investors were disappointed by a lack of specifics.

Under pressure, Iran president names new oil chief

Iran's state TV is reporting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has withdrawn as the caretaker of the country's vital oil ministry and named an ally instead.

Japan Politics ’Chaos’ With Kan Resignation Vow

Naoto Kan’s pledge to step down as prime minister set off a contest to select Japan’s next leader, adding to the risk of delays in reconstruction and revenue bills needed to restore growth and assuage credit concerns.

Germans’ Deep Suspicions of Nuclear Power Reach a Political Tipping Point

BERLIN — Shortly after the earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan in March, stores in faraway Germany began selling out of radiation-tracking Geiger counters. Sales of iodine pills to limit the absorption of radiation surged briskly, too, propelled by anxiety that people might find themselves engulfed in clouds of long-range radioactive fallout.

No matter that the incipient nuclear catastrophe was about 5,500 miles away, or that Germany, unlike Japan, did not lie on known tectonic fault lines. On the streets of major cities, hundreds of thousands of protesters, casting events in Japan as a portent of what might happen here, turned out ahead of state elections to demand a halt to Germany’s own nuclear power program, the source of nearly a quarter of the nation’s electricity.

A bold national energy plan can benefit the provinces

Many Canadians may not realize this, but most of Canada’s long-distance, high-capacity connections for oil and electricity run north-south, not east-west. In these key industries, we have focused almost exclusively on serving the U.S. This is one of the great strengths of our nation -- the ability of each province to create its own best strategy for developing revenue streams. It’s also a weakness, because lack of access to other provincial markets has effectively siloed our energy strategies along provincial lines, leading to a patchwork of development across the country that does not take advantage of potential synergies across regions.

Sales of smaller cars double in a decade: As prices at the pump increase, more Americans are starting to get smart

According to the auto research site Edmunds.com, compacts and subcompacts accounted for nearly a quarter of the new vehicles sold in April. That’s double the market share from 10 years ago.

50 mpg? Ford bringing three-cylinder engines to U.S.

A three-cylinder engine? It's been more than a decade since we've seen one, but now Ford is bringing a three-banger to America.

Some Volt dealers take tax credit for themselves

The salesman's comment suggests there is truth to reports that some dealers are gaming the system to claim battery car tax credits for themselves, as first reported by a conservative think tank called the National Legal and Policy Center.

“Many Volts with practically no miles on them are being sold as ‘used’ vehicles, enabling the dealerships to benefit from the $7,500 credit supplied by the American taxpayers on each car,” NLPC’s Mark Modica said in a blog post on the practice. “The process of titling the Volts technically makes the dealerships the first owners of the vehicles, which gives them the ability to claim the subsidies. The cars are then offered to retail customers as ‘used’ vehicles."

US coal film aims to put wind in green energy sails

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – A new film protesting against US coal mining and starring Robert F. Kennedy Jr. aims to boost green alternatives such as wind power and highlight "criminal" destruction by the industry.

A 'Big Thumbs Up' for Renewable Energy

Most renewable sources are abundant, practically inexhaustible and far more climate friendly than fossil fuels. Some companies making equipment to harness these energies are growing rapidly.

Last month, experts advising the United Nations said renewable sources could deliver nearly 80 percent of world’s total energy demand by the middle of the century. That report, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — the most authoritative body of experts, scientists and engineers specialized in climate change — was a welcome signal for an industry that has faltered in previous decades after government subsidies dried up and lower-cost fossil fuels made their technologies uncompetitive.

Solar panels on Saudi island are small step in ambitious project

A Red Sea island that burns diesel for electricity is soon to benefit from solar power. Saudi Arabia is testing out the technology before dropping billions of dollars on major renewable projects.

Solar energy plans pit green vs. green

Plans to create huge solar energy plants in the deserts of California, Arizona, Nevada and elsewhere in the West are pitting one green point of view vs. another.

Solar-Power Incentives Get Results but Are Rare

Texas prides itself on being the national leader in wind power, and many renewable-energy companies are looking to this big, sunny state as the next frontier for solar power, which California currently dominates. But solar technology remains expensive: notwithstanding its environmental benefits, it can be twice as costly as coal or gas power on a nationwide basis before incentives. The recent fall in natural gas prices has made it even harder for solar to compete (although panel prices are falling, too).

A Nimbler, More Energy-Efficient Marine Corps

Now the Marine Corps plans to expand the deployment of green technologies that would be useful on the battlefield. “The goal is to make the Marines a more effective fighting force and to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, transported water, and battery logistics,” said Maj. Gen. John A. Toolan, commander of the Second Marine Division. “We will significantly increase our energy efficiency on the battlefield and in doing so reduce our reliance on logistics convoys.”

Some of the innovations deployed include a solar-powered generator and LED lighting.

Is America's love affair with kids waning?

The share of the population under age 18 dropped in 95% of U.S. counties since 2000, according to a USA TODAY analysis of the 2010 Census.

The number of households that have children under age 18 has stayed at 38 million since 2000, despite a 9.7% growth in the U.S. population. As a result, the share of households with children dropped from 36% in 2000 to 33.5%.

There are now more households with dogs (43 million) than children.

How Fish Use Energy Teaches True Oil Economics

Hall, a 68-year-old New England born professor with a gift for plain speaking, has made a name for himself by championing a revolutionary idea known as energy return on energy invested (EROI). Every plant, animal and human civilization lives by EROI.

The law isn't rocket science. Whenever a salmon, bear, lodgepole or Dow Jones company spends more energy on an activity than they get back, death follows. Or in corporate terms, debt builds and things fall apart.

World on the Edge How to Prevent Environmental & Economic Collapse—by Lester R. Brown (book review)

Lester Brown, in this new book, asks one main big question, “Can we change direction before we go over the edge?” As the foremost reporter of environmental and social data on the planet, Lester Brown has, for decades now, been tracking the facts of environmental decline with a special emphasis on relating this to social conditions in all countries the world over. He’s been tracking factual conditions over a wide spectrum of areas such as world food supply and food security, resource depletion, human migrations, poverty levels, species extinction, population growth, meat consumption, women’s reproductive health, fossil fuel decline (peak oil), pollution, climate data, peak water, deforestation, melting icebergs, ocean acidity, renewable energy, rising CO2 levels, etc. Brown concludes that the world is in trouble; he sees that Plan A, or business as usual, is not working, period. Based on all this massive and continuing research, he began to publish, a few years ago, a series of annual updates that he called “Plan B”—to be implemented at wartime speed to avert multiple catastrophes that feed on each other as each one tips the next one over into a path of no return.

No NZ ‘Oil shock response plan’

UK Secretary for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne is to establish an Oil Shock Response Plan to cope with some of the consequences of peak oil.

So why is there no urgency from our government or business leaders to respond to these warnings?

'Tomatoland': Not all tomatoes are created equal

Q: What sparked your interest to write about the tomato industry?

A: I was driving behind a truck in Florida that I thought was carrying green apples. Some of the orbs flew off. At the side of the road, I got a closer look. Not one was smashed. They turned out to be tomatoes so plasticine and so identical they could have been stamped out by the same machine. Florida is the poster child for everything that is wrong with not-seasonal and not-local produce.

Obama Deregulates GMO Crops Despite Supreme Court Injunction

Early this spring, while the world was distracted by Egypt’s uprising, President Barack Obama pushed the Secretary of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to deregulate genetically engineered alfalfa and sugar beets in the United States. The USDA came through as he directed, totally deregulating these Monsanto-patented genes in early February.

Half of Texas now under 'exceptional' drought

LUBBOCK, Texas — A devastating drought tightened its grip on Texas over the last week with more than half the state now suffering the most extreme level of drought measured by climatologists.

A report released Thursday from a consortium of national climate experts said over the last week, Texas saw the highest levels of drought — rated as "exceptional" — jump from 43.97 percent of the state to 50.65 percent of the state.

Meanwhile, to the north in Oklahoma, another key farming and ranching state, about 30 percent of the state continued to suffer severe and exceptional drought levels.

The drought conditions have ravaged the region, sparking thousands of wildfires, drying up grazing land needed for cattle, and ruining thousands of acres of wheat and other crops.

Three Gorges Dam Is Said to Hurt Areas Downstream

CHONGQING, China — A Chinese official says the planners of the Three Gorges Dam failed to properly gauge its effects on lakes and other bodies of water downstream, according to a report on Thursday in Shanghai Daily, an English-language newspaper.

As a result, the dam has contributed to lower water levels in two of China’s largest freshwater lakes, raising the threat to them during long droughts, the report said. Large areas of central and southern China are suffering from the worst drought in 50 years, and the levels have plummeted in the Yangtze River and other bodies of water, including here in Chongqing.

Plan for China’s Water Crisis Spurs Concern

DANJIANGKOU, China — North China is dying.

A chronic drought is ravaging farmland. The Gobi Desert is inching south. The Yellow River, the so-called birthplace of Chinese civilization, is so polluted it can no longer supply drinking water. The rapid growth of megacities — 22 million people in Beijing and 12 million in Tianjin alone — has drained underground aquifers that took millenniums to fill.

Not atypically, the Chinese government has a grand and expensive solution: Divert at least six trillion gallons of water each year hundreds of miles from the other great Chinese river, the Yangtze, to slake the thirst of the north China plain and its 440 million people.

Brazil approves huge Amazon power plant

BRASILIA (AFP) – Over the strong objections of indigenous groups, activists and environmentalists, Brazilian authorities gave a green light Wednesday to what will be the world's third largest hydroelectric plant and dam.

Chemicals in Farm Runoff Rattle States on the Mississippi

As the surging waters of the Mississippi pass downstream, they leave behind flooded towns and inundated lives and carry forward a brew of farm chemicals and waste that this year — given record flooding — is expected to result in the largest dead zone ever in the Gulf of Mexico.

Remove barriers to India, other nations going low-carbon - study

NEW DELHI (AlertNet) – Barriers preventing the transfer of clean technologies to help nations like India adopt low-carbon development must be removed if the world is to successfully address climate change, a new study has warned.

With a population of 1.2 billion people, an economy growing at 8 to 9 percent annually and surging energy demand to sustain such growth, India has become the world's third largest carbon polluter, after China and the United States.

World Bank to Help Cities Control Climate Change

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — The World Bank signed an agreement on Wednesday with mayors from 40 of the world’s biggest cities to work on technical and financial assistance for projects to minimize the effects of climate change.

Study Maps Global 'Hotspots' of Climate-Induced Food Insecurity

ScienceDaily — A new study has matched future climate change "hotspots" with regions already suffering chronic food problems to identify highly-vulnerable populations, chiefly in Africa and South Asia, but potentially in China and Latin America as well, where in fewer than 40 years, the prospect of shorter, hotter or drier growing seasons could imperil hundreds of millions of already-impoverished people.

U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve oil sale to lower gas prices before election?

You beat me to the punch.

Makes me feel like switching parties, no scratch that....

Yes, by all means let's scratch political parties altogether! Everyone runs on one slate in the primary and the 6 biggest vote getters run in the general election.
Political parties have turned into greedy power hungry do nothings of little or no value to the average citizen. (Eliminate the un-necessary political parties from controlling who gets to run for office)
Limit direct or indirect contributions to any election campaign to contributions by registered voters in the election subdivision where the candidate is running. (Eliminate corporate, union, pac and other special interests from affecting the outcome of a "local" election)
Require all candidates who want to run for any office to have lived in the district where the office they are running for is located for a length of time equal to the length of office for the position they are running for immediately before filing to run for that office. (Eliminate carpet baggers)

I like it but I will not be holding my breath.

Are you kidding? $500 million is a drop in the bucket. In the article, the stated purpose is for maintenance of the caverns. Given the volume, that seems more plausible than the theory this is to reduce gas prices before the election. With the coming double dip recession, Obama will have far more to worry about. Further, I think gas prices are going to continue a downward trend anyway because of the continuing and probably deepening recession.

Is it possible for the caverns to develop cracks and start leaking out significant quantities of the reserves? I can imagine they would want to keep such an event quiet because of environmental damage, but it would be plausible reason for needing an "inspection".

It was announced a few months ago that they had problems with some caverns which had already forced some redistribution of crude to other caverns and would likely force outright sales in the future. I wondered at the time if some below the radar transfers had already occurred (perhaps under transfer to refinery and return equivalent oil later arrangements so no actual "sale").

It would be neat if that was the source of some of the 300,000 barrels per day of "commercial petroleum" that turns up by "adjustment" like clockwork in the weekly EIA inventory reports every month (for the last few months) . But for the moment I have to assume that the EIA has simply lost the plot this year and has no idea where crude and product is arriving from.

The article quoted 5 million barrels released. That is ~6% of world oil demand for a single day. I don't think that would have a significant affect on oil prices.

This is not just some Obama White House conspiracy. Both sides do this, as a matter of course. And the Oil Industry controls it ultimately - depending upon who they want in the White House.

The Chinese have 6000 years of history, and yet they can not learn from it. Two news in todays DB makes this so clear.

The 3 Gorges dam causes downstream problems they did not forsee. Who could have told? My my.

And now they are going to build a large canal to take water from Yangtse north to Desert-land. Are they deliberately trying to destroy every bit of their eco system?

This will destroy the river. The increased area of open water plus the increased use of tapwater along the way will serve onlyto boost evaporation. Once this canal is turned on, the Yangtse will become a sesonal river. Mark my words; there will be news about how this project totaly screwed up China.

Meanwhile Gobi marches on, soon to engulf Bejing. Any bets on when they will abandon the capital city?

Anyone who sais China is the land of the future... is in strong disagreement with me.

China is not remotely survivable.
The sky was green during my brothers last visit, and flowering plans are disappearing as pollinators go extinct.
China is merely the last great industrial power.

I believe Pakistan will be the first major country over the cliff.

China is not remotely survivable.

This may yet prove true. I remember seeing photos of Chinese terrace farming as a kid, and thinking how clever to make flat ground on the side of hills, but when you see it done on this scale, I am not sure how clever it really is;

Photo From the Globe and Mail

A farmer walks past a terrace of codonopsis pilosula, a traditional Chinese medicine also known as dang shen, in Min county, Gansu province. Rows of white plastic shields have been installed to protect the roots of the dang shen to keep it warm and moist.

This photo also explains why China is importing so much lumber from Canada and Russia - not one tree to be seen in this landscape!

No trees, but an unbelievable amount of plastic though. Incredible.

Meanwhile Gobi marches on, soon to engulf Bejing. Any bets on when they will abandon the capital city?

I'd heard that also, the Gobi is marching a certain amount each year towards Bejing and is only 60 miles (last I'd heard a few years ago) away. Would the desert reaching the city limits really cause the end of the city? Just have sand sweepers. Millions of people sweeping sand - it would give the unskilled a way to make ends meat.

If Wikipedia is to be believed, the Gobi is growing by well over 2000 acres every day. That boggles my mind. I literally cannot comprehend it.

Around 1100 sq.mi., one US county, a year. It's 500,000 or so sq.mi. so that's around 0.2%/year or 20%/century.

Great Wall version 2.0 ?

Nearly so: They call it "The Green Wall". They are planting trees. Like madly. But without water those trees dies. But they have to try. I asked my friend who lived in China (Bejing for a while) and have a chinese wife about it. He said he was very sceptical they would succed in it. And he complained about the omnipresent sand in the city.

they need to plant the trees in one of these;


Better yet, do it the right way: without technology, with local products and with local people.



We will not solve the problems of technology with more technology, particularly when we are willing to do so only for $$.

IIRC from reading an article a few years ago, the desertification has caused 110 million environmental refugees in China.

The numbers I remember from my head says there is a 7 to 21 years before the dunes reaches the western Bejing suburbs, depending on worst case / best case scenarios.

About 3:30 minutes into this video news report "Too hot to handle " they cover the transfer of water to the north of China. Seems the cities along the canal are growing so fast and consuming increasing amounts of water, there is some doubts as to whether Beijing will benefit.

Some interesting information in it about the French drought too.

Sales of smaller cars double in a decade:

This links to the wrong article


is one version of the story.

There's a lot to comment on today. My thoughts, this morning, however, are with food. Someone sent me an email entitled 'What the World Eats'. It shows pictures of families from around the world with their food purchases for one week, and the cost.

The pictures are derived from a book entitled "Hungry Planet : What The World Eats" by photographer Peter Menzel and writer Faith D'Aluisio. An NPR article was written about this in 2005.

A followup Time article was done later.

I can't help being amazed by the contrasts between more-industrialised and less-industrialised countries. We could save huge amounts of energy by addressing food issues - specifically packaging and processing.

The primary foodstuff of the typical American family appears to be plastic.

Interesting stuff. It's been discussed here a lot over the years. Part 1 of the Time gallery is here, and we discussed it here.

I wonder, if the same study were done today, if anything would look different. If GMO's were labeled, for example. Maybe more computers and flat-screen TV's in the background...

I wonder how he chose the families. Most seem to be relatively well-off. The Chinese family has a lot of meat, not to mention McDonald's, in their diet.

I suspect the Egyptian family might have less meat now, unless they are wealthy indeed. One of the reasons for the unrest there was food prices that pushed meat out of the reach of many who were accustomed to eating it regularly.

Perhaps it should be an every-10-year study. People seeing these pictures 50 years from now may not believe what they are seeing.

I agree that as we become less affluent, meat consumption will necessarily decrease. The question for industrialised countries will be where to get the bulk staples and greens.

Edit : I've been reading on energy issues since around 2005 - for all the hand-wringing and keyboard-hours consumed, I'm not sure what has really changed in any measurable way, with respect to food.

I suppose that if we spend less grain feeding animals and cars we will still have enough bread? No, only kidding.

It looks like not only northern Europe but also the USA and China are foreseeing serious crop failure this year due to climatic events and water depletion. Oddly enough I was only joking the other day about getting a bread maker and buying up flour so that I can afford bread this autumn, then I realised I don't actually eat much bread, most days none at all, and since potatoes and rice will doubtless also be affected, not to mention irrigated vegetables I, like everybody else without a garden, will just have to bite the bullet and spend twice as much on food. But if there really are food shortages somebody must go hungry, no?

Peak food, peak water and peak oil, all at the same time. This is going to be one hell of a year.

Even if you don't have a garden, there are things you can grow in containers, even in an apartment with a small balcony or sunny windows.
At least you could have some greens, and maybe a tomato plant or two. YouTube has a lot of examples. Someone posted a video about growing potatoes too - although, granted, you probably won't get many in a very small space.

Actually, one can grow a lot of potatos in a small space. I expect each of these bags to produce around 10 kilos. I have 15 of these growing in less than 100 square feet:


I plan to add more soil tonight, up to the top of the plants. As the plants grow, I'll keep adding soil until the bags are full. By first frost, each bag should have grown over 20 pounds of spuds.

Besides our big garden, this year I've planted over 60 containers: cukes, various squashes, peppers, tomatos, musk mellons, herbs, garlic, shallots.... all on my roof and small deck, and all doing very well.

These zucchinis are already producing after 4 weeks. In a few more weeks they will have spread out alot, shading the roof, as will the mellons and cukes. (Notice my hedgerows in the background: another energy saving 'modern innovation'. These too are edible; blackberries and raspberries ;-)


Anyone with a little space and sunlight can do this. Not very labor or energy intensive. Minimal investment, excellent return.

There are many ways to build what I call a "potato reactor". The key is to go vertical.

If you have a few old tires around, you can dig a little depression, plant a couple-three seed potatoes, and as they grow fill in with soil. Then pop a tire around the whole thing. As they grow, keep adding soil/mulch/hay/whatever. Keep stacking the tires and adding stuff to keep up, always leaving a good amount of greenery at the top - this is a solar-powered reactor, after all. At harvest time, you simply un-stack the tires, and *voila*, the whole thing collapses into a lovely pile of potatoes!

You can achieve much the same effect by building a chicken-wire cage around your seed potatoes. Just keep adding soil/mulch/etc. and make them go up. Or do what Ghung does. The only limit is your imagination :-)

If you have kids, they love the tire thing, especially at harvest time.

Potatoes are one of the select plants that I call "giving plants". Apples are another. Garlic is another. They just give so much for such minimal attention and fuss.

I do believe that potatoes can provide more calories per unit area than just about any other crop.

I was all excited about doing the tire thing last year. Miserable failure. Do not know why.

Hmmm... worked for me. Too wet? Too dry? A different kind of potato? Who knows! When it works, it really works.

I have plenty of room nowadays, so I grow them more or less "conventionally".
Russet Burbanks - yum!

Tire stacking had bad results for me. I figured it was due to temperatures and I could paint the tires white but never tried.

One could drape light fabric around the tires, or any container, for shade. Get creative... maybe put a scarecrow head on top ;-) One thing I've considered about tires is that they can hold water. While good for some plants, potatos like well drained soil. Perhaps some holes should be drilled on the lower sides of the tires. Just some thoughts...

There should be good drainage between the tyres. If they press together too hard maybe popping a few stones between them would help.


Thanks for posting - I'm always on the lookout for ideas ! I have a lot of different items growing in containers in a number of areas around my house to see what will be successful. Even my shaded porch has greens growing.

I'm definitely going to borrow your potatoes-in-black-bags idea. I have some bags full of composted weed trimmings and old dirt from containers that I think will produce some great spuds. Too heavy to carry down from my upstairs deck, so may as well make them useful.

Now,if only I can figure out a way to keep the squirrels out...

Any old bag will do. Some of mine are in old dog food bags. As for squirrels, maybe a little chicken wire, or a few well placed shots from a BB gun ;-)

Chicken wire will have to do it - shooting at them in the city is illegal.

Potatoes like cool soil so I wouldn't use anything black as a container unless you live above the Arctic circle.

I tried that. Problem is. WHERE DOES THE SOIL COME FROM? Do you have Tardis somewhere to store all that soil in preparation to be piled into those bags? It doesn't save as much space as the hype says, and I barely got anything out the other end.

I make my own soil from 'stuff'. I get composted wood chips from the local landfill, sometimes I even buy good topsoil at the nursery, and the local feed store has a huge pile of composted manure. Dirt is where you find it, and stores nicely in bags or containers under the porch, in the closet, trunk of an old car.....

...this ain't for everybody.

I laughed at the idea of you hiding bags of dirt in the closet:)... but seriously, do the potatoes in the black bags grow well when there is a lot of heat?

I'm experimenting here and I also used some white feed sacks and some off-white dog food bags, so we'll compare the production in the fall. It occured to me that black wasn't a good choice, but I had some used black construction bags and decided to try them because they are bigger. They had shredded paper from my wife's office in them. Maybe someone can comment on the hazards of using shredded office paper (inkjet) as mulch or compost.

So far they don't seem to be getting very warm. Perhaps someone here can advise us on the heat absorption/transfer characteristics of black polyethylene vs. white dog food bags. It may be that the decomposition of organic matter in my soil mix will be my downfall, where temperature is concerned. We may never know ;-)

Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Pre-cooked potatoes, jes pick em and their done ;)


EDIT: PS This was handy, was thinking about blagging some used tyres of the local place but I must look for plan B.

Hi Ghung-

Squash on the roof is a real neat idea. We grew butternut for the first time last year, but our yard is so small it was a real problem. Unusually cold wet summer, we only got 2 squashes from the plant. But that was okay, it was a storage test- just plopped them on the floor (carpet) in an unused bedroom, and they kept just fine for 6 months! Then we made a "pumpkin" pie from them this spring and oh yum.

Question: How do you handle the watering up there?

Hi, VT. I'm using drip irrigation. Our local big box clearanced all of their drip/micro irrigation stuff from one of the manufacturers and I already had some timers and emitters, etc. I'm hooked on drip; saves time, water, and is more consistant. The plants seem to enjoy it. We also use drip for the tomatos in the big garden.

Drip watering "Patio Starter Kits" are available for about 20 bucks. Everything you need to water about a dozen or more plants: tubing, emitters, faucet attachment, etc. Electronic timers start around $15, or some folks use the cheap mechanical timers.

Cucurbits and tomatos like some heat, and they are doing quite well on the roof. We have gravel up there, so it should discourage some of the pests (vs. soil). We'll see how it goes.

Are the bags drained? What keeps them from cooking the potatoes in the sun?

I poked a few holes near the bottoms of the bags. As to heat, it was pointed out above that potatoes prefer cool soil, but, as you can see, they're growing well up to now, and we've had quite a heat wave going on two weeks here. As I fill the bags, I may shade them with straw, JIC. My buddy has had plenty of success with this method for several years. Same conditions. White feed sacks may work better.

This is really a big experiment this year. I've posted before that I hope to share some methods that old folks, or the physically challenged can use to produce some food while using less energy, less space, less water, etc. None of these methods are new, I've just never tried them 'til now.

Thanks. I will try this one. I have tried tomatoes in buckets, with marginal results. They fruited decently, but were nowhere near the size of my bed-planted tomatoes.

I need some sort of trellis veggie too. I have a SW-facing brick corner that could really use some shading in the summer. A sun-loving, high-growth plan would do nicely I think.

"I need some sort of trellis veggie too. I have a SW-facing brick corner that could really use some shading in the summer. A sun-loving, high-growth plan would do nicely I think."

We grow pole beans to shade parts of the house. They're easy to grow, don't need great soil, grow fast and provide plenty of shade. You can grow a lot of them in a small area and use plastic garden netting or chicken wire. We hang netting on small brass hooks under the eaves. Up they go! Some folks just use old tree limbs from the yard. Many beans are indeterminant, so you can pick fresh beans for months. We're also growing beans in buckets, using some old reinforcement wire I found for a trellis:


Tomatoes grown in containers/buckets need plenty of fertilizer. Organic ferts/teas or fish emulsion are great, but in a pinch, a commercial tomato fertilizer works great. I would rather give my tomatos a shot of miracle grow 18-18-21 every couple of weeks than waste good time and plants. Plenty of good compost usually does the job. Most folks don't have space or time for a big compost setup and commercially available organics are really expensive. Container growing soil needs lots of organic matter to hold water yet drain well. I mix my own in an old compost tumbler, but store bought potting soil works great ($$). I get nice composted wood chips from the county landfill (free), and mix regular top soil and my own compost in.

Ghung, you inspired me to garden from years ago. My yard is small but it is slowly being converted to 100% farmland. ;-) Now I need to learn how to train butternut squash plants to grown onto the roof of my house.

brick corner that could really use some shading in the summer. A sun-loving, high-growth plant

We did that with corn one year. Just about the time the worst heat of summer comes on, the corn reaches 7-8 feet tall and shades the wall. We got so much corn we got sick of eating it, it's what inspired me to get a pressure canner.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for bringing some sanity to the world again. I've returned from reading the comments over on the Space Power Satellite section on TOD and I was beginning to think that TOD had been taken over by aliens of the techno-cornucopian persuasion. I can't believe that so many are actually serious in thinking that this is such a wonderful idea! Now that I've seen your pictures, I realize that there are still sane people in the world. I felt like I was at a convention of trekkies!

But surely The Venus Project is the answer to all of our problems!

Perhaps they will grow potatoes in bags...


Thanks, yes. I have a sunny west facing balcony and this year I have beans, hanging tomatoes and practically every herb growing, plus salad leaves and nasturtiums. I considered potatoes but copped out at the last minute: next year maybe. I also have a bay tree and a host of hanging flowers which I would hate to lose. But I take your point and I can and should grow a lot more. I could have harvested a nest of young blue tits I suppose, but it isn't that bad yet. There are a couple of Egyptian geese nesting in a tree nearby as well and they spend a lot of time on my roof looking particularly delicious!

Personally, I don't plan to eat the wildlife around here. Especially since many of them feed from trash bins. I have cats which take care of the local mice, though, so if catfood was in short supply, they'd make it. I'm sure the dog, given the opportunity, would also.
I'm mostly vegetarian now.

We have enough rodents in the area to support a small population of coyotes - personally, I love that, although many folks around here would beg to differ.

"But I take your point and I can and should grow a lot more."

Just don't overload the balcony :-/ More isn't always better. I have a hard time setting limits this time of year, but if I grow too much, the ladies from the local church food pantry will come help me pick.

Just don't overload the balcony :-/

Actually that's a good point for people trying this. Watch the weight. Soil + plants + containers + watering can add up. Don't want the balcony garden to end up at level 0.


a good point for people trying this. Watch the weight

Any ideas about this? The only thing that comes right to mind is the snow load rating for roofs. It varies depending on where you are. I'm in a mobile home, but one year when we had a really heavy snow that freaked me out I was able to discover my home is rated for 28 pounds per square foot.

However I'm not an engineer and I'm not sure how this would translate to a point-source of weight like a 10 gallon flowerpot with a butternut in it. Snow is an evenly dispersed load.

I can feel the roof give slightly under me in between the rafters, when I walk across it. But right on top of each rafter seems firm. My non-engineers mind says a square foot right on top of a rafter should take more than 28 pounds, because my whole weight is concentrated on a couple square feet, and it holds me. Maybe also more weight (stronger) right along the load-bearing walls rather than in the center?

I was also thinking squash because they like to spread so far. Only a few pots, spaced 10-15 feet apart, would cover the whole roof in butternuts. Maybe sweet potatoes?

I will give the standard answer first. Your roof, in your situation, with your construction is unique, everyone's roof/balcony is. Think the load of the stuff just sitting there plus wind/rain/snow/whatever appropriate to your area. Ask a local engineer to take a look, tis better than catching the pot that falls through.

So saying, avoid point loads on rafters, use spreaders. How many, how far depends on your roof etc (see above). 10 gallons could weigh up to 200 lbs or so depending on pot/soil/plant/watering. Maybe keep the pot off and grow something that will ramble over the top, melon cucerbit etc. Watch out for trapped moisture and mould. Edge is likely to be stronger but I would not walk directly on that roof but use walking boards to distribute the weight between several rafters anyway, all it takes is one weak patch.


NAOM has some good points about distributing the weight. I suggest looking for strong points, where cross walls in the house give support. Perhaps some small pallets would work to distribute the weight, or just try a couple and observe. A few cucurbits wandering around on your roof would provide a lot of shade.

Most of my containers are 12 gal. rope totes that were on a " super special" at the big home store (3 for $10), supposedly UV stable, made in USA! Using light, airy soil, not so heavy when full and watered; maybe 50 lbs..

I originally designed our roof to be "greened", for a minimum of 120 lbs/ square foot. I had a friend's firm check them out - in excess of 180. Nice to know. I built my own stressed skin joists and my friend, an architect, said they were "off the scale". He's actually borrowed my design to cantilever roof overhangs. We never greened the roof because the fire ants have gotten so bad here. They've been known to eat holes in rubber composit membranes like I used on our system. We put down two inches of gravel over 3/4" insulation board and a layer of 6 mil polyethylene.

So now we do containers. I considered raised beds but like the portability of containers. If this works well I'll build some decorative boxes to hide the ugly containers in, out of old barn wood perhaps. I'm also toying with putting a greenhouse up there. I'll have to ask the insurance guy what he thinks. There's over 1600 square feet of usable area: Not using it "seems like an awful waste of space" :-)

I am really surprised at the high food bills for some of the families in Europe and America. My family of four (two kids) is vegetarian for religious reasons (we are Hindus). I do all the shopping in my household. Even though I am not especially trying hard to cut costs, I find it very hard to spend much more than $150 per week. In contrast it appears that most American families are spending over $300 a week. The main differences that I can see are that we don't eat any kind of meat/fish/chicken and we cook most of our meals. Still, I find the difference in weekly expenditure startling.

I am really surprised at the high food bills for some of the families in Europe and America. My family of four (two kids) is vegetarian for religious reasons (we are Hindus).

My wife and I recently went from a processed food diet including meat, dairy and sugar to pure Vegan. It's like you said about money spent on food - for us like turning off the money taps going out for food. So much cheaper and dramatically much better for the body, mind and spirit. I'm right there with you Brownbear!

Even though I am not especially trying hard to cut costs, I find it very hard to spend much more than $150 per week. In contrast it appears that most American families are spending over $300 a week

You have to take those kind of articles with a huge grain of salt. They're always based on wealthy families. I see those "Ooooh, look at me, I managed to feed my family on $99 a week!" articles on Yahoo and MSN and they infuriate me. I'm feeding my family on half that. Price per pound, that's us. And on a price-per-pound diet, fruit and veggies don't figure. A dollar for a single green bell pepper, or a dollar for a pound of factory chicken. Factory meat wins. A 25 pound sack of flour works out pretty well too. But lately dried beans are getting ridiculous- if I shop sales real hard, I can find meat cheaper than dried beans. Then we load up the freezer and wait for the next Super-Bowl hamburger sale or fourth of July chicken sale.

The jobs report was ugly.

Higher prices for energy and raw materials have also left businesses increasingly cautious about hiring and expanding. And growth in manufacturing output weakened last month, in part because the March earthquake in Japan disrupted supplies of electronic components and other parts. Those disruptions have also reduced auto production and sales.

The layoffs of state & local government workers is beginning to have an impact.

The really ugly part is that the pain wasn't limited to any one sector or field. Yes, there were job cuts among public employees, but the private sector didn't do too well, either.

The extent of the cutback in hiring was widespread. Manufacturers cut 5,000 jobs, and retailers, who had one of their best hiring months in years in April, pulled back by trimming nearly 9,000 jobs. Overall, nearly half of the industries tracked by the Labor Department cut payrolls during the month.

And let's not overlook the +206,000 "birth/death" adjustment :)

Things are going quite nicely, as planned, if you happen to be a Republican. Stopping the stimulus in its tracks is working as planned.

I wonder if 2008 was the start of "Revolving Door" politics in the US, where every two years the electorate votes against the dominant political party at the time, basically a continuing series of changes in the officers in charge of the Titanic--after the ship has hit the iceberg (but the old/new officers continue to insist that the flooding is only a "temporary" problem).

I suppose the presumed motto for a hypothetical Peak Oil Party would be "Vote for us and things may not be as bad as they would otherwise have been."

It would be nice if it really meant that it alternately "threw the bums out". However, due to gerrymandering, about 2/3 of the Representatives and Senators are in "safe seats", and it is only 1/3 of the districts where the alternation of parties takes place.

The other 2/3 of Congress have all the seniority and power, so nothing actually changes.

It also assumes there's any meaningful difference between the parties. There isn't.

The teachers in Wisconsin would disagree with your assessment.

Anybody who makes less than $200K/yr who votes for a Republican is voting against their own interests.

Democrats Join the Rain on Union Bargaining Rights

Massachusetts, a Democratic stronghold, lawmakers are pressing to strip 175,000 municipal employees of health care bargaining rights. House members passed a measure April 26 that would prevent teachers, police officers, and others from bargaining over deductibles and co-pays.

Two-thirds of House Democrats supported the measure, ignoring protests and a radio ad campaign coordinated by the state AFL-CIO. The Democrats’ action has led to “tremendous outrage and feeling of betrayal” in the labor movement, observes Dan Clawson, a board member of the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA). “It’s definitely a break from the past.”

The Democrats’ bill, which purports to save $100 million in health insurance costs, comes in the context of a nearly $2 billion state deficit. The deficit impacts local governments, which rely on state revenue sharing.

Voting is for suckers.

Then take over your local party. All it takes is to show up.

The problem is the rate of growth of health insurance premiums. For profit insurance companies can only do a couple of things to keep their growth rate of profits...increase premiums or decrease services. If they don't show ever growing profits, they get hammered by Wall Street.

You've got a medical treatment system addicted to insurance money AND the need to have all medical services as "profit centers." How else are you going to pay for the latest "gee-whiz" gizmo that outdoes the doctor and/or the for-profit hospital down the road? It does not help you have a certain "something for nothing" mentality within both the electorate and the private and public sector communities.

But you cannot keep having growth of premiums at 12% per year (either for private-sector employers or public sector). For example, for the "average" North Carolina public sector employee, the cost of health insurance premiums will match the average wage of state employees in a little over 15 years. This has occurred while reducing benefits, increasing copays and co-insurance deductibles.

Is it insurance if you pay more than 50% of your total medical costs (compared with what the public sector employer pays for insurance)?

As was pointed out here in NC, the legislature could completely eliminate the budget deficit by simply ending ANY support for medical insurance for all public sector employees and retirees not yet covered by Medicare and simply telling them "you are on your own." Of course the savings could not be passed along as any sort of pay increase, because it would "just" eliminate the budget hole.

There is no union in NC for state and local employees (it is against state law) and no rights for collective bargaining.

It beats me why a Republican legislature just didn't end health insurance as an employee benefit including one for themselves and their staff's.

Isn't it becoming obvious? The U.S. just isn't a civilized country, people. It's an amazing and interesting country, yes, but not civilized.

Every other developed nation has national health insurance of some sort, and even the right wingers in those countries don't dare mess with it too much.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Democrats don't even push for it. Instead, they force people to buy expensive private insurance!

The issue just can't be simplified to Repubs vs. Dems. We have very deep and systemic problems in this country which aren't being addressed and which are rapidly approaching critical levels.

Why? Because this country is a free for all, that's why. The only thing that matters is getting rich. Health? That's for suckers.

The US spends 16% of GDP on health care, a higher amount than other "civilized" countries.

Of course, much of it is wasted by keeping old people alive for a few more weeks by extreme measures, keeping alive extremely premature or congenitally defective infants who later cost a lot of money to care for during their lives, maintaining people with expensive chronic illnesses, etc.

Comparatively little is spent on preventive medicine or on treating curable illnesses and injuries.

A significant proportion is spent on administering the bills for patients as well, this is dead money of course. No pun intended.

Yes. Every doctors office I've been in has at least as many clerical workers as medical workers. Mostly they fight with insurance companies about money. And I bet the insurance companies have their own army of clerical workers fighting with the doctors and patients about money. Effectively lots of makework.

It is an inescapable consequence of third-party payer systems, where the third-party is either an insurance company or a government agency.

The medical care consumer wants the most comprehensive care that he can claim entitlement to.

The medical care supplier wants to provide as many services as possible, especially in a pay for service scheme.

The third party sets up a myriad of checks and bureaucratic rules to minimize payments.

Paul Krugman has marveled for years at the Republicans' ability to get people to vote against their own economic interests.

Paul Krugman has marveled for years at the Republicans' ability to get people to vote against their own economic interests.

That's why they call them the 'Sheeple', because they are so easily led. Just throw around a few macho slogans before the election/s and they give up even more of what little they had. It's like they enjoy the role of the sacrificial lamb.

Economic self interest is only one dimension, and has not been a very important one at that.

The emphasis has usually been placed on issues related to national defense, security, "family values", social issues, immigration policy, racial solidarity, regional divisions, etc.

national defense, security, "family values", social issues, immigration policy, racial solidarity, regional divisions, etc.

All of which are used to scare said 'citizens' into voting against their own best interests. It's an almost seamlessly administered system, operated by a bunch of certifiably insane power mongers. It works, oh, it works well. Just one more nail in our collective coffin.

On the contrary, if you don't take care of your economic self interest the rest means squat (unless you like being a serf).

On the contrary, if you don't take care of your economic self interest the rest means squat (unless you like being a serf).

But it takes a very long time to boil that frog. And the frogs blame is easily deflected away from the true cause of the heat. Then you can have a feast of frog stew.

It's not exactly clear that people who vote Republican are voting against their own economic interests.

If you are a productive, working person outside of the government sphere, it's in your interest to keep hold of as much of your own money as possible.

So the corporate drones are voting Republican - what do you expect? That they would vote Democrat, and all of their money can be taken away from them, and a bureaucrat from D.C. can decide where he'd like to spend it?

I would argue, for example, that Californians have been voting against their own interest for a long time now. They have an amazing state, and they keep voting in these Dems at the federal level who support high income taxes on the middle class to redistribute money from their state to Alabama and Mississippi.

Dems have the magical and convenient belief that we can have a military-industrial complex and extensive welfare/healthcare spending, with no consequences to the budget or to the well being of the nation.

LBJ was the exemplar Democrat. It was Nixon - a Republican snake - who had the guts to end the Vietnam War, not to mention the draft. This is history - you can't accuse me of making it up.

Wars and welfare - it's the Democrat way. Care to prove me wrong? Then vote for Obama and show me when he ends the unproductive wars in the Middle East.

Now, I don't think it's this simple of course, but that's part of the problem. We are living in a complex society.

And if people vote Republican for race or religion or whatever, can't blame them for that either. I don't agree with them, but I can't blame them, we are tribal creatures.

Every single central, big government attempt to reduce tribalism always fails. It's deep within our nature.

Both parties are big government, there are only a couple outliers (in both parties) that would ever vote against a big government project that was in their party's favored fields.

That you seem to believe the Democrats are the problem is a testimony to the genius of the Republican strategists, building their own feifdoms up while pointing to the Democrats at the party of "Big Government".

The PATRIOT Act was conceived of and passed under a full Republican majority, and it is the biggest and most intrusive government yet. Of course we have the Democrats to thank for NAFTA and making copying computer files a federal crime, so I won't defend them here, either.

Wars and big government aren't the Democrat way, nor the Republic way. They are the upper classes way of keeping your eye off the ball while they take it away from you.

Well yes we had, by far, the worst administration in this nation's history under Bush. The Bush years were a nightmare.

But, after that, we elected an LBJ style Democrat! It's become clear to me that the Democrats are a head in the sand sort of party. I cannot justify supporting them.

I tend to be a little contrarian these days which is why I choose to respond to posts which seem to be simplistic especially in favor of liberals and/or Democrats, which to be fair is expected on this site. I will respect the board and won't litter it with too much political stuff which goes nowhere.

You want my honest opinion? I think America is in very, very bad shape. I don't like having this opinion.
I guess you could call me a Kunstlerian and Tainterian. The choices that we've made, our built environment, our complexity, pretty much guarantees some sort of collapse.

If you are a productive, working person outside of the government sphere, it's in your interest to keep hold of as much of your own money as possible.

Only if you live on a self-sufficient island, will never leave it, and need nothing from outside the island. Otherwise, your statement is entirely false.

Earth Care
Share the Surplus

It's all one system. If we are going to attempt systemic design, we have to remember people are part of the system.

You don't understand politics, Oldman.
It's about compromise but in reality it's really a zero sum game.
The Republicans operate on the right end of politics so they represent 'the System'.
People who identify with the System vote GOP even though the System is screwing them royally.
Democrats represent the people who want the government to help them either individually or collectively, after all this is a democracy.
Things are simple for Repubs; 'keep the rabble down'.
For Democrats, they have accept compromise because they believe in democracy.
There was nobody on Nixon's right to keep the war going, Obama has to compromise with the Pentagon and GOP.

The endgame will be when the GOP decides to get rid of democracy completely and install a King/Emperor.

That's at least not clear. As I said once before, the D's are, at their best, the Pity Party, treating life as a giant game of Queen For A Day. No matter how much you might need help, they'll find someone else - or something else, in the "environment" - they deem to be even more help-worthy. AKA aggressive "means testing." So it's usually futile to vote for them in order to get help, as it will always go somewhere else. This is different from some parties of the left in continental Europe, which have tended to be more universalist, especially with medical care. OTOH Europe, just like the USA, seems to be heading for bankruptcy as fast as they can, so maybe it's all academic.

The people who complain the most about 'entitlements' usually
are really the ones 'looking out for Number One', opportunists who are afraid someone else will get something if they don't steal it first.
These are the squeaky wheels who always demand special treatment ahead of the group as a whole
So your fear is that the D's will give 'it' away to minorities, the poor or environmentalist before you, Number One.

After the disaster, Ismay was savaged by both the American and the British press for deserting the ship while women and children were still on board. Some papers called him the "Coward Of The Titanic" or "J. Brute Ismay" and suggested that the White Star flag be changed to a yellow liver...
Some maintain Ismay followed the "women and children first" principle, having assisted many women and children himself. He and first-class passenger William Carter said they boarded Collapsible C after there were no more women and children near that particular lifeboat. Carter's own behaviour and reliability, however, were criticized by Mrs. Carter, who sued him for divorce in 1914; she testified Carter had left her and their children to fend for themselves after the crash and accused him of "cruel and barbarous treatment and indignities to the person." [21] London society ostracised Ismay and labelled him one of the biggest cowards in history."


Two days ago it was announced here (UK) that Birmingham city council has just outsourced 100 jobs to India. Answering phones no doubt.

That's 100 more people here out of work then...and the ultimate conclusion of all this is?

The jobs report was ugly.

Yes it was and I have been following this story all day on CNBC. The democrats are blaming the republicans and the republicans are blaming Obama. But the point is everyone is blaming someone.

The energy driving industry is declining a little each year. Sooner or later industry, and employment, must decline because of this. But no one is blaming the declining of the energy supply. As long as net oil exports continue to decline then industrial output of all oil importing nations must decline. Travel and transport must also decline.

Eventually everything will decline and the people employed to produce products and services will decline. But none of the talking heads on TV seem to have figured this out. And it don't look like there are likely to figure it out any time soon.

Ron P.

I am not sure less jobs follows more expensive energy. One thing that can replace expensive energy is use of cheaper labor. A shift to greener farming methods is an example. The return of the repair shop is another.

I am not sure less jobs follows more expensive energy.

Neither am I. But I am absolutely sure of one thing, less jobs follows less energy. Perhaps it can buck the trend for a year or two but eventually as the amount of energy falls the amount of production falls as well. And as production falls the numbers of those employed to produce falls.

It is really quite simple. Energy does work. Work produces. Less energy, less work, less production.

Ron P.

Less oil imported into the U.S. causes less economic growth. Lower economic growth causes fewer jobs and hence higher unemployment.

Just to keep unemployment from rising, the U.S. needs real GDP growth of about 3.5% per year. Growth was 1.8% in the first quarter, and I expect roughly the same rate of growth in the second quarter of 2011. If my forecast on real GDP growth is right, unemployment will increase; it would not surprise me to see the headline unemployment back at 10% by the end of the year.

Falling oil imports means that the growth party is over. Few economists have grasped that fact. Indeed, most economists think that economic growth will pick up because the U.S. is in "recovery" from the recession of 2008-09, and past recoveries from recession have typically seen high rates of economic growth a couple of years past the recession's bottom. But most economists are blithely unaware of the economics of falling oil imports and its repercussions.

Few economists have grasped that fact.

They all have their graphs of log(GDP) versus time, and expect it to return to the linearly increasing historical line. Since Malthus was trashed because of his terrible timing, it is a career limiting move to take limits to growth seriously.

You are right. Economists have their mathematical models, and the models (which do not include falling oil imports) all say that economic growth is going to increase this year and next year.

Those models are wrong. We will either have very slow growth or we'll fall back into outright recession. Which will happen depends largely on the path of oil prices. If oil prices go up the way Goldman Sachs forecasts, then the U.S. will sink back into recession. On the other hand, weak demand for oil could lead to lower oil prices, and with oil at around $70 a barrel I think the U.S. rate of economic growth would be in the neighborhood of 1% in real terms.

However, it is possible that we are in recession right now; John Williams's numbers at shadowstats.com show us in recession. He thinks the official data understate the true rate of inflation and hence overstate the real rate of economic growth. I think the shadowstats data is closer to what is actually going on than is the official government-released data.

Even using the official numbers, the US is in a "per capita" recession.

Official GDP growth of 1.8% p.a. is less than the sum of productivity growth (2.6% p.a. est) and population growth (1% p.a. est), so jobs are scarce, and getting scarcer.

Looked at another way, total employment is still 6.95 million down from the 2007 peak (according to Bill McBride - Calculated Risk), which means down over 20 million from trend -- and not really going anywhere. The percentage of working-age adults in the labor force is back to levels first seen in 1978, halfway through women's "liberation" into the workforce. Job turnover is way down.

And looking at it in yet a third way, the median wage is declining. So are wages for the bottom 80% of workers. So, even those who can get and keep a job are hurting.

For the bottom eighty percent, things are getting worse.

Since Malthus was trashed because of his terrible timing, it is a career limiting move to take limits to growth seriously.

Malthus was indeed very unlucky. His thesis was essentially correct for the whole of human history (plus millions of years of pre-history) EXCEPT for the couple of centuries immediately after he put pen to paper.

And those exceptional years now seem to be coming to an end...

Either fewer jobs, or jobs paying less (in real purchasing power). Can be one or the other. Or both. "Unemployment" could be eliminated if more people would agree to, or forced to, work less than full-time.

As long as net oil exports continue to decline then industrial output of all oil importing nations must decline.

But none of the talking heads on TV seem to have figured this out. And it don't look like there are likely to figure it out any time soon.

I was talking to my wife yesterday about this very thing, that MSM either doesn't understand or will not broach the topic of explaining that a net energy decline reduces economic activity. Why is it taboo to actually look peak oil in the eye call it what it is? What possible beneifit can come to ignoring the main problem?

From my "Iron Triangle" essay:

To some extent, what we are seeing across the board, from large sectors of the energy industry to the auto/housing/finance industry, media and beyond, is the "Enron Effect," i.e., many people know that we have huge problems ahead, but their paychecks are dependent on the status quo.

What possible beneifit can come to ignoring the main problem?

They can continue to make good revenues from hosting SUV adds! Don't expect a man to understand something that his paycheck demands he doesn't.

It's all about protecting the stock market. Most of the ruling 1% have their money in real estate and "securities". Maybe a few have stashes of gold coins in their apocalypse bunkers, just in case, but, for the most part, their "wealth" is in the stock market.

This revealing film, 'The One Percent',by the great-grandson of Johnson (of J&J) tells the story of how the 1% is largely removed from reality.

Edit : "One day, I'd like to go to the moon, and look at the planet Earth and say "Ah, that’s part of my portfolio!" " - quote in the film from the founder of Kinko's.

The Republicans, commenting on the terrible jobs number, explained our problem as needing to cut more taxes so that more businesses will form and start to hire new workers. Only problem with this logic is that I know of no one who has ever decided to start a business or not start a business based on our nations tax policies. I have started a number of companies in my career, my first before I could legally order a drink. In each case, tax policy had NO impact on my decision.

The problem is not more taxes or less taxes. The problem is capital. One company I started many years ago when the price of a personal computer and printer were in the $10,000 range required my home equity be used to secure the loan I needed to buy computers and RENT them to my customers (yes, this was a very long time ago). Bottom line, no one can use home equity to secure new loans to start a small business. Why? Assume for a moment that your neighbor gets foreclosed. This crushes the value of your home and wipes out your equity. When the bank figures this out they will insist that you pay down the loan to match your reduced equity. Problem comes if you can't make that payment because you have invested the money in your business. Fatal mistake.

I for one will never start another business in my lifetime and I'm thinking there are many others out there who feel the same. The SEC destroyed the "small business owner" and he ain't coming back.

In closing, I heard on CNBC a couple weeks ago that the formation of small businesses is now at the lowest level ever recorded. I called that one a long time ago. No small businesses, no jobs.

Aside from the points raised, not very many people will start a business without at least some consideration of the prospects for actually making a profit. If you are losing money and headed towards bankruptcy, it doesn't matter how low the tax rates are. For example, if you are thinking of opening up a restaurant, and discover that the market is already well supplied and that the established businesses are struggling, how are you going to proceed?

It has been pointed out that, although the highest marginal tax rates in the 1950s were much higher than at present, there was actually a high level of business investment. One factor was that the opportunity to obtain substantial tax breaks by investing money encouraged investment.


The SEC destroyed the "small business owner" and he ain't coming back.

How is it the SEC, whose job is to prosecute stock fraud, to blame?

Otherwise I follow your argument, cepting I don't see it needs to the the result of a conspiracy, more like lame brainedness coupled with greed.

Introduced Yesterday. No link I could find.

H.R. 2091. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide incentives to encourage investment in the expansion of freight rail infrastructure capacity and to enhance modal tax equity; to the Committee on Ways and Means.

Boswell Introduces Legislation to Grow Freight Rail Capacity
Thursday June 02, 2011

Contact: Jane Slusark, 202-225-3806, Jane.Slusark@mail.house.gov

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Leonard Boswell introduced the Freight Rail Infrastructure Capacity Expansion Act to make it easier for manufacturers, small businesses, and others to move their product via freight rail. With gas prices still high, this legislation would provide more options for interstate commerce by expanding freight rail capacity through investment incentives for freight rail infrastructure and locomotives.

“With oil hovering at $100 a barrel, rising gas prices, and increasing congestion on our highways, it is clear that we need a long term transportation infrastructure solution that meets the current demand for the movement of people and goods, as well as allowing for the future growth that is sure to come,” said Boswell, a senior Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “American companies need a more affordable option to move their products and rail is a solid solution. Growing our freight rail system creates jobs and helps America remain competitive with the rest of the world.”

The Freight Rail Infrastructure Capacity Expansion Act provides a tax credit of 25 percent for qualified rail infrastructure and locomotive property in order to expand our nation’s freight rail capacity, as well as an election to expense the cost of qualified freight rail infrastructure, through 2016.

Also, meetings in DC at a major environmental organization yesterday & today that will affect our favorite topic.

More later,


How could you transport something like that?

Well, my son just went to down to Richmond along with a few others, and bought a salvage greenhouse from folks who used to grow for Yardbirds.
They were in a bad area of Richmond, which means like in the 7th level of hell, Richmond being one of the bad areas of the Bay Area. They were near a recycling yard. He said, except for the day a cop was watching, people were coming in all day, in cars going from "you almost have to push it" to Caddies, all with scrap, mostly copper, in the back. He saw a couple on bikes, him in front for power, her in back for steering, and, in the middle, a grocery cart. On the bottom shelf of the cart was a 12 foot steel I beam.
We underestimate ingenuity.

Theft is one form of income redistribution.

Theft is one form of income redistribution.

Usually a horribly inefficient one. Do $1000 of damage to steal an item that cost $500, that a fence will purchase for $75. It would be far cheaper to simply pay these people from some general fund.

It is absolutely horribly inefficient. It provides jobs for fences, thieves, part stores, and repair shops at the expense of people who can afford insurance or to pay for repairs. Those who can't may repair it themselves, with a "used" unit that is magically available on the market for a modest price.

There was a similar event in Germany several years ago (during the previous commodity spike). The thieves dressed up like maintenance workers and did it in broad daylight, so people just assumed they were legitimate. They got away with 5 km of track.

There there's this - British thieves made off with 2 miles of track.

Are folks still stealing manhole covers, or have most of them been spot-welded into place?

Wikipedia has a page on metal theft.

Still a few missing beside our local road here in northern England.
(PS I saw a new Border Post building on the Albanian border back in 1997 not long after the collapse. Nothing that could be stripped was left. If you start to see stuff like that you can reckon you have passed the point of no return.)

One council built a Gypsy parking site, toilets, wash rooms, hookups etc etc at a massive expense. I used to pass it each day and see the progress. There was a big news item on this wonderful new site being opened and the first families moving in. I went past the next day and it was full of caravans. The following day, yes 24 hours, I went past and there was nothing. Just stumps of foundations and a bit of concrete. Everything above ground level gone.


Around here they are snipping all the earth wires from meters and lamp posts. We are supposed to have them there and visible for the electric company to check. Only way to replace is to get the electric co out to remove the meter, fix it, then get the meter reconnected. Huge amount of work and cost for a couple of pesos of copper.


EDIT: I'd guess that copper theft costs 100x - 1000x the value of metal stolen.

This is what Thomas has so far. The text has yet to be posted.

Keep an eye on Germany to see how they implement their withdrawal from using nuclear power:


Yes, the German energy transition is a very interesting experiment and probably many lessons can be learnt from it. Depending on how it ends up either positive or negative.

In many ways Germany is probably in one of the best positions to make this transition and lead the way into a sustainable future.

It is quite a rich country, so it can afford to spend a comparably substantial amount of money on "luxuries" like protecting the environment and rebuilding (energy) infrastructure in a sustainable way.

It has a well working research and development system necessary to solve the various problems faced in the energy transition.

It has a strong industrial and manufacturing base necessary to engineer and produce the new infrastructure

It currently votes upwards of 20% in elections for the green party and other parties are in favor of renewables as well. So there is strong political support for a transition to make the necessary difficult decisions.

It still has a comparatively social society that is prepared to work together on solving problems and try and reach consensus between different parts of society. (Although that slowly appears to be eroding away, with an increasing polarization and selfishness e.g. between rich and poor caused by free form capitalism.)

So those are pretty good prerequisites.

On the other hand what Germany is somewhat lacking is solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, space for bio fuels or really any other natural resource that can be used for large scale energy production.

It will be an interesting demonstration of what is possible on the way to a sustainable future.

Their economy runs by selling overpriced gashogs to the worlds upperclasses. Thats hardly very green.

Gazprom thinks the Germans will be burning a lot more Russian natural gas.

NordStream is coming on line this fall and there is new life in the southern route pipeline proposals.

Germany will replace its nuclear plants with fossil fuel energy from Russia.

On the other hand, the shutting down of obsolete US designed nuclear plants is probably a good thing. They can always resume construction of plants later using contemporary designs from France and Russia.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has released its annual forecast. See Canadian Crude Oil Forecast and Market Outlook

The biggest surprise is that Canadian conventional oil production actually increased over the last year, after several decades of decline.

“New technology enables industry to produce oil from formerly uneconomic conventional reserves, creating growth in conventional production early in the forecast period. This is a significant departure from the declining trend in conventional oil production we’ve seen over the last decade

However, the biggest increases over the forecast period to 2025 will be in oil sands production. The report predicts that Canadian oil production will increase from 2.8 million barrels per day in 2010 to 4.7 mbpd in 2025, of which 3.7 mbpd will be oil sands production. The vast majority of this increase will likely go to US markets, although there is potential for large exports to Asia (the Chinese are keen on this idea and are investing large amounts of money in Canadian oil).

“CAPP’s 2011 Crude Oil Forecast, Markets and Pipeline Outlook reaffirms the trend of rising Canadian oil production over the next 15 years,” said Greg Stringham, vice-president of markets and oil sands. “Expanding access to existing markets in the U.S. and diversifying into Asian markets are important to enable this production growth and to ensure Canadian producers receive competitive prices for their products.”

For those Americans who are unaware of what is going on in world oil markets (most of them), Canada is already by far the largest supplier of imported oil into the US market. The volumes will only increase in future.

And one has to wonder what future generations of Canadians will do for energy?
My guess is that future generations of Canadians will not have any thing good to say about the present generation of Canadians who are letting their government and big businesses rape the future generations by selling all the oil (too cheap) today just to put money into the politicians and big businesses greedy pockets.
If I were the Canadian Government, I would eliminate all export of any oil to save what I could for the future generations. How do the rest of you feel about this?

And one has to wonder what future generations of Canadians will do for energy?

Fall back on our vast hydroelectric potential? 60% of Canadian electricity is currently hydro, and there is additional undeveloped capacity in the North.

It's not an immediate problem because the oil sands reserves will last for several centuries at current and forecast rates of production.

Of course, if you live in Ontario or another other energy-deficient region this doesn't do much for you, but you could always move to somewhere else in the country which does have enough energy resources.

"oil sands reserves will last for several centuries at current and forecast rates of production."

Someone on The Oil Drum who hasn't watched Al Bartlett's lecture on arithmetics and population.

Someone on The Oil Drum who hasn't watched Al Bartlett's lecture on arithmetics and population.

The putdown assumes no hard limits on the rate of extraction exist. As long as water is needed, that ain't so.

I'm assuming that environmental and other constraints will limit Canadian oil sands production to no more than 5 million barrels per day. At that rate, there are at least 200 years of oil sands resources, probably considerably more if you factor in technological improvements which will allow production of the more marginal areas.

You must be a confirmed continuous BAU believer. Have you ever heard of EROEI? The tar sands are enjoying an indian summer. Unconventional oil production more than anything else requires buoyant economies.

You had better hope there will be no economic collapse as it will prove instant death for tar sands oil production.

The EROEI of the new oil sands projects is currently running around 6:1, and the ratio is steadily improving. They are making a lot of progress in improving recovery rates and reducing fuel and water consumption. You have to keep up. This is a field in which ongoing research is really having an effect on the sustainability of the industry.

As far as markets are concerned, I'm counting on China and India to pick up the slack as the US economy tanks again.

This is a field in which ongoing research is really having an effect on the sustainability of the industry.


The EROEI of the new oil sands projects is currently running around 6:1, and the ratio is steadily improving.

If YOU say so but I seriously doubt any such claims. Everywhere else in the world EROEI for oil production is declining but you claim that good old tar sands bucks that trend.

NG and water, neither are limitless. Anyone relishing in oil production from the planet killing, filthy polluting tar sands is obviously a AGW denier which of course you are. To actually claim that production will continue for 200 odd years one must be totally detached from reality or invested in such projects as tar sands.

If YOU say so but I seriously doubt any such claims. Everywhere else in the world EROEI for oil production is declining but you claim that good old tar sands bucks that trend.

If you actually take a little time to understand what the oil sands are, becomes fairly obvious why the EROEI is likely to improve. EROEI is declining for conventional oil because the easy stuff is gone, and what's left is harder to find and squeeze out of shale ricks etc etc.

But the oilsands are different - they just sit there, we know exactly where they are, and there are a lot of them. Since they are so vast, the nature of the "play" doesn't really change, but technology and methods get better with time and experience, so of course the EROEI will improve. It has been incrementally improving for several decades, and likely will continue to do so.

It would seem that you don't, like that, and no one's saying you have to, but that is the way it is

I doubt you are counting the true cots, and there is no way the EROEI is improving with the environmental damage being caused, water being wasted and climate impacts being created. No way, no how.

Everywhere else in the world EROEI for oil production is declining but you claim that good old tar sands bucks that trend.

They have been making good progress in improving the efficiency of oil sands projects. This is one area in which research into energy technology is really paying off.

You cannot solve complexity with greater complexity. It is not paying off, it is destroying the ecosystem. Unless you learn to account properly, you will continue to make this mistake.

RMG: Long before the end of this current century the effect of climate change will be so severe that any politician sugesting we move one single atom of carbon out of the ground and up to the atmosphere will be taken out and shot.

You still need to figure out a replacement.

In a hurry so will ramble a bit....but here is one reply.

That'd work real well. (Excuse the sarcasm). The greedy old US would invade and take it one way or another....either by stealth or outright military conquest. That's one way to look at it.

Another way is we do not own our resource aquisitions/bounty, nor control it via a state monopoly. It is the world consumer that buys our product and once the pipeline is built to the coast the US will have to pony up like everyone else to cover the WTI spread.

Another consideration is that the US is our friend and neighbour. Do we cut off our friends in time of need? I don't work that way on a personal and local scale. I would hope my country would not work that way, either.

It makes far more sense to supply the needs as best we can and educate all of us as to what are needs and what are stupid stupid greedy wants as per energy use/waste. Economics will eventually do that, anyway. Let's face it. All the talk of the US slipping down the tube does not gladden the hearts of Canada as we sink or swim together with our linked economies. I do enjoy touting our superior health care system and education system as far as universality and access is concerned, but we fought those fights in the 40's and 50's (God Bless You Tommy Douglas) and the IWA et al who had the guts to say "no contract....no work". we still have Unions and a middle class and that has kept us civil and better off.

As a Canadian, I get tired of our safe nationalism. We rely on the US to protect us from the world, then we keep the cookie jar to ourselves? I don't think it works that way. We are a nation of 33 million. We are well fed and comfortable. The world is increasigly full of jackals and we are well served by our relationship with the States. We can fight...but there are only a few of us in this country. (I do have guns and lots of ammo)just like any other good ole boy. I just don't think I would do too well against an invading army and don't want to take to the bush and trails to find out.

However, I would like to put a few bullet holes through the grills of the lumbering motor homes I see with US plates, but then you see a lot of the same during the winter snowbird months. Eventually, we will all be able to shoot out the tires on SUVs and motorhomes year round....if they haven't been sold for scrap while the owners are jungling up on the smorgasboard special at the dying restaurant near all of us.

Didn't the phrase "income distribution" come up over and over in the last DB? It sounds a little pinko for you yanks, but you can either do it with a Christian soup kitchen, or by a just society that isn't afraid to tax and part out to those in need. You have a big fight ahead of you and maybe it needs to start in Wisconsin with a line in the sand, a few burning tires, and the will to say "no more". You have to fight and stand up to the takers every day of the year. Go for it and best of luck.


Oh, Canada!

Canada and (eventually) Venezuela will profit greatly for selling their oil to the U.S.

Report: Rising Temperatures Threaten A Food Crisis

(ISNS) -- A recent study reports that the geographical range of some agricultural crops -- such as corn and beans -- may be greatly reduced if temperatures continue to rise. While some farmers may be able to readjust what they grow, others may have to give up, producing a disaster.

Food prices have been rising, and climate change is likely to have a larger effect on food production in the future. These issues might be expected in southern Asia and Africa, but if temperatures keep rising, even places now reasonably secure such as China and Latin America could face a food crisis within two generations.

Yemen's President Wounded in Rocket Attack

Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh is said to have been wounded in an attack on his compound. Reports indicate the president was lightly injured, while several other government officials were also hurt, some of them more seriously.

Video of the Day: Tugboat Towing an Iceberg Across the Arctic

... Mougin's team has compared the tugboat pulling an iceberg to "a nutshell towing a mountain,"

This is essentially a question more than a comment: If it is true that 18000ft is considered to be the cut off for biotic deposits and if it is true that the Russians are lifting most of their oil from a depth 30,000-35,000 ft then does that say anything meaningful about the potential of having large deposits of oil at such depths and is there a depth below which no net energy is recovered once oil is lifted? I raise the issue because it has been mentioned more than once by some of my students and I must admit that I did not have an adequate answer.

Honest question here to people who know:

Is it true that 'most' (let us say that means at least 50.1%) of oil produced in Russia is produced from wells between 30-35,000 feet deep?

Next question: How much oil in the World is produced from wells deeper than 20,000 feet (through the Earth, not talking about water depth for offshore wells)?

This is essentially a question more than a comment: If it is true that 18000ft is considered to be the cut off for biotic deposits and if it is true that the Russians are lifting most of their oil from a depth 30,000-35,000 ft then does that say anything meaningful about the potential of having large deposits of oil at such depths

It is not true that 18,000 feet is the cut off for biotic deposits, and it is not true that the Russians are lifting their oil from 30,000-35,000 feet. Biotic oil deposits in the Gulf of Mexico and other places go considerably deeper than 18,000 feet, and the vast majority of Russian oil production is considerably shallower than 30,000 feet.

The promoters of the "abiotic oil" theory seem to assume otherwise, but they don't really know what they are talking about. If you want to know whether deep oil can be found in any particular formation, you need to know the thermal history of that formation, and that is a considerably more complicated topic that involves a lot of sophisticated geological knowledge.

More abiotic thoughts: Just to try to keep the debate very simple - I really couldn't care if the oil is abiotic, biotic or made from my grannie's underwear. I make geologic maps which try to ID favorable conditions for TRAPPING oil/NG. Not once in my 36 years have I been concerned about the origin of that oil/NG. It's never mattered if it seeped out of the core or fell to earth from comets. My job, as well as every other geologist/geophysicist, has been to find out where the resources ended up.

So fine: I hearby declare that I fully accept all oil/NG on the planet has an abiotic source. And tomorrow I will get up and look for oil/NG the same way I have for 36 years...and the same way other geologists have for over 80 years.

Rock, But I guess you do ask whether there is a credible source rock? Unless someone has already drilled into the formation you don't wanna go poking expensive straws into places with little change of holding paydirt. I bet you wouldn't approve drilling into a volcanic deposit on the off chance there might be "abiotic" oil contained within.

Eos – To be honest not once in 36 years have I thought about source rocks. But that’s something of a trick answer. I’ve been a Gulf Coast geologist for my entire career and thus never had to worry about sources: the entire GOM basin is one giant source and was well known as such before I was born. Now if I were tasked with generating exploratory prospects in an undrilled basin identifying source rocks would be a very critical initial quest. That’s one reason why I remain skeptical about Arctic oil potential: I don’t know that they have a good handle on it. And when I started in 1975 looking for source rocks in all the untested basins around the globe was an industry wide goal. But that was over 3 decades ago. There has been enough drilling in most of the basin to ID source rocks. As a measure I haven’t seen a trade paper about source rocks for many years. They’ve been written for sure but for a very limited audience. The other significant area where I can imagine hunting source is a focus is the Falkland Island play.

And Mother Earth can be tricky. One of the biggest early oil plays in Texas was hunting for volcano oil fields. They are called serpentine plugs and still produce little drabs of oil after more than almost 100 years of their discovery. Millions of years ago there were hundreds of small ashy volcanoes along the Texas coast. Not the big molten lava type volcanoes but volcanoes none the less. Most were eroded away but the tube-like vents buried underground survived. This volcanic serpentine rock eventually altered and developed porosity. And these plugs were surrounded by some of the most prolific source rocks in the GOM: the Cretaceous carbonate section. Which, BTW, is a possible source of much of the Eagle Ford shale. How good were fields: millions of bbls of oil. Wells as shallow as 1,200’ flowed over 5,000 bopd initially.

So yes…I would approve drilling into a volcanic trap or even in granite rock (there are actually oil fields in the San Joaquin Basin in CA that produced from granite). But only if I knew there was a source rock nearby. No one has ever proved they discovered a source rock that didn’t have a biotic origin. That’s the other big problem the abiotic folks have: all their chatter is about the possibility of such a source. AFAIK none of them has claimed to have found even one yet.

Interestingly the only oil field I see is the Livermore oilfield (the largest in the Bay area). Couldn't find much info on it. Started 1961, est total oil in place 16mbpd, normally has 3-5 pumpjacks running. The workover rig was busy again today. But I see some new buildings being thrown up, so they must have concluded $100 oil justifies some modest new investment. In any case, they only have a wild guess as to the source rock, some formation that has been seismically transported laterally 40miles away is deemed most probable!

I remain skeptical about Arctic oil too, but that's because I worked for a company that spent billions looking for oil up there, and is no longer around because they didn't find enough oil to pay the drilling costs. If people who expect to find oil up there are reasoning by analogy with the Gulf of Mexico, they are sadly mistaken because the geology of the Arctic bears no relationship whatsoever to the Gulf of Mexico.

In Alberta they have drilled everything from top to bottom and into the pre-Cambrian basement just to be sure. That's because, in the early days, the geologists completely missed all the major oil fields. The first oil discovery in Western Canada was in pre-Cambrian rock, if you can imagine, and that completely threw them off track, as did all the other early finds. If they had just thrown darts at a map, they would have almost certainly have hit a big oil field. As it was, they missed them all.

After WWII when seismic came in, they noticed there were hundreds of peculiar anomalies in their seismic surveys, so out of curiosity they drilled into one of them to see what it was and, BOOM, it was the first big oil discovery in Canada. It was a Devonian reef full of oil, and they were all over the map. Just to keep the geologists off balance, the biggest oil field of all was in Cretaceous sand. Several companies drilled right through it looking for Devonian reefs, without finding it.

As for the source rock - it's everywhere. The key thing is to figure out where the oil is now, not where it used to be originally, because it's usually not there any more.

RMG, just to take a 180 deg twist on Arctic oil, have you ever heard any discussion about Antarctic oil? To my knowledge there has never been a single well drilled, and there is a moratorium on mining there until 2048 - but I suspect if serious oil was found there, that might change fairly quickly.

Wow, I have thought of that question as well...what if there were one or more Ghawar-equivalent fields under the ice?

Tragically, I think the Antarctic Treaty would be dropped like a dirty shirt...

Antarctic oil production seems rather unlikely. The entire continent is covered by an ice sheet, and producing oil through an ice sheet isn't really possible because the ice continuously moves across the land. That would crush the surface equipment and tear the production piping in two on a regular basis.

That leaves offshore drilling as the only possibility, and the problem offshore is that pieces of the ice sheet regularly break off and form icebergs, which would destroy the production platforms.

So, basically it's like the Arctic offshore, but much, much worse - and the Arctic is bad enough for most practical purposes.

but much, much worse

Of that I'm sure!

Actually, there is one part of the continent that is not covered by ice, the McMudro Dry Valleys are 4800 sq.km of ice free area (actually a desert, just a very cold one) , and includes Antarctica's only real river, the Onyx (flows for several weeks a year).

It would be a very "interesting" situation if oil was found there.

There has actually been extensive mineral mapping of the Antarctic - especially by Australia -= who "claims" 42% of the place. All sorts of goodies down there...

I'm guessing that 18K foot rule of thumb assumes some average thermal gradient. In areas with anomalously cool geology, such as the Mississippi delta area, where sediment is rapidly being deposited the thermal gradient is reduced.

What motivates people to prepare, or not prepare, for natural disasters?

... First, the new simulation found that people did not rely very much on the opinions of friends and neighbors when making [disaster] preparation decisions. Second, Meyer also found that "storm fatigue" has a real impact on how people respond to a new threat.

The group that was bombarded with news about very bad storms actually prepared less in the simulation that followed than the other group. "You have a crowding out effect with disasters," according to Meyer. "As you have one after another, people care less about the next one."

... Meyer has plans to hone his simulation further. He wants to study how emotions drive decisions in the event of a disaster. "There is a difference between someone describing a hypothetical situation [of a looming storm] and looking out the window and seeing the real thing," Meyer points out.

As climate, food & energy disasters mount, I've noticed 'disaster fatigue' when talking with the people I work with. This may be the 'immovable object' that counters our efforts to get people to understand the problem. Unless it affects them personally they don't want to hear about it.

Most people suffer from the "boy who cried wolf" syndrome. The media constantly bombards them with dire predications of disasters that are highly unlikely to happen to them personally, and after a while they get tired of all the Chicken Little, "The sky is falling and were all going to die" predictions.

People need to focus on the disasters that might credibly affect them. If they live in a hurricane zone, they need to prepare for a hurricane, if they live in a flood zone they need to prepare for a flood, if they live in an earthquake zone, the need to prepare for an earthquake. They need to know what zone they live in.

Of course, if they live in a hurricane zone that has never had an earthquake or a flood, there's no point in preparing for an earthquake or a flood. But they really do need to prepare for a hurricane.

The mainstream media does create a form of "generalized anxiety disorder" (GAD) in the general population when it blathers on about the disasters that might befall people, but there is a lot of research in the medical literature that will help people deal with it. I do think, however, that it would help if the MSM was a lot less hysterical in presenting the news.

Bulb In, Bulb Out

Over the past few years, in conditions of strict secrecy, a multinational team of scientists has been making a mighty effort to change the light bulb. The prototype they’ve developed is four inches tall, with a familiar tapered shape, and unlighted, it resembles a neon yellow mushroom. Screw it in and switch it on, though, and it blazes with a voluptuous radiance. It represents what people within the lighting industry often call their holy grail, an invention that reproduces the soft luminance of the incandescent bulb — Thomas Edison’s century-old technology — but conforms to much higher standards of energy efficiency and durability. The prototype is supposed to last for more than 22 years, maybe as long as you own your house, so you won’t need to stock up at the supermarket. And that’s fortunate, because one day very soon, traditional incandescent bulbs won’t be available in stores anymore. They’re about to be effectively outlawed.

See: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/05/magazine/bulb-in-bulb-out.html

I like this lamp a lot and have been installing as many as I can obtain (there's an enormous demand for this product, so that hasn't been easy).



Your contribution of knowledge (including your own experiences in practical applications) of lighting technologies is a great service to TOD readership.

From the linked NYT article:

(Mr. Brandston) Anyway, the whole project seemed absurd to him: why create a technological marvel just to reproduce the light we already have? When Brandston turned on the incandescent, he beamed with satisfaction at Edison’s warm and wasteful glow. “Look at that,” he said. “It’s a perfect thing.”

I have hope that good governance and improving technology can lead most people to adopt efficient lighting technologies. Over time the 'Mr. Brandstons' of the World will pass away and using the newer more efficient lighting devices will be the way of things.

Of course, it means that you need a semiconductor fab (fabrication facility) to change a light bulb, but oh well, never mind, it's time to invest in a storm lantern anyway.

This is a great investment in "times of plenty" to save for "times of want". If you have decent job, just swap these in as your incans fail. Someday, if you're struggling to make ends meet, you'll have high-efficiency lighting with few worries. With a little conservation the bulbs might outlast you!

Thanks for your kind words, H; much appreciated. There are many ways we can dramatically reduce our electricity requirements, and as Paul Nash can attest, often at a very modest cost. For example, replacing the 400-watt metal halide fixtures in this municipal garage with high bay fluorescents will trim this client's electricity bill by 65,000 kWh per year at a cost per kWh saved of less than one-cent when amortized over ten years. The economics are absolutely rock solid.

I confess the Mr. Brandstons of this world frustrate and annoy me to no end. I like incandescent lighting as well, but I'm also painfully aware of the ecological harm caused by their continued use. We need to think long and hard about what's at the other end of that lamp cord and to acknowledge that our choices are not without their consequences; from this broader perspective, I can't see how anyone could possibly advocate such a position.


I must confess I turn on the light in order to get around the house at night. And, of course, it is also necessary to read unless you are reading a computer. I never gave much thought to the nature of the light although I do have CFLs that seem to come close to daylight. And then we have those who see this as an ideological battle with those who are trying to save electricity as left wing fascist demon spawn who get up each morning with the primary objective of torturing those who have this maniacal, nostalgic devotion to an archaic light source.

A hotel client of mine proudly showed me that exact bulb last month - he too is trying to get his hands on as many of them as possible. Some of the places with the incandescents - high ceilings etc, are quite a task to get to. He (the maint manager) estimated his labour costs of changing light bulbs at $10k per year - so the 40,000 hr bulbs are of equal appeal to him as the 75% energy saving.
He had one in a recessed ceiling fixture in the lobby (20' ceiling) , and asked me to to try to pick it out from all the normal bulbs - had to look very hard to find it.

There will be the holdouts, and I'm OK with that - there are still people who like vinyl records, carburettor engines, etc and there are some places where the old schools things have their place, but for the other 98% - in with the new.

Hi Paul,

I miss my beloved Dodge Challenger and although embarrassingly crude and vile by today's standards, I would happily give any appendage on my male body to have it back. Translation: we humans are stupid.

Any time an employee has to haul out a ladder to change a light bulb, I immediately think of the risk of personal injury. The other night after I had wrapped up one of our lighting retrofits, I volunteered to replace the ED17 HID lamps that had burnt out at this retail location. At one point, I spent a good twenty minutes precariously balanced on a ladder fighting with the glass lens that had become firmly lodged deep inside the fixture housing, fully expecting the cursed thing to shatter in my face at any moment. At the risk of sounding sexist, the women working at this store shouldn't be expected to perform this type of work, at least not without the proper protective eye ware and a full understanding of the risks. Longer lamp life offers much more than meets the eye.


I wasn't sure whether all that black dust the Challenger was kicking up were from the tyres or the asphalt - if it was the tyre, there must have been nothing left of them at the end of that test!

But, be it classic cars, vinyl, boats, etc, the fact they are not made anymore does not mean we have to junk them, and if someone wants to have a character style Edison bulb or three I'm good with that. With the bulbs, though, if there is not the "sales ban", then the 25c bulbs will continue to outsell the LED's for another decade or so. The sales ban is not absolutely necessary, IMO, but it sure will speed up the changeover.

Agree fully about the safety aspects of changing bulbs in hard to get places. I remember seeing the electrician at the ski resort changing a street light bulb, in a key location, in winter, on a tall ladder on the ice, in wind and blowing snow. Took almost an hour - lots of trouble getting the glass cover off. The cost of the bulb is almost irrelevant in that situation.

I was in IKEA the other day, and they are generally pretty efficient with their lighting - T8 and T5's everywhere - except - the warehouse part where customers can't go - and there is was 8' T12's everywhere - I can only assume that for that area, that's how the elec designer always did it (and probably cheapest too). In the customer areas the IKEA design people are very particular about display and general lighting. There must have been 60-70 twin T12's there - it's always possible to find energy savings somewhere!

I've seen the same thing as well -- energy efficient T8 troffers in the front offices and power hungry F96T12s or 400-watt steelers in the back warehouse. It makes no sense, but there you have it.

Along the lines of your electrician at the ski resort, I once found one of our guys removing an HID fixture using a step ladder perched on top of a man lift because the lift was too short to reach it and doing this without any fall protection whatsoever. I just about keeled over on the spot and immediately stopped all work. I've always instructed our crews to never put themselves or anyone else at risk and to refuse all work that cannot be done safely. These guys have safety training and certification and are provided with the proper safety equipment, but sometimes all that gets shoved off to one side and we do whatever we think is necessary to get the job done without thinking through the consequences. That was a failure on my part and I've since taken additional steps to hopefully prevent anything like that from happening again.


Sorry Paul, I know you do have good intentions, but viewing women and weaker or needing protection that men don't is one of the most powerful and dangerous underpinnings of sexism.

Human beings, whether man or women, have the equal right to decide as individuals on what level of danger or risk they should expose themselves to. We can push for regulations regarding ladders, equipment, etc, but gender-based differentiation is a slipperly slope that is often greased by those different motives than yours.

There are a lot of women who would charge up those ladders changing light bulbs all day long, and a lot of soft wimpy men, such as me, who shouldn't be expected to do that kind of work.

Your point is well taken, Jack. I could have worded it better had I given it a bit more thought.


There will be the holdouts, and I'm OK with that - there are still people who like vinyl records, carburettor engines, etc and there are some places where the old schools things have their place, but for the other 98% - in with the new.

This isn't always due to stubbornness or nostalgia. The inconvenient truth about vinyl records is that they still do offer superior full-spectrum playback of analog recordings. Of course compact discs far outstrip them when it comes to convenience, durability, etc. but there is a very distinct reason vinyl still has a market (unlike other analog formats like, say, cassettes).

Same goes for vacuum tubes in guitar amplifiers. Sure, solid state gear passes signal more efficiently, yet even today, just about every recording of an electric guitar you've ever heard in any kind of popular music was played through a miked tube amp.

We're not Luddites, we just love tone ;)

carburettor engines

Engines you can actually work on yourself and not have to pay $400 just to walk through the repair shop's door. Give me old school any day.

Re: Sales of smaller cars double in a decade: As prices at the pump increase, more Americans are starting to get smart, up top:

Wealthy Saudis don't care about saving gas. The more we save, the more is left for them.

Saudi hyper-rich leave rest in the dust:


Saudis in Audis:

Lyrics version:


Video version:


Republican Romney: 'the world is getting warmer'

Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney broke with Republican orthodoxy on Friday by saying he believes that humans are responsible, at least to some extent, for climate change.

"I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that," he told a crowd of about 200 at a town hall meeting in Manchester, New Hampshire.

...In addressing climate change and energy policy, Romney veered from the party's usual skepticism on global warming, when he called on the United States to break its dependence on foreign oil, and expand alternative energies including solar, wind, nuclear and clean coal.

"I love solar and wind (power) but they don't drive cars. And we're not all going to drive Chevy Volts," he said, referring to electric cars.

The sad thing is, this should not be newsworthy.

I am surprised he made that statement since he is the most pandering politician imaginable. Anyway, he cannot possibly win the Republican nomination now that he has chosen to tell the truth.

he cannot possibly win the Republican nomination now that he has chosen to tell the truth.

That's true. He ventured too far from the foggy realm of magical thinking and denial. Oh well, next!

Maybe he's actually decided to run as a grown-up. We're what, eight months out from the first caucuses and primaries? It looks like he can raise as much or more money as anyone. Lots can happen before then...

You can run as a grownup, or you can run as a Republican.

I guess we have forgotten John McCain already.

When McCain chose to run as a grown up someone of less moral fortitude took him to the cleaners in the primaries.

And yet he won the nomination. And then picked Palin as a running mate. Not a very grown up decision.

Presumably r4ndom was referring to 2000, not 2008.

2008 is not the first time he ran.

I understand - should have remembered.

I've no idea how to stick an image in a thread, only a link. Anyone care to enlighten me?


You put the URL to the link inside those img-tags. Now to get this to work you must remove the blanks inside the img-tags. I added them to prevent the server from running the tags

< img > http://www.linktonowhere.com/image.png < /img >

Should look like that. Just like with html-tags.

He's in New England. He's pandering. He'll flip-flop when he hits a real redneck red state.

The sadder thing would be it costs him the nomination. He clearly ain't gonna get any teapartiers votes.

The story could be cast as:

Romney hates our freedom.
Obama supports drilling, subsidizes nuclear, and is going to get us that Libyan oil.

From the UK

Energy saving Green Deal scheme comes closer

The government has revealed more details of its Green Deal scheme to help people pay for home insulation and other energy saving measures. The plan should be launched in the autumn of next year.

Under it, authorised companies will pay for the insulation work and homeowners will repay the money, plus interest, through additional charges on their energy bills.

Climate change minister Greg Barker said: "The Green Deal is the government's flagship energy saving plan to transform the country's homes to make them warmer and cheaper to run.

and homeowners will repay the money, plus interest, through additional charges on their energy bills.

When the government bails out banks, and wastes money all sorts of other crap, couldn't they do this for the homeowners at zero interest?
At least something is getting done for the money, unlike many other gov programs.

Re FP's Oil and Glory article linked up top (Gas is Great, but Can it Make Money?):

This article and others like it have been popping up with some frequency in mainstream publications recently, pointing to the nexus question facing the current boom in natural gas drilling, namely the depressed prices for the commodity that are currently driving increased consumption, but which are unlikely to support longer-term production if they do not rise to a level that matches the costs of drilling for shale gas, etc. This piece even goes as far as to name the problem itself in its title - in other words, sure, it seems great that there appears to be so much potential supply, but what does it really cost, and is anyone really making money off it? (And if so, whom? and how?)

Rather frustrating, then, that Mr. Levine raises the question only to ultimately push it aside. He notes that Exxon is attempting to tie prices for European gas sales to the price of oil now, in an attempt to sidestep the low price of natural gas, but that this approach is generating resistance and resentment among European gas consumers. Nowhere is it suggested that this is a workable or scaleable solution to the issue of depressed prices for drillers, who need to bring hedge funds or other financiers on board to support drilling, which, like any economic activity, has to be able to make a profit on its own, unsubsidized terms at some point. And even if such an end run around oil prices were possible, it would be problematic for the same reason that rising oil prices are currently squeezing consumers, erasing any economic benefit of using supposedly "cheaper" natural gas as a substitute.

Levine also noted that Shell recently brought online its GTL facility in Iran's North field. However, he does not go into the details of the economics of these facilities. As I recall from what Robert Rapier published on the subject perhaps a year ago, the cost of GTL facilities worked out to a rough average of perhaps some $80/boe cost of production, but with significant variation depending upon circumstances. While this may be a workable solution for bringing gas to market from certain stranded or exceptionally large fields located far from consumer markets, where it is actually cheap to produce gas and therefore viable to upgrade it to a higher-demand liquid product. It strains credibility, however, to propose GTL technology would somehow save shale or other expensive gas from economic inviability when the problem is that the gas is too expensive to drill in the first place.

The bottom line here is that sooner or later we are going to have to face the music and realize that for all, the hype around it, natural gas is no substitute for depleting oil, for a whole host of reasons. At best it buys us a very small amount of extra time. At worst it is, especially when sold as a panacea for all the energy woes of America and the world, a distraction - and a dangerous one - from what should be our true mission of transitioning to actually sustainable sources of energy.

May 2011 Hybrid Car Sales Numbers

The number of hybrid gas-electric cars sold in the U.S. declined from 34,000 in March to 25,000 in April, and to 16,000 in May. The drop by half in just two months is attributed to supply shortages for vehicles and related components due to the March earthquake in Japan. The lack of inventory, combined with rising demand due to high gas prices, lifted prices (when incentives evaporated). This caused some folks considering a hybrid to choose a less expensive model or postpone a purchase.


"Is America's love affair with kids waning? "

Americans are unable to reproduce themselves. Immigrates can always fill in. Is anybody sad to see the native Americans (in the sense of people who live here now) go extinct? I am.

Which group do we want to see able to reproduce?

None of them?

A couple of points:
1) People who are middle class or aspirational and have some wits about them are getting squeezed by the ongoing crisis - and have arguably been losing out to the super rich for some time. And these are the very people who don't engage in too much promiscuous behavior, can use condoms and birth control pills effectively, etc. So they keep delaying having kids because they can't afford them.
2) Meanwhile the poor - which to be fair includes many immigrants, continue to have kids, largely because of cultural/behavioral factors. And then we have a growing class of welfare/food stamp dependents, overcrowded schools and prisons.

This country is falling apart, it really is. One the one hand you have the banks and corporations running away with everything, even while there is a growing underclass which isn't competitive in the global economy. This hurts the productive middle class, who make the correct economic decision not to have too many kids. But then the politicians and economists insist on never ending "growth" so they allow constant high levels of immigration!

Even in Japan, a crowded island nation, the government makes efforts to encourage reproduction, instead of having the guts to cut spending. At least they have strict controls on immigration.

No nation wants a stable or declining population, because in the short term that would mean less economic growth and thereby less power to influence others.

Europe, North America, Australia, they are all flooding their countries with immigrants from around the world because their very own people are making the correct decision not to reproduce themselves to poverty.

You have to despair and ultimately laugh at the grand stupidity of the political classes of the West.

Europe, North America, Australia, they are all flooding their countries with immigrants from around the world because their very own people are making the correct decision not to reproduce themselves to poverty.

So true. And yet most people's expectations (like, say, nice early retirement and a high level of care for the elderly) can hardly be fulfilled without endless demographic growth. The system is rigged to stay that way as long as possible as we've grown accustomed to growth on a level few people are aware of.

Oh and hi everyone. Been reading TOD for a while and finally got around to creating an account. Thanks to those who have posted useful information and insightful comments in the past.

For all you NPR lovers, I just discovered this opinion piece gladly posted by its website:


If it's already been discussed forgive me.

Notice the snark at the end: telling us all to support aid and immigration and campaign against sprawl and coal, failing to notice the connection.

We are the world unity in crowded slums with no electricity!

I've listened to NPR on and off for over 50 years. Sadly, now it has become nothing more than ....Victim Radio.

Typical way now in the U.S....blame some one else for your bad decisions. No sense of responsibility for the individual. Or the criminal FEDGOV.

"Who could have known" "No one could have foreseen this" "Saddam has WMD's" and on, and on, and on.

Choose Wisely.
The Martian.


This is an interesting graph I found off at another website, but it should be a reminder of the kind of aggressive PR-campaign the Obama administration went for pre-QE I.

According to them, America would have 7 % unemployment with Q I.
Today, the day after the jobs report, unemployment has shot up to 9.1 %.

There is now loose talk in some corners of a QE III.

Today I channel surfed a little and came across a guy on CNBC who wrote a book recently and was on the show and claimed that the stock market should reach 20,000 withing 12-18 months.

The host and the other talking heads were eating his predictions up with a spoon.

He didn't happen to predict whether a 20,000 DOW correlated to a 3% unemployment rate though...

There is now loose talk in some corners of a QE III.

Isn't there a danger with QE's of hyper-inflation?


'Germany's E. coli outbreak spreads to 11 more countries'

By Thursday, 1,122 cases of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli had been reported, while 502 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a form of kidney failure caused by this E. coli strain, had been reported, the WHO said.

I know the Germany new strain of E coli was discussed higher up on this message board, but here's an update.

502 of 1122 have HUS a form of kidney failure. That's a little over 44% of those infected with this new bacterium.

4 Americans got it and of those 3 have HUS!

Described by Chinese researchers as a "new super-toxic" bacterium.

Besides Germany and the U.S., the countries affected are: Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland and Britain.

Notice there it's in the U.S.!

A German Consumer Ministry spokesman repeated that consumers should avoid eating raw cucumbers, tomatoes and salad.

I badly damaged the left kidney in an accident in childhood, so only have one good one. This HUS would probably be it for me, so I'm going to avoid salad type food until this situation is under control. What anyone else does it up to them. Scary stuff!!!

Raw...as in uncooked? Or un-washed?

Don't know. Heisenberg, how plausible do you think it is for this new strain to have been lab created? How hard would it be once developed to wipe on to produce in stores?

I'm appalled at the sheer waste of the Spanish produce with the scare that Spain was the original source. Everyone talks about the monetary compensation, but all that produce just thrown out ?

On the topic of washing raw vegetables - I read somewhere that you can take lettuce and cucumber and soak them in a mild vinegar solution, or wash with a very mild soap. For lettuce, wash each leaf carefully. Obviously, rinse well.

I am very glad I grow my own.

Chlorine bleach is much more effective at killing bacteria than vinegar or soap. Bacteria are very sensitive to chlorine. A few drops of bleach in a litre of water will kill them all. Obviously, rinse very well.

It's a basic third-world survival technique. Actually, when travelling in the third world you never eat fresh vegetables at all, only food that has been well cooked and fruit that has been peeled, and you always rinse the dishes in bleach.

Quite right, yes. Thanks ! And always boil the water.

I informed my mother about my very scetchy plans to go to Hamburg to visit a friend. She paniked about it and asked me not to go there. So I asked her if she thought I were to get murdered or something. No, she was afraid of EHEC. So motherly of her.

Re: Bakken/Eagle Ford Debate on 6/1 Drumbeat. Following is link to the original post by Abundance Concept. The "Rock" has taken the time to actually post real production data, and there are some interesting updates down the thread.


In any case, it might be a good time to Art Berman or someone else to do an updated post on liquids production from US shale plays.