Drumbeat: June 15, 2011

Oil hits lowest level since February

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Oil prices plunged more than 4% Wednesday to their lowest level in nearly four months, as fears over Greece's debt issues pushed both stock and commodity prices broadly lower.

Oil prices closed down $4.56, or 4.6%, to $94.81 a barrel, its lowest close since Feb. 18.

Crude prices took their cue from the stock market, where Wednesday's sell-off sent the Dow down more than 200 points..

"The speculators are running for the door," said James Cordier, president of Liberty Trading Group.

Risk attitude, not peak oil, will shape energy future: Kemp

(Reuters) - Fears about peak oil are misplaced. Peak oilers focus on reserves and production of conventional (light) crude and ignore the much larger hydrocarbon base of heavy oils, coal, natural gas, kerogen and gas hydrates.

Yemen's militants step up attacks amid turmoil

SANAA, Yemen — Al-Qaida-linked militants temporarily seized parts of a provincial capital in southern Yemen on Wednesday, the latest in a series of brazen attacks by extremists taking advantage of the turmoil in the poor Arab nation.

The increasingly bold fighters are expanding their reach after wounded President Ali Abdullah Saleh left Yemen for Saudi Arabia and cast the country into deeper chaos. Their gains in a nearly lawless region of southern Yemen lend urgency to U.S. efforts to bolster military capabilities that can be used to strike at the terrorist network.

U.S. helicopters fire on attackers in Iraq oil hub - military

(Reuters) - U.S. military helicopters fired on suspected militia fighters in southern Iraq on Wednesday, killing one, in a rare American air strike responding to a rocket attack on an airport, the U.S. military said.

The U.S. response at Basra came at a sensitive time as Baghdad and Washington debate whether American soldiers need to stay past a planned withdrawal at the end of 2011 after they finished combat missions last year.

China firm on Russia gas price, Hu heads to Gazprom

MOSCOW (Reuters) - China and Russia have failed to come closer in tough price talks between their national energy giants despite hopes that President Hu Jintao's visit to Moscow would herald a breakthrough.

Negotiators for China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) have signalled they will pay no more than $250 per thousand cubic metres, sources at Gazprom (GAZP.MM) said on Wednesday.

U.S. pickup sales hit bump in road this spring

"We were seeing a reaction from people starting to say, 'I'm hearing some mixed signals in the economy, and I don't know if I can handle $4-a-gallon gas and a new truck payment,'" Ford analyst George Pipas said. "It's just temporary."

Amazon activist killed after dispute with logger

RIO DE JANEIRO — A landless peasant activist was killed by a gunshot to his head outside his home in Brazil — the fifth murder in a month likely tied to the conflict over land and logging in the Amazon.

U.S. births down for 3rd year; economy may be factor

U.S. births apparently have declined for a third year in a row, probably because of the weak economy.

Analysis: Saudi supply increase cheapens OPEC crude

(Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's solo move to boost output is widening the price gap between undersupplied light crude and abundant lower-quality oil, and will force producers to offer their heavy grades to customers at deeper discounts.

Lower relative values for high-sulphur crude hurt most members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and benefit refiners that have the upgrading capacity to process heavy oil into light fuels.

WikiLeaks cables show worry about Saudi oil security

WASHINGTON -- When al-Qaida suicide bombers tried on Feb. 24, 2006, to blow up Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq oil processing facility, arguably the world's most important petroleum hub, it was taken as a sign of strength that internal security had foiled the attack.

Secret U.S. State Department cables obtained by WikiLeaks and shared with McClatchy Newspapers and other news organizations show otherwise.

Platts: OPEC Boosts Oil Output in May

The Organization of the Exporting Countries (OPEC) pushed out an additional 200,000 barrels per day (b/d) of crude oil in May, boosting output to 29.04 million b/d from 28.84 million b/d in April, showed a just-released Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials and analysts.

OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia, which vowed after OPEC's June 8 meeting in Vienna to ensure that world oil markets would not suffer any supply shortage, accounted for most of the additional barrels.

IEA 'Still Assessing' Oil Market after OPEC Stalemate

The International Energy Agency is in talks with member countries following last week's OPEC meeting and is "still assessing" the oil market situation before considering any potential response, Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka said Tuesday.

Tanaka reiterated that the IEA "stands ready to act" if the market requires additional oil. At the same time, Tanaka, whose organization represents consuming countries, expressed confidence that Saudi Arabia could pump additional oil to meet supplies, he said in an exclusive interview with Dow Jones Newswires. The IEA has authority to coordinate an emergency response of oil from its member governments.

ANALYSIS: OPEC Indecision Underscores Market Sensitivity

Like a seesaw poised to go this way or that, the oil market teeters in a delicate balance in the wake of OPEC's indecisive most recent meeting.

The major producing nations failed to reach an accord on a plan to raise production quotas at the June 8 meeting, marking the first time in some two decades that OPEC members were unable to agree.

Mega-projects progressing off Saudi Arabia

DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia – Saudi Aramco has provided an extensive update of its exploration and production programs offshore Saudi Arabia in its 2010 review.

In the Red Sea, the company stepped up seismic activity last year in relatively unexplored areas which it claims hold potential for significant reserves.

Aramco to provide Europe, Asia with extra oil

(MENAFN) Dharan-based Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia's state oil company and the largest crude oil exporter in the world, offered additional supplies to refiners in Asia and Europe, Times of Oman reported.

The oil production story: Pre- and post-peak nations

The world oil production data below tell a story about: 1) nations that are past peak (see “Peak Year,” turquoise fill), because of geologic limits (e.g., US, Norway, etc.) or other reasons; and 2) nations that have yet to peak (see “na” under “Peak Year;” Saudi Arabia, UAE, China), or if they have peaked it is not yet clear. An equally interesting trend is–irrespective of peaking–whether or not nations are increasing (first column; Brazil); have either flat or volatile production (second column, in blue; Iran, Iraq); or are experiencing decreasing production (third column, in red); the 2009 OPEC quotas continue to complicate the overall numbers here. Also, follow the trend of oil production nations whose exports are declining. Six non-OPEC nations increased by over 100,000 barrels/day-year (vs. 12 in 2004); two non-OPEC experienced declines over 100,000 barrels/day-year (also two in 2004). Peak appears to be close but not yet; we were on relatively plateau production during 2005-2008, then down in 2009, up strongly in 2010, up so far in 2011. Keep following the increasing roles of economic-driven demand destruction, violence, the Arab Spring, resource nationalism, timing of production investment and peak oil exports.

Analysis: Shale Boom, Independents Drive U.S. Reserves, Capital Spending

The U.S. shale oil and gas drilling boom boosted U.S. oil and gas reserve growth to a five-year high in 2010, while upstream spending more than doubled from 2009 to 2010 largely due to producers' acquisitions of shale properties, according to Ernst & Young's fourth annual U.S. E&P Benchmark Study.

The survey of the 50 largest oil and gas companies by end-of-year reserves found that end-of-year oil reserves grew 11 percent from 16.1 billion barrels in 2009 to 17.8 billion barrels in 2010, and natural gas reserve grew 12 percent from 156.2 Tcf in 2009 to 174.3 Tcf in 2010, the strongest combined annual growth posted from 2006 to 2010.

Turkish PM, Syrian envoy to meet as refugee numbers mount

Istanbul (CNN) -- The Turkish prime minister plans to huddle with a special Syrian envoy on Wednesday in an effort help stem the growing tide of refugees racing into Turkey from conflict-wracked Syria.

The number of Syrians who've crossed the border now stands at 8,421, according to Turkey's disaster and emergency management directorate. That flight has been spurred by violence and a military offensive in the conflict-scarred country, and Turkey is worried that the border crisis could deteriorate and destabilize the region.

Kudrin: Ruble May Hit RUB26-RUB24 Vs Dollar If Russia Spends Oil Cash

MOSCOW -(Dow Jones)- The ruble may move to RUB26-RUB24 against the dollar if Russia spends its oil windfall income, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Wednesday.

Russia urges Iran to be constructive on nuclear issue

(Reuters) - Russia urged Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday to be "more constructive" in his cooperation with global powers on nuclear issues, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

ENI chief lashes out at Nabucco pipeline: "not a solid project"

Brussels - The Nabucco energy pipeline, widely seen in Brussels as key to reduce Europe's dependency on Russian gas supplies, 'is not a solid project,' the head of Italian energy company ENI, Paolo Scaroni, said on Wednesday.

ENI is one of the closest allies within the European Union of Russian energy giant Gazprom. The two have teamed up to build another pipeline, South Stream, which aims to link up south-eastern Europe with Russian gas supplies.

China Says Won't Use Force in South China Sea

China said Tuesday it wouldn't resort to the use of force in the tense South China Sea, after its neighbors expressed concern about its more assertive maritime posture.

"We will not resort to the use of force or the threat of force," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.

In search of fuel in oil-rich UAE

(Reuters) - Rashed al-Ali spent two hours hunting for petrol before ditching his car. He then walked to a highway to hail a taxi to try to find any place where he could fill his jerrycan with fuel.

His story is part of what has become a typical morning rush hour routine for hundreds of workers in the United Arab Emirates, where petrol stations ran dry last week.

Suppliers send fuel warning flying in the air

LAHORE – Petrol shortage persisted at almost all pumps in the City on Tuesday, despite a strong warning to oil marketing companies by the Punjab government to resume supply from their stocks otherwise their licences would be cancelled.

Major refineries were also asked to increase their output at maximum level.

Govn't to tax high power consumption in Venezuela

A year and three days after the government suspended power-rationing measures, following the 2010 energy crisis, Venezuelan authorities announced the return of power saving measures. Further, a reward and punishment plan for heavy household power consumers -which was previously implemented in Caracas only- will be extended to virtually all the country.

Colombia to supply electricity to Venezuela

Colombia announced on Tuesday that it has begun to deliver electricity to Venezuela, as part of a plan that will be in place as long as the energy crisis in Venezuela, which on Monday announced an energy-saving program, continues.

The delivery of electricity began on Monday from Colombia's northern department of La Guajira to the Venezuelan state of Zulia, said the Colombian Ministry of Mines and Energy in a statement.

Premier proposes supplying gas to Europe

The Premier Colin Barnett has raised the prospect of Western Australia supplying emergency power to Europe.

Impact Fee Proposed on Natural Gas Wells

A state Senate measure to charge natural gas drillers a per-well impact fee will be getting some tweaks today, in an effort to move forward on the measure as lawmakers head into final budget talks.

One lawmaker says those are the beginning of a more comprehensive revamp to the drilling fee legislation, which is being negotiated by supporters in that chamber

State Lawmakers Consider Tax Trust Fund

Kriesky's proposal projects that a 1 percent severance tax hike on coal, oil and gas extraction and production could raise $100 million in its first year. A "Severance Tax Permanent Fund" could have a principal balance of $612 million by 2015, $1.18 billion by 2020 and $3.77 billon by 2035.

The state's entire general fund is just over $4 billion now.

Coal, batteries, and China's long, hot summer of protests

No historical analogy is precise -- no two sets of circumstances can be precisely the same, and I am not suggesting that China is headed toward public chaos. But I am arguing the opposite: that the Chinese government, grasping that social stability is key to staying in power, will do everything required to tamp down unrest.

When will we see solar panels on the White House?

Last year president Obama promised to install solar panels on the White House by the end of spring. So where are they?

Japan Showa Shell says eyeing solar farm on oil refinery site

(Reuters) - Showa Shell Sekiyu KK , the world's second biggest thin-film solar cell maker, said on Wednesday that it could build a 7-8 megawatt solar farm on the site of a 120,000 barrel-per-day oil refinery south of Tokyo that is scheduled to close by September.

Discredited doomsayers

A more consequential example is the Ehrlichs. To give them credit, their take on how life as we know it will end was (and is) all too plausible: we'll simply run out of resources. As for when, on the other hand, their methodology was just a couple pegs above Browning's. They predicted demographic disaster by extrapolating the trend du jour, which showed the earth's population rising at a geometric rate. If that kept up, they wrote, in 900 years the planet would house 60 million billion people.

That was crazy talk, as the Ehrlichs themselves acknowledged. Their forecast of imminent mass starvation, intended more seriously, was also unfounded. Environmentalist Barry Commoner, hardly an optimist, pounded the Ehrlichs for their apocalyptic warnings. He noted that developing countries typically experienced a "demographic transition," when birth and death rates got temporarily out of phase and the population spiked up, only to flatten out later. Commoner thought the same thing would happen on a global scale, and events so far have borne him out.

Dmitry Orlov: The sermon to the sharks

The publisher was kind enough to provide me with a review copy of John Michael “The Archdruid” Greer's recently published book The Wealth of Nature: Economics as if Survival Mattered. It took me a couple of days to get through the book, which I did although much of the material was not new to me, for the sake of his exposition: John Michael is an erudite and patient writer, good at explaining away the various fallacies around money, energy and the pursuit of everything that bedevil our increasingly morbid industrial civilization. I read and I nodded, and it was not until I arrived at the last chapter, “The Road Ahead” that I started shaking my head, because a paraphrase of the title sneaked into my brain, one that I couldn't shake: Preaching to Sharks: Economics as if the Survival of Economists Mattered.

Book Giveaway: The Wealth of Nature

We’ve got another book giveaway opportunity for our wonderful readers. Additionally, before we get into that, we also have a coupon code for all readers which will allow you to get free shipping if you buy the author’s 3 books.

Sierra Club goes totally peak oil -- almost

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Michael Brune's book Coming Clean: Breaking America's Addiction to Oil and Coal, just released in a revised edition to talk about the Deepwater Horizon spill, more or less starts with peak oil.

Why surprised? Because mainstream environmentalists often shy away from the topic. Maybe the idea that cheap oil is running out and that the world doesn't have anything to replace it with except a little clean energy and a lot of conservation, cutting back and powering down, scares the foundations and corporations that provide funding for big green groups?

New Zealand: Cycling into the future

DCC transportation and planning manager Sarah Connolly has said the possibility of government funding, merging the work with roading upgrades and spreading it across two or three decades would make the cost easier to bear for ratepayers. The next stage of the project would see it put out for public consultation.

There are, of course, a number of long-term benefits in such a network. The age of peak oil has arrived - whereby the cost of fuel for motorised vehicles is unlikely to decrease over time.

Counter-intuition 101: Why recent bad economic news means it's time for working less

So what’s the alternative to slashing government programs, budget cutting, and more concentrated wealth at the top? The centerpiece of a new approach is to re-structure the labor market by reducing hours of work. That may seem counter-intuitive in a period when the mainstream message is that we are poorer than ever and have to work harder. But the historical record suggests it’s a smart move that will create what economists call a triple dividend: three positive outcomes from one policy innovation.

UK ministers ignored 'peak oil' warnings, report shows: Report reveals threat of civil unrest from energy shortages, which has been played down as 'alarmist' by ministers

The government was warned by its own civil servants two years ago that there could be "significant negative economic consequences" to the UK posed by near-term "peak oil" energy shortages.

Ministers were told it was impossible to know exactly when production might fail to meet supply but when it did there could be global consequences, including "civil unrest."

Yet ministers consistently played down the threat with the contemporaneous Wicks Review into energy security (pdf) effectively dismissing peak oil as alarmist and irrelevant.

Misunderstanding Peak Oil

For one of the more basic things about economics is that there is no such thing as “supply” or “demand”. There is only “supply at a price” and “demand at a price”.

So, if supply does fall then price will rise. That price change will reduce demand and thus supply and demand will balance.

Oil Declines as Concerns Over European Debt Counter U.S. Inventory Drop

Oil fell from a three-day high in New York amid concern that Europe’s debt crisis will threaten the region’s economic recovery and curb demand.

Futures slid as much as 1.2 percent, after posting their biggest gain in almost a month yesterday, as European Union finance ministers struggled to break a deadlock on a second rescue plan for the Greek economy. U.S. crude stockpiles fell by 3.01 million barrels last week, the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute said yesterday. A Bloomberg survey indicated government data today may show a decline of 1.8 million barrels.

$4 gas a thing of the past, at least for now

Four-dollar gas is quickly becoming a thing of the past, but not before siphoning billions from consumers and forcing the economy into low gear.

After topping $4 a gallon in 17 states and threatening to surpass the all-time record of $4.11, reached in July 2008, regular-grade gasoline now averages $3.69. That's 29 cents below May's $3.98 high. Gas prices now average $4 only in Hawaii, Connecticut and Illinois and $4.24 in Alaska.

The slide in prices — linked to rising inventories and soft demand — could continue through summer, soothing fragile consumer sentiment and potentially boosting the sluggish economy.

Saudi, U.S. debated oil reserve swap before OPEC - sources

(Reuters) - It was to be a swap felt around the world -- a plan privately discussed by the world's largest oil exporter and the globe's biggest consumer to take the heat out of $120-plus oil prices.

In the weeks leading up to the failed June OPEC meeting, U.S. and Saudi officials met to discuss surprising the market with an unprecedented arrangement: exchanging urgently-needed high-quality crude oil stored in the U.S. emergency reserve for heavier, low-quality oil from Saudi Arabia, according to people familiar with the plan.

Iran sees no need for emergency OPEC meeting

TEHRAN: Iran said on Wednesday there was no market demand for Saudi Arabia's output increase nor any need for an extraordinary OPEC meeting as the market was "balanced."

OPEC eyes record revenues above $1-trillion

The last meeting of the OPEC oil cartel ended in disarray. But the collapse will not affect the finances of the group. The earnings of the members of the cartel, from Saudi Arabia to Iran, are set to break above the $1-trillion (U.S.) mark this year for the first time, beating the $965-billion peak set in 2008, according to the U.S. government.

Oil to spike again before new recession: Robeco

The world is heading for a fresh oil price spike before collapsing into a crisis, a prominent fund manager said on Monday, adding that China’s unquenchable thirst for natural resources could lead to rising tensions.

Peter Csoregh, senior portfolio manager of Robeco’s Natural Resource equities fund, said oil prices could hit previous peaks of $147 a barrel given that growing demand from developing markets such as China continues to outpace new sorces of supply.

Does Oil Price Divergence Reflect Demand?

Brent has diverged from West Texas Intermediate, and is now carrying a risk premium of close to $20 per barrel over WTI. That premium differential is a reflection of geographic proximity and more accentuated dependency on the Middle East/North Africa sources by European markets, not demand

Shell starts to fire up Pearl plant in Qatar

Shell's multibillion-dollar gamble in Qatar is starting to pay off.

The oil major is bringing online the various parts of a huge US$19bn (Dh69.78bn) plant designed to convert the emirate's natural gas resources into fuel. It shipped its first cargo to Europe yesterday, and a second is planned for the coming weeks, according to Shell.

Nigeria police destroy bomb near local oil workers’ quarters in N. Nigeria, no casualties

KANO, Nigeria — Police say a special squad has detonated a bomb near a compound housing local oil workers in Nigeria’s restive north.

Oil companies play a waiting game on Libyan crude

Oil companies are playing a waiting game in Libya five months into a civil war whose outcome is still uncertain.

A key question is how and with whom they will need to negotiate to revive production of 1.6 million barrels per day that formed the country's economic backbone until the fighting broke out.

Libya’s Rebel Government Seeks $3.5 Billion in Aid as Oil Production Stops

Libya’s rebel government is seeking $3.5 billion to cover its budget for six months as sales of crude stopped after oil fields were destroyed, said Mahmoud Badi, the president of foreign investments and sovereign assets.

“Oil sales have been stopped because there has been an aggression on the oil fields and the producing fields were destroyed,” Badi said in an interview in Abu Dhabi yesterday. “We were only able to sell one cargo for $90 million to $100 million and after that we were not able to.”

ENI hopeful Libya to return to normal in a year

(Reuters) - The chief executive of Italian oil major ENI is optimistic that the energy situation in Libya will return to normal in a year's time and expects a new government to cooperate with foreign firms in the country.

CEO Paolo Scaroni said the company had no plans to replace Libya with another supplier.

Syrian army readies sweep of second town, as Damascus calls for terrified refugees to return

GUVECCI, Turkey - Syrian army units were poised to sweep into another northern town on Wednesday to crush anti-government protests, sending residents running for their lives as Bashar Assad's regime sought to control the spectacle of thousands of terrified refugees streaming across the border into Turkey.

Jordan's king liberalizes, but stones still fly

AMMAN, Jordan — Stone-throwing youths in a poor southern town exploded in anger at rough handling by police during a visit by King Abdullah II, a symptom of simmering popular frustrations in Jordan even as the monarch moves toward democratic reform.

The spurt of violence Monday, rare in Jordan while other Arab states were rocked by turmoil in recent months, pointed up Jordanians' resentment of heavy-handed control by the Hashemite kingdom's security forces.

Air Arabia delays Jordan plans amid unrest, fuel prices

(Reuters) - Low-cost carrier Air Arabia has delayed plans to establish a hub in Jordan due to regional unrest and soaring fuel prices, the airline's CEO said on Tuesday.

"With the current environment, we have delayed the Jordan plans... we will review the situation and take a decision," Adel Ali told Reuters by telephone.

150 Chemicals Are No Longer Incognito

This month the Environmental Protection Agency made public the names of 150 chemicals that were investigated in health and safety studies but whose identities were withheld as confidential business information.

Cheaper gas forcing US coal plant retirements

Low natural gas prices from plentiful new sources will allow utilities in the United States to solve several thorny problems while keeping electricity affordable, Exelon Corp Chairman John Rowe said on Tuesday. Ample gas from shale formations will allow utilities to quickly build more gas-fired plants to replace polluting coal plants, making "it possible to have a much cleaner supply while still being economical," Rowe told the Reuters Global Energy and Climate Summit.

"For the next decade, natural gas will dominate the new supply of electricity," Rowe said. Utilities are weighing the costs of pending federal regulations to reduce air pollution from coal-fired power plants, but Rowe said cheaper gas, not stricter regulation, is prompting companies to shut older, smaller coal units.

What the frack?

"Natural gas produces 43 percent fewer carbon emissions than coal for each unit of energy delivered, and 30 percent fewer emissions than oil," according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Don't, however, be fooled into thinking that just because methane produces a lesser amount of greenhouse gases when it's burned means that it is necessarily a green-friendly fuel. Especially, as is increasingly the case, when that natural gas is extracted from the earth by means of a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Political Volleys Over Nuclear Waste

House Republicans and some Democrats argued at a hearing on Tuesday that the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had introduced politics into the government’s consideration of a nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain. Others said this was hardly possible because the original choice of the site, in the Nevada desert, was nothing but politics to begin with.

Green Curtain Sales Surge as Tokyo Faces Power Cuts This Summer

“Green curtain” gardening kits sales are surging, shoppers are buying clothes designed to help them stay cool and a pizzeria owner is losing weight as Tokyo residents brace for a summer with less air conditioning.

Hokuriku: won't buy extra fossil fuel despite nuclear issu

(Reuters) - Japanese utility Hokuriku Electric Power Co said on Wednesday it has no plans to buy additional fossil fuel for the peak summer season despite uncertainties over the restart of nuclear reactors following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Japan’s Richest Man Challenges Nuclear Future With Nationwide Solar Plans

Billionaire Masayoshi Son has a track record in taking on monopolies after building a business that opened up the nation’s telecommunications industry. Now he aims to shake up Japan’s power utilities after the worst nuclear crisis in 25 years.

Senate sidetracks move to repeal ethanol credit

WASHINGTON – The Senate has sidetracked a move to end the federal subsidy for ethanol, a corn-based additive blended with gasoline to make alternative fuel.

The vote was 40-59, less than a majority and far fewer than the 60 needed to advance the measure drafted by Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn.

Chevron Bets on Volcanoes in Indonesia

Chevron Corp. drilled 84 wells to a depth of two miles beneath the Indonesian rainforest to tap steam, not oil and gas, that’s trapped in the world’s richest store of volcanic energy.

The oil driller’s geothermal plant, set among wild orchids and bamboo trees, uses 315 degree Celsius (600 degree Fahrenheit) heat to spin turbines 24 hours a day, generating electricity for Jakarta, a four-hour drive to the north. Chevron, which pioneered geothermal energy 20 years ago in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, is about to see competition.

India set to produce 700 MW solar power in 2011

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India is on track to produce 700 megawatts of solar power at a cost of $2.2 billion by December, ahead of an initial target for an ambitious plan that seeks to boost green power generation from near zero to 20 gigawatts (GW) by 2022.

Read it, grow it, eat it: Garden-to-table books

“The Feast Nearby:How I Lost My Job, Buried a Marriage and Found My Way by Keeping Chickens, Foraging, Preserving, Bartering, and Eating Locally (All on Forty Dollars a Week),” by Robin Mather (Ten Speed Press, 2011; $24). Unfortunate circumstances prompted Mather, a former Chicago food journalist, to live as a locavore in rural Michigan. She couldn’t grow that much herself, she writes, but she learned how to make the most of surpluses from the farmers markets by canning and preserving and all those other ways listed in the title.

Mather refutes the notion that eating locally and shopping at farmers markets is expensive. During the year she recounts, she worked within a small budget. The book includes recipes for making sauerkraut, hard cider and apple butter. Her journey is one of personal revelation and empowerment; there are broader lessons here as well.

Transition Towns – Where Innovation Takes Place At A Certain Pace

In the world of slow baked transformation Transition Towns is a rallying point. There are now 90 TN initiatives in the USA, 360 around the world, and a swathe of Mullers - groups mulling over how to make a difference to their locality, with increasing exposure in the major media outlets – but here’s the real surprise. Transition Towns began in the backwoods of Ireland, not far down the road from the modest two bedroomed home of Peak Oil founder, Colin Campbell.

War's Cost: To Gain Cooperation, People Punish Others

War. What is it good for?

Getting people to work together, a new study finds.

People are more willing to reward collaborators and punish lone wolves in an effort to force cooperation in times of conflict, according to the research, which was conducted during the 34-day Israel-Hezbollah war in 2006. It's the first time that scientists have tested the influence of real-world conflict on people's cooperative behaviors, said study researcher Daniel Fessler, an anthropologist at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Record 'Dead Zone' predicted in Gulf of Mexico

The "Dead Zone" in the Gulf of Mexico – a region of oxygen-depleted water off the Louisiana and Texas coasts that is harmful to sea life and the commercial fishing industry – is predicted to be the largest ever recorded this year, federal scientists announced Tuesday.

China's Drought Threatens Farm Income, Drinking Water, Wildlife and Hydropower

SHANGHAI -- It is an annual tradition for Chinese to race dragon boats at the end of each spring, but this year, the tradition has run aground. Many streams and lakes along the Yangtze River have almost dried up.

The world's third-largest river -- stretching from the Himalayas thousands of miles to the east meeting the sea -- has been experiencing its worst drought in decades. The drought is withering farmers' wallets, threatening a Chinese species even rarer than the panda and raising questions about a clean energy source that China hopes to bank its energy future on.

Arizona blaze part of new era - more big wildfires

WASHINGTON — The fires searing parts of the West are an eerie echo of the past, a frightening reminder of a once terrible danger that had been held largely at bay for decades.

The number of large wildfires has been rising for roughly the past 25 years, and they are lasting longer amid fire seasons that also last longer.

Is it global warming? Experts won't say that, pointing instead to a variety of factors ranging from local weather to insect infestations to more people living and camping out in the woods.

Former Rep. Inglis to Launch Conservative Coalition to Address Climate Change

A former Republican congressman who is an advocate for action to address climate change plans to launch a new conservative coalition this fall made up of Republicans who, like him, believe that human emissions are triggering global warming and that steps should be taken to stop it.

It's not just CO2: Cutting soot and smog will limit climate change quickly, says new UN report

AMSTERDAM - The struggle to contain climate change usually focuses on reducing carbon dioxide. But black carbon and ozone, the main ingredients of soot and smog, also add to global warming, and controlling them will act quickly to slow rising temperatures, a U.N. agency said Tuesday.

California Redoes Its Greenhouse Gas Analysis

Nothing focuses the mind like being told by a thesis adviser (or a judge) that your analysis is inadequate and that your degree (or your carefully constructed policy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions) will be on hold until you provide a better one.

Link up top: Misunderstanding Peak Oil

Forbes finally gets something right. This is not an article trying to debunk peak oil, it is a very short article explaining supply and demand. Supply always meets demand at a given price. But I think most peak oil folks understand that. It is the mainstream media that so often gets it wrong.

I see articles every day talking about demand outstripping supply. That simply cannot happen as this article explains. And that is why I get so frustrated when articles, OPEC members, and talking heads on TV talk about supply being "adequate" so the high price must be due to speculators. Yes supply is always adequate at the current price. If the price is $120 a barrel the supply will be adequate for that price. But there would not be an adequate supply of $80 oil, that is why the price is $120.

Well, Brent is currently at $117.75 and supply is adequate... at that price.

Ron P.

Thank you for this article. Demand is a function of price and supply is a function of price. In a working market price is always at the point where supply and demand are equal.

Correct. Supply will always meet demand in a totally free market. What about when a government such as KSA gives petrol away for almost nothing. If they continue to hold the price low artificially then there will certainly be some demand which will not be satisfied, given a finite amount of the stuff. The key is that the price has to be allowed to reflect the demand.

Also, there is such as a thing as 'desire'. I may 'desire' a brand new Bentley but there is no way I could ever afford one so I never pick up the phone to the dealership to register my demand. In China, almost everyone will be desiring a car. As soon as their incomes reach a particular point all that desire suddenly becomes demand, and whoosh, we're off to the races!

"Supply will always meet demand in a totally free market."

That is always true because it is a tautology, which ideologues recite as if it has a corollary that precludes hardship and suffering.

which ideologues recite as if it has a corollary that precludes hardship and suffering.

Since when was economics - especially the neo-classical kind - about addressing hardship and suffering?

That is always true because it is a tautology, which ideologues recite as if it has a corollary that precludes hardship and suffering.

I always try to put it differently. "Supply will always equal demand as long as price is the arbitrator". This of course also means that the market must be free. Because when you have rationing or price fixing, i.e. not a free market, supply will very seldom equal demand.

But hardship and suffering has nothing whatsoever to do with the argument. It is just a simple statement of fact. Some people often refer to statements of obvious fact as a tautology because their meaning is so obvious.

From Wiki:
Tautology (rhetoric), using different words to say the same thing even if the repetition does not provide clarity. Tautology also means a series of self-reinforcing statements that cannot be disproved because the statements depend on the assumption that they are already correct.

Tautology (logic), a technical notion in formal logic, universal unconditioned truth, always valid.

And it is the logic of the statement we are discussing here. Supply will always equal demand if price is allowed to be the arbitrator. That is a universal truth. So call me an ideologue if you wish but it is also a universal truth that hardship and suffering hasn't a cotton picking thing to do with this argument. ;-)

Ron P.

The media shorthand of "adequate" or "shortage" may be related to changes in volume and price with time.

In other words:
- increasing price, decreasing volume with time = shortage,
- increasing price, increasing volume with time = bubble,
- decreasing price, increasing volume with time = glut,
- decreasing price, decreasing volume with time = collapse,
- static price, static volume = stagnant,
- slowly increasing price, slowly increasing volume = adequate.

decreasing price, decreasing volume with time = collapse

That is the scenario Gail was suggesting would happen as a weakening economy would reduce the price the market could handle, yet still stay viable. And because the price of oil would need to remain at a price below what oil producers would need to make a profit (for deepwater and non-conventional like tar sands), volume or flow would also decrease.

This is one of the reasons many Todsters suggest the back side of Hubbert's peak could more resemble a sharks fin than a bell curve.

Here is a cool club for all MOTOs* to join:


*Masters Of The Obvious

Ron! There is always rationing. It is done by price in a free market. In times of shortage, where the items being rationed are considered of special value (say, food, rubber or gasoline during WWII?), societal rationing provides needed materials for more individuals, and any price mallocations are mediated by taxes, paid by all, but more by the wealthy. In a similar manner, price controls do not produce any more of an item unless the item is subsidized by taxes. In both of these cases, supply and demand are mediated by price, and the apparent differences are paid by all in the form of taxation.

So... the supplier gets his price, the user gets a subsidized product, and everyone thinks there is a free lunch. Of which, as you know, there ain't none. The commodity or resource gets used at a rate higher than would otherwise occur, the state goes deeper into debt, and eventually we become Greece.

Stini Yassou!


Ron! There is always rationing. It is done by price in a free market.

Of course Craig, but that is not the type of rationing people think about when the term is used. Nor should it be because if we use the term "rationing" for free market price arbitrage then what word would we use when we mean rationing by government allocation? After all they are two entirely different things so we should not call them by the same name. I am old enough to remember ration stamps issued by the government during WW2. I was 7 when the war ended.

In a similar manner, price controls do not produce any more of an item unless the item is subsidized by taxes.

Price controls, if it is a price ceiling which price controls almost always are, would cause less of an item to be produced and create shortages. That was my whole point of mentioning it.

Ron P.

I knew that, Ron. And, I agree. I wanted to point out the fallacy of thinking that you can have more of something without any price on it. And, that the price we will pay will be outrageous inflation, debt default, and societal collapse. With price controls, either the difference in real price is made up by taxes, or the shortage grows because there is no incentive to build. People just don't think this through.

I am a progressive, but somewhat libertarian in most ways. I think we can do what we want, have the programs we want, but we need to accept that they are not free, and we must be willing to pay for them.

Having said that, I am not sanguine that we, as a nation, will 'see the light' as it were, before it is too late - if it is not already. Ergo, I am building a store of materials and non perishable foodstuff. Oh... also, a nice 20 Ga. Remington with a supply of material for loading my own shells, just in case I need to shoot rabbits, squirrels, doves and the like, in order to feed my hungry hoard of grandkids.

I was only 5 when the war ended, but I remember gas stamps. Don't recall food stamps, but then I don't think they took me to the store back then. Interestingly, I also remember being chased to the back of the bus in Corpus Christi. Mom was NOT pleased! (Navy wife, Dad was stationed at NAS Corpus Christi).

Some things have improved, and we hope will remain. Others not so much. I am not looking forward to what happens when Greece actually does default. More so the US of A.


What Ron said, plus - let's stop pretending by implication that physical shortage, still caused most often by price controls, causes no hardship. Refer to the news that keeps flowing in from South Asia, some Gulf countries, and occasionally some African countries. Being squeezed by the car-fuel price or the minibus fare is one thing; losing one's income altogether because the car or minibus was not available reliably enough to keep the job, or because the employer lost customers and went bust when there wasn't diesel to run the generator during blackouts, is quite another. In this life, people usually get tradeoffs rather than Utopia.

What the article does leave out is that the price that is needed to balance supply and demand is too high to have economic growth.

dw - "too high to have economic growth'. I suppose that depends on whose economic growth you're referring to. Lots of counties can't handle $60 oil and have significant growth. Others, like China, appearing to be growing at a dangerously high rate even with the increase in oil prices. What's new is perhaps for the first time US consumers get to feel what it's like to be on the short end of that stick.

It depends on what you use the oil (or rather the diesel or gasoline) for. If you use it for leisure activities, 120 dollar/barrel is to expensive, but if you use it to feed your family, you will pay up anyway, and cut on other areas. Wich is why poor people can afford more expensive oil than rich people. This is also the reason why in every coming (they will come) economic crash, a fraction of the world export market for crude will move to developing countries.

I believe the intended meaning was global, not just local.


You are right….I guess you can also make the argument that China will steal growth from smaller countries who get priced out of the oil market the higher the price goes. As the price continues to climb over time it will continue to reduce demand in some areas(not by choice) while increasing or at least maintaining it in other areas. Some rich countries will be able to maintain some sort of growth for a much longer period of time but we do have feedback loops(e.g. is there enough countries to buy Chinese goods to keep the China’s economy going). Countries with large trade imbalances and large debts could have problems. In general….OECD societies are based on growth, if more of a country's resources go to pay for energy it leaves less for everything else. For the U.S. the only possible way to pay off the national debt is for the economy to grow(to expand the entire pie) but this will become more and more difficult as more of our discretionary income goes to energy costs.

dw - I agree with you. Uptill now the US had the stroke. I get what you're saying about the Chinese export feed back loop. But as their internal consumption grows and their currency becomes more accpeted they maight start looking more like the US during the first half of the 20th century. Of course, they didn't have the local cheap energy supplies the US had during this period. But they will have access to global energy supplies.

I get what pri-de was saying about "global" economic growth but I lok at that as a statics then a meaningful reality. growth is local to a particular economy. The globe may be having poor or even negative growth but if one economy is still doing OK then it doesn't matter how the rest are doing. Consider China right now. If the world went it a deep recession they might lose a good bit of the export revenue. OTOH look at the oil/NG China imports: how much of a boost in growth would china have if their oil import costs droped to $50/bbl. And if they could continue buying up reserves in the ground (as they have been doing for the last 10 years) if they only had to pay of what they had been dishing out. A balance for sure but I don't have a handle on which side of the scale would tip more. But I do recall that back in January of '09 when oil prices crashed and the rest of the world had cut oil purchases due local recessions China infact ramped up their oil imports. And why not; oil was selling for 70% les than they were paying just 6 months earlier. Again, the advantages of being a sovereign (even if communist) player: the Chinese govt didn't have to function like all the fre enterprise companies around the world.

This is why I try to introduce the term "competition". Supply remains flat, but competition for oil increases, so oil prices go up and limits demand to match supply. If people used the term competition more often, they would not get as confused over the demand issue.

The primary reason there is confusion is the use of the word "demand". It is an unfortunate term because it has a very specific meaning in economics which is different from the meaning than people usually ascribe to it. I would prefer we say that consumption equals supply. But I don't make the rules so confusion will continue to reign. The other reason there is confusion is that people like the Saudis want people to be confused and, therefore, distort the meaning of the term.

From the article:

For one of the more basic things about economics is that there is no such thing as “supply” or “demand”. There is only “supply at a price” and “demand at a price”.

Yes, that's a basic assumption in economic theory, but the average buyer (meaning you and me) can't directly see those relationships (if they really exist) as curves on a graph. Trouble is, the supply curve in the short term is very steep, thus small fluctuations in production can result in large changes in price. Also, the market price is a price at just one point, the point at which the seller meets the buyer, which tends to result in a rapid transaction, whereas variations in production occur over years, given the long time required to find and develop oil fields.

Of course, the author completely ignored the problem of Peak Oil, which is the point at which world conventional oil production hits maximum and then begins to decline. I suppose that the readers of the FT article are expected to read the details in the story from the Guardian and the associated links to seek enlightenment...

E. Swanson

The new reality, though, that this story is an example of, is that peak oil is now being discussed in major media in ways that are not always utterly dismissive. That is a huge change from just a few years ago, and I think TOD and similar outlets of info and forums for discussion can take some credit in this development.

from the article

Ministers were told it was impossible to know exactly when production might fail to meet supply but when it did there could be global consequences, including “civil unrest.”

He he, you see? It's not easy at all..
PS! I demand a "Mona Lisa" on my wall. Tomorrow, else... err .. and in 100 years there will be a supply-demand gap of 75 mbd... how stupid doesn't that sound?

Supply always meets demand at a given price. But I think most peak oil folks understand that.

Yes - it is a tautology - except when it isn't. The whole point of being a "peak oil folk" is to point out (and prepare for) a future where supply cannot increase, irrespective of price. And further - price cannot increase beyond a certain level (even if supply fails to meet demand by a wide margin) because to pay beyond a certain price is uneconomic to do so. In other words it is more rational to do without the commodity. I think.

No, you're missing the main point about supply meeting demand at a given price. There is NO level beyond which price cannot increase - the potential for price increases is infinite.

This why it scared the wits out me, early in 2008, when Americans were saying there was no price that was too high to make them stop buying fuel. That was clearly wrong. Demand had to fall, and the only way to cause that to happen was that the price would go higher than they could afford.

Well, we found the price which was high enough to make them stop buying fuel. It was $147 per barrel. Demand destruction set in and economic collapse solved the problem.

The same situation applies to future price increases - there is always a price at which supply meets demand. If people don't stop buying at $147 per barrel, it will go up to $200/bbl, $400/bbl, $1000/bbl, or whatever price makes them stop buying.

There is no economic upper limit. Governments can try to stop it, but there is a very real chance it would bankrupt them. Scary, isn't it.

Yes I guess we are saying the same thing different ways ... with the main point being that you are either an "infinite resource" theoretical economist, or perhaps a "finite resource limit" realist. I expect we're both in the latter camp. So there is a price where people will stop buying fuel, even if that level is pretty high - because (a) it simply is not economically rational to do so, and (b) no matter how high that price is, supply does not increase dramatically to meet the demand caused by scarcity.

Yes - it is scary.

With regard to the 'Japan's Richest Man' article above (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-14/japan-s-richest-man-challenges-...) perhaps the super rich will come to our rescue after all.

Ralph Nader wrote a satiric novel based on that premise, but in Japan it seems to be coming true.

The top .01% control so much wealth that if they all invested it in conservation and renewable energy, we would be well on our way to a ff-free and nuke-free energy supply.

Unfortunately, no amount of money is likely to buy us a relatively stable climate system again.

I suspect that a good deal of the "wealth" is an illusion, since a good deal of the "wealth" consists of investments that require continued abundant sources of energy in order to generate economic activity that will create corporate earnings and allow debtors to repay their debts.

the "mere " illusion maybe enough


isn't this how the Fed works ? ;-)


Wealth is realtive, Wes, not absolute. Cap value of a stock could drop by 80%, and if the value of the greenback dropped by 80%, it would be all the same. Might not sound as rich, but as a relative measure, no difference.

The real problem we have is that that top 1% own such a huge percentage of the productive capacity of the planet! Unless and until they get the message, the planet remains in peril.


Well this way, the prosperity ladder need only support 1% of the population. That's a much more efficient use of materials, don't you know. </sarconol>

a good deal of the "wealth" is an illusion

Some days, I stand outside and just listen to the birds chirping in the trees.

Are they intelligently communicating with one another or just making flocking noises?

I don't know.

However, on other days I stand by the TV and listen to humans chirping over the financial expert's bands:
"Economic fundamentals"
"Supply and demand"
"Well supplied"

Are they intelligently communicating with one another or just making flocking noises?

boil that down a little and you could Tweet it.


When all the "adults" around us use a word like "wealth" and we dare not look foolish by confessing that we don't truly know what that bird chirp means, we simply bob our heads up and down and indicate that, why yes, of course I know what you mean. Yes. Wealth. Riches. Success. Prosperity. All that kind of stuff.

What actually is occurring below the surface is a replay of The Emperor's New Clothes

WE all suffer from the deadly vice of vanity, pride and fear of looking foolish.

So we are not about to come out naked in public and admit that we don't know what an econo-babble word like "wealth" actually means.

What is "wealth", in its true sense?

Is Donald Trump "wealthy"? Why?

How about someone who is holding stocks in a publicly traded company? Say Apple computer. Can it grow to the sky and beyond?

How about someone who just bought future options on crude oil at $90/bbl six months from now?

What does "wealth" mean to you and how can you know if it is an illusion or not?

Are you the Emperor prancing in his new clothes or the little boy along the parade route?

An interesting item, linked on Drudge:

The global order fractures as American power declines

Harold Macmillan, the prime minister who watched US power rise as the British empire crumbled, used to say that Britain would play ancient Greece to America’s Rome.

These days it looks as if Rome is declining too. The US finds it increasingly hard to drive forward its vision of international trade and economics over the objections of big emerging-market countries.

It seems inevitable that the US government is going to have to soon choose between Guns & Butter, to borrow a phrase from the Vietnam War. Soon, they will have to choose between massive cuts in defense spending or massive cuts in transfer payments. If they fail to choose, or even if they do make hard decisions, it seems likely that we will sooner or later see massive cuts in both defense spending and in transfer payments.

Your timing is perfect! I was watching a re-run of the West Wing last night. The one where Toby is lying in bed at 2.47am unable to sleep. He gets up, goes to the office, paces up and down and then goes wakes the President up to tell him that he can 'fix social security'. The Pres agrees to let Toby sound out a few Senators. By the end of the same day (literally) a Republican heavy-hitter and a Democrat heavy-hitter are in front of the cameras announcing a bipartisan bill to save social security. Job done.

The West Wing is, frankly, the most outstanding drama series in the last 20 years but some how methinks reality took a vacation when the script writers wrote that particular episode!

After WW II, the US was the dominant global maritime imperial power, just as Great Britain was after the Napoleonic Wars. The Soviet Union was the dominant land power in Eurasia, just as the Austrian Empire was after the Napoleonic Wars. Recall that the post-war settlement in 1815 was the Congress of Vienna.

Starting in 1873, Great Britain's economic hegemony stagnated in the Long Depression until 1896, and the US seems to be in a parallel development.

In 1867, the Austrian Empire broke up in the Austro-Hugarian Compromise which created the dual monarchy and set the stage for further nationalistic fragmentation and eventual breakup of the eastern Hapsburg domains. The dissolution of the Soviet Union is comparable.

In 1870, Prussia won the Franco-Prussian War, unified Germany, and the stage was set for the rise of the German Empire under the Hohenzollern's and Chancellor Bismark. In the same year, Italy was re-unified. The US went through the panic of 1873, but with its high growth rate due to western expansion, vast natural resources, and immigrant labor, the US continued expansion during the Long Depression. The rise of Germany, Italy, and the US is paralleled by the rise of the emerging economies of today - especially Brazil, India, and China.

These reorganizations of global power are to be expected starting about 2/3 of the way through the interval between periods of total war.

But China is overdeveloping too quickly with pure construction and not all the other areas required to assume control. For example, they copy mainly IP from the West. Their patenting is not for high sought ideas. They have a homogenous culture which is unable to see outside the box, since the government will not allow them to free think for fear they may subvert the government.

So I see construction growth in China, but not the kinds of other areas required to make progress economically. China is intellectually bankrupt it appears and they cannot move peasants into cities and call that value for the future. It does not work that way at all.

What I find interesting is that many Democrats are, in many ways, just as delusional as the Drill Baby Drill folks in the GOP.

The Republicans by and large (at least in public) seem to believe that if we drill enough, we can maintain a virtually infinite rate of increase in the growth of our GDP, based a virtually infinite rate of increase in our consumption of fossil fuels. The Democrats by and large (at least in public) seem to believe that we can maintain a virtually infinite rate of increase in the growth in of our GDP, as we transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy.

Only a tiny number of US politicians (Bartlett comes to mind) are questioning the infinite growth model.

The D's and R's are both mild variations on the same theme, and both fundamentally support the existing power structure. Disputes about how to organize an industrial society and who should derive the benefits of it (and of the militaristic empire that actually underpins it) are irrelevant when the industrial society and empire are themselves failing and unsustainable. It was a conversation that made sense in 1900 but has become meaningless now, but we will continue applying the same solutions no matter that the problem has changed.

Bartlett is a total hypocrite on Peak Oil voting in lockstep with his Party(GOP).
He voted down the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008 HR 5351.
And he touts $100 million in stimulus even as he rails against it.
The 10 termer advocates term limits.
The Population Control Aware Bartlett has 10 children and 17 grandchildren.

I would say that Roscoe Bartlett is the embodiment of the Peak Oil Aware hypocrite.

It seems obvious that a real Peak Oil Aware politician cannot be a hypocrite, unless PO is also a lie.

As a Canadian, I have not followed Roscoe's reasoning on his various votes, and you probably have info that I don't.
But based on what I know, I feel compelled to defend his efforts and voice my objection to your portrayal of him as a total hypocrite.

I've seen the videos of his detailed and perfectly sensible presentations on Capitol Hill, usually to an empty room.
He helped start the Congressional PO Caucus back in 05, shortly after the release of the Hirsch Report, and he was instrumental in the hearings which took place in Dec. 05.

He turned 85 last week, and I'm sure that he has chosen to serve another term not because he needs the money, but because he believes that PO is a whopper of an issue which continues to be ignored.
As for 10 kids, I believe that he grew up on a farm, as did my wife, who is one of 13 farm children.
He often cites his concern for the future which his great-grandkids face, as he should.

Bottom line: here in Canada, we have no PO Caucus and no politician who will even raise the issue of PO in the House. Bartlett is doing something which no-one here (and very few in USA) seem willing to undertake.
Roscoe and his voting record may not be perfect, but he surely deserves more credit than you have given him.

Another member of the Congressional Peak Oil Caucus was Wayne Gilchrist, also of Maryland, who was defeated in his last election(2008) by an astroturfed Club for Growth scrumbag and was NOT supported by his false friend, poser Roscoe Bartlett who never bucks GOP.

Gilchrist was strongly pushing
serious energy policies, working across the aisle to do something.


You prefer image over substance.

As for 10 kids, I believe that he grew up on a farm, as did my wife, who is one of 13 farm children.

What - does growing up on a farm give you some God-given right to breed like a rabbit - and that right is denied to city slickers? Seems very odd thinking indeed.

I'm actually quite impressed with the low number of Bartlett grandchildren. He may well have had his ten kids before he became fully aware of the implications of population growth, and you can't very well send them back.

Just by way of comparison, my parents had nine kids, who have gone on to produce 45 grandchildren, and that is with myself and a brother contributing none of our own!

If Bartlett is 85, then it's likely his kids are done reproducing, so they seemingly have constrained their growth rate pretty well.

The reason that all but a few politicians cheer for continued economic growth is that that is all they know as a possible solution to social, political, and economic problems. What to do about the national debt? Grow the real economy so that we'll be able to service the debt, even when interest rates rise. What to do about Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid? Grow the economy so that we can pay for these programs. Unemployment too high? Get back to 4%+ growth as the unique solution to getting the unemployment rate down.

In other words, never mind the question, real economic growth is the answer. Thus politicians must get on the growth bandwagon--or predict a dismal future with economic, social, and political problems getting worse. In other words, to get elected, promise economic growth and better times to come. That is the dominant paradigm, and it is going to stay the dominant paradigm for years to come.

And of course they are backed up by a chorus of economists saying the same thing.

Of course when a large contingent of economists recommend instituting a carbon tax to reduce GW and dependence on ff, politicians suddenly turn a deaf ear to them.

Note that the big argument against carbon taxes in the U.S. has been that such a tax would tend to slow down economic growth. Economists have devised redistribution of carbon tax revenues in such a way to minimize this adverse effect on growth, but politicians don't want to do anything that would tend to raise the price of gasoline and other fossil fuels.

Economists advise. Politicians decide.

The system decides, in this case the economic system. Politicians simply rationalise the decision, rubber stamp it and sell it on to the public.

Those politicians may be the, as someone put it, deciders, but for now they still need to garner votes. There doesn't seem to be any groundswell of opinion in favor of higher gasoline/diesel prices. Quite the opposite, notwithstanding the handful of environmental economists, the otherworldly humanities-department types well-insulated from the exigencies of daily life, and the activists with time on their hands.

It also remains that Sunbelt cities with typical winter temps well above freezing and plenty of cars and freeways still seem to be doing the best, or anyway the least-worst, even under current economic conditions. There is a minor exception with respect to the cars and freeways, among a subset of trendy fresh-out-of-college types (which is not new even if it's been painted that way lately.) However, most of them will marry and settle down soon enough, after which dragging cranky young kids along on transit of any sort (something which is bad enough even in a car), will "cure" them soon enough. So there may be no sea-change anytime soon in the way the deciders garner votes.

They could drag their kids around in a Nissan Leaf.

Even better, don't have them in the first place.

Yeah, many of the trendy types could probably afford a compact for a big-car price once they moved out and were no longer paying jaw-dropping downtown rents. However, the jobs they hold often require at least moderate travel "out in the field" on short notice (one extreme being "hotelling"), which might not be a good fit to the limited EV range. And soon enough, the competitive kids' sports would kick in (as early as age 5.) The unpredictable short-notice long-distance travel (carrying possibly considerable amounts of equipment) to meets and tournaments would almost certainly not fit with the limited EV range. So the EV might well make a great city car for them, but still no great groundswell to pay through the nose to fuel the workhorse.

Get a Chevy Volt -- no range limitations.

Nissan airs a clever commercial regarding electric vs. gas-powered cars...and gets in a jab at the Volt.


My ~ 11 mile commute (each way) is not walkable, and not going to be bike-able (unless the eminent domain fairy comes and rips up a 10-mile long swath of buildings from here to work!).

However, since 98% of our driving in my family amounts to less than 50 miles per day, a Nissan Leaf or something like it would fit the bill nicely.

I've been pondering some complexities. {/LOL} Adding to the problem of your "10-mile swath of buildings" needing to be demolished to provide a bike path, is my question of "How should we decide who works anymore (and so NEEDS a bike path to work)"? It is growing increasingly obvious (at least to me) that if investors combined with process efficiency MBA's continue to make decisions about how "work" gets done in developed countries, more and more "jobs" will be done by automated, even autonomous, machines. How long until digital network management will be more easily entirely handled by computer programs? (Not long in terms of lives of civilizations). What was the plan for those auto workers who used to spray-paint cars, bolt on wheels, run brake disc machining centres, etc? Newspaper reporters? Mailmen? IMHO, its only a matter of time for a great many MORE workers, present "knowledge workers" among the most vulnerable.

For a long time I thought that reducing work hours was the solution, just as it was throughout the first half of the past century. Good social theory, but bad because still every worker needs transport. Perhaps 4-day weeks, though that's a scheduling nightmare. Perhaps total support guarantees at a decent level for everyone, with only voluntary workers?

We'll need to figure out something shortly. Agreed, a lot of jobs DID move to Mexico and China and India, but a LOT of them also simply evaporated into thin digital space.

If everything is done by machines then there won't be any people with any incomes and, therefore, there won't be any machines because there will be no demand for the products made by the machines. Even capitalists need customers. Under the current capitalist model, the owners of the machines will make a boatload of money as long as there are customers. But I don't see the customers staying around much longer. At this point, what is the alternative to government stepping in and ensuring that there is demand for the products that come from the machines. Call that socialism. Call it what you will, but I don't see how the current capitalist model is sustainable as it appears to contains the seeds of its own destruction. Capitalists will resist this reality for as long as possible because things seem to be going rather nicely for corporate profits and the stock market (still up quite a bit even though down recently). The will resist this until things come crumbling down all around them. Of course things have already become bleak and untenable for the millions of unemployed, underemployed, and those who gave up long ago.

One approach is to recognize that machines can produce a lot of stuff without much human intervention and to accept that those who happen to own the machines are benefiting not just from that happy situation but from all the people who made this possible over the centuries with their blood, sweat, tears, and ingenuity. With this tremendous productivity we have, perhaps some of the fruits of that productivity could be shared with others in the society. This is based on the fact that these other people cannot survive without sharing the wealth.

One of the primary objections to what appear to be schemes that smack of socialism is that it creates sloth and, therefore, the whole society suffers because we end up producing less as the slothful are not putting in their fair share. Well, we could have them work at something even if it were not in the direct service of consumer goods production. Beyond that, this traditional objection doesn't hold water with me because I think we do not want a system whose main argument is that is can provide growth.

If current capitalism can be own to lead to mostly happy faces and do the kind of job that it has traditionally done, then fine. But my guess is that we are just the start of continuing, indefinite recessions and depressions.

If everything is done by machines then there won't be any people with any incomes and, therefore, there won't be any machines because there will be no demand for the products made by the machines.

I think back to concepts like the "society of sloth" mentioned in one or two past Nate articles, and as noted by Jay Hanson over the years.

"jobs" seem mostly to be an evolved - and extremely halfassed - distribution mechanism for fossil fuel wealth having little to do with the relative value - or even absolute value - of what's being done by the jobholders.

If job creation is good for a society, why do ants get pissed off when their nests get kicked open? Is it because they're too ignorant to appreciate the creation of jobs, and thus their own increased prosperity?

Or is the prevailing human meme of "jobs" a delusion? Why should a ridiculously rich species in overshoot need to create make-work positions and commute to them, going through the motions of contributing to the tribe, and looking down upon those who don't put in decades doing remorselessly useless stuff?

Clearly, there are tasks to be done in a civilization; farming, infrastructure repair, manufacture of necessary stuff. It's hard to think that that takes more than 5% of the population at this point in the USA, which would leave a majority of people commuting for no particular reason.

I think it'd be fine to encourage people to get neutered, get a bicycle for wandering, get stoned, and go on welfare. Make basic food staples free. Consider unemployment going up to be a good thing. Certainly, I hold the average stoned slacker in higher esteem than I do the average wall street banker. (Think 'The Dude' rather than Gordon Gekko; bowling and bull******* the proper response to human overshoot).

My dad was in advertising. "People are idiots." he noted to his children. He thought it was hilarious that he could sit at a typewriter and come up with word sequences that would make people buy insane crap. He also wrote promotional puppet shows for the nuclear industry which were performed in schools for decades. He saw himself as sort of an aphid drinking from the sweet sap of human silliness rather than doing real work.

Just saying...

Most of what you talk about goes back to the puritan ethic. Must work, regardless, even if largely pointless and so we can maintain the fiction of virtue, day's wage for a day's work and all that. It is this ethic that has infected the planet, the lastest manifestation of which is in China. Don't get me wrong. Work can be grand and there are a lot of things that we could be doing which would be useful. And if people want to drop dead at work that is fine, too. If that floats their boat.

The Puritans etc. got it wrong. Its not work per se that is glorious, but productive contribution to society.

Much better to collect a welfare check and then head over to the freeway offramp with a cardboard sign. The one I passed this morning said "Ran Out of Weed", with the signholder being a well dressed 20ish male talking on a cellphone with an expensive mountain bike sitting on the grass next to him. On many other occasions I've noted the Starbucks coffee in hand, or the cigarettes on other "unfortunates".

Personally, I'll go with the advice from "the Richest Man in Babylon", probably one of the most readable, simple and yet profound financial books of all time. "work, well-done does good to the man who does it. It makes him a better man."

When the SHTF, you'd better be willing to work hard, or you might not eat.

"jobs" seem mostly to be an evolved -- distribution mechanism for fossil fuel wealth

There tweets past us, yet another psycho-babble word : "jobs"

It and "wealth" are oft chirped noises made by the politically "with it" crowd of crows.


We need more "jobs".

We need more "wealth"

We need more "education"

That should do the trick

Give Mr. Economy a kick in the pants and get him into "recovery" mode again.

All "we" have to do is to keep injecting Mr. Economy with more of the "fundamentals"

(meaning "jobs", more "jobs", "education", "innovation", Yankee ingenuity)
why heck, that should bring back that good old "growth" and "prosperity" thing for all of us.

And if that doesn't work, we can all go back to eating worms. [ i.mage.+]

why heck, that should bring back that good old "growth" and "prosperity" thing for all of us.

You deliberately confuse the discussion by conflating "growth" with "prosperity". I agree that growth must stop (population, resource extraction, consumption, some others.) BUT, give us the logic you've developed to tie growth tightly to prosperity. IMHO, we can have prosperity for all within a resource constrained environment, though it clearly won't look like what the wealthy 1% now define as prosperity.

Sorry, I should have inserted a {begin sarcasm} note at the start of my post.

Those aren't my bird noises (my tweets).

Rather they are ones I hear when I go out in the field to watch for cash crazed crows and the like. You know, out there in the "real world" where such feathered pigeons flock together to make their typical, although perhaps meaningless, bird call noises.

We need more "education"

That should do the trick

Give Mr. Economy a kick in the pants and get him into "recovery" mode again.

All "we" have to do is to keep injecting Mr. Economy with more "liquidity", more of the "fundamentals".

That will work.

That should work.

That and maybe a little more quantitative "easing"

Very interesting topic Lengould, something that I have been pondering quite a bit lately too. I see the only solution to be reducing the work week (or work hours). This is unavoidable if our economies are no longer growing and therefore there is not enough work to go around for everyone.

The problem stems from our monetary system which functions on the basis of usury -- or making interest off money. This was actually illegal throughout much of human history because it leads to wealth concentration so that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The more money you have the more money you make, and especially now courtesy of Reagan's Trickle Down Economics fairy tales where he dramatically reduced taxes for the wealthy. Our modern economists believe that they have solved the wealth concentration problem so that not only can the rich continue to get richer, but the poor can also get richer and they do this by participating in the creation of new wealth. This new wealth comes from a growing economy (which is necessary to keep employment up -- the two go hand in hand). Of course, on a planetary basis, wealth is a zero sum game. The more you make, the more you take from someone else, because there are only so many resources to go around.

Since our economies on a real inflation adjusted basis aren't growing anymore, on a globally averaged basis, then there is no new wealth being "created" by the poor and middle class to offset wealth concentration. But the wealthy are continuing to hoard wealth, at unprecedented rates. Wealth concentration is spiraling out of control.

The only solution is to:

- accept that economic growth has stopped, and will likely never return to any significant degree,
- reform the monetary system to function without usury,
- ban central banking,
- ban fractional reserve banking,
- greatly increase taxes fore the wealthy to offset wealth concentration, while at the same time reducing taxes for the poor and middle class,
- and reduce the work week and / or work hours since in an economy that is no longer growing there isn't enough work for everyone to work 40 hours a week. Otherwise, 30% of the population would need to work 40 hours a week to support the other 70% of welfare deadbeats. This is verging on communism and of course it doesn't work. Right now the US is trying to artificially prop up employment by printing money via its misguided Keynesian policies. It won't work; it will crash catastrophically. The only solution is to reduce the work week.

Sounds like a good start. Do you have any particular economists or other thinkers, writers, bloggers... on the subject that you follow?

Hi dohboi, actually I haven't found too many that put it all together like this. I think Jeff Neilson at Bullion Bulls Canada does a fairly good job at some level, but he misses the ecological perspective, and of course James Howard Kunstler has been commenting on these issues. There are other blogs like Automatic Earth and others linked in the blogosphere but I admit I haven't done a whole lot of reading of these (only so much time available).

Actually I think I have the best overall synthesis which brings together economics and ecology and energy (of course I think this...) There are lots of specialists in all of these areas, but what we need is people to bring all the fields together to make sense of the whole thing, which is what I am attempting to do.


Also, the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy has a good little discussion.

Thanks, NH. I'll look into them. These are some of the most important connections to be made, imho, but they really should have been developed and implemented some forty years ago, at least.

When we say things like "People are..." "people do..." "People don't..." "We will..." "We won't..." when discussing the future,particularly in terms of avoiding collapse, why is it we don't include in those discussions and definitions of who we are, what we are and what we can or can't, will or won't, do, these people of whom we are all descended and that still exist in some tiny fractions here and there? Why do we dismiss the wisdom of who we were/are for hundreds of thousands of years in preference for who we have been for a mere ten thousand years?

This question is all the more remarkable when we consider over these last ten thousand years we are demonstrably less happy and satisfied and have, in moving away from our roots, failed utterly in maintaining any of the characteristics that made us successful AND happy, and have, in abandoning our previous ways, destroyed the ecosystem services required to go on living at all?

What can we learn from our past that can help us to step back from the brink of self-immolation?

I believe some degree of restructuring our societies to reflect who we used to be will be an important part of surviving as a civilization. I think Caral gives us hope we can approach this on larger scales.

Play Makes Us Human II: Defeating Dominance and Achieving Equality

Of most significance to this essay, they are all marked by extraordinary egalitarianism and total commitment to cooperation and sharing. The people within a band cooperate fully with one another, regardless of degree of genetic relationship, in hunting, gathering, childcare, defense against predators, and everything else that is necessary for survival. They share all food and material wealth equally within the band, and they also often share with neighboring bands that are in need. Such intense cooperation and sharing appear to be essential to the hunting-and-gathering mode of existence; without it, our species would probably not have survived all those millennia prior to agriculture.

Play Makes Us Human IV: When Work Is Play
Definition of Play

In an earlier essay, on the *definition of play*, I elaborated on the idea that play is structured activity that is (a) self-chosen, (b) self-directed; (c) imaginitive, or creative; (d) intrinsically motivated; and (e) produced in an active, alert, but not distressed frame of mind. To the degree that any activity has these characteristics, we experience it as play. Work, at its best, can have all of these characteristics to a high degree. Let me explain.

(a) Work Can Be Self-Chosen.

Play is what we choose to do, not what we have to do, so the more we experience a sense of choice about our employment the more we experience it as play... The broader point here is that, regardless of the kind of work we do, the more we can adopt the attitude that we don't really have to do this work, the more we can experience the work as play... We do not, in our society, provide the same basic freedoms for children that we do for adults.

(b & c) Work Can Be Self-Directed and Creative.

Players are free agents. They not only choose freely to play the game or not, but they also choose how to play it... Nothing sucks the play out of work more than does a micromanaging boss.

...identified a highly desired constellation of job characteristics that they referred to as occupational self-direction. Jobs high in this quality are those that are (a) complex rather than simple, (b) varied rather than routine, and (c) not closely supervised by others.

(d) Work Can Be Intrinsically Motivated.

But extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation are not mutually exclusive. You can work for a valued end while still focusing on and enjoying the process. To the degree that you focus on the process, your work is play.

(e) Work Can Entail an Alert, Focused, but Non-Distressed Mental State.

This final characteristic follows naturally from the others. The decision-making, creativity, and focus on process that characterize play require and produce mental alertness. The reduced focus on ends and on others' evaluations reduces or eliminates our fear of failure.

Play Makes Us Human V: Why Hunter-Gatherers' Work is Play

In *last week's essay* I described the characteristics of work, and the attitudes toward it, that allow many people in today's society to experience their work as play. Now I want to expand on those ideas by describing hunter-gatherers' toil-less manner of sustaining themselves.

As I noted in the *introductory essay*, this whole series on "Play Makes Us Human" was inspired by my immersion in the research literature on hunter-gatherer band societies. Wherever they have been studied--in isolated parts of Africa, Asia, South America, Australia, and elsewhere--such societies have been found to be extraordinarily playful. Today, such societies are mostly destroyed, or in transition to something quite different, but I use the present tense (sometimes called the "anthropological present") to describe them, as remnants of them do still exist. In past essays I have shown *(a)* how hunter-gatherer children educate themselves through play; *(b)* how hunter-gatherers use play and humor to maintain a social and economic system founded on principles of sharing, cooperation, individual autonomy, and equality; and *(c)* how playfulness runs through hunter-gatherers' religious beliefs and practices in ways support their egalitarian approach to life.

In general, hunter-gatherers do not have a concept of toil. When they do have that concept, it derives apparently from their contact with outsiders. They may learn a word for toil to refer to the work of their neighboring farmers, miners, or road construction workers, but they do not apply it to their own work. Their own work is simply an extension of children's play...

My reading about life in many different hunter-gatherer cultures has led me to conclude that their work is play for four main reasons: (1) It is varied and requires much skill and intelligence. (2) There is not too much of it. (3) It is done in a social context, with friends. And (4) (most significantly) it is, for any given person at any given time, optional. Let me expand on these, point by point.[1]

Play Makes Us Human VI: Hunter-Gatherers’ Playful Parenting

...a sample of quotations from anthropologists and others who have lived in various hunter-gatherer societies and observed them closely:

• "Hunter-gatherers do not give orders to their children; for example, no adult announces bedtime. At night, children remain around adults until they feel tired and fall asleep. ... Parakana adults do not interfere with their children's lives. They never beat, scold, or behave aggressively with them, physically or verbally, nor do they offer praise or keep track of their development." ...

• "The idea that this is ‘my child' or ‘your child' does not exist [among the Yequana, of South America]. Deciding what another person should do, no matter what his age, is outside the Yequana vocabulary of behaviors. There is great interest in what everyone does, but no impulse to influence--let alone coerce--anyone. The child's will is his motive force."...

• "Aborigine children are indulged to an extreme degree, and sometimes continue to suckle until they are four or five years old. Physical punishment for a child is almost unheard of."...

• "Infants and young children [among Inuit hunter-gatherers of the Hudson Bay area] are allowed to explore their environments to the limits of their physical capabilities and with minimal interference from adults. Thus if a child picks up a hazardous object, parents generally leave it to explore the dangers on its own. The child is presumed to know what it is doing."...

• "Ju/'hoansi children [of Africa] very rarely cried, probably because they had little to cry about. No child was ever yelled at or slapped or physically punished, and few were even scolded. Most never heard a discouraging word until they were approaching adolescence, and even then the reprimand, if it really was a reprimand, was delivered in a soft voice."...

You might think that such indulgence would lead to spoiled, demanding children... Free from frustration or anxiety, sunny and cooperative, the children were every parent's dream. No culture can ever have raised better, more intelligent, more likable, more confident children."

Based on my reading of anthropologists' writings about many hunter-gatherer cultures, I would characterized hunter-gatherer parenting in the following way:

1. Hunter-gatherers love their children as much as we love ours. They rejoice at births, grieve at children's deaths, and enjoy their children as do we.

2. Hunter-gatherers protect young children from serious dangers, but are not overprotective.... Hunter-gatherers' experience is that toddlers rarely hurt themselves in these activities and that such risk is outweighed by the advantage of learning, early on, how to handle such objects. The adults believe, further, that by the time children begin to prefer the company of other children to that of adults (at about four years old), they have enough common sense to make their own decisions about what is safe or unsafe. Children of that age and older play in age-mixed groups, often some distance from adults.

3. Hunter-gatherers trust their children. Anthropologists commonly use the term indulgence to characterize the hunter-gatherer style of parenting, but I think the more fundamental concept here is trust. Parents indulge children's desires because they trust children's instincts and judgments.

Time for a rant............
Before we can attain any utopian society in villages, cities, states and/or countries, we need to overcome some basic human instincts............

Self preservation, inhibits (or to be kind hinders) us from taking actions which affect our own or families welfare. That can be extrapolated to encompass our village, city, state or country. We are essentially psychopathic, it's a selected trait to assist the propagation of the species. We always see why we should be exempt from sacrifice, why we are more entitled, why our needs are greater. It's basic animal response to the need for self preservation.

The urge to reproduce, while we ensure our own welfare we can reproduce, we have manged extremely well in the past, which we continue to do and everything points to nothing changing in the future. We remain basically the same people we were as hunter gatherers. We may be better educated in certain departments but we are most certainly no more intelligent.

There has never been peace between us.
We always, always look for a scapegoat. We scapegoat via our beliefs, prejudices and our jealousy. We need to blame, to claim it's someone elses fault. We then have an excuse to demonize, subjugate, exploit, kill and exterminate.

As things begin to fall apart due to PO and AGW, as our optimism, hopes and prospects evaporate, there will be absolutely no soul searching done. There will be any amount of goats getting scaped. It could be the perceived terrorists, immigrants, the wealthy or poor, competing religion, ethnicity, skin color scientists or even school teachers.

What it all means is that nothing meaningful will be done to mitigate AGW, because it involves self sacrifice.
Building, electric rail, windmills, bike roads is absolutely needless expenditure in a world declining, they are the bunkers for people who think they will be a survivor. There will be no BAU. The oceans are rising and acidifying. Atmospheric CO2 is continuing on a relentless march upward and the climate is changing.

Not directed at anybody in particular but should be said...............
You won't be riding your bike along the tree lined bike road to work, you will have moved, there won't be a job for you, you are not special. The world you envision and you yourself will be nothing like you imagine. When you have no job, when you must move your life, when you lose loved ones, when you are a victim of crime, when you are a refugee in your own country and "house full" signs greet you everywhere.........when you and your family are hungry and your prospects are unknown, you will begin to experience your humanity.

Like a famous general said, "you don't win a war by dying for your country, you win by making the other poor bastard die for his". That edict will probably be adopted in the struggle for survival, it's simple self preservation.

I wonder if "regret" will also be experienced. Not regret for what we could have undertaken to ensure our personal well being, but regret for what we should have sacrificed to save the future generation or even the planet.

Agree with some of your points, but not on the 'usuary is the core problem'. The problem today is not much different than in Europe's middle ages, when all wealth was held as land by large landowners and the working class worked as 'renters', 'share croppers' or 'serfs/slaves'. No usuary involved, but still similar problems. Bottom line is, dramatic inequities in outcomes indicate short-lived organizational systems. How outcomes should be corrected is the question. Your suggesting that "This is verging on communism and of course it doesn't work." indicates a blockage in your thinking. No potential solution subset should be so arbitrarily ruled out. (Though I do agree that [Workers need an incentive to work, investors /those willing to accumulate savings - need an incentive to invest, and government's job is to balance the market between these two opposed forces.])

In earlier times in Europe, population was divided into landowners (Upper Class), merchants and tradsemen (Middle Class), and workers (Lower Class). Ownership of land, or more commonly of a charter from the king to exploit particular land, conferred wealth. That order went upside down with the advent of industrialism and the creation of wealth-building products from resources other than land. In the big picture, nothing to do with usury, despite what Islam would have you believe.

I see many here wishing desperately for a reversion to a structure where cropland is the only / most significant asset of value, but am certain those days are gone with past centuries. (Even if petroleum disappears, we have sufficient public intellectual property to outstrip the value of land production many times, by creating products for which landowners would willingly trade at a dramatic difference in output capacity, and by enabling crop production at much higher rates per unit labour than the middle ages. Alloy steels, aluminum, electronics.)

Inequalities in outcome = war and uncertainty (see again pre-industrial Europe). We need to figure out how to fix present slide fairly and in a way which results in long-term stability. US founders did a lot with what they then had and produced a system which is about the best thus far, but things have changed dramatically since they did their writing. Their system was a solution for a particular case, but not a generalized solution.

(Though I do agree that [Workers need an incentive to work, investors /those willing to accumulate savings - need an incentive to invest, and government's job is to balance the market between these two opposed forces.])

No, the problem is that they need incentives. See my post on work is play.

Well, that point goes immediately to the issue of division of labour. It's commonly granted that the more divided and specialized the work tasks are, a) the more efficient the workflow. b) the more distressing and distastful the jobs are for the workers.

That may not apply for selected highly intellectually challenging tasks (from particle physicist to software developer with some control of the design process to medical specialist or surgeon). Some tasks need large support teams to even exist. Are the support teams happy? Probably not so much. Could they be paid enough to compensate? Probably. More than the supported experts? Woah, wait a minute! (But I think so).

And before you start hammering me on ecological issues, I am aware of those and consider resolving them top priority. Resource scarcity is the key, and the cost of "using" resources needs to accurately reflect their value. One huge problem we have now is we define "resource" and "use" too narrowly. In addition to all those things we (out governments) presently charge separation fees for, such as petroleum, coal, etc., we need to start treating air, water, soil, etc. basically everything, even things we presently know of no use for, as public resources, with adequate costs for using them either as input products or as waste dumps. When the cost of generating electricity, or heating a home, using natural gas or nuclear (if appropriate) etc., exceeds that of using solar energy for the purpose, then many problems become less daunting. If that means serious reorganization of present economic relationships, so be it. Get a survivable plan to get to the endpoint, then start doing it.

Sure, but then the price of gas comes back into play, though obviously not as fully as with a gas/diesel only car. Can't escape it for now.

I have been thinking about this quite a bit... how do we change our minds? What we need, as is implicit in your statemenet, is a new paradigm, Don.

What we need to do is find a way to survive without a sudden die off, as we determine the carrying capacity of Planet Earth. At the same time, we need to heal the environment, including finding a way to dispose of a huge number of bodies in a rational manner without invoking a general panic.

I will admit, I don't have 'the' answer. I have a few ideas, though. How do we organize those who are needed, how do we encourage them, and who gets it all going? Right now, I remain a Doomer because I don't see it happening. I sure hope I am wrong, b/c I have 9 grandkids who are at risk. My son and I agreed today that what is needed, far more than college degrees, is people who have real life skills and 'moxie.'

Good luck to you and yours. Let me know if you have any answers... hope does spring eternal, you know.


I actually have an idea. Evolution may save us. There are lots of mythology in native tribes around the world. They tell a story that is a variation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and the Tree of Knowledge. As you know they ate the fruit, gained knowledge of right and wrong, and where thrown out of Eden.

This story is repeated among tribal people on five continents, and though the story go different from tradition to tradition, the main component is the same: We had a good excistense, then we changed, and we've been miseerable ever since.

My theory is that what was actually hapening was an evolutionary step in wich we gained moral understanding. In the same process we, as a speicies, lost our adult childlike inocense. I think this happened between 5 and 8 myriards (chunks of 10 000 years) ago. And we still rant about it in our mythology.

The key here is that all those storyies tell us we did something to create this change. The evolutionary pressure that made us moraly aware was one of our own making.

And I know we are about to change the planet in a very drastic and hard way. My HOPE is that this will create a new evolutinary pressure in wich we, as a speices, gain the ability to take responsibility for the planet. And once that is done, nature can begin to repair itself. Aided by the next speicies of humans.

And yet for all the suffering, it seems to have given us an advantage.

Would there even be people today without it?

My guess is there would be a few smaller tribes in Africa doing the same thing as they did 50 000 years ago. Say 100 000 individuals, give or take an order of magnitude or two.

My theory is that what was actually hapening was an evolutionary step in wich we gained moral understanding. In the same process we, as a speicies, lost our adult childlike inocense. I think this happened between 5 and 8 myriards (chunks of 10 000 years) ago. And we still rant about it in our mythology.

You've got this backward. We did not gain moral understanding, we lost it. See my long post on work as play.

I believe we are in agreement on content but dissagreement on termenology.

...and boy was it long.

Actually in modern societies hitting and shouting at your children is not the norm, is frowned upon by most of society and from my wry observation only makes the kids play up even more.

The implication in that article is that our society is full of screaming immoral misfits and their misfit kids. Also that our young kids aren't allowed to run around with bits of wood and stones in case they hurt themselves. Nonsense.

We are as moral as we have always been. Things are just more complicated when you live in larger societies and don't always know your neighbour.

Another interpretation is that Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden represent the hunter-gatherer society. They are driven from the Garden of Eden by the knowledge of how to domesticate plants and animals. The development of herding is represented by Able, while the development of farming is represented by Cain.

Later Cain made a burnt offering of plant products, and Able made an offering of animal products. God turned out to be a carnivore, rather than a vegetarian.

Adam is hebrew for "human", and in the Bible every name has a meaning, and that meaning is never random. The name tells you something about its bearer. Thus I am convinced Adam never was a historical person, but our species as such. Eden was in similar terms not a place, but a way of life.

This occurs in many other mythologies. For example the aboriginal myths about the "dream time", wich in my mind is the exact same period in our history. They are telling the same story together with hundreds of native mythologies. It is just that Adam and Eve ended up in the Bible and therefore got much more publicity. But the story is just one myth in the crowd. And I believe we shall listen to what our forfathers have to tell us.

After all, the aboriginal mythology tells us about how they came to their land on boats from the west, and today we know they actually did so. 40 000 years ago. Myths CAN preserve history for long long times.

The story line of our originating from a set of parents (Adam and Eve) and of our being cast out from the comfy nest (Eden) after having gained too much know-the-ledge (or does the apple instead represent attainment of puberty?) plays strongly into all our psyches.

When living "East of Eden", there is one word to remember: Timshell

Adama = Earth (made from dust)
Eve = Source of life (gets pregnant)

Thanks Jedi;
I appreciate a more open-minded and intuitive look at these stories. They're fascinating, but we can be led off-course if we apply too many of our modern assumptions onto them. Their truths aren't usually hard and fast, as some of our contemporaries have experienced religion, but they exist within some great flows that were moving the whole human stream.

"Man isn't looking for the 'Meaning of Life', I think he's looking for the Experience of having been alive." -Joseph Campbell


I love that story. I've always wondered why Adam and Eve were punished for not obeying God, when according to the story, they didn't yet know the difference between right and wrong or good and evil, until AFTER they committed the "crime". Pretty messed up, IMO.

I've always wondered why Adam and Eve were punished ...

Critical thinking.

tisk tisk

That's not permitted in religion school.

Did you also ever wonder why Him Who is Most Powerful in the Universe got "tired" and needed a "day" of rest?

(Maybe his gas tank ran low.)

I have a theory on that. You need to know I am a christian but in no way anti-science. I label myself a theistic evolutionist, and believe God programmed the Universe with all necesary laws of physics to give us evolution.

What I think is that once humans apeared there was a period after God was done creating us (by passivly letting evolution do it's thing, or possibly giving it a nudge in the right direction from time to time) but before the Fall (the forbiden fruit story). In this period everything was all right, and God could take a rest and just enjoy the creation. He knew after all -beeing a god- more work was to come later.

For the punishment, look at what God did. They got booted out of Eden but my theory is Eden was a life style rather than a place. But the first punishment God anounced was agriculture. After that came inequality and difficult child births. It all ties together; we change or way of thinking, invent agriculture, women lose out on the deal and even giving birth gets harder due tolife style changes.

This story is so close to what we know actually happened that I can not resist the temptation to speculate the story is the colective memory of events that took place myriards ago, preserved through the times in oral tradition.

I don't know, maybe the Garden of Eden is the ultimate expression of the "Glory Days" effect.

Sometime in the past things were absolutely perfect and everything was provided for us, but something happened and we now need to live with work and suffering.

But of course, within a single lifetime we have a different phrase for the transition from having everything provided for us to making things work for ourselves and others: "growing up".

Given how much of The Bible is metaphor and allegory to begin with, I wouldn't be too surprised if that is the original intent of the story. Enlightenment can't be forced on people, after all, it has to be their own idea or it doesn't work.

Politicians are not that smart. If you think about it, if you are smart - you don't go into politics. I wish we could come up with a way to change the system so that leadership positions attract intelligent people.

Politicians mostly do what the best funded contributors and lobbyist tell them to do.

That would mostly be large corporations.

Politicians are not that smart.

I would disagree with that. There are a lot of different ways to be smart, and things to be smart (or not) about. Politicians are smart about playing the game of politics. If that game demands they appear dumb in other areas, they will feign to be dumb in those other areas. Both Reagan, and Clinton, were incredibly skilled at winning people over, and making them like them. The former was notably weak in analytical skills, but was a real savant when it came to eliciting empathy from others. That requires a certain type of intelligence, which is quite different from logical analysis.

Interesting. The way I look at it is that the world is increasingly being overtaken by technique, the systematic use of methods and procedures to accomplish specific tasks or activities. Politics has become just as formulaic as music, tv shows and everything else in our modern world.

In our high-tech and complex industrial civilisation a high degree of specialisation is required to manage it which has created an opportunistic opening for a certain type of unique person. Basically savants, with brilliant abilities in specific areas, contrasted by limitations in many others. The point being that we have savants with fantastic abilities in political technique that carries them into office, but once there are of little use due to their limited abilities in other areas. The same applies in all areas with a high degree of specialisation and narrow focus; CEO's, entrepreneurs, scientists, financiers, doctors, lawyers, engineers, technicians, et al.

You could say our civilisation is being run by savants, highly focused in their own areas of expertise, but sadly lacking the abilities to comprehend the whole picture or their impact upon it. Therein lies the danger.

The body of information and technique needed to operate civilization is far greater than any one person, or even a small group, can assimilate. Therefore, the science of creating organized groups and then synthesizing greater social structures from component groups is critical.

One area we are well into diminishing returns with is human interaction.

Merrill, yes exactly. Techniques are being advanced at all levels to become ever more efficient by very narrowly focused (savant like) technicians creating a synthetic evolutionary system. A system that is beyond human control, even though we are the ones that unwittingly created and maintain it, we can only do what is allowed within the defines of the system. We cannot restrain the systemic evolution, we cannot reverse it, we cannot modify it beyond its own internal requirements, we can only hone and improve its efficiency through technique - even though its beginning to destroy us and our planet.

Politicians, CEO's, financiers, et al. do not control the system, they're merely operators and work within defined parameters laid down by the system. Subconsciously we're aware of it, we all know the phrase "you cannot stop progress", but rarely does our true plight seep into our consciousness that we do not control our own destiny. In many cases we do not even control our own thoughts, views, opinions or actions. Think of the average consumer out shopping, programmed to act and think in a specific manner, their purchases governed by the system that controls them, their anxieties soothed away, their every correct choice being met with gratifying approval.

I believe we need to understand the implications of this and how it frames our future.

Human society/civilization are an emergent phenomena, i.e. it is characterized by properties which do not exist in its component parts individually. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergence

While Politicians, CEO's, financiers, et al. do not control the system, they can exert considerable influence over it. Only rarely do they influence it positively. However, in many historical cases they have been able to influence it negatively.

Others probably influence the system as much. Consider Christian Friedrich Schönbein, who discovered nitrocellulose in 1845. This led to high-explosives, plastics, photographic film, insulation for electronics, etc. and is one of the most influential discoveries of all time in my opinion. You could not, for example, do aerial bombardment or make nuclear weapons without nitrogenated hydrocarbon explosives.

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;

Not a fan of Michael Crighton's climate politics, but he coined a nice term for the over specialization of knowledge nowadays - "thintelligence" - great knowledge about a very narrow field of applicability.

I was pondering the other day that our society is getting more information dense, and less knowledge dense. Think about it. I know enough about the birch tree to make a one hour tv documentary about what could be done with it. I could probably make another one about the spruce tree. Give me half an hour to cover the pine tree, and one and a half for the cat-tail. Uses such as food, fire, shelter, construction materials etc. The kids of today know nothing about such things. Outside how to use comunication devices, we know so very little today. Previous generations had lots of this kind of knowledge.

But we have information. Ask how long the Chinese Wall is. Any teenager can just fish up their cell phone out of the pocket and have the answear in a minute. But they don't know how to make a fire with a box of matches.

Past generations had knowledge, ours have informtion.

OTOH with the increasing social obligation to restrict communications to 140-character texts or five-second sound-bites, that "thin"-ness seems to be evolving just as much in the opposite sense. Great gouts of "information" on everything under the sun, but knowledge running not a nanometer deep. Thin indeed.


That's a good point. Since I am an engineer, I have a whole different definition of 'smart' and would fail miserably at politics.

Yes, the whole freaking country is delusional. My question is, are the number of delusional people increasing or decreasing. At least on the Republican side, I think the degree of delusion is increasing and becoming more extreme.

This is just a tad frustrating since I was studying steady state economics in the early 70s and wrote my senior thesis on Kenneth Boulding, the originator of the idea of a finite earth as applied to Economics. We don't need peak oil to realize that something has to give on a finite earth. And, sadly, the first things to go are natural systems.

Increasingly, I am thinking that I will write in a candidate for President next time. I recognize on how unpragmatic this is and even unwise but I am so pissed off at both parties I can hardly contain myself. Obama cast people like me overboard very early on.

When the people are delusional what can a politician do?

Play along and say what ever it takes to get elected?

E. Swanson

Tweet their Weiners I guess.

A "politician" can do nothing but play along with the delusions of the electorate. A leader, on the other hand, can use political power to educate people about harsh realities. Alas, our elected legislators bow to the special interests who finance them and have a time horizon bounded by the next election.

From crisis we may get leadership that will get beyond mere politics, and my guess is that economic (and hence social and political) crisis will be in the near-term future for the U.S. Probably the first phase of the crisis will be economic panic, because there is way too much debt out there and no prospect of the vigorous economic growth that could make the debt burden manageable. From a Greater Depression over the next ten or fifteen years there may also come a major shift in the conventional wisdom of economics, just as John Maynard Keynes broke the classical paradigm by more or less inventing macroeconomics.

Obama cast people like me overboard very early on.

Amen! Which is why the R's did so well in 2010. And why, O will likely fail in 2012.

My despair at all of this increases as I listen to the R candidates' alleged debate.

Pointy haired wiesels!

In the words of Scott Adams, "We are doomed."


What are the odds for an upcoming new third party? High, but getting lower as more and more people realise not R nor D can do the job.

I'm not sure how to title this one - so I'll leave it to you all.


Japanese scientist Mitsyuki Ikeda has developed a “burger” made from soya, steak sauce essence, and protein extracted from human feces.

Meanwhile, if you want a drink, say Whisky, to wash this down with:

So he's started a project which turns the sugar-rich urine of elderly diabetics into a high-end single malt whisky, suitable for export.

An extra benefit is that both burger and whiskey glow in the dark!

Soylent Green is people!

Chapter V from Gulliver's Travels - Gulliver visits the Academy of Lagado on the floating island of Laputa:

I went into another Chamber, but was ready to hasten back, being almost overcome with a horrible Stink. My Conductor pressed me forward, conjuring me in a Whisper to give no Offence, which would be highly resented; and therefore I durst not so much as stop my Nose. The Projector of this Cell was the most ancient Student of the Academy. His Face and Beard were of a pale Yellow; his Hands and Clothes daubed over with Filth. When I was presented to him, he gave me a close Embrace (a Compliment I could well have excused.) His Employment from his first coming into the Academy, was an Operation to reduce human Excrement to its original Food, by separating the several Parts, removing the Tincture which it receives from the Gall, making the Odour exhale, and scumming off the Saliva. He had a weekly Allowance from the Society, of a Vessel filled with human Ordure about the Bigness of a Bristol Barrel.

I prefer Miyazaki's version of the floating island Laputa:


IIRC burgers already contain bovine faeces residues. Legally, burgers are also allowed to contain 15% of processed meat slurry, made from meat unfit for human consumption and previously used for dog food. Seemingly washing the mechanically recovered meat in ammonia magically makes it fit for human consumption rather than dog food. Seems to be a natural progression to make burgers entirely out of faeces, protein is protein, right? Sheeple have to be fed and kept healthy to maximise profits, no?

Behind a paywall, but viewable via Google:

OPEC Chief Plays Down Price Fears

LONDON—The secretary general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries Wednesday brushed aside fears of a repeat of the 2008 oil-price spike that contributed to the recession, saying higher spare capacity made producers better prepared to respond to demand.

"We won't see a repetition of 2008," Abdalla Salem El-Badri said in an interview, recalling the period when prices rocketed to a record $147 a barrel and contributed to a global economic downturn.

But Mr. El-Badri said that compared with 2008, OPEC now has a much healthier quantity of spare oil capacity that could be tapped if there are further disruptions.

"We won't see a repetition of 2008." So far he is right.

Based on EIA data, the average Brent price for the first five months of 2011 is $111, versus $105 for the first five months of 2008.

Another comparison might be the integrated amount of spending on oil over some preceding period, say, a year, compared to global GDP over the same period. The economy was much better in the early part of 2008 before TSHTF, thus there was more "money" floating about with which to purchase the oil. I've seen snapshots of that sort of data for individual nations, but not for the whole of the World economy...

E. Swanson

From above: " exchanging urgently-needed high-quality crude oil stored in the U.S. emergency reserve for heavier, low-quality oil from Saudi Arabia". Interesting to note that the plan was to export our SPR oil to EU refiners to help them lower fuel costs. And we would take KSA heavy/sour oil and dump it into our SPR reserve base. What isn't explained is how the US citizens would benefit from this effort. Good deal for the EU obviously. But not a good deal for the KSA: do the swap and help drive down the price they are getting for their production? Difficult to see how that wouldn't motivate them. LOL.

So the plan was to ship oil from the ME to the US to replace oil shipped from the US to the EU. A great deal for the shipping companies. Makes you wonder: if we released SPR sweet to US refiners that would lessen global demand for such crude and, in theory, lower the price for such oil to the EU. But that plan doesn't seem to carry any weight with our govt.

It's easy to imagine there was a lot more than oil trading talks going on behind the scene. Have to wonder if the KSA or US were making political side deal demands that weren't acceptable to the other side. The fact that this story is leaked now makes me want to slip on my tin foil hat: I would think such a conversation would have had the highest classified rating. Seems the release of the story itself has some political motivation.

Similar things are happening in Canada:


"Climate Change a Cause of Alberta Fires

...A further consequence of climate change is, paradoxically, that the forest fires caused the shut down of oil production from the tar sands, Canada’s chief source of carbon emissions and climate change."

The TX situation came up in the last Oildrum.

This is a potential limiting feedback that I had not considered.

Not large enough to offset all the reinforcing feedbacks, though.

After watching "Gasland" I wonder what happens to all those wells and condensation tanks when wildfires pass through. I guess they have good fire protection - firebreaks around the tanks, etc. Hope so.

That pesky Climate-change-water-shortage problem. Darn Earth she is always getting in the way of progress.

Energy Risk Professional (ERP) program: is it worth doing?


I work in a small oil and energy consultancy company and I have to decide whether to start preparing for such an certification or not. Since the investment of time and money is not small, I would like to have some opinions in this regard from the TOD readers. Thanks for any comments you may give me in this regard.

P.S. The test weights and question allocation for the 2011 ERP Exam will be as follows:

Physical Energy Markets - Total weight 40%
• Petroleum - 15%
• Gas - 10%
• Electricity Production and Distribution - 10%
• Renewables and Carbon Emissions - 5%

Financial Markets - Total weight - 50%
• Financial Products and Valuation - 20%
• Modeling and Valuing Energy Transactions - 15%
• Risk Management Techniques - 15%

Current Issues in Energy - Total weight - 10%

while the 2011 ERP Course Pack can be found here:

Hi Janet,

Also a consultant. I'm currently studying for the ERP, which I intend to take in November this year. The reading materials you get in the binders (highly recommended purchase) are quite remarkable in their breadth. I don't know the ERP certification is viewed within industry, however.

The readings amount to about 2000 pages so you'll need to give yourself a lot of time between when you start the process and when you write the exam (depending on your existing knowledge)

Happy to answer any specific questions,

Thanks. Are there any summary of these 2000 pages anywhere? You know I work from 9 to 8 and time is extremely limited. It would be great something like the Schweser type manuals but at the moment they do not offer that.

The ERP course pack contents are here - http://www.garpdigitallibrary.org/display/cp_display.asp?cpid=867

Basically, it's a compilation of chapters from a large number of different energy-related books. Covers all elements of the physical supply chain and then looks into the financial side, including derivatives etc.

There are some practice exams up; perhaps you already have a substantial part of the knowledge already?

I know the course pack. What I asked in my previous post is to know whether there is some "condensed" text summarizing these 2000 pages (possibly to 500/700 pages): you know, given my timetable, I will never be able to cover it all in time for the exam. Moreover, reading through the course pack, I found a lot of redundancy . Even though I have some experience in many fields listed in the course pack, the list is too long to be covered on time.

I'm not aware of any condensed version of the readings, unfortunately!

I found this right up my alley. Above:

Green Curtain Sales Surge as Tokyo Faces Power Cuts This Summer

Sales of gear to grow goya vines that provide shade for buildings have jumped ninefold this year at Rakuten Inc. (4755), Japan’s biggest online retailer. Hitachi Ltd. (6501), the country’s second-biggest private employer, is draping factories with the bitter gourd plants and handing out seeds to employees for use at home, a step electronic components maker Kyocera Corp. (6971) is also taking.

...and folks think I'm a nut, growing cucumbers, squash and tomatos on my roof. Nothing new here, using plants to reduce heat gain, though one thinks the Japanese could grow something more tasty than gourds. May I suggest pole beans, melons perhaps?

Talking of curtains

TEPCO begins covering work for reactors

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has begun constructing giant frames to hold plastic sheets for covering the plant's damaged reactor buildings in an effort to prevent the spread of radiation.

The buildings of the No. 1, 3, and 4 reactors were severely damaged by explosions after an earthquake and tsunami hit the plant on March 11th. Radiation is still being released into the atmosphere.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, on Monday started assembling the first frame at a port some 50 kilometers away from the power plant. The frame will support a huge polyester cover for the No.1 reactor building.

TEPCO is prefabricating the frame to hold a sheet measuring more than 40 meters long, 40 meters wide, and 50 meters high. The goal is to minimize workers' exposure to radiation.

erm, sorry I must have been mislead , plastic sheets stop radiation ??

no more lead shielding - whoo hoo!

( I presume they mean dust contamination - not hard radiation )


Plastic sheets only stop radiation if you print happy faces on them.

Dust and gas contamination leaks, yes. Gamma radiation is light, and obviously wouldn't be stopped by thin plastic sheets (though thick plastic is used for neutron shielding).

yeah - plastic can stop alpha, neutron and some beta radiation. Does nothing for gamma though.

Keep the rain off so there's less uncontrolled runoff?

Its better then nothing...

Plastic sheets may stop dust and liquids. If they are thick they can stop Beta radiation. Hydrogen is good at stopping neutrons, so again if you make the sheets thick they will do the trick.

"Hydrogen is good at stopping neutrons, so again if you make the sheets thick they will do the trick."

Really thick. The tenth-thickness for neutrons in plastic is 10". And the plastic thermalizes the neutrons; it doesn't "stop' them. But if you mix some boron in the plastic, then it will absorb the thermal neutrons, and they will be stopped for real.

The bag is just to hold back the dust. If they get really lucky, they will be able to maintain a negative pressure and blow the exhaust through a filter bag-house or some such. The ambient-temperature gasses will go right through a simple ambient-temperature filter... Resin-beds, chemical absorbents, adsorbents, scrubbers? Stay tuned!

The bag is just to hold back the dust.

Exactly - dust can move the heavy metal toxins and the radioactivity from decay to the crops and inside the body.

Few want radioactive elements inside the body.

From - UK ministers ignored peak oil.....

The counter to this is that UK oil consumption peaked in 2005 and has now been falling every year since. In 2010 it was down 11.2% from the peak;


From which UK consumption data ('000bbls/day);

2005 83
2006 82.3
2007 79.2
2008 77.9
2009 74.4
2010 73.7

That this fall continued in 2010 during economic recovery suggests demand destruction has been structural - i.e. more permanent than temporary. Anecdotally I know a lot of people who have changed driving habits, down to 1 car/family (us included!), less discretionary driving, smaller new cars when purchased etc.

Not saying there won't be problems down the road (pardon the pun) but it does look, so far at least, that as long as the price rises are gradual, and there are no actual shortages, they will allow appropriate consumer behaviour change without neccessarily triggering the kind of disruption that some suggest as inevitable.

Even at todays reduced consumption there is still an awful lot of waste in evidence here in the UK.



thewatcher, you must be missing some zeros in those numbers.

oops, yes, it's million tonnes/year!

Trend is the same though ;-)


From your link I get UK consumption in thousands of barrels per day.

                2005  2006  2007  2008  2009  2010
United Kingdom  1806  1788  1716  1683  1610  1590

Ron P.

Anecdotally I know a lot of people who have changed driving habits, down to 1 car/family (us included!), less discretionary driving, smaller new cars when purchased etc.

I used to drive 10,000 miles a year.

Gave up the car more three years ago now. Living in Brighton & Hove there is no need for one. Busess are excellent and highly affordable, everything is nice and compact and walkable. And the local cab company is one of my speed dials on my mobile phone. I reckon I spend £1,000 on buses and cabs per year and a further £500 on trains. The insurance, road tax and maintenance costs alone on the car were more than £1,500 and that's before petrol, parking and deprecation.

A nice compact town like Brighton is ideal for chucking the car. I hope now that we have a Green-led council (yay!) we can look to bringing in electric buses around town. Not sure how my parents would cope in the country though. One bus a week sometimes and the supermarkets don't deliver that far out. As for local shops, forget it they went yonks ago.

HA - You make me homesick. New Orleans might not have be as compact as your little spot but not nearly as spread out as Houston. Now I have to drive 2 miles just to change mind.

but not nearly as spread out as Houston.

Yep, there is the problem.

Following on from your comments about the little electric car in yesterday's drumbeat, HAcland shows why it is not the real answer -when the community is properly set up, you don;t need the vehicle at all.

Though, I suspect, no matter how compact and walkable an American city may become, many people will never get out of their cars as they are viewed as personal protection as much as they are mere transport. You can eliminiate the need for personal transport, but if the people don't feel safe enough in their city to walk around, they won't.

Having been to Brighton myself I can say that it is a place that makes you want to walk and ditch the car - not many American/Canadian cities/towns can do the same. One notable exception are ski resort towns (I used to work in one) that have been designed along Euro lines to be walkable, though, as this photo essay shows, they results are not as good as the original.

...as spread out as Houston. Now I have to drive 2 miles just to change mind.

Houston had a chance to extend light rail out the Katy Freeway. There was an abandoned railroad right of way along the freeway. It even had track. Instead, they chose to rip it out and use the space to add lanes to the freeway. My recollection is that many in the Houston power structure thought that light rail (and public transit in general) was some kind of treasonous plot to undermine American values!

My recollection is that many in the Houston power structure thought that light rail (and public transit in general) was some kind of treasonous plot to undermine American values!

My recollection is somewhat different.

As I recall it, the basic problem was that the projected ridership for a light rail line along the Katy Freeway would be almost entirely passengers from the currently operating express bus service along the freeway. The Metropolitan Transit Authority (which operates the bus service and the light rail in Houston) could not bring themselves to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a light rail line (which would lose money) to replace their only profitable bus service. Losing that single bus service would make their entire bus operation bleed red ink at a much higher rate.

However, it is reported that the overpasses and bridges on the rebuilt freeway have been built strongly enough to allow the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes to be replaced with light rail without rebuilding any bridges.

Losing that single bus service would make their entire bus operation bleed red ink at a much higher rate.

Very interesting. Thank you for this clarification. It’s a compact, beautiful example of a good technical idea (efficiency of electric rail vs. ICE transport) that didn’t go forward in one particular circumstance because of commercial hurdles that had very little to do with the technology itself. I see examples of this every day, where compelling commercial considerations hinder the adoption of some exciting new technology that seems like a slam dunk if you only look at the technology itself. In my experience, highly technical people are usually the worst at recognizing the existence and importance of these types of inconvenient commercial realities. Not surprising, because in most cases it isn’t part of their job description.

Recall that Texas is well-known to be a low-services, low-tax state; Molly Ivins used to say something to the effect that it was fortunate that Mississippi existed, just to spare Texas the humiliation of ranking last in too many respects. And while freeway lanes, just like a rail-transit line, do incur a capital cost and need maintenance (both often at taxpayer expense), most of the time they just sit there passively - they need no day-to-day operating staff, administration, and payroll; they need no permanent vehicle-repair facilities; they don't make demands and go on strike; they incur little liability; and they don't require perpetual day-to-day subsidy to cover payroll and supplies. So they should actually fit the local culture very nicely, quite apart from any interpretation concerning matters of treason.

And the potholes, police patrols, and other minor issues like lights, guard rails, reflective paint, car accident clean-up, road kills, etc etc etc -- happen all by themselves. Cause Mother Nature makes the roads for us. Come on now. You are trying to say that asphalt is cheaper than rail. I never see crews rebuilding the elevated rail system in my neighborhood, but they do myriad tasks on street and roads: potholes and street lights and other items are continuously being serviced -- day in and day out.

Don't forget the greens crews that mow the grass around all the highways, trim the trees around the street lights, etc. etc. In cold areas, you have the snow crews. Lots of money in roads. We are just blind to the taxes that pay for all the road maintenance.

Nothing is free. I hope you were not implying that.

Of course not, just so darned affordable that almost everywhere in the USA, there's asphalt (or concrete) in front of almost every house (notwithstanding a tiny percentage of rural road-miles that have been reverted to gravel.) And while there are occasional emergencies, the asphalt gets rather little routine attention except the patch job or striping job every now and then, the streetlight once in a blue moon (mostly just in the city, and lighting is also needed in rail cars and at stations), and the occasional patrol (also needed on rail lines.)

But even in crammed-and-jammed New York City, there's not rail in front of every house, and there never was, not even back in the heyday of streetcars. It's simply too expensive, all the more so because it's only useful when it's staffed at a high level (drivers and supervisors and whatnot are needed all the time, not just once in a blue moon when a train crashes, which they do, or when a train conks out in summer and passengers get heatstroke and have to be carted off to hospitals.) So you only find it in very busy places (or where the gov't has big bucks burning holes in its pocket, but that era seems done for now.) And except on new or wholly rebuilt lines (not much of that in NYC), they never stop futzing around with the tracks - there are plenty of temporary nighttime and weekend closures, and during slack times, just when you're relieved to see headlights finally show up, you might be frustrated that it turns out to be a "maintenance of way" train.

Of course, if we want to match apples to apples, light rail lines do not carry freight, so for valid comparison, ban trucks in the added freeway lanes. In the South, trucks impose essentially the entire maintenance and reconstruction cost. Without that pounding, freeway lanes would last "forever" in the ice-free Houston climate - maybe longer than rails, since asphalt doesn't rust. Oh, and build them the way the French and Germans do, and they'd last several times longer still (instead of Joe Schomoe's Driveways, Parking Lots, Bike Paths, and Freeways building them, the big transnationals, which can afford the expensive equipment and training to carry out the process to actual modern standards, do the job.)

One bottom line is that transportation simply costs - "Mother Nature" makes neither asphalt nor rails and crossties for us. But yes, the much more passive (not strawman-perfectly passive) character of the freeway lanes probably fits the low-service Texas culture better. And yes, the fact that there's asphalt in front of almost every house all across the USA and many other (not strawman-all) parts of the world, even where there's little traffic - while there are rails in front of precious few - is certainly highly suggestive that asphalt (and concrete) have proved far cheaper and more versatile overall, even though rails certainly have their proper uses.

As Mag said below, you're a hoot (though I could think of a few other terms ;-)

There doesn't have to be 'a rail in front of every door.'

People were built with these funny things called legs. If we don't use them we tend to get rather fat, or sick or worse. In most large cities up through the forties, most homes were within easy walking distance of a trolley. These were almost all torn out, mostly under shady at best circumstances and often with clear fingerprints of the oil industry.

It is too bad that it is indeed probably too late to replace this vast and amazing infrastructure. We will mostly have to do without cars and without this these handy, efficient means of transport. Most of us find this sad. You apparently think it's just fine.

Like I said--a real hoot.

dohboi - Even worse in Nawlins. Besides having a few electric street car routes we had many electric bus routes. Cheap...no rails...just overhead lines. And if one of these buses broke down? Just push him out of the way. Hard to do with a train on tracks.

And a nice bonus: those electric connectors would spark and produce a vere nice "electric" smell...nice childhood memory.

Did they make a nice zippy zappy noise, too?

The one trolley the whole civilization is still on is that streetcar named desire!

Actually, with trains on tracks, the next train behind the broke-down train just pushes it to the next siding, and then they make some kind of attempt to distribute the passengers among the following trains. Later, when they have nothing better to do, some other train clamps onto it and tows it back to the repair shop.

Railroads can be quite resilient to breakdowns. I remember driving into town here one day some years ago, and seeing a freight train stopped with the crew standing on the running boards. At the adjacent intersection was a power company truck with a flashing yellow light. I asked what the problem was, and the power company dude said, "We lost the dam!" So, I put my truck in gear, planted the throttle on the floor, and roared about five miles back up the road.

When I wandered back half an hour later, the highway was closed due to guardrails, trees, and other debris lying across it, there were a bunch of helicopters hovering around due to the local heliport being wiped out, and the railroad tracks were hanging in mid air with all the gravel knocked out from under them.

The thing that really impressed me was that they got the railroad back in service in about two hours. Four backhoes converged, put all the gravel back under the tracks, and the trains started moving again. I think the railroad was used to dealing with this kind of thing.

Yeh. For the sake of argument,let's stipulate that no one should be forced to walk, bike, or take transit. However, given the increasingly high rates of life threatening diseases like diabetes caused by obesity and lack of exercise, perhaps a few people might consider an alternative to the auto to get every damn place beyond their mail box. And I have even heard about people who drive to their mail box 50 feet from their garage door.

The best we can hope for at this point is alternatives. And these alternatives aren't necessarily only available in big, dense cities, what PaulS calls urban hell holes. As far as I am concerned, areas without ways to get around fairly easily without a car are the urban and suburban hell holes.

Punk strawman, as usual: didn't say they had to have rail in front of their door. Just that they don't. However, many more would have it close by if it really were cheaper than the ubiquitous asphalt. But it isn't, so it's found only in those rare places where enough people are stacked and packed to carry the expense.

Oh, and with respect to late Victorian and Georgian transportation, let's not forget that, for example, plenty of Angelenos were ready to dance on the grave of the Pacific Electric; any conspiracy that might or might not have existed merely helped that along. As cars became common, they were absolutely delighted to see Henry Huntington get his comeuppance, and to be free to go where and when they wanted, instead of free to go only where and when Huntington felt like taking them. Sorry if some folks don't like that, but there it is. They are less delighted nowadays with all the traffic, but there weren't infallible crystal balls back then, so they'll have to proceed from where they are now, not from where they might have been. And there are no time machines now, so they'll have to proceed into the future, not backwards into the past.

didn't say they had to have rail in front of their door. Just that they don't. However, many more would have it close by if it really were cheaper than the ubiquitous asphalt. But it isn't, so it's found only in those rare places where enough people are stacked and packed to carry the expense.

You don't need rail to your front door. It has been demonstrated that most people, even Americans, are willing to walk up to 10 minutes to a rail stop. You just need to put enough people within a 10 minute walk of a rail station to provide enough traffic to pay for it. This is where almost all American cities fall down, and many European cities succeed.

plenty of Angelenos were ready to dance on the grave of the Pacific Electric; any conspiracy that might or might not have existed merely helped that along. As cars became common, they were absolutely delighted to see Henry Huntington get his comeuppance, and to be free to go where and when they wanted, instead of free to go only where and when Huntington felt like taking them.

And now that the billions of barrels of oil resources that used to exist directly underneath the city are almost all exhausted, and they have to buy fuel produced from foreign oil, the economics are totally different, but they are stuck with the system they built.

there weren't infallible crystal balls back then,

Anybody with a pencil and a piece of paper could have figured out the implications, but they elected not to worry about the problem. Unfortunately the transition to a car-free environment, although not really optional for most of them, is going to be a bad experience for them.

I am not going to argue with you about New York City as I have not been there in decades. I hear it is much improved and maybe not even what you call an urban hell hole. But I certainly am not in a position to argue the point. But even given the assumption it is an urban hell hole, are there any cities you like and could see yourself getting around with something other than an auto? In the U.S.? In Europe? In Asia? I feel you must have had some really horrific experiences in cities as you seem to hate them with a passion.

And then there are the smaller places that you might not consider cities. But they could be a decent place to live without being so dependent upon the auto. Do you personally bike, walk, or take transit any significant distance?

I normally tour strange cities by subway, and of course I did that in New York. It is very obvious that cars cannot carry nearly as many people as the subway does. Rail is the only way that you could get that many people in and out of Manhattan. It could be better organized and better maintained, but apparently New Yorkers like it disorganized and unmaintained, or at least don't make any attempt to reorganize it and improve maintenance.

The London underground was much better organized, at least in terms of directional maps, so it was the perfect way to get around the city. Just follow the coloured lines and you'll get there. OTOH, the London streets made no sense whatsoever, and I don't know why anybody would ever attempt to drive anywhere in the city.

Neither NYC nor London would work without their subway/underground systems. I think it is a necessary feature of cities that size. You simply can't move that many people around by car. Los Angeles is an example of that impossibility.

The inner boroughs of NYC are different from Los Angeles in having well developed subway systems largely because they were built before widespread use of the auto.

However, Queens, Nassau and the western parts of Suffolk counties greatly resemble Los Angeles in being almost entirely dependent of a network of freeways, highways and streets spread out over a wide, flat geographic area. Long Island is also almost totally dependent on truck freight, since the LIRR is almost all passenger service.

After all, the original Levittown is in Nassau County. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levittown,_New_York

I think many big cities are nice to visit, especially on a generous tourist budget. It's the day to day inordinately and unpredictably time-consuming chores of daily life and getting around that grind - whether it's car-oriented like northeastern New Jersey or Los Angeles; or transit-oriented like much of New York City proper or some parts of Chicago. But not to stray further into the weeds, let's stay with the latter.

To live there, it's IMO very helpful to have a nice high income. Then you won't have to live in the sleeplessly noisy, crappy apartment affordable on an ordinary income. (The one Ralph Kramden rented, if you're unlucky, or a newer version of same, if you're lucky.) Nor, since you can afford astronomical close-in rent, will you have to live in an outlying area where your commute will be an endless slow-crawling bus hell. And you can afford the expense and hassle of renting a car or whatever every blasted time you want to go outside the transit service area for any reason, such as temporary relief from the ever-pressing crowd. And you can afford the confiscatory price of halfway decent groceries and the sky-high cost of eating out once in a while. Now, I do like Tokyo, relatively speaking, because crime is low, trains run frequently, reliably, widely, and on time, and being noisy is considered so rude that you're much less likely to be awakened in your apartment at 3AM by the mindlessly pounding rubbish that someone else pretends is "music"; but OTOH I haven't lived there (a downside would be that one would always be a gaijin, with possibly some hope, at least, of not being gaijin da.)

And even so, I've had the delightful experience, on a hectic day, of the Paris Metro train halting at a station, the announcement going out, "le service en direction Nation est terminee" and everyone winding up on the sidewalk just like that, up a creek without a paddle. No rental bikes back then and with all the people dumped out at once, no chance of getting one if there had been. And the delightful experience of being jammed into NYC trains that just randomly stop in the furnace-hot tunnel, and not knowing whether the day would end with a long hospital visit owing to heatstroke. Oh, and those British trains with their perennial issues with the wrong kind of leaves, snow, and what-all else, let's not even go there.

IMO smaller places are nicer in many respects to live in. However, as Glaeser tirelessly points out, good jobs and culture can be a problem, and in the USA it's the new warm car-oriented cities that are doing the best, rather than the old cold Victorian ones (also see Rockman's comments about Texas doing relatively well on the jobs front.) Smaller places don't support comprehensive or frequent transit, simply because there are few if any masses of people all herding in the same direction at the same time, so the odds of it being very useful are low. It's not going to scale smoothly when even packed places like New York consign so many to that bus hell. I haven't had a job within reasonable range of the buses for years, and that seems to be part of a pattern (see Apple's proposed new flying-saucer campus.) In a state capital, downtown offices are mainly status symbols for banks, rich lawyers, and high-dues professional associations, who easily outbid almost anyone else.

Smaller places can be easier to bicycle in, due to less-insane traffic [and because they often can't afford those big-city let's pretend we can hide behind the parked cars paths. Stopping at every single corner to wait for cross traffic to clear instead of flowing with the street traffic is not an effective method of actually getting anywhere. Worse still, the parked cars often block sight lines, making it even easier to be struck by a turning car (by an order of magnitude the most common crash in any case) than with a curb lane.] Reasonably low crime also helps, though even around here, people may feel a need to use a car to avoid ambush after dark (hardly foolproof but there still seem to be quite a few more robberies and muggings than carjackings.)

There's nothing wrong with cycling, and I have a fairly well-worn bicycle, but I consider it to be supplementary transportation only, which is what seems to annoy TODsters who IMO seriously over-promote and magic-wand it with little regard for real-world considerations (yes if the Persian Gulf is closed those will shift, but thus far it's in fact not closed.) Life goes on all year round, but here in the north, a bike is often too dangerous or impractical for several months a year, what with widespread persistent rutted ice (studded tires are useful but hardly a panacea.) In the south, especially the steaming and famously once-malarial southeast, it would often be dangerous in summer from risk of heatstroke; even up here, last week, the weather guys were telling everyone not to exercise outside. [Yes I know, somebody will respond with the overbroad generalization that since he's done it, so can everyone, and besides, cars are so wicked, and obesity blah blah blah. Whatever.]

In the larger TOD context, however, this cycling stuff is not terribly relevant since it scales best in very flat places with mild or no winters and non-dangerous summers, and those are in very short supply in North America. Here in the Berkeley of the Midwest (where State legislators now and then file bills against the city administration over bike paths, lanes, and intersection "green boxes"), I would guesstimate the functional bike traffic to be somewhat more male than female and to consist mainly of university students. There's a smattering of shaggy Sixties leftovers who stand out like sore thumbs amidst the mostly fashionably-neatly coiffed students, a smattering of other old-timers, and a smaller smattering of ages in between. Recreational traffic on nice-weather weekend days seems somewhat more mixed. However: from late October through mid April, there's usually nothing that can properly be called "traffic", just an occasional rider or three. And from December through mid-March, just a few lonely die-hards, mainly unbreakable (or so they think) 20yo's on or near campus - and if it doesn't scale even among unbreakable 20yo's many of whom who don't have cars, it's certainly not going to scale broadly.

In theory, there are also e-bikes, but I see some problems. You will not want to park one in a public rack, the half-life will be too short just on account of the motor. But lockers are too bulky to install on any scale. And depending on building "security" you may not be allowed to take the frightfully expensive battery inside with you; policy is often "simple": ban anything the low-rent rent-a-guard doesn't understand. Also, there will likely be little "health benefit" to offset the risk of riding unprotected, since in the end it's essentially just a flimsy motor scooter, or, as they call those, a "suicycle".

Beautiful post, if I do say so myself.

It's not going to scale smoothly when even packed places like New York consign so many to that bus hell. I haven't had a job within reasonable range of the buses for years, and that seems to be part of a pattern

This is where American cities fall down, and is one reason that Canadian (and Australian) cities score so much higher on the quality-of-life indexes (e.g. that published by the Economist magazine). According to Statistics Canada, 2/3 of all Canadians live within easy walking distance (i.e. 5 minutes) from public transit, and in the major cities, such as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, the proportion is about 90%.

In Canada, access to public transit is considered an entitlement, whereas Americans seem to consider access to a freeway to be an entitlement. This results in a considerably higher transit ridership rate in Canada (two to three times as high as in the US), but not necessarily any freeways.

Vancouver happens to be the largest city in North America with no freeways at all (count them, zero). That makes it difficult to drive around, but the SkyTrain works well, as do the electric trolley buses, and of course bicycling is very popular. Calgary, which is considered car-oriented by Canadian standards, has exactly one (1) freeway, which goes nowhere near downtown, but the C-Train gets people there, and having the largest bicycle path system in North American helps, too.

almost everywhere in the USA, there's asphalt (or concrete) in front of almost every house (notwithstanding a tiny percentage of rural road-miles that have been reverted to gravel.) And while there are occasional emergencies, the asphalt gets rather little routine attention except the patch job or striping job every now and then, the streetlight once in a blue moon (mostly just in the city, and lighting is also needed in rail cars and at stations), and the occasional patrol (also needed on rail lines.)

You seem to believe that the maintenance on this kind of infrastructure can be done for (almost) nothing. No. It costs a large fortune to maintain roads "in front of almost every house".

Houston Chronicle: Texas highway system nearly running on empty

Giant shortfall of $155 billion is forecast over the next 20 years

AUSTIN — Texas faces a transportation funding crisis.

During the next 20 years, the Texas Department of Transportation will need $315 billion to spend on the state's roads and freeways for maintenance and construction just to keep traffic from getting worse, according to a report commissioned by the Texas Transportation Commission.

The gasoline tax, federal dollars and other fees, which provide almost all of TxDOT's road funding, are expected to generate only about $160 billion during that same time.

The Center for Transportation Research at the University of Texas predicts that the lack of money for road construction and repair will lead to a significant deterioration of Texas' roads — by 2025, only 21 percent of Texas' roads will be in good or better condition.

This is a fundamental problem with US transportation funding - Roads are expensive to maintain. If Americans want to have good roads, they need to increase their fuel taxes to pay for them. Otherwise, their roads are going to crumble into potholed wagon ruts.

Given the diminishing probability of oil being available to keep their cars running for the remainder of the century, it might be more efficient in the long run to convert the roads to pedestrian walkways and bicycle paths, and put in electric rail for those people who want to make longer trips.

Roads are expensive. Looking at old photographs from Minneapolis Minnesota, you can see the brick buildings, the trolly system than ran on steel rails, etc, with the roads still mostly dirt. Then they put down cobble stone (big fight between city and private trolly system about that) and electric power for the trolly system went in.

Your idea of turning roads back into bike paths and walkways is one I have been pushing here. Split a tax cut between the property owner and the city and people might rush to join up. Nice quiet place for kids to play. Grow flowers. Just like a suburban culdasac, but cheaper and walkable.


The UK has reduced consumption, however that has been over a 5 year period when global total liquids has risen by over 2 million barrels per day.

2005 Production was 84.5mbd
2010 Production was 86.7mbd


This has allowed millions of vehicles to be converted to LPG and released diesel and petrol to be used by other people and countries.



So this extra 2 million barrels per day, has allowed developing countries to expand with only a relative negative effect on prices. Yes that's right I think £70 for a barrel of oil is cheap, if you consider the untaxed liter of petrol is only 45p, which is what we pay exporting countries for it.

Darwinian and some others who say peak oil happened in 2006 or 2008 not only ignore figures but have no comprehension of what global decline will actually look like.

When global production goes flat, every extra barrel China, India and OPEC use will have to come from cuts from the OECD countries, which over the past few years about 1 in 2 have had to do so.
Also due to massive increase in bio fuel production which will not go up for much longer.

When global production starts to decline in a few years, then if China uses one extra barrel OECD countries will have to cut one barrel plus the decline rate. This will be very different to what we have had up til now.

So £150 to £200 barrel oil (why do we pay for it in dollars anyway) will be cheap.

So when will global production peak? Good studies have predicted that in the next 5/6 years Russia, China, Iran, Nigeria and Angola will reach peak or start to decline.

If global decline rate is as low as 1% by then, we will have to cut consumption by 1mbd every year.
If Non OECD grow by 1 million barrels per day, which is not much, then OECD will have to cut by 2 million barrels per day each year. This will be a massive change from the last few years.

So this extra 2 million barrels per day, has allowed developing countries to expand with only a relative negative effect on prices.

Handy that that major countries which have reduced consumption are tracked and audited by the IEA but those which have increased consumption do not have their oil use audited by any international body.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending June 10, 2011

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged about 14.9 million barrels per day during the week ending June 10, 243 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 86.1 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging about 9.5 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging 4.3 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.6 million barrels per day last week, up by 38 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged nearly 9.0 million barrels per day, 657 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 1.1 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 125 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 3.4 million barrels from the previous week. At 365.6 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 0.6 million barrels last week and are in the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 0.1 million barrels last week and are in the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.1 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 0.6 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period has averaged 19.0 million barrels per day, down by 3.2 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged 9.2 million barrels per day, up by 0.5 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged 3.8 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 3.6 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 0.1 percent higher over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

The highlight for me was net product exports of 16kbpd.

Imports - 2402
Exports - 2418

Probably not meaningful, but quite a surprise.

Back from the brink, but not back to normal (Part 2)

Last Wednesday, the EIA inventory report indicated that gasoline supplies had returned from critically low levels in Chicago and western PA and generally improved across the country. As of today, the possibility of any imminent gasoline shortage had greatly receded, except maybe in Omaha (see below).

This week’s EIA oil inventory report confirms that refiners have stepped up output of gasoline and distillates like diesel in most locations, and which resulted in a run down in crude oil inventories for a second week in a row. However nationwide refinery utilization fell 1.1 percent to 86.1 percent due to significant operational problems in the East Coast region, and some repeated problems at BP’s refinery in Texas City, Texas. The East Coast region experienced a large 7.1 percent drop in refinery utilization to 63.9 percent – mostly because of problems at the Bayway refinery in Linden, New Jersey. However most refineries had returned to normal operation early this week, with the notable exception of the Texas City refinery. In the last month or so, Texas City has been hit by lightning and suffered at least three significant storm related power outages.

Although gasoline imports have been above trend the last few weeks, gasoline traders in New York harbor reported today a significant slowdown in gasoline imports this week. Last week I noted that gasoline export limitations by Russia may have the indirect effect of reducing gasoline exports from Europe to the US.

Going forward the net amount of US oil and product imports, that is oil imports plus product imports less product exports, remains a concern. This week net imports were down about 1.4 million bpd as compared to the same week last year, and year to date, they have averaged about 850,000 bpd less than 2010. Shipping sources do not indicate any significant surge in Saudi oil exports in early July, despite reports they may increase output by 1 million bpd in July. In addition, oil exports in West Africa appear to have fallen this week due to the damage dissidents inflicted on operations.

Gas Terminal Shut Down Due To Flooding

Officials Say Supply Not An Issue
UPDATED: 5:56 pm CDT June 15, 2011

OMAHA, Neb. -- A terminal that supplies a large amount of gasoline has been shut down due to flooding. The Magellan Midstream Partners Terminal near Abbott Drive closed Sunday.

While there’s adequate supply elsewhere, there’s uncertainty about when this terminal will be able to reopen.


Does anyone have the link to the page that contains about 35 country's production charts thru the years. Maybe something by Campbell, or Laherrere

Years ago they used to be on DieOff.com, but I can't find them now.


I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for, but the Energy Export Databrowser has tons of info about various energy resources, searchable by country or by group (OPEC, OECD, etc.)



Is it this, perhaps?

Oil Production in 42 Countries

On the NEW DieOff page you have to find the link to the OLD DieOff index, and it's in there.

That was it, Thank you very much.
You guys are great.

I guess there are still a few of us old timers that remember www.dieoff.com

Thanks again.


Oil and Gas analyst Michael E. Lynch posts another article on Global Depression.
Long term global depression may bring crude oil supply/demand back in balance?

During the 1980s, so much excess capacity existed, the world got along nicely as demand tumbled year after year for almost a decade. Could that happen again? It is unlikely because today there cannot be excess capacity with consumption in excess of 80 million bbl/day and even in depression, crude oil demand will not fall that far. Still, if crude oil prices continue to climb, as now seems likely, then demand will fall further. So a long depression cannot be ruled out. This would result in reduced investment in the industry with all the consequences related to it..

Last month he posted that he thinks that we are in the opening days of a long depression:
Shale Oil Not A Game Changer

With today's elevated prices, in the range of $100/bbl, many observers laugh at the possibility of a return of lower prices. The facts are that the U.S. is in the opening days of a long, long depression that will plague the nation for at least another decade. Nobody expected $0.05/bbl oil in 1931 and nobody expected $35/bbl oil in 2008. Meanwhile let us hope for the best. Texans are wise to scheming politicians. Most of that ilk in Texas have turned to attacking illegal immigrants and bootleggers.

Ron P.

Regarding low oil prices in the Thirties, it looks like the dime a barrel prices were probably limited to the East Texas area, because the East Texas Field was flooding the local market. The data set that I have shows that the nationwide oil price hit a low of $1.39 in July, 1931, and monthly prices rose at an average rate of 11%/year from the summer of 1931 to the summer of 1937. It appears that global demand only fell one year, in 1930, rising thereafter.

And regarding 2008 to 2009, of course the average annual US price in 2008 was $100, followed by $62 in 2009, which exceeded all annual oil prices, prior to 2006.

As protests rage, Greece prime minister offers to quit

ATHENS, Greece — As protests raged in the streets, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Wednesday offered to step down and make way for a national unity government provided it supported EU/IMF bailout plans, government sources said.

But a source in the conservative New Democracy party said the conservatives would only take part in a new unity government if it renegotiated the bailout and Papandreou resigned.

I gotta think they're going to default eventually. The only question is when.

Most populations regard the proper management of the economy to be one of the fundamental funtions they expect from their governments.

Governments which do not succeed in doing a reasonable job of this will be thrown out by the electorate.

A link to an article I posted a couple of days ago, and some key quotes:

In the world, at the limits to growth

Across the political spectrum, people are claiming solutions for a predicament that cannot be solved. . . This means that the global financial system is essentially insolvent now. . . The only choice is default or inflation on a global scale.

"The only choice is default or inflation"

Inflation is a form of default, just spread out in time and proportion of the population impacted.

There is only a choice in the form of the default, not the act.

A dead tree newspaper here in Sweden today anounced that Standard & Poor has rated Greece to the lowest ranking in the world. Now Pakistan have better credit ratings than Greece. They have hit rock bottom. Default can not be far away.

And, gosh, the little ol' stock market's down again today, and they're blaming the Greek thing. I think more folks are reading Kunstler:

Out of the current stillness in world events, a horrible churning waits. Men in impeccable suits on Swiss terraces cannot hide their anxiety. One might even lose it and jump a hotel maid - you never know. Bernanke, Obama, Geithner are powerless against the dark lurking churn, though they can easily make it worse. What a summer we're in for. Get out of the stock market.

...or maybe they paid Ilargi a visit today:

And that's a part in the whole process that's new. Until now, the European high lords of politics and finance could count on a certain level of confidence to follow the deals they weaved and hammered together. Those days are now over. They blew it. And that will be a crucial aspect of what will happen in Europe, and in the global financial markets, in the months to come. Volatility is about to start chasing the moon.

I actually went looking for some good economic news, for balance really, but found little of import. Commodities up a bit today, not much.

Yeah, what a summer we're in for. At least I have some cukes ready to pick, and I'll can some pickles tonight....That'll be something good, accumulating real wealth ;-)

I really don;t know why they didn't just default last year. The whole bailout thing is not a bailout of Greece, its a bailout of Greece's bondholders. Instead of owing the bondholders, they will owe the IMF - from the point of view of the average Greek person, it makes no difference.

They should just default. So the bondholders won't get paid when they thought they would? Too bad, that's part of the game of bond investing.
Of course, no one will buy Greek bonds ever again, but that in itself will ensure the Greek government doesn't go into debt again. I think that is the best solution for the Greek people.

The European banks don;t see it that way, of course, and they think this will devalue the Euro. It might, or might not, but so what? There are numerous countries that us the US dollar as their official currency, a default of any or all them will not be the end of thew US dollar, and neither will a default of Greece be the end of the Euro.

From Nathan Lewis; What is the purpose of the Euro?"

insert 'United States' for 'they' and 'Greece'...we could either do that and get it over with, or the Dems and Repubs could make a deal and cut 'Defense' by 50%, cut social spending by 25%, and repeal all the GW Bush tax giveaways.

The third choice is to extend and pretend and shuffle along and hope for the best I guess...

They should just default. ... Of course, no one will buy Greek bonds ever again,

Now history shows that's not true.

The value/default of "The Continental" is an example.

Agreed. Defaulting wasn't the end of the world for Argentina. Quite the opposite. Many experts think defaulting actually worked out for the best.

Iceland more recently, right?

Greece, Ireland Can’t Copy Iceland Default Model, Sigfusson Says

Iceland is warning Greece and Ireland not to copy its recovery model even though the Atlantic island managed a return to international debt markets less than three years after letting its banks default on $85 billion.

Dr. Jeff Masters over at Weather Underground has a very interesting posting up on his blog (from yesterday) regarding extreme precipitation events in the US.


I was particularly interested in Figure 3 which displays the sharp increase in the coverage of extreme ppt. events (in the US – Lower 48) after a relatively stable period between 1920 and 1980; starting in about 1980 the coverage of extreme ppt. events starts to increase quite noticeably. Looks to me like that is pretty nicely correlated time-wise with the relentless push for globalizing trade. Then, over the last couple decades the coverage really ramps up as China and India et al. start seriously crankin’ after about 1990.

If extreme precip is a by-product of a warming planet then I’d say this is pretty compelling evidence that the warming is due to humans pumping out more and more of the compounds that cause it rather than this being some “natural cycle”.

Too bad there are so many postings on Masters' site. There are always some great posts, such as this one:


Looks like the ocean models are getting better. This graphic is from a computer model which is able to resolve the eddies in the flow...

E. Swanson

That model output is very impressive - the level of detail is amazing. I think Dr. Masters was using that last year in an effort to predict where oil from the BP was going to end up over different time periods.

By "so many postings" on his site do you mean the fact that he puts up a new blog nearly every day and there is typically so much info in each posting ? If so, I totally agree - it is really hard to keep up with. He has been consistently covering the extreme weather situation lately. I think he has been more than fair in not jumping to conclusions regarding climate change and these events... he's just been building a mountain out of the data that will one day (probably soon) result in an avalanche that will sweep away any supposed lingering doubts as to what is going on.

Looks like the ocean models are getting better. This graphic is from a computer model which is able to resolve the eddies in the flow...

Eddy-resolving models have been around for a while but have, until recently, required an expensive amount of compute power. We can expect to see more high-resolution model output like this going forward. The visualizations are very pretty and there is much to learn by watching them.

But higher resolution does not necessarily imply that forecast skill is getting better, especially when it comes to predicting large-scale patterns on the scale of ENSO or the NAO. I love pretty data pictures as much as anyone (probably more) but still want to see an assessment of the skill of these models.


A 1983 flood after heavy rains damaged dams on the Colorado river in the American west.

In May 1983, three years after Lake Powell had first filled, an unusually long-lasting winter over the 108,335-square-mile (280,590 km2) Colorado River basin above the Glen Canyon Dam ended with a sudden influx of warm weather. Rain and snowmelt joined together to produce a combined inflow of over 111,500 cubic feet (3,160 m3) per second....

Concrete in spillway tunnels was eroded by cavitation down to the sandstone base of the canyon walls.

Worth a read at Wiki:
From the Bureau of Reclamation:

I visited Imperial Dam downstream that year and the flooding caused damage all the way to the Sea of Cortez(Mexico).

Peak Oil – The Long & The Short

Denial of peak oil becomes more dan­ger­ous by the day. The Obama admin­is­tra­tion prat­tles about clean energy, solar, wind and ethanol, when petro­leum pow­ers 96% of the trans­porta­tion sec­tor and 44% of the indus­trial sec­tor. Coal pro­vides 51% of the country’s elec­tric­ity, and nuclear accounts for another 21%. Renew­able energy con­tributes only 6.7% of the country’s energy needs, mostly from hydro­elec­tric facilities...

The Wash­ing­ton DC spin doc­tors are now assur­ing the Amer­i­can peo­ple that Saudi Ara­bia can make up for any oil short­fall. Saudi Ara­bia has declared it has already turned the spigot on and will pro­duce 10.0 mil­lion bpd, up from 8.5 mil­lion bpd.

Hey, this is getting interesting. Look for more and more of these kind of articles in the future. The question is, in my opinion anyway, will peak oil enter the presidential race rhetoric. Well, I mean other than drill, drill, drill.

Ron P.

I vote, "Not".
Denial (with liberal doses of explaining away) will be the rule for all official discourse for the foreseeable future; both in government and business news.

I vote, "I don't know."

Maybe the coming recession will be blamed on oil supply. Maybe there won't be a recession and oil prices skyrocket and consumer pain will be blamed on oil supply. Maybe there will be a recession and no blame on oil supply. Maybe my backyard chickens will give me a new virulent type of H5N1 and I pass it on to the rest of the USA.

Yes I think it will. Once it looks like the truth has slipped out and some action might be taken, I think peak oil will be branded a liberal plot because the oil companies have built such excellent connections with the right to stamp out climate change action. At that point the country will be split 50/50 on taking action on the "theory" of peak oil and that should halt any serious efforts at change for another decade or so. That is the strategy I would take if I wanted to prevent action. Run fake experts on FOX news day and night to decry the "theory". Blame OPEC, the environmentalists, speculators, etc.

I have been thinking about how long after peak oil will the power of the oil companies to influence politics continue? And that puts me in mind of Margret Thatcher defeating the coal unions in the 1980's. The peak in UK coal production was like 1914 or so. But it took another 70 years before thier political power was totally defeated (UK commentators please chime in). The US has some of the most powerful oil companies. I think they will have political power for at least 10 - 20 years. Even though oil consumption in the US will fall dramatically, prices will remain high and they will still be very powerful corporations. Especially as so many other companies will fail.

Peak oil in presidential politics....

Mmmmmn... One can imagine the Tea Bagging candidate's rehtoric. Also the standard rebublican and democratic positions. Green candidates, yep, except the divide over nuclear. Will there be ANY candidate to accurately portray the issue and offer a response?

If it is accepted that PO is more a predicament (no good solutions) than a problem, it would seem it's politically unfeasible to discuss it.

Are we doomed to misstating the problem, followed by ineffectual solutions? At least by the politicians. The issue may enter the realm of presidential politics, where it will be maimed, distorted and twisted by ideology into a solution to some other problem.

Not just no good solutions, but the same old Rorschach test for pre-existing "visions" of how society should be purified and other people should live, revealing a circular firing line of awesomely cocksure declarations and dogmas.

Stack and pack people in megacities with rail lines (oops, doesn't work well if the electricity supply turns even a bit dodgy and people are terrified to board an elevator or a train.) No, can't do that, needs a hinterland for food and transport to bring the food in. OK, frog-march them out into the countryside to work farmettes by hand. No, myriad practical problems with that, many of which have been pointed out tirelessly and to no avail by the actual farmers who post here. OK, have them shelter, as it were, in place. No, no can do, the fashionable, unreasoning academic hatred of the suburbs they now live in won't allow "planners" even to contemplate it. OK, maybe do some modest stuff along those lines but don't push it into eighteenth-century misery or Kafkaesque totalitarianism, and also use energy sources beyond hay/grain-eating mules. Oh, no, not that either, because it might soften the other "visions" a bit or disappoint those who irrationally hate modernity, and besides, in a few decades "we" will have forgotten how to build mirrors or solar panels. And so on.

Round and round and round it goes, and no conceivably viable political platform in any of it.

Paul, you're a hoot! I gotta hand it to you, bro, your nothing if not doggedly consistent and deeply deeply stuck in your BAU views groove. Not even a Level 9 earthquake followed by a massive tsunami could possibly jolt you out of the conceptual rut in which you seem to find yourself. You really seem to be completely incapable of imagining any other reality than the one you so desperately cling to. A profoundly artificial and false one I might add.

OK, maybe do some modest stuff along those lines but don't push it into eighteenth-century misery or Kafkaesque totalitarianism, and also use energy sources beyond hay/grain-eating mules. Oh, no, not that either, because it might soften the other "visions" a bit or disappoint those who irrationally hate modernity, and besides, in a few decades "we" will have forgotten how to build mirrors or solar panels. And so on.


Just curious, do you really think that there is a single person anywhere on this planet, who has tasted the fruits of our energy profligacy that wants to go live in a cave somewhere and eschew all the comforts of modernity because they so profoundly hate it?!

Do you, in your heart of hearts really think there is some vast, totalitarian communist conspiracy lurking beneath the radar of the noble progressive free market capitalists? Communists, who are evilly plotting to destroy the wonderful civilization that the noble, Super Hero Capitalists, have built for the benefit of all the world's downtrodden citizens.

Sound of fingernails being dragged across chalk board.... Mwhahahaha!

I certainly don't! And I highly doubt, the inveterate doomer, that I may be, that by the end of my life we will have forgotten how make a mirror. Furthermore I strongly suspect we have a slightly better than a snowball's chances in hell that we'll be making better solar panels in the coming decades.

And, when, not if, TSHTF for our industrial civilization and even if there is much nastiness throughout much of the world as we know it today, which may indeed lead to a lot of needless, (we could have changed course from BAU when we had the chance) suffering for billions of humans...All knowledge will not suddenly vanish everywhere all at once.

There will probably still be pockets where some sort of civilization will continue to flourish and there will be art and science as long as there are humans. And yes, I strongly suspect that whatever form that civilization will ultimately take, by necessity it will have to adapt to a much lower profile of energy usage than that to which we are accustomed today, simply because there is nothing on the horizon that equals the energy density of our rapidly depleting fossil fuels, especially oil.

As for going back to living in eighteenth-century misery and farming the land with mules, that might be considered a step up from the daily reality of about a billion people who are already starving today...

Half a pound of tuppenny rice,
Half a pound of treacle.
That’s the way the money goes,
Pop! goes the weasel.

Every night when I get home
The monkey's on the table,
Take a stick and knock it off,
Pop! goes the weasel

Then why do some folks keep banging on as though going and living in a metaphorical cave is precisely what they advocate? If it's really not, then we need a whole lot more clarity. I still think David Brin got it dead-right (link, but you have to click around for July 12) the other day (emphasis added):

We are plagued by grumpy nostalgists — mystics on both wings who preach hostility to science & technology and yearn for the past. Our only route is forward. The answer to the problems generated by science is... more science. Open science, innovative, reciprocally critical & transparent, searching for positive sum games, able to detect potential errors. Ways to lift 7 billion out of poverty while saving a planet.

That's exactly right, and certainly in this and other recent DBs we're well-plagued with ardent yearning for Victorian cities, quaint agriculture and transport, and yes, even nonsense about farming with draft animals; on and on and on, backwards into the dead past. Sentimental nostalgic yearning won't do a thing for those billion people on the verge of starving, except to help push them over the brink.

Thinking carefully about which technologies and implementations have the best overall societal returns is very different from a "quaint" rejection of all technology.

Even absent peak oil, human-powered transport has huge benefits for individual health, the environment, trade deficits, community vitality, etc. It is not quaint Luddism to recognize that US land use patterns have frequently made transportation using our innate capabilities impractical and unsafe, and to try to fix that failure of land use patters. Human-friendly zones of cities consistently have higher property values than auto-optimized "neighborhoods" of strip-malls, subdivisions, and freeways.

My guess is that the most successful systems going forward will use old and new technologies in a synergistic way. An example is the web/smartphone enabled urban short-term bike rental systems (lie Paris' Velib, but most EU cities have some similar system developing now). Bikes have RFID, and GPS enabled smartphones help users find available bikes and return slots. Similar systems for car-sharing are rapidly evolving, allowing users to have the convenience of a car, without the parking, maintenance, and depreciation costs and hassles of ownership. High-tech car/bike sharing systems reduce overall resource consumption, free up urban space for other uses, and reduce unthinking car-dependent life patterns by providing a cheaper,simper alternative

I saw the same article posed on Minyanville, a "gold is your friend" economics site. The perception is spreading.

Global cooling heading our way?

Storms from the sun are expected to build to a peak in 2013 or so, but after that, the long-range indicators are pointing to an extended period of low activity — or even hibernation.

"This is important because the solar cycle causes space weather ... and may contribute to climate change," Frank Hill, associate director of the National Solar Observatory's Solar Synoptic Network, told journalists today.

All kinds of good news...peak oil, out of control population, sun is about to go quiet for decades... Party on dudes!


As was pointed out when this study came up in the previous Drumbeat, solar variation can account for about .1 degree C in global temperature variation. GW has already increased global temperature by about 1 degree C and it is still rising. Even the cooling effect of aerosols is estimated to be at least .5 degrees.

So if the coming sun cycle does end up to be unusually quiet, it will merely shave a slight amount off the heating going on from AGW and the multiple reinforcing feedbacks that are now kicking in.

What it will do is make the denialists look even more ridiculous (to those in the know, anyway) when they claim that it is all about the sun. But they just make stuff up anyway and don't seem to give much of a clam how ridiculous they look to those who have a even a glimmering acquaintance with the actual science.

Rhamstorf, et al., from last year, I think, put it at .3 less warming for the century as the effect of a long minimum. Great! Now we can look forward to between 1.7C and, oh, 4.2C! Yay!


Assuming this new 'Maunder Minimum' lasts seventy years. It could last 4 years for all we know.

Deniers will fasten on any crumb of conceivable support while furious denying actual science.

What the science is suggesting is that the next cycle looks even weaker than the current cycle (which should "peak" itself at a low level in 2013). If so then we have until at least the 2030s before seeing any chance of majorly increased solar activity. No 4 year gap.

There were no detailed observations of sunspots before the 16th century so what can you conclude from a sample of one Maunder Minimum event?


There is also no explanation of why the Maunder Minimum(disappearance of sunspots) happened.

Your certainty that we are in for decades of no solar activity is
100% pure speculation(so internet/newspapers print it as fact and you believe it).

I am quoting three separate studies. Why not read them instead of calling it pure speculation? And I personally don't have any degree of certainty but am reporting what solar researchers have recently found.


Some unusual solar readings, including fading sunspots and weakening magnetic activity near the poles, could be indications that our sun is preparing to be less active in the coming years.

The results of three separate studies seem to show that even as the current sunspot cycle swells toward the solar maximum, the sun could be heading into a more-dormant period, with activity during the next 11-year sunspot cycle greatly reduced or even eliminated.

The results of the new studies were announced today (June 14) at the annual meeting of the solar physics division of the American Astronomical Society, which is being held this week at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.

"The solar cycle may be going into a hiatus," Frank Hill, associate director of the National Solar Observatory's Solar Synoptic Network, said in a news briefing today (June 14).

"The solar cycle may be going into a hiatus,"

These quotes seem more reasonable. Solar scientists of course are interested in solar speculation.

What is objectionable is to announce that we are entering a second Maunder Minimum which produced 0.3 degC of cooling.
Is this Maunder guestimate not based on tree-ring data?

You may remember what the fun the deniers had with Michael Mann's tree ring record which minimized the Medieval Warming period.


Now when tree ring data confirms Maunder 'cooling' it's rock solid science, right?

The Maunder Minimum was a period, roughly 1645 to 1715, when observers noted that the sun showed almost no sunspots. It matches the coldest part of the Little Ice Age and correlates with a sharp drop in the carbon-14 content of trees, which can be dated by counting tree rings. This throws the dating of artifacts using carbon-14 off quite badly, so they have to recalibrate the C-14 dates using annual tree rings, which they can do going back for about 10,000 years.

Carbon-14 is created by solar radiation, so the C-14 level can be used to estimate solar output. Based on C-14 levels, the Maunder Minimum is not unique - in the last 1000 years we have also had the Dalton Minimum, the Spörer Minimum, the Wolf Minimum, and the Oort Minimum. All of these minima correlate with times in which people complained that the weather was unusually cold. Millions of peasants died in famines during these times.

For the relatively minor Dalton Minimum (1790 to 1820), we actually have temperature readings, since thermometers were becoming available. A weather station in Germany noted a 2°C decline in average temperature.

The AGW proponents make the fairly rash assumption that the solar output is constant and all climate change depends on C02 levels. There is no real reason to make that assumption, and there is some evidence that the solar output varies quite a bit over time. For people who watch the solar activity, the sudden collapse of the routine 11-year sunspot cycle, similar to what happened in the Maunder Minimum, is a matter of concern - a minor change in solar output could cause a major change in the Earth's weather.

RMG makes the fairly rash assumption that "AGW proponents make the fairly rash assumption that the solar output is constant."

I have seen none of the hundreds of climate scientists that understand the science of climate change make such a claim. If you can show me any that do so, please provide a linky. Otherwise, please abjure from making rash claims of supposed rash statements.

And please learn the science and not the denialist un-science.

Note--solar activity has not increased on average since the middle of the 20th century, but somehow global temperature has increased.

Over long periods, solar variations can have an effect, mostly because they set off feedbacks involving--wait for it--greenhouse gasses such as CO2.

Also please not this quote from Crowley et al (2000):

“over the interval 1400-1850, the volcanic contribution [to the decadal-scale variance in global temperatures] increases to 41 to 49% (P < 0.01), thereby indicating a very important role for volcanism during the Little Ice Age.”

On another note, just out of curiosity, you wouldn't happen to be an economic geologist, by any chance.

solar activity has not increased on average since the middle of the 20th century, but somehow global temperature has increased.

No, I'm sorry, but solar activity has been increasing since 1900. This is known as the Modern maximum.

The Modern Maximum refers to the ongoing period of relatively high solar activity that began circa 1900. This period is a natural example of solar variation, and one of many that are known from proxy records of past solar variability. The Modern Maximum reached a double peak once in the 1950s and again during the 1990s.

See also Solar variation.

Solar variation is the change in the amount of radiation emitted by the Sun and in its spectral distribution over years to millennia. These variations have periodic components, the main one being the approximately 11-year solar cycle (or sunspot cycle). The changes also have aperiodic fluctuations. In recent decades, solar activity has been measured by satellites, while before it was estimated using 'proxy' variables. Scientists studying climate change are interested in understanding the effects of variations in the total and spectral solar irradiance on Earth and its climate.

The previous solar maximum was the Medieval Maximum, which coincided with the Medieval Warm Period.

just out of curiosity, you wouldn't happen to be an economic geologist, by any chance.

No, before I retired I was a business analyst consulting for the oil industry, but in doing something like that, you learn a lot about both economics and geology.

Solar activity is not a proxy for solar irradiance. The amount of solar radiation is NOT rising, and in fact has been falling since the beginning of this century while temps have been rising, proving once and for all solar forcing is not causing CC. The signals from the solar output did affect climate before GHG forcings overtook them.


Interesting that your background predicts your denial.

I am sorry but I take the word of NASA over your seven dys a week. And they refute your claims in all aspect. According to NASA, solar force on climate change during the 20:th century accounts for less than 0.1 degree C. You are wrong in your denialism. Cathegoricaly.

You also must know that I used to be a young earth creationist. And I accuse you of beeing an anti-science denialist. Go think for a while about what that means.

Discussion dropped by request.

Show us evidence that climate scientists ignore the sun. Nice the way you slipped that in.

I didn't say that climate scientists ignored the sun, I implied indirectly that AGW proponents did. The two are not congruent groups. Straw man fallacy, again.

Please drop this. Go to RealClimate if you want to argue this kind of detail.

We discuss climate change here because

1) Climate change is the way governments deal with energy these days

2) Changing climate will affect our adaption to peak oil, regardless of what's causing it

3) The way the political system deals with climate change is the way they'll deal with peak oil, should peak oil ever be as mainstream as AGW, so we should take note.

This isn't the place to argue about ad nauseum about the Little Ice Age, etc. It's been beaten to death here already. There are many climate-oriented forums where you can take the discussion.


Here is an article from the New Scientist online:


Funny, I linked an article from the same outfit to the last DrumBeat yesterday when they were running the original article that they now renounce!

At least they are able to adapt and are not dogmatic...please note the Fox News headline they quote in this latest article...I wonder how adaptable Fox News will be...or will they be dogmatic?

Some research puts the Maunder Minimum as responsible for about 0.3C global cooling but with huge regional variations of up to -2C. Especially in Europe.


The climate link

Mike Lockwood at the University of Reading, UK, may already have identified one response - the unusually frigid European winter of 2009/10. He has studied records covering data stretching back to 1650, and found that severe European winters are much more likely during periods of low solar activity (New Scientist, 17 April, p 6). This fits an emerging picture of solar activity giving rise to a small change in the global climate overall, yet large regional effects.

Another example is the Maunder minimum, the period from 1645 to 1715 during which sunspots virtually disappeared and solar activity plummeted. If a similar spell of solar inactivity were to begin now and continue until 2100, it would mitigate any temperature rise through global warming by 0.3 °C on average, according to calculations by Georg Feulner and Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. However, something amplified the impact of the Maunder minimum on northern Europe, ushering in a period known as the Little Ice Age, when colder than average winters became more prevalent and the average temperature in Europe appeared to drop by between 1 and 2 °C.

A corresponding boost appears to be associated with peaks in solar output. In 2008, Judith Lean of the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC published a study showing that high solar activity has a disproportionate warming influence on northern Europe (Geophysical Research Letters, vol 35, p L18701).

December 2010 was record breaking cold in the UK and then we warmed up considerably in January. If the December pattern continued into an even colder January and February we'd be in serious trouble. Not that other countries don't routinely deal with worse weather but their infrastructure is designed for that, unlike the UK's.

Climate and weather are notoriously complicated.

As warmer air and more open fall Arctic Ocean generates more moisture in the air, that in tern can create heavier snowfall, which in turn increases albedo locally/regionally, which in turn decreases temperature locally/regionally/temporarily.

The other thing that may be happening is the slowing o thermohalide circulation Black Dog some times refers to, itself likely due to dumping of huge amounts of fresh water from melting glaciers and sea ice from GW...

A very cool aspect of some of the interactions is that where i live seems to be very directly affected by the Arctic Oscillation. invariably, if it is abnormally warm or cool, the Arctic oscillation is in the opposite phase.


We have been cool the last 7 - 10 days, and were abnormally hot the previous two weeks. I've been watching this for a year and it's been very consistent. I can usually guess which phase it is in by the one or two week trend in our weather. Us being cool is not good for the Arctic, btw.

I think they got that wrong. If I'm not mistaken it is not a 100 year minimum, just the next cycle or two, but missing one cycle essentially is a 22 year period.

If what you see, how could these so called solar experts be predicting a little ice age?
Are these not real scientists? Is this a scam put out by denialists?

Regional Variations.

When I first read about the news and understood it was not just denialistic scams I thought excatly the same thing as you did. Even wrote the post in my head on the subject. Thanks for saving me some typing.

Some things to add though.

First: due to the extreme long time requiered for climate change to heat upthe oceans we have 30 odd years of climate change in the pipe, even if all GWG emissions ceased tomorrow in a global zombie apocalypse. That lag alone is enough to put CC way above what a decline in solar activity can offset. Bottom line is; we have the climate that coresponds to GHG concentrations of the late 1970ies. Even if a weakening of solar radiation would shave a big chunk of heat outof the atmosphere, it has to neutralize that gap, and it just aint gonna happen.

Secondly; if it did anyway, what would happen when the sun returned to normal? Yeah, you guess it. The planet is fried anyway. And the denialist will take this event as a "problem solved" kind of news. Expect loads of BS coming from the denialist camp the coming days.

And not a momemnt too soon - we've just had our third day of record-breaking temperatures here in Tallahassee, as it just hit 102F, breaking our old record of 99F for this date. Incidentally, this is our fourth record high this month, and the record broken today was set only last year.

And who knows, it might get still hotter later this afternoon.

Yep, just hit 105F, shattering the old record for this date by 6 degrees F and establishing a new all-time high temperature for any date (the previous all-time high was 104F, reached on several dates in several different years but on June 20th at the earliest).

Ouch. Parts of Minneapolis hit 105+F last week. That broke all sorts of records.

Definitely hotter than normal here in Dallas but no records being broken.

But all of this must continue! Why? Because China must keep burning the coal to produce trinkets, so that Americans can burn the oil buying the trinkets, so our military can burn the oil while guarding the oil in the M.E...so that we can pay back the interest on Treasury debt, so banks can remain solvent, so nobody on Wall Street or in London has to lose their bonus.

Do you have a problem with this arrangement? Take it up with Bernanke or Obama or Jintao or the House of Saud and see how far you get.

Burn baby burn!

LOL. My Chinese trickets (pun intended) seem to always break just after warranty (tricky tricky tricky they are). Hmmm. Maybe you are onto something. The economy is accelerating the pace of obsolescence and resource depletion. I guess Climate Change will get some accelerant thrown on the fire.

Burn Baby Burn.

Here in Western NC we've experienced some of that hot weather over the past few weeks. However, due to the very dry conditions, the dew point last night went down to around 43F. When I awoke, my thermometer said 48F. I suppose I shouldn't mention that, since there are already a large number of those Florida People moving up this way. Of course, most don't stay thru the Winter, such as our last one, which produced frequent snow fall. The way the economy is going, those Florida People are about all that's keeping the local economy humming...

E. Swanson

And Spokane is still waiting for its first 80 degree day of the year. It might happen next week. Everyone hopes.

Best Buy gives big boxes the boot

Best Buy has put its "big box" strategy under review worldwide, with management braced for considerable shrinkage.

This Scary Chart Shows Just How Much Farmed Seafood Comes From China

China accounted for 61.5 percent of global aquaculture in 2008

Aquaculture, especially saltwater aquaculture in the extensive shallow seas off the Chinese coast, may be a major contributor to the future world food supply. Combined with fusion or fusion/fission reactors for power, this may be a way to cope with the expected 10 billion population.

What do they feed the fish? If we're running up against the limits of grain yields and ocean catch, fish farming doesn't seem likely to help.

To get the necessary gain in productivity it is likely that plants and lower animals would be the main source of aquaculture products. Seaweed and ocean bugs.


Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture provides the by-products, including waste, from one aquatic species as inputs for another. Farmers combine fed aquaculture with inorganic aquaculture to create balanced systems for environment remediation...

I like "Rainbow Bridge" canned brand: 25% less dissident.

Except that those fission plants are gonna go Fuku at some point and pollute the whole aquatic area for generations. Bad combo imho.

I would put the plants on land, rather than at sea. Reactors based on fission induced by neutrons from fusion reactions can be designed to better safety standards.


Chinese fish. mmm. Hot but not spicy hot as they eat that rad waste from Japan.

U.S. inflation rises fastest in 5 years

Core US consumer prices rose at their fastest rate for five years in May, making it almost impossible for the Federal Reserve to ponder further monetary easing.

Excluding volatile food and energy prices, the consumer price index grew by 0.3 per cent from April to May, the most rapid increase since 2006.

It's interesting to note that 2006 was the de facto boom year of the 00s.
Why would inflation rise so fast despite the incredibly sluggish economy? Ah yes, QE II coupled with higher prices on food and oil(both here to stay).

The article is one giant BAU-propaganda piece, though, seeking to downplay everything.
That's why I picked out the important part, the actual facts, and left out the soothing BAU talking points to idle people's minds.


What I don't understand, however, is why the Fed is continually going for 'core inflation'(excluding food and oil prices). The argument is that these prices are volatile and do not reflect the economy as a whole, but tell that to people shopping their food and filling up their tank(and cutting back elsewhere in their household budget).

Also, oil prices are not going to go down, and neither are food prices(they're going to double over the next 20 years according to the U.N's FAO agricultural expert body, and this is a conservative estimate). So in the face of resource scarcity, it makes no sense to discount food and oil prices. If one does indeed count inflation as a whole, including food and oil prices, like the British do, then U.S. GDP actually was subzero in Q1 of this year and will most likely be in decline in Q2, as well. And that makes much more sense considering that unemployment is going up, and that the housing market has in effect double dipped.

When companies get caught cooking the books, they at least at times go into jail. But when the government is cooking the books on unemployment or inflation statistics, there's no accountability whatsoever.

Forget everything else.

It is stagflation that will likely pull down Obama, just as it did Carter.

OMG which of those wacky Repub/gs are we going to get this time?

(Note, I'm no great fan of the O man, but the alternatives really give me the willies.)

At least Romney acknowledged climate change and refused to back down amid pressure.
But Romney is an outsourcing corporate hack, and the notion that he will even begin to try to amend the nation's woes is beyond incredulity.

However, the problems are structural and long-term. Even if Obama won re-election in 2012 and the Dems controlled both the House and the Senate with a super majority, what could be done to reverse the change happening?

I did find it interesting, however, that now that Summers' have left the administration he has openly said that the U.S. is de facto already through half of it's own Lost Decade from 2007 to now, considering that average, mean growth for these years is about 1 %.

With the specter of staglation, as you correctly point out, hovering over the U.S. economy, I fail to see how the next five years will be much rosier, even if Peak Oil was not going to come in this decade and let's say Iraq did indeed produce 10 mb/d in 2020(which even they are now denying).

The structural problems in American today are so high that the economic woes on their own are a great risk not only to this once great nation but to the rest of the world too. I personally don't believe America will crawl out because the Great Depression, for all it's ills, was still in a context of ascendance for America. The major rival was an ineffecient Soviet state and energy was still cheap, America was still more than self-sufficient on it's own energy needs and wouldn't peak before 40 years later on in it's production.

America today is in a state of slow stagnation and is far from energy independent, and it's independence is increasing. Of course, Europe is not much better off, as a whole, but parts of it definitely is, like Scandinavia, Germany and the Netherlands.

Romney is such a great faceboy for them. LOL. We end up with a grease-wad like Romney when all is said and done.

What I don't understand, however, is why the Fed is continually going for 'core inflation'(excluding food and oil prices). The argument is that these prices are volatile and do not reflect the economy as a whole, but tell that to people shopping their food and filling up their tank(and cutting back elsewhere in their household budget).

You're confusing Bernanke with Santa Claus.
So you want Uncle Ben to write you a check to cover your gas and food?
That would be highly inflationary.
The Fed is supposed to supply liquidity to keep the economy moving
or remove liquidity if the economy overheats.

If oil and food prices are too high you must adapt under the Law of Supply and Demand.


See, people don't want to believe that lies can take place on a massive scale. It just doesn't compute.
Look at majorian's post above to see this in action.

The American government would lie to me? How dare you insinuate that! We aren't Chinese commies!

But yes - the government is lying. It's doing nothing but lying. And nobody reports on it.


What I don't understand, however, is why the Fed is continually going for 'core inflation'(excluding food and oil prices). The argument is that these prices are volatile and do not reflect the economy as a whole...

The CPI-U (ie, "headline" inflation) is a backwards looking figure derived by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The most common official purpose to which it is applied is to periodically adjust various payments. These uses are not predictive; they're a response to what has happened. That is, "We're increasing your check because prices went up last year," and not "We're increasing your check because we anticipate how much prices will go up next year."

The Fed, OTOH, is implementing forward-looking policies based on a prediction of what inflation will be for the coming quarter/year/whatever. Various measures of core inflation -- exclusion of food and energy, trimmed mean, median CPI, etc -- are statistically better predictors of the future than the full CPI-U.

Different tools for different jobs.

Winston Smith: [In Winston's diary] Freedom is the freedom to say two plus two equals four. If that is granted all else will follow.

This freedom is being eaten away. Climate change denial, creationism, infinite growth in a finite world. Two plus two equals four isn't allowed any more. 1984 was a blueprint, not a fiction.

As long as your inner world is based on reality, then reality will illuminate, for you, the great unknown. Rationality without emotion is monstrous. Truth is circumscribed by social appropriateness. "Please, some of us prefer illusion to despair" (The Simpsons). And watch what value you quote for Pi: Start low.


Thanks. I collect Bible passages like those. Great stuff. I'm gonna show it to some friends.

Though I suspect the cord they used was not hard but elastic. With an elastisity factor of 1.047197551

Nebraska Nuclear Power Plants Missouri River Flood Conditions

The Fort Calhoun nuclear power station in Fort Calhoun, Neb. , currently shut down for refueling, is surrounded by flood waters from the Missouri River, Tuesday, June 14, 2011. On Tuesday, the releases at Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota hit the maximum planned amount of 150,000 cubic feet of water per second, which are expected to raise the Missouri River 5 to 7 feet above flood stage in most of Nebraska and Iowa. AP [The Missouri River is at lower right.]

Airspace Over Flooded Nebraska Nuclear Power Plant Still Closed

A fire in Nebraska's Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant briefly knocked out the cooling process for spent nuclear fuel rods, ProPublica reports. The fire occurred on June 7th.

On June 6th, the Federal Administration Aviation (FAA) issued a directive banning aircraft from entering the airspace within a two-mile radius of the plant.

"No pilots may operate an aircraft in the areas covered by this NOTAM," referring to the "notice to airmen," effective immediately.

The plant is reportedly at a stage 4 level of emergency, though the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD), which owns and operates the plant, denies this.

...Asked about the FAA flight ban, Hanson it was due to high power lines and "security reasons that we can't reveal." He said the flight ban remains in effect.

Probably get more information out of TEPCO...

Thank you for that nugget of clarity.

Now I understand where the Japanese Nuclear Industry learned their particular form of truthfulness and transparency.


A flood assessment performed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2010 indicated that the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Generating Station, "did not have adequate procedures to protect the intake structure and auxiliary building against external flooding events."[6] The assessment also indicated that the facility was not adequately prepared for a "worst-case" flooding scenario. A number of potential flood water penetration points were discovered that could have impacted the raw feed water supply to the cooling system, the axilliary water supply and main switchgear (electrical) room. By early 2011, corrective measures had been implemented.[6]

If you follow the reference for "corrective measures had been implemented" (NRC PDF) it says that temporary measures had been taken but more permanent work still needs to be done.

I notice it also says that the plant was built to withstand a 500-year flood event. Then why did it need the temporary dikes? I hope somebody sees that our nuke plants are just as stupidly built as the ones in Japan. The lies are flowing in the USA too if you read that story you posted from the Business Insider.

Looking at the enlarged photos, the river is less than 2 feet from overtopping the AquaDam temporary dikes. If the dikes are breached, their diesel generators will be in the same shape as Fukushima's

Ahhh, but as far as we know, the backup cooling plant is not broken, unlike Fukishima.

HERE's a link to a USGS Topo map of the plant. It looks like the parking area is situated just above the 1000 ft above MSL. At the highest resolution, the contours appear to be at 5 feet separation...

E. Swanson

We're hoping it doesn't get much higher.

Amazing how quiet MSM has been on this story. Sheep don't need to know that nuclear power plants in this country are at danger of falling apart like in Japan.

Yeah, here's the incident history of the one in my back yard... 'Turkey Point', BTW you gotta love the name, they should have named it 'Black Swan'.

Incident history

On May 8, 1974, a test was performed on all three of the Emergency Feedwater (EFW) pumps serving Unit 3 while the reactor was operating at power. Two of the pumps failed to start as a result of over-tightened packing. The third pump failed to start because of a malfunction in the turbine regulating valve pneumatic controller. (ref NRC LER 250/74-LTR) In an on-going study (ref NRC Commission Document SECY-05-0192 Attachment 2 NRC.gov) of precursors that could lead to a nuclear accident if additional failures were to have occurred, the NRC concluded (as of 24-Oct-2005) that this event at Turkey Point Unit 3 was the fifth highest ranked occurrence.

In 1992, Turkey Point was directly hit by Hurricane Andrew, causing damage to a water tank and to a smokestack of one of the site's fossil-fueled units. No damage was done to the plant's containment buildings.[10][11] The plant was built to withstand winds of up to 235 mph (380 km/h), greatly exceeding the maximum winds recorded by category 5 hurricanes.
[edit] 2008 Florida electricity blackout

On February 26, 2008, both reactors were shut down due to the loss of off-site power during a widespread power outage in South Florida, affecting 700,000 customers.[12]

At least 2.5 million people were without power. The blackout was initially caused by an overheated voltage switch that soon caught fire in a power substation in Miami, 23 miles away from the plant. The fire occurred at 1:08 pm which caused an automatic shutdown of the power plant. This led to a domino effect that caused outages as far north as Daytona Beach and Tampa. Power was restored by 4:30 pm. The reason this malfunction caused such widespread outages is still under investigation.[12]

Walt Disney World, Orlando International Airport, and Miami International Airport were among the places affected by the outage.[13]

David Hoffman, a nuclear supervisor at Turkey Point, resigned over the incident and was subsequently sued for by Florida Power and Light for return of a bonus. Hoffman countersued, claiming he was pressured to restart the reactors while they were in a condition which in his judgement made it unsafe to do so. Upper management wanted the reactors restarted during xenon dead time, which would have caused the operators at the controls to continuously step control rods to safely manage reactor output.

Florida Power and Light responded to the allegation, claiming Hoffman's suit was "self motivated".[14][15]
Source Wikipedia

I'm sure I can be confident that FPL and the Government will tell me if there is a problem...

Thanks for the photo. Brings the problem into focus. Like the earthen, upstream Fort Peck dam, no indication of failure I know of, but leaves one to wonder about power plant sitings.

Latest in cutting-edge energy efficiency: furnace-free homes

... Thousands of furnace-free homes in Germany have been built to this cutting-edge efficiency standard, but in the U.S. there are only 15 buildings certified to the same level of extremely low energy use. Until now, none has been open to the public.

Without even looking I can lay 100:1 this is passivhaus. It is expensive to implement, thus a limited solution as designed. Low-cost alternative materials and techniques will have to be found. Straw bale is a more affordable option for many, e.g.

It is expensive to implement, thus a limited solution as designed. Low-cost alternative materials and techniques will have to be found. Straw bale is a more affordable option for many.

Well, it doesn't have to be expensive, though many choose to build expensive whether they are building Passive House or not.

In this case, when you have a NASA fuel cell guy as your "Passive House consultant", and an architect too, then it is going to be expensive.

But PH is a performance criteria, and a fairly stringent one, but how you meet it is up to you. There is nothing in here that precludes straw bale, cob, rammed earth etc. It just has to work.

Performance Characteristics

• Airtight building shell ≤ 0.6 ACH @ 50 pascal pressure, measured by blower-door test.
• Annual heat requirement ≤ 15 kWh/m2/year
(4.75 kBtu/sf/yr)
• Primary Energy ≤ 120 kWh/m2/year (38.1 kBtu/sf/yr)

In addition, the following are recommendations, varying with climate:
• Window u-value ≤ 0.8 W/m2/K
• Ventilation system with heat recovery with ≥ 75%
efficiency with low electric consumption @ 0.45 Wh/m3
• Thermal Bridge Free Construction ≤ 0.01 W/mK

From http://www.passivehouse.us/passiveHouse/PassiveHouseInfo.html

The real reasons these houses are currently expensive is that no one is used to building to this standard, so you pay for consultants to tell you how to do it, and then you pay for the builder's learning curve, and you pay for registration.

Once you or the builder is experienced, that part improves, and if Passive House made it an open source project, instead of requiring certification fees and consultants, that would be cheaper too. It will come.

But as for the concept, there is nothing wrong with building a house that uses 90% less energy.

""The real reasons these houses are currently expensive is that no one is used to building to this standard""

Yes, the "real" reason is they are built by nitwits, waaaay too big, and put the style format, ahead of function. Superinsulation is very simple, built into the new design, or retro fitted to any existing structure.

Soooo many will whine and make a million excuses why they cannot do it, but in reality, it is very simple. Low tech. Not Brain surgery by any means.

The Martian.

Insulation is cheap but not sexy enough for the average McMansion Owner Wanabee.

Builders build to the Building Code. The Building Code is lobbied by the developers and energy conglomerate so that we waste lots of energy building over-sized houses. LOL.

A new Passive House is about 25% more expensive than a conventional house(+$120/SF). The difference is in all that insulation which isn't cheap; a Passive House might have R-60 walls where as the current 2010 energy codes might only require R-15 cavity batt insulation and 1" of foam. Where double pane windows with U=0.3 glazing is good enough for Energy Star(~85% of the energy of a current code house), you'll need the entire window assembly to be R-7, triple pane, low E, argon gas, high SHGC with exterior shading. Many people would be happy to insulate to R-30 but R-60 is a different animal.

You also need to give up fancy architectural accents, garages, giant kitchens,fireplaces and basements to meet the rigorous standard as well as correctly site the building to maximize winter heating.
Most people would prefer to spend money on stone siding or luxury bathroom than insulation or an ERV after all energy is incredibly cheap.

Retrofits to Passive House standards are pretty much impossible due to thermal bridging and the costs are pretty much what it would cost to build new even though the requirements are less stringent than Passive House.

The problem is largely that buyers think in terms of bang for the buck(payback) and being able to sell as soon as possible.

What is the point of recovering your investment in 25 years when you may want to move in 8 years?

One reason Passive House in more successful in Germany is that the
cost of energy is much higher, reducing the payback. Also Germans
IMO are less garrish and more spartan in their style.

This learning curve stuff is crap, most contractors just cheat in workmanship and materials--the customers just don't realize it.

Certification is about $1500 and the consultants advise the selection of materials and methods for construction to keep the cheating to a minimum. This cost should not come down. If you went to a PH consultant and agreed to pay him only if the building would pass and that you and the contractor would follow all his suggestions to the letter I think you'd get a PH, no problem. But if you wanted the house done your way, you'd end up
with a more congenial/luxurious, non-PH maybe a LEED house(and their certification runs +$10k).

The real test is the blower door test which
is being incorporated in many State energy codes now.

I'd say PH is for people who want to live in a house that is cozy, using very little energy and causing little CO2 to be released. It will be a durable, custom house that you will want to live in for many,many years. It will lack certain conveniences/junk that real estate appraisers think increases the value of your house.
It's very much a personal statement, a true commitment to 'Green Values', but not in the megalomania mentality
common to US owners(it's my money, I'll do whatever the hell I want).

Also, making houses out of strawbales, dirt or corn cobs is stupid.
Who would want to buy such a house from you? What bank would offer a mortgage on such property?

Well, you don't have to like the PH concept, but I can;t agree with your statements here.

Retrofits to Passive House standards are pretty much impossible due to thermal bridging and the costs are pretty much what it would cost to build new even though the requirements are less stringent than Passive House.

Well, here's a good account of a fellow who did a retrofit on a 60yr old brick schoolhouse in Napanee, Ontario, and achieved PH performance. You can;t get much more thermal bridging than brick - but that doesn't mean it can't be done.


Our space heating costs were significantly lower this (second) winter. The cost breakdown was $7 for electricity, $ 13 for LPG, and $ 199 for firewood, for a total heating cost of CA$ 219. We are pleased.

I'd be fairly pleased with that too. The $199 for firewood was all of 3/4 of a cord.

a Passive House might have R-60 walls where as the current 2010 energy codes might only require R-15 cavity batt insulation and 1" of foam.
Many people would be happy to insulate to R-30

Well, he only needed R-40 for his Ontario house - most places in the US would probably be good with effective R30.

You also need to give up fancy architectural accents, garages, giant kitchens,fireplaces and basements to meet the rigorous standard as well as correctly site the building to maximize winter heating.

Not really - except for open fireplaces - but those should be got rid of anyway- quite the fire hazard, as well as a huge energy waster and air polluter. The size of your kitchen has nothing to do with energy efficiency - the standards are all written per sq.ft.

you'll need the entire window assembly to be R-7, triple pane, low E, argon gas, high SHGC with exterior shading.
Not necessarily, there are many options for reducing energy loss/gain from windows. The windows are not specified, you could even have single pane as long as you still meet the energy specs.

Most people would prefer to spend money on stone siding or luxury bathroom than insulation or an ERV after all energy is incredibly cheap.

You're partly right, many people would spend money on stone accents etc, and that is their choice. But energy is not "incredibly cheap" everywhere. Ca and the northeast have the highest electricity costs in the mainland (15-17c/kWh), and many areas do not have access to NG. so unless you can get your own firewood, it's not that cheap.

This learning curve stuff is crap, most contractors just cheat in workmanship and materials--the customers just don't realize it.

I would call that exactly the l;earning curve - if they are doing that, they haven;t learnt how to build thermal performance, and the customer is indeed paying for that, both at constr and in ownership. if the PH consultant ensures that doesn;t happen, then they have earned their money.

The real test is the blower door test which
is being incorporated in many State energy codes now.

Yes, same in Canada. This will show up some of the dodgy contractors.

I'd say PH is for people who want to live in a house that is cozy, using very little energy and causing little CO2 to be released. It will be a durable, custom house that you will want to live in for many,many years.

Sounds like a good thing to me - I expect most PH buyers fit that perfectly. Many of whom are retirees and like the idea of a long lasting, cheap to heat house. For young people who are more likely to move around, they may have different priorities.

It will lack certain conveniences/junk that real estate appraisers think increases the value of your house.

You can put in junk if you want to, you can make the house 4000sf if you want to. I expect most PH buyers aren't interested in that stuff.

Also, making houses out of strawbales, dirt or corn cobs is stupid.

If people want to build like that, and can meet all the code requirements, power to them. One reason some choose to build like that is so they can do much of the work themselves instead of being at the mercy of cheating contractors.

Who would want to buy such a house from you?

Obviously, someone else who likes that sort of home. There are quite a few people who want them, but can;t build them, so there is a niche market.

What bank would offer a mortgage on such property?
It's true that banks are hesitant to lend on these things, that's something the buyers/builders know going into it, and they make their decisions accordingly. Not many people build unconventional homes for resale.

The short answer is that you can get PH performance if you have good design, good (but not necessarily super) insulation, and pay careful attention to eliminating air leaks and thermal bridging - but any house being built today should have that sort of attention being paid to those things.

I seriously doubt the schoolhouse conversion could come close to achieving PH certification despite the owner's and your repeated opinion.
It might be a cozy house but it certainly wouldn't pass the PHPP.
You also miss the point of the certification, which is an objective standard for evaluating energy consumption. If I was in the market for a PH, what assurance of PH performance could you provide for the amateur efforts?
Utility bills would be misleading, if for example you turned off the heat or went on vacation in the winter or used wood or kerosene(actually dangerous in a PH).

I seriously doubt the schoolhouse conversion could come close to achieving PH certification despite the owner's and your repeated opinion.

You see, that's the beauty of real data - there is no opinion involved.

All his information - floor area, building materials, energy use etc is right there on the thermal analysis spreadsheet summarised on lines 600-640. Also in his year 1 and year 2 updates.

His total space heating for year 1 was 17kWh/sq.m2, and for year 2 was 16.2 kWh/sq.m - the PH criteria is 15 - so, not quite.

As for total primary energy, the other PH criteria, he was 83kWh/sq.m in year q and 79.7 in year 2 - PH criteria is 120, so he certainly met that one.

So, and this is my opinion, I think he came very close to meeting the PH crtiteria. Given that he didn't even know about PH when he did his building, I'd say that is a great result. He admits that had he known about it, hew would have made just a couple of changes to meet the criteria.

If I was in the market for a PH, what assurance of PH performance could you provide for the amateur efforts?

Well, in this case, I would point you to his utility bills and the actual consumption. Modelling is great, (and this guy modelled his place out the ying yang) and is an objective indicator, but is the real world performance that counts. EPA mileage figures are an indicator, but it is the real world performance that counts (remeber the 230mpg claim for the Volt?)

Utility bills would be misleading, if for example you turned off the heat or went on vacation in the winter or used wood

Using wood is allowed under PH, no problem with that. As for the electricity, you can look at the monthly consumption from the utility and see if there is a period relating to turning off the heat.

But the idea of the passive house is that it hardly needs any heat at all. In the case of thee guys, where the primary heat is wood, if the went away you would see the electric heat come on to prevent freeze up.

It is much easier to fudge data and inputs into a model, than it is to fudge real world, utility measured consumption. A model can't predict thermal bridging or air leakage from poor construction, but the real world usage can. Given that you have said the contractors will cheat anyway, why would you put your faith in the model and not the actual data.

We have seen enough ideas and models on this site to solve the world's energy problems three times over - what counts is what actually gets done, and how it performs in real world use.

These guys did, and it performs very well indeed - about 75% reduction compared to standard houses. Even if retrofits only achieved half this performance, that would be an outstanding result.

Also, making houses out of strawbales, dirt or corn cobs is stupid.

That is a ridiculous statement. Kinda freaky to me. Living in economical, environmentally friendly, low energy housing is "stupid."

Who would want to buy such a house from you? What bank would offer a mortgage on such property?

Ah, now there's the stupidity: building a house in the current context as an investment. The future you see and the future I see are radically different, perhaps.

Yes, it is Passivhaus standard. And yes, it is more expensive than e.g a single glassed plywood house. But with a 30% higher per capita GDP in the USA than Germany, price can't be the explanation for why it gets a lot higher adoption e.g. in Germany than in the USA.

It is also possible that that standard will be mandated for all new houses by 2020 in parts of Europe. So not all that limited.

In my opinion, the reason for the energy efficiency difference between North American and northern European houses is that all US infrastucture has been build around cheap energy. If energy had been as expensive in North America as in Europe, we would by default have smaller more energy efficient houses, smaller more energy efficient automobiles, much better public transit, more compact cities, high-speed rail, etc.

So the solution to our low efficiency infrastructure is simply expensive energy. The fix is easy and effective, just raise energy taxes to European levels. But since polititians are unwilling to do this, peak oil will force the change at a much higher cost.

I keep wondering why TOD people don't keep hitting this obvious fact- you can solve a lot of very big problems with one step- make the price of energy equal its true, all up, summed over everything-cost.
I like the fee-rebate idea. When I described it to my good friend who writes for newspapers, he immediately responded-"great idea, but politically impossible". Damn! we ought to outlaw that dodge. An excuse for good people to do nothing, and all of my friends use it, all of the time.

Need a long, long list, constantly repeated, of politically impossible's that have happened. Hey, when I was a kid in the rural south, the thought of an even semi-black president of the USA was way way way out politically impossible.

Put the true cost on energy, and better jump quick to the side- there will be so many great ideas popping up all around you. One I just did- took all the discarded packing material from a local business, and dumped it in a trench around my little guest house. I am guessing I have about R-100 walls-- for near nothing but the hired pickup and driver. Very cosy-- and very quiet- except for that slow slithering sound of big black snakes sneaking thru the interstices looking for mice .

Radiation "hotspots" hinder Japan response to nuclear crisis

Hisao Nakamura still can't accept that his crisply cut field of deep green tea bushes south of Tokyo has been turned into a radioactive hazard by a crisis far beyond the horizon.

"I was more than shocked," said Nakamura, 74, who, like other tea farmers in Kanagawa has been forced to throw away an early harvest because of radiation being released by the Fukushima Daiichi plant 300 kilometers (180 miles) away.

"Throwing way what you've grown with great care is like killing your own children."

Killing our own children pretty much sums up what global industrial civilization is now all about.

"Throwing way what you've grown with great care is like killing your own children."

Hey, Hisao, just hang some dosimeters on them, you'll feel much better... it works for your children!


No one could possibly have predicted that there would be far-flung regions of localized radionuclide contaminated hot-spots in Japan.

"Under pressure to provide a more accurate picture of the contamination, the Ministry of Education has promised to complete a detailed survey of the evacuated area by October." But the problems exist outside of that area...

"...a government group that is urging thousands of tonnes of contaminated soil to be cleared off and then sent to storage..." That would be your "Top Soil".
"Topsoil is the upper, outermost layer of soil, usually the top 2 inches (5.1 cm) to 8 inches (20 cm). It has the highest concentration of organic matter and microorganisms and is where most of the Earth's biological soil activity occurs."

"I never believe anything I hear any more on radiation," said Shukuko Kuzumi, 63... I want to dig a hole in the ground and scream."

Any random comments?

Japanese and their land are one. Asking them to destroy the land is like a death of thousand cuts.


And another un-predicted consequence ...

Nuclear retreat to add 30 percent to CO2 growth: IEA

The International Energy Agency warned last month that a political goal to limit climate change to safer levels was barely achievable after global emissions rose by near 6 percent in 2010.

A halving of nuclear power growth would make the task even more difficult, said IEA chief economist Fatih Birol.

"We believe this huge emissions increase plus the rather bleaker perspective for nuclear power put together make the 2 degrees target very, very difficult to achieve."

What if all new houses were made Passive Houses and their was massive retrofit to existing houses as compared to growth in nuclear energy? Might be an interesting exercise.

Yes. In cost/watt-hour, the cheapest way to make more energy available is through conservation. Money invested in insulation delivers more available power than money invested in coal, nuclear, wind, etc.*

I'm not finding the graph I wanted to present, immediatly... Here are some all-inclusive articles that do not make the point well:

* At this stage of the game, in America.

"their was massive retrofit to existing houses"

Actually it would be cheaper to tear down most existing houses and start over. Especially if they can do them as manufactured or panel-built houses. Otherwise you would have to do every house as a custom refit. Mine would start with a new foundation, as the old one has no rebar, which is required by current Code, and you have to set the outer wall (to hold the super insulation) on something. And the nightmare would escalate quickly from there. I'm under no delusions about this 1957 ranch.

Nope, have a track hoe rip up the whole house and cart it to the landfill, then dig a proper basement, and put up a new house. Total cost; maybe $200,000. All out of pocket. Payback period at $100/month electric bill (average) is 166 years. I think not. The interest payments on that principle would buy the electricity.

Now if the creaky electrical system burns the place down, then the insurance company will front about 2/3 of that cost, and then it's a different ball game.

Yair...I have always wondered...why do U.S. houses have basements? Storm shelters maybe?

It's a regional thing. In areas with deep frost lines, you have to build your foundation wall four or five feet deep to avoid frost heave. Once you've excavated that much, it doesn't take much more to put in a full basement, which doubles your square footage. Basements are not nearly as common in areas without a deep winter freeze.

Yair...Okay,I understand the frost thing but would it not be possible to drill piers down below the heave zone and set the house on (what to me) are conventional three inch pipe or box section stumps?

The stumps could be lagged to stop heat transfer and if the house was set a meter off the ground you have full access for underfloor insulation and installation and maintainance of services...not trying to be a smart ass, just asking thats all.

Even in a dry climate like ours I shudder at the thought of what in effect is a swimming pool built underneath the house. It could easily cost more than the entire house to build it...and you have to somehow keep the water OUT forever. Surely basements must get dank and horrible and I suppose you would need a pump in there for the worst case?

The footings for a house foundation have to be fairly substantial. One of the concrete pads under the basement floor in this house is 3 feet by 3 feet, 1 foot thick with rebar running in both directions because the post-and-beam framing concentrates the roof loads there. The foundation has to be strong enough to carry a lot of weight because houses can be very heavy, particularly with the snow loads we get. (This is Canada, BTW)

If you have a heated basement, the footings don't have to be as deep as they otherwise would be because heat from the basement prevents frost from forming under them. In this area the frost line goes down over 6 feet, but the basement is only 4 feet deep, which allows 3-foot high windows in the basement rooms.

In a cold, dry climate basements are highly livable. There's no swimming pool effect (in winter the indoor humidity is like the Sahara Desert) and the ground temperature doesn't change much, so it is warmer down there than upstairs on a cold day. In the summer, you can forget about air-conditioning the house, and just put a family room and few bedrooms in the basement, which will be cool enough for people to hang out in and sleep in on hot days all summer.

Almost all houses in Canada have basements, in my experience.

Yair... thanks RMG, it's bloody marvelous to be able to talk to folks and learn...I have never seen a house with a basement.


One way of getting around flooded basements is to build on a hill not the flood plain as is so popular in many parts of the world especially the USA ;) Had a basement in my last house, being on a hill with sand soil helped keep it very dry. Concrete run off to keep water from soaking in near the house is a big help too. Hill and basement are on the shopping list for my next house.


Weeping tile around the foundation is useful for keeping basements dry, and if all else fails, a sump pump. It's nice to be able to connect the sump pump to a backup generator when things get really bad.

See Avoiding Basement Flooding for more details.

Putting the house on a hill helps if you have one. However, if you don't have one, you can build one.

Well, if you are sitting in a house on the Tropic of Capricorn in Australia, the problems of frost heaves damaging the foundation and snow loads collapsing the roof are likely not a major concern. However, since Australia has some of the most poisonous snakes and spiders on earth, you might worry about what could take up residence if you had a basement. Building on a concrete pad is probably the easiest way.

In Canada we just take the concrete pad and sink it 4-6 feet deep in the ground to get it below the frost line. That gives us an extra floor for storage and spare rooms, more or less for free.

Also, the plumbing coming into the house has to be below the frost line to prevent it from freezing - typically 8 feet deep here. If you have a heated basement, you just bring it up through the basement floor and put all the plumbing in the basement ceiling. You can easily hide the pipes (and electrical wires) with a dropped tile ceiling at the loss of a little bit of headroom. If you don't have a basement, plumbing it becomes much more difficult, and there is a risk of having the pipes freeze at some point.

Houston, which I have visited often, is hot and wet enough that you would only want a basement if you wanted to raise alligators. They usually build on concrete pads and put their plumbing into the attics. However, they do have occasional freezing spells there, and I was down there shortly after one. They said that the cold snap had done more damage than the previous hurricane due to all the pipes bursting in the attics and flooding the houses. Also, the houses there have to be much bigger than here because they don't have all that free basement storage area for all their stuff. And they, like us, have huge amounts of stuff.

""Nope, have a track hoe rip up the whole house and cart it to the landfill, then dig a proper basement, and put up a new house.""

This statement, pretty much says it all...So many wrong headed ideas in that post. Sad, actually, about the mindset in the US. Nothing, should be going to the Landfill. Everything in a House can be rebuilt, reused or recycled. I spent many years at a part time job, during my youth, taking apart old Houses, Industrial Buildings, Barns, etc. for reuse and recycle. Nothing from about 50 buildings, ever went into the Landfill. Steel, wire, wood, glass, even the concrete and stone foundations. All taken apart by hand.

Superinsulation of existing structures can be done, in ANY type, size, or shape Building. Why waste so much?

Like I said in a previous post, "a million excuses why they can't".

The Martian.

You don't know about the new "prove your house does not have lead paint" rules, do you. Or the older "prove your house has no asbestos" rules. Or obviously about the uniform building Code, and zoning law requirements.

Your larger point is not wrong though; most of these exist to drive up the cost of remodels and therefore stimulate the market in new houses, which is more profitable for the politically connect building and real-estate industries.

It now costs $5000 to have a Professional Engineer approve the plans for a basement, a requirement the Legislature rammed through not long ago. As if it was difficult to pour one.

Having looked into the economics of all this in 2007/2008, I stand by my assertion as well. Although superinsulation of existing structures can be done, it's not cost effective, at least not here. Even my ductless heat-pump is marginal at best if based only on energy savings.

Man oh man, I must be in the wrong branch of engineering. My modest fee to review plans doesn't come anywhere near that. I hear "I just want you to look at this and stamp it". Right. I charge for that, just nowhere near $5000. The other classic line is, "I just want some you to give me some advice....." Not a problem. Happy to. I charge for advice.

It's possible to do a lot with some fresh thinking and a few compromises.

For example, we know that the best window is worse than the worst wall. And my windows aren't the best, but I don't want to gush 20 grand to upgrade. So last winter I bought some 4x8 ft rigid foam board panels and cut them to fit the inside of all my windows. During the day I store them against the ceiling using shelf brackets and childproof cabinet latches. Putting them all up at night takes about three minutes and makes my windows perform better than the best triple glazed argon filled windows on the market. Total cost was less than $100.

Say I wanted to super-insulate my home without going a quarter million dollars into debt. Well, the shell of the house is already there, it's weathertight, and it's already insulated. With some additional framing I could add 6 more inches of insulation to the inside of all four walls, below the floor, and above the ceiling. It would make the rooms smaller, but if the alternative was to live through the winter at ambient temperature I'd get over it mighty fast.

I suspect we'll see a lot more different solutions like this as heating costs rise.

The worst wood frame wall is about R-4. 1" of foam is an R-5, so you might claim that you were more efficient but windows might only cover 5% of your exterior wall area. Rwall-3.4 overall =1/(.05/1+.95/4) versus Rwall-4.04= 1/(.05/5+.95/4).
A small 15% improvement in the overall wall.

Try insulating the stud walls with blown in cellulose ($1.25 per sf) instead, the Rwall -7.2= 1/(.05/1+.95/10.7). A good time to do it is when replacing your siding which lasts about 12 years in vinyl.

95% of the wall at $1.25 for R-7.2 is more effective than 5% of the wall with super efficiency windows at $15 per sf to get R-4; $1.25 x 95%/7.2=.16 <5% x $15/4.04=.18. A cheap alternative to
new windows is to just add storm windows which double the window R value.

Most building codes require windows for natural light and ventilation as a health and rights issue so your 'home improvement' isn't something that you could sell as a feature of your house any more than you could claim you were super efficient in water heat by turning off your water heater or super water conserving by removing your toilet and building an outhouse.

Forest for the trees, Maj.

As everyone knows, all it takes to burst someone's balloon is a little prick, but what does that really accomplish?

There's no reason GOWHN can't triple his window insulation as he showed, AND insulate his walls, while he says he's already got insulated walls to start with, and is looking at ways he might be able to take the next steps. Windows ARE a weak link, and they lose convective, conductive and radiant heat from a house.. it's not just about surface-area, while a 15% improvement is a decent step forward in any case..

You've spent a good amount of time sneering by single-quoting peoples 'Home Improvements' and 'Amateur' projects, suggesting that all they are trying to do is "Sell" their improvements to the Real Estate Community. It's possible that they are after actual OUTCOMES and not just Measurable Comps for Resale.

Pricking balloons of delusion should be what this site is about, not nuturing false thought processes. (In reality, TOD is propagating more nonsense than it should.)

GOWHN didn't triple his window insulation--he got rid of his windows!

My 'sneering' is just applying critical thinking to achieve an
honest result. Houses are not 'simple'--look thru the Internation Residential Building Code. These are the largest investments most people will make in their lives and subject to building, zoning codes and even the opinions of neighbors.
It's not rocket science but it's also not for weekend warriors, beyond small gains like blowing a few inches of insulation into attics.

He didn't get rid of his windows. He made shutters for them, used only at night.

This was a common practice in the old days, and makes perfect sense. Most people shut the blinds/curtains at night anyway, since you can't see out of windows when it's dark outside and light inside.

Exterior insulation would make some sense from an energy standpoint but who'd get off their butts to close large window shutters from the outside (second floor?)?
Interior insulation like curtains would trap heat in the summer and in the winter form a spot for condensation possibly rotting the window frame(a serious issue).

Exterior shutters are generally to protect windows from wind, storms, etc.

Interior shutters are meant for insulation. No need to go outside to close them. The ones he describes sound like they are entirely removable, but in old illustrations you often see interior shutters that are designed to fold closed, like exterior ones. Takes no longer than shutting the drapes.

Do you have a link to such a product(insulating shutters)?

Solid shutters have fallen out of fashion, but many older homes have paneled interior shutters, like this. Shutters that fold over the window from the inside were common in the old days, and are still found in Europe.

For more modern window treatments...

Moveable Insulation

Thermal Shutters and Shades: Over 100 Schemes for Reducing Heat Loss Through Windows

Pop-in shutters are a great solution for someone who can't do larger renovations (for example, renters).

Exterior shutters I have no problem with as an insulation solution, but did you see the size of those big suckers(8'x4')?
They must have heavy duty operators.

Still, this crude solution wouldn't be favored by PH as they rely on solar heating in January

Besides, I think people have a reasonable expectation of natural illumination and nobody won't want to live in a sightless box.

Renters can't usually alter their apartments with pop-in shutters or even solar films, that's the landlord's prerogative.

Don't they have hinges where you live?

Maybe we should be calling them 'Openers' so you can remember that one would install them to open during the daytime, and let in that sun. In fact, with a good insulated shutter (err, Opener), you could probably have just the basic double paned, unfiltered, ungassed windows and still come out ahead. Nighttime and gray or stormy days are the real killers.

It wouldn't take all that much to put a 1/4" rod through the window framing with adequate seals in order to turn a crank and open/close these Shutters whenever desired.. or run a piece of 18ga copper wire and do it with a simple DC Gear-motor. (Technology that has been opening and closing awnings for a few decades already)

Landlords up here (and I am one as well) are not unwilling to work with tenants over reasonable projects.. you're tossing out broad-brush challenges, and why? This stuff is not that hard to figure out, and a lot of us are very aware that the hour is growing late.

Heavy curtains are probably even an attractive option that would improve insulation and be considered stylish too.

Funny that there is all this fuss. Renters and home owners can use foam core or curtains or shutters. Lots of great solutions that will make your home bleed less heat.

Curtains are a good start, and I'm generally surprised to see how many people have a lot of windows and don't put anything over them throughout the winter. They call them Window Quilts up here, while the radiant effect alone is quite perceptible, and my Mom would feel the difference just putting a thin layer of cotton up there, like Bedsheet.. going past a dark, cold window and you feel the chill of where a wall should be reflecting the room and body heat back at you, but isn't.

Inside Curtains do need a block at the bottom and sides, as you can feel the icy air flowing out below them after it has cascaded down the face of the window. Also, if you have cut off the airflow across the window's inner face, you aren't feeding it that moisture any more either, and the condensation is drastically reduced or even eliminated. (Humidity levels in wood-heated homes and others can be pretty low)

It's not a "sightless box." The shutters are meant to be opened in the morning and closed at night - just like drapes and blinds. Most people do that anyway, since otherwise everyone can see in (and you can't see out anyway, at night).

You can use pop-in shutters if you're a renter, because they don't require making any changes to the structure or window. They just pop in and out. Not nearly as big a deal as solar film. Less than drapes, even.

That's why people who actually research the topic say that sealing air flows is the most important step. If you just add insulation to above the ceiling but there are all sorts of conduits for hot air to flow through it, you will not get much benefit.

If your put insulating curtains on your windows but don't caulk, you are still going to get a nice stream of cold air coming in and warm air going out. And if you do caulk well, you are right that thick curtains could lead to major condensation problems. Better on the inside to have have pieces that seal the windows in with little to no house air getting in so condensation is minimized. Exterior shutters are also a good idea, and somehow I think it just might be possible to rig something up that closes those from within. Someone in our neighborhood has such a device.

Of course, once you seal your house well, you, ironically, have to then essentially knock a new hole in the wall to ventilate all the moisture that builds up or you rot the entire house out in not time--and that will obviously lose you a good deal of heat, too, unless you have some kind of heat exchange.

But that increases complexity, and we all know what Tainter says about that.

So, yeah. It's complicated, but, in my opinion (and hope?), not impossible. These are exactly the issues I am struggling with this summer. Any useful suggestions would be most welcome.

Oh, and let me add that exterior insulation alone may cause problems in snowy environments, it seems to me, since the heat that will go up the wall space--unless that is somehow also sealed and insulated at the top--but will also melt a line of snow that will then freeze right below it and that repeated process will eventually make an ice damn with a nice little or big reservoir or lake of water behind it, water that will drip down your walls and could eventually destroy the home. We had a lot of that around here this last winter.

But maybe I missed something about how they do exterior insulation. Has anyone had this done? Did they have these problems? If not, what did they do to avoid them?

That's why it always struck me that, if you want to go beyond what your existing wall can hold, insulation levels should be added to the inside rather than the outside, and of course well sealed. This will involve some loss of space, but most American homes are grossly over-sized anyway.

All it takes is cold glass to form a surface to condense water vapor and in the summer you'd have a hot surface closer to the interior(asssume you would close the shutter to keep out the heat of day.
Caulk and seal will reduce air infiltration which not confined to the window area but mainly comes in from the building sill, roof header,etc. But effectiveness is always a problem. It's pretty much hit or miss.
Wood frame buildings move and brick work collects moisture overtime.
Water leaks in the walls and water vapor from humans moves to the outside.
Forced air systems and exhaust fans put the building under extra negative pressure.
Real building physicists with real jobs are exploring these issues
it's not trival stuff as in,

So, yeah. It's complicated, but, in my opinion (and hope?), not impossible.

If you want help, you need to describe your house and where you live in detail. My recollection is that you live in the Deep South, which is a very hard area on housing.

People would like to live close to the elements in something like the Japanese minka timberframe houses with paper walls but these will only last 25 years before being totally replaced.

I like Japanese traditional architecture for its excellent space planning efficiency but energywise they're terrible.


Where did I say it was trivial?

And, no, I live in the far north--Minnesota. I have a fried that I am consulting with who is trained and experienced in the field and I plan to consult with a few more people.

I did live in the Deep South for a while. We rented, but all the houses we rented showed signs of damage from termites--very hear on housing indeed!!

Just trying to keep the conversation going and maybe turn it away from acrimony toward practical possibilities.

We keep our house at about 60F or lower most of the time in the winter, and rarely use AC. I would like it yet colder in the winter, but I'm not the only decision maker in the house.

But I do think it is an interesting tension between a tight seal and too much moisture. Does anyone have experience with a heat exchanger? I don't really quite get the physics of them. It seems to be more than just having the cold air coming in sit next to the warm air going out for a while so the temperature between them neutralizes a bit, but maybe I'm wrong.

""But I do think it is an interesting tension between a tight seal and too much moisture. Does anyone have experience with a heat exchanger? I don't really quite get the physics of them.""

Not much physics involved, actually...the fundamental modes of heat transfer are:
Conduction or diffusion......
The transfer of energy between objects that are in physical contact
The transfer of energy between an object and its environment, due to circular fluid motion
The transfer of energy to or from a body by means of the emission or absorption of electromagnetic radiation
Mass transfer......
The transfer of energy from one location to another as a side effect of physically moving an object containing that energy

What you need, I've built many of. An inexpensive one, can be built for a few bucks. An Air to Air heat exchange tube. Make it out of 4in. PVC, 10 foot length, slice it down the middle so you get two long halves, put a piece of unformed copper gutter sheet between the two halves, seal with RTV and a few worm clamps. Mount the ends as needed, pipe into any space,with a slope to the outside for condensation drain. Mount a 12vdc battery fan, solar charged as needed on the inbound side for positive pressure in the space. Add any filters and fittings as needed... PVC can be made into almost anything.

All the items can be found from a recycle center or scrap yard. Even new, you have about $100 at the most. I've built them out of 6" and 12" tube as well.
In the Attic, down a wall....wherever and it's never seen or heard from.

Choose Wisely.
The Martian.

Dang, Martian, I am slightly jealous that I didn't think of that. I use the same split pipe for other things, but somehow didn't think of the counter current heat exchanger. Am gonna try one right away. Will get rid of that really ugly big heat exchanger I put in the living room to take cold cistern water and wring the wet out of our summer interior.

BTW, for us just-do-it types, is there a way to put simple sketches of such as Martian's clever pipe here so everybody in the world can stop by every now and then and pick up all our brilliant built -from-junk ideas?

BTW, for us just-do-it types, is there a way to put simple sketches of such as Martian's clever pipe here so everybody in the world can stop by every now and then and pick up all our brilliant built -from-junk ideas?

Sure, there are a number of free services that allow you to upload images, I use Photobucket, just upload your drawing and include a direct link in your post, like so:


BTW that particular schematic is something I made from a low amperage of the shelf automotive remote for keyless entry and ignition coupled with a higher amperage standard relay so that I could turn on a string of 12 volt LEDs remotely even though the string exceeded the Amp capacity of the remote by itself. Feel free to use it >;^)

I haven't played with this yet, but I know many folks are using Google Sketchup to create designs and simple illustrations, such as you're looking to do.


As far as Air/Air heat exchangers, I saw an exploded view of one, and it would also be pretty easy to fabricate if you had access to a bunch of sheet metal (possibly just a roll of roof flashing.. It has a great amount of surface area, and looked like it would be easy to maintain, clean, rebuild as necessary.

I do appreciate Martian's approach as well. Always good to have a few different types to mix and match our solutions from. I'll try to make a basic sketch later this morning, and drop it here.


Unfortunately Sketchup doesn't extend to Linux even though they have it for Mac :(


EDIT for spilling misteak

I'm interested in ways to get moisture out of rooms, but I don't quite get how this works yet. Is the pipe an open tube into the room? I'll figure it out eventually but if someone could provide a more complete explanation it would save me some research.

The off-the-shelf device is called an HRV or heat recovery ventilator, and it has a fresh air intake, and a stale air exhaust, and it has extensive amount of thermal-exchange surface area in order to extract the heat from the outgoing air and give it to the input air.

That's as much as I can offer.. I have a tenant's drain at 'mid-fix' right now.

Thanks all. My problem with the physics was that I had the understanding that with some exchangers you actually end up with the incoming air being at room temperature--considerably warmer than the outgoing air. But I may have misunderstood something.

With a straight heat exchanger your incoming air into the room should be at the same temperature that it is leaving the room. The leaving air should be at the same temperature as it exits to the outside as the ambient air. You may want to put some turbulators in so that you don't get a skin of un exchanged air next to the surface of the pipe away from the metal conductor.

If your interior air is warm and moist while outside is cold then you may get condensation in the outflow and if warm/moist outside (like we have here) and cold in the house then you may get condensation in the inflow. I would suggest a drain hole in either side at the bottom. It may be good to have removable end caps so you can wash out the 2 sides to eliminate muck and fungus. You can always add some filter material, acrylic wadding or a car air filter to the air coming in. Flow could be boosted by a 12V computer fan run off a solar panel,. If you filter the air in and boost it then that can help keep a positive pressure and dust out of the house. Just some thoughts.


OK, that's the point I don't get. Shouldn't it come in at an average of the temp of the incoming and outgoing air temps if they are just being allowed to come to some kind of equilibrium? Is there some active heating going on?

What has been described here is a "counterflow" heat exchanger, where the hot fluid (air) flows in the opposite direction to the cold fluid. So, the cold incoming fluid takes heat from the hot fluid as it moves, but is moving towards the hot inlet, so the very last part of the hot fluid that it is exchanging with, is the incoming part. In an ideal (100% efficient) HX, where all the heat is exchanged, the cold fluid will come out at the incoming temperature of the hot fluid, and, because all the heat has been exchanged, the hot fluid will come out at the incoming temperature of the cold fluid.

What you are thinking of is a "co-current heat exchanger, where the two fluids flow in the same direction. Then there will be some equilibrium reached, and both fluids will come out at the same temperature.

a god, brief explanation of them is here;

A variation on the co-current is the "crossflow" heat exchanger, where one fluid flows in the X direction, and the other at 90degrees, the Y direction. The radiator in your car is an example of this. Many HRV's are actually crossflow types - they are very cheap to make, and very compact. Counterflow ones, for air, need a long path for good exchange, hence the 10's suggested here. A crossflow can do the exchange is about one foot.

Thanks, Paul. That makes sense. Very interesting.

Counterflows have been common in Europe for some time, I was looking at them mid to late 90s. Fresh air is brought in to rooms such as bedrooms and exits via kitchens and bathrooms. Keeps the house fresh. The common designs then were a stack of very thin plates with alternate flow between plates. Crossflow similarly. Difference really was a rectangular box with in and out on each end or square with a connection on each side.


Leak Sealing is also key.. but that doesn't contradict my point that pretty much anybody can learn how to use a caulk gun, weatherize doors, seal the foundation or the rim joist, etc..

I'm very into the reintroduction of exterior shutters built with insulation in mind. Opening and closing them, and having them seal up a bit... I'm looking into mechanical and electric options, it's not a no-brainer but hey, I've got a brain.. and crosswords are a little unfulfilling for me. And once I find a design I like, copying it for all my windows and maybe all yours.. that's a lot easier!

Dude. Decaf. I'm talking about simple inexpensive stuff that a person can do to save heat. The kind of thing an average family could do without a lot of resources come crunch time. I don't give a flying crap about tarting the place up for resale value and I'm not deleting any windows.

As I said my walls and ceiling are already insulated. The windows are double pane but not the fancy low e type. That makes them the biggest source of heat loss. Gee, I wonder what's a cheap and easy way to cut down that heat loss. Hmmm.

The foam board is 2" thick and it cuts nicely with a sharp fillet knife, so that's an instant and easy R-10 for all the windows. You can feel the difference immediately, and the heater cycles a lot less too. I managed to find white foam so I didn't have to look at that obnoxious pink stuff. I dressed all the edges with clear packing tape for durability.

The panels weigh about 1 lb and take about 10 seconds each to put up. I can make a lap of the house in just a couple minutes. When not in use they lift out and store up against the ceiling. But if that's too much for you then come up with your own bright idea.

As you noted, there will be condensation between the foam and the glass. So you can't leave them up all the time. That's why I take them down every day, even in the spare bedroom. I did that all last winter with zero condensation damage.

This is a great idea. And as you say, if you remove the covers during the day the condensation will dry. I have some friends who do this and sewed attractive covers for them. When I was a kid I would carve boats out of the pink and blue foam and then paint it with Acrylic Gesso that is normally used on painting canvases. It makes a tough waterproof surface that takes paint really well.

I have thought about using polycarb greenhouse glazing on the exterior of north windows. The half inch stuff can reach R 3 or better and still let in half the light. The upper half of exterior windows are not really needed in the winter. Those could get the R10 solid insulation.

Old houses used to change out storm windows for screens in spring and fall. Maybe now it will be insulation panels for screens? I have also been in old Victorian houses that had mirrored interior window covers. They pulled down at night to reflect more light back into the room.


One more variation I'll leave here in case folks are weighing options is to use a tarp/awning material (Like Sunbrella) and an insulation layer or two or three, and have them roll down from a box above as EXTERIOR window insulators. These would probably want to go in track/rails on either side, and have an airflow block at the top, but not too necessary at the bottom, as the Air movement would be pushing up and out the sides.

This might be a solution for much larger windows, or windows that didn't have room to their sides for a classic shutter design. I've been thinking it might be fun to paint landscapes on the insides of Insulated Shutters, or put art there somehow, to make up for the lost view. (Tralfamadore?)

Even if it doesn't seal, creating a pocket of relatively still air outside the window is going to be a big help over free flowing, completely open air. Use a bit of heavy pipe at the bottom with string and make a roll up blind.


Uh huh.

You're speaking to a crowd of people, many of whom have built houses, installed their own alt-energy gear, seen neighbors do the same.. some are pros, some are not. Say it as many times as you like.. it just makes you seem like a fool, since we've seen these kinds of decrying claims disproved all our lives. What's your point?

No, houses aren't simple.. and neither are people. Even folks who will never read the IRBC or whatever its acronym plays out as, or people who may never have finished High School can and do make drastic improvements in their home's performance.

Just think, if they're smart enough to spray 3" of cellulose into the attic, it's possible that they're even smart enough to spray 20" in there, with bonus points if they can figure out (maybe with the help of a carpenter they know) how to reinforce the ceiling under the extra weight, or make themselves a proper access hatch.

Your imperious belittlement does as much to show how each of us has the power to discourage many others, as it does trying to prove that normal folks DON'T have the power to make real improvements in their own situation.

The goal isn't about 'reaching Passivhaus certification' or LEED Cert, etc.. it is about using as little polluting energy as possible, taking responsibility, and learning how to do things better than we did them before.

You speak to something that I've railed about my whole life. I hate this idea that if you want to do something, you have to pay a "professional" to do it for you. The idea that nobody is capable of doing anything for themselves is a modern idea that I can't stand! It's made us into a bunch of slaves to a system that belittles us to no end. That's why we say we can't do anything to change things, because we won't do anything to change things. The first thing I do when I want to do something that I don't know how to do isn't to pay someone else to do it for me or say I can't because I can't afford to pay them, instead I learn how to do it for myself!


One of the problems with LEED and PassivHaus, while I'm glad to see the push overall, is the refuge it gives to those who like hiding behind officialdom and authority.

For me as a RadioShack Nerd, the shorthand was this one..

"No User Servicable Parts Inside. Please refer servicing to qualified service personnel."

I mean really, it doesn't take a PHD and a pass from city hall to figure out that putting on another sweater will help you stay warmer.

One of the problems with LEED and PassivHaus, while I'm glad to see the push overall, is the refuge it gives to those who like hiding behind officialdom and authority.

Agreed - it becomes a "branding exercise". Many commercial buildings have been "built to meet LEED X", but not actually certified as the process is too onerous. This may come as a surprise to the LEED folks, but most people building stuff want to build it with less bureacracy, not more.

LEED and PH should both turn their stuff into an open source format. There are so many competing certification programs nows that they are risk becoming meaningless.

I mean really, it doesn't take a PHD and a pass from city hall to figure out that putting on another sweater will help you stay warmer.
Well, no, but a PhD has worked out just how much warmer it can make you, and much cooler your house can be for the same level of personal comfort, if you are that way inclined;

Insulation: first the body, then the home

After all, if your clothing is really good, you don;t need a home.

What do you mean open source?
PH trains people to use the PHPP software provided with the course (an Excel spreadsheet)to evaluate house plans. There is a test at the end.
Are you too cheap to take the course?


Why should untrained people be allowed to sell energy efficiency costing thousands of dollars to the public? Even a barber giving $5 haircuts has to trained.

I mean make it so that you don't have to use a PH consultant for everything.
I have no problem with them selling the excel spreadsheet, but I object to having to pay a consultant to tell me stuff I already know, or can find/work out for myself. Now, for those people who are not so technically inclined, and wish to choose to hire a consultant, that;s fine, but if I choose not to, and can design and build a house that meets the standards, that should be certifiable.

Creating a closed shop where you have to use their consultants does not leave the owner with many options, and especially at this early stage where the consultants are few and far between, there is no competition between them.

I'm sure architects would love it if you were required to use an architect for every house that gets built, but there's a re reason we don;t, and that is that is just too expensive.

The situation may start to resolve itself if standardised PH plans become available, but I can still see consultants finding ways to run up the hour meter. It puts the owner in an awkward position where the only thing between them and PH certification is the consultant - there is a fine line between the consultant being thorough, and over-servicing. Just as well we never see other consultants being tempted to cross that line - lawyers, defence analysts, consultants to governments etc etc.

Finally, what happens when the consultant signs off on the modelling etc ad then the house once built doesn't meet the criteria? is the consultant responsible? What protection is there for the owner, having paid all this money, if they then don;t get the PH sticker?

First of all, unless you are an architect you can't design a house at all by LAW, in most cases you can't design a shed or a deck either.
In the case of a Certified Passive House, that's being trademarked by PHIUS, so you won't be able to sell your house as a CPH, so call it something else(maybe Do It Yourself Energy Saving House).

Sounds like your objection is you don't want to pay for certified design and you want to say you built a PH, even though you didn't.
People always lie especially about big ticket items like houses then wink and say 'caviat emptor' and 'freedom of speech'.
When it happens in the Green field it's called 'greenwashing'.
If you were active in the field you'd know how epidemic it is.

The only criterion after a building has passed the PHPP program, for which he gets a certificate for the house, is the blower door test. Nobody worries about the owner's utility consumption because if the owner decides to go nuts on energy consumption he'll only succeed in overheating the house.

First of all, unless you are an architect you can't design a house at all by LAW, in most cases you can't design a shed or a deck either.

Well, if that's the law where you are then so be it.

Sounds like your objection is you don't want to pay for certified design and you want to say you built a PH, even though you didn't.

I don't expect to get someone else' design for free, if that's what you mean. I just don't want to have to pay for someone to tell me what I already know or can learn myself. Particularly if the on PH consultant is 700 miles away (as is currently the case).
The key metric for a PH are clear and objective - a knowledgeable designer/builder can meet them without a PH consultant, so I think the consultant should be optional. That's just my opinion, of course, and obviously not the way PH has decided to go. I think a lot more PH's would be built if it were otherwise. If you want to create an exclusive club, and protect a "brand" then you do what PH has done. if you want to get the most people building the most PH's then you would do it differently.

People always lie especially about big ticket items like houses then wink and say 'caviat emptor' and 'freedom of speech'.
When it happens in the Green field it's called 'greenwashing'.
If you were active in the field you'd know how epidemic it is.

Quite so. I am in the field and am well aware of it, and encounter people/companies pushing such dubious claims on a regular basis. That is one reason why I am firmly of the opinion that modelling is not enough, it must be complemented by follow up performance monitoring. What matters it what actually gets achieved, and how much energy is used/saved. And this is coming from someone who designs, models and implements water and energy conservation projects for a living.

The only criterion after a building has passed the PHPP program, for which he gets a certificate for the house, is the blower door test. Nobody worries about the owner's utility consumption because if the owner decides to go nuts on energy consumption he'll only succeed in overheating the house.

So we have one objective test (the blower door) that is not dependent on the owner, just the builder - a good start. These will be required on all new construction in BC from 2013.
But the airtightness is just a means to the real goal - reduced energy use. I don;t think it's correct to say the "nobody worries about the owner's utility consumption" because, many people do, especially in cold climates.
Sure it is possible that people can over heat a house, leave windows open etc, or do the reverse as you suggest and make the energy use artificially low. But that will be a minority of cases.

If the PH criteria is 15kWh/sq.m/yrt, then after a few years, I expect that 90 % of PH's should be meeting that - are they? Is anyone checking? If not, how valid is the claim?

If actual performance measures show that PH's are consistently not meeting their targets, then something is wrong, and/or the targets need to be changed

The first PH's in Europe did not actually meet their criteria.

So yes, the mileage can vary - but that is no reason not to measure it, as improving it is the whole object of the exercise.

Finally, if the building owner is a landlord, who is paying the heating bill (as is often the case, especially in multi unit housing) they will be very worried about the utility consumption. They have been the most pro-active clients of mine as profit = rent -expenses, and utilities are the biggest expense. A house/building that needs little heat energy regardless of the occupier's habits is highly desirable. For them the blower door test is an indication that the builder has done a good job, but that doesn't pay the gas bill - it is only the achieved energy savings that produce a monetary benefit.

And that was the original concept of the PH - that it can, by design, stay warm by itself, with minimal energy input. When you are relying on pro-active management by the occupiers, you average energy (and water) use will always be higher. The PH is intended to be energy efficient whether you want it warm or cold, and whether you are there or not.

First of all, unless you are an architect you can't design a house at all by LAW, in most cases you can't design a shed or a deck either.

GOSH! I'm glad I don't live where you do. If I did, by LAW I'd be homeless, not to mention shedless and deckless. They might even object to me framing, wiring, and plumbing the house, too.

Of course, I didn't get the design for free. The house package company built it into the cost of the lumber. And of course I had to have it approved by a professional engineer - but fortunately my brother was willing to put his engineer's stamp on the plans in exchange for half a bottle of rum.

I would have to agree with Paul Nash on this one. There is no reason to turn it into a make-work program for bureaucrats and otherwise unemployable architects. Building houses, even extremely energy efficient ones, is not rocket science.

Tangent, but important: See the "Work is Play" post of mine. Education went wrong when it went exclusively into classrooms.

20" of cellulose weighs an additional 6 psf.
Roofs are designed for 30 psf of snow/live load.
On average the weight of snow might be 20 psf.
So you had a 10 psf safety factor which you just cut to 4 psf.
What about snow drift?
Then you've got to figure if you 1/2" drywall supported 24" oc is capable of supporting the additional 6 psf it wasn't designed to hold up. Will the ceiling crack due to deflection of the new load?

Now, ask you carpenter friend if it will work.

Like I've been saying.. there are the engineers who use numbers to find POSSIBLE, and those who use them to find IMPOSSIBLE.

In the end, you're clearly happy being a little balloon popper.

Couple points:

1) The push to get us to hire experts is as much from governments as anyone. See, if you spend your weekend putting added insulation or caulking etc., other than the materials you purchase, that make no contrribution to national GDP (hurts "growth"), nor can it normally be taxed. Hire an expert, GDP rises and the contractor can at least be taxed on profits, politicians happier.

2) If you're going to add 20" of insulation to an atic space, please do make sure to leave sufficient vent passages from under the roof eaves to the attic space above the insulation. Failing to do so will/may rapidly damage the roof and probably entire structure from condensation. Vent troughs for stapling to the underside of the roofing to guarantee the venting are available at most decent building products outlets.

Good point.
On an inclined roof you need at least 2" of space between the roof sheathing and the insulation allowing continuous air flow from the eave soffit to vents located in the upper 1/3rd of the attic or a ridge vent. The area of the low soffit vents must equal the area of the high attic vents with the total area being a minimum of 0.33% of the attic floor area if a vapor barrier is provided or 0.67% with no VB.

Some stores sell stryofoam troughs which get smooshed easily down below 1/2" other sell unsmooshable steel ones but given the code language the better product is rarely installed.

Usually builders greatly undersize attic venting to avoid ugly openings which reduces the life of the roof--but they don't care,
they've already moved on to the next sucker..er..customer.

What's funny is the reaction of building departments.
Roof repair is considered normal maintenance so the contractor doesn't need to fix the problem, just replace like with like.
Fixing would cost the customer more money and the building was approved long ago so nobody says anything.

Its funny, the guy who did our Energy Audits last year was recommending going with the 'Hot Roof' option, where they would blow a fat layer of foam right up against the roofing, saying that the heat would only cost the roofing material 'a couple of years' of lifespan.

Well, I don't buy it personally.. I don't favor stressing materials to such a degree.. but I'm looking at putting up Metal for the next round anyhow.. can't really abide Asphalt anymore.

In any case, the 20" of insulation was a rejoinder to Majorian's suggestion that homeowners can get little farther than making piddling changes to their homes.. My family of Music Teachers built a house in the Maine woods that is still cheaper to heat today, 30 years later, for its current owner than his prior house down south in New Jersey.

Yes, you might have to read some books, do some math.. but people can do that, and they DO do that. They don't need Majorian's permission or respect to continue.

Clay tile will last a 100 years and not need replacement, but you will need to support it. ;-) Metal should be good. But you'll need to paint it.

I did the same with double sided foil faced foam several years ago. Cut to completely enclose the interior window cavity on north-there are 3 large picture windows(4'x6')- and east walls. I leave them up for the heating season. It's a joy to get new light in the spring, and we don't to either build or tear out the windows. Important thing seems to be sealing at edges-they can be tightly compression fitted, and a thin butter knife gets them out in the spring....but with this cold, cold spring, maybe should have left them in longer, at least till the 4th of July :).

Wow, this is surreal. There is a huge amount of embodied energy in our existing home structures and we've just spent a couple of decades building more of them than we could possibly need (yes, most of them are junk), we're facing serious energy shortfalls (and even bigger net energy shortfalls) and resource limitations, we're teetering on the edge of economic collapse followed by large social disruptions, and we don't even know what climate or weather we should design to.

Ripping them down is cheaper? Only in the terms of our absurd failed economic model, not in terms of any real accounting of energy and resources.

The housing industry is dead, regardless of if it's a Passive House or the ticky-tack stapled together crap they've been pawning off in the US. Insulate and seal what is there, open the windows in the summer and plant shade trees. But most of all get over the idea that a house must be some kind of constant temperature environmental chamber, and learn to adapt to life on planet earth. Reduce the temperature differential. Dress appropriately for the climate and season. If you're trying to live somewhere that does not have a survivable climate – move.

Codes, investments, payback periods, resale values – there will be acres of abandoned and partially salvaged dwellings in some places, municipal governments will be broke with few funds to pay for code enforcement, probably loads of migrants and squatters looking for shelter of any kind.

It's important to remember where we are and what is coming our way.

Not all that huge an amount of embodied energy.

A Minneapolis wood frame house lasting 50 years? has an estimated 651 GJ pf embodied energy of about 106 barrels of oil(boe).

Such a house might consume 20 boe of energy per year to heat and cool it.

An average car driving 12000 miles per year(600 gallons of gasoline) burns up ~13 boe per year.

The cost moving can be as much as $6k per year. The Sunbelt appears to be less inhabitable as it was considered before the invention of air conditioning with future heat waves expected.

You can't run away from your energy problems.

All US houses used 4.3 quads of energy in 2005 for space heating, so if ALL houses were PH you'd probably save about 4 quads (4 Tcf) of natural gas.

ALL US nuclear energy takes 8.4 quads of uranium to produces 2.8 quads of electricity.

"And another un-predicted consequence ...

Nuclear retreat to add 30 percent to CO2 growth: IEA"

What do you mean unpredicted? Plenty of people here predicted it.

Or did you mean un-intended consequence?

Surveying the damage, dealing with the hotspots, sounds like they are being responsible and prudent to me.

It's a good thing they are too, so that people don't get hurt, unlike what other industries get away with.

LoL. You should write for "The Onion".

Why, because I tell the truth even when it's unpopular?

Radiation is scary stuff because you can't sense it, but TEPCO and the Japanese government are doing what can be done to keep people from being hurt by it. The "clean, safe" natural gas industry should do half as well, but they don't, and natural gas is the nicest of the fossil fuel power sources.

No, its simply the use of words "responsible" and "prudent" being associated with those responsible for the worst nuclear disaster in history. Absurdity makes us laugh and The Onion uses it to great comical effect.

"The worst nuclear disaster in history" hasn't killed anyone yet Edit: from radiation, I am reminded that there was an industrial accident on site.

Rather mundane pipeline explosions kill people on a regular basis, destroy homes, and leave many injured behind, usually with very painful burns.


But at least they weren't exposed to nuclear radiation, so it's all good, right?

Well 5000 workers at other nuclear plants in Japan (not Daiichi) have recently tested positive for internal exposure, above the limit for nuclear workers, during routine whole-body scans at other facilities. Approximately 95% of them had spent some time in or around Fukushima Prefecture since the incident. Nobody seems to have tested a random selection of the general public, in the heaviest fall-out zones, for internal exposure - or if they have they are staying quiet.

There is a lot of debate about the effects of relatively low levels of internal exposure as opposed to external and the health of those exposed should be followed closely over the years to help firm up understanding of the long term effects.

There could be tens of thousands of fatal cancers to come or there might not but I see no reason to assume everything will be fine which is what you seem to be biased strongly towards.

I guess this guy doesn't count for you then:


Exactly how much of a heartless bastard do you want to come off as?

Do you think the statistical data that says that increased exposure to radiation leads to increased likelihood of cancer is all a bunch of hooey?

Do you think no on in Japan (at least) has not been exposed to significant increases in radiation?

Because this industry mostly kills slowly does not mean it doesn't kill.

Your logos is failing you here, as well as your pathos an ethos (or at least your empathy and ethics).

Exactly the kind of heartless bastard that doesn't count things as anything other than what they are.

A chosen death is a result of the choice.

Do you honestly think that just because I can easily point to prompt deaths from fossil fuel sources that fossil fuels don't kill slowly also?

What about the people who committed suicide due to losing their livelihoods to the GoM oil spill last year? Do they count for less because they weren't influenced by your pet cause?

I call nuclear safe because it is. 2 suicides and an industrial accident months after the worst nuclear incident in decades and you dare to say it is more dangerous than power sources that have killed more people directly this year alone?

Isn't it a bit early to conclude that there are no deaths from this disaster? Don't we need to wait several years to determine what the actual effects are? Having said that, I have long argued that I would rather have nuclear than coal and it may well be that this accident just confirms my judgement rather than refutes it.

But I don't think the evidence is in yet. And then there is the who argument about the likelihood of something like this happening again. But won't go there.

However, I think it is probable that further nuke expansion is virtually dead because of this disaster.

How long do we have to wait? 6 months? A year? A decade?

I think that nuclear power is too safe for people to trust. Everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Gotta love this!

How long do we have to wait? 6 months? A year? A decade?

As if you have no clue how radition and long-term illnesses work. No clearer evidence your posts are nothing but propaganda.

Long term illnesses from exposure are neither unique to radiation nor any more severe from radiation than chemical sources.

You'll have to do better than that.

Wasps kill people too. Are you seriously suggesting that wasps or pipeline explosions are on a corresponding scale to the disaster at Fukushima because they've killed people?

Fukushima is one event, its out of control, its beyond Japan's capabilities to fix it, the ramifications from it have spread around the world, its legacy will be measured in decades, it may even make large swathes of Japan uninhabitable and the true cost in human lives may never be known. Then we have that other nuclear event Chernobyl. Show me a single pipeline explosion that can match either of these nuclear events, or wasp sting if you prefer. I doubt whether a single accident can cause such widespread effects in any other industry other than nuclear, although BP have been trying very hard.

Now he'll drag out the statement that only 43 people were killed by Chernobyl, just wait! There's a reason that I no longer respond to some people here.

Chernobyl did definitely kill 43 people in directly identified ways, according to the WHO report.

You got a beef with them?

Obviously more than those 43 people were injured by fallout from Chernobyl, and some of those injuries have and will continue to result in deaths, this is no different from any major industrial accident that results in a toxic release.

There's a reason why I continue to bother to respond here even though a great many vociferous people don't want to hear what I have to say.

Ignorance and fear are no substitute for hard fact and reasoned analysis when dealing on a global scale.

Interesting article by Al Jazeera on the situation:


TEPCO announced that the accident probably released more radioactive material into the environment than Chernobyl, making it the worst nuclear accident on record.

Meanwhile, a nuclear waste advisor to the Japanese government reported that about 966 square kilometres near the power station - an area roughly 17 times the size of Manhattan - is now likely uninhabitable.

In the US, physician Janette Sherman MD and epidemiologist Joseph Mangano published an essay shedding light on a 35 per cent spike in infant mortality in northwest cities that occurred after the Fukushima meltdown, and may well be the result of fallout from the stricken nuclear plant.

I was scrolling through the comments to see if anyone had posted this link. If the article is even approximately right, it has to be one of the scariest things I have ever read. I am a little confused about the characterizations of the number of cores exposed. In any case, any comments on this story?

As far as I'm concerned, Amory Lovins put it best:

"Using atomic energy to make electricity is like cutting butter with a chainsaw".

He followed that up with one of my favorite quotes: "Nuclear energy is a future technology whose time has passed".

There's a reason why I continue to bother to respond here even though a great many vociferous people don't want to hear what I have to say.

To be honest I don't think someone pro nuclear wants to listen to what you have to say either, because it just isn't credible. I live within 30 miles of a nuclear facility, I trusted the industry to be competent enough to keep me safe at that distance, even allowing for the odd mishap. I assumed France's nuclear advantage would be a benefit in an energy constrained world. I was naive, Fukushima has proved that. Nuclear can wipe me out totally in a way that fossil fuels cannot, even with a leaking drilling rig in my back yard, a garden criss crossed with exploding pipelines and a co2 belching coal fired power station as a neighbour ever could.

Even spin has its limitations and you seem to have stumbled across them.

Actually comparing the outcomes of different technologies is not spin.

Real outcomes, not what might happen.

People talk about the risks of radiation as if they exist in a vaccuum rather than being surrounded by similar risks from comparable sources. I refuse to treat radiation as special and apparently that makes me some kind of monster.

Tip: radiation isn't special. Radiation and radioactive materials still have to follow the same laws of physics as everything else in the world.

Funny how most of the posts about the consequences are sympathetic stories with charismatic victims and indirect or hard to prove links to the original incident.

Almost like I'm supposed to FEEL that it is a bad thing, and not spend too much time actually thinking about it.

That IS spin.

Lead Poisoning in China: The Hidden Scourge

MENGXI VILLAGE, China — On a chilly evening early last month, a mob of more than 200 people gathered in this tiny eastern China village at the entrance to the Zhejiang Haijiu Battery Factory, a maker of lead-acid batteries for motorcycles and electric bikes. They shouldered through an outer brick wall, swept into the factory office and, in an outpouring of pure fury, smashed the cabinets, desks and computers inside.

News had spread that workers and villagers had been poisoned by lead emissions from the factory... One of them was 3-year-old Han Tiantian, who lived just across the road from the plant. Her father, Han Zongyuan, a factory worker, said he learned in March that she had absorbed enough lead to irreversibly diminish her intellectual capacity and harm her nervous system.

“At the moment I heard the doctor say that, my heart was shattered,” Mr. Han said in an interview last week. “We wanted this child to have everything. That’s why we worked this hard. That’s why we poisoned ourselves at this factory. Now it turns out the child is poisoned too. I have no words to describe how I feel.”

And this is the country that's going to be the leader in the 21st century?

The green EV future looks dim in China. Too expensive to do the responsible thing, and looky at American politicians hoping to cull those regulations back. LOL. Lead poisoning will be making a comeback. You know PVC from China is filled with Lead. PVC made in the US uses Tin stabilizer, but in China they do it cheapo with LEAD.

So your shoes, hoses, shower curtains, cables, -- all of it -- is bleeding lead into your home. All from China.

I was in my workshop when my wife called with the Blood-lead test for our daughter, 9mos old, 7 years ago. 29mg/dl.. where children trigger alarms for state action at 5. I crumbled.. just fell to my knees. It took a huge effort, but her levels were down to undetectable in a year or so.

We are all just immersed in thousands of invisible poisons, and being hit with RF, EM and other radiation sources.

It's a very tight corner we've Lead-painted ourselves into.

The Lead Battery Cartel shut down the last Nickel Iron NiFe "Edison Cell" Battery plant in the 70's. We clearly need toxic battery's that need constant replacement. For a lawnmower, Battery replacement can cost as much as the gas, no temp compensated charging cooks the battery on hot days. The Lead supply must be poisoned, seams that Lead Acid battery life continues to decline. There are spent / broken apart Lead acid plates spread every where you look in the countryside of the USA. I have speed weeks hauling soil away contaminated by Lead plates. Rome all over again?

For a lawnmower, Battery replacement can cost as much as the gas, no temp compensated charging cooks the battery on hot days.

Yair...something wrong there mate. I run a little golf course and we get four/five years out of batterys...hot enough too, we are on the Tropic of Capricorn.

I have a major gripe though about little engines with no manual start...it's a crazy situation when you can't hand start an eight horse engine on a Toro.

That sounds average, with temp compensated charge controller, and the quality of the Lead is good. Of course on golf course, the engine many not run long enough to damage the cells and the charge level is set for warm weather, but it would under charge in cold weather. I have a Kobota Tractor with an 11 year old Battery. but now have 3 batteries to take back to Tractor Supply, just weeks old. I guessing problems with recycled lead. The $8,000 plus batteries I use for PV systems have 99.9% pure lead - you get the cycles the manufacture states, at 15-25 cents per kWh life costs,

NiFe batteries are being made, in the USA, today.


Only source I know of is China, but need 4-10 more clients. Anyone know of domestic or other source of 100-800 Ah NiFe Batteries? There is a growing demand for NO Lead Batteries, LiFePo4 are great for transportation, but not yet cost effective for stationary and are totally unforgiving. The Battery management systems are costly and have a high failure rate. I hope they mass produce/standardize soon. I don't think you can kill a Nickel Iron Battery, Lead acids are toast the 1st cold weather full discharge for any duration.

Google is your friend or the same as I posted the other day


I often wonder why in ND,SD,NE,IA,MN the local papers obit's are loaded with so many late 80's 90's and 100's, after they mostly attended Country Schools loaded with lead based paint and asbestos insulation along with the homes and out buildings. Then in the summer they would mix arsenic with lime and shake it out of a toe sack on the potatoes and other vegetables to kill potatoe beetles and other bugs.


Maybe its because anecdotal evidence is not very reliable?

Maybe its because exposure doesn't always kill everybody, it just makes them a lot dumber?

Maybe that's why so many elderly in those states vote Republican against their own best interests and those of their kids and grandkids?

Perhaps all that ignorance keeps their kids and grand kids employed and unemployment below 5%.

I am also stumped by the fact that those states seem to have the highest school test-scores in the country.

"unemployment below 5%"

Stat source?

Most of them flee to the city for jobs. Perhaps those left in the country have whatever sh!tty jobs are left. Or maybe they have mostly stopped looking so they aren't counted as unemployed. Statistics, damn lies and all that.

Yo dipchip. You think lead, arsenic and mercury are harmless. I'll throw in chromium.

Now I have a glass of water in my lab. I added some of these metals to it for you. Call it a cocktail. Would you drink that glass of water?

Thanks for playing my game of roulette for folks like you.

"I'll throw in chromium."

What form of chromium? Metal? Cr2O3? I'll be happy to take your bet. Sodium dichromate? That's a metal of a different color.

Nickel-Chrome-Moly is an alloy used for implants in the human body. Nickel compounds are not exactly good for you either.

Liquid mercury will shoot right through your digestive system. Your stomach can't oxidize it to get it into solution. but Mercury vapor and it's Mad Hatter time. Methyl mercury? Now you are just plain dead.

The organic arsenic in seafood is much less toxic than arsenic trioxide.

Even for lead, many kids have swallowed lead fishing sinkers with no harm done. But lead oxide in paint, now they are in trouble.

Form (oxidation state) matters a lot.

Dimethyl Mercury

Working with Metal Organic Frameworks, the Karen Wetterhan story cautioned loudly.

Lead in particular has been a known toxin since ancient times. So we have people on here who want to take science back not just to the dark ages, not just to ancient times, but to archaic, neo- or paleo-lithic times?

How can one even have a conversation with such folks?

If lead paint is maintained so that it is not flaking or chipping, if all painted surfaces are thoroughly scrubbed during spring and fall housecleaning to remove any chalky surface dust, and if children are supervised and severely punished if they put anything but food in their mouths, then lead exposure is minimized.

The arsenic pesticides were kept away from children and IIRC mixed out of doors before being carefully applied. They were clearly marked as poisons with a skull and crossbones.

Continuously supervising and severely punishing children for putting things in their mouths... good luck on getting those children to grow up into responsible, happy, independent members of society.

A farm is a fairly dangerous place. There are lots of things that you don't want your kids to put in their mouths. There are occasions when immediate obedience to a command by an adult keeps them from injury or death.

The idea was that they should grow up as uninjured, healthy, responsible members of society. Independence was something to be earned. Happiness was pretty far down the priority list.

Yes I participated in the cleaning and always walk up wind of the bag with a stiff breeze in the late afternoon. We also were taught about plants and trees and what a nightshade plant was at a very early age. I lived through that time when resposibility and truth were paramount in your upbringing.

Merrill - Read a very interesting story years ago about the source of much environmental lead: soil. He didn't research the kids themselves but the environment directly. A much more common source than paint was the dirt the kids played in. And he easily showed the source of the lead: gasoline emissions. He collected thousand of soil sample along highways in New England and found a perfect correlation: the older the highway the higher the lead concentration. New roadways constructed after lead was removed show virtually no lead above normal background. The story highlighted the case of a very young child being treated for lead poisoning. There was no lead source in her home but the soil in her front yard was full of it....the home was next to a very old highway. Apparently playing in the dirt led to breathing in the dust/lead. The really sad party was her dumbsh*t mother. The child had her system flushed and would be OK but mom didn't know how she could keep it from happening again: after all kids like to play in the dirt. Here's a hint for mom: don't let your kid play in the yard.

It made sense to me: not that it couldn't happen but I grew up a very hungry child most of the time and not once was I ever tempted to eat pain chips. But I inhaled more dirt/dust as a child than I care to remember. And my playground was the inner city streets which had seen leaded gasoline for decades.

I inhaled more dirt/dust as a child than I care to remember. And my playground was the inner city streets which had seen leaded gasoline for decades.

I guess that explains the Aggie side of you?

Paleo - Yep...and it may be more than just a joke. I also grew up playing along a railroad siding for much of my childhood...lots of diesel burned around there. And did I ever mention that when I started my first year of high school I couldn't recite the alphabet all the way thru? Seriously. All I can imagine is that besides being truly yummy Blue Bell ice cream has some great healing capability. Seriously.

Rockman, this is a very interesting history of the discovery and promotion of tetraethyl lead in the early 1920s.

Charles F. Kettering and the
1921 Discovery of Tetraethyl Lead In the Context of Technological Alternatives


This paper discusses the technological and public health context of the 1921 discovery and subsequent development of the anti-knock gasoline additive tetraethyl lead. The discovery has long been seen as a milestone of systematic research and a vital turning point in the development of modern high compression engines. This paper will show that the choice of tetraethyl lead over other viable alternatives took place within the context of a complex controversy.

One important aspect of the controversy was public. After leaded gasoline entered the market in 1923 - 24, a fatal refinery accident drew news media attention to the poisonous nature of the full strength additive and the potential public health risk from fuel containing the dilute additive. Public health scientists insisted that alternatives existed, but industry in general and GM in particular vehemently insisted that tetraethyl lead was the only additive that could be used.

The controvery was never resolved because until 1991 virtually no primary documentary material was available in public archives. That year, General Motors Corp. released about 80 linear feet (40 file cabinet drawers) of materials from the office of Kettering's research assistant Thomas Midgley. The files date between 1917 and the late 1920s. They are "unclassified," meaning that they have not been fully catalogued, and were released to what was then the General Motors Institute (now Kettering University) in Flynt, Mich. They contain research reports, correspondence and internal memos from the Dayton, Ohio research labs headed by Charles F. Kettering which became the main research arm of the General Motors Corp. in 1919.

The documents reveal a second aspect of the controversy involving the auto industry's long term fuel strategy. At the time, around 1921, Kettering wanted to protect GM against oil shortages (then expected by the 1940s or 1950s). His strategy was to raise engine compression ratios with TEL specifically to facilitate a transition to well known alternative fuels (particularly ethyl alcohol from cellulose). However, Kettering lost an internal power struggle with GM and Standard Oil Co. directors of the Ethyl Corp. Kettering's strategy was discarded when oil supplies proved to be plentiful and TEL turned out to be profitable in the mid-1920s. But Kettering and others in GM clearly did not believe that TEL was the only fuel option.

Since Thomas Midgely died early, I thought that it might have been due to his earlier bouts with lead poisoning. However --

In 1940, at the age of 51, Midgley contracted poliomyelitis, which left him severely disabled. This led him to devise an elaborate system of strings and pulleys to help others lift him from bed. This system was the eventual cause of his death when he was accidentally entangled in the ropes of this device and died of strangulation at the age of 55.

Apparently he died of complexity.

I don't know where you are going with this, but lead exposure is not the explanation.

Because, obviously lead and arsenic and lead are good for you. Drink up since apparently you are convinced these things are not a problem.

What an unexpected thread.. but whether it's lead, Bisphenol A, Mercury, Antimony, Perchlorate, Phthalates, Dioxin, and we've finally named Formaldehyde this week, etc, etc.. it's hardly worth betting on which is the 'baddest one', since they're all mixing it up and partying in our endocrine systems now.

I was just thinking about how crushed I felt to discover this 9 month-old's levels were so high.. and I look at the thousands of families in Japan who are hearing that their homes might be unlivable and they and their kin have possibly been exposed to any number of compounds, and may not even have access to testing for many of them.

Pathos, indeed. Pathos in great numbers.

(and this so-far healthy, 7 year old girl is trying to get me to come upstairs and read her a story.. So Goodnight Jon Boy, Goodnight Pa!)

If we could just overturn all those crazy environmental and OSHA laws, and eliminate the last vestiges of those socialist communist Marxist unions, we could be making those batteries just as cheaply right here, in the good old United States of America, and everyone could have jobs again. Those should be OUR babies dying amid squalor.

I can not even imagine the tragedy for those parents. They gave up everything for their hope, their child.

Networks dominated by rule of the few

It’s like a Hollywood political thriller come true: a handful of people lurking in the shadows, controlling the minds of millions. New research reveals that it’s possible for a few individuals to enslave an entire network, even if they aren’t highly connected themselves.

Also,from MIT: How to control complex networks

Leanan, Rockman, et.al; Your secret is revealed - You're driver nodes ;-)

Re: In search of fuel in oil-rich UAE

Does refining capacity affect the outcome of the ELM model? The UAE has sufficient production of crude to meet their domestic demand, but not sufficient refining capacity, and they appear to be having trouble purchasing enough finished product to meet their domestic demand.

If the price that a foreign refiner charges is 50% of the UAE crude that they process, then the UAE's net exports don't fall to zero when production reaches domestic demand, they fall to zero when production reaches the smaller of domestic demand and domestic refining capacity.

I have no idea if this is a significant effect or not. Westexas?

UAE is going to make some major gasoline purchases this summer. The article offers some explanations, but essentially we see once again demand running ahead faster than growth of supplies.

Oil giant Total to help ease UAE fuel shortage
Tuesday, 14 June 2011 8:29 AM

Oil major Total has won a tender issued by the UAE's fuel retailer Emarat to buy an extra 100,000 tonnes of gasoline from June to September, traders said.

Petrol stations in the oil producer have experienced fuel shortages this month and traders said this has likely increased demand and prompted the tender.

OPEC member UAE relies on imports of gasoline to meet domestic demand.

Total will be paid a $9 premium to the average monthly Brent price, a trader said.


Statoil CEO sees volatile oil ahead

Statoil expects oil prices to remain volatile in the short term and to rise over the long term as the production capacity of OPEC countries remains limited, the firm's chief executive said on Wednesday.

"We see that OPEC's spare capacity is at this stage quite low, so prices could be relatively volatile," Helge Lund told Reuters.

"Over the long term, with reasonably normal (economic) growth rates, we see there will be a continuous (upward) pressure on oil prices, given the relatively limited spare capacity in OPEC," he said in an interview.

From IEA: Fact versus fiction

The IEA sets the record straight on energy-related misperceptions

Myth: We could end dependence on oil with electric vehicles within a few years.
Reality: Electric vehicles can play an increasingly important role over time, but even with rapid sales growth they will not save more than a few percent of worldwide oil use until after 2020.

Myth: Current government commitments to tackle global warming are enough to limit the global temperature increase to 2ºC.
Reality: Even if all announced commitments were fully implemented, they do not go nearly far enough.

Myth: Coal is an energy source of the nineteenth century and the world is close to getting rid of it.
Reality: Coal use has never stopped increasing and the forecasts indicate that, unless a dramatic policy action occurs, this trend will continue in the future.

Myth: China’s National Oil Companies act under the instructions and in close co-ordination with the Chinese government
Reality: They operate with a high degree of independence from the Chinese government.

Myth: A concentration and lack of lithium supply will prevent mass commercialisation of electric vehicles.
Reality: There is a sufficient reserve base of lithium for widespread electric vehicle deployment at least through to 2030, probably much longer, even with rapid growth in sales.

Also from Fatih Oil at $120 risks economic double dip: IEA

... "If you don't see any softening of the prices, there is a risk of derailing the economy, of a double-dip," Birol told the Reuters Global Energy and Climate Change Summit.

"We all know what happened in 2008. Are we going to see the same movie?"

The Militarization of America:


With the latest news (revealed last week by the New York Times) that the U.S. has launched a significant “intensification” of its secret air campaign against Yemeni tribesmen believed to be connected with al-Qaeda, the U.S. is now involved in no less than six wars. Count ‘em, if you don’t believe me: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, and what used to be called the Global War on Terror.

GWOT (other then above): Various garden spots in Africa and select locales in SE Asia area.

I guess we have money to burn...perhaps 75% of the cost of the MIC (DoD, NNSA, CIA, DHS, NSA, EIEIO)should be funded by a gasoline/diesel tax, in addition to the existing fuel taxes allegedly spent on maintaining the roads?

I guess I haven't been keeping up to things here, but this : GWOT MIC (DoD, NNSA, CIA, DHS, NSA, EIEIO? All in one post?!


GWOT: Global War on Terror
MIC: Military Industrial Complex
DoD: Department of Defense
CIA: Central Intelligence Agency
DHS: Department of Homeland Security
NSA: No Such Agency

EIEIO: And the green grass grew all around and around, and the green grass grew all around...(repeat Ad Infinatum)

Gotta know what our tax dollars are paying for!


I think you left out the DOE, which manages and pays for the nuclear weapons program. And NASA, which used to launch military sats on the Space Shuttle. Then too, there are those unknown unknowns (thanks to Rummy)...

E. Swanson


In my OP I listed NNSA...the National Nuclear Security Administration, the organization within DOE that manages all the 'special' weapons.

Not to be confused with NSA...I forgot to spell out NNSA in my lexicon...

Germany seeks Sept. deadline for new Greek package

One EU source told Reuters that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble favoured a delay.

"The argument goes: We don't know what to do, let's buy more time," the source said, adding that Berlin had its customary backing from the likes of the Netherlands, Finland and Slovakia.

That could include an attempt to square ratings agencies who have said they may view even an ostensibly voluntary scheme to have private investors involved in a new Greek bailout as a selective default.

Earlier this week, euro zone finance ministers failed to agree on how to involve private investors in a second financial rescue for Greece. (Writing by Mike Peacock, editing by Janet McBride)

Read the whole thing

This is absolutely huge. I simply refuse to accept that they actually think like this.
It can't be. It must be somekind of hardball negotiating tactics from the Germans.
A bluff, intended to speed things up.

Greece is mere weeks from a total collapse and the liabilities owned by European banks are enormous, and it could be a domino that swells across the continent and takes down Portugal, Ireland and forcing French banks to be bailed out by the French taxpayers. It could very easily spread to America too.

And these people want to delay the bailout until September?
Either this is a bluff, and a hardball negotiating tactic or the German politicos have a death wish.

Ultimately, a bail out simply have to come, no matter how ugly it will look like.
The alternative is disaster, pure and simple. Even waiting until September is.
But I do think that this is a bluff. They can't be serious. The bailout will come simply because it must come, and it must come within weeks, not months.

I thought as much, it's partly a bluff.

They are splitting up the payments. IMF goes headfirst:

Eurozone paymasters, a.k.a. Germany, falls behind and waits and sees.
Germany really wants private investors to take pain too, not just the German taxpayers. But what private investors would voluntarily see their investsments and money going up in smoke? It's a doomed effort.

The bailouts will continue.

Greece is doomed as is any country that bets its future on it. No wonder Germany is back peddling, default now would be bad, but default later after you've committed to bailing them out is even worse. Germany could survive default now, but default later could take them down and everyone and his dog knows that Greece is going to default, as is Ireland and Portugal. Just a matter of time.

The thing is that default unleashes the CDO/derivative armageddon which puts the US squarely in the firing line. So Germany's delay may well panic the US into action, the IMF's sudden turn round may well be an indication of this. A case of letting those with the most to lose bail out Greece at take the lion's share of the risk.

Financial institutions should have had both the information and the time necessary to prepare for a Greek default. Indeed, part of the "Greek chorus" in the media talking about the probability of Greek default may be due to hedge funds and others who are positioned to profit from the Greek default.

The main issue is not the Greek loand and bonds that may be defaulted, but the stacks of CDS and other derivatives and who in London and New York will get buried when the credit rating agencies declare the referenced instruments to be in default.

This is why the Greek gov should just let the default happen and refuse a bailout. They won;t get off scot free, but all this bailout hooey is to protect the bondholders and their derivatives. Why should the Greek people (or anyone else) care about them - they know there are risks, that's why they get paid the big bucks.

Exactly, Iceland did the right thing, no way should the citizens have to repay these odious debts. There is no way the 10 million citizens of Greece or the 4 million of Ireland can ever repay the debts incurred by their incompetent governments and banks. The correct and only decision in the interests of the citizens is default, anything else has to be put down to corruption or coercion, not in the interests of the citizens and therefore odious debt and legally dischargeable. The only solution to the debt problem seems to be revolution, which of course will cause cascading positive feedback that will destruct the current financial system and it participants. But given the current situation that will be progress.

Same for the US. Repudiate the debt.

The problem with continuing to bail out Greece, is starts to look like a succeed or fail situation. Meaning, if after all these attempts to keep them afloat it fails, then there's a perception the entire EU has failed. It would have been better to have extracated all the PIGS in one fell swoop much earlier.

So that's it then?
I was expecting a loud bang or something, when the oil price started dropping again. Greece is still in the EU and all the banks are still open. How does anybody think we can just lower the oil price and move along? The fundamentals have not really been balanced. There needs to be a reset of some magnitude. Don't get me wrong, I'm not wishing for it, but just because a few investors took there money out of the game for the summer doesn't mean we have enough oil. I mean, if gasoline prices drop more, I might even buy an extra gallon this week. Then what are you going to do?

When the oil price fell out of its trading range in the first week of May, the global markets and economic indicators have been trending down since. Everybody was talking recovery and now everybody is talking recession due to oil/food prices. I don't know how much louder of a bang there could have been.

Anyone know why http://www.upstreamonline.com/marketdata/markets_crude.htm hasn't updated spot prices since 8th June?

Crude oil spot prices updated: 08 June 2011 02:40 GMT USD/bbl

Bilderberg 2011??? Cue conspiracy theory rants...

E. Swanson

Someone should ask them. They've got a bunch of phone numbers/addresses on their contact page.

Looks like they revamped the site. That page is dead. If you start from their home page and look for the same data, it looks all new and current.

EDIT: look here: http://www.upstreamonline.com/stockwatch/portal/overview

It doesn't have all the information the old page had. Tapis, Urals, Bonny Light, etc.

We should build our own. I hate having to go to other sites for my oil updates anyway.

Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report

Working gas in storage was 2,256 Bcf as of Friday, June 10, 2011, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 69 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 275 Bcf less than last year at this time and 76 Bcf below the 5-year average of 2,332 Bcf. In the East Region, stocks were 133 Bcf below the 5-year average following net injections of 48 Bcf. Stocks in the Producing Region were 109 Bcf above the 5-year average of 835 Bcf after a net injection of 6 Bcf. Stocks in the West Region were 52 Bcf below the 5-year average after a net addition of 15 Bcf. At 2,256 Bcf, total working gas is within the 5-year historical range.


It seems production increases are not as prolific as consumption increases.

Make room for a wheat field beside the chicken coop

... The idea of replacing turf with a waving patch of yellow grain is among a list of ideas the Vision Vancouver-led council is considering for this year's Greenest City Neighbourhood grants allocations.

On Thursday, council will be asked to give a youth group, Environmental Youth Alliance Society, $5,000 for a pilot project called "Lawns to Loaves -A Collaborative City Wheat Field." The society has 30 homeowners willing to replace their lawns with small-scale grain production. It is also working with two eastside schools, Windermere and Vancouver Technical, to teach students about the origin and history of grain and where their bread comes from.

Fabulous, but I'd rather they were planting nut trees and shrubs.

Energy projects ‘fuelling’ border fighting

The Burmese government’s campaign to rout armed ethnic groups along its northern border has at its heart the goal of securing areas around lucrative China-backed hydropower projects, environmental groups claim.

Two of the main flashpoints over the past week are in southern in Kachin state, where the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) controls territory close to the Shweli and Taping dams. ... Nine dams financed by Chinese companies are being constructed in Burma’s northernmost Kachin state, according to Burma Rivers Network. ... “Mega dams in Burma have severe negative social, economic and environmental impacts while the majority of electricity generated is exported to neighbouring countries or used by the military,” said BRN.

I.E.A. Says World Will Increasingly Turn to Americas for Oil

HOUSTON — Over the next few years, world consumers are going to become more dependent on North and South America to satisfy their growing thirst for crude oil, according to a forecast to be released Thursday by the International Energy Agency.

... Saudi Arabia and a handful of other mostly Middle Eastern countries with excess production capacity will have to supply more oil, but global markets will need to rely increasingly on producers outside the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. With production declining in Mexico and the North Sea, the energy agency suggested that Canada, Brazil, the United States and Colombia would need to take up the slack.

Related from IEA: IEA report looks at oil, gas market prospects through 2016

... “This report shows that oil’s twilight as an industrial fuel continues, and it becomes ever more concentrated in the transport and petrochemical sectors,” said International Energy Agency Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka.

Translation = the Saudia's are tapped - party is over - You're on your own (Matt Simmons is probably having a good 'Told You So' moment)

IPCC 'considering sending mirrors to space to tackle climate change'

Reflective aerosols would be sent into space under a series of radical “geo-engineering” measures being considered by the UN climate science body to tackle climate change, leaked documents disclose.

... Experts suggested that the documents, leaked from inside the IPPC to The Guardian, show how the UN and other developed countries are “despairing” about reaching agreement by consensus at the global climate change talks.

But the newspaper reported that scientists admit that even if the ideas theoretically work, they could cause irreversible consequences.

Translation = We're screwed

Yeah, no possibility of unintended consequences there, eh??

Just for starters, many looking at the dramatic drop in price and meteoric rise in production numbers of solar panels are hoping that this could play a major roll in the world energy picture within just a few years.

But if sunlight is diminished, won't that also diminish the value of this source of power?

And the world is undergoing dramatic increases in food prices.

If light to food crops is diminished, won't that diminish their productivity?

Insolation is not the problem, so why solve what is not the problem?

All analogies fail to capture the utter stupidity and immorality of our collective behavior.

But how about this: We have built a huge damn with no outlet that we keep building higher every year. But we (and everyone else, every living thing in fact) live in the valley above the damn and the steep cliffs on either side means there is no other place to go as the water keeps rising. So we are slowly flooding our only living space with no place to escape to. Faced with this situation, we keep right on furiously building the damn higher, but now some people are going to build yet another damn further up stream to (temporarily, of course) keep some of the water from the stream from coming down to our ever deepening lake, even though we need that water to drink, to irrigate our fields, to wash with...

The idiocy is so immense, it truly boggles the mind.

Yet we all participate in the idiocy every day.

What a mess we are and have made of the whole thing.

Especially since all we need to do is cut consumption, turn lawns to food, change farming to regenerative practices, stop destroying forests and re-plant forests.

We have met the enemy and it is us.


Nuclear Plant Safety Rules Inadequate, Group Says

Nuclear safety rules in the United States do not adequately weigh the risk that a single event would knock out electricity from both the grid and from emergency generators, as an earthquake and tsunami recently did at a nuclear plant in Japan, officials of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Wednesday.

Consultancy 'Oil Movements' is out with their latest weekly report of OPEC exports.

This includes their estimate for the very beginning of July. Statistically, this week's report is down slightly - but essentially unchanged for the last three weeks.

There are no indications so far that Saudi Arabia has increased its planned exports for July. I'll repeat that: KSA is so far not increasing exports in July - even though it was widely reported they would increase out by up to 1 million bpd in July.

However please note they did start increasing exports by about 200,000 bpd three weeks ago - a trend that probably will continue through the month of July. Most of those extra exports are going to Yemen and India, and not to the 'West'.

OPEC to Cut Supply for First Time in 7 Weeks, Oil Movements Says
By Grant Smith - Jun 16, 2011 11:30 AM ET

OPEC will cut oil shipments by the end of the month for the first time in seven weeks as summer demand for driving fuel in the northern hemisphere is set to pass its peak, according to tanker-tracker Oil Movements.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will ship 22.81 million barrels a day in the four weeks to July 2, down 0.7 percent from the period to June 4, the consultant said in a report. The data exclude Ecuador and Angola. It’s the first decline reported by Oil Movements since the month to May 14.

“It’s the tail-end of quite a big surge in volumes,” Roy Mason, the founder of Oil Movements, said by telephone from Halifax, England. “Westbound sailings from the Gulf are falling quite sharply. The summer season for sour crude in the Atlantic basin is, although not over, the first leg of it has been taken care of.”


"Most of those extra exports are going to Yemen"

This, to me, involves another wrinkle in the Export Land Model.

Not only will major producers need to supply their own native populations with more and more of the gasoline to which they have become accustomed, those who have not peaked or are still on a plateau may find it prudent to prioritize getting the oil to immediate neighbors who may otherwise destabilize and so threaten the stability of the entire region.

Even if KSA ends up having much more spare capacity, they will likely feel the need to use most of it to make up for the rapidly falling production rates of their rapidly destabilizing neighbors, now essentially on all sides.

dohboi - Excellent point but take it one step further: The KSA (or any other exporter for that matter) can supply XX bopd. Ignoring prices for the moment: who do they sell to and who doesn't get their grease? Or more specifically from whom do they get the greatest non-financial benefit? Nice to keep your neighbor's locals peaceful. Also nice to have one of the most power military forces on the planet watching your 6. Even nicer to keep your own natives peaceful by supplimenting their lifestyles. But sooner or later you're going to have to p*ss someone off. So who worries you the most?

The first shipment of Saudi "donated" oil arrived today in Yemen. In addition to the exportland problem, and neighbor problem, giving away oil for free to neighbors implies they have to make up for their costs by charging regular customers higher prices.

Yemen gunmen stage more attacks, Saudi oil arrives
Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:22pm GMT

SANAA/ADEN (Reuters) - Masked gunmen attacked buildings in Masameer in southern Yemen Thursday, the latest of a wave of militant attacks in the region, as the first shipment of Saudi-donated oil arrived in the impoverished, restive state.

The gift of crude underlined how fearful oil giant Saudi Arabia is that a bloody political crisis will tip its poor southern neighbour into chaos and give militants a foothold next to oil shipping routes.

Shipping sources said a tanker carrying 600,000 barrels of oil arrived at the port of Aden as part of a grant of 3 million barrels promised by Saudi Arabia. The sources said it would go to Aden's refinery, idled since a blast in April cut the pipeline on which it relies.


Last updated: 08:49:39 PM GMT(+03) Thursday, 16, June, 2011

First Shipment of Saudi Oil Donation Arrives in Yemen as Shortages Deepen
Yemen Post Staff

The first shipment of the Saudi donation of three million barrels of crude oil arrived on Thursday in Yemen's business capital Aden, where it will be refined and then distributed to meet the public demand.

The shipment was 600000 barrels of crude oil that will be sent to the Aden Refinery, which has been closed for months.


Turning hot air into energy savings

A team of students from the Bourns College of Engineering at the University of California, Riverside have been selected for a $15,000 grant from the EPA to develop a system could cut electricity bills up to 16 percent by using heat from the sun and attic to operate a clothes dryer.

... The $1,500 upfront cost of the solar thermal closet exceeds the $600 average upfront cost of a dryer, but the closet doesn't require the maintenance a dryer needs and its use doesn't drive up an electricity bill. Because of that, the students estimate a homeowner using the closet and not a clothes dryer would save nearly $6,500 in a 20-year period.

In addition, the heated humid air from the solar thermal closet can be used as a substitute for a space heater and humidifier. Taking this into account, the students calculate a homeowner could save another nearly $8,700 over 20 years

WOW! Give'em another $15K and they might invent the clothesline. :)

Beat me to it.

Dracula Lurks in Your Set-Top Box

Imagine pulling into your parking space and just hopping out, leaving the car idling all day while you’re at the office.

As ludicrous as this may sound, most Americans are guilty of a similar if less costly squandering of energy when it comes to their cable or satellite TV boxes. A new study released on Tuesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council shows that set-top boxes in the United States consume nearly as much energy when not in use as when they are on, costing a cumulative $2 billion a year.

... With 160 million such set-top boxes in use in the country today, the power wasted is equivalent to what is produced annually by six coal burning power plants and is responsible for the release of 11 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.

That's not how many people see it. Having that nice DVR recording all that mindless drivel day after day to be watched when they get home isn't a want, it's a life-saving need. One of the basic staples of life. That's one of the things that's been enabled by virtually free energy. Think of how many of these coal and nuke plants could be eliminated if we didn't need these things! Pick next non-needed piece of crap... Rinse and repeat...

It's getting more and more difficult for me to watch TV. Part of the problem might be my age, 55. When I was a kid football was about the game. Now it's about every possible distraction that can be mustered, from stats to a billion reasons to leave the game for ads. Even the ads are getting more obnoxious, which I never thought was possible.

I use to watch Discovery but now they insert a worthless special effect every few seconds and the continual distractions ruin the topic.

Now the recent big thing is washing the screen with an ad for the station or for some product. It's a subliminal because of the speed it hits your eyes, then transitions into a conscious in your face ad that flys at you. CNBC & CNN are now using the screen washers in the early AM like its raining and they need to clean the screen with a windshield wiper.

Ever try to watch Manswers on Spike? The visuals are so fast and furious it feels like your brain is in a blender.

Time to put me and my TV out to pasture and let a much faster generation go berzerk speeding up the visuals and special effects until the view on the screen is a blinding, twisting, flashing, contorting blur.


I've never had tv since my late teens, and I'm older than you. Never have missed it. Course the newest flavor of ice cream doesn't make it so fast here. Read about the new fangled "vacuums" -those centrifugal force bagless jobs-long before I saw one last weekend. Seems quite the improvement, but hardly worth having a tv.

The vacuum sighting was while on a increasingly rare fishing trip. My old method of finding the perfect spot 40 yrs ago was to find lake or stream on USGS topos without even a trail to it. Then bushwack. To old for that now, so I fall back to the least improved road. And I've never seen so many people fishing without a fish. The fish just can't stand up to that kind of pressure, even the spiny rays. Says a world about where we're heading.

My hats off to you doug fir for having the whatever it took to know better than to have watched that garbage all these years.

If the splicing and dicing continues to increase the number of frames viewed per second, in a hundred years the picture will probably change faster than a hummingbirds wings. For us in this time period it would be unrecognizable, but for the 2100 generation it will seem slow. There won't even be breaks for ads, because every second of viewing will include a plethra of subliminal ads burned into the memory's cortex. We would call it torture, but they will call it TV.

Oh, and the fish they'll catch in 2100 will be fry only, caught with nano-hooks. If you catch a thousand, they'll deep fry them for you and make a frywhich, with 1/2 pound of processed cheese, then the whole thing is dipped in chocolate. That's the frywhicholate

One of the amazing things about going TVless and raising kids is that they seemed to know all the new toys and media marketing via osmosis at school. As adults themselves, none have a tv. One's an engineer, the other a school teacher.

My son and I fished and paddled 3 lakes. Amazing to think all that depended on them, from biologists and resorts and equipment manufacturers to shore birds and diving birds and all the other wildlife. That's pressure. Glad you included the cheese, is there any new "food" that isn't draped in it?

The floods in the midwest are causing problems for a GE nuclear plant. Possibility of a major nuclear release. http://enenews.com/containment-building-flooded-nebraska-nuke-plant-orde...

Electrical Fire Knocks Out Spent Fuel Cooling at Nebraska Nuclear Plant
Wednesday 15 June 2011
by: John Sullivan, ProPublica | Report

A fire in an electrical switch room on Tuesday briefly knocked out cooling for a pool holding spent nuclear fuel at the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant outside Omaha, Neb., plant officials said.


Sandbags that are around the plant doesn't keep the water from entering from the ground in the plant.

Will Omaha be the next Fukushima? Will the US get a spent fuel policy implemented? Or will we need a few more disasters to get this all to sink in? Probably cascading failures will do the trick. Notice Mother Nature is doing a great job revealing the faults in these "well-planned" systems. Imagine what war would do?

Energy giants' plan for new Scots onshore CO2 pipeline

Plans to create an onshore pipeline carrying up to two million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) have been proposed by three of the UK's energy giants.

Scottish Power, National Grid and Shell UK want to use an existing natural gas line - running from Falkirk to Peterhead - for the project. It is part of a carbon capture scheme to pump emissions from Longannet power station in Fife to the North Sea.

Residents living within 500m of the pipeline have been told of the plans.

Is the ethanol subsidy on the way out?


What's next, the oil subsidies?

Computer says 'Yes'!

The ethanol subsidy being outed by the Senate I thought was significant, and am puzzled by the lack of response on TOD with an article. For so long ethanol has been kicked around pro & con on here at least in part due to the redirection of a food source from the dinner table to the gas tank, and per Dianne Feinstein, that seems to have been the problem. She said not to read too much into the ethanol subsidy cut in reference to other alternative energy subsidies, that this was a special case.

So it appears that higher food prices got concern amongst those holding the reins, probably in part not wanting to see any kind of unrest similar to No. Africa or the ME.

The other oil subsidies (i.e. crude) are probably safe due to being a great source of 10k a plate GOP fund raising donors.

I thought to do a TOD search for the term GAU, or, specifically, 'Government As Usual', to see what might come up.

Among two entries, Sofistek seems to take the honour for the first to quote it (at least without its acronym). 2008:

Perhaps if we're going to talk about BAU, we might do well to discuss GAU (more often?) in the same way, or in relation to BAU, such as to lend a better perspective.

That said, I wonder what happens to GAU in the absence of substantial quantities of, and increased competition for, mobile energy, and diminishing resources/resource quality, etc..

How does GAU maintain control (it's grown used to) over its populations in the face of diminishing returns? Ethanol? Ideological fracking?

At the semantic level; to be in 'power' shouldn't be called that at all should it? At least if we're talking about true representative hyperdemocracy? I would think it would be quite the opposite of power. More like being a marionette.

I think it was Thomas Kuhn who suggested that it is the lense which determines what we can see...

"Behind Boetie's thinking was the assumption, later spelled out in great detail by David Hume, that states cannot rule by force alone. This is because the agents of government power are always outnumbered by those they rule. To insure compliance with their dictates, it is essential to convince the people that their servitude is somehow in their own interest. They do this by manufacturing ideological systems..."
~ Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.


As recent events in Egypt and Tunisia have illustrated (and Myanmar demonstrated several years prior), democratic activists around the globe need a secure and reliable platform to ensure their communications cannot be controlled or cut off by authoritarian regimes. To date, technologies meant to circumvent blocked communications have focused predominantly on developing services that run over preexisting communication infrastructures. Although these applications are important, they still require the use of a wireline or wireless network that is prone to monitoring or can be completely shut down by central authorities. Moreover, many of these technologies do not interface well with each other, limiting the ability of activists and the general public to adopt sophisticated circumvention technologies.

The New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative (OTI) proposes to build a new type of tool for democratic organizing: an open source “device-as-infrastructure” distributed communications platform that integrates users’ existing cell phones, WiFi-enabled computers, and other WiFi-capable personal devices to create a metro-scale peer-to-peer (mesh) communications network. Leveraging a distributed, mesh wireless infrastructure provides two key enhancements to existing circumvention technologies and supports human rights advocates and civil society organizations working around the globe. First, a distributed infrastructure eliminates the ability of governments to completely disrupt communications by shutting down the commercial or state-owned communications infrastructure. Second, device-as- infrastructure networks enhance communications security among activists by eliminating points for centralized monitoring, by enabling direct peer-to-peer communication, and by aggregating and securing individual communications streams.


A main problem is poor propagation the 2.4 Ghz frequencies. Smart Radios on the White Space TV Frequencies would be great for network build out, but the bandwidth is sold off to the highest bidder (ATT, Verizon) by GAU.

Could a mesh use whatever frequency they wanted to, though?

In any case, I heard, if understood correctly, that some frequencies were opened up to wireless-- perhaps the white spectrum-- your mentioned 'white space' maybe?
What would happen if this frequency was used for the mesh regardless of ATT/Verizon, etc.'s use? The legalities are not the point of course, just whether it would work, technically, or if it would somehow just end up with garbled interference with the corporates?

There are even protocols that use carrier pigeon and they have been tested :) No, I am not joking but they may be a little impractical. Frequency is not an issue it just depends on people making the equipment to use it. The last thing you would want to do is garble the corporates as you would want to keep a low profile though hiding out in well used space may make it harder to find you. The internet was designed to resist interruptions caused by a nuclear war with sections taken out. If connections only go through the government approved ISPs then the government is in control and can cut it off. If multiple independent connections are available then the inherent resilience can come into play. You may not get 20Mbps downloads but you can still get through.


There are even protocols that use carrier pigeon and they have been tested :) No, I am not joking but they may be a little impractical.

I hear they're pretty good-- this coming from someone interested in growing their own food, building most of their own house and making some of their own clothing.

The internet was designed to resist interruptions caused by a nuclear war with sections taken out. If connections only go through the government approved ISPs then the government is in control and can cut it off.

Very good point, and something to think about as some mull over the issue of net neutrality.

"What would happen if this frequency was used for the mesh regardless of ATT/Verizon, etc.'s use? The legalities are not the point of course, just whether it would work, technically, or if it would somehow just end up with garbled interference with the corporates?"

Any spectrum could work if you have the gear & find holes or permission to use. Interference can't get much worse than 2.4ghz, limited propagation makes it mainly useful for the last 500 meters. In the past spectrum was fix allocated per use - new radio standards let multiple uses share the same frequencies without stepping on each other. Smartradios that listen before talking, jump frequencies, beam-forming sector antennas open up many new possibilities. Choke points are/would be the multiple back-hauls or pipes to the Internet backbone presence, typically fixed fiber or microwave. Mesh is currently used for local or regional area distribution. Frequency allocation seems decades behind the technology / demand and typically nationalized. One of the key issues of the times. Can always go to optical/laser beam modulation and bypass radio wave regulations.

Interesting, Longtimber, thanks. I've also heard of something like email over ham.

BTW, if it's a revolution, or maybe even if it's just an exercise in actual democracy or self-empowerment, you give yourself permission.

Self-policing ourselves when we don't have to makes us easier to control of course.

Interesting, Longtimber, thanks. I've also heard of something like email over ham.

That's known as the AMPRNet (AMateur Packet Radio Network)

That's been done for decades, started in the late 1970's. There's even a block of Class A IP addresses set aside for Amateur Radio operations.

It's use is quite rapidly declining. The hardware and software used has not really changed since the late 1980's to early 1990's.

How does GAU maintain control (it's grown used to) over its populations in the face of diminishing returns? Ethanol? Ideological fracking?

Interesting notion, but GAU is only as relevant as BAU, since Government control of the people means nothing if BAU goes out the door.