Drumbeat: July 6, 2011

Oil will hit $150 in U.S. despite IEA - Guild

LONDON (Reuters) - The price of physical crude oil will hit $150 a barrel this year in the United States due to unrest in North Africa and the Middle East, despite the emergency oil stock release coordinated by the International Energy Agency (IEA), a U.S. fund manager said.

Monty Guild, the chief executive of Guild Investment Management, said the IEA's move did not change oil's fundamentals.

"Our opinion continues to be oil prices will reach $150 barrels this year due to the fighting near Saudi Arabia," Guild told Reuters in a telephone interview.

9/11 'mastermind' accused of Aramco attack

THE alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, also plotted to attack Saudi state oil giant Aramco, the kingdom's attorney general said at a hearing in the trial of al-Qaeda suspects.

Saudi offers some Asian buyers more oil - source

TOKYO (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has offered more crude to some Asian buyers for August on top of contractual volumes, an industry source said on Wednesday.

Saudis not serious about cutting oil price: Clyde Russell

SINGAPORE: If you were waiting for an answer as to whether the Saudi Arabians wants to see lower global crude oil prices, now you have it. They don't.

That's the only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn from the release of Saudi Aramco's official selling prices for August.

Iran builds new gas pipeline

Pakistan is to become a key buyer of Iranian natural gas at a time when relations with Washington are at their most strained in recent years.

Jordan: In the dark about policy

For the third time in a relatively short span the gas supply from Egypt to the Kingdom was interrupted because of an act of sabotage.

The explosion of the natural gas pipeline in the Sinai Peninsula is inevitably going to make it difficult for Jordan to meet its energy needs, already taxed by the summer season and the influx of expatriates and tourists.

SCENARIOS-Future cloudy for Venezuela's crucial oil sector

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's shock announcement that he was treated for cancer in Cuba has raised doubts about his future leadership role -- and about prospects for the South American nation's oil industry, which is tightly controlled by him.

Below are some scenarios going forward:

FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in Zambia

LUSAKA (Reuters) - Zambia, Africa's top copper producer, has enjoyed peace and stability compared with many countries in southern Africa but an election later this year and a possible energy crisis is clouding its immediate outlook.

Uganda's Power Utility Shuts Generator Due to Fuel Shortage

(Bloomberg) -- The state-owned Uganda Electricity Generation Co. shut down one of its thermal generators because of a fuel shortage, Managing Director Eriasi Kiyimba said, deepening the country's energy shortage.

"We have run out of fuel because we are indebted to suppliers," Kiyimba said by phone today from the capital, Kampala. "One thermal generator of 50 megawatts was shut down yesterday."

Enoc denies reports about canceling license

(MENAFN) Dubai's Emirates National Oil Company (Enoc) said that rumors claiming that the UAE would cancel the company's petrol stations licenses in the northern emirates were untrue and baseless, reported Gulf Daily News.

ADNOC set to take over petrol stations in northern emirates

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company is set to take over the management of EPPCO and ENOC petrol stations in the northern emirates following months of fuel shortages, it has been reported.

The UAE government is expected to cancel EPPCO and ENOC’s licenses and allow ADNOC to take over in a move that could also be extended to include service stations across the other emirates, Gulf News said on Tuesday quoting an unnamed source.

SEMC Warns of Food Crisis in Unrest-Hit Yemen

The Studies and Economic Media Center SEMC has warned of a real food crisis in Yemen amid an acute fuel shortage, power outages and price hikes largely blamed on shortages.

In a field study, the Center found that the living conditions of tens of thousands have deteriorated, with many entering the stage of hunger as they can't afford basic food requirements.

Three-mile-long queues at petrol stations as Yemen's fuel crisis starves economy

SANA'A // Streets are empty as hundreds of thousands of vehicles are off the roads. Thousands of cars line up in front of petrol stations waiting for their turn at the pump. The Yemeni petrol crisis has seen the loss of thousands of jobs because people cannot get to work.

Yemenis are forced to either wait more than a week in front of petrol stations or buy it for six times the price on the black market.

Why Norway cannot resist the lure of its buried natural treasure

Nordic nation's world-leading green ambition is in stark contrast with the exploitation of the oil that delivers its world-leading wealth.

Government orders Exxon to craft pipeline safety plan

(Reuters) - U.S. pipeline safety regulators on Tuesday said Exxon Mobil must make fixes to its ruptured Montana oil pipeline and submit a restart plan before oil can flow again.

The U.S. Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration also ordered the company to re-bury the pipeline segment and do a risk study where it crosses any waterway.

Vt.: No charges against nuke plant officials

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Prosecutors have decided not to charge executives at Entergy Corp. with lying to regulators about the presence of underground piping at its Vermont nuclear power plant, the state's attorney general said Wednesday.

Attorney General William Sorrell said a 17-month investigation into testimony that Entergy executives had given to the state Public Service Board concluded that there was no "smoking gun" to show that a crime had occurred.

The World's Greatest Light Bulb

Dump your fluorescents and incandescents for this amazing new LED bulb.

Are the Chinese really a shoo-in to win the electric-car race?

The conventional wisdom about the global electric-car race is that China is a shoo-in because of its enormous domestic market: The Chinese may be laggards in the laboratory, which is the current battleground, but they will best everyone else when the competition reaches the equally pivotal stage of the manufacturing scale-up. The Communist Party, it is thought, will simply order massive numbers of Chinese to buy electric cars. With their plants churning at full hilt, the Chinese will learn far more quickly than Americans, Japanese or South Koreans how to most efficiently create these vehicles, and hence give their vehicles a decisive advantage.

As Alberta’s Tar Sands Boom, Foes Target Project’s Lifelines

Exploiting North America’s largest oil deposit has destroyed vast stretches of Canada's boreal forest, arousing the ire of those opposed to this massive development of fossil fuels. Now those opponents are battling the Keystone XL pipeline, which would pass through environmentally sensitive Western lands as it moves the oil to market.

Arrival of the post-petroleum human (Michael Ruppert interview)

What's become clear to me because of the movie — I was guaranteed a percentage of income based on net profits, which is the way it works in Hollywood. I'm not Art Buchwald, that's a long story with Paramount, I've been around Hollywood too long. But the movie was pirated more than 2 million times around the world. It was turning up in BitTorrent sites in Rumania, in India, in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia. But I got no income, but I wound up with 8000 Facebook friends. But what that told me was that what I talked about in that movie, what Chris Smith brought out in me — and Chris really did bring it out of me. There were five separate shoots, there was lots of videos — was a message that resonated all over the world. So the lesson in that for me was there's a whole lot of people who feel this way too. And yet with a stigma akin to the stigma of having been a homosexual in the 1960s. There was no awareness of the power and how much that was a normal natural...it was there already.

And so as a result of that, we started CollapseNet a year ago in June 2010. We're now in 61 countries. And these are real active thinkers, who are members. These are in some cases government officials. I know of one head of state who's a member. And there are also representatives of communities of people. And this consciousness, this awareness that we have to make this transition, have to make the change to go back to living in balance with the earth. It's like they're just waiting for somebody to step up and say something.

A bold move, but our oil problems are just beginning

The IEA decision to release 60 million barrels from strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) of member nations has been criticized as politically motivated, too small and too late to matter, or, at best, as a desperate attempt to fend off economic woes. The reality and impact of the decision are more complex than that. The move is a bold, price-suppressing “poke in OPEC’s eye” from nations that have been perpetual price takers in the world oil market. The short-term rationale for the decision, however, should not obscure our real oil problem - geopolitics is combining with economics and geology to put us in an oil crunch that is not likely to abate until our nation moves beyond oil.

The Peak Oil Crisis: At Mid-Year

Most observers with insight into the global oil supply and demand balance, and that are free of any institutional constraints that prevent them from speaking out freely, are looking for much tighter oil markets in the next year and a half. If many economic situations and the weather does not change markedly in the next three months, some of this imbalance in supply and demand could come before fall.

This of course will translate into higher oil prices - but how much higher? A few years ago it was fashionable to forecast that oil prices would soon get to $200 or even $300 a barrel thereby putting U.S. gasoline prices in the vicinity of $10 a gallon. Much current thinking and the experiences of 2008 say this will never happen. Somewhere north of $150 a barrel, demand for oil will slow markedly and so will the global economy. There is simply not enough discretionary money being taken home to support $10 a gallon gasoline so most forms of motorized transport would fall precipitously should gasoline prices ever go this high, at least in the United States. Gasoline of course is already pushing $10 in some parts of Europe, but this situation has come from decades of high taxes that have allowed individuals and transportation systems to adapt to very high cost fuels.

Oil Falls as China Rate Increase, Portugual Downgrade Fuel Demand Concern

Oil declined as China’s central bank raised interest rates, and after Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Portugal’s credit rating, heightening concern that slower economic growth will crimp fuel consumption.

Brent crude fell as much 1.3 percent, extending earlier losses as the People’s Bank of China said benchmark deposit and lending rates will rise 25 basis points from tomorrow. The euro weakened against the dollar after Moody’s cut Portugal’s rating to junk status, curbing the appeal of dollar-denominated assets such as crude. The industry-funded American Petroleum Institute will report weekly supply and demand data today.

Jeff Rubin: How long will oil sands producers be disconnected from world prices?

As the price spread between West Texas and Brent continues to widen into uncharted territory, Canadian producers must be wondering why they are benchmarking the price of their oil exports to the huge price discount in the U.S. marketplace.

The Oil Price Closely Observed

The thing that readers should be particularly careful to note is the sustained upward movement of the oil price after 2002-2003, because between those dates and 2008 something was taking place that probably had never been seen in the oil market in modern times. Readers should be even more aware that while the price of oil fell to about $32/b when the macroeconomic bad news intensified toward the end of 2008, and a number of distinguished students of the oil market announced that the oil price was going to continue to move down until it reached the point where they thought it belonged if the laws of supply and demand – the so-called fundamentals – became valid once more, OPEC quickly restored the situation in their favour. They restored the situation even though the international macroeconomy was moving into a partial meltdown. This point should never be forgotten, because it is a measure of the power of OPEC!

India may pay around $6.8 billion more in fuel subsidy: Source

NEW DELHI: India is likely to pay an additional around 300 billion rupees ($6.8 billion) than budgeted in 2011/12 to state refiners as compensation towards selling fuel at subsidised rates, a senior government official with direct knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

Million-Barrel Oil Tanker Ablaze Off Yemen

An oil tanker carrying 1 million barrels of fuel oil is on fire off the Yemeni coast after being attacked by pirates.

The 274-meter (900-foot) Brillante Virtuoso was carrying the oil to China from Ukraine, said Andreas Louka, legal adviser to Suez Fortune Investment Ltd., the owner. The crew of 26 are uninjured and the ship is being towed by two tugs, he said by phone from Athens today.

China to Offer New Shale-Gas Areas This Year to Tap Reserves Topping U.S.

China, estimated to hold more gas trapped in shale than the U.S., will open new areas to exploration as PetroChina Co.’s parent and Cnooc Ltd. seek drilling technology through partnerships and acquisitions.

The government aims to sign contracts with Chinese explorers this month to develop two blocks offered in the country’s first auction, and a second sale is planned later this year, Zhang Dawei, deputy director of oil and gas strategy research at the Ministry of Land and Resources, said in a telephone interview from Beijing yesterday.

Croatia’s Battle for Refiner Control Unwelcome by Hungary

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said this week that Hungary would not agree to any changes in the ownership agreement between Hungarian oil and gas company MOL.Nyrt and Croatia’s partly state-owned refiner INA.

“It’s Hungary’s definite view as the owner of MOL that it won’t support any modification to the ownership agreement,” Mr. Orban said at a press conference in Strasbourg.

South African Coal Exports to India Fall 21% in First Half, mjunction Says

India’s imports of coal from South Africa fell 21 percent in the first half of 2011 from a year earlier while Chinese purchases rose 18 percent, according to India Coal Market Watch, published by Kolkata-based online trading company mjunction Services Ltd.

'So, this is democracy': Frustration rife in new Egypt

Egyptians are now looking to a future in which they hope, for the first time in decades, to chart their own course.

With the floodgates open, Egyptians are taking to the streets to press for long-pent-up demands — more housing, better pay, lower prices. Expectations are soaring, even as they tell themselves not everything can be solved at once.

But the turmoil, fueled in part by the continuing protests, is making it harder to address the demands. Revenue from tourism, worker remittances and foreign investment plunged sharply after the revolution, while manufacturing and productivity were hard hit.

The rise to peak oil

What is peak oil and what impact will peak oil have on the world and shipping? Well, quite a lot.

Does peak oil mean oil reserves are exhausted? No, it simply means maximum production levels have been achieved and output will diminish thereafter.

Resources More Precious Every Day

I recently returned from a fascinating trip to China. It was my first. I was one of 45 financial advisors with a Financial Planning Association delegation who went to learn about the growing, Chinese financial planning community. It was a 12 day visit, with cities visited that included highly populated areas in Beijing and Shanghai. We visited and collaborated with many of the large China banks and their financial advisors. The Chinese people and culture are captivating. Their economy and population has been exploding. Although dips in the economy will occur, there are still many trends that point to continued, long-term growth in China and the developing world.

One of my take-a-ways from the China experience: We all need to restrain ourselves.

Today, we live in a different, more constrained world in which prices of raw materials will rise and shortages will become common. According to a recent article by Jeremy Grantham, chairman of the global investment management firm GMO, accelerated demand from developing countries, especially China, has caused an unprecedented shift in the price structure of resources. After 100 years or more of declines, prices are now rising. The last eight years have undone, remarkably, the effects of the last 100 years.

China Admits Extent of Spill From Oil Rig

BEIJING — Oil that spewed from an offshore drilling rig in northeastern China for two weeks last month has spread over 320 square miles, government officials acknowledged Tuesday, amid public uproar over why it took so long for fishermen, local residents and environmental groups to be informed of the spill.

Anger mounts in China over oil spill

BEIJING - CHINESE media and green groups on Wednesday slammed the state-run China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and the marine watchdog for keeping an oil spill hidden from the public for nearly a month.

CNOOC, in partnership with the Chinese unit of US oil giant ConocoPhillips, operates an oil field in Bohai Bay off China's eastern coast, where the massive slick was detected on June 4 but only made public on Friday.

ConocoPhillips: quick response to China oil spill

BEIJING—ConocoPhillips says it responded promptly to contain damage caused by recent oil spills off China's eastern coast at an oil field operated by its Chinese subsidiary, after Chinese authorities said they were investigating the company's role in the spills.

Debris and Heavy Flow of Water Hamper Cleanup of Oil in Yellowstone River

LAUREL, Mont. — Specially trained crews streaming into this refinery town to clean up tens of thousands of gallons of oil that spilled into the Yellowstone River from a ruptured Exxon Mobil pipeline over the weekend have found their efforts hampered by a muddy, raging river filled with debris.

Documents detail Exxon's Yellowstone response

LAUREL, Mont.—Federal documents show it took Exxon Mobil nearly twice as long as it publicly disclosed to fully seal a pipeline that spilled roughly 1,000 barrels of crude oil into the Yellowstone River.

Exxon oil spill on Yellowstone River disrupts farms

HELENA, Montana (Reuters) - Governor Brian Schweitzer vowed on Tuesday to cling to Exxon Mobil like "the smell on a skunk" for as long as it takes to get the company to clean up a weekend oil spill that fouled an otherwise pristine stretch of the Yellowstone River in Montana.

Jordan pressing ahead with nuclear programme

Jordan has drawn three bidders for its planned nuclear plant as companies vie for limited contracts in the post-Fukushima industry.

Build safer nuclear plants? We have the power

In the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster in March, the appetite for new nuclear power plants slipped to post-Chernobyl lows. Regulators from Italy to Switzerland to Texas moved to stop pending nuclear-power projects, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) began to re-evaluate the safety of all domestic plants. Yet nuclear power still provides 20 percent of America’s total electric power and 70 percent of its emissions-free energy, in large part because no alternative energy source can match its efficiency.

A Safer Nuclear Crypt

With more scrutiny on spent fuel pools in the United States, some are pointing to dry casks as a storage option.

Japan Has Two Reactors Without Approval as Fukushima Raises Safety Concern

Kansai Electric Power Co. and Hokkaido Electric Power Co. are operating two nuclear reactors without approvals, four months after the Fukushima disaster raised concern atomic power in Japan may not be safe.

Japan nuclear power plants to undergo stress tests

TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese trade minister says the government is looking at conducting stress tests on the country's nuclear power plants to quell heightened concerns about their safety.

Japan's Edano: no truth to report on Tepco breakup plan

(Reuters) - There is no truth to a media report that senior Japanese government officials have secretly drawn up a plan to break up Tokyo Electric Power Co , which is struggling to stop nuclear leaks after a large earthquake triggered meltdowns in March, the government's top spokesman said on Wednesday.

Prince Albert, bride go EV in topless Royal Wedding Lexus

After Prince Albert II of Monaco, 53, tied the knot today with former South African Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock, 33, he and the newly minted Princess toured their tiny realm in an interesting, one-off, topless Lexus hybrid.

We Are Approaching Peak Car Use

Many major cities have seen a decline in driving over the past few years. The reasons for this are varied, but if it's a continuing trend, it's going to mean drastic changes for the way we shape our cities.

Women, Uneasy, Still Lag as Cyclists in New York City

“Women want to feel safe,” said Ms. Hirschfeld, who has expanded her Reade Street boutique, Adeline Adeline, to also cater to male cyclists. She said that if the perception of danger dissipates, “women then will ride, and ride more than men.”

Bike-Friendly? Check the City’s Mass Transit System

The systems’ bike rules begin thus: “All bicycles carried on board must be clean and free of excessive dirt and grease at all times.” I could find no equivalent of this directive at 10 other mass transit sites with bike information, and I wondered 1) what is considered excessive and 2) if the same standard applies to passengers. Then there is the rush-hour prohibition — a prohibition that, in fairness, these systems share with most others around the country.

Bike commuters must carry a $5 permit. The site also notes: “On weekdays two (2) bicycles will be permitted per car with a maximum of four (4) bicycles per train.” On weekends, trains may carry eight bikes. No space is set aside for them on most trains; it is up to the train crews to decide whether to let them board and where in the car they may park.

World’s foremost scenario planner applies his expertise to the renewable energy sector

It’s interesting to hear you mention nuclear, with Japan, right now, struggling with the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster and awaiting a decision – an imminent decision – on the future of reactors that were shut down for maintenance long before the earthquake and tsunami last March. You haven’t soured on nuclear?

Well, I certainly made people a bit more cautious and it pushed the Germans into a pure frenzy – it’s astonishing what they’ve decided. We’re going to find out in Germany, in a really interesting experiment, can you run a modern industrial economy purely on renewables, or will they, as a lot of people think, end up importing a lot of dirty energy from Poland and the Czech Republic or nuclear energy from France? In which case, they will have simply exported their guilt.

Surviving the Apocalypse in the Suburbs

As a life-after-peak-oil book, Surviving the Apocalypse is provocative in ways that the uninitiated might not perceive: In a world short on oil, the suburbs are often considered doomed landscapes, dependent as they are on giant shopping malls and endless motoring. The suburbs represent rampant consumerism and waste—the very things that got us into this mess—so the politically progressive homesteading movements have tended to focus on the alternatives: dense urban areas or remote countryside.

Who knows how everything will shake out when the world goes to hell, but the suburbs may be well positioned to thrive with fewer resources, as Brown points out. Suburbs are close enough to the city to be convenient and encourage community building, yet spread out enough to offer yards and substantial garden space.

E.P.A. Chief Stands Firm as Tough Rules Loom

Working under intense pressure from opponents, Lisa P. Jackson is scheduled to establish a series of environmental regulations that will affect every corner of the economy.

Communities Key To Reducing Energy Consumption In Britain Claims New IPPR Report

Communities could be a key force in the fight against climate change and more effective in promoting renewable energy technologies than individual champions or even government campaigns, according to a new report.

Melting ice caps open up Arctic for 'white gold rush'

As rising temperatures expose more land for exploration, prospectors are rushing to the far north in the hope of carving out a new mineral frontier

Time, Canada, to negotiate the Northwest Passage

With Arctic sea ice melting, at up to three times faster than scientists were predicting, the international battle over the polar region and the Northwest Passage, in particular, is also heating up. This week Moscow sent a nuclear-powered icebreaker to explore the extent of its northern continental shelf while Canada announced that this summer's annual military exercise in the Arctic will be the largest in recent history.

UBC's Michael Byers, the author of Who Owns the Arctic? Understanding Sovereignty Disputes in the North, says it is time for the federal government to start formally negotiating the rules around the Northwest Passage with the international community, the Americans especially.

Rush for Arctic's resources provokes territorial tussles

US, Canada, Russia, Denmark and Norway are becoming embroiled in disputes over boundaries on land and at sea.

A somewhat surprising item on illegal immigration is linked below.

Note that because of generally rising annual oil prices, relative to 2004, Mexico's cash flow from oil export sales has generally been stable to increasing, even as their net oil exports declined, and the rate of decline in net exports (as David Shields predicted) slowed last year. However, as the net export decline continues, Mexico will enter what I call a Phase Two decline, when generally rising oil prices can't offset the decline in the volume of net oil exports.

Better Lives for Mexicans Cut Allure of Going North

AGUA NEGRA, Mexico — The extraordinary Mexican migration that delivered millions of illegal immigrants to the United States over the past 30 years has sputtered to a trickle, and research points to a surprising cause: unheralded changes in Mexico that have made staying home more attractive.

A growing body of evidence suggests that a mix of developments — expanding economic and educational opportunities, rising border crime and shrinking families — are suppressing illegal traffic as much as economic slowdowns or immigrant crackdowns in the United States.

Incidentally, note the fairly steady increase in US oil exports to Mexico:


I assume that imports from the US consist mostly of refined products, but last year David Shields predicted that Mexico would have to start importing light, sweet oil because of a shortfall in their domestic light, sweet production.

That is an excellent article. As noted in passing, my experience is that college educated professionals already have a higher average material standard of living in Mexico than their equivalents in the USA. Working class people are still much better off in the USA than in Mexico, especially if they can get government or unionized jobs.

The advantage for migrants consists more in the exchange rate that allows them to save here and send money home than in better earnings. With that change, more and more migrants will be short term and fewer Mexicans will want to immigrate permanently. A lot of the change in net migration rates is the number returning home permanently.

Mexico has raised local gas prices over 50% in the past three years. Local consumption is under control and falling in spite of population gains from returnees. The export land model predicts good things for net revenue if production declines can be moderated.

Mexico has recently toughened its migration law against Guatemalan migrants seeking to take much higher paying Mexican jobs. Some provisions follow Arizona's model. Let's see how many end up in the USA instead.

This is just a temporary lull.

AGW, oil production decline, widespread corruption, and the drug wars are turning Mexico into a failed state. Continued migration north is inevitable. The Southwest U.S. will for all intents and purposes be Mexican.

Still, this temporary reprieve brings up an important point, one that will be proven true in the long term. Immigration will only cease once things turn so bad in the U.S. that we are effectively second/third world ourselves. As that happens, there will be less incentive for immigrants to leave their home countries. Plus, travel will be increasingly expensive.

Here is part two of the Energy Resolution article about solar energy.


I know the linked article is meant as satire, but the technical details are just so wrong, that it is painful to read.

"We should remember that Ryan’s solar system is backed up by power plants so that he will not be inconvenienced at night or when the sky is overcast. When he is not at home and the sun is shining, his extra electricity may very well be wasted. The idea is that his excess power can be used by other customers, but power does not work that way. The grid must be 100% reliable or else lights will go dim and computers will crash. The electricity cannot be stored, so it must be generated at all times. Since Ryan’s power is unreliable, the coal, nuclear, and natural gas plants need to run anyway."

No mention that in every real grid application, gas peaking plants will be modulated to match supply and demand, so that the chances that "his extra electricity may very well be wasted" are very low, and certainly not the norm. And of course, his excess power "can be used by other customers" and probably is every single sunny day. The rest of the article has many similar non-sequiturs (is the fact that Pennsylvania is cloudy an argument against solar in all locations?, maybe (just maybe) solar should be sited in the locations that provide the best financial and energy return on investment rather than in places without sun, etc.,etc.).

There are reasonable arguments to make against investing in solar PV, but the linked article does not make them, rather it is a mishmash of half-truths and pure falsehoods...

If you feel that you have some valid points, why don't you go back to the website with the article and comment below it. You might want to specifically list all of the half-truths and falsehoods that you believe you have found.


"Never mud wrestle with a pig because you'll only get muddy and the pig enjoys it".

It's also a waste of time...



Fred, the whole thing was a joke, a great big joke. Now there are some posts and articles that it is very hard to tell if the poster is joking or not, like Bob's reply to the Nichole Foss' statement above. I did not know how to reply because it was so hard to tell whether he was serious or not. But with these two articles linked to by Benjamin there is no doubt whatsoever.

So really I don't think Tommy should have taken one word as serious but he did. Even the part he quoted was part of the gag. And Ben should not have taken one word as serious because both articles, the one yesterday and the one today, was a total spoof, a gag, a joke and nothing more. There is just no need to get that excited over a joke, and certainly no need to compare anyone with a pig.

Ron P.


I did realize that the article was basically POE. I said something to that effect yesterday.

The pig reference wasn't intended to insult anyone. I only used it to underscore the point, that it would be a waste of time to argue against any points made in the linked article.

Also as an attempt to give Benjamin a bit of a wake up call since the comments on part one, didn't seem to make much of an impact on him...



The article is in two parts. My impression is that the first part is meant to be humorous, but that the second part is serious.

My comment about the Foss comment was serious enough, just in that these blanket statements, ie, 'Gov't is Reactive.' Period.. it's like this chest-thumping game of who can be the most bombastic and simplistic. It's silly.

I appreciated Tommy V's moderation of it, which says that 'it depends'.. sure, the EPA was a 'reaction' to one set of events, SO THAT the systems could be in place to anticipate other such events. I mean, even in the best people, proactive behavior has to be learned from prior experience, no? People in government might all-too-often be prone to pack or mob behavior, except when they aren't, right? Only Nixon could go to China, and only he sign in the Fresh Air Bill, only Roscoe could call out about PO for years, it took exceptional and diffident actions for Kennedy & Co to help resolve the Cuban Missile situation.. thank God that wasn't 'merely reactive'.. there was a little thinking about the future going on in there.

This Solar article here is not a joke (as far as that goes), by which I mean that the author seems very serious about his digs at Solar as 'Just another Ad Ploy'.. while part one was simply an example of those supposed ads. It seems pretty crystal clear that he's claiming that PV is simply another accessory that it's adherents go for in order to show off their attributes, etc.. Just because he's being silly doesn't mean his motives are 'merely to get dates and make his dad proud of him because he's a funny guy'. His reason for writing this is clear.

Yes, advertising tries to paint a picture and make the product (any product) fit into an identity, a dream-life.. this is his big point? Ad people do this same game for good products and for junk.. so this author wants to play this as if Solar is superficial because it's sold the same way that superficial products are sold.. yet he manages to overlook anything actually substantial about the product and it's potential role WRT energy.. he wraps it up telling this Solar Customer that he's still a coal user, after doing some hazy math pulling average household data.

It was another eager and flawed solar hit piece, built on the fumes of the fuming..

Unfortunately most bureaucracies fight the last battle evermore, until they and their adversaries in business are fully entwined in a revolving door game. New problems arise from older solutions, dontcha know......

I actually don't have a problem with gov't morphing and adapting - I think that's a good plan. What I don't much care for is monotonic growth, with new layers adding but old layers rarely falling. Even with the EPA being "gutted" I bet they have laid of next to nobody.

so this author wants to play this as if Solar is superficial because it's sold the same way that superficial products are sold..

And yet is it. I my area of struggling McMansions, house that PV appears on are as likely to have a Hummer in the driveway as a Prius. And many are on houses that clearly contain energy-hogs, that just want to reduce their utility bills. So he chooses the most egregious possible example, then exagerates it way out of proportion.

My comment about the Foss comment was serious enough, just in that these blanket statements, ie, 'Gov't is Reactive.' Period.. it's like this chest-thumping game of who can be the most bombastic and simplistic. It's silly.

Bob, I quoted one line from the discussion and you call it a blanket chest-thumping game. Nonsense! I don't believe you even watched the piece. It was a very serious discussion and only people who wish to hear nothing negative and only positive things could call it a blanket statement.

Anyway, the statement was meant as a general statement, not a hard and fast law. Governments, in general, are just like crowds. Governments, in general, are reactive not proactive. Of course there are some things that governments do that is proactive. Your post was nothing but nitpicking!

Anyway I knew your criticism of Ms. Foss was serious it was this statement by you that I simply could not believe was serious:

We've got to accentuate the positive as WELL as eliminating the negative.

But now that you tell me that you were serious I am flabbergasted. We must eliminate the negative? That is the silliest blanket statement I have ever heard. The whole concept of peak oil will have a negative effect on the world. Declining fossil fuels are a huge negative for humanity. Nothing is more negative than overshoot. Yet we must eliminate all negative statements in connection with peak oil or overshoot and accentuate the positive aspects of them?

Nothing is more negative than collapse! The collapse of Joseph Tainter, the collapse of Jared Diamond, the collapse that everyone on this list has been talking about for almost six years is very, very negative.

Now putting a positive spin on collapse and eliminating all negative aspects of collapse is going to be a real trick.

Ron P.

Now putting a positive spin on collapse and eliminating all negative aspects of collapse is going to be a real trick.

No, no, it's easy - "I'm absolutely positive that we will collapse".

I've run into this mindset so many times, some people simply will not face ideas that are not optimistic. It's particularly prevalent in business, where one may never say anything that is not optimistic, instead you have to frame everything as if you are being supportive even when you're describing a looming disaster. I don't understand why we cannot look at things clearly regardless of if they are good news or bad.

Twilight, I hope you are joking. If the Doctor tells you, You have cancer and I am positive you will die within a few days, would you say that was putting a positive spin on things? Of course not, that is about as negative as one can get.

Likewise being positive that the world as we know it will collapse is not putting a positive spin on things, that is about as negative as one can get. But you are correct that people, in general, cannot look at things clearly regardless of if they are good or bad. But surely you must realize that you are saying that people want to be positive about everything and not negative.

And what I am saying is there is just no way you can turn a very serious negative, like collapse and die-off, into a positive. And if you are positive that there will be collapse and die-off then you cannot get more negative than that.

Ron P.

Yes Ron, I was joking about the first part, and I agree that reality will be bringing some quite unpleasant things our way. I feel no need to spin them in a positive light, nor to give up in despair because of it. We need to accept the reality of what is happening as best as we can see it, good or bad, and behave in the most constructive way based on that understanding. A bias toward optimistic or pessimistic data gets in the way of that.

Yes my reply was a little strong. I should just have pointed out that you used the word "positive" as opposed to "uncertain", while Bob and I were using "positive" as opposed to "negative". Totally different meanings in totally different contexts.

Ron P.

The pun, also called paronomasia, is a form of word play which suggests two or more meanings, by exploiting multiple meanings of words, or of similar-sounding words, for an intended humorous or rhetorical effect.

It's just the end of the world as we've known it, you gotta try to have a little fun with it.

just FYI, Ron, 'Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative' , is just a lyric from an old standard jazz tune (Mr. InBetween, Arlen/Mercer), and it's pretty hilarious that you would read that as my suggestion that we ought to 'Eliminate ALL Negatives'..

I think of it as a pretty common cultural reference, but maybe it's too arcane. But no, even the authors of the song wouldn't have been suggesting such a thing was possible or reasonable, and I think their audiences got it.

Bob, you are right but you did not quote the lyrics verbatim. You put "as WELL as", in there with the WELL in all caps. That puts a whole different slant on things. And just why must we accentuate the positive as WELL as eliminate the negative? Exactly WHY must we put a spin on things that reflect them in a totally different light than the one that actually exist? Why should we spin lies?

But you are on the right track Bob. No one in their right mind would have thought that the statement: Governments are crowds, they are reactive not proactive, was a sweeping statement that really meant that governments NEVER do anything proactive.

Ron P.

"Why must we accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative?"

Well that was succinct.

The point of that kind of statement is that we often need to work a problem from both (or many) of its ends. If you're in a balloon and you want to stay aloft, you have the choice, hopefully, of adding more heat and lift, or dropping ballast. That a good image? Can it be applied to what we're talking about?

For your household, you not only need to try to increase your income, but also to cut out wasteful or perhaps the least needed expenses, to make the everpresent money 'predicament' work out..

or, When looking at Government, it would make sense to take stock of programs that DO work (that's the Positive part), as well as trying to eliminate the processes/programs/taxes? that do NOT.. which is the NEGATIVE. You also have POSITIVES in the form of Individuals in Government who have shown themselves to be effective, and those who aren't, in the midst of this "CROWD".. the crowd will likely function better if the worst apples are regularly removed, don't you think? But it's not JUST a crowd.. it's full of personalities, of competing interests, of outside influences, both Positives and Negatives.. all in great need of regular rebalancing*. (Where rebalancing might be seen as removing things that throw it out of balance, ie, negatives..)

Clearly, we all have to interpret what others are saying, Ron, but if that is really unclear to you, then it seems that you are simply unwilling to allow that there are any positives to contemplate in the first place.. maybe this is why you become so adamant when people suggest that there is a middleground.. and that any mention of positives and hope and optimism sends you scurrying to find your Straw Dogs line about rapacious primates again.

What a piece of work is man, how noble in reason.. and the truth is as ever somewhere in-between.

Bob, I hear what you are saying but it was my point that you are clearly overreacting. I was not being negative and neither was Nicole Foss. To say that her statement: Governments are crowds, they are reactive not proactive was a "sweeping and an extreme pronouncement", is really quite absurd. I think you really know better than that but just accidently let it slip in your eagerness to get in a dig in at me.

Ron P.

Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made.
Immanuel Kant

And if you are positive that there will be collapse and die-off then you cannot get more negative than that.

Ron, I disagree. The statement is neither positive nor negative, per se. It will certainly happen. How fast it happens is uncertain, and if it is slow and controlled it will be less a negative than fast and chaotic.

I have read predictive pieces on both sides; my mindset is that we it will be maybe 10 years or so before things get dicey, and then things will gradually get worse over the subsequent ten to twenty years. So, in 30 years or so we will know just how negative or positive the collapse and die-off was, by which time I will be about 100 years old. Meaning that I won't really ever know how things work out.

Having said that, I believe that J.M. Greer is a bit optimistic and J.Kunstler is a bit pessimistic. The end game is, the survivors will have to make the best of what is left. I hope we will leave them enough that they can live happily and productively... and of greater importance, that they live peacefully. That is more than we have had, isn't it?


Craig, let us not quibble over over semantics. It is my opinion that we should not spin at all, we should just call things as we see them. However "pessimistic" and "negative" are synonyms, as are "optimistic" and "positive" when used in the same context. However the words "positive" and "negative" can have totally different meanings when used in different contexts such as positive of negative voltage.

I find Kunstler, Tainter and Foss totally pessimistic. They do not put a positive spin on anything. That is to say they see no need to lie in order to get a wider audience for their views. In other words they are very negative when it comes to the future of humanity. Greer is only slightly more positive, or optimistic if you prefer that term.

Ron P.

However the words "positive" and "negative" can have totally different meanings when used in different contexts such as positive of negative voltage.

Yeah, if you keep only the 'Positive' and eliminate all the 'Negative' you end up with a lot of 'Static'.

I appreciated Tommy V's moderation of it, which says that 'it depends'.. sure, the EPA was a 'reaction' to one set of events, SO THAT the systems could be in place to anticipate other such events.

Yes, but the statement by Tommy V was not true either.

To say EVERY law or action by government is reactive is not true.

Governments are crowds, they are reactive not proactive. Nicole Foss

Folks on this list will remember that I have been saying something very similar for years. And that is, something to the effect of: People, in general, do not respond to arguments and take action to prevent future catastrophes, they wait until the catastrophic event happens then react. I have never thought of the government as a crowd but thinking about it, that is exactly how the government behaves. The public, or crowd, screams at them ant the government behaves accordingly.

Below are links to the video where Ms. Foss made this statement. She says we are in for a fast collapse, not a slow collapse. But she does use the term fast catabolic collapse. She also quotes Kuntsler: Efficiency is the straightest path to hell. If you want to know what she meant by that quote then watch the first video.

I really enjoyed both these videos. I was a little disappointed that Tainter did not have more input but I was extremely impressed by what Ms. Foss had to say.

Risks of Collapse: Dr. Joseph Tainter, Nicole Foss, David Korowicz (1 of 2)

Risks of Collapse: Dr. Joseph Tainter, Nicole Foss, David Korowicz (2 of 2)

Ron P.

The first video link took me to the correct one at youtube but the screen is black - what to do?

Try the direct URL for part 1 (although Ron's link works for me anyway) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcC3QBDMCDc

Thanks Darwinian and Undertow - for whatever reason Understow's link works on our computer.

Foss fully gets the situation - a very articulate, knowledgable person. It's going to be a tough century.

Works fine for me. I always test my links in "Preview" mode before I post them to make sure they work. But it takes a minute or so to load. Just wait a few minutes and perhaps it will load.

"People, in general, do not respond to arguments and take action to prevent future catastrophes, they wait until the catastrophic event happens then react"

Reminds me of our first Energy Secretary's words, ~"Americans have two modes, Complacency and Panic" (or something similar).

Governments are crowds, they are reactive not proactive. Nicole Foss

Like most blanket statements, the above is both true and false, but mostly false.

If it were true, there would be no seismic standards in California, the EPA, FDA, SEC, etc. would not exist (all these are examples of proactive government attempting to address threats before they occur). The National Renewable Energy Lab is another good example of proactive government, one can argue that it should be better funded, but NREL's existence is not in question.

Well yes and no. All those agencies were created to fix problems that already existed and were already causing major problems. They were all reactive creations. Granted that they did, sort of, prevent further problems. But we still have the environment being degraded, bad drugs and the public is still being ripped off by ineffective drugs and as for the SEC, we still had Bernie Madoff and other Ponzi schemes.

As for the NREL, from Wikipedia: Established in 1974, [Note 1] NREL began operating in 1977 as the Solar Energy Research Institute. Under the Jimmy Carter administration, it was the recipient of a large budget and its activities went beyond research and development in solar energy as it tried to popularize knowledge about already existing technologies, like passive solar, amongst the population. During the Ronald Reagan administration, the institute's budget was cut by some 90%.

It was created by Jimmy Carter as a reaction to the energy crisis. And it's funding was cut 90% by Ronald Reagan as a reaction to what he thought of the energy crisis. ;-)

Ron P.

"If it were true, there would be no..."

It's more complicated than that. Every one of those came about reactively. Think copper sulfate as a colorant in canned vegetables, the brick-red skies of Gary, Indiana, or the long list of financial panics/depressions.

Once the agencies exist, then they can become proactive, and sometimes they do. Or, as has happened many times more than once, the bureaucrats comprising them can become full to the brim of themselves, egotistically and stubbornly obstructionist.

And many agencies (a) become populated - especially at the board or very senior levels - by bureaucrats or boosters for the industries they are meant to oversee, and (b) start to take on those industries' arguments and pleadings as their own agenda outcomes - so no legislative changes are made, effectively, unless they are approved by that industry. Myriad examples in the environmental, forestry, water management, clean air, food compliance, and related sectors.

Thanks Tommy;
It's a lot of work sweeping up after the endless spilling of extreme pronouncements around here!

We've got to accentuate the positive as WELL as eliminating the negative.

Well I would not call Nicole Foss' statement extreme at all. I would say it is spot on.

It is my firm belief that nothing will be done by our government to mitigate peak oil until it is way too late. All government action on peak oil will be reactive not proactive. Hell, if Robert Hirsch is to be believed it is already way too late. And the government has not even started to react yet. But if you think all of us peak oil alarmist should just sit down and shut up then you are free to state your mind.

But must we eliminate the negative? You mean that only Pollyanna Cornucopians should post? At first I thought you must be joking. But I know from your past posts that your first sentence was no joke, that you very much disliked statements like the one I quoted from Nichole Foss. If that be the case then don't watch the video because she makes a whole lot more very similar to that one.

Ron P.

The government has done something to mitigate peak oil. It is going to release oil from the SPR. It's plan to mitigate peak oil is to expedite drilling in the U.S., including fracking. Another part of its plan is to increase mpg standards. If by mitigate, you mean push the downward decline a few months into the future, it is mitigating peak oil. If you mean, doing something that would actually do something in spite of the inevitable peak oil, then no, they are doing almost nothing. It is schizophrenic, of course, in that we are encouraging people to use more oil by sending them the message that it will do what is necessary to hold down costs while, at the same time, increasing efficiency. I think Jevons paradox will largely kick in by going the efficiency rate and I think increasing domestic supply, even if possible, will speed up the day where there is even less oil for anyone happening to be around in the future.

But really, even if the government, meaning the people, were ready and willing to do something truly significant about peak oil, what could be done or what would you do? My impression is that you think nothing could be done even if there was the will to do something. Further, even if we have the most proactive government in the world, that would not change the fact that the rapidly developing economies would use up any excess created.

As far as the government goes, it can be influenced by people. The tea party is accomplishing or destroying things way beyond what would be indicated by its numbers. Our entire government is being held hostage by a few people who are holding the Republicans hostage who are holding the rest of us hostage. While we don't seem to have the power to create something positive, we do seem to have the power to say no and, in so doing, engage in destruction.

Why the term hostage? Hostage to what? To a manufactured pair of choices on the obvious continuum of options?

The first step to escaping a hole is to stop digging. The problem isn't the debt limit -- it's an almost total inability to prioritize. Why should borrowing be the default decision when making budgets?

If the gov't is concerned about paying debts, all they have to do is print money and do it. Or take tax income and do it. There's no great constitutional crisis except in the minds of politicians who don't like to be subject to that piece of paper in general, because it would require a halt to pandering elsewhere.

If government makes a serious attempt to prioritize its spending, it will come up against very nasty resistance because Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Defense and so on will all have to be on the chopping block. We'd need a triage mentality, where only the very needy cases get a moderate amount of help, not an entitlement mentality.

It looks like the U.S. is not up for a rational conversation on this topic and instead our fiscal predicament will end in a train wreck.


As much as I dislike the Tea Party crowd, they are basically right about government spending, albeit for the wrong reasons, and of course they tend to be energy cornucopians and believers in infinite economic growth. But what they are right about is that there no way that most OECD countries can maintain their current level of government spending. My "Thelma & Louise" metaphor:

The OECD “Thelma & Louise” Race to the Edge of the Cliff

“Thelma and Louise” is an American movie that ends with the two main characters committing suicide by driving off the edge of a cliff. I’ve often thought that this cinematic moment is an appropriate symbol for the actions of many developed OECD countries that are in effect borrowing money to maintain or increase current consumption. The central problem with this approach is that as my frequent co-author, Samuel Foucher, and I have repeatedly discussed, the supply of global net oil exports has been flat to declining since 2005, with “Chindia” so far consuming an ever greater share of what is (net) exported globally. Chindia’s combined net oil imports, as a percentage of global net exports, rose from 11.2% in 2005 to 17.6% in 2010*.

At precisely the point in time that developed countries should be taking steps to discourage consumption, many OECD countries, especially the US, are doing the exact opposite, by effectively encouraging consumption. Therefore, the actions by many OECD countries aimed at encouraging consumption in the face of declining available global net oil exports can be seen as the OECD “Thelma & Louise” Race to the Edge of the Cliff. I suppose that the “winner” could be viewed as the first country that can no longer borrow enough money, at affordable rates, to maintain their current lifestyle. So, based on this metric, Greece would appear to be currently in the lead, with many other countries not far behind them.

*BP + Minor EIA Data

But what they are right about is that there no way that most OECD countries can maintain their current level of government spending.

Absolutely agree. I thought the deficits during Bush jr. were exceedingly high, but after the near collapse they went sky high. Borrowing 40 cents of every dollar spent is unsustainable.

It would seem the US govt. wants to try and maintain all the programs at current levels in spite of higher oil prices which are crimping private sector profits and in turn tax revenue. The govt. has to realise the fiscal implications of higher priced oil and downsize accordingly. Beyond the obvious cutbacks in medicare, medicaid, etc. personally I think defense is way over funded. Why do we need soldiers in south korea, germany, japan, afghanistan, iraq, etc. We are no longer in a financial position to enforce our will on other countries. Defense means defense, not offense.

If goverment downsizes at the same time the private economy downsizes, then we have major economic contraction. People don't seem to grok that the government acts as the employer of last resort. Instead the logic is I'm suffering and gotta cutback, so should they. But then there is little demand for anything, and with our growth addicted economy, thats means millions are thrown out of work etc. We have lots and lots of work that needs to be done, especially reengineering our economy so it can adapt to peakoil and peak other commodities. The kneejerk emotional response will lead to disaster. The private market won't do this for us, only collective will expressed via government can do that. But the anti-government juggernaut means we will dismantle the only institution we have that has a chance of saving us.

The one I heard last night was "It's Time Washington Take The Hit, Not The Taxpayers". This sound-bite invokes the popular image of punishing the politicians. I laughed. My dog might have, too.

A little reminiscent of 'Keep the government's hands off my Medicare!'

..or the much older 'idiot' joke that ends up with,

"Hey! Hit my hand!"

A couple of years ago, actor Craig T. Nelson appeared on Glenn Beck’s Fox News program to rail against taxes, government, and the lack of fiscal responsibility in society. As the actor argued at the time, he was thinking about no longer paying taxes because he disapproved of public funds rescuing those struggling.

“They’re not going to bail me out,” Nelson said. “I’ve been on food stamps and welfare. Anybody help me out? No. No.”

"...the government acts as the employer of last resort."

True enough, but when they pay commuter-train drivers (who nowadays are little more than living ornaments) $250K p.a., and so on ad infinitum, they really aren't capable of being an employer of last resort on much of a scale. The overpaying is so far out of kilter that metro Washington DC is about the richest sizable region in the country.

Enemies, of government (and taxes of any kind) always pick out few outlier examples. These are actually pretty rare cases, most goverment employees aren't making high incomes. And many of these cases are of people who worked lots of overtime, or have other extenuating circumstances. But, the bottom line, for the voter, is any penny government gets will be wasted in this manner. Thats really dishonest argumentation, cherrypicking of a few anecdotal cases. In the mean time the mixed economy, under which we did so well in the half century after WW2, is being dismantled. Soon the middle class will no longer be able to afford to educate their kids. But, the few billionaires will have low taxes.

The U.S. might be garrisoning oil-rich areas precisely because its financial house of cards is falling apart.

Inflating the financial sector helped maintain some measure of prosperity in the U.S. after the energy crises of the 70s (though the working class was largely sacrificed), and now, as the effects of global peak oil are being felt, the U.S. finds itself with military engagements in various oil-rich countries (and would certainly get involved militarily if a country like Saudi Arabia were in trouble).

I'm interested to see if NATO will put troops on the ground in Libya.

In "The Party's Over," Richard Heinberg discussed the possibility of nations following a Last One Standing strategy in response to peak oil.

Many times before on this blog it has been brought up and I thought all here realized...It all makes very real sense and the players are all doing exactly right IF you realize the only goal is to get re-elected. Their actions have nothing to do with what's best for the country. Tea Party candidates believe that idea will get them elected. Liberal candidates think that concept will get them elected. Do any of you really think that lawyers chasing ambulances have a real concern for the victim?

Their actions have nothing to do with what's best for the country. Tea Party candidates believe that idea will get them elected. Liberal candidates think that concept will get them elected.

I think that vastly overstates things. Most politicians, think the country will do better under their leadership than the alternative. Many Tea Party candidates probably believe much of what they say. Same with liberals (which excepting a few ultra-blue districts is not likely to get them elected). I have noticed, that at least in the blogosphere, current liberals are usually interested in what makes good public policy, and conservatives are usually interested in winning politically. Even this later, is probably motivated by their thinking that they will use the power much better than their opponents will, so alls fair....

I think Reps have almost zero skill at staying in power, as they get dumber and in-fight as soon as they get it. Just look at the line-up for 2012......

"Good public policy" is in the eye of the beholder. I don't think either party has a good platform fiscally or for jobs, and that both are vying mightily for control.

I agree mostly with your sentiments though -- most believe what they pitch to a significant degree. Yet, once the elections and infighting are over and votes are cast, the result seems to be eternally the same: more gov't spending more borrowed money. More laws, more gov't involvement, yet less oversight and bounding of the worst and riskiest edges of the economy.

I think Tea Party candidates will remain in ascension as long as they push for fiscal conservatism, as that is missing from both parties today. If they wander from that, the platform will fracture. Jobs, jobs, jobs is a safe chant for anybody.

"Good public policy" is in the eye of the beholder. I don't think either party has a good platform fiscally or for jobs,

The policy is for the Large Corporations, and for them it is "good public policy". Government power working for Corporations....if only there was a word to describe such......

The government has done something to mitigate peak oil. It is going to release oil from the SPR.

You really think that is mitigation? It is a response to price, nothing more. It was precisely the wrong thing to do.

It's plan to mitigate peak oil is to expedite drilling in the U.S., including fracking. Another part of its plan is to increase mpg standards. If by mitigate, you mean push the downward decline a few months into the future, it is mitigating peak oil.

I don't see any of that as mitigation. Expediting drilling might cause a reduction in imports if it doesn't just fill the gap caused by declining fields. As for CAFE, my 1997 Saturn SC1 gets 40 MPG highway, so those CAFE standards are a step back for me. Why should I dump a well running car for something less efficient? Of course in 5 years the Saturn might be dead, but will the credit be available so I can buy a new car?

All the above does is continue the illusion that we can maintain BAU. If we were serious about mitigation the government would have had a 'come to Jesus' press conference and laid down the facts. Then it would follow up with even higher CAFE standards, a full on press towards electrifying as much rail as possible (AlanfromBigEasy is the go-to guy on that), pursue renewables where they make sense, and increase gasoline taxes to bring the price per gallon more in line with Europe's and help pay for some of this. It won't happen because politicians prefer reelection to single terms and my experience is that most Americans won't talk mitigation unless you can promise them BAU by just substituting energy sources - i.e. an electric car with the range and features of an ICE.

Btw, my post was mostly tongue in cheek. Of course, they are essentially doing nothing other than band aids. Substantive change requires a path towards a society that needs as little oil as possible. That won't be done by mpg standards. It requires a situation where the auto is essentially a marginal player, literally around the peripheries of cities.


The SEC was established by the United States Congress in 1934 as an independent, quasi-judicial regulatory agency during the Great Depression that followed the Crash of 1929. The main reason for the creation of the SEC was to regulate the stock market and prevent corporate abuses relating to the offering and sale of securities and corporate reporting. The SEC was given the power to license and regulate stock exchanges, the companies whose securities traded on them, and the brokers and dealers who conducted the trading.

But if the agency is turned into a joke with joke staffing and joke behavior, then the people will clamor for its demise. Like Minerals Management officials having sex and doing drugs with members of its actual clients, the corporations they were supposed to be watching in the name of the people. This has been done in other countries. Other, even mildly pesky agencies are simply dismantled, like the EPA being gutted to clear the way for fracking. The SEC was, well, not quite asleep while the economy tanked.

California Rep. Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said it was "disturbing that high-ranking officials within the SEC were spending more time looking at porn than taking action to help stave off the events that put our nation's economy on the brink of collapse."

- A senior attorney at the SEC's Washington headquarters spent up to eight hours a day looking at and downloading pornography.

- Seventeen of the randy employees were "at a senior level" earning salaries of up to $222,418.


Governments are crowds, they are reactive not proactive. Nicole Foss
If it were true, there would be no seismic standards in California, the EPA, FDA, SEC, etc. would not exist (all these are examples of proactive government attempting to address threats before they occur).

So is your position that the EPA was to prevent problems before they occur?


repair the damage already done

Because I'd like to see a defense of your statements that the EPA was proactive and not reactive.

Governments are crowds, they are reactive not proactive. Nicole Foss

Like most blanket statements, the above is both true and false, but mostly false.

If it were true, there would be no seismic standards in California, the EPA, FDA, SEC, etc. would not exist (all these are examples of proactive government attempting to address threats before they occur).

Hahaha, is this more of that satire that Darwinian says he finds so inscrutable?

California had no seismic standards before the San Francisco earthquake.

EPA: created after the Californian beach oil spills.

FDA: Many, many cases of tainted food and snake-oil 'medicines' in the late 19th Century, publicized by Upton Sinclair among others.

SEC: Created after the stock market crash of 1929.

All of these agencies were created by public opinion. Governments are reactive ... when they do anything at all.

Thanks Greg, with certain people attacking my posts, and my quotations from such people as Nichole Foss, as "spilling of extreme pronouncements" I can use all the help I can get.

Thanks again,

Ron P.

Governments are crowds, they are reactive not proactive. Nicole Foss

Isn't his argument getting pretty pointless. The statement concerns a tendency, not a hard property. Government contains some well meaning smart people, who will try to be proactive about problems, and if the solutions aren't controversial, or the programs can otherwise stay off the political radar screen, they have a chance of succeeding. But for major things, such as peak-oil and climate change, the prescriptions are bound to gore some powerful interest's oxen, and that means very little can be done until the problem hits the people with such force, that they scream louder than the corporate propaganda.

California had no seismic standards before the San Francisco earthquake.

To take one example. But instituting standards meant overturning the popular notion that earthquakes are a one time act of god. So it still took some real political capital to impose standards/costs on businesses in order to do what the scientists and engineers thought made sense. Admittedly not as proactive as figuring out from first principles on day zero, what needs to be done to live with such forces of nature, but not bad by modern (last few years) standards.

Agreed. And I too was a bit disappointed not to hear more from Dr Tainter. However, I spent most of my time watching his reactions as the other speakers were speaking.

For example, when Ms Foss made the statement you mention above about governments being reactive (about 3mins into vid 1) you'll notice his clear nodding in agreement.

Here is Tainter's presentation- Collapse of Complex Societies by Dr. Joseph Tainter (1 of 7)

remark - Video 1 of 7.

Not exactly. This presentation, from your link, was given on December 10, 2010 while the one in which Nicole Foss and David Korowicz took part in, from my link above, was on April 5th, 2011.

The link you posted however is very good. I watched all seven segments yesterday afternoon. In them I heard a very surprising statement from Dr. Tainter. This thread is already stale so I will not post it today but since it is on a totally different subject than anything discussed today, and involves a totally different video series, I will post it as a new thread, probably Saturday morning.

However, almost everything Dr. Tainter discussed in his book is covered in the first five videos at your link. The last two are from the question and answer session after the presentation. To anyone who is even remotely interested in collapse or Dr. Tainter's work, you could do no better than watch these seven videos.

Ron P.

you are right. Thing is I've bookmarked this video collection-page where both links appear.
Here are about 150 more or less(?) interesting video-presentations .(click more, lower left)

More N. Foss insights...
Nicole Foss aka Stoneleigh - A Century of Challenges - Peak Oil & Economic Crisis

Peak Oil & Economic Crisis - A Century of Challenges - Nicole Foss aka Stoneleigh - Q and A

Dr. Tainter kindly allowed us to post one of his speeches here a couple of years ago: Human Resource Use: Timing and Implications for Sustainability

As I recall, he was a bit concerned that it was too doomerish. I got the feeling that he's less optimistic than his book suggests.

In the conventional view, complexity follows energy. If so, then we should be able to forego complexity voluntarily and reduce our consumption of the resources that it requires. This approach to sustainability implicitly sees the future as a condition of stasis with no challenges.

In actuality, major infusions of surplus energy are rare in human history. More commonly, complexity increases in response to problems. Complexity emerging through problem solving typically precedes the availability of energy, and compels increases in its production. Complexity is not something that we can ordinarily choose to forego.

Applying this understanding leads to two conclusions. The first is that the solutions commonly recommended to promote sustainability–conservation, simplification, pricing, and innovation–can do so only in the short term. Secondly, long-term sustainability depends on solving major societal problems that will converge in coming decades, and this will require increasing complexity and energy production. Sustainability is not a condition of stasis. It is, rather, a process of continuous adaptation, of perpetually addressing new or ongoing problems and securing the resources to do so.

Complexity is an interesting phenomenon. I need to learn more.

Perhaps an analogy is a flowing river. Water from an elevated area rushes down a steep path to the ocean. It is fast and straight, furiously cutting a channel and easily carrying boulders along with it. Yet, the debris it carried eventually deposits in a delta, and a higher bed forms. Over time, the delta spreads and raises, and eventually the channel splits and bends as old paths occlude. In 100 years, the raging, short channel has become a slow, broad, lazy river that cannot even carry sand. Then one day a large storm upstream creates a surge of water, and the river overflows its bank and cuts a new, raging, shorter path to sea.

On a river, this can happen fractally -- the process repeats at varying points from the sea delta all the way back to the headwater tributaries.

In our economy, I think the same process applies. Our laws create the dikes and levees, our regulations form the silt and boulders for the flow of money, and companies line the banks. Over time, any large flow attracts enough attention that the flow clogs, and then a flood or breakout happens somewhere else. Every once in a while an "unexpected" storm comes along, and we find out which levees and dams were weak, and what buildings were poorly situated next to the rivers.

People are wrong when they say we need to keeps things like they are or make them like they once were -- that cannot happen; the river has moved, and it will again. All of our past solutions are just a framework for new problems.

Nice analogy.

Since the diversion of the MS is still relatively fresh in people's minds, you should go ahead and develop this into an op ed and see if any major papers will run it. Creating strong and compelling metaphors and images can be a very powerful way of helping people get some handle on where we are and what may be coming.

Last night, PBS Newshour broadcast offered an interesting segement on the decline of Clevelaand's population and the devestration to/of neighbourhoods as empty houses are stripped and vandalized and left to rot. Renewal consists of demolition and making the land available for community gardens, etc. One guy bought up an acre and put in a vinyard? He said if the wine is no good he'll make vinegar.

We hear this about Detroit, of course, but it is happening elsewhere. Cleveland's pop has been declining steadily for 40+ years as blue collar jobs have been farmed out to non-union jurisdictions or overseas. (steel....auto parts, etc). My wife asked, "where did the people go?" This, I would like to know. The Dust Bowl well chronicled by Steinbeck's Grapes of wrath, but where did the workers of America's Industry go? Did they return to the South, move in with relatives, or disperse family by family?

Which leads to the next question? Where would you go if your community collapses? We often comment in our house that one day maybe we will be surrounded by family as the jobs disappear. Who knows? I ask this in light of the surving in suburbia handbook on today's DB, and Merrils reference on the last DB of Britain compared to Cuba ....(27% arable in Cuba vrs 23% Britain, pop...climate....etc).

Fast collapse? I sure hope not.



the second Jarrow March ofcourse

Small over crowded Island - well we have Europe closer

hey there's an idea , instead of the Poles coming over here - we could emigrate there!

I here they've still got coal and gas .....



Paulo - Again from PBS a few weeks ago: Not focusing on intracountry migration per se but did highlight the growth in southern populations and in particular Texas. They didn't identify where folks were moving from but the general implication was north to south/southwest. And there was one very obvious reason for migration to Texas: more new jobs have been created in Texas over the last several years than in the other 49 states combined. But if you look at our unemployment rate it's still relatively high: been adding lots of jobs but also new people to the population.

It may also have something to do with climate and housing affordability. Texas, and Houston in particular, has had some of the lowest construction costs in the country. Houston has been the oil center of the world forever but it has diversified over the years. Medical services have grown considerably. Additionally we didn't get hit with the real estate bust as bad as most regions. And thus not sinking so low economically we didn't have that far to rise. Commercial construction is going on like crazy all over including my old industrialized east side.

So maybe folks just prefer ducking occasional hurricanes than fighting freezing weather. At least with a hurricane you can drive a 100 miles to get out of its way. Not so easy to do with a week of near zero temps.

Yup, as Edward Glaeser has often pointed out, Human Capital Follows the Thermometer, specifically the January temperature. Or, at least, it started following it once air conditioning became widespread. As they said in Phoenix, "you don't have to shovel the heat." And in addition one may not need to waste time on public transportation.

As Glaeser said at CNU19, cities orient around the transportation technology current when they're built out (and in the US this happens to correlate with temperature.) In the Sunbelt, that's the car - and as he also said (and despite traffic jams), car commutes average 24min, while transit commutes, depicted nicely here average 48min, each way. So busy people might want to locate where they can avoid not only the heavy time cost of dealing with snow and ice, but also the considerable time cost of transit.

Which brings us to how the big northern cities tend to be run by obnoxious, self-important, snobbish brahmins like Mike Bloomberg and New York's pompous, officious, egotistical City Council, who always know what's best. In keeping with that, they hire massive brigades of planners. And, yup again, the job of planners is to implement visions, hallucinations mainly about driving the price of housing completely out of sight, and driving the cost of business (and thus groceries and everything else) up to match and then some (with all that unaffordable stuff linked up, of course, by that jammed, glacially slow public transit.) Throughout especially the Northeast, the planners have succeeded brilliantly. So a family might want to locate where they can actually afford decent housing, where they might find schools where the kids are physically fairly safe. And if need be, just a fraction of the savings will carry an extra car.

Then, to ice the cake, there's the way the overbearing brahmins feel, with every fiber of their superior, godlike beings, the sacred duty to micromanage - no, make that nanomanage, or rather, nannymanage - everyone's lives for them. God forbid that anyone should ever enjoy, oh, the horror, a scoop of ... let's say ... Blue Bell ... without a harsh scolding from the Food Police; or, the most horrific of all possible horrors, smoke outdoors without being handcuffed by the real police, who, despite all the muggings, are deemed to have nothing better to do. So a person might want to locate where they're not constantly treated as a toddler.

(Now, perhaps, in the future, people will be frogmarched where they don't want to go. OTOH the would-be frogmarchers have yet to reach consensus on whether that's brahmin-run megacities, small towns and villages, rural farmettes, or something else. So we'll have to wait and see; maybe it will be complicated.)

Plenty of compulsion and nannyism runs the other way. In almost every town in the US, there are minimum parking requirements (requirement to provide 2 or more parking spaces per unit), floor area ratio maximums, lot line setback minimums, legal landscaping requirements, and of course the all-important property-tax funded wide and smooth local roads paid for everybody in no proportion to road use. Plus "limited-access" freeways that prohibit the simple acts of walking or riding a bike, or any other non-motorized transportation.

The urban form of Phoenix reveals just as much "Brahmin" manipulation as NYC, in my opinion. Why else is the whole place composed of strip malls and single-family suburban subdivisions? And the very existence of the place is dependent on government infrastructure investment to bring water to the desert from somewhere wet, and to ship ridiculous amounts of electricity from somewhere else to power the air conditioners struggling against 120 degree heat. Phoenix has its' "planners" too, they just plan boulevards, freeways, subdivisions, and strip malls instead of subway systems and bike paths.

The suburban sprawl land-use is just as much or probably more a product of government intervention as dense cities (probably more, because dense cities continue to exist in localities with nearly non-existent government, while I don't see too many golf courses, strip malls, and 6 lane boulevards in Mogadishu).

Of course car commutes are faster in cities that have devoted huge sums to building car-dependent infrastructure. But the auto-dependent city is not sustainable, and so eventually will not be sustained. My guess is the Sunbelt migration will soon begin to reverse.


Sun Belt Loses Its Shine
Census Data Show Recession Has Altered Longtime Migration Pattern in U.S

Census data released Tuesday portray a sharp shift in migration during the depths of the recession, from July 2008 to July 2009. With home prices slammed and few jobs available in any state, people from Massachusetts to California decided to stay put or go back where they came from.

The Las Vegas metropolitan area lost about 1,300 residents to other areas. That compares with an annual inflow of 54,000 people during the height of the real-estate boom, and marks the first year of out-migration the city has seen in at least a century. The Orlando area swung to an outflow of about 4,300 from an inflow of 52,000 in 2004-2005.

The shifts represent a radical departure from the migration patterns that had made cities such as Las Vegas and Orlando some of the country's fastest-growing. For decades, people have been leaving colder Northeastern and Midwestern states, either to retire or to chase better weather and jobs in the South and West.

Why does Phoenix even exist?

Because of fossil fuels.

I live in East Texas and believe me, I would not live here without air conditioning. I kind of like that San Diego climate myself.

Because, apparently, millions of people apparently prefer hellish artificial environments and just a little bit of scrub vegetation here and there kept alive by constant sprinkling.

The natural environments of the Sonora Desert around Tucson and Phoenix are quite lovely. It's the concrete, asphalt, auto emissions, and too many people that that turn them into hell realms.



The natural environments of the Sonora Desert around Tucson and Phoenix are quite lovely.

I agree. I almost moved there. I'm beginning to think there is a strong correlation between landscape beauty and harsh (to humans) conditions. Lets see:
Stunning greenness : tropical rainforest (hellish heat/humidy and bugs).
Stunning scenery: high glaciated mountains (wind/sun/extreme cold/ avalanches)
Beautiful frosted snowy forests: cold, mosquitoes in summer.
Lowland southwest forests (like Pondersoa): forest fires
Stunning deserts: hot, baking sun, dusty
Beaches: sun, wind, hurricanes, tsunamis, tourists

So it can rise from the dust cloud all nice and clean.

(the pictures of Pheonix and the dust cloud remind me of the old Dustbowl pictures.)

Winter home for a million retirees? Who eventually decided that an air-conditioned Phoenix in the summer was better than a heated Cedar Rapids in the winter, so settled in Arizona instead of staying in Iowa? Add another million to provide the goods and services the retirees need. Add tourism -- visit Grandma and see the Grand Canyon, play golf in February, etc. Eventually, it's just another city, with relatively new infrastructure compared to many, and attracts clean industry. Pretty soon you've got today's Phoenix and surroundings.

The "retire in the sunbelt" era is just about over. The combined effect of lower house prices in the Midwest, the demise of defined benefit pension plans, and the increases in air fare or car expenses for travel back to see the relatives and friends make moving a much less attractive proposition.

Plus as the safety net for seniors shrinks they are going to have to rely on family rather than society which makes living in enclaves of seniors far away from family rather more difficult.

The idea of 'just another city' is what could change sharply. The ability to make all of these places essentially mimic an easy-to-take middle ground of indoor temps, speed of travel, availability of all imaginable goods and services has made many cities as homongenous as they are.

I wonder if the Identical Franchise Restaurant chains, 'Quaint Main Streets' and strip malls are an expression of our Assembly Line Assembled way of life?

As I indicated elsewhere today, compared to the older northern cities, one biggie is "at least you don't have to shovel the heat." Seriously. Those words exactly. And as I've said before, oldsters often get osteoporosis and are advised by their doctors to move somewhere that has no snow and ice, lest they "spend their remaining time in a wheelchair." The doctors' approximate words, not mine.

In some cases another factor may be that the place is built for cars, so there's no need to cope with public transit. Sure, eventually people can't drive. However, by then, or long before then, they're not up to climbing all those stairs in transit systems, either, when the escalators and elevators are broken because the massively overpaid steatopygous managers and employees can't be bothered to see to it. And by then, the astounding, gratuitous complexity of many bus systems may confuse them hopelessly as well. Where I used to work, if I would go by bus, there was one way to get there during AM and PM rush, another way midday, another way in the evening, yet another way Saturday, and no practical way Sunday.

And then there's simply the fact that the infrastructure is new-ish. And despite the dust storm, not really all that much heavy, destructive weather. Of course, it was all made possible by air conditioning; there is a historical downtown, but it's not much more than the size of a village. But then again, people in the north always used heat in some form, so I have a hard time accepting the widespread meme that air conditioning is somehow morally inferior.

Since we are trading anecdotal info, my mother is 93 and lives here in Boulder, Colorado. She has not driven since she was 85, and she gets around every day by walking, riding the bus, and taking Special Transit. I give her a ride to a doctor's appointment or something about once a month. She has plenty of friends like her (the older ladies meet at the local coffee shop 3 days a week, none of the men seem to have survived past 85), so I think your generalizing about what older people can do is false in my experience. People whose vision and reflexes are not adequate for driving a car can still walk to a bus stop and board a bus. The bus drivers seem to respect my mother's age and wait until she is safe in her seat to accelerate. Eventually my mother won't be able to remain in her own apartment, but she looks likely to have a good transit-served, pedestrian decade, even if you think transit does not work for the elderly.

People whose vision and reflexes are not adequate for driving a car can still walk to a bus stop and board a bus.

A few can, and more power to them. Others can't - well, can't is sometimes too strong a word, but it gets to taking so much tiring effort that they don't. And now that you mention it, I'd guesstimate that more often than not, transit works poorly for large numbers of elderly folks because of the gratuitous, confusing complexity, the oftentimes considerable physical exertion required, and the serious danger in winter. I just don't see a lot of elderly folks waiting at the regular bus stops, and especially not in winter when they've been instructed in no uncertain terms to stay home if they can't drive, rather than risk falling on the ice.

Of course, decades ago, the balance was more even because physical exertion used to be a serious barrier to driving as well as to using other modes. However, commonplace power "everything" changed that - you can almost twirl the steering wheel with a feather. How many here would even remember ever driving a car lacking power steering and brakes?

Colorado is probably the healthiest state in the union with Boulder the healthiest city in Colorado. Up here in the mountains of Boulder, County we have people pushing 100 who are still in pretty good shape. In other parts of the country, I think people go down hill earlier because they don't get out enough and exercise when they are younger. And look at the tourists up in Estes Park. I am 64 and I am sure I am in better shape than most of those people who are in their 20s and 30s. A lot of these people come from the midwest and are already headed downhill physically.

Paul S may be correct with respect to the older people he is probably familiar with. It doesn't have to be that way but I think that people in other parts of the country don't take very good care of themselves.

Boulder also has a very user friendly transit system and maybe it is better than the systems that PaulS is familiar with. And it is getting better all the time. Not to mention the great biking available in Boulder.

Plenty of compulsion and nannyism runs the other way. In almost every town in the US, there are minimum parking requirements (requirement to provide 2 or more parking spaces per unit), floor area ratio maximums, lot line setback minimums, legal landscaping requirements, and of course the all-important property-tax funded wide and smooth local roads paid for everybody in no proportion to road use. Plus "limited-access" freeways that prohibit the simple acts of walking or riding a bike, or any other non-motorized transportation.

ALL of those regulations exist because residents demanded them.

Residents said, cars parked on the street impede my right to drive fast, and are dangerous for the kiddies because drivers can't see them step off the sidewalk.

Residents said, my neighbor is blocking my sun/view, and plays his stereo too loud. Make him build further back from the boundary.

Residents said, houses that cover the entire lot make it look like we're in the city, making it harder to hold the illusion that the 'burbs have something in common with rural life.

Residents said, if people are free to landscape how they choose, then some lots will be messy and lower the tone (i.e. property values).

Residents demanded roads, roads and more roads "to get rid of congestion". Same with expressways. Weirdos like me who said that the answer to congestion on the roads is to make the roads smaller and skinnier, just got blank looks.

All of these regulations came because people demanded them. The government just reacted to the people's will. You created the nanny state and overbearing government, tommyvee. You, and PaulS, and everyone else.

You wanted it, and you got it.

The point, of course, is that people only complain about nanny when she is telling you stuff to do that you don't want to do. When nanny gives you ice cream and cookies, that's a different story. Now that we all agree, nanny can be on both the left and right, we can get down to the business of getting a nanny that will do what we want to do. I want nanny to get off her ass and put the streets on a diet with protected bike lanes where the road used to be. I want nanny to quit trying to solve all traffic problems by building more and wider roads. There is no fundamental right to drive your car wherever you want to. Nanny, if she gets enough people to support here can alter or even eliminate that right if she so chooses. If people don't like that, then they can lobby to get government completely out of the road business and privatize them. Buy your own road and then you can tell everyone what to do who is using your road.

...we can get down to the business of getting a nanny that will do what we want to do.

(Emphasis added.) Aye, and there's the rub. There exists no "we" in the required sense, it's at best only a hallucination. Instead there is a wide diversity. And many of those diverse folks demand to force their own "vision" on everyone else - whether that "vision" is "bike lanes where the road used to be", or "wide and smooth local roads" where the kiddies can see what's coming at them, or tightly cramped medieval-layout cities with no room for bike lanes or anything else but madding crowds, or a life-size old-masters pastoral painting with farmettes and villages, or something else.

The simple bottom line: so long as nanny insists on nannymanaging everyone instead of minding her own business, she's doomed to be buried up to her ears, and then some, and then some more, in backtalk.

This is just the push and pull democracy. Why should I give up my vision if your vision is the status quo. Things change, people change. Nanny will manage; the political system will determine how that is done.


I sometimes enjoy your rants, but I have no idea where you are going with this.

Last I checked you can enjoy ice cream and cigarettes to your heart's content.

What you can't do is smoke in closed places because, well, all that second hand smoke causes all sorts of problems for everybody else.

Makes sense to me.

Listening to too much Limbaugh recently?

You can't smoke in Central Park anymore, that's hardly a closed space.

I did not know that. I suppose the rationale is environmental cleanliness, which just goes to show you that many Americans aren't thoughtful enough to put trash in its place. Interesting, isn't it; our culture isn't sophisticated enough for people to act in a decent way without laws, but we are still sophisticated enough to pass and enforce laws. We have become a nanny state because people are thoughtless. As opposed to the developing world, where people are thoughtless but they don't have a nanny state either.

When I went to Japan I noticed there were alot of smokers, but you could walk the streets for days on end without seeing any cigarette butts lying around. In fact there were no trash anywhere, it was a very clean place. Seems like it was cultural.

For those who are sensitive to cigarette smoke, outside is no guarantee of not breathing smoke. On a still day, smoke wafts, and whether you're jogging in the park or trying to enter a building it is unpleasant to walk through somebody's inconsiderate cancer-cloud. Heck, I've found myself switching from "outside vent" to "recirc" in traffic due to the smoke from the next car up at a light, which even the cabin air filter doesn't block. Today the driver often pollutes more noticeably than his car!

The building I work in is a sharp place with attention to appearance -- the owner was famous for picking up gum wrappers or such even while giving tours to visiting dignitaries. Yet if you go to the obligatory "smoke hole" entrance there are always butts crushed on the ground, just a few feet from the provided collector. I can only assume smokers get so used to littering that they do it everywhere, as surely they are not so inconsiderate as to do so on purpose. It amazes me how many lit smokes I see dropped out of car windows too, even on Red Flag days. If the smell and inconvenience is really that unnoticeable, why not drop it INSIDE the car instead?

I cheered when all restaurants went non-smoking here. I will cheer again when all public spaces do as well. The asthmatics in my house will cheer too...with perhaps a little more airflow than usual!

I used to have a cyclist friend who would if stopped at a light observed a casually dropped butt would pick it up and drop it back in the car, saying, "Here - I picked up your trash for you." In SF you could get away with that; here, you'd eventually be shot I assume.

I coach synchronized swimming at an outdoor pool. When a smoker exhales a cloud of smoke we have to stop all underwater exercises until a few minutes after the air has cleared. It's not so much the athlete's ability to hold their breath underwater that is impaired, but rather their ability to recover afterwards and continue the exercise or repeat the breath hold. Time and time again we have had the same experience, it's not a one off thing.

Thankfully, the Chavez administration pushed through a 100% smoking ban in sporting areas a month or two ago. Pity that various opposition members take that as a mandate to "defend their rights" and "fight dictatorship"... like smoking in the pool is an unalienable human right :S

One of the benefits of civilization is supposedly that we can get together and set rules limiting people's actions when they are causing harm to other members of society. It seems to me emitting noxious fumes from factories, car exhaust, cigarettes etc falls into that category of behavior.

In fact there were no trash anywhere, it was a very clean place. Seems like it was cultural.

I can remember being in Japan thirty years ago, charged with trying to keep a group of Americans I was with from litering. It seems to action of flicking away cig butts is sortof an automatic reflex, they don't even know they are doing this. Unlike, say teenagers thinking they can look cool by chucking softdrink cups on the street, these are people who meant well, but couldn't overcome their automatic reflex habits. And thats why the forest service does complete land closures during times of high fire danger, you just can't trust homo-tobabaccoist to not chuck smouldering butts on the ground.

Population -- MSA: Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH courtesy of the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M, ("Helping Texans make better real estate decisions"), shows data for the Metropolitan Statistical Area. There has probably been more migration from the city to the suburbs than out to other areas. Population of the MSA peaked in 1996. Outward domestic migration peaked in 2006. This only shows data to 2009, but I would expect that outward migration would have stayed low in 2010 since low housing prices made selling and moving problematic.

Note that the population of the Detroit-Warren-Livonia MSA has also been essentially constant for three decades, while the population of the city of Detroit has fallen by half.

White reproduction rate in the US is about 1.7 so to some extent they did not reproduce. They did not go anywhere they died off.

Most populations once they become "developed" slow their rate of reproduction. Especially since intelligent, educated people are better able to make decisions regarding delaying childbirth, using contraceptives effectively, etc. It's happening throughout the world but more slowly in culturally unsophisticated places like the Arab and African regions.

So in some sense, the modern industrial world is dysgenic.

Difficult to say what the consequences of all of this are. Certainly, there will be some starvation/disease/war which culls off much of the human population, and there won't be much "help" coming from the rich parts of the world because there aren't enough middle class people left, and the rich have run away with everything.

If Bill Gates and Warren Buffett want to feed the world, they are more than free to give up their billions.

You are picking on the wrong billionaires.


I have nothing but admiration for the pair of them. If every billionaire and millionaire for that matter behaved like them, the world would be a much better place.

They both live well of course but they don't just accumulate wealth for the sake of it. Whereas if I had the money they have, I'd probably spend a quarter on booze, a quarter on wild women, a quarter on trinkets from China and waste the rest.

Bill Gates I have nothing but admiration for the pair of them. If every billionaire and millionaire for that matter behaved like them, the world would be a much better place.

Why not ask whatever is left of Seattle Computer Products how "admirable" Mr. Gates actions were?
How about STAC?
How about Spyglass - oh wait like STAC they were bought out to shut 'em up.

How "honorable" is it to use computers you are not authorized to use - and those resources were used to generate the products later sold by Microsoft?

That's business, get off your damn high horse.
He donates generously so does Buffett. They will and have made life a lot better for many people and saved the lives of countless others.
I believe in their own way, barring the miserable affects of AGW and PO they both could have made a substantial positive difference in the world.

Most everyone predicts we will be fighting like cats in a sack as we slide down the backside of oil production, and that resource wars will be the main employer in the future.

I keep running into a block on that idea. Mechanized warfare requires safe and secure oil supplies and refineries. Looking at Libya, just how are we going to war large scale war, in an oil producing region? I view it like shooting yourself in the foot, and thinking you are going to march cross country.

Perhaps we are witnessing the "resource wars" right now, including the gulf war, and our collective future holds mass death by starvation and disease instead of large scale war. Smaller wars will always be there. Baring the red button nuclear war I just can't see WW-lll happening.

We have built massive nuclear 'poison pills' that simply did not exist in WW ll, Fukushima x hundreds globally. This is not our grandfathers 'energy' environment.

Also, seizing the oil fields in foreign lands is one thing, but transporting the oil-- to which other importers may actually have valid claims--is a more difficult process. Oil tankers are quite vulnerable to everything from submarines, to surface to surface attacks, to air to surface attacks to sabotage. Incidentally, this is also true of offshore producing platforms, not to mention pipeline infrastructure.


no truer words were ever said it seems to be happening now.


Part of the strategy is not so much getting the oil out now, but securing the area so that your rivals don't get if first, which could give them a huge military and economic advantage.

It's kind of the inverse (obverse? perverse??) of the old "I don't have to outrun the bear..." strategy.

A good point, really - a flotilla of tankers can be routed far out of sight of land and guarded by US Navy ships and subs. Looks increasingly like it'll be the US, Britain that'll be getting all the Oil. Russia has enough of their own so they shouldn't care too much.

I seriously doubt that the US Navy has enough assets left to come even close to protecting what we need to protect, if we were to start using force to deliver oil to US refineries--and the US military, out of necessity, is going to be contracting. A torpedo into a large US producing platform in the Gulf of Mexico would be a pretty clear message, even if we could convoy the tankers.

My view, and what the post-2005 data show, is that the US is on its way to "freedom" from our reliance on foreign sources of oil.

Mechanized warfare requires safe and secure oil supplies and refineries.

There was a very interesting segment on the Diane Rehm show yesterday about the Military's use of energy. They are acutely aware of their vulnerability on that score, and are really pushing alternatives. They have some ambitious goals, but are actually farther along than you might think - biofuels, solar, wind. Some bases are already energy net-zero. Check it out:

Environmental Outlook: The Military and Alternative Energy

(There's a "listen" link near the upper left of the page.)

War using small arms and bladed weapons, as in Rwanda and Congo or Cambodia, doesn't require much fossil fuel. Lots of people can be killed cheaply.

War using bombs, rockets, artillery and other high explosive ammunition is more FF intensive, but it need not be if you accept higher casualty rates and minimize the use of armored vehicles and air power. In any case, the amount of FF is relatively small compared with civilian use.

Iraq is probably a case in point for the invasion of oil fields which were sabotaged by retreating forces. The Iraqi oil was held off the market for years, resulting in beneficially higher oil prices, and now Iraqi oil can be brought back onto the global market at higher profit.

Nuclear weapons are relatively FF efficient, and a lot of the embedded energy is already in the inventory of nuclear weapons. New nuclear weapons can be built which have enhanced radiation and minimized blast effects. So nuclear winter effects can be avoided for smaller exchanges. India-Pakistan and Israel-Iran exchanges are not out of the question.

The South China Sea is occasionally mentioned in the press as having very substantial oil reserves. This is an area which could be the center of rising tensions.

Biological warfare using genetically modified pathogens is likely to be well developed by mid 21st century. This will not require much FF to deploy at all.

The historical precedent is that warfare produces fewer direct combat casualties than those resulting from the effects of disease and starvation that follow.

(sick humor) Solar powered or solar charged UAVs firing tiny rail gun projectiles...
... during sunny days.

Baring the red button nuclear war I just can't see WW-lll happening.

'Fischer Z' saw that threat allready 30 years ago:

Down in their bunkers under the sea.
Men pressing buttons don't care about me.

The newsman said most of London's gone.
We saw the cloud rise from here.
An ice cream van with its music on goes round and round.
Out in the park children were playing.
Though it was dark the sky glowed red.
People were stunned, everyone waiting.
Nobody knew why... But they know it all now.

Here is a listing of more "APOCALYPTIC" films, past, present and future, than you will ever know what to do with.

Corman's stuff is great.


The Martian.

Oh, we have some resources to spend still. My bet is some time in the future we will gather up everything we got left, ship it over to the Middle East, and make one last large clash for the last remaining oil. There will be a WWIII, and it will be the last war. After that there will be peace. War will be to expensive.

Surviving the Apocalypse in the Suburbs [link above] misses a critical point in more recent suburbs (built since 1965 ???).

The topsoil was scrapped off and sold. Construction debris was often buried on-site. Enough topsoil was left to grow grass and no more was "wasted".

What was once prime farmland was severely degraded, beyond what was covered with slabs, driveways, patios and streets.

Not much hope for Suburbia,


While I share your feelings for suburbia, soil can be manufactured, ammended and rebuilt. This would, of course, require the knowledge and desire to do so. There are plenty of examples of folks producing a lot of food on tiny plots, but these people don't have a suburban mindset.

I agree with Ghung. Years of growing stuff, but removing little can rebuild the soil. In my case, my neighborhood was never farmed for a very good reason, worthless clay soil, and after more than a decade its ability to support plants has actually improved. Of course suburban gardens will never produce more than a small raction of need, but perhaps they can shift food attitudes away from factory farmed meat consumption.

Doesn't it depend on where they are? I know this has been posted before but worth repeating.

Pasadena Paradise

Pasadena paradise is watered with Sierra watershed.

As I said, the ability to extract food from a small space depends on where you reside. Most of the West, of course, is irrigated. I am not sure what you are implying. Does the fact that Pasadena Paradise is irrigated detract from what they have accomplished. Sounds pretty impressive regardless of the circumstances.

While impressive as an example of what can be done in one situation, it says little about what can be done to improve productivity of the earth's over 3 billion acres of arable land.

It would be more impressive if it were being done in Aberdeen, South Dakota without irrigation, for example.

My neighborhood is in a similar way. Clay soils that only grew decent grass if you had a lawn service company spray fertilizer on it. When my wife decided to start a garden 2 years ago, the roto tiller had a tough time breaking the clay and rocks. After repeated till-ins of fallen leaves, compost, and used mushroom soil, it's wonderful stuff. The veggies go crazy in it. Soil can absolutely be rebuilt, and it can happen much faster than you think. Now, with tilling under part of the *front* yard, we seem to be the yard that people gawk at when they go by. They're always asking what we're growing with that longing look that they'd like to do it, too.

Wasn't Pasadena developed before 1965, the rough starting date of routinely scraping off topsoil (if any existed) as part of the developing process ? Extra $ from the sale.

I suspect that earlier Americans were still too close to the rural to urban migration, and the era of Victory gardens, to ignore removing fertility from their new homes. Or perhaps there was just less money for the developers in selling topsoil before the mid-1960s.


I don't know that the state of the soil when they started gardening but obviously they have built it up tremendously with compost, imported mantures, and the like over the years. One can also, of course, import soil.

Most of the metropolitan Los Angeles area has the finest soils that can be found in the world, and they weren't scraped off for development.

It doesn't require much knowledge to pile up your vegetable and lawn/leaf waste, let it sit, and spread it out after a year or two. For a family of three with a suburban plot and some trees, you easily could cover 1,000 sq ft to a depth of one inch annually. That's without human waste, manure crops, Starbucks, local grocery store waste, etc... My guess is the average suburban family could supply 10-20% of their food supply, work full-time, and watch their favorite TV show.

After having tried that for the past 10-11 years, the production is closer to 3-5% and it's heavily weighted on carbohydrates (tomatoes, potatoes, squash, beans, etc.).

The problem with backyard (frontyard) plots is it is difficult to produce a significant amount of protein, unless you raise chickens or small animals.

S - From my limited experience rabbits work well in that regard. Even though I grew up in the fFench Quarter in New Orleans I ate a lot of rabbit as a kid thanks to a neighbore who raised and sold them. Didn't even buy the Purena Rabbit Chow: scrounged scarps from all around the 'hood.

Still like rabbit a lot but now often costs more than steak. Especially since I don't hunt much these days.

"is it is difficult to produce a significant amount of protein, unless you raise chickens or small animals."

Besides small livestock, one can grow legumes such as edamame (soy beans) for protein. We grow edamame in raised beds in summer after the peas and greens are done. Higher in protein than carbs or fat. Grows well most anywhere, freezes/cans/dries beautifully ;-)

We are growing edamame for the first time this year. Victory gardens produced up to 40% of the vegetables during WWII. This blog is interesting ->

The Urban Ton Project

I find it very interesting that in 2010 their second most prolific produce was eggs (171 lbs).

I also find it interesting to see that even with all their raised beds there is still a bit of lawn in the photos.

Yes indeed. All beans and legumes yield significantly higher ratios of protein to carbohydrate than the average young man's need of about 3000 carb cals to about 60 grams protein, or about 50 to 1. Whole grains, nuts and seeds also supply protein above this ratio, though not as high as legumes. (Figures from "Laurel's Kitche".)

I think the harder thing to supply with gardens is oil. (This can be a problem with a diet largely dependent on rabbit meat since it is so lean, iirc.)

soy beans - Grows well most anywhere

Soil that is glacier scraped off sand will go soy with small pods and some beans. 1/2 the height of "commercial soy" and 1/8th the yeild. So yea, it "does well" when you compare to the below.

An example of a different crop:
What should be 8 foot high 15 inch head oil sunflowers - 1 foot high and a bit bigger than an Eisenhower dollar head.

Tried eating it for the first time this year, like it. No sign of any seeds around here or I would have tried to grow a few. I find it odd as there are so many varieties of beans grown here in huge quantities. Must find a contrabandista as I need Okra and Turnip as well.


With a 3x3m sun balcony and a 6mx1.5m shade balcony I have started a container garden.

It doesn't even cover a quarter of the available space, and is really just a raggedy collection of stuff gleaned from the third-rate even for the third world nursery within walking distance of my house. Factor in that I learned to garden in the rainy north-west and now live 10 degrees latitude from the equator, so all my instincts are wrong. But in 6 months I have managed to set it up so it provides for all our fresh herb needs (except garlic) and am starting in on veggies like tomatoes and peppers.

It still doesn't supply much of our dietary needs, but it is reducing the amount of fresh produce that I have to buy. That in turn means less trips to the grocery store and less space taken up in the fridge. (It sits out in the garden until we eat it). I also can get away with buying more basic proteins and carbohydrates because the flavor comes from the garden instead of the grade A imported beef. (Photo link of herbs added to yesterday's scrambled eggs)


I am certain that when jobs, and cash, are more scarce people all across suburbia will be able to get a lot of food value out of their former lawn areas. My bet is that wars over the f.fuel to maintain electricity and industrial production resolve the population overshoot problem long before starvation does. (At least in the developed world)

What you do is to start NOW. Livelike before,but crap in the garden and dig it down in the ground. Look at every purchase of food as a purchase of future top soil. You will need carbon rich materials to mix it up with. When fall come, sweep the streets for atumn leaves and pile it up under a tarp and use it next season. When food deliveries ends, you have your top soil. And a failure of sever systems will not be your problem.


not much hope for suburbia

I see hopeful signs everywhere I travel.

I’m just back from a fabulous five day course that was offered through OSU extension: Permaculture Farming for Energy Descent, taught by Jason Bradford and Andrew Millison. In our first exercise, Jason took us through calculating a balanced diet and the land required to produce it--.63 acres per person for the one I selected. We examined the fossil fuel inputs of various farming systems, soil fertility, water retention, rotations, hedgerows, etc. On farm energy use is just two percent of US fossil fuel consumption while the total food system is over 14%--a strong case for backyard/front yard/no-yard gardening. In 1850 over 40% of the population was engaged in farming. Today it is less than 1%.

Bottom line, whatever the scale an individual chooses, experimenting with food production can improve our health, outlook, household budget, community, knowledge of food systems, and reduce fossil fuel energy consumption.

For those who are thinking of leaving the city and becoming farmers, here's a great podcast: Nature’s Harmony Farm: http://www.naturesharmonyfarm.com/natures-harmony-farm-podcast/

Global land area = 148,940,000 km^2.

Percent arable land = 10.57.

Global population = 6,928,198,253.

Arable acres per person = 0.561.

But the population is rising and the arable acres are shrinking.

All true, but what has that to do with existing suburbia? If shrinking acreage is truly an issue, cut immigration down to size, and it ceases to be an issue.

Those are global figures, so immigration doesn't enter into it.

The US has 1.3 arable acres per person and Canada has 3.0. Which explains why both are big food exporting countries.

Actually, the US can probably fairly well feed its current population with low energy agriculture, house them with lumber from its forests, and produce enough natural and artificial fiber for clothing without too much trouble. We would have less problems being self-sufficient than does, for example, North Korea.

On the other hand, much of the rest of the world is not in such a favorable position.

OTOH, much of the 'rest of the world' has little or nothing resembling North American (or occasionally European or Chinese) suburbia. So again, what did that have to do with suburbia?

When you say arable acres do you mean as far as big machinery goes, because that number could surely be raised if more food was grown in enriched raised bed gardens on any type of soil.

enriched raised bed gardens

But that would require other changes - can you calculate the amounts of organic material needed for this project and where it is gonna come from?

"...can you calculate the amounts of organic material needed for this project and where it is gonna come from?"

Amount? As much as you can get.

Where from? Anywhere you find it. Our county landfill has an area where organic matter (wood chips, leaf matter, etc.) is piled up, free for the taking. The highway dept, tree service companies and electric utility all dump their stuff there and several times a year it gets ground up into a huge pile. I sneak around to the back of the pile where the stuff has been composting the longest. Great stuff to mix with inferior, or even good soil. Many municipalities do this. Look for piles of ground up stuff along roads and rights-of-way where the power cos have been clearing trees. Offer to rake folks' yards or ask lawn services for their clippings.

Kitchen compost, leaves and yard debris, sawdust from a local mill, grass clippings, pond scum, manure from livestock or equestrian barns.

A truckload of decent topsoil costs a couple hundred bucks around here. Mixed with the above, it makes a great growing medium.

I know folks who grow lots of stuff using hay bales too old to feed to horses, infused with homemade organic fertilizer. The old bales break down to become next year's soil.

the amounts of organic material needed for this project and where it is gonna come from?
Amount? As much as you can get.

It is one thing to have your own raised bed and use fossil fuels to move the material about.

It is another if this is the plan for ALL of humanity, given the size of humanity.

Tossing about X acres per person indicates an attempt to frame the question in an "All of humanity" way. So lets, just for yucks, look at things in that "all of Humanity" way.

What volume of organic material would be needed and where is it gonna come from for the "all of humanity" solution?

I was using CIA World Factbook figures for Land Area = 148.94 million sq km, and for arable land = 10.57%. Land used for permanent crops = 1.04%, but I did not include that, since it includes a lot of non-food crops. Note that arable land also includes non-food crops, such as cotton and tobacco. The remaining land area includes pasturelands, jungles, deserts, tundra, ice capped land, mountains, etc. and I would expect that it would also include land in built-up areas of cites, etc.

Not included in land area are freshwater lakes and rivers, bays, seas, and of course oceans. These provide various fresh and saltwater seafood that are either farmed or harvested. This supplements annual food crops grown on arable land, fruits and nuts grown as permanent crops, and meat animals grown on pastures.

I'm not sure how many of the 3,890,169,640 acres could be converted to raised bed gardening. Converting the wheat fields of Kansas or the corn fields of Nebraska to this mode of production seems implausible.

Land use
This entry contains the percentage shares of total land area for three different types of land use: arable land - land cultivated for crops like wheat, maize, and rice that are replanted after each harvest; permanent crops - land cultivated for crops like citrus, coffee, and rubber that are not replanted after each harvest; includes land under flowering shrubs, fruit trees, nut trees, and vines, but excludes land under trees grown for wood or timber; other - any land not arable or under permanent crops; includes permanent meadows and pastures, forests and woodlands, built-on areas, roads, barren land, etc.

This entry includes three subfields. Total area is the sum of all land and water areas delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines. Land area is the aggregate of all surfaces delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines, excluding inland water bodies (lakes, reservoirs, rivers). Water area is the sum of the surfaces of all inland water bodies, such as lakes, reservoirs, or rivers, as delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines.

The issue with farming in my Los Angeles suburb is water. Drank that milkshake decades ago, and now only a small portion of the valley I live in is farmed.

Dry farming would be hit and miss, mostly miss.

"The issue with farming in my Los Angeles suburb is water. Drank that milkshake decades ago, and now only a small portion of the valley I live in is farmed."

I would suggest micro/drip irrigation, then again, some places are just plain screwed by extreme fossil-fuel-based overshoot.

We have 18 tomato plants, 8 cucumber plants, 16 sweet pepper plants, 14 hot pepper plants, 4 musk mellons, 4 yellow squash, 4 zucchinis, 5 various eggplants, 18 bean plants, and 15 bags of potatoes, all growing in containers, all in 'manufactured soil', and that's just what's on our roof. All doing nicely except for some manageable insect issues. This year I've already canned 12 quarts of pickles, 12 quarts of tomatoes, 9 half pints of jalapenos, 27 half pints of blackberry and raspberry jelly from brambles on our fence line, 4 jars of salsa, 4 quarts of zucchini pickles, and we've been eating stuff every day, from our roof, about 1600 square feet. The season has barely begun. Next year I plan to at least double the size of this roof garden (in the same space).

Add to this our 'big' garden, which has already produced various greens, numerous cabbages, brocolli, peas, asparagus, and currently planted with 50 more tomatoes, garlic, 200 row feet of onions, 300 row feet of sweet corn, shallots, edamame, beans, blackeyed peas, various herbs, kale, okra, more cucurbits and peppers, mellons and 8 blueberry bushes (I'm sure I've forgotten some things), all in less than 1/5 of an acre.

Add to this our raised beds, built as part of our back deck: cherry tomatoes, dill, parsley, thyme, sage, chives, oregano, lemon balm, mint, various basils, several rare tomatoes I'm experimenting with, and two figs in large containers.

Add to this blueberry bushes and figs I've planted instead of ornamental shrubs...

...all of this (and chickens too) in much less than an acre. Room to grow...

Oh ya - read bout you guys. How long would it take to convert a mid sized So-Cal Suburban lot to the system you have?

"How long would it take to convert a mid sized So-Cal Suburban lot to the system you have?"

Container garden with drip? About 2 days , unless you're just plain dumb.

5 gal. bucket-$2, soil mix ~$2, 'patio' drip kit (enough for 12 buckets) ~$20, plants ~$2.

1. Drill holes in buckets for drainage and put soil in bucket

2. Put plant in soil (find hints online for particular plant)

3. Put bucket/plant in sun

4. Hook up drip system (following included directions) Add a cheap timer if you don't want to get off of the couch

5. Water plants a few minutes daily, use water soluable fertilizer as needed. Follow directions on the box

6. Watch plants grow, add 'love'

7. Pick veggies when ready

8. Eat veggies. Trade extra veggies for bullets....


The Degrowth movement addresses the growth of human consumption, driven by economic growth, population growth, and the impacts of resource extraction – oil spills, polluted rivers, atmospheric carbon. System feedbacks such as melting permafrost and methane releases, add to the impact. We can call aggregate human consumption and waste “throughput.”

Degrowth must occur, whether it is a movement or not. Whether voluntary or not, it will occur.

As comforting a thought as this is, the problem of course is that (absent some magical never-before-seen embrace of population reduction and de-growth, as well as unimaginable cooperation among most nations) degrowth can only take the place along with horrendous --and probably permanent-- environmental damage. Many plant and animal species that aren't even yet on the endangered list will likely go extinct as starving, desperate humans go "Easter Island" on their local environment in a vain attempt to survive. Much arable farmland will likewise be destroyed as world elites vainly attempt to maintain BAU/status quo for as long as possible, strip-mining resources and strip-farming the topsoil. Much of the habitable surface will become uninhabitable thanks to worsening pollution, the aforementioned damage from resource extraction/overharvesting, and climate change.

Let's hope that (for the sake of future generations) by the time nature has finished "balancing the scales", most of the planet won't resemble the surface of the moon.

The solar influence on the probability of relatively cold UK winters in the future

Recent research has suggested that relatively cold UK winters are more common when solar
activity is low (Lockwood et al 2010 Environ. Res. Lett. 5 024001). Solar activity during the
current sunspot minimum has fallen to levels unknown since the start of the 20th century
(Lockwood 2010 Proc. R. Soc. A 466 303–29) and records of past solar variations inferred
from cosmogenic isotopes (Abreu et al 2008 Geophys. Res. Lett. 35 L20109) and geomagnetic
activity data (Lockwood et al 2009 Astrophys. J. 700 937–44) suggest that the current grand
solar maximum is coming to an end and hence that solar activity can be expected to continue to
decline. Combining cosmogenic isotope data with the long record of temperatures measured in
central England, we estimate how solar change could influence the probability in the future of
further UK winters that are cold, relative to the hemispheric mean temperature, if all other
factors remain constant. Global warming is taken into account only through the detrending
using mean hemispheric temperatures. We show that some predictive skill may be obtained by
including the solar effect.

Full paper available.

Japan citizen groups alarmed by radioactive soil, call for evacuation of children and pregnant women

Soil radiation in a city 60 kilometres (40 miles) from Japan's stricken nuclear plant is above levels that prompted resettlement after the Chernobyl disaster, citizens' groups said Tuesday. The survey of four locations in Fukushima city, outside the nuclear evacuation zone, showed that all soil samples contained caesium exceeding Japan's legal limit of 10,000 becquerels per kilogram (4,500 per pound), they said.

Interesting and ironic that the purely authoritarian Soviet state could and did make decisions, issue orders, and provide the means to quickly get people out of less contaminated areas than this one. Meanwhile the supposedly more advanced western government here ignores and downplays even worse hazards while their citizens (including their children) continue to absorb more and more radioactivity from the environment.

This tragedy is a wake-up call for everyone not directly affected by it. We need to press for increased safety at nuclear plants, especially in the area of unloading the overloaded spent fuel pools at most of them. It's also a good idea to get to know your local health authorities, see what emergency plans they have, what instrumentation is at their disposal, how they intend to use it, and how they plan to communicate the conditions of any emergency that develops including measurements of radioactive releases, effects of wind patterns, etc.

Meanwhile the supposedly more advanced western government here ignores and downplays even worse hazards while their citizens

You have a case where one Nation-State went so far as to remove the bones from corpses and replace 'em with broomsticks. 40 years later said Nation-State apologized for such an action - hiding evidence by government officials being wrong.

And in under 5 years - a different member of that Nation-State government is charged with hiding evidence and YET you have reaction claiming what was done is OK.

What does Japan et la not have in common with the old Soviet Union? Large Corporations needing to hide behind the skirts of Government from the pitchforks and torches of the citizens.

The government of Japan can't be honest, because it would expose the lie of nuclear power which is a very major part of the power infrastructure, and because it's not politically correct to tell people the truth here. The second part may be more important than the first part. Even in daily life, Japanese culture tends to avoid stating hard truths - you don't get "no", you get "that's a bit difficult..."

The Soviet government did not depend on votes from the people at large, and it could react to screw ups very agressively. The government of Japan can barely tell people within the worst part of the contaminated area that they MUST move, much less admit that they have one decent size city that's crap (Fukushima city) and almost destroyed their capital (only the lucky direction of the wind saved it). A lot of people here in Japan are talking about "cleaning up" the contaminated areas, because they are ignorant and the government can't say that they've made a permanent no-go zone out of those areas.

A smallish, but bigger and bigger group of people are starting to get it, but the populace at large has the same problem as in America or elsewhere - they can't imagine life without the power they have, and they don't understand that there will be no "clean up" except by the forces of time, on a scale that to any individual might as well be forever. Until kids start getting cancer, people won't get it.


The “temporary safe limit” for radiation in food and beverages in Japan has been set to levels higher than the international legal limits for nuclear waste. Infant beverages have been set twice as higher as the nuclear waste limit and for children and adults between 3 to 4 times the nuclear waste limit. In food the limit has been set up to 20 times international nuclear waste limits and of course all of these levels are hundreds of times higher than legal limits allowed in food in beverages of other nations around the world.

A little unrelated aside on climate - 50-mile wide wall of dust slams Phoenix http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/43653465#43651056

Thanks, TCM (if we may call you that?).

And so it begins--the New Dust Bowl Days--an age likely to last into the indefinite future. My father lived through them in the thirties on the northern plains. It is starting in the south, which seems to be just drying up, burning up and blowing away, from AZ all the way across to GA, and now, starting to spread north into the plains states.


And, imho, climate is never unrelated to the massive carbon un-sequestration that is ff extraction and combustion.

From the world's perspective, the modern industrial economy is a global machine busily hoovering up the planet's sources from the lithosphere and biosphere, converting them into vast quantities of toxins, and overwhelming all planetary sinks by constantly gushing these toxins into earth, water and sky.

It is a remarkably efficient terracidal machine. And we all participate in and foster its growth in nearly everything we do.

And so it begins--the New Dust Bowl Days--an age likely to last into the indefinite future. My father lived through them in the thirties on the plains. It is starting in the south, which seems to be just drying up, burning up and blowing away, from AZ all the way across to GA, and now, starting to spread north into the plains states.

It's so strange to see a photo of the dust in Phoenix like its depicted in middle eastern deserts in movies or in the south in documentaries of the dust bowl. It seemed surreal and creepy, but not too surprising after so many years of drought.

GW predictions have often stated middle zones of continents will by hard hit by higher temps and lower rainfall. Well, it's happening here, Western Russia and the Amazon for just a few examples.

The Dust Bowl days were really not that long ago but it's surprising how little has stuck in the collective memory as to how horrific they must have been to live through.
It's amazing that one of the dust clouds reached all the way to DC on the day Hugh Hammond Bennett was about to testify on the need for soil conservation.


Yeah, that was quite a sight. The new dust bowl?

Maybe, maybe not. So far it's still weather, not climate.


I did not much recall the dust storms in recent decades, other than cars with paint damage and highway closures in the news. Did they cause any broad impacts?

There is nowhere near as much plowing around here as there once was, but there still is some. There are nowhere near as many fencerows of trees and household stands as there used to be either. Parcels have been aggregated and cleared to make irrigation and tractor work easier. Farms have increased in size continually since the dust bowl started, and land quality is often not as good as it once was.

Just one more threat awaiting in the wings. We know it DID happen once, so it probably will happen again. What would a new dust bowl mean to the world in terms of food production? The first dust bowl carried away much of the top-soil of the region. A repeat would be terrible.

Before irrigation, the Great Plains was the Great American Desert -- Europeans didn't think it was useful for agriculture. If the farming practices caused the Dust Bowl, then we as humans sure haven't learned much about our power to destroy. If it was mostly a bad drought exacerbated by farming practices, then we still haven't learned much. Really, we should be recharging the aquifers on most years, and irrigating only during drought years. We are far from that.

The desert SW has always had duststorms, but in my lifetime, I've never seen one this high, wide, or as dramatic.

I noted (in my opinion) a change toward more powerful storms in the region starting about 1998.

The great plains were not desert. They were short grass prairie, mostly. In the far west, some parts verged on semi-desert as they still do. Because some early settlers were ignorant of the deep soil those grasses had produced does not mean we need to accept their judgment as any kind of scientific evaluation.

You can no more say for certain that it is weather not climate than I can claim the opposite. It takes a lot of number crunching to determine degree to which any particular event was affected by GW, but recently, scientist are saying that the great increase in frequency and intensity of the extremes indicate that we have crossed a scientific threshold.


"Climate change is inextricably linked to the extreme weather that has wreaked destruction all over the world in the last ten years, scientists now claim."

Try to keep up, paleo.

It was called a desert because they didn't know how to farm using other than European methods, especially during dry periods, and that wasn't adequate. I'm not sure we'll know how to either, once the aquifers deplete. I know it's not a literal desert, obviously; but it's not that far removed from a grazing-only grassland at the best of times. In many areas of the western end, that is already its apparent best use, looking down from flyovers and drive-bys. That and wind-farms.

I can safely state any particular event standing alone is weather. It's one sample of a population of many, and no matter how extreme it may seem, one sample alone is indeterminate, especially when the yearly variance is large compared to the average. It will take time and many such events to know if the mean or variance have shifted significantly, and even then, you only know to an arbitrary threshold. Scientists are slowly saying that whatever threshold they use is being crossed, but that's still an early estimator, and it says little about any specific event. If we're talking events per year, the data piles up slowly, and the confidence will only raise slowly as well.

When scientists talk about crossing such an extreme, they presume some confidence test, and I have no idea what they use. Often 95% is assumed in business applications, but if somebody has a good reason or an agenda they might use 90 or 99 or some other threshold.

Even if we do the math, one storm is not a representative sample, and the best you can do is put this into the heap, turn the crank, and see where it lies.

Just for the record, I do keep up with the US weather trends pretty well, and extremes do seem to be on the uptrend. I'm perfectly happy with that level of conclusion, and I don't think it improves things a whit to state it more confidently. The world would work a lot better if people conversed in terms of confidence intervals and probabilities instead of platitudes and certainties, IMHO.

I can safely state any particular event standing alone is weather. It's one sample of a population of many, and no matter how extreme it may seem, one sample alone is indeterminate, especially when the yearly variance is large compared to the average.

What if the event is an outlier that has never occurred since records have been kept?

Drought Scorches Texas – And The Record Books, Says Texas A&M Professor:


Black Swans happen and may indicate although not prove that something has gone wrong. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is a high standard. Many decisions are made with inadequate proof since perfect proof is difficult and sometimes impossible to achieve.

That is where reasoning based on the best evidence at hand comes into play. It may not stand up in a court of law or in the court of public opinion, but nonetheless may still be closer to the truth than either of them.

As with Peak Oil by the time climate change is proved beyond a reasonable doubt, it may to too late.

But not to worry, Texas has plenty of water...for fracking:


Non-appearance of weather events in the records fails the "so what" test. Decent records have only been widely kept for about 130 years, so stuff at the 1% or even 2% level may well not show up. Now, if records had been kept for thousands of years ... but that's in another universe. Which is part of why people have to resort to complicated models to get any sort of a handle at all on what extremes might be reachable.

An outlier should not be discarded unless you know why the measurement itself may be bad, but even if valid one alone proves nothing. People hit jackpots, and extreme events happen. With enough samples, you can reliably determine the shape of the curve, and of changes to the curve over time. That's what makes climate problematic, as by the time we're sure it'll be way too late. The precautionary principle would say, well, take precautions, but we won't. So I will happily wait and see what the stats say over time.

An outlier should not be discarded unless you know why the measurement itself may be bad

I wish I had a nickle for every time I've looked at a weather map, and one station showed 150 knot winds, or 300 degree temps. Obviously I don't know the actual cause, but obviously either sensors failed, or communications garbled the bits. I think you end up discarding outliers, unless there is some corroboration for the readings.

Sure, and that's why it's nice to save raw data sets, so somebody else can come back and second-guess what was tossed or kept.

When the ozone hole developed over the Antarctic, the monitoring weather satellite was pre-programmed to reject the readings as false, because the atmosphere did not behave like that...

Your are right, x.

As we get more and more events that are not more and more extreme outliers, at some point you have to conclude that the curve has shifted--that climate has been altered. It can be a complex calculation, but even individual events can be shown to have been extremely unlikely to have happened without the added influence of CC. The deadly European heat wave in the summer of '03 was such an event.


Historically that meridian is significant. For two generations the Insurance Companies and other worldwide lending agencies would not, as a matter of agreed policy, lend a shiny dime west of this line. Their reason was that some geographer had labeled it the EAST EDGE of the Great American Desert. Neither the geographer nor the insurance companies had been west of 100. Today more than a quarter of America's new animal wealth alone is produced from that misnamed desert. This unrealistic, geographically limited loan policy, forced South Dakota into the farm loan business. Our Rural Credit Business cost us plenty and was a splendid illustration of why a State should not be in the loaning business. But South Dakota has paid all its Debts in full. The 100th Meridian is just another bad memory. Historically however, the 100 Meridian was a most important one in Western economy.

Historical monument west of Ipswich, SD on US 12. Growing unirrigated crops west of the 100th meridian in South Dakota and more southerly states is a risky business. Wheat is grown west of 100 in North Dakota, Montana, and Canada with some variation in yield from year to year.

US Average Annual Precipitation Map

Having grown up in the lush wet east coast, the attitude of people from such environs when they see even a few patches of bare ground between the plants, is absolute horror "a desert wasteland". Now a Bedoiun if he was transplanted to the same location would think he was in a rainforest. It all depends upon your perspective.

The great plains were not desert. They were short grass prairie, mostly. In the far west, some parts verged on semi-desert as they still do. Because some early settlers were ignorant of the deep soil those grasses had produced does not mean we need to accept their judgment as any kind of scientific evaluation.

Be careful to distinguish between the Great Plains and the tallgrass prairies that occurred farther east. Deep rich soil with high organic content was a characteristic of the tallgrass prairies of, for example, Illinois and Iowa. The Great Plains as defined by contemporary historians includes a variety of different terrains. Only about one-third of the GP have ever been plowed; the rest is grazing pasture at best, and as you note, some of it is unsuitable even for grazing. The GP soil tends much more towards sandy, and natural ground cover tends to be clumpy with exposed soil between. This contrasts sharply with feet-thick tallgrass prairie sod.

Geoff Cunfer's "On the Great Plains: Agriculture and Environment" is an excellent, detailed look at both the natural state of the GP, and the history of settlers' agricultural practices there. Cunfer cites a number of archeological studies that suggest that dust storms are a natural part of the Great Plains ecosystem, and predate the arrival of the Europeans and their agricultural practices.

Interesting that in the midst of the semi-arid GP, Nebraska's 20,000 square mile Sand Hills region is currently regarded as the largest contiguous wetlands ecology in the US.

Before irrigation, the Great Plains was the Great American Desert -- Europeans didn't think it was useful for agriculture.

At the time the term "Great American Desert" came into usage, "desert" was a broad term applied to any area that didn't grow trees. The Sahara was a desert; so were the Russian steppes. Western Europeans regarded trees as a critical resource in any area they were going to settle: for construction, for fuel, for furnishings, etc. Settlement of the Great Plains wasn't really practical until the advent of the railroads, which made it cheap enough to ship in lumber, coal, etc, and ship out bulk grain and livestock.

The dominant reason for the lack of trees except along rivers across the Great Plains is not the dryness per se, but the natural fires that are part of the ecosystem. As one ecologist put it, fire is grass' way of eliminating the competition and recycling nutrients into the soil. When Great Plains towns were settled, it turned out that there was adequate precipitation for all of them to grow trees, so long as they kept the grass fires away. The older residential areas of almost all Great Plains towns have thriving trees.

Trees will grow in the less than 20" rainfall areas if you plant them and nurse them through the first years while they get their roots established. But they won't propagate by seed and spread naturally, even in the absence of fire. In the east at higher annual rainfall, there is a definite sucession of weeds and brush that eventually go back to forest naturally after a burn.

And yet, the West has tens of millions of acres of forest in areas with less than 20" of annual precipitation. Granted, not the same type of trees that Europeans found in much of the Eastern US, but dominated instead by species that have reached an accommodation with periodic ground/grass fires. Aspen regrow from their enormous underground root systems. Various conifers with thick bark, an absence of lower limbs, and seed cones that release seeds only after a fire, improving the odds that the seedlings will get some years to develop before the next fire.

A semi-arid climate is not mandatory for fire to be important. Prior to European settlers, significant parts of the SE portion of what is now the US was dominated by longleaf pine, which had reached similar accommodation with ground/grass fires.

A lot of this forest in 20" or less is either high elevation (frozen most of the year), or the trees are pretty sparse. Most famously are the Juniper "forests" in New Mexico, unlike other species that had fairly well defined lower elevation cutoffs, they simply get smaller and further apart as you go downhill, so you can't find a clear line where you can say "forest on this side, desert on that".

Dust Storms, including big ones, are common this time of year here in Southern Arizona. They are the result of the outflow from thunderstorms that develop during our "monsoon" season. That said, this one was particularly big, everyone is talking about it today. Even the local veteran TeeVee meteorologists are saying this is the biggest one they have ever seen. And the first one of the year will always be the biggest because no rain has soaked the ground yet. IMHO the SIZE of this dust storm was more the result of a tendency toward the development of stronger storms that we have been seeing the past couple of years.

Much of that dust is picked up from agricultural fields and scraped urban lots. The undisturbed desert has a natural coating, called desert pavement, which is fairly resistant to wind (in fact wind is largely what creates it over time, blowing away the loose stuff and leaving the pebbles). Unfortunately there isn't much undisturbed desert left. Even areas of "desert" outside the urban and agricultural areas are largely disturbed with trails left by 4WD's, ATV's and dirtbikes. So there's your "dust bowl."

Unfortunately not a lot of rain out of that storm, most areas that got the dust got nothing or a few drops. We did get a fairly nice shower at my house later in the evening, and we had actually only gotten a much weakened dust storm (I'm on the far side of the Valley from where it came in). Don't have to water the vegetable garden today. Most of it burned up anyway the past couple of weeks when the temps hit 117, but the melon vines seem to be thriving :)

Re. The rise to peak oil up top.

If oil disappears, the world we take for granted will be a far different and dangerous place for civilisation.

If oil disappears, the industrial world we take for granted will be a far different and dangerous place for industrial civilisation.

Maybe, as oil "disappears," future generations of humans might eventually stop taking the world for granted and build far different and LESS dangerous places for civilizations?

Most past societies collapses due to resource issues. Most wars arise from resource issues. Why would a low-energy future be any different than a low-energy past, except there will be more people and less resources remaining than before?

I'm sure that future civilizations - if there are any after ours finishes puking up toxic wastes - will face the same problems of competition, resource restraints and war - that is a given.

But hopefully future civilizations will be less Toxic to the Entire Planet, including the non-industrial peoples.

And hopefully Fred Hoyle will be only Partly right:


Hopefully this Age of Oil is a "one shot affair," but hopefully the post-oil age will produce an intelligent species (hopefully our descendants) that can survive without requiring a toxic industrial system to sustain it.

The planet will be habitable for another billion years at least. Plenty of time for another 2 or 3 shots at evolving intelligence....


The problem I see it is that evolution is competitive. It is built into DNA that anything evolved from it will try to maximise its own reproduction. Intelligence - the ability to interpret and manipulate our environment in a systematic, logical and abstract way - recognises the need at an abstract level to constrain the reproductive urge, but as yet we have not developed the ability to redesign ourselves to the point where we no longer allow reproduction to run out of control. We would no longer be 'human'. Each time intelligence evolves, it will be a race between developing the intellect and social will to fundamentally change its own biology, and the over extraction of resources and destruction of habitat leading to its own extinction.

We can be human or we can be intelligent , but not both.

No, past societies collapsed because they did not know how to adapt to new challenges- which almost always included proper resource management. Just like this one will. So the cause was resource management methods. Blaming lack of resources takes your eyes off the mechanism for resource management, which is economics(our collective cultural stupidity).

aardy - From your lips to God's ear. OTOH, central Africa, with its very low per capita FF consumption, isn't all that safe. As someone earlier said, machetes are very fuel efficient. I see all the stories about the good and bad that may fall out of THE transition. Seems like such a crap shoot. We may band together for the common good or dissolve to survival of the strongest. It's difficult to know what to expect. At various times in my life I've been deeply immersed in both extremes. If I didn't have an 11 yo daughter I probably wouldn't think about it much.

Carl Pope# and I share a common perspective on one point. We both think that, at some point, the USA will panic and Do Something ! with great energy and determination.

The question is if this effort will do something useful, something lasting that can be expanded on, a real solution - or will our last gasp be wasted on the most heavily promoted plans by the most powerful, such as the Pickens Plan or corn ethanol.

Influencing what "we" will do in our moment of panic is my greatest goal.

Best Hopes for Wise Decisions,


# 17 years Executive Director of the Sierra Club and now Chairman of the Board.

the USA will panic and Do Something ! with great energy and determination.

Annex Canada and invade Venezuela?

Certainly possible.


"In America We have only two modes - complacency and panic."
— James R. Schlesinger, first U.S. Dept. of Energy secretary, 1977

(hat tip to snarlin aardvark)

"There is enormous inertia—a tyranny of the status quo—in private and especially governmental arrangements. Only a crisis—actual or perceived—produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable."
- Milton Friedman, Capitalism & Freedom (1962)
{emphasis added}

Rjght on, Alan!

So what we have to do is provide a lot of good examples of what to do, all ready to go when we finally get around to hitting the button.

Lots and lots of simple solar stuff-- my current vote is solar water/space heating. Technically trivial to do. Lots of existing examples. Really works.

As you have said, transportation is obscenely ineffective relative to what it could be. What it could be should be made inescapably obvious to all.

For the writers and thinkers- predispose people to quit all the nonsense- burning up the world for 'jobs"! There is in fact an endless list of good jobs- what we really need- to replace the suicidal ones. I am giving a little seminar on one- using discarded packing material to super insulate buildings. Standard response-"Hey, never thought of that".

And so on.

My biggest fear- we hit the panic button too late in the panic. So, all you creative thinkers- think of some really scary movie. That might do it. Maybe too late if we wait for Phoenix to actually burn up. Maybe the movie could be Phoenix burning up- along with a couple million people who look just like you and me--focus on the kids, they're the ones who will actually be burning. Make all the mothers come out of the theater weeping.

Creating a Plan - Now and when "We" panic

Have a noted liberal and conservative group/think tank collaborate on evaluating ALL policy options, from deep green to deep brown, with a common methodology and scorecard.

Deep green would be making bicycling safer and easier, conservation (most types) and solar water & space heating. Deep brown options would be strip mining tar sands and coal to liquids.

Modeling by Millennium Institute, with results scored by the impacts on the economy, environment (mainly CO2), energy and employment, along with costs and time.

Policy options will be evaluated at at least two speeds - "normal business" and "maximum commercial effort" (example - developing Alberta tar sands). Maximum Commercial effort is defined as the most that money can induce people to do.

"War time effort" is one step above, since people will do things in war that they will not do for just money.

Have the conservative group develop ways to pay for above, at different funding levels.

Then publicize the "Plan Options" in all ways possible, using some deep pockets. Get some proof of concept "bits and pieces" actually built. So when panic hits, there are real world examples to help convince people, and to learn from.

Bits and pieces of the above are in place and hopeful plans for the remaining parts.

Best Hopes for Pulling it Off,


PS: Any thoughts ?

PPS: Diffuse local efforts have much higher "maximum commercial efforts" (example Victory gardens in WW I & II) than centralized efforts (building nuclear reactors and more tar sands plants).

I vote for the war time effort. I well remember the strong, immediate and effective response to Pearl Harbor. In fact, that level of effort may be an easier sell than the slower ones, since it gives an "all in same boat" feeling that makes people happy to cooperate and sacrifice- and proud of their contributions.

Also, of course, sustainable engineering is fun.

That response, of course, depends partly on there being a 'Pearl Harbor Moment.'

Personally, I think the president could frame the recent spate of record shattering floods, extreme storms, exceptional droughts, monster dust storms, and ever larger and more numerous wild fires as such a moment.

But it takes someone to call them such.

Even with PH, if Roosevelt had not given his riveting speech and followed it up with massive policy changes that put the country on war footing--moving us from having the seventh or eighth largest navy (iirc, behind Argentina!) to the largest in a matter of months--nothing much would have happened. And remember, we sat by as country after country was overrun by the Germans and Japanese without doing much of anything.

But of course the climate chaos is much more of an existential threat than any war has ever been. We need to start treating it as such, and to start viewing those who deny it's existence as the traitors to their country that they are.

Traitor is a mighty hard word. I am using it. It works. But before I do, I cite the various military reports on GW as a national threat. In particular the German military report. People of my age are conditioned to think of the German army as an outfit that didn't fool around.

I hope for a war time effort, but I cannot recommend planning, and hence counting, on it.

As those that have followed me for years know, I try to stay within the outer edge of what is possible and reasonable.

Best Hopes,


Hi Alan,

A visionary who can foresee the world as it will, could, or should be is a fairly rare person. A realist who can accurately see how it is today is rare too.

What is rarest, though, is one who can forge the path from current reality to a better future. We all can see glimpses of how things could improve, but to actually make it so is terribly difficult.

I really like your "plan for panic" then "panic with a plan" approach. Politicians have taught us that no crisis should be wasted, and they are the best at this game.

Best hopes for planned panic!

Thank you for your kind words :-)

I would like to use your "plan for panic" with a "panic with a plan" if you do not mind. Better said than anything I have come up with !

Best Hopes for "Panic with a Plan",


Yair...why is it that solar hot water is so slow to take on in the 'States?

I get the impression (from comments on this board) that solar is seen as a "booster" to cut down on electrical heating. I reckon for at least half of the lower 48 this is completely backasswards.

A basic low-tech Australian style system will supply ALL the hotwater needed for a normal houshold with an occasional boost by electricity, wood, or gas after three or four days of overcast.

My system has been on the roof for close to thirty years with no maintainance other than an occasional wipe over of the panels.

Good question. We should compare notes. Does your climate ever freeze? For much of the US it does. Even in Texas and Florida on rare occasion.

Cost is what is stopping me. Here is the system I was considering: http://mnrenewables.org/MakeMineSolar

It is estimated to cost $8900, or more than 4x todays natural gas prices over a 20 year life. This is a pressurized system with antifreeze in the panel loop and a basement storage tank and heat exchanger.

What is the cost of the basic system you have?

I have started thinking about mounting a simple system for summer use. Drain it out and just use the nat gas water heater for winter. So it only works 1/2 the year, but that half would be really cheap.

My solar water heater works great during the summer, and in the winter I use my wood space heater for water too.

My summer heater is
swimming pool heater rubber mat with tubes moulded in--$120

Covered with bubble wrap intended for packing--$10

pipes connecting to standard water heater/storage tank--$40

thermal switch--$10

Circulating pump--$50

I roll up the solar mat in the fall, with its bubble wrap, and in the spring I roll it back- right on the ground, no mount.

We just did a laundry and two showers. The water was 50C.

I am impressed !

Best Hopes for More,


Summer solar thermal hot water is really cheap, which might be worth doing just for summer. And maybe NO has that all year round!

Hey, have you seen this solar hot water dehumidifier concept? This seems like something that would sell like hot cakes all across the South East.


I'm a bit rough: my needs are simple. I recently spent $40 so I could have nice hot showers this summer. I bought three 50 foot lengths of 1/2" black irrigation tubing, couplers, a hose fitting to attach one end of the 150 foot length of black tubing to the faucet, a hose fitting to attach the other end of the 150' to a hose, which is a 10 foot drinking-water-service rated flexible hose, and garden spray nozzle at the end of the 10 foot flexible hose. The 150 feet of tubing is hung on the side of a barn by sliding the 3 50-foot coils of tubing onto a rope and then spreading the loops (turns) out along the rope and attaching the long horizontal rope to the side of the shiny metal-sided barn after every six loops of the black tubing draped over it.

The shower is too hot and lasts long enough to get really clean. A mixing Y will lower the temperature and extend the time. The shower is ready to go again in about 15 minutes.

It is best to turn off the faucet valve and open the spray nozzle valve and hang the spray nozzle up higher than the loops and all. Otherwise, the expansion of the heating cold water (here, from a well) will push the tubing fittings apart.

Yair...why is it that solar hot water is so slow to take on in the 'States?

1) Historically the alternatives have been cheap.
2) If one considers a water tank heated by FF as the norm, its a norm that offers 100% always works.
3) Solar water heating is not seen as a 100% of the time option.

As civilisations ultimately destroy themselves, the environment and often their domesticated inhabitants too, making the world a dangerous place for civilisations would be an improvement. The problem is the transition, once the hive loses its queen, so to speak, the mindless drones become a problem....for a while.

'So, this is democracy': Frustration rife in new Egypt

Come on, really....With 80 million people and hardly any natural resources except sand, it was NEVER going to work, NEVER. Getting rid of a dictator will help them to see that they are far worse in governing themselves than any dictator ever was. They will meet the enemy and it will be them.

You probably saw my earlier article:

What's Behind Egypt's Problems?

I also wrote an article on Libya, early in the discussion:

Why all the concern about Libya?

Two good resources from Congressional Research Service

The U.S.-Canada Energy Relationship: Joined at the Well

Traditionally, the energy trade between the United States and Canada, while intertwined, has been uncomplicated—taking the form of a steadily growing southward flow of crude oil and natural gas to markets in the U.S. Midwest and Northeast. But recent developments have greatly complicated that energy relationship creating new competition and interconnections. Consequently, while energy policies in one country have always inevitably affected the other, their cross-cutting effects in the future may not be widely understood and, in some cases, may be largely unanticipated.

For example, policies affecting U.S. shale gas production could affect North American natural gas prices overall, and thus, the costs of producing petroleum from oil sands (which requires large volumes of natural gas for heating).

Changing oil sands costs could, in turn, affect Canadian petroleum supplies to the United States, affecting north-south pipeline use and changing U.S. petroleum import requirements from overseas.

Changing natural gas prices would also change the economics of Arctic natural gas, however, and influence the development of the Arctic natural gas pipelines, which could provide an alternative source of economic natural gas for oil sands production in Alberta.

Brief History of the Gold Standard in the United States

On occasion, there are calls for Congress to return to the gold standard. Such calls are usually accompanied by claims that gold or silver backing has provided considerable economic benefits in the past.

This report briefly reviews the history of the gold standard in the United States. It is intended to clarify the dates during which the standard was used, the type of gold standard in operation at the various times, and the statutory changes used to alter the standard and eventually end it.

Colombia's gold rush

Gold fever is sweeping across South America and is at its most lethal in Colombia where it is fuelling the civil war.

Helicopter raids by the Colombian army on small community mining collectives have become commonplace and the Colombian government is accused of targeting poor workers to protect big business interests and committing human rights violations with impunity. Thousands have fled their homes where land is violently contested and others live in fear that they will be removed from their land, arrested or killed.

The multinationals are flooding in too. With gold now worth around $1,500 an ounce, everyone is getting in on the act, including North American mining companies. Colombia's pro-business mentality has seen arbitrary concessions by the state sold to multinational companies, often on indigenous land.

Leaked Deposition Videos Show BP Blames Eleven Victims for Deepwater Horizon Explosion

Attorneys representing several states and corporations that are suing BP over last year’s massive spill suggest that the former CEO was reckless when it came to safety, insensitive in his conduct following the tragedy and perjurious in his testimony before Congress.

When asked about the 11 men who died when the Horizon burst into flames on April 20, 2010, he [Tony Hayward ] notes his remorse, but admits he can’t remember all of their names. In the end, he is able to correctly name only one victim, Karl Kleppinger.

Stephen L. Roberts, an attorney for BP’s corporate partner Transocean, also drops a bombshell when he reveals that BP filed a legal pleading that referred to the 11 victims as “callous, indifferent and grossly negligent in causing this explosion.”

S - This angle was anticipated to some degree by folks in the oil patch. BP and Transocean may have had many flawed policies and proceedures. And they might have developed an environment that allowed or even encouraged lax safety standards. But multiple hands on the rig were responsible for monitoring the minute by minute activities. As I pointed out long ago hands get very distracted as they rush to rig down between finishing up business quickly and thinking about getting back to the bank. But it's possible (but probably can never be proved one way or the other) than some of the 11 may not have been taking care of business properly and at least contributed to the blow out. Or aT least missed the signals that something was wrong when there was still time to avert the blowout.

This is a portion of the conversation we avoid talking about even to each other. Bad enough to lose 11 hands but you don't want to think about one of the dead missing the opportunity to have saved themselves and the others. And certainly not a conversation to be had in front of the survivors. But we know they'll think about it too. Even the wives, if they've been in the oil patch long enough, understand how it's the hands' responsibility to watch out for each others back. Bad enough to lose a loved let alone to think they may share some of the responsibility. I work with the uncle of one of the 11 and this is a subject we never have nor will ever discuss.

Sad but true, Rockman, after all there is the FACT that all signs were "overlooked" by the crew present resulting in the blowout.

Having reviewed several confined space fatalities all had the training, means and tools to have prevented the deaths. One in particular was three guys that died with fresh air and 4 gas monitors adjacent to the tank manways and all three had current confined space and H2S training. In the business we sometimes overlook a obvious danger.
It just does not register.

Now this puzzles me. I thought H2S stank to high heaven even in very tiny concentrations, or so it seemed in high school chemistry, which, honest, I don't recall dying of. Does it sneak up on people somehow? Do the gas monitors not sound off well below the fatal threshold, or do they just not get switched on?

As the concentration of H2S goes up it reaches a point you can no longer smell it. If you have been smelling it then not, get the hell out. You would not know if it had cleared or had reached lethal levels. A gas monitor is only a guide unless it is fully working and taped to your nose. It may be sitting in a pocket of clean air while you are in a pocket of H2S.


Russia bids to expand Arctic border to seek gas

MOSCOW — Russia will submit a claim to the United Nations to expand its Arctic borders, a top official said Wednesday, as scientists embarked on a new expedition to prove its ownership of energy-rich territory.

"I expect that next year we will present a well-based scientific claim about expanding the borders of our Arctic shelf," Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said in the Far Northern town of Naryan-Mar in the Arctic Circle.

The latest expedition is aimed at proving that the underwater Lomonosov and Mendeleev ridges in the Arctic constitute a geological continuation of the Russian Arctic shelf.

... He [Putin] warned that Russia intended to "expand its presence" in the Arctic and Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said that the armed forces intended to create two Arctic brigades for the defence of its interests

From NSIDC July Report: Sea ice enters critical period of melt season

Arctic sea ice extent for June 2011 was the second lowest in the satellite data record since 1979, continuing the trend of declining summer ice cover. Average ice extent fell below that for June 2007, which had the lowest minimum ice extent at the end of summer. However, ice extent this year was greater than in June 2010. The sea ice has entered a critical period of the melt season: weather over the next few weeks will determine whether the Arctic sea ice cover will again approach record lows.

Ice extent during June 2011 declined at an average rate of 80,800 square kilometers (31,200 square miles) per day, about 50% faster than the average decline rate for June 1979 to 2000. Sea ice has largely disappeared in the southern Kara Sea, which normally still has considerable ice cover at this time of year.

Air temperatures for June were 1 to 4 degrees Celsius (2 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than average over most of the Arctic Ocean, except in the Beaufort and Greenland seas, where temperatures were near normal or slightly below normal.

It looks like the trend is going toward setting new records.


It could bounce around in either direction, but right now it looks like it's angling toward a curve that will set a new record low in September. In any case, it looks like it is a record low extent now, and probably that means an even more extreme record low in total volume since thickness has been falling.

US Air Force 2011 Alternative Energy Symposium Conference Presentations

WTE/Biomass Case Study- By Ted Michaels
Industrial Day Dec 2011 Presentation - By Ken Gray
PPA Business Structures - By Ken Gray
Contract and Legal Issues Presentation - By Karen White
AFRL APTO Energy Symposium Slides - By Mr. Tom Naguy
AFRPA Energy Symposium Presentation - By Mr. Allan Curlee
Energy Progam Presentation - By Dr. Kevin Geiss
Geothermal Energy Presentation - By John McCaull
Energy Technology Evaluations Presentation - By Dr. Jeffrey Marqusee
SunEdison Partnership for Utility Scale Solar Presentation - By Scott Provinse
Soaring heights Family Housing Solar Project Presentation - By John Karelis
Solar Absorption Chiller Presentation - By Edward Sanchez & Brett Wightman
Facility Energy Projects and Partnerships Presentation - By Greg Noble

Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA): Sources Sought: Renewable and Alternative Energy Power Production for Army Installations

The programmatic value of all task orders awarded under all of the ID/IQ contracts is $5 billion ($5B). Individual task orders are anticipated to range from $50 million to $900 million each. All of these dollar figures refer to the initial project investment cost to produce the renewable or alternative energy supply.

A look back as scientists raced to estimate oil flow from Deepwater Horizon Macondo Well

The first two weeks of June 2010 were a blur for six scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

...Working quickly and amid abundant uncertainties, they estimated that between 60,000 and 100,000 barrels of oil were flowing into the Gulf each day. Their calculations were in line with a final estimate derived two months later based on much more information

Among their findings, the Berkeley Lab team found that reservoir permeability had a strong influence on oil flow rate. This graphic tracks oil flow rate, in barrels per day, as a function of reservoir permeability and gas-oil ratio in a model in which the pressure at the blowout preventer is 4,400 pounds per square inch.

Surprisingly, they also determined that oil flow rate is relatively insensitive to the pressure at the bottom of the blowout preventer. Common sense dictates that as pressure drops at the bottom of the blowout preventer, the oil flow rate increases. Instead, the scientists found that the lower the pressure, the more natural gas exsolves from the oil. Natural gas interferes with oil flow and counteracts the pressure that drives oil upward in the well.

Is the Transocean Marianas sinking off the coast of Africa or is this bad info? Large crack in pontoon on lifting anchors and all crew evacuated?

UPDATE 1-Transocean evacuates Ghana rig as water on board

SAN FRANCISCO, July 6 (Reuters) - Transocean Ltd (RIGN.VX: Quote)(RIG.N: Quote) evacuated 108 nonessential personnel from a deepwater rig off Ghana working for Eni SpA (ENI.MI: Quote) after water was seen on board, sending its shares down 3 percent.

"The rig is stable at this time. There are no injuries," Transocean spokesman Guy Cantwell said on Wednesday.

Cantwell added that 13 staff remained on the Transocean Marianas and the company was conducting its own investigation and looking into ways to fix the problem.

V7HC5 Transocean Marianas: http://www.rigzone.com/data/rig_detail.asp?rig_id=1092

also http://www.deepwater.com/fw/main/Transocean-Marianas-77C16.html?LayoutID=17

Trio of promising new members join Africa’s offshore oil club

... The Sankofa-2 appraisal well was drilled in 864m water depth some 55km off the coast by the rig Transocean Marianas.

The well was tested and delivered a constrained daily rate of approximately 29.5million cu ft of high quality gas and 1,000barrels oil equivalent of 52-degree API condensate (a super-light oil).

The well confirmed the presence of 35m net gas and condensate sands of Cretaceous age with excellent reservoir characteristics. A 6m oil leg, which will be the object of further studies, was also encountered.

Initial evaluations by Eni suggest that the appraisal well has significantly increased the preliminary estimate of gas in place at the discovery, confirming Sankofa's potential to become the first development of non-associated gas from offshore Ghana.

Update on Transocean Marianas

Kosmos Energy Delivers Force Majeure Notice To Ghana Government

U.S. oil and gas producer Kosmos Energy Ltd. (KOS) said Thursday it has delivered a force majeure notice to Ghana's government and its national oil company on its offshore Cedrela-1 exploration well due to the delay in the arrival of a rig.

The Transocean Marianas semisubmersible drilling rig was expected to arrive at the location on or about July 10 to commence drilling on Kosmos's Cedrela-1 well, ... However, the rig was rendered temporarily inoperable following an incident reported Wednesday by Transocean Ltd. (RIG), the rig owner, while it was working for another company. The incident occurred while preparations were being made to move the rig to the Cedrela-1 well location, Kosmos said.

also http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-07/kosmos-says-transocean-rig-dama...

... “There’s literally nothing in Ghana that can come back to work quickly,” Uhlmer said. “I think the most likely is to pull something from the Gulf.”

The Marianas rig, which was used in 2009 to start drilling the Macondo well for BP Plc in the Gulf of Mexico, may be out of service for as many as 180 days with most of the time taken up by moving it to a yard and final inspections, Uhlmer said. “It’s not like fixing your kid’s soccer ball,” he said.

(Kiss of death quote) “It’s a bad luck rig,” Uhlmer said.

ya beat me


"The rig is stable at this time. There are no injuries," Transocean spokesman Guy Cantwell said on Wednesday.

Cantwell added that 13 staff remained on the Transocean Marianas and the company was conducting its own investigation and looking into ways to fix the problem.

The Marianas, a semisubmersible rig which entered service in 1979

Edit: Me too!

A little more detail: "just received word this morning that the Transocean Marianas rig has developed a large crack in one of the pontoons on the #5/#6 anchor chain locker while they were picking up anchors, and is currently taking on water and listing. ODS Petrodata reports it to be operated by Eni off the coast of Ghana right now. The Marianas spudded the Macondo in October, 2009, but was damaged by Hurricane Ida and towed to shore. The Deepwater Horizon was the rig that replaced the Marianas".

Small world, eh?

Hurricane damage not properly fixed?


Hello everybody, I hope everything is going well with you all.
Anyways, I'm looking for an opinion. I know the importance of investing money in useful items for a post collapse society. But as a Portuguese resident and seeing how fast things are crumbling I was wondering there was some other currency I could temporarily convert my Euros to. I got a feeling the when either Greece or Portugal defaults (probably within a few weeks) the Euro implodes. How about the Swiss frank? Is it backed by gold? Thank in advance.

Madcv, everything would be just a guess and everything would be a gamble. No one really knows what the future holds and no one knows exactly how the collapse will play out. But my guess would be that gold bullion would be the best bet of all. You can google "How to buy gold coins and gold bullion" as a starter.

Or silver of course. But then that is just my guess, and I could be wrong as every type of investment is a gamble. But I would guess that gold and silver will hold its value far better than paper.

Ron P.

Gold will hold its value for a while, since people *think* it will hold its value. However, eventually, someone will realise its actually pretty useless as such - then the rot will set in.

Therefore gold or silver is a useful bet, but don't be too reliant.

I've considered that a surplus of solar PV system has value as an investment. Not only can you use it now to generate lots of power at the high feed in rates provided; you can also sell off parts of it later for a good price once the brown outs start biting.

Of course, the only way that really works is to not pay the huge surcharge that professional installation represents - which I leave as an exercise for the reader.

Agreed. I have claimed for a while now the curent inflation in gold prices is not only the begining of a speculation bubble, it will be the biggest speculation bubble before and after in the history of speculation bubbles. I guess gold prices will reach 20 to 100 times normal prices at the price peak. If you own gold, hold on to it and time your sell off as good as possible, and there is lots of money to be made. But forall the gold bugs out there, a very hard lesson is to be learnt.

I've considered that a surplus of solar PV system has value as an investment. Not only can you use it now to generate lots of power at the high feed in rates provided; you can also sell off parts of it later for a good price once the brown outs start biting.

Of course, the only way that really works is to not pay the huge surcharge that professional installation represents - which I leave as an exercise for the reader.

Exactly my conclusion.

If your country allows, why not just buy gold and silver coins and bars? Alternatively you could look at etf's, funds, etc. Goldmoney.com is an interesting business founded by James Turk. You basically pay for storage for allocated precious metals held in your name in private vaults in London, Hong Kong, or Zurich. What I like about it is that the metals are held outside of the banking system.

You could always spend your Euros on durable goods that you can either use or barter later, such as firewood and tools.

Even if the Euro fails and you go back to national currencies, you will still likely be able to trade in your Euros. Although a hyperinflation is possible, it would surprise me.

The Swiss franc should do ok but remember it too is a fiat currency, it is unbacked since 2000 and in fact Switzerland has sold much of its gold. But if you are concerned about the Euro, then I guess it makes sense to own at least some Swiss currency. You could also look into the Norwegian krone.

Thanks everyone for your input, I was forgetting that most reserve curriencies were fiat currencies. About two years ago I was able to purchase a tiny gold bar, but it wasn't easy, most banks where sold out or had long waiting lists. I'm going to try again. But aside from that I'm definetly considering buying a crowbar, seems like it'll be very useful. Thanks again.

Jellyfish shut down another nuclear reactor amid claims population surge is due to climate change

Another power station was shut down by jellyfish today amid claims that climate change is causing a population surge among the species.

A huge swarm clogged up the Orot Rabin plant in Hadera, Israel, a day after the Torness nuclear facility in Scotland was closed in a similar incident.

amid claims population surge is due to climate change

Or, gosh, overfishing. But Man had NO part in the overfishing, now did Man?

Eat brownouts, accursed human overlords!

Mineral-rich Mongolia sells fields

With about 6.5 billion tonnes of untapped reserves, Mongolia’s soils contain almost 70% of all known types of minerals. Its soils contain copper, gold, iron ore, coal, zinc, nickel, silver and tin.

Oyu Tolgoi in the Gobi desert has the world’s largest undeveloped copper and gold deposit. It aims to produce 450,000 tonnes of copper and 300,000 ounces of gold each year.

Now a huge section of the field has been sold off to international mining companies, for a $7bn up-front investment

Congressman threatens impeachment if the President follows the Constitution rather than an unconstitutional law enacted by Congress:


Crowd cheers.

Congress does not have the power to renege on obligations entered into by previous Congresses. The 14th Amendment says the debt of the United States shall not be questioned. The debt ceiling law does exactly that every time the debt approaches the debt ceiling. It is therefore unconstitutional.

This has been argued before the Supreme Court in

U.S. Supreme Court
Perry v. United States, 294 U.S. 330 (1935)

The Congress, as the instrumentality of sovereignty, is endowed with certain powers to be exerted on behalf of the people in the manner and with the effect the Constitution ordains. The Congress cannot invoke the sovereign power of the people to override their will as thus declared. The powers conferred upon the Congress are harmonious. The Constitution gives to the Congress the power to borrow money on the credit of the United States, an unqualified power, a power vital to the government, upon which in an extremity its very life may depend. The binding quality of the promise of the United States is of the essence of the credit which is so pledged. Having this power to authorize the issue of definite obligations for the payment of money borrowed, the Congress has not been vested with authority to alter or destroy those obligations.


Congress has the authority to borrow money. It has no authority to default or threaten default by the use of debt limits.

President Obama took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution and not unconstitutional acts of Congress, especially when the Supreme Court has ruled on the subject.

X. You are so talking sense lately. At the 11th hour, Obama should announce to the Republicans that they have been punked. Na Na Na Na Na.

Rather than a "default" on federal payments of interest and principal on debt, other expenditures would have to be curtailed in order to stay below the debt ceiling.

So on Aug 2 (approximately) there would be a government "shutdown" like in the '90s, rather than a "default".

Depends on how you define debt. Medicare, social security, and pensions are based on previous appropriations and laws of congress that set aside money for those purposes. There are also contractual obligations to thousands of government contractors, many of whom keep our military functioning. Those may be the debts in the sense intended by the constitution. Anyway, it is likely that Obama could get away with this regardless of what Republicans think as they would have to have standing to sue or stop him. Impeachment would be a pointless and fruitless exercise as the senate would never go along with it.

And what about priorities. That could get very interesting. Perhaps Obama will start by cutting off all the red states.

I recommend not paying congress while they dither and especially halt all federal revenue transfers to Republican districts since overall, last time I heard, blue states generally send money to red states.

Just my totally objective opinion.

If Congress has the authority to borrow money, then they have the authority not to. The House controls the purse. To my reading, Congress would have no choice but to pay existing debts from existing income. You could interpret the Constitution to preclude them borrowing what we cannot pay....which means they would be required to enforce a debt ceiling.

Nothing else much matters - it's just a matter of law, and laws can be changed. Contracts could be defaulted, I think, but perhaps not pensions.

I think you are mistaken in what the the debt ceiling law does. It doesn't reauthorize existing debt it authorizes new debt. If the Congress failed to increase the debt limit that would have no bearing on already outstanding debt.

In fact the government could even pay back maturing debt by issuing new debt. That would would have no effect on the aggregate amount of outstanding debt which would be within the limit authorized by Congress.

What a failure to increase the debt ceiling would do is prevent the Government from running any additional budget deficits- i.e. they could only spend as much as came in.

The big question of course is does the Executive branch have the authority to pay the interest on the debt before any other expenditures authorized by Congress and can they prioritize spending. It seems to me both of those are akin to a line item veto which the SCOTUS has ruled unconstitutional. Of course the executive could argue that the 14th amendment requires them to pay interest and principal on the authorized outstanding debt so making that payment first is not a line item veto.

I think you could argue that the 14th amendment was (a) poorly written, and (b) compelling toward Congress rather than the executive. If the House elects not to do its job, then I would think the Supreme Court must act in the interest of the people and compel them to do so. I'm not sure the Pres has a role to play other than to lead such a charge.

Without any clear scheme of priorities below that, it will be interesting to see what gets paid. Are there even laws and regulation in place that determine that, or will Treasury just make the call? That'd be scary......

Paleo/crazy - Haven't studied the details so just repeating what I've heard. But there seems to be a little word game on when it comes to "defaulting". As I understand it, the US cannot default on the treasury bonds: the law requires those payments be made before any other govt expendature. So we won't ever default on those debts. But it seems "default" is being applied to the potential for the govt to not honor, to some degree, various obligations such as Social Secrity, Medicares, govt employee salaries, etc. But I hear such as govt obligations to contractors/the military have a priority/legal obligation.

Of course, with all the political posturing going on by both sides I'm sure we'll see the potentially greatest misleading spin machine in our histroy. Outside of our collective wisdom on TOD I'm tempted to tune all the rest of the white noise out.

That's my understanding too.

The debt will not default unless Obama makes a command decision to let it default, then he would be the one violating the 14th Amendment.

The real issue is that deficit spending is 12% of GDP. That 12% would stop very suddenly on Aug 2 or 3. A 10 % drop in GDP is one definition of a depression. Instant Depression is not a political winner. Both parties know this. There will be an agreement after some more extra-vocal brinksmanship.

And one argument is the 14th isn't valid as it was done when the United States was not United.

(Really, the legality argument goes back to who hold the guns and force of violence.)

So many discussions on TOD end with stating that nothing can be done if the people do not know what is happening. The news media isn't what it used to be, not that it was ever totally real.

"14 Propaganda Techniques Fox "News" Uses to Brainwash Americans"
(Sorry for the unfortunate photo featured in the presentation of the article.)
And, yes, all the other TV and radio news outlets are just as devoid, just not as bold.

How do we get control of the media back? There used to be laws about the public good and ownership limits. The internet does not have the power of TV and radio, especially for those not glued to Twitter and Facebook all day. The internet is very valuable to those who commonly know that their media is compromised, like Egypt or Belarus.

Use there own Manual against them.

Recommend Capter 5 Sec 5.2 - 5.62

or use histories


Very nice! Thanks for the rational thought and the link!
Indeed, "Know your audience"... All of the research that has gone into advertising effectiveness equates to knowing the audience all to well. I wonder how such an organized approach fares in cost/soul against hiring natural talents, psychopathic and narcissistic performers, like Limbaugh, Savage, and Beck? Dennis Miller, a comedian, will bray for attention within any framework.

Cracks are starting to get bigger in the Murdoch edifice in England.
I'm sure that it will all blow over though, too many venal, execrable little pols in his pocket and plenty of dirt in reserve on them too, I shouldn't wonder.

Anyway, here's hoping some of them wind up in clink.


Breaking News: Murdoch closes the "News of the World"

Get a dose of her in jackboots and kilt
She's killer-diller when she's Jacked to the Hilt
She's the kind of a girl that makes the "News of the World"
Yes you could say she was attractively built


Allegations were made in UK parliament yesterday under parliamentary privilege, which if true, prove that responsibility for this and an illegal cover-up, goes far higher in Murdoch's organisation than just the newspaper.

There is now a massive police investigation into not just the original hacking but also the corruption of police officers, allegedly in the pay of Murdoch's press, which may have hindered earlier investigations.

"This closure is just a management stunt by Rupert Murdoch"
- John Prescott (Deputy Prime-Minister 1997-2007 and a victim of NotW hacking himself) - speaking on BBC News.

Does closing the paper mean disposing of the offices? Are the shredders already running?

In America, the words "due to pending litigation" or "due to an ongoing investigation" are used to block all news on, say, any embarrassing corporate or police subject... but somehow not on the official distractions like Michael Jackson.

But, yes, a crack, a crumble, a stumble in the Murdock machine. The corporate response to such setbacks and exposures is to simply rename the corporation. So the offices may stay utterly untouched and be renamed "The Truth Ministry Crier" or some such... Kind of like what Minerals Management did. Another ploy is to simply wait until the hubbub blows over before making further use of really good names and wording like "You're in Good Hands" or "Like a Good Neighbor".

Probably a bit late for them to run the shredders now. However a source at their outsourced data provider in India has apparently said that he was recently instructed by someone very senior at News International to delete certain files from backup servers. He apparently refused the instruction as improper. It has not been revealed what the files contained.

Ah, there's the rub.
I'm sure it's just a tactical move by the cadaverous old Buzzard of Oz to sidestep any more outrage from the sheeple.
Apparently the sunonsunday domain name was just recently taken up so I'm sure they'll try to shuffle all the crap over to that. If only I'd taken that one myself......oh well, too late.
And, if you're lucky enough to not be familiar with the Sun "newspaper" I'll just say, count yourself lucky.
The media, some exceptions obviously, police and politicians just seem to be as untrustworthy as it gets in England right now.


More than three months after OPEC, and in particular Saudi Arabia, started to ship more of its exports to the ‘East’ and less to the 'West', the effects of this diversion has had an accumulating negative effect on US oil inventories – even after ‘promises’ to increase exports were issued by OPEC in the wake of the loss of 1.3 million bpd of exports from Libya. According to oil tanker tracker, 'Oil Movements', OPEC exports are about 1.4 mbpd less than at the start of February, before the Libyan conflict began.

Over the last month, the delayed effect of this fall in OPEC exports has resulted in a series of oil inventory reductions:

Wed Jul 6, 2011 5:36pm EDT

NEW YORK, July 6 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil futures turned positive in post-settlement trading on Wednesday after data from the American Petroleum Institute showed domestic crude stocks fell last week by much more than expected.
The industry group said crude stocks dropped by 3.2 million barrels in the week to July 1, against forecasts for a 2.3-million-barrel drawdown in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Gasoline futures extended gains as the API data showed gasoline stocks fell 1.9 million barrels against the forecast for a 100,000-barrel increase.

Heating oil futures also rose further as the report showed distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, fell by 1.6 million barrels, defying the forecast for a 700,000-barrel build.


While it is still being hotly debated exactly why the IEA allowed an emergency release of oil and oil product stocks, for the US a prospective oil shortage near the end of the summer ‘driving season’ may have been a strong motivating factor.

However, despite widely reported claims to the contrary, OPEC has acted to counter-balance the effect of the IEA’s actions by reducing oil exports since about the beginning of July. While it may be a bit early to gauge exactly how much and for how long OPEC, and in particular Saudi Arabia, intends to cut exports, there are indications that a cutback may persist through the summer – if only to supply countries on the Arabian Peninsula extra oil products for air conditioning and driving needs.

Middle East Crude-Saudis surprise market with OSPs

Wed Jul 6, 2011 12:27pm GMT

Saudi Arabian oil exports may trail far behind rising output this summer as its power stations burn more crude than ever before to keep a booming population cool, part of a trend that is squeezing spare output capacity, analysts say.


Also a quote from an article up top, "Saudis not serious about cutting oil price":

The physical market seems to be bearing out the view that the Saudis aren't really pushing more crude onto the market, with JPMorgan analysts saying in a research note that tanker bookings don't point to an increase in Middle East liftings in coming weeks and are currently "well behind the pace in June."

In addition to slumping oil imports, gasoline imports in recent weeks fell behind normal seasonal trends. Before the July 4th holiday, gasoline supplies in the New York City were fairly low (but not near a shortage situation), as gasoline imports normally intended for the US were diverted to other countries, and also, a refinery in eastern Canada that usually supplies the Northeast US suffered some outages.

While the gasoline import situation has improved this week, gasoline traders (in a separate Reuters report today) said that deals for more imports were hard to make as European gasoline was also in demand elsewhere.

Algeria buys four gasoline cargoes via tender
Wed Jul 6, 2011 4:09pm GMT

LONDON, July 6 (Reuters) - Algeria has bought four gasoline cargoes of between 25,000-30,000 tonnes each for prompt delivery, trade sources said on Wednesday, pushing up gasoline prices in the Mediterranean to unusual premiums.
The North African oil exporter does not usually buy gasoline in bulk and the purchase of around 100,000 tonnes has boosted Mediterranean gasoline prices to around $17 a tonne above northwest Europe.


Exactly how the political winds from OPEC will blow after the end of summer is far from certain, and US energy policy makers may have to work harder to find a more lasting solution to our oil import needs.

The desperate scramble has begun.

China and other eastern countries are obviously outbidding us for oil.

And KSA is desperately trying to keep the entire peninsula from erupting in revolution through "oil and circus."

North America and Europe are not the highest priorities in such circumstances.

Does the Carter Doctrine kick in under such circumstances? Aren't we not supposed to let anything get between our Hummers and "our oil beneath their sand"? How many more countries can we invade?

Will we just keep sucking the oil out of SPR till it's dry to try to make up the gap?

How long will that take?

And since Arizona is now seeing dust storms of a magnitude usually associated with MENA, does that mean they will find huge amounts of oil there?? '-)

China and other eastern countries are obviously outbidding us for oil.

That line caught my attention because the US is so reliant on cheap fuel. The idea of Chindia having reached a point of having a strong enough economy to outbid us is a scary scenario, because both economies are moving past one another in opposite directions, so that dynamic will only become more exacerbated as we move forward.

When two male rams meet at the top of a mountain, and the younger one is feeling up to the task of taking on the older dominant male, they generally start butting heads at some point. Either that or the older ram will simply have to capitulate its position and be happy with what resource scraps are leftover.

anybody have an idea what the statistical probability is of having all the weird weather in a single year. Have we reached the point where the cumulative weird weather events has exceeded anything that can be attributed to a statistical fluke?

It's hard to say, given that "extreme events" is a pretty subjective and un-tracked statistic. Still, Dr. Masters has a pretty good take on it:

It is difficult to say whether the weather events of a particular year are more or less extreme globally than other years, since we have no objective global index that measures extremes. However, we do for the U.S.--NOAA's Climate Extremes Index (CEI), which looks at the percentage area of the contiguous U.S. experiencing top 10% or bottom 10% monthly maximum and minimum temperatures, monthly drought, and daily precipitation. The Climate Extremes Index rated 1998 as the most extreme year of the past century in the U.S. That year was also the warmest year since accurate records began in 1895, so it makes sense that the warmest year in Earth's recorded history--2010--was also probably one of the most extreme for both temperature and precipitation. Hot years tend to generate more wet and dry extremes than cold years. This occurs since there is more energy available to fuel the evaporation that drives heavy rains and snows, and to make droughts hotter and drier in places where storms are avoiding. Looking back through the 1800s, which was a very cool period, I can't find any years that had more exceptional global extremes in weather than 2010, until I reach 1816. That was the year of the devastating "Year Without a Summer"--caused by the massive climate-altering 1815 eruption of Indonesia's Mt. Tambora, the largest volcanic eruption since at least 536 A.D. It is quite possible that 2010 was the most extreme weather year globally since 1816.

In the archives here: http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/archive.html?year=2011&mont...

Dr. Masters, my hero. An entire Drum quality blog pretty much by one dude.

"Oil Movements" is out today with their latest weekly report. Sequentially OPEC oil exports are only slightly lower - but down about 200,000 bpd from a few weeks ago, and more than 1.4 mbpd less than early February.

OPEC Exports Little Changed Amid IEA Release, Oil Movements Says
By Grant Smith - Jul 7, 2011 11:30 AM ET

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will ship 22.66 million barrels a day in the four weeks to July 23, compared with 22.68 during the period to June 25, the Halifax, England-based consultant said today in a report. The data excludes Ecuador and Angola. Exports typically climb during the summer with increased demand for driving fuels.

“There is incremental Middle East oil available but there’s no sign that it’s moving,” Roy Mason, the founder of Oil Movements, said by telephone. “Late July, early August is the summer peak but there’s no sign of that in the tanker market. If the IEA release has an immediate effect, it will be to temporarily depress the market for long-haul crude.”


Since we love to cite and quote here at TOD, here is a great website that I just discovered the existence of, courtesy of today's "The Daily Show"


The GOP Pledge-O-Meter follows dozens of promises made in 2010 by Republican leaders in their speeches and in the Pledge to America, their blueprint for the 112th Congress.




JonFreise on July 6, 2011 - 8:18am

I would like to request a bit more kindness on the forums. If you don't understand something, please don't insult the speaker. Instead, please ask some friendly questions to get clearer. For instance, "That is a very different definition for demand than I have ever seen. Why are you using that definition? Also, how do you measure demand without price? How do you sort between competing demands (without price elasticity or similar money mechnanism)?"

There are very few places in the world like TOD where very different people can gather and share information. I urge everyone to help preserve this fleeting miracle.

TOD Community Moderator on July 6, 2011 - 8:50am

I second that motion!

All the best,

I stopped commenting because TOD was deleting not only my comments but others as well that were not in the least hostile or insulting.

It amazes me people participating in the TOD put up with this outright deletion of comments simply because they offend the sensibilities of someone at the TOD. But maybe people here are just as closed minded as the people they criticize for being the same.

[expect this message will be deleted]

If you reply to a comment that has been deleted, your reply goes away too. What sort of comments of yours were deleted? In what way do you think they offended somebody's sensibilities?

The only time I ever had a comment deleted (in years of inhabiting TOD) was as part of a thread that in fact I was not proud to have gotten sucked into.

I think you're overstating your case. How 'bout some examples?

If you post off-topic comments in non-Drumbeat threads, they will be removed (and any replies go away as well). It's not a matter of anyone being offended. It's that we want the comments under key posts to be related to that post.

As for why people put up with the deletion of comments...I'd go so far as to say that's a big reason why they come here. Because there are gatekeepers here, who can weed out spam and trolls, guide the discussion, put out flamewars, rein in cyberbullies, etc.

Anyone can set up a blog now for free. Why go to one but not another? Because the gatekeepers create the kind of space you're comfortable in. If you're not comfortable here, find another blog. Or create your own.

So much hostility.

Sgage: I engaged in a conversation with another TOD member and later found all of his comments in that discussion deleted. I then asked TOD why his posts were deleted. I then found my question to the TOD deleted as well. After that, I stopped commenting.

Leanan: Gee, from your comment, it sounds like you started this website, although I'm sure the original founders will back you up. After all, they recruited you in the first place.

The posts deleted were no more off-topic than anybody else's, and there are some considerable segues at the TOD.

I don't why people put up with the deletions. I can only speak for myself that the TOD's policy is unacceptable, and that's why I stopped commenting. Maybe people are here to have their views reinforced. The TOD is doing a fine job, no doubt.

As to alternative forums, they are not the issue. The TOD is the issue. As I said, I stopped commenting. I suggest the TOD explicitly state so no reader will miss it that people's posts will be deleted at the whim of the TOD, because that's what's happening.

Finally, I find it curious that your bio is missing from the TOD website. Why is that?

Hostility? Where do you see hostility? I think you are being more than a bit melodramatic.

So what was the content of this thread that was deleted? What was the nature of this conversation? Please, I'm curious, because I have been reading and posting here for a long time, and have found the moderators to be quite patient with all kinds of nonsense, agitation, trolling, what-have-you. (Including my own at times, I have to say ;-) If anything, they're too lenient. I am really interested to know what it takes to get "disappeared".

If you don't like TOD and its policies, well, no one is making you come here. I don't mean that in a hostile way. But sometimes people seem to think that private blogs are somehow "the public square". Not so. There are many many other blogs that you can visit, and you can start your own if you want.

BTW, Leanan's bio is missing because TOD is a giant conspiracy set up to pick on you.

OK, I admit that was a cheap shot, but you stepped into it :-) Smile! Relax!

Ask Leanan what the discussion was about. No doubt her account will be closer to the truth than mine.

This is a "private blog"? What's a "private blog"? I suppose where membership is granted to only those who conform to certain views? Then the TOD should state that and be specific instead wasting people's time. You're right. I don't have to be here. I joined in the belief people are concerned about resource depletion and Peak Oil and wanted to have an honest discussion on those topics, with some unavoidable divergence. Instead, what I have found is a bunch of narrow minded ideologues who see any divergence from their views as, well, too independent.

I know why Leanan's bio is missing.

No, I'm asking you - stop evading the issue. Please, tell us what the discussion was about, and don't make snarky "ask Leanan" remarks. You seem rather, well, evasive.

What are the "certain views" that have to be conformed to?

Narrow minded idealogues? There is a huge range of opinion here on all the issues, and lively debate. Say, you wouldn't be trolling, would you?

And why is Leanan's bio missing? Don't hold out on us!

You are too funny.

I may be "too funny", but you are a joke.

Why is Leanan's bio missing? Is she an alien from another star system?

You know, if you just sling accusations around with no details you have no case whatsoever.

I am a joke myself, for even engaging in this "conversastion"

This would be a thread ripe for deletion. It would save me some embarrassment.

To be honest, I have no idea what you are talking about. I don't recall deleting any of your posts (which doesn't mean I didn't, just that I don't remember it). In general, though, I ask that people who have questions about why a comment was removed do so via private e-mail.

Off-topic comments will be removed from key posts. The Drumbeat has more leeway, but I will remove comments I feel are disruptive or otherwise unhelpful. That includes spam, personal attacks, religious or political rants, overly repetitive posts/discussions, and various topics that the staff does not want TOD to be associated with (racist comments, conspiracy theories, etc.)

Why do we do this? Because we don't want TOD to become like the comments section at USA Today, Yahoo, etc., where it's nothing but flamewars and partisan sniping. Nothing wrong with that, but there are so many other places you can go if that's what you want. We want to be different.

P.S. I notice you used a temporary disposable e-mail address to sign up with TOD, and have not put one in your profile. That means no one could contact you to explain why your post was removed.

Why is my bio missing? Probably for the same reason your e-mail address is.

You're being disingenuous. There's no need to use e-mail to give an explanation. I'm sure others would be interested to know the reasons for the deletions. As I mentioned before, I originally inquired why SOMEONE ELSE'S posts were deleted. I then found my inquiry deleted as well.

As for your bio, drawing a comparison between someone who controls the content of the TOD and a member who can only comment is ridiculous. Your bio can provide some idea of your background without compromising your privacy. As it is, there's nothing.

edonovan, we have been discussing the whys of deletions for almost six years now. Everything has been covered. Everyone knows where they stand. You have been a member of this list for three weeks and four days. Get over it and quit complaining. If you don't like the way things are run here go somewhere else.

Ron P.

I do believe I was replying Leanan.

That might be a good reason to do this by email.. you're getting exactly the feedback that is here to be had. Do you want us to mind our own business, or take a moment to comment on the commenting system here.. something which we're active with, and as you can see, have not taken up the cry that you are pursuing.

If you think others are interested in these ideas, you're right, we are. I have seen my own posts dropped, I have seen members removed from the site, and I have very rarely thought they made the wrong choice.

They apply what I see as a very light but committed level of leadership in this conversation, and yet they still put up with a considerable range of Tones of Voice and Personality quirks, may I say..

Sorry that you find it oppressive. I think they do it better than anything else I've seen on the net. It's really not that hard to stay within the bounds of civility and salience.


There's no need to use e-mail to give an explanation.

Yes, there is. It's a common rule on Internet forums that such inquiries be made privately. The reason is that if something is removed, it's because we don't the discussion continued here. Discussing why something was removed opens the door to continue the discussion.

As for my bio...who cares? It's the Internet. I could put anything I wanted in my bio, and you would have no way of knowing if it was true or not.

Leanan wrote: "As for my bio...who cares? It's the Internet. I could put anything I wanted in my bio, and you would have no way of knowing if it was true or not."

How true. I guess that goes for the rest of the content on TOD, right? All the articles and analysis over the years could have been true or could have been false, right? There you go.

There is a job waiting for you at Sesame Street's website.

The content is all checkable to linked sources.

People (Eds are people, too) have every right to protect their privacy.. these are highly charged times and we're talking about issues that the entire society gets freaked out about, over a depersonalized and vulnerable communications framework. If Leanan were an author submitting posts, it might be necessary to flash her creds somehow, but in this role I don't see anything wrong with her anonymity.

Sesame Street?
You're really only hurting yourself by trying to impugn both Leanan and Sesame Street in the same slur.

I don't see how disclosing Leanan's educational background would compromise her privacy. Does she have a BA, a Masters, a PhD? If she does, in what field or fields of study? What work experience does she have, if any? For what amount of time has she been aware of Peak Oil? Does she know people in the Oil Industry outside of her interest in Peak Oil? Approximately how old is she? Disclosing these facts would not in any way jeopardize her privacy.

Anyone who has followed the TOD has no doubt noticed the regular denunciations of the main stream media (MSM) for hiding the true facts of Peak Oil. These indignant denunciations ring hollow in view of TOD members not demanding Leanan disclose anything about herself.

Leanan: I don't give out my real e-mail address to every website I come across unless there is a good reason. You give me a good reason you need my real e-mail, and I'll give it to you.

None of that information is relevant to her role on TOD.

She has no obligation to disclose personal information, and we have no need to know..

And enough personal information can allow someone to locate you. Two specific degrees from two different universities will narrow the # of people to less than a dozen in most cases. One in my case.

Best Hopes for You Leaving,


Wow, I feel like I'm at King Arthur's Court and the Knights of the Roundtable. So much Chivalry. Gee, Leanan's background is top secret stuff.

Leanan doesn't have to disclose where she went to school, just what degrees she has, if any. If you think that anyone can narrow down her identity with that little information, you're smoking something.

"Best Hopes for You Leaving"

Aw, shucks. Just when I thought people were starting to like me.

I don't care whether you give us your e-mail address or not. Just don't expect any explanations if your posts are removed or you're banned. We can't notify you or issue warnings without an e-mail address.

It's fine with me if you don't have an e-mail address, because e-mailing people about their conduct on this site is not one of my favorite things to do.

I'm shaking in my shoes, "Leanan", you omnipotent being you. As for your admirers at the TOD, I can kick their ass whenever I want.

This is getting very tedious and from your comment history you seem to have a personal issue with Leanan. I will not be responding to any reply you make so please save yourself the effort.


Sorry, but I have to back up Leanan on this one.

I just got back from a trip to the "14 propoganda techniques that Fox uses" article and the comments quickly went off topic and toxic. All heat and no light.

I couldn't wait to come back to TOD where things are calmer and where reason and fact are respected.

ed - I have to back you up: Leanan can be very hostile. I know first hand. On a few occasions I've carelessly violated posting protocol and she had the audacity to call me on it. How mean spirited: for me to break the rules and then be admonished. Where's the fairness in that? After all, we're a free society where rules are meant to be broken.

I'll make a deal with you ed: let's punish Leanan by leaving TOD forever...you first.

people's posts will be deleted at the whim of the TOD, because that's what's happening.

Its their private playground and we are here on their grace.

How is that different than almost any other place on the Internet or in the world?

As I said, I stopped commenting

And yet, here I am replying to your comment.

your bio is missing from the TOD website

The bio's associated with all the posters are gone.
A shame - I was using it for links back to the more interesting discussions or to data I knew was gonna show back up.

eric blair wrote: "And yet, here I am replying to your comment."

Indeed you are.

"The bio's associated with all the posters are gone.'

Yeah, I just noticed that. It's kind of nice, since I have recently decided to go back to where I belong: being a nobody. "Blank Ghung", that's me!

I third that motion!

re A Safer Nuclear Crypt....

Exelon is complaining that it will cost $1 million for each cask and that loading each one with fuel costs another $500,000. Sounds like a lot of money.

So, if and when this waste repository ever gets built, what will they transfer the fuel from the 104 nuclear reactors to the waste repository in? I thought it was these casks or something like it.

So if they balk at spending $1.5 million on each for dry storage at the nuclear plant sites, they will also balk at having to do this to send the fuel off to the the permanent waste repository they and the Government has been promising us for years. They don't really plan to ever have that waste repository ever it seems, and certainly don;t want to have to pay for transporting it safely.

Keep the fuel in spent fuel pools now and keep their fingers crossed that nothing bad happens and meanwhile rake in profits as they create even more waste. And build these new supposedly safer nuclear plants that have only been tested on paper and generate yet more wastes that they will never need to deal with. Where is the bleeding heart Tea Party Republicans who get upset about unfunded mandates when you need them? This will cost much more than SSI and Medicare. But I guess if it only affects the little taxpayer, they don't mind - while they do what they can to protect the All Mighty Corporations like Exelon. Yeah! Free Market!!!

The tactic will be to wait for people to forget Fukushima. It is already out of the news, it seems. There was a movie called "The Day After" about nuclear war. It played on TV. Reagan said "They will forget about it after a couple of weeks".


Nuclear waste recycling using Fast Neutron Reactors is another promise to the future. Monju, costing 12,000,000,000 dollars, has produced power for one hour in the last twenty years. On another day, a clutch slipped and a large, heavy piece of equipment dropped through the hatch and into the reactor core. The reactor had just been restarted after sitting idle for 14 years after flaming molten sodium metal had leaked out. That leak was covered-up, including an official, edited, video.


The CANDU design can burn a range of nuclear materials. However, the economics are such that it just got sold in a "fire sale".

There are no recycling centers really emptying the fuel storage pools at this time. That is what Monju was supposed to do for Japan and for the plutonium fuel Japan received.

This is how they have justified packing the pools to the point where a pool fire would be catastrophic. Has alway been about cost. Then the US gov did promise to solve the problem.

Brent's coming up to $120, WTI back up towards $110.

What did the IEA raid really achieve?

Meanwhile, Roubini on CNBC says that a 'perfect storm' is coming up in 2013 as all the fiscal consolidation have been postponed due to numerous bail-outs, and Portugal's interest on it's short-term bonds have soared tremendously as Moody's did a shock downgrade on their credit worthiness(prompting outraged European officials to call for curbing the 'Anglo-Saxon firms financial vandalism')

There's sort of a guilty pleasure of knowing quite a lot more than even many alleged 'experts' about what's happening in the world. There was a hiatus in the Great Depression too, and great crises usually have a second half. Only this time it hits a world far more inter-connected where domino effects trigger enormous consequences(i.e. Lehman).

I've given up on trying to predict the oil price, it's a fool's game, especially as we see an increasingly heavy government hand in play, but there's little doubt that all the elusive talk of a 'temporary soft patch' is either deliberate misinformation or pure delusions. Sometimes it's hard to seperate which one is which when you listen to the 'experts'.

Brent's coming up to $120, WTI back up towards $110.

I wonder what the government experts are thinking now with the oil prices heading back up?

Brent's coming up to $120, WTI back up towards $110.

I was really shocked by how much Brent went up today, 4.97 a barrel!


That's a bad sign for all those doubling down on stocks, and this so called recovery.

That is very true Earl. Only a very few have made the connection between the price of oil and the fate of the economy. They will soon make that connection however.

Ron P.

Louisiana Sweet up $4.52 today as well. Pretty much everything is up about 4% today apart from the "magic" WTI. With similar rises in wholesale gasoline, this implies average US pump prices are set to increase about 20c per gallon over the next couple of weeks (if prices hold).

There is no magic oil anywhere. The SPR was their last card.

Well Bernanke for one will have no choice but to stop the digital printing press and pray that the landing isn't too hard. Regardless, he'll start the presses once more if things get really bad out there.

As for Congress and Obama, well, they will have to make some major cuts somewhere, and some major tax increases elsewhere.

Expect major disillusionment from the left and the right. Keep on preparing in whatever way you can for this ongoing catabolic collapse.

What did the IEA raid really achieve?

It helped prove that Obama is as disconnected from reality as is my pet cat. I can't understand why the current administration continues political ploys to shirk Peak Oil and oil scarcity - so much for "transparency" - is Obama really as dumb as he seems to be?

*ALL* cats I know are VERY well connected to reality :-)

Best Hopes for Those Owned by Cats,


If you visit New Jersey, you may have seen solar cells on many utility poles. I did some googling to find the company that manufactures these panels: http://www.petrasolar.com/petra-solar-product-and-services-utility.php

The thing that concerns me about this kind of distributed solar is the need for a large number of inverter modules, basically one per panel. Would it not be cheaper to have one inverter for a set of panels?

The cost of the inverters scale roughly with size. So no there is little savings for using one big inverter and many panels.

These inverters are are new type called "micro inverters",. and you have one per panel in an array, which manages the output of that panel. The most popular one seems to be the Enphase system.

A good write up of installing and operating an Enphase array is here;


I read (probaly on greentechmedia) that microinverters run nearly a dollar a watt. They are more efficient compared to the typical string inverters, because you don't have the problem that a string of panels connected in series output is controlled by the weakest panel (be it less efficient -or partly in the shade or whatever). But, if you save a dollar per watt by not using microinverters you can afford more panels.

The micro inverters are (presently) more expensive $ per watt, but they do have their redeeming features. Controlling of the individual panels is definitely one, as is the ability make the array as large or small as you want, to be able to ad, or subtract at a later date.

In the case of thee ones on the power poles, if not micro inverters, then you would be using normal ones that are min of 1kW, and would be way oversized for a 250W panel.

The micro inverters allow more panels to be put in more places, and optimally controlled - this can only be a good thing.

Oddly enough, the "one big inverter" may be made up of many small converter sections. I've got one of those in front of me right now: The Xantrex 1750 Pro Watt has eight identical 12VDC to 165VDC Dc-to-DC converter sections feeding one H-Bridge switch to make a single, larger, 60 cycle, 120 Volt "Root Mean Square" (RMS) AC power inverter. It is a matter of the size of the magnetics and switching components.

I think the basic idea with those pole mounted units, is that they serve as distributed power conditioning. A panel, battery and inverter, as well as supplying net power they can help to absorb the ups and downs of the grid. I think once you send a truck to put something on the pole, the addition cost of mounting the panel is pretty small. In any case they are trying to get multiple benefits from it.

Thank you all for this information about inverters. I took a look at the Envision web sit and the technology is really very interesting. It came as a surprise to me to find out how cost-effective these micro-inverter modules have become.

Through last Friday, the total released from the SPR since the announcement is zero. (Bids for 30.6 mmb were accepted at an average of $107.39/barrel)

Being confused as to what the fluctuations in EIA net imports was telling me, I wanted to compare the difference b/w end-of-month weekly avg values for Jan minus June to prior years. When looking at the figures, I thought I would do a trend line with GDP growth. The R^2 value came to 0.623 which indicates to me that it has some predictive ability. The estimate for 2011 GDP growth is 0.46.

Net imports 4-wk avg (June minus January) GDP Growth (%)

1993    321     2.9
1994    1801    4.1
1995    1151    2.5
1996     810	3.7
1997    1041	4.5
1998    1154	4.4
1999     252	4.8
2000    1284	4.1
2001    -340	1.1
2002     553	1.8
2003    1633	2.5
2004     891	3.6
2005     429	3.1
2006     417	2.7
2007     666	1.9
2008    -166	0
2009   -1793	-2.6
2010     591	2.9
2011    -646	0.5

DISCLAIMER: I am technologist by trade and not experienced in doing simple stat analyses.

You are forgetting the US claimed increase in production. Current US "All Liquids" production (4 week running average) is 462,000 barrels per day higher than last year at this time (183kbpd C+C, rest ngl/biofuel)

Imports vary with current economic conditions while domestic production does not. Also, I was only looking at the difference b/w June and January of the same year. There would be other factors affecting GDP growth and there is no way I could model it perfectly, however, I do think the simple trend is legit.

The variance is 1.3 so we could expect the GDP for 2011 to range b/w -0.8 and 1.8. The first quarter number was 1.9 so we should expect the average of the next 3 quarters to be slower than the first quarter.

Yes but there's over 400k barrels per day extra of liquids going in to US refineries which would have been made up with extra crude imports if it wasn't there. Of course that would have pushed up the price of crude with demand knock on effects including a GDP hit anyway...

The stock market is really dropping on my projection for GDP growth. Sorry folks.

Goldman: Tight Supply to Push Up Oil Prices

LONDON—Goldman Sachs warned Thursday that oil supplies will become "critically tight" in 2012, largely because production kingpin Saudi Arabia won't be able to pump as much extra oil as many people believe.

The report amplified previous warnings of a supply-constrained oil market by the U.S. investment bank, which in recent months has repeatedly questioned the ability of Saudi "spare capacity" to meet growing demand. If the market becomes convinced of the Goldman view, prices could rise sharply.

No mention of the fact that Saudi net oil exports are down by about 20% in 2010, versus 2005 (BP), with four of the past five years having shown year over year declines in net oil exports.


So much for the SPR release. Oil is threatening to break free once more. Looks like Oil prices are behaving like a wild animal, striving to break free of the cage at the slightest chance. 70,000 jobs more and the markets go berserk. Is there something else at play here ?

Chris Huhne: Climate change threatens UK security

The Energy Secretary predicted that UK will be “exposed to the shocking and alarming” consequences of a warmer world. Unchecked, climate change poses “a systemic threat” to the international order, he said.

Mr Huhne made the prediction in a speech to the Royal United Services Institute, a military think-tank.

Transcript (worth a read): http://www.environmental-expert.com/news/chris-huhne-the-geopolitics-of-...

... Around the world, a military consensus is emerging. Climate change is a ‘threat multiplier’. It will make unstable states more unstable. Poor nations poorer. Inequality more pronounced, and conflict more likely. And the areas of most geopolitical risk are also most at risk of climate change.

When the Pentagon and Greenpeace are on the same page, you know things are getting serious.

Bloomberg: Stocks, Commodities Rise on Jobs Report

“Now we have a sense that the ADP report looks like we’re going to see a better payroll report. All these things reflected that this was no more than a soft patch. This is not another recession.”

Oh, alright then, moving on...

Last month I posted on an uptick in deaths from the Fukishima demonstration of the failure modes of Fission Power.

Now, there were some nattering neighboms of negativism who claimed that just can't happen.

Dr. Dave DeSante, founder of the Institute for Bird Population in Point Reyes, California has explained scientific findings on the relationship between Fukushima fallout on the U.S. West Coast...

"After Chernobyl's radioactive cloud over the U.S. West Coast spring of 1986, Dr. DeSante's research uncovered severe die-off of young birds. Later, researchers Gould and Goldman duplicated Dr. DeSante's results using human mortality data from both U.S. and Germany. They found that the "young, the old, and those with weak immune systems were the main casualties...

"His findings included a 63-64% decrease in all bird species during the period that Chernobyl iodine fell in the United States...

Guess what? That Chernobyl experiment is now running again.

Lets see what the "birders" have to say in, say, 6 months?

Any of the pro-nukers want to stick their neck out and make some more claims?

First question - Do you have a link to that statement?

Second - The claim of 63-64% drop in bird (species?) by Dr Dave DeSante sounds like pure un-adulterated made-up BS. Here is the change in population stats from 1968 to 2007 for N. American birds from the Audubon Society/U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service annual census

Don't see no 2/3 drop year to year. A loss of 2/3 of species is an extinction level event (E.L.E.). It would show up on the graph.

Third - toxicology is my profession - done it for 30 years. Iodine-137 toxicity is not expressed in the manner that you or Dr. Dave suggest (especially at the exposure levels in the US at that time).

Forth - There are plenty of cumulative stressors (pollutants, loss of habitat, climate change, etc.) to account for the current crash in bird populations - blaming it on extremely low-level fallout simply muddies the water.

I'm not trying to be un-civil but lets stick to a reality based dialog

First question - Do you have a link to that statement?


Don't see no 2/3 drop year to year. A loss of 2/3 of species

So you present a graph of 'species', look for a 2/3 die off when the claim is the young/old/sick are dying for data normalized for a year when the deaths would be an impulse event and, in theory, replaceable with another brood.

April 26th with Iodine 131 places the radioactive impulse at the start of the spring brood. Many birds will try and have a second brood and in a month you'd have 1/10th the radioactive material - thus a 2nd brood would not have such a stressor.

But hey, now humans can watch the bird brooding and see if the past observed behavior happens again.

Iodine-137 toxicity is not expressed in the manner ...There are plenty of cumulative stressors

Iodine 137 has a 1/2 life of 25 seconds. Iodine-131 is the typical radioactive element of concern.

So radioactive elements can't be "the reason" - yet there are "plenty of cumulative stressors". So, exactly how is the introduction of radioactive elements not an additional cumulative stressor to cause an increase in deaths?

reality based dialog

I got no problem with that - Dr. Dave DeSante is the one with the data....perhaps he can provide the clarity you want?

But part of a "reality based conversation" is using data as presented. Where did I-137 come from in this "reality based dialog"?

"Third - toxicology is my profession - done it for 30 years. Iodine-137 toxicity is not expressed in the manner that you or Dr. Dave suggest (especially at the exposure levels in the US at that time)."

Oh, really, just where did you get Iodine-137 from??

The known isotopes of iodine, abundance and half life are
123 (syn,13 hour half life, electron capture, gamma decay),
127 (100%, stable),
129 (Trace, 1.56E+7 years),
131 (syn,8.02days Beta and Gamma decay modes).

B.T.W. Cesium-134 has a two(2) year half life and Cesium-137 has a 30 year half life..

So what are you really claiming??

Cliff Mass, a weather scientist here in Seattle had an excellent blog post on this topic. Its an example of how cherry picking data can support any conclusion and is bad science. Here is his blog post:


For most people, including antinuclear ones, its hard to separate facts from beliefs - and usually people rely on the latter to a worrisome extent. It becomes hard to then have a rational discussion. I wish the antinuclear movement was at times a little more grounded in hard science as opposed to belief systems and such cherry-picked data. Their arguments would be more convincing.

Unfortunately its the same in the debate on global warming. All you need is one record cold winter and all of a sudden people are easily convinced that its not happening. That is certainly true here with the crummy wet spring and summer that we have had thus so far (and today its raining). "Climate Change" may be a better term since it encompasses such changes in the weather as our current soggy period - but it remains to be seen if this is due to climate change or a strong La Nina.

Most of the political spectrum is increasingly ruled by such belief systems - often in striking contrast to the evidence at hand. The current debate about the debt limit is a good example. Such thinking is not going to help us!

I wish the antinuclear movement was at times a little more grounded in hard science as opposed to belief systems and such cherry-picked data. Their arguments would be more convincing.

VS the rational and proven science of Dr. Shunichi Yamashita: “Effects of Radiation Do Not Come To People That Are Happy”

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending July 1, 2011

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.3 million barrels per day during the week ending July 1, 68 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 88.4 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging 9.5 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 4.4 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged about 9.9 million barrels per day last week, up by 976 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 9.1 million barrels per day, 546 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 700 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 123 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 0.9 million barrels from the previous week. At 358.6 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 decreased by 0.6 million barrels last week and are in the lower limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories increased while blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 0.2 million barrels last week and are near the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 2.3 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 0.5 million barrels last week.

According to the EIA, most of the surge in crude imports last week came from Saudi Arabia which supplied 1.5 million barrels per day last week. That's about 0.5 million barrels per day more than normally arrives from the KSA.

Net product exports are up to 295kbpd, which seems to be taking up the slack in refining. Do we know where all this stuff is going?

Not on a weekly basis but it is available in the monthly report at http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_move_expc_a_EPP0_EEX_mbblpd_m.htm

The biggest single destination of refined products is Mexico, with almost one quarter of US total product exports.

Thanks. It looks like in the last year, net product has swung by 900kbpd. Around 250 on Mexico exports, 250 on other exports, and 400 on import reductions.

Which is good for about 6 percent in refinery utilization, yes?

Kenya police tear-gas maize and fuel price protesters

...Currently a 2kg bag of maize flour, a staple food known as "unga" in Kenya, retails at around $2 (£1.25), an amount many of the country's 40 million people cannot afford, he says.

The protesters also accuse millers of hoarding maize to raise prices.

What are the authorities that ordered the police response in effect saying to the protesters? Go starve in silence. Unfortunately for the authorities, that's the one thing people will not do. As world prices for food continue to rise more uprisings will occur.

Climate change putting electricity generation at risk

This paper assesses the vulnerability of various electricity generation options such as fossil fuels, nuclear power, hydropower and renewable energy to changing disaster risks and addresses the implications for energy policy and planning.

There is an alternative to plastic

College student invents cardboard vacuum cleaner

Called the Vax ev, the cleaner is designed to be assembled at home by the customer using the cardboard from the box in which it is shipped.

Though, where we're heading, you may not need a vacuum cleaner

Scientists invent heat-regulating building material

Researchers based at The University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) believe their invention — which could be used in existing structures as well as new builds — could offer considerable energy savings.

The novel non-deformed energy storage phase change material (PCM) has the unique advantage of possessing a larger energy storage capacity with faster thermal response than existing materials and could be cheaply manufactured.

If, for example, the required optimum temperature in a room is 22°C, the material can be fixed so that it starts absorbing any excess heat above that temperature.

Sounds wonderful, but there is precisely zero information about what the material is, what it's energy absorbing characteristics are, what it's made from or how much it would cost.

Just a press release with no link to published research at all.

beleive it when I see peer reviewed results.

Historically, such substances have a broad 'melt' point, so they are great for non-critical apps but aren't "sharp" enough for HVAC-attuned people.

Of course, a 20-degree swing is very nice to moderate daily spikes, especially in temperate areas where many or most days have "too hot" and "too cold" extremes. I am less sure of the value in areas where even the lows are way too high or the highs are way too low -- you'd have to combine the material with other sources/sinks.

Note that waxes can fit the bill for such. Calcium chloride solutions can as well. There are many tradeoffs between temperatures, temp slopes, latent capacity, solid/liquid phase characteristics, and so forth. Obviously it's nice to have both phases be semi-solid so the result is flexible but not leak-prone.

Using sensible heat alone is often an option as well. Water works pretty well for this. It's also a great phase-change chemical, as long as your set point can be "freezing cold"!

There are companies that sell pre-made products for various uses. I've looked at them only a little, but most are rather expensive.

Intra-Day Gasoline (RBQ11) vs WTI (CLQ11)

RBOB  $3.12 (+0.12 / +4%)
WTI  $98.50 (+1.85 / +1.9%)

Seems the evil speculators are determined to stop WTI going above $100 today.

Looks like Brent is still driving gas, and WTI is waving in the wind?

Yes (although perhaps gasoline is driving Brent). And even the USA sold its SPR oil at close to the then Brent price as they based it on Louisiana Sweet spot not WTI spot. That apparently didn't amuse the Canadians.

Current Brent $118.36. Louisiana Sweet about $114.88 as of last Bloomberg update. Avg SPR winning bid about $107.

According to zFacts.com, the National debt will hit $14.9 trillion on Sunday and $15 trillion on August 1. In addition Freddie,Fanny.FHA and FED debt and losses are off book. Without an audit, nobody can know for sure, but one to two trillion added to the debt is my WAG. Unfunded obligations of roughly $50 trillion are also excluded. If Congress does not oversee the off book debts, they are violating their Constitutional duties of controlling the purse IMO. No doubt the trade deficit would add to the problem especially if $118 was the price of oil in WTI. Wall Street and Washington are trying to fool people a lot these days, kicking the reckoning can down the road seems a goal, but if housing stays in the doldrums the CDO losses will have to be realized sooner rather than later.

Another small step toward our province's goal of supplying 40 per cent of our electricity requirements through renewable resources by 2020 (up from near zero ten years ago)... earlier this week the NSURB established a feed-in tariff rate of 45.2-cents per kWh for small wind producers (50 kW or less) and 13.9-cents for larger community based projects. Currently, the province has 284 MW of wind capacity in place and plans to add another 300 MW by 2015 -- one third utility-owned, another third by way of independent power producers and the remainder community based initiatives. And once power starts flowing from the Lower Churchill Falls in 2016/2017, we'll have the means to add even more wind power without compromising grid stability (as I type this, total provincial demand, including exports to neighbouring New Brunswick stands at 1,145.8 MW, so integrating some 600 MW of wind capacity into our modest sized power network is no small task).

The transition away from coal and oil will be costly and we're already starting to see evidence of this in terms of our electricity rates, but it's well worth every penny IMHO.

Wind farms’ business could take off
N.S. will call for renewable power plans next year

Wind farm developers will get a chance early next year to apply to get their large-scale projects off the ground.

An Energy Department spokeswoman said Wednesday a call for bids from independent producers is expected in the first part of 2012 to develop the next round of large renewable energy electricity projects in the province.


Independent producers will be bidding for a share of the 300 gigawatt hours per year of electricity that the province wants to buy from them. That’s equal to 100 megawatts of wind power. Nova Scotia Power, the province’s privately owned electric utility, will develop an equal amount of renewable electricity under the province’s renewable energy plan.

See: http://thechronicleherald.ca/NovaScotia/1252086.html

URB hailed for setting wind power prices

A national lobby group for wind energy is applauding Nova Scotia’s energy regulator for setting a price that small community-operated wind farms will receive from the province’s utility.

The Canadian Wind Energy Association said Wednesday the feed-in tariffs set by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board will make the province a leader in small wind energy developments.

Spokeswoman Emilie Moorhouse said her group believes that community groups such as farming co-operatives will be able to make a small profit by investing in the windmills under the new incentives system.


Overall, the province has set a target of 100 megawatts of production for all forms of community-based renewable energy.

See: http://thechronicleherald.ca/NovaScotia/1252191.html


a feed-in tariff rate of 45.2-cents per kWh for small wind producers (50 kW or less) and 13.9-cents for larger community based projects.

That's quite a spread - do you really think they needed to go that high on small systems?

I see that they have limited the acceptance to 5MW in the small category, which would be all of 100 50kW turbines/wind farms.

I do agree with the concept of paying a bit more for distributed generation - it actually takes load off the transmission system instead of adding to it.

Now that we have the smart meters, I think a better way to go would be to have a "time of generation" FIT, and pay, for example, 20-30c in peak hours and 10c outside of that. Paying 45.2 for power produced at 2am just doesn't seem like that great a use of public money.

A tough one for me to call, Paul. It's certainly generous, but not out of line compared to the OPA FIT of 80.2-cents per kWh for rooftop solar systems of 10 kW or less. A TOU-based FIT is an interesting idea, but it would add an element of uncertainty in terms of the revenue stream and most likely make this type of investment more difficult to justify.

With respect to another of my hobby horses... I've written a VBA application that allows me to calculate the potential energy savings of installing a ductless heat pump based on a home's estimated heat loss, the manufacturer's performance curves for their products and fifteen years' worth of Environment Canada climate data (ideally, whenever I spend other peoples' money, I'd like to be able to quantify the potential energy savings with a reasonable degree of accuracy and I believe this tool helps move us closer to this goal).

Upon start-up, the following data entry screen is displayed:

Very simply, the user selects the appropriate community from the Site Location list; this identifies the climate data set to be used in the analysis. Three provincial sites are currently available, but more will be added over time.

Next, they specify the home's estimated Heat Loss rate. The default is 0.2 kW per °C which in metro HRM translates to be an annual space heating requirement of just over 16,000 kWh or $2,000.00 a year. The user can play with this value if they so wish and use the feedback provided by the Conventional Electric Heat - Annual kWh Consumption field to either increase or decrease this amount accordingly (all display fields are automatically refreshed whenever an input field is edited).

The user can also adjust the home's space heating Demand Point. The default is 15°C; when outdoor temperatures exceed 15°C, passive solar and other internal heat gains (lights and appliances) are generally sufficient to maintain a home at its set temperature. However, for home owners like myself who prefer to keep their homes a little cooler, the Demand Point can be adjusted downward, e.g., 12 or 13°C, to reflect the reduced savings potential.

The NSP electricity rate can be edited as required (the default is 12.3-cents per kWh) and so too the ENSC incentive amount which is defaulted to 10-cents per kWh saved.

Lastly, the user selects one of the ductless heat pumps from the selection list, i.e., a 12,000, 18,000 or 24,000 BTU per hour model, then clicks OK to generate a customized client report. This application can accommodate any number of models from a multitude of manufacturers (the Model field converts to a scroll list). I've chosen Sanyo because their service manuals identify the amount of heat provided over a wide range of operating temperatures and this allows me to work with bin hours based on single degree increments.


A suggestion, VBA is Windows only, take a look at Lazarus


It is completely free and can be used on Windows, MAC and Linux. Programs are easily portable between the 3. If you are used to VBA you should not find it too hard to get going in the Lazarus environment. It would give portability between different environments.


Thanks for the suggestion, NAOM. This particular product is intended for internal use only and so cross platform compatibility wasn't a requirement, but it's good to know there are these other options should the need arise.


It's certainly generous, but not out of line compared to the OPA FIT of 80.2-cents per kWh for rooftop solar systems of 10 kW or less.

No, not out of line,, but, two wrongs don't make a right. If I was in NS, I would jump on this, but I do think that I would still jump on it if it was 20c, and then twice as many people could.

A TOU-based FIT is an interesting idea, but it would add an element of uncertainty in terms of the revenue stream and most likely make this type of investment more difficult to justify.

I guess I like to think of it as adding an element of commercial reality - there really is no pressing need for more night time power. In the case of the small wind systems, yes, it makes it a little harder to predict, but time of day wind data is not that hard to get/collect . You could argue the TOU FIT is pointless for wind, as the turbine owner has no ability to control the output - but it does keep them in touch with market realities, instead of totally insulating them.

The ultimate combination, would, of course, be TOU rates, and TOU-FIT, based on interval net metering only (up to 50kW). This would give the wind turbine owners maximum incentive to shed/shift daytime loads, and power them with their own wind power at night. Get the best value from those kWh's generated!

The calculator looks good. I have never learned to use VBA, so mine (for water) is just an excel spreadsheet, but then, I'm the only one using it.
This seems like the sort of work that Sanyo, Fujitsu, Daikin etc, or the Fed gov, should have already done, and provide to efficiency folks like yourself. Though, if done by the gov it would likely not be as good or easy to use as what you have here.

I have learned that I can;t qualify for the $1500 rebate on ductless mini splits here, as I have already been through the energy audit process, three years ago, and you are only allowed to do it once per home, per owner :-(. Have a neighbour who will, at my suggestion - maybe I can get the contractor to give me a deal on a second one. With this very cold spring, the baseboards have still been coming on in June!

My local outfit installs Daikin, which look like good units. There top of the line model is SEER 26 (HSPF11), and the next one is SEER 18 (HSPF10), but the 26model looks like it will be quite a bit more expensive (has humidity control, air filter etc) - will have to see what they say. For the 650SF of area it would be heating, what would be the % difference in energy use between these two - will it just be the HSPF ratio?



Hi Paul,

I appreciate your insight. My sense, right or wrong, is that these smaller utility-connected wind systems don't generally produce a lot of power and that their economics are marginal at best. I suspect this provision was added because it was considered the politically smart thing to do, i.e., you don't want these types of policies to be seen as exclusionary or unduly favouring the "big boys" (that has been a criticism in the past). In any event, I don't expect that they'll be popping up like weeds and with a programme cap of just 5 MW and an average capacity factor of perhaps 20 per cent their impact on utility costs would be negligible, so I can live with that.

With respect to heating performance, the HSPF rating is, in fact, the key determinate, and the difference in the operating costs of a system with a HSPF of 10 versus one with a HSPF of 11 is so small that I would choose whichever one is cheaper (your local climate is quite mild by Canadian standards, your electricity rates are amongst the lowest in the world and the space served is not overly large).

This VBA macro is as dead simple as they come. As mentioned, I downloaded fifteen years' worth of hourly climate data for three provincial communities and each of these data sets is over 28 MB in size. That 85 MB of data was ultimately distilled down to the following:

'Bin Hours
Select Case B0.ListIndex
 Case 0
  vBin = Split("68|92|132|151|175|190|222|240|263|286|286|325|279|278|301|337|269|250|217|198|162|159|131|123|98|83|63|58|51|44|34|24|22|16|10|8|4|5|1|4|0|0", "|") 'Halifax
 Case 1
  vBin = Split("50|69|88|118|137|155|176|221|246|265|283|315|324|339|348|429|368|305|242|210|189|163|126|101|97|74|63|53|44|30|21|19|11|7|5|2|2|3|1|3|0|0", "|")    'Sydney
 Case Else
  vBin = Split("74|98|124|163|211|256|278|337|337|327|320|335|339|325|326|344|267|230|190|161|142|129|91|77|66|47|36|33|22|18|9|6|3|1|1|0|0|0|0|0|0|0", "|")        'Yarmouth
End Select

For Halifax, there are sixty-eight hours during the heating season (for my purposes, the period spanning October 1st through May 31st) when the outside temperature is 15°C; ninety-two hours when it is 14°C and so on. Knowing this, it's simply a matter of matching this to the home's estimated heat loss at each of these temperature points and then comparing that to the heat pump's theoretical output at these same temperatures. The Word template that contains this code and the form into which the data is inserted is just 76.6 kb.

Although the content and presentation hasn't been finalized as yet, the generated document as it stands now looks like this:


Thanks Paul,

I was thinking the same re the heat pumps. With the fresh coastal air here, I canl;t see any real advantage for the air filter either - would be a little different in Calgary!

With the small wind turbines, I actually see a bit of an opportunity there, for the really small ones (0.5 to 3kW). These are small enough that they turn fast enough to be direct drive Pm alternators, so they are relatively light and cheap. Also, the towers can then be standard sch 40 pipe, with guy wires or for the 3kW turbines, standard metal light poles used by cities. The output goes through the grid connect inverters, same as PV systems - you could actually connect both to the same inverter.
A bit like PV systems, it;s a case where they are small enough that they do not need any custom engineering, large amounts of concrete, high capacity electronics, 3 ph connections etc etc.

The jump seems to be as soon as you get above 3kW things get expensive quickly

The interesting looking 3kW unit is designed and built in Saskatchewan, and about $8k, is pretty good value for money.

Smaller units (0.5 to 1.5kW) get even cheaper in $/kW, often down to $1.5k/kW.

I am looking at doing a "wind farm" on my family farm in Australia, and very quickly came to the conclusion that many small units would be much cheaper. I suspect in NS it would likely be the same result.

That's a pretty good looking summary sheet there - even management could understand that. 2.3 yr payback is not bad either.
Do you know what the avoided cost for generation capacity is there? I would guess that on a per kW basis, it is a lot more than the cost of replacing baseboards with these units.


Hi Paul,

I entered the required data into the CANWEA small wind calculator (http://www.canwea.ca/swe/calculator.php) for my postal code (B4A 2E5) and initially selected a 1 kW system. The estimated cost is $6,400.00 and the system is projected to produce 991 kWh per annum at an estimated 9 per cent capacity factor. At 42.5-cents per kWh (NSP's small wind FIT), the simple payback is just over fifteen years. A 10 kW system will reportedly cost me $57,600.00 and supply 7,679 kWh of energy per annum; at 42.5-cents, the simple payback is just under eighteen years. And if I were to pull out all the stops and go for a 50 kW system, my costs climb to $165,000.00 and generated output clocks in at 57,366 kWh/year. In this case, the simple payback is a little less than seven years. A bit of a tough sell even at these favourable rates, sad to say.

The incentive amount in this example was set at 10-cents per kWh saved. In our work, so long as we stay below 30-cents, we remain "in the zone". That reduces the simple payback to less than one year ! Not sure how much it would cost to build a new coal-fired power plant to meet today's tougher environmental standards -- $4,000 to $5,000 per kW sound about right?


Well, with those numbers, you certainly need the high FIT!

But, if we change a few things, then the equation improves. A farm or coastal area will likely have better wind, so the capacity factor could get to 15-20%.

I think the cost per kW can be brought down a bit too - the RETscreen is fairly conservative, and is assuming contractor rates, etc. With a farm, the farmer can likely do a lot of the installation work themselves, and even, if they are so inclined, assemble the turbine from a kit, and save a few more $.

Here's an example of a 2kW grid tie turbine, with inverter, and pole mounts - you supply the pipe - for about $7k

Some other, assemble yourself wind turbines here;

They have grid tie inverters for about $500/kW.

or the ultimate site for the farm handy DIY'ers -

It is the PV developed grid tie inverters that are enabling the small; wind turbines to be competitive - there are minimal other electronics required, and the small diameter has relatively high rotation speed (2-800 rpm) which is good for the pma's.

It is only in this small area that the owner can effectively do some of the work themselves. As soon as you get into the bigger ones - 3kW and up, you can't, and you are paying for it to be done. A good review of 2-100kW systems is here;

Comparing the $cost to the annual kWh produced for these turbines, the cost actually increases with turbine size, with the 100kW Northwind being the most expensive of all.
Not only that,a s soon as you get past a simple pole tower and the small turbine, you need a crane to erect it etc - smaller ones the farm tractor will do it (and I have done it).

So there's the niche where I think it works. Given that it is a small niche, there is not so much scope for abuse of the FIT like there is with solar, so maybe it doesn't really matter that it is higher than I think it needs to be. Another approach would be to make the period shorter, e.g. 10yrs instead of 20, this will in itself curtail the non viable installations to some extent, but still give a fast payback on capital.

There is no question the payback on your stuff wiull always be higher, but I do like the self generation options as it represents a small business opportunity for many. That is much better than that large biomass plant being built there - that whole thing, buying the old used boiler from the parent company, etc, just reeks of a swifty being pulled at taxpayer expense. While I think the small wind and PV FIT's are higher than they need to be, they do not concentrate a lot of gov money in the hands of a few companies.

Cost of building a new coal plant - I had read in the US about $4k/kW. More relevant is a new CCGT plant, IMO, and I think they are $2k/kW, but the fuel is more expensive.

Site C hydro out here is $8k/kW, and it can only run at about 60% cap factor.

The (very) small hydro I am looking to do on the local municipal water supply will be in the order of $4k/kW ($20k for 5kW system) and run at 100% capacity, using three of these very cool, and cost effective units;


Same concept as the small wind - these are small enough that ordinary pipes and stuff can do the job - no "engineering" needed, and the grid tie inverter takes care of the controls.

The 5kW stand alone system I built for a gov campground four years ago used a specially cast bronze pelton wheel, needed a 12x12 concrete foundation for the blg, a custom built load governor etc etc, cost $70k. Today, i could achieve that one for $25-30k.

Just need to get a few more of these on the go - any nice streams out there?



Thanks, Paul, for the links and additional background; much appreciated. Out of curiosity, I entered the postal code for our family property in the highlands of Cape Breton (located on the ocean) where I'm told wind speeds average between 4.5 and 6 m/s at the various turbine heights listed -- capacity factors here range anywhere from 12 per cent (1 kW system) to 18 per cent (50 kW). Somewhat better, but still not great.

I consider the NewPage/NSP biomass scheme a raw deal for ratepayers and an environmental disaster for our province. It appears to be a desperate ploy on the part of NSP to prop up their single largest customer which has been reportedly teetering on the edge of bankruptcy for sometime (see: http://deadtreeedition.blogspot.com/2010/09/is-bankruptcy-inevitable-for...). Shameful.

Best of luck with your micro-hydro efforts; great to see some of these smaller low-impact sites put to good use.


Of course, if you are looking for a really good spot for a small wind turbine, you could always put it... on top of a large wind turbine;


I'm sure the cap factor would be good here - don't know if NSP would give you the small wind FIT though!

Maybe New Page will go into bankruptcy before the power plant gets going. The whole thing is truly shameful, and represents government - corporate welfare at its worst.


Ulrich Beck: System of organized irresponsibility behind the Fukushima crisis

Atomic energy and atomic industries are, let's say, socialist industries because the state, the population, the citizens are paying if something goes wrong.

And actually, this is a contradiction to capitalism and the market economy. We have the same discussion actually in relation to the banking system; it's quite similar. Actually, the banks should take care of possible crises, and maybe they should have an insurance principle as well. But they don't, so actually the state has to take it. This is socialism; this is state socialism.

Q: Before the Fukushima disaster took place, many political leaders turned to atomic energy as a solution to the problem of climate change.

A: It's macabre to compare two kinds of risks: climate change and atomic energy. So actually, if you refer to climate change as a greater risk, companies are using the resources for legitimating, which has been created by NGOs, in order to construct the necessity of renaissance of so-called green atomic energy resource.

I think this is a mistake, and it doesn't really take the problem seriously. We have to make the distinction between those accidents which we can control and those we can compare. If we want to have long-term responsible politics, we have to get out of climate change and atomic energy as well.

I'm not saying this has to happen tomorrow; maybe there's a long time to go. But this has to be, I think, the basic decision.

It's funny that using the term 'Socialism' gives the health-care policy debate a tinge of uncleanliness.. and yet tarring the Nuclear Industry with the same terminology seems to come across as almost one of it's 'cleanest' problems.. as if it's almost one of its better aspects.

But I think the language has to be chosen with care, and the unwholesome co-dependency between Nuclear, Financial and Political power has to be called Fascism.. there's nothing social about it, even if it resembles the State-owned-factory image that we carry of some brands of socialism.. in practise, we've all seen that it has become more like a Company-owned Government. It's not the same thing, and yet it's also likely to be why Communism in USSR didn't seem to live up to the original Rhetoric as well.

Concentration of power left the people with an exaggerated lack of political influence.