Drumbeat: July 11, 2011

Nuclear waste: Back to Yucca Mountain?

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- There are 65,000 tons of radioactive waste sitting at nuclear power plants close to major cities around the country.

The government and the industry say it's safe where it is for the time being. But in the age of terrorism and tsunami-ravaged nuke plants, many have their doubts.

Kuwait no longer interested in pursuing nuclear energy

KUWAIT: Kuwait is no longer eager to possess nuclear technology or to seek nuclear power for energy purposes, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Dr. Mohammad Al-Sabah.

Chesapeake to spend $1 billion to hasten natural gas adoption as fuel

Chesapeake Energy, a major producer of natural gas from shale, said it would invest $1 billion over 10 years in companies to hasten the adoption of natural gas as a fuel for trucks and cars.

It said it had purchased $150 million of convertible bonds in Clean Energy Fuels Corp., where natural gas promoter T. Boone Pickens owns a major stake and sits on the board. Chesapeake chief executive Aubrey K. McClendon said it would help underwrite 150 liquefied natural gas refueling stations along highway trucking routes.

Crude Oil Declines to One-Week Low on Italian Debt, China Import Report

Oil fell to the lowest level in a week in New York as concern that the European debt crisis will spread to Italy caused the euro to tumble against the dollar and a report showed Chinese imports slumped.

Oil dropped 1.1 percent as the euro slid to a seven-week low against the dollar after Germany’s Die Welt said the European Central Bank is forecasting a regional bailout fund may have to double to cover a crisis in Italy. Data showing a 10 percent decline in Chinese imports stoked concern that fuel demand in the biggest crude-consuming countries will wane in the wake of a U.S. employment report on July 8.

Kuwait Trims Discount for August Crude Sales to Asia to 60 Cents a Barrel

Kuwait narrowed the discount for August oil shipments to Asia to the slimmest margin in almost two years after Saudi Arabia last week raised the price for its comparable Arab Medium crude to refiners in the Far East.

DOE Awards 30.64 Million Barrels Of Crude In Oil Sale

NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Fifteen companies, ranging from major refiners to trading companies and banks, were awarded contracts to buy all 30.64 million barrels of sweet crude oil offered in the U.S. government's emergency sale, the Energy Department said Monday.

FACTBOX-Bidders on U.S. oil reserves

(Reuters) - Fifteen energy trading companies received contracts for crude oil from U.S. emergency stockpiles, the Department of Energy said on Monday.

Kurt Cobb: Did I miss something or is Canada now the 51st state?

Back in 2008 my congressman, Fred Upton (R-Michigan), then the ranking Republican member of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality, still acknowledged there was a border between the United States and Canada. He claimed that oil from the Canadian tar sands was not reaching the United States, saying, "We stop it at the border." He meant he believed that the pipeline network could not bring it into the United States, a claim that was simply wrong.

But he did get the part about there being a border between the two countries right. Since then Upton has become the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and with his elevation, the U.S.-Canadian border seems to have vanished. No, we Americans are not now living in provinces that report to Ottawa. Instead, it is Canada that has become part of the United States.

Fiji: It's all about energy

AROUND the grog bowl, over a couple of drinks on the verandah, or across the tea cups, the conversation drifts from rugby and the latest movie to how much petrol costs and what the kids are up to at school. You think?

It becomes ever more likely the cost of petrol will trigger a serious discussion on what to do about the rising electricity bills, blackouts and water cuts.

Mexico Energy Profile: Still Second Largest Source Of US Oil Imports

(EIA) — In 2010, Mexico was the seventh-largest oil producer in the world, and the third-largest in the Western Hemisphere. State-owned Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) is one of the largest oil companies in the world. However, oil production has decreased in recent years as production at the giant Cantarell field continues to decline.

Iran: Will Spend $18B on O&G Fields in South through 2015

Iran will invest $18 billion in the development of its oil and gas fields in the hydrocarbon-rich south of the country in a 5-year development plan ending 2015, its deputy oil minister in charge of planning was quoted as saying Sunday.

The remarks comes as Iran is moving forward with projects to develop its oil and gas capacity despite international sanctions.

Bill Would Clear Path for Oil Project Approvals

A bill advancing through the state Legislature could help Kern County's oil industry by providing a clearer path of approval for certain drilling-related activities.

BP accused of trying to disengage from oil spill

PENSACOLA, Fla. (Reuters) - Authorities will keep up pressure on BP Plc to ensure it fully compensates victims of last year's Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio said on Monday after the company indicated it wants to limit future claims.

US Senate panel gets earful on oil spill aftermath

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Florida's agriculture commissioner says that while the full extent of the BP oil spill is unknown, untold livelihoods have been damaged and many still need to be compensated by the British-based oil giant.

Study: Restoring Gulf drilling to pre-spill levels could create 190,000 jobs

As many as 190,000 jobs could be created over the next two years if the pace of offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico picks up and returns to pre-spill levels, according to a new study released today by oil industry trade groups.

Drinking Water Seems Safe After Spill, E.P.A. Reports

Ten days into the oil spill on the Yellowstone River in Montana, the federal government is releasing test data indicating that the air and drinking water do not appear to pose safety risks.

TransCanada Plays Down Keystone XL Risks, Researcher Says

A study released by a University of Nebraska researcher says that TransCanada has presented American regulators with an “an unrealistically optimistic” portrayal of the consequences of a spill from its proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

Richard Heinberg - Petroleum Propaganda 101: Develop vs Deplete

The following POP QUIZ is brought to you in part by the American Petroleum Institute:

Which sounds better? A) The Obama administration should be doing more to develop U.S. oil-and-gas reserves. Or, B) The Obama administration should be doing more to deplete U.S. oil-and-gas reserves.

Egypt gas disruptions lead Jordan to consider Iranian alternative

Jordanian official says that repeated pipeline attacks mean the Kingdom will no longer rely on Egyptian gas and that other options are being considered.

Pro-Assad Mobs Attack U.S., French Embassies

Syrian demonstrators incited by pro- regime television attacked the U.S. and French embassies in Damascus, climbing over compound walls and hurting three French guards as tensions mount in the Middle Eastern country.

Pakistan hit by credit crunch, risks

Credit squeeze for the industry and business has hit the economy, growth is slow, inflation is ascendant and the balance of payments need to be watched against risks, warns the central bank.

PPP-S concerned over deepening energy crisis, security situation

Peshawar—The provincial cabinet of Pakistan People’s Party (Sherpao) has expressed serious concern over the deepening energy crisis, deteriorating security situation and target killing in Karachi. It said that the gory scenario reflected the incompetence and wrong policies of the government.

America behind Karachi unrest: JI

SIALKOT - Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan General Secretary Liaqat Baloch has said that the target killing of innocent people in Karachi is the part of American agenda and the PPP, ANP and MQM are directly responsible for the brutal play which has been playing havoc with the lives of innocent and peaceful people in Karachi.

Does Exxon deserve the BP treatment?

Montana's governor says he's going to ride ExxonMobil "like smell on a skunk," not to mention mete out more conventional unpleasantries like going to court. In case the oil giant has any funny ideas while being subject to these measures, "there ain't nobody gonna blow smoke up the south side of this north-facing governor." Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who is a soil scientist, has been driven to this display of trash-talking by the July 1 spill of some 1,000 barrels of crude oil into the pristine Yellowstone River, about 100 miles downriver from Yellowstone National Park.

Americans select dilithium crystals to power next generation

June 18, 2012 — CAMBRIDGE, MASS — In a Gallup poll released today, Americans chose dilithium crystals as the top choice of fuel to run both cars and power plants, with 84% of Americans choosing the crystals over other options including nuclear, hydrogen, corn ethanol, shale gas, and photovoltaic solar panels. Respondents indicate that dilithium crystals are popular for providing quiet, clean energy, with a proven track record including over seven-hundred twenty-six episodes in four different Star Trek television series.

The Transition Movement – Preparing for a World After Peak Oil

How will the world function if fossil fuels become scarcer and their consumption becomes increasingly regulated to fight climate change? How will people live with less oil? What will communities be like?

The Agile City: Building Well-Being and Wealth in an Era of Climate Change (Book Review)

There has been a profound change in the green movement over the last five years, the realization that solar panels on the roof and bamboo sheets on the bed are not enough; that where you live matters far more. We've seen a series of books that make this claim, including David Owen's Green Metropolis, Edward Glaeser's Triumph of the City, Ken Greenberg's Walking Home and Peter Calthorpe's Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change. Now James S. Russell's The Agile City- Building Well-Being and Wealth in an Era of Climate Change must be added to the canon.

To Soak Up the Sun, First Prepare for Paperwork

The city has encouraged green efforts like solar panels, but thus far the number of residences to install the panels has been very small. The approval process can be daunting.

Phosphate: A Critical Resource Misused and Now Running Low

If you wanted to really mess with the world’s food production, a good place to start would be Bou Craa, located in the desert miles from anywhere in the Western Sahara. They don’t grow much here, but Bou Craa is a mine containing one of the world’s largest reserves of phosphate rock. Most of us, most days, will eat some food grown on fields fertilized by phosphate rock from this mine. And there is no substitute.

Farming of the future takes root in Switzerland

Using an almost closed-loop aquaponics system – that combines raising aquatic animals with cultivating plants in water – to produce fish, vegetables and herbs, the firm has developed one of the most ecologically friendly ways to eat. They believe the technology can soon be commercialised.

Drought Spreads Its Pain Across 14 States

COLQUITT, Ga. — The heat and the drought are so bad in this southwest corner of Georgia that hogs can barely eat. Corn, a lucrative crop with a notorious thirst, is burning up in fields. Cotton plants are too weak to punch through soil so dry it might as well be pavement.

Farmers with the money and equipment to irrigate are running wells dry in the unseasonably early and particularly brutal national drought that some say could rival the Dust Bowl days.

“It’s horrible so far,” said Mike Newberry, a Georgia farmer who is trying grow cotton, corn and peanuts on a thousand acres. “There is no description for what we’ve been through since we started planting corn in March.”

The pain has spread across 14 states, from Florida, where severe water restrictions are in place, to Arizona, where ranchers could be forced to sell off entire herds of cattle because they simply can’t feed them.

In Midwest, Flutters May Be Far Fewer

The evidence is preliminary, but some experts say genetically modified crops threaten the butterfly by depriving it of habitat.

Refiners in northeast Asia decline more Saudi crude

SINGAPORE/TOKYO (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's offer of additional crude in August drew scant interest from refiners across northeast Asia who declined supplies beyond contracted volumes, while one buyer each in India and Southeast Asia accepted extra barrels of light oil.

Ten refiners in China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan turned down the Saudi offer, traders said on Monday, as oversupply of high-quality Russian ESPO crude prevails in the region and China's crude imports tumbled 11.5 percent in June from a year earlier to their lowest in eight months.

Limited demand for extra barrels from Asia, the world's fastest-growing market, would leave the Saudis with few options to find homes for additional cargoes. Top exporter Saudi Aramco was expected to have raised output to near 10 million barrels per day (bpd) in June.

Crude Oil Falls for a Second Day on Signs China, U.S. Fuel Demand May Slow

Oil declined for a second day in New York on speculation that a slump in Chinese imports and rising unemployment in the U.S. may indicate fuel demand will falter in the world’s biggest crude-consuming nations.

Futures slipped as much as 1.5 percent after government reports in China showed net oil imports shrank 10 percent in June to the lowest in eight months, according to Bloomberg calculations, while inflation surged to a three-year high. A July 8 Labor Department report showed that the unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to the highest this year. European stocks fell amid concern that the region’s debt crisis will spread to Italy.

Price of gas falls a penny in the last two weeks

CAMARILLO, Calif. — The average U.S. price of a gallon of gasoline has dropped about a penny in the past two weeks.

That's according to the Lundberg Survey of fuel prices, released Sunday, which puts the price of a gallon of regular at $3.62.

Iraq Raises Aug Basra Light Crude Prices To US, Europe; Asia Unchanged-SOMO Chief

Amman(DOW JONES) - Iraq has raised the official selling prices of its Basra Light crude for August to the US and Europe, while leaving the price unchanged for customers in Asia, head of the State Oil Marketing Organization, or SOMO, told Dow Jones Newswires Monday.

Iran's natural gas export to Oman to start in early 2012

Managing Director of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) Javad Oji said Iran will start exporting natural gas to Oman through an undersea pipeline by March 2012, local satellite Press TV reported on Sunday.

Iran and Oman have signed the initial contract for the gas transfer but the final contract will be signed by the end of the current Iranian calendar year that ends on March 20, 2012, Oji was quoted as saying on Saturday.

IEC out of gas - electricity prices to soar 18%

The Ministry of Finance's intention to levy excise on diesel used for electricity production was "greed, and insensitivity in the face of the difficulties facing Israeli households," said Economics Committee chairman MK Carmel Shama (Likud) at the start of the meeting about the forecast of a 20% rise in electricity rates.

Disruptions in gas deliveries from Egypt has forced IEC to increase its use of diesel seven-fold. The utility pays NIS 3,300 in excise and VAT per ton of diesel it consumes, compared with NIS 14 per ton for fuel oil. Erdan's directive forces IEC to greatly restrict its use of fuel oil and almost exclusively use diesel.

Now the hard work begins for South Sudan

South Sudan became the world's newest nation yesterday but has a long way to go in developing its main industry, oil.

China eyes oil cooperation with new state of South Sudan

(Reuters) - China is keen to work with the new state of South Sudan in developing its oil industry, but may have to adjust its investment plans following the south's split with Sudan, Chinese state media said on Monday.

South Sudan produces about three quarters of the whole of Sudan's roughly 500,000 barrels of oil output and depends on oil for 98 percent of its revenue.

Rival Claims to Sea Territory Made by Israel and Lebanon

JERUSALEM — Israel is to submit a claim to the United Nations in the next few days demarcating its maritime boundary with Lebanon, officials here said Sunday, amid a dispute between the countries over an area of the Mediterranean Sea that is potentially rich with energy resources.

The Israeli cabinet approved a map of the Israeli-proposed line on Sunday. “This boundary will delineate the area in which the state enjoys exclusive economic rights, including the right to exploit the sea’s natural resources,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet. “Our goal,” he said, “is to determine Israel’s position regarding its maritime border, in keeping with the principles of international maritime law.”

Israel’s line stakes out more territory for itself than one that Lebanon drew and submitted to the United Nations a few months ago. Mr. Netanyahu said that the boundary drawn by the Lebanese conflicted with the line that Israel had agreed upon with Cyprus and, more significantly, with the line that Lebanon itself had agreed upon with Cyprus in 2007.

Obama Aide Urges Saleh to Resolve Yemen Crisis

An aide to President Barack Obama met yesterday with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Saudi Arabia and asked him to fulfill a pledge to step down after more than three decades in power.

Iran's IRGC calls for foreign warships pullout from Persian Gulf

he Aerospace Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Amir Ali Hajizadeh called for the withdrawal of foreign warships from the Persian Gulf, local Mehr news agency reported on Sunday.

The countdown for the withdrawal of foreign warships from the Persian Gulf has started, Hajizadeh was quoted as saying.

Iran slams U.S. "interference" in Syria's internal affairs

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Reza Raouf-Sheibani strongly criticized U.S. ambassador's visit to the restive Syrian city of Hama as a clear instance of " interfering in other countries' internal affairs," the local English language satellite Press TV reported on Sunday.

South African oil refinery workers launch strike

Some 70,000 workers at oil refineries and related industries on Monday joined a week-old strike in South Africa, their union said, raising fears of potential fuel shortages.

The Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers Union (CEPPWAWU) said refineries had ground to a halt as workers downed tools to march through the streets of the country's industrial centres demanding a minimum salary of 6,000 rand ($890, 630 euros) a month.

Petrobras denies bidding ‘fraud’

Brazil’s Petrobras has lashed out at reports that it was involved in an alleged fraud over a lucrative contract in the Campos Basin.

Top companies: Most profitable

In the battle for top profits last year, it was chocolate vs. oil and chocolate won.

German watchdog to examine any Gazprom-RWE deal

FRANKFURT, July 11 (Reuters) - The German cartel office, the country's antitrust watchdog, said it would "closely" examine any investment by Russian gas monopoly Gazprom in German utility RWE (RWEG.DE).

"We would have to examine any connection between Gazprom and RWE very closely with regards to antitrust issues," the president of the Bonn-based cartel office said on Monday.

John Sununu: Smart fracking

Extracting natural gas from shale is safe and economically sensible.

Government asks Exxon to retool Yellowstone spill plan

BILLINGS, Mont (Reuters) - Federal regulators said on Sunday they want Exxon Mobil to retool its preliminary plan to clean up oil spilled into the Yellowstone River in Montana from a ruptured pipe at the start of July.

A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official, Steve Merritt, said three elements of the plan were incomplete. He said Exxon must revise how it will capture spilled oil, remove the broken pipe without causing pollution downstream, and restore the wildlife habitat and private property.

Q&A: What do Japan reactor stress tests mean for nuclear power?

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan announced plans for two-tier "stress tests" on its nuclear reactors, aimed at dispelling public wariness over nuclear safety and boosting confidence in their ability to withstand natural disasters.

It stopped short, however, of giving a timeframe that might help to clarify when idled reactors may be restarted, and whether Japan might be able to avert power shortages in the coming peak summer and winter demand seasons.

Energy presents tricky choices

In the past two weeks I have written about energy and the coming oil shortage that is driving oil and gas prices higher.

When you are talking about peak oil, many authors see this as the end of mechanized civilization and suggest we will head back to a pre-industrial revolution existence. Since I'm not much of a horseman and don't have a lot of oxen around to plow my backyard, I find the more hopeful scenarios a little more plausible.

Word Choice Matters for Energy Policy

AUSTIN, TEXAS — When President Barack Obama speaks about the fuels of the future, his term of choice is usually “clean energy.”

At the “Twitter Town Hall” last week, where people asked the president questions via Twitter, Mr. Obama referred to “clean energy” five times.

Masdar finishes groundwork in creating offshore UK wind farm

Masdar is moving ahead with what is to be the world's biggest offshore wind farm but is encountering slower progress at home.

Aging boomers strain cities built for the young

NEW YORK – America's cities are beginning to grapple with a fact of life: People are getting old, fast, and they're doing it in communities designed for the sprightly.

To envision how this silver tsunami will challenge a youth-oriented society, just consider that seniors soon will outnumber schoolchildren in hip, fast-paced New York City.

It will take some creative steps to make New York and other cities age-friendly enough to help the coming crush of older adults stay active and independent in their own homes.

Light Bulb Ban Opposed by Republicans Said to Save $12.5 Billion

Pulling the plug on a phase-out of traditional incandescent light bulbs, as a U.S. House bill requires, would jeopardize $12.5 billion in consumer savings by 2020, according to a study by efficiency-advocacy groups.

Answer for Invasive Species: Put It on a Plate and Eat It

An invasive species, the lionfish is devastating reef fish populations along the Florida coast and into the Caribbean. Now, an increasing number of environmentalists, consumer groups and scientists are seriously testing a novel solution to control it and other aquatic invasive species — one that would also takes pressure off depleted ocean fish stocks: they want Americans to step up to their plates and start eating invasive critters in large numbers.

Can Florida’s nature and people outrace sea-level rise?

Q. Why is sea-level rise such a big deal for Florida?

A. Because so much of the Gulf Coast here is under 4.9 feet in elevation. If the Earth experiences 3.3 feet of sea-level rise over the next 100 years -- and that's the most recent "moderate" scenario projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- that will mean very substantial change for Florida, not only to our coastal wetlands and natural systems, but also for people who live along the coast.

Italy's elite are dismayed by vanishing beaches

The high cost and exclusive nature of Italy's best beaches cause regular disputes, but accelerating coastal erosion means some of them are now disappearing altogether.

Italian actors, intellectuals and the titled rich setting off for the beach this summer have been shocked to find that one of their favourite spots has all but vanished, thanks to encroaching development and violent winter storms linked to climate change. Traditionally, the cultural and political elites have soaked up the summer sun at Capocotta beach near Rome, which has a reputation for bohemian flamboyance and boasts Italy's only official nudist shoreline. But the golden dunes and beach huts have been swept away, leaving the literati fighting over a few inches of sand and how to rebuild.

Little hope of agreement on limiting global emissions

The UN's former climate change envoy holds out little hope for a post-Kyoto agreement.

Reducing the risk of climate catastrophe

There’s no shortage of lessons on what happens when you don’t plan for improbable but potentially catastrophic events. Japan’s nuclear industry learned the hard way. And the 2008-09 financial crisis hit so hard in part because economic models didn’t consider the possibility of house prices dropping nearly everywhere at once. Japan will recover, and the Federal Reserve came to the rescue of the U.S. financial system. But there will be no such rescue if the world’s climate meets one of these events.

The Australian Carbon Tax Plan: Pretty Good Actually

There are those who think that we don’t have to do anything about climate change. OK, the news that Australia is trying to do something about it won’t interest those. There are those, like myself, who agree that we do need to do something but despair at anyone ever actually doing the right things. At which point we should raise two cheers for what Australia has just announced that it’s going to do.

Analysis: Australia CO2 plan puts carbon pricing back on track

(Reuters) - Australia's push to impose an economy-wide cost on carbon pollution gives global efforts to price emissions a boost and will help revive struggling U.N. talks on a tougher climate deal.

In Australia's most sweeping economic reform in decades, the government will tax the nation's top 500 polluters at A$23 per metric ton of carbon before moving to a market-based emissions trading scheme in 2015.

I don't know how that Lundberg survey above ("Price of gas falls a penny in the last two weeks") shows US gasoline prices falling over the last two weeks. I guess they carefully cherry-picked the two week interval.

Add about 70c to RBOB to get the typical corresponding US average retail price once the wholesale price works its way through to the pumps.

tow - Does seem odd. In Houston we typically have some of the lowest fuel prices in the country. And my part of Houston typically has some of the lowest prices in the state (I live across the highway from the largest refinery in the western hemisphere). And in my neighborhood Chevron (my first choice) is usually the lowest. And it's bumped up from around $3.25 to $3.45 in the last couple of weeks.

Last Saturday, I took a short 250 mile business trip. My one gas purchase in Eastern Tennessee cost $3.40 a gallon at the pump...

E. Swanson

My last purchase was $8.36 per US gallon. In the UK. (I know, apples and oranges)

Another chart. Brent, WTI, Louisiana Sweet and US Gasoline (UGA:US)

WTI is the green line doing its own thing.

Re: Light Bulb Ban Opposed by Republicans Said to Save $12.5 Billion

There is no light bulb “ban”

As has been written about here before, a group of GOP lawmakers, including Joe Barton (TX) and Michele Bachmann (MN), have stirred up—along with their talk radio and Fox News cohorts—public concern over what they say is a looming “ban” on incandescent light bulbs.

There is no looming ban or phase out of incandescent bulbs. The entire hullabaloo is based on a fictitious claim manufactured by Barton.


Barton’s irresponsible and embarrassing legislation would accomplish nothing good. It would provide consumers with inferior products that burn out faster and result in higher energy bills. It would threaten the lighting industry’s investment dollars. It would waste energy and result in more pollution.


Waste is not conservative, and voting to pass Barton’s whacky BULB Act, which is based on a totally fictitious premise, would be indefensible.

See: http://www.frumforum.com/there-is-no-light-bulb-ban

Tough words. I wonder how many Republicans read the Frum Forum?


Lightbulbs a $20 billion climate solution, summit told
Australia could save itself seven coal fired power stations and $20 billion by simply moving towards eco-friendly lights in business, homes and street lighting, the Asia Pacific Cities Summit was told this morning.

In one of the final sessions of the APCS in Brisbane this morning, green lighting expert Harry Verhaar said business was ahead of politics and that local and regional governments would act faster than national governments.

Mr Verhaar then gave examples of how local governments throughout the world were using eco-friendly lighting that saved electricity, reduced demand and ultimately cut carbon emissions.

“We have calculated that [improved] lighting can provide a 40 per cent reduction globally in electricity consumption,” he said.

“Now that means globally around $128 billion euro, so around $200 billion Australian dollars can be saved.”

Mr Verhaar said the real saving would be the ability to forego building extra power plants, many of which which would be coal-fired.

“That also could make a difference of 670 power plants,” he said.

Mr Verhaar said, in Australia, that meant an equivalent saving of seven power plants at around $2.2 billion per plant.

“It is about $20 billion that would not need to be spent building, probably, coal fired power plants,” he said.

See: http://www.eco-business.com/news/lightbulbs-a-20-billion-climate-solutio...


So far, I've bought 12 of the Philips LED light bulbs that you recommended. My plan is to gradually use them everywhere I can, i.e, everywhere my wife will let me use them. The quality of the light is really incredible, compared to most CFL's. (I'll let you know in 2026 if the projected life of the bulbs was accurate.)

That's great, WT. In your climate, replacing these 60-watt micro-space heaters with 12.5-watt EnduraLED A19s will cut both your lighting and a/c costs (the L-prize version of this lamp is an even better performer -- it provides roughly fifteen per cent more light, uses twenty per cent less energy and the CRI is greater than 90, so colours are more accurately reproduced. No word on when they will become commercially available, but it should be relatively soon). The 75-watt equivalent of the standard EnduraLED should be out this fall and the 100-watt replacement will follow sometime next year.


It is my understanding that the inefficiency of incandescent light bulb compared with a CFL or LED is that produces more heat than light. It would seem to me that this a double whammy for incandescent light bulb user who also use air-conditioning . However, by the same token for those in the Northern part of the country who use heating the incandescent's heat production is not lost or wasted. The net economics have to be different between those two users. Arguably the incandescent might in fact be the "greener" solution (since it doesn't have the nasty stuff associated with a CFL)when you have the heating turned on.

The difference is not as great as you might think. Two thirds of the fossil energy used to power an incandescent light bulb is lost as heat in the power station or in transmission to the bulb. In a cold climate, it is more efficient to use the fossil fuel locally in , say, a natural gas boiler , at up to 90% efficiency, combined with a CFL or LED bulb.

The mercury content of CFLs is very low.

In a cold climate, it is more efficient to use the fossil fuel locally in , say, a natural gas boiler , at up to 90% efficiency...

And just to finish the options, a high-efficiency heat pump with a COP of 3.5 (air source in a moderate climate, ground source in a cold climate) yields 117% efficiency if the gas-fired generator has 33% thermal efficiency, or 210% if it's a state-of-the-art combined cycle plant with 60% thermal efficiency. Assuming away those second-order effects like transmission losses in the grid and compression in the NG pipeline system, of course. Some vendors are starting to pair high-efficiency heat pumps with thermal storage so the pump can run during the day when air temps are more suitable, and then the building is heated from the stored heat at night when the pump would be less efficient.

There are claims of COPs as high as 6.0 for ground-sourced systems with an appropriate open loop sink/source for heat. Not many places where you could get that kind of performance, of course. And anything with a heat pump in it is going to be more complicated than either a resistive electric heating element or a natural gas burner. Using supercritical CO2 as the working fluid seems to be yielding improved efficiencies across a range of temperatures, if you're willing to live with yet more complexity from dealing with the pressures involved.

I don;t know if the SCO2 systems are really that much more complex - different compressor, control valve etc, but these are just different flavours of the same components. The refrigerant itself is much less complex to produce than HFC types.

And, the units have been available off the shelf in Japan for years now. The installation procedure may be different, but once it is installed and working, I suspect you wouldn't know the difference from a normal one.


I assume the nasty stuff to which you refer is mercury. Most electricity is from coal fired power plants which produce a lot of mercury as well as other pollutants so I am not sure that there is a good tradeoff. In essence, you are using electric heat to make up for the heat not generated by the CFL. Electric heat is very inefficient. Further, depending on where most of the lights are, a lot of this heat is being generated at the ceiling level, another inefficiency.

If you asked the northerners what's the best way to heat your home, electric heaters or any other method, what do you think the answer would be? Unless electricity is incredibly cheap in America (which it might well be) I think I know the answer.

Electric heating is expensive whether you do it with a dedicated electric heater or a superbright electric heater that also doubles as a lightbulb. This type of electric heater is also inconveniently bright at night.

Heating your home with incandescents is not a very wise approach. Most are placed too high to add much useful heat, and most of the heat from bulbs in ceiling fixtures just warms that part of the ceiling or goes straight into the attic.

In general, getting heat from any electric source is generally quite an inefficient use of energy if you look at the whole picture.

Here's my take on this point. The heating season for most of us in the upper half of North America is half a year long, so for roughly six months of the year there is no direct benefit to the waste heat generated by an incandescent lamp, so for this very reason alone incandescent lighting will always be a less optimal solution compared to the more energy efficient alternatives. Secondly, half the homes in North America are heated by natural gas, and it's generally preferable to heat with natural gas at the point of demand than to burn fossil fuels at a power station and transport this energy by wire. Moreover, I can also easily and efficiently control the amount of heat supplied by my boiler via a wall thermostat whereas I can't do the same with my light bulbs (bear in mind there will always be times during the heating season when I will require light but not heat).

I heat our home with two ductless heat pumps which provide, on average, two and a half to three times more heat, per kWh, than electric resistance, or in this case our standard household incandescent. If the waste heat given off by ourlighting reduces the run time of our heat pumps -- and it most surely would -- my heating costs go up, not down.

Let's say we use five 100-watt incandescent bulbs in various rooms throughout our home an average of eight hours a day. [I work from home and during the winter months when it gets dark early, I start turning lights on at around 16h00 or 17h00 and because I'm a bit of a night owl, they tend to stay on until 02h00 or 03h00 the following morning, so eight hours a day is not an exaggeration.] Five hundred watts times eight hours per day works out to be 4.0 kWh a day; the cost of this heat and light at 12.3-cents per kWh works out to be a little less than 50-cents. If our heat pumps were to supply this same amount of heat, our space heating demand falls to perhaps 1.5 kWh/day, at a cost of 18.5-cents. Thus, over the course of our 61-day billing cycle, I'm out-of-pocket some $20.00, including taxes.

With regards to their environmental performance, a 13-watt CFL with a rated service life of 10,000 hours will consume 130 kWh of electricity in all; the ten equivalent 60-watt incandescents at 1,000 hours rated life will use 600 kWh, a difference of 470 kWh. Using Nova Scotia Power's 2010 emissions as a guide, those additional 470 kWh will result in the release of some 390 kg of CO2(e), 1.6 kg of SO2, 0.8 kg of NOx and 3.43 mg of Hg and who knows how much hexachlorobenzene, arsenic and all the other nasty compounds and heavy metals that come along for the ride. I also have the option of dropping off my used CFLs at Home Depot which allows for this mercury to be safely extracted and re-used, or I can dispose of them in a secure land fill. By contrast, the mercury that goes up a power plant's flue stack indiscriminately pollutes our air, land and water.


The Philips CFLs I use in my home contain less than 2 mg.

Can you recommend the best place to purchase the Phillips LED's?

Hi klee,

If there's a lighting distributor in your area that carries Philips line, I'd try there first. Alternatively, Home Depot has a good selection of Philips LED products.

Speaking of which, I see they're already stocking the 75-watt A21 equivalent.

See: http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1z132pi/R-202920469/h_d2/ProductDi...


Thanks, There is no Home Depot in our rural area but it looks like they offer them online as well.

Paul, anything new under the sun with this bulb?

The World's Greatest Light Bulb
Dump your fluorescents and incandescents for this amazing new LED bulb; July 5, 2011

Hi André,

I'm afraid I don't know much about this product or the company behind it, however, I've read elsewhere that the 100-watt version of this lamp has reportedly a CRI (colour rendering index) of just 65, so if you thought CFLs made everything look kinda "funny", be prepared to slap your thighs and bust a gut when you turn this baby on.

Source: http://gigaom.com/cleantech/switch-shows-off-liquid-cooled-led-bulb/

To ensure good results, check to see if the product is listed on the Lighting Facts web site (http://www.lightingfacts.com/default.aspx?cp=content/products) or is Energy Star certified (http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=ssl.pr_why_es_res).


Thanks, Paul.

Having seen what recessed lighting does to insulation (a gap is left to avoid the risk of overheating), there may be substantial heating and cooling loses because of this secondary effect. If low wattage bulbs could be guaranteed to be used, perhaps these insulation gaps wouldn't be needed.

There are recessed fixtures rated IC (insulation contact) that do not require an air gap from insulation. They have a high temperature cut-out in case things get too toasty. Work well with incandescents if wattages are kept within fixture guidelines. Many of these are also rated Air-Tite.

I know what you mean by your wife. Hall lights and reading lights are good places to start. Then go for the kitchen. Most people use it a lot, but don't really "live" in it. You will probably need new fixtures. I would like to find a fixture that will allow us to mix bulbs, leaving one incandescent for ambience without overheating the LED's.

If wives are a significant barrier to energy-friendly policy enactment, do we need a programme of replacement?

Swap out you're old inefficient wife for a new green one?

Something like this?



You know, it can be dangerous to post things like that, because there will be a government bureaucrat, somewhere, who will read that and then turn it into a real policy.

While the idea, at first, may sound appealling, or even exciting to some, you know that a government program would stamp out any and all possible interest/benefit from such.

Regulation 2011.443.xyz-2(a) Wife Energy Efficiency Program (WEEP)

Purpose: The WEEP will enable the replacement of energy inefficient wives (EIW) with new, government approved, energy efficient wives (EEW).

Procedure. Prospective applicants for an EEW must fill out triplicate form 35473.98.PQR-1(b) and submit to the program manager - the Wife Energy Efficiency - Non Informant Extension (WEENIE)

Following approval, the applicant may then, at their own cost, source a new, government approved EEW . After installation the applicant must then complete form 5726.981.ABC-2(c), and drop off the old EIW at a government approved facility, for reprocessing.

-Only one EEW per applicant is permitted
-The applicant cannot reclaim the EIW.
-The government takes no responsibility for the performance/compatibility of the EEW.
-Any installation and disposal problems are the responsibility of the applicant.

It should be noted than while an EEW may be more energy efficient than and EIW, there is no guarantee that it will be cheaper, or lower maintenance.

Yep, sort of a program only a bureaucrat could love...

Have you considered the upgrade to Wife 2.0?

See http://ptrau.free.fr/wife-1-0.htm

Ha! I remember seeing a version of that 20 yrs ago, good to see it has been updated for these days of pop-ups and the like.

I get invitations to take action on all kings of bills, from a number of groups I belong to. I'm not sure I want to dignify this "BULB" bill by even responding.

It's madness - right now, we have another line of strong thunderstorms passing over - 70 mile an hour gusts. I have a downed tree branch upstairs which missed my beehives by a couple of feet, but I think have caused a leak in the roof somewhere. Water is dripping from the ceiling. The drains are stopped up again. Another visit from the plumber.

It's going to cost a whole lot more to fix than a couple of lighbulbs. It is mindboggling what politicians are spending their time on. My comments to an "R" insider the other day - it's as if our "leaders" are all playing poker in the first-class lounge, while Titanic steams towards the iceberg.

Take care of yourself, ST; stay safe and hopefully this latest storm passes soon and causes no further damage.


Thanks !
I just went outside and there's a huge tree branch down between my house and next door. I don't know if it took part of the fence out. I can see where it hit the roof by dents in the flashing. It apparently missed my solar panels though. Sheesh...

Edit : two enormous trees are down on my block - several cars were damaged. The street is completely blocked. We have power, though.


I chatted with my insurance agent - he says homeowner policies in the area are really under pressure. I imagine costs will keep going up, along with deductibles.

Thanks for the update, ST; given the severity of the storm, you're fortunate to have come through it as well as you did (glad to hear your solar panels weren't damaged). Good luck with the clean-up.


Tuesday update :-

For anyone interested in weather and climate, according to the local weather expert the type of storm that barreled though here yesterday is known as a Derecho.

"Derechos in the United States are most common in the late spring and summer (May through August) and typically occur along two axes. One axis extends along the "Corn Belt" from the upper Mississippi Valley into the Ohio Valley. The other warm season axis extends from the southern Plains into the mid Mississippi Valley. During the cool season (September through April), derechos are not as frequent but are most likely to occur from eastern Texas into the southeastern states. Although derechos are extremely rare in that portion of the United States west of the Great Plains, isolated derecho events have occurred in the interior portions of the western United States, especially during spring and early summer."

One can't help wondering if the frequency and severity of these occurrences is on the rise, or if the axes are shifting northward.

Edit : Interesting study follows :- (PDF Warning!)


it's as if our "leaders" are all playing poker in the first-class lounge, while Titanic steams towards the iceberg.

"End of the Ship" by Roy Zimmerman

"Vote Republican 2.0" by Roy Zimmerman

I laughed! I cried! I frantically searched the internet for a button to push!

I definitely feel like I'm on the end that's going down ;)

Join the club >;^)

It is mindboggling what politicians are spending their time on. My comments to an "R" insider the other day - it's as if our "leaders" are all playing poker in the first-class lounge, while Titanic steams towards the iceberg.


The Titanic hit the iceberg 6 years ago (2005). The "leaders" are playing cards because they know the Titanic is unsinkable! The economists have told them so!

...PolitiFact has checked other light bulb-related claims...


Japan nuclear reactors must pass tsunami test before reopening
Safety and 'sense of security' the top priority, government says, as country faces power shortages at hottest time of year.


Exclusive pictures of high tech testing team at work.

Hopefully, one of their "stress tests" does not "go chernobyl" on them.

Yes, I was curious as to how they will replicate the effects of a 9.1 earthquake and a 40 feet high blancmange of Toyotas, telegraph poles, fishing boats and who knows what else. Oh well, I'm sure the clever folks @ Tepco will figure it out.

regarding: Iran's IRGC calls for foreign warships pullout from Persian Gulf

When the "or else" happens....what will the price of oil do?

Outside of the northern part of the eastern Gulf, wouldn't Iranian ships count as foreign?

Rocket attack injures 4 in Baghdad

Four people have been injured as three rockets hit the Green Zone in the Iraqi capital during a visit by US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, officials say.

Iraqi security officials said the rockets hit the area at 7:30 am (0430 GMT), wounding a woman and her three children, AFP reported.

Panetta to Iraq on asking U.S. troops to stay: 'Dammit, make a decision'

BAGHDAD – About an hour after rockets struck Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone on Monday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta pressed Iraqi leaders to decide whether they want U.S. troops to stay beyond Dec. 31.

“I’d like things to move a lot faster here, frankly. ...,” he told U.S. troops at Camp Victory, before he headed into Baghdad for meetings with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani.

...“There’s no question we’re going to have to maintain a presence,” he said, to provide direction with continued military and special operations elements.

“We’re going to be around for a helluva long time, making sure that the world goes right.”

Why would Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani want US troops around to interfere with the successful conclusion of the Shiite takeover of most of Iraq combined with Kurdish quasi-independence?

The Saudis will be annoyed that the Sunnis are losing out, but that is inevitable.

Oil traders should watch for instability in Syria

[Regarding instability in Syria] ... while Lebanon and Israel are often mentioned, Iraq stands to lose the most. Syria could, for example, become a base for groups seeking to undermine stability in Iraq, increasing risks for the growth of oil production. Oil traders should watch closely how Bashar handles Syria’s political turmoil.

...Syria is now a hub for Sunni opposition groups that reject the current Iraqi political process. If unrest grows in Syria, the regime might not be able to limit these groups’ ability to destabilize Iraq.

In the medium term, should the Assad regime fall, the rise of a regime supported by hardline Sunnis would be an even worse scenario. Backed by regional powers,Syria would become a hub for forces seeking to undermine the Shia dominated Iraqi system.

If Syria blows up, I don't see how Turkey doesn't get involved. There are Syria Kurds in the northeast. A Sunni takover would probably result in an Alawite massacre, and there are more Alawites in Turkey than in Syria. And if there are radical Sunni's involved, the Syrian Christian community probably is endangered as well. The Assad regime has tended to be reasonably secular and tolerant of other religious and ethnic groups, since the Alawites were a persecuted minority and since the Baathist movement was founded by a Christian and a Muslim.

If Assad can't control the evolution of events, it is probably big trouble.

Meanwhile, the Lybian rebels are overtly seeking to secure some sort of relationship to the Lybian Jews that Khadaffi and his predecessor expelled. Both Lybia and Syria had policies against fostering religious hatreds, except for hatred against Jews. The Lybian rebels are trying to do away with that one also. They don't want any boogyman left for the next aspiring dictator to use.

The world could roll snake eyes in Syria. It could also roll a seven, which is what appears to be happening in Lybia.

from zerohedge:

From Reuters:


And getting worse per RanSquawk:

French Embassy guards fire live ammunition to repulse crowd loyal to president Assad on Embassy compound in Damascus

Egypt benchmark index dives on concerns of escalating unrest

“We haven’t seen events like these since the revolution,” said Khaled Naga, a senior broker at Mega Investments. “These are difficult days.”

“So long as you see tents in Tahrir and protests in Suez, you’ll see the market in the red, continuously,” he said.

Suez, at the southern tip of the Suez Canal, has seen some of the rowdiest protests in the last two days, with protesters blocking traffic on a main highway to a couple of Red Sea ports, and the military clashing with them to disperse the demonstrations.

Crowds in Syria Attack U.S. and French Embassies

The ambassador, Robert S. Ford, criticized the Syrian government for not doing more to protect the embassy, as international law requires. Mr. Ford, who was reportedly present at the embassy during the attack, said the government appeared to take a very different approach to pro-government demonstrators than it had in four months of brutal crackdowns on antigovernment marchers.

“How ironic that the Syrian Government lets an anti-U.S. demonstration proceed freely while their security thugs beat down olive branch-carrying peaceful protesters elsewhere,” Mr. Ford wrote in a message posted on Sunday on his Facebook account.

“We’re going to be around for a helluva long time, making sure that the world goes right.”

I for one didn't expect anything other than that.


Middle East

Asia Doubles Solar Silicon Factories, Pursuing Gain in Slump

Asia’s largest makers of silicon for solar panels are almost doubling their factory size this year just as surplus production sends prices tumbling for the main raw material for the $35 billion industry.

Korea’s OCI Co. and GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd. (3800) of China said they’ll increase capacity to a combined 88,000 metric tons a year from 48,000 tons. Global demand for the material, known as polysilicon, is growing at less than a third of that rate, and spot prices fell 32 percent in the second quarter, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimated.

Asians are deploying equipment to refine silicon crystals more quickly than Western competitors. They anticipate gaining share from the world’s largest suppliers, Hemlock Semiconductor Corp. of the U.S. and Germany’s Wacker Chemie AG (WCH), as customers increasingly demand lower prices for the key material used in panels to convert sunlight into electricity.

Commerce has gotta happen, even if people are going to be harmed.


Now we have a series of reports out of Japan revealing beef from various places within the country is being detected at levels above international nuclear waste limits and the government of Japan is allowing the beef to be sold as long as the meat is scrubbed clean of any radioactive materials on their skin.

"Food" at levels above "waste".

Well since I like cows and I don't like eating meat I am hoping that people will stop eating it and eat something else instead, like tofu.

It is pretty scary not knowing if your food is radioactive or not, though.I mean, tofu could be radioactive too.

Fight to end nuclear power----that is what I am doing. I am fighting as hard as I can. It is an effort that I hope will one day be recognized, though now is not the time to go into details....the readiness is all.

It is pretty scary not knowing if your food is radioactive or not, though.I mean, tofu could be radioactive too.

You can determine the level via a Geiger counter. I'd worry more about the glycophospates - given the research WRT organ damage.

And with each revelation less and less of the Pro nukers post about how fission is the solution, yet I don't remember any of 'em posting "Hey I was wrong".

Sorry for being ignorant, but what is a glycophosphate and how do I tell if I am eating one???

I assume they are edible? Please do tell more! I live in Japan and we are kept virtually in the dark here....

what is a glycophosphate and how do I tell if I am eating one???

Its my misspelling of Glyphosate (mea culpa) and unlike radioactive decay - you need expensive machines/chemicals to detect and determine levels.

http://inspiringlandscapes.com/hope/glyphos8.htm for a mention of the generational kidney and reproductive damage.
http://www.dontspraycalifornia.org/Glyphosate%20Factsheet%201.htm mentions DNA and bone marrow damage.

The compatible GMO soy may ALSO have an effect - but the Glyphosate will be easier to test for.


Glyphosate is highly adsorbed on most soils especially those with high organic content. The compound is so strongly attracted to the soil that little is expected to leach from the applied area. Microbes are primarily responsible for the breakdown of the product. The time it takes for half of the product to break down ranges from 1 to 174 days. Because glyphosate is so tightly bound to the soil, little is transferred by rain or irrigation water. One estimate showed less than two percent of the applied chemical lost to runoff (4). The herbicide could move when attached to soil particles in erosion run-off. Photodecomposition plays only a minor role in environmental breakdown.

In water, glyphosate is strongly adsorbed to suspended organic and mineral matter and is broken down primarily by microorganisms also. Its half-life in pond water ranges from 12 days to 10 weeks.

Glycophosphate weed killer aka ROUNDUP by MONSANTO

Glyphosate is what is commonly sold as Roundup in the U.S.
I would encourage you to read all about it here: http://extoxnet.orst.edu/pips/glyphosa.htm

While I would never encourage anyone to use chemicals that they are uncomfortable with, Roundup is one of the least toxic
herbicides that has ever been developed.

From the extoxnet report - Acute toxicity: Glyphosate is practically nontoxic by ingestion, with a reported acute oral LD50 of 5600 mg/kg in the rat. The toxicities of the technical acid (glyphosate) and the formulated product (Roundup) are nearly the same [58,96].

Chronic toxicity: Studies of glyphosate lasting up to 2 years, have been conducted with rats, dogs, mice, and rabbits, and with few exceptions no effects were observed [96]. For example, in a chronic feeding study with rats, no toxic effects were observed in rats given doses as high as 400 mg/kg/day [58]. Also, no toxic effects were observed in a chronic feeding study with dogs fed up to 500 mg/kg/day, the highest dose tested [58,97].

Teratogenic effects: In a teratology study with rabbits, no developmental toxicity was observed in the fetuses at the highest dose tested (350 mg/kg/day) [97]. Rats given doses up to 175 mg/kg/day on days 6 to 19 of pregnancy had offspring with no teratogenic effects, but other toxic effects were observed in both the mothers and the fetuses. No toxic effects to the fetuses occurred at 50 mg/kg/day [97]. Glyphosate does not appear to be teratogenic.

Carcinogenic effects: Rats given oral doses of up to 400 mg/kg/day did not show any signs of cancer, nor did dogs given oral doses of up to 500 mg/kg/day or mice fed glyphosate at doses of up to 4500 mg/kg/day [58]. It appears that glyphosate is not carcinogenic [97].

Organ toxicity: Some microscopic liver and kidney changes, but no observable differences in function or toxic effects, have been seen after lifetime administration of glyphosate to test animals [97].

Now the above information is for Glyphosate that is directly consumed over a long period of time. The minute quantities that may make it into a cow will be even less of a concern to people eating the meat. When in graduate school, I worked in the weed science department of the University I was attending. The profs there told me that, compared to the toxicity of Glyphosate, table salt and Cinnamon are both twice as toxic as Glyphosate when comparing oral LD 50. I personally never applied any herbicides, and I am not employed or otherwise affiliated with any company that makes or sells Glyphosate. Whether or not you like herbicides is not my concern. But we should use sound science and proper evidence when evaluating these chemicals.

I would bet that your body absorbs far greater quantities of far more toxic chemicals when you fill up the gas tank of your car once than you would if you used Glyphosate regularly for a lifetime. Same goes for inhaling the exhaust of all the cars around you.

Just my thoughts.

Good stuff, thanks.

How is someone like myself, who knows nothing about organic chemistry or biology, able to decide between your references and those of Eric Blair above? Surely one of you is presenting erroneous data. Both sets of data cannot be accurate, can they?

Glyphosate is one of the most studied compounds of all time. I remember reading at some point that it is the most studied herbicide ever (sorry I don't have a handy reference for that statement).

I'm certainly not trying to encourage anyone to use Roundup if they don't want to. But our knowledge about chemicals must be based on facts and good, peer reviewed data backed up by industry standard toxicological studies, and those studies suggest that Glyphosate has a low mammalian toxicity. I'm always amazed by people who object to the use of Roundup but use chemicals literally every day that are far more toxic and think nothing of it. But by all means we should continue to study the chemical.

From the extoxnet website: "EXTOXNET is a cooperative effort of University of California-Davis, Oregon State University,
Michigan State University, Cornell University, and the University of Idaho.
Primary files are maintained and archived at Oregon State University."

I attended the University of Idaho and I personally know the people involved in the studies found on this website. The studies are based on industry standard toxicology tests.

I have been involved in vegetation management and weed control for the past 20 years, mostly managing and restoring native plant communities in the upper midwest. I really do wish that we could get by without the use of herbicides, but in my professional opinion, backed up by years of field experience and study, I have come to the conclusion that herbicides are a very valuable tool that must be used at certain times. I personally only use Roundup on Yellow and Orange Hawkweed when it shows up on my property. I simply won't allow those plants to get a hold on my land, and Roundup stops them cold. Other than that, I don't have a reason to use it. I also use biocontrols wherever possible and have heard the same kinds of objections to them as to the use of herbicides. My question to those people is always the same: "What's your solution?" I almost never get an answer.

I guess when it comes down to it, you will be the one to decide if you should use Glyphosate or not and I really could care less. I can tell you this: If you eat anything made from Corn or Soybeans that isn't certified organic, then you are most likely eating crops that are Roundup Ready and were heavily sprayed with Roundup at least once during the growing season. It is used literally everywhere. I see it every day, mile after mile of Roundup Ready crops weed free and sprayed with Roundup.

But our knowledge about chemicals must be based on facts and good, peer reviewed data backed up by industry standard toxicological studies, and those studies suggest that Glyphosate has a low mammalian toxicity.

Which is not in and of itself a very useful fact. Would you care to comment on its effect on the ecosystem as a whole? How about the deleterious effects of massive monocultures that Glyphosate use is an essential part of? We need systems thinking here to really be able to understand the pros and cons of herbicides such as Roundup, to say it has a low toxcicity on mammals isn't saying much...

It is used literally everywhere. I see it every day, mile after mile of Roundup Ready crops weed free and sprayed with Roundup.

You say that as if it were a good thing... perhaps your salary depends on you not understanding the big picture.

Here's some facts and good, peer reviewed data presented up by someone outside your DAMN INDUSTRY!

E.O. Wilson: TED Prize wish: Help build the Encyclopedia of Life

Sorry for staying away so long, but I had some important things to attend to like sleep, work and my son's baseball game (they won 12 -3! but he struck out twice).

My DAMN INDUSTRY is government. I worked for the Minnesota Department of Transportation for 13 years doing environmental work state wide until I got my current position with the Federal Government for the past 2.5 years. I've personally worked on the largest restorations of any kind in the state. Where you got the idea that I work or have worked for any chemical company is beyond me. My quote from above is: "I personally never applied any herbicides, and I am not employed or otherwise affiliated with any company that makes or sells Glyphosate." I would add that I have never been employed or earned even one penny from any company that makes or markets any agricultural chemical of any kind. What part of that do you not understand? Please let me know and I will attempt to make it even simpler for you to understand than I did before. My current position requires me to file a financial disclosure statement just like congressmen (and women!) and the president are required to file. The penalties for failing to file or omitting information are pretty stiff. I have filed three of these statements and I have never declared any income derived from any agricultural chemical company. Is that enough evidence?

Where did you get the impression that I am an Arborist? I have great respect for arborists by the way. They do very important and dangerous work. I will say that I own two chainsaws (Stihl MS 026 and MS 361) and am pretty good with both. If you think the arborist profession is not worthy of respect, I would direct you here: http://www.arboristsite.com/. There is a wealth of very good information on all aspects of the arborist profession there (I particularly like the chainsaw discussions).

As I wrote earlier, I have personally been involved in dozens of plant community restorations of all kinds in all parts of Minnesota and in other states as well. I helped write the Mn/DOT seeding manual that is used by many state agencies and even a few Canadian Provinces as the basis for their restoration work. I have restored all kinds of native plant communities, from upland woodlands to wetlands. I have personal experience doing a variety of trials with and without herbicides.

The single best restoration that I have been involved in was in southeastern Minnesota restoring 85 acres of old, abused agricultural land. We prepared the upland areas by spraying with Glyphosate to kill all the weeds. We prepared the wetland areas with a combination of Rodeo (Glyphosate formulated for wetlands) and Sethoxydim which is a selective grass herbicide that we used to kill Reed Canary Grass. This restoration was a complete success. What was an abused and weed infested farm field is now a beautiful tall grass prairie with an unusually high diversity and virtually no non-native invasive species. This is now a self supporting ecosystem that should need no further management of any kind in the future. It is far better than what it was and would have been without the work that we did. The wetlands in this restoration are extremely diverse in both plant and animal species as we monitored the site for many years. Amphibian populations were diverse with very high numbers of individuals. No mutations of any kind were found. I understand that we even had a small number of Fulvous Whistling-Ducks take up temporary residence there (wow, were they ever lost!). I saw an abundance of small minnows in the standing water, although I have no idea how they got there or what species they are, as this is a completely closed system.

On the other end, I am currently assessing a wetland restoration of approximately 260 acres on the Canadian border (literally) that was attempted without any kind of vegetation management other than burning. No herbicides were applied, just a burn followed by a shallow tillage and what we call up here "snow seeding" using a native seed mix that I helped develop. There is essentially no growth of any native plants. The entire 260 acres is covered with non-native, moderately to extremely invasive species. The guy who attempted the restoration has probably lost the $15,000 dollars that he paid for the seed and will have to start over again. The project is a complete failure. If he would have properly prepared the site by killing the non-native plants, he would have had better success.

I could go on and on, but I'm tired and that probably wouldn't change your opinions anyway.

I won't even go into the agricultural use of glyphosate as others below have done an extremely good job of it already.

Hey JJ - you can google search any chemical name - either the actual chemical name or a commercial name (Roundup) - and add "material safety data sheet" or "MSDS" and you can quickly find a link where you can download a PDF of the MSDS that describes how the chemical is used, how hazardous it is for workers who handle the material, and it's toxicity to fish or other animals. The MSDS provides a wealth of information and you can read and understand most of it.

I suggest you read an encyclopedia article on toxicology to help you understand lethal dose (LD) and lethal concentration (LC) terminology. The LC50 is usually reported as the concentration that kills 50% of the test animals within the exposure time of the bioassay experiment. Acute toxicity is usually a short exposure (common = 96 hrs) and is indicative of levels that will quickly kill an animal - i.e. poisoning. Chronic toxicity measures longer term exposures. The more toxic a chemical is, the LESS of the material is needed to produce a toxic effect. For example, cadmium can kill shrimp in the low micrograms per liter concentrations, while something like Zn takes milligrams per liter (a thousand times more) to be toxic.

There's plenty of shop talk, but toxicology does not require math to understand.

It is important to have some grounding in the basics of physics, chemistry and biology but it is even more important to be able to think critically. My BS meter, for example, is set to a very sensitive level for detecting personal agendas. justabotanist has pushed it well into the redzone. Especially when he says he could care less, that part I believe. Granted it is not immune from giving an occasional false reading but it has served me quite well in most cases. I tend not to trust advice from arborists who sit on the ends of branches and saw the limb between themselves and the trunk.

I think this is unfair. Justabotanist has laid his cards on the table. He says he's been in weed control for 20 years. I daresay you'd find it difficult to find a weed control professional who didn't have similar views about Roundup.

He's told us where he's coming from. How is that BS?

Good point Leanan. However I think everyone here is missing the big picture. Herbicides, along with pesticides, defoliants and fertilizer, have enabled dramatic increases in yield. All are simply part of the green revolution.

During the 1950s we had reached, or almost reached, the Malthusian limit of population that we could feed. Then the green revolution changed all that. Since then the world population has increased by about 170 percent.

So one may think Roundup is the greatest thing since sliced bread, or that Roundup is the Devil's own handiwork, Roundup has been a very important tool in increasing agricultural yield... and human population numbers.

Ron P.

Herbicides, etc., are also a key enabler of low tillage raising of field crops.

Low tillage reduces mechanical energy inputs that would otherwise be needed for tillage, seed bed preparation, and cultivation of row crops.

Low tillage also reduces wind and water erosion of soil, both of which are slowly removing soil from the agricultural land.

Agriculture is actually the slow mining of topsoil. More slowly is better than faster.

Yes, that's my point. If we had to live without all the fossil fuel inputs to agriculture the world could feed less than one billion people. Those who think we could go right on with business as usual after fossil fuels are simply living in a dream world.

Ron P.

I know you know this Darwinian, but part of the reality of the Green Revolution is a one-way path for crops. Not too long ago most farmers mucked out their stalls and outhouse and returned nutrients to the soil in a fairly local closed loop. Today, to close the loop you'd have to recover nutrients and minerals from the growing delta plains, or wait for a geological timeframe for some future person to mine those when/if it returns to the surface.

Even as a child I noted that my parents studiously returned all compost to the garden, and used the lateral lines to enrich fruit trees. This probably helped to some degree to sequester nutrients on the property, as they actually imported nutrients over time by working and buying off-site.

Worse, though, is that our diet is so heavy in salt that any such attempt today would rapidly poison the soil. Even our heavy use of irrigation is likely to accumulate residues in the soil. Coming up with a way to desalinate soil would probably be a life-giving technology for many regions, especially where aquifers near the coasts turn saline.

For those who have poor soil, now is the time to build it up. In my neighborhood you can easily collect all the grass clippings you want. Most of use could readily compost a lot as well, and maybe even get a neighbor to pitch in, or get spoiling produce from a store. Minerals don't have to come from a bag at the garden store.

My apologies, you are correct, justabotanist did lay his cards on the table face up so he isn't BSing with the facts as he has presented them.

However when one makes a claim that glyphosate has a low level of toxcicity for mammals and says therefore it is fine to use Round Up extensively, regardless of how good that data is and however many times it has been peer reviewed, that person is still being evasive and disingenuous by neglecting to mention the other supposedly toxic ingredients in Round Up that were assumed to be inert. I would be extremely surprised if justabotanist was unaware of that little detail.


Until now, most health studies have focused on the safety of glyphosate, rather than the mixture of ingredients found in Roundup. But in the new study, scientists found that Roundup’s inert ingredients amplified the toxic effect on human cells—even at concentrations much more diluted than those used on farms and lawns.

One specific inert ingredient, polyethoxylated tallowamine, or POEA, was more deadly to human embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells than the herbicide itself – a finding the researchers call “astonishing.”

“This clearly confirms that the [inert ingredients] in Roundup formulations are not inert,” wrote the study authors from France’s University of Caen. “Moreover, the proprietary mixtures available on the market could cause cell damage and even death [at the] residual levels” found on Roundup-treated crops, such as soybeans, alfalfa and corn, or lawns and gardens.

The research team suspects that Roundup might cause pregnancy problems by interfering with hormone production, possibly leading to abnormal fetal development, low birth weights or miscarriages.

To be fair, Monsanto disputes these studies.

I daresay you'd find it difficult to find a weed control professional who didn't have similar views about Roundup.

There are currently four members of my extended family, two of whom are soil scientists and two who are agronomists and my late father in law who was a botanist and did weed control research at the State Biological Institute in Sao Paulo Brazil, who might disagree with that statement.

So while glyphosate may have a low level of toxcicity for mammals that still isn't saying a whole heck of a lot.
And it certainly doesn't address the systems level issues of an entire agricultural industry that must rely on massive herbicide use in order to be viable. Let alone the consequences of drastic ecosystem simplification if not all out destruction.

So I'll just leave it at that.

Yair...I have looked after a small nine hole golf course for close on twenty five years and the human aversion to "weeds" continues to amuse me.

I don't spray anything unless I realy have to. I can't give any links but I know of Avacado and Macadamia operations that are increasing yields after discontinueing spraying Glyphosate.

If the bloody stuff is so benign and is instantly neutralised by contact with the soil (or some such B/S) why do the packs carry the warning not to plant tomatoes within six weeks of spraying?

Millions of litres of chemical is sprayed on our crop lands every year. Going forward I just don't see how we can continue to do this without repercussions

You must have missed this part where I posted:
Acute toxicity: Glyphosate is practically nontoxic by ingestion, with a reported acute oral LD50 of 5600 mg/kg in the rat. The toxicities of the technical acid (glyphosate) and the formulated product (Roundup) are nearly the same [58,96].

You can find the same here: http://pmep.cce.cornell.edu/profiles/extoxnet/dienochlor-glyphosate/glyp... (from Cornell University)

I would be very interested in what your relatives have found regarding Glyphosate (sincerely). You allude to them, but failed to provide any research or other evidence that they may have produced regarding the use of Glyphosate and problems that it has caused in the environment.

I would be very interested in what your relatives have found regarding Glyphosate (sincerely)

I was agreeing with you on the low toxcicity of Glyophosate by itself and disagreeing that the specific formulations of Roundup produced by Monsanto were completely innocuous. I checked the link you provided from Cornell and it says absolutely nothing about the toxcicity of any of the other compounds found in Roundup, I also think that saying any herbicide or pesticide taken in isolation and deemed to be safe misses the big picture.

Re: my comment about my relatives, that was simply intended as a response to Leanan saying that I would be hard pressed to find contrary views with regards the absolute safety of such products as Roundup.

Again, to be clear, I'm not disputing laboratory results about the toxcicity of Glyophosate. What I am disputing is that you can extrapolate such results and assume that widespread use of the herbicides that contain it, are safe.

BTW I'm not against using, even Roundup, in a controlled manner such as you describe in your work. I am against the mindset that says we can safely use such products on a massive scale without taking into consideration the fact that we know very little about the long term evolutionary consequences of the selection pressures of such use on entire ecosystems. Look at our issues with antibiotic resistant pathogens in hospitals as but a microcosm of the problem.

I would like to apologize for the tone of my previous post but not for my frustration with more people not being willing to use systems thinking when dealing with highly complex systems such as our biosphere. You can't just randomly pull threads out of tightly woven tapestry and expect it to maintain its integrity for ever.

Measuring radiation in food with a Geiger won't work unless it contains excessive amounts. Contaiminated food emitting alpha radioation is extremely difficult since alpha radiation is easily blocked. even a piece of paper will block alpha radiation. On the other side. Geiger tubes are inefficient at measuring gamma radiation. Scintillator detectors are required.


Measuring radiation in food with a Geiger won't work unless it contains excessive amounts.

Food contains some radioactive elements - its why the pro nukers trot out Potassium and Bananas as examples of "see, it already exists"

One isn't going to know WHAT is emitting from an object - and unless you have stashes of food/measurements you can compare to you'll have no idea if its "normal" or not.

Contaiminated food emitting alpha radioation is extremely difficult since alpha radiation is easily blocked. even a piece of paper will block alpha radiation.

So? What's the distribution of long lived alpha emitters from a fission reactor VS beta/Gamma emitters?

Accurate detection of Beta and counting of some Gamma can be a proxy.

And any detection is better than none.

Geiger tubes are inefficient at measuring gamma radiation.

So? Measurement VS no measurement - which is better?

"So? Measurement VS no measurement - which is better?"

They won't register much beyond background radiation. Need a much more sensitive detector, preferably one that can measure energy levels, and even then it requires statistical analysis via a Multi-Channel analyzer to sort out natural radiation (ie K-40) from the contaminants.

So, waving a Geiger counter in front of food is just as worthless as no measurement. You would be foolish to believe that because the Geiger does not register any radiation above background, that its safe.

They won't register much beyond background radiation.

If you are standing in Fukishima, of course it won't measure beyond background.

You would be foolish to believe that because the Geiger does not register any radiation above background, that its safe.

So you admit that there is a problem with the industrial failure of Fukishima?

Dangerous advice.

Geiger Counters Unlikely to Detect Radiation in Food, Water

Geiger Counter not effective for food testing.

Defying Disaster » Save your money: Geiger counters ineffective

Geiger Counters don't work on Food

professor: Geiger Counters Unlikely to Detect Radiation in Food

A very good link:
It has a translate feature
It covers many subjects

Appendix 4 Surveys of Radioactivity in Food

Radiation Survey Guide

Some of these tests take days. They involve equipment you will not be able to easily make at home. For example: A low level counting chamber. One way to make a low level counting chamber is to start with a WWI artillery cannon. Lathe off the outside and the inside to remove surface contamination. Why WWI? Because any metal melted after WWII is radioactive.


In the bad old days, the detectors had to be stored and used at cryogenic temperatures or they would "undrift".

The bits and pieces thrown off that ARE the radiation are flung with various energies. By totting these up, a fingerprint is made that identifies WHAT is decaying. It allows the detection of contaminating radio-isotopes in the presence of background radiations from other materials that are unlikely contaminants. Radon decay products contaminate a lot of things.

By waiting, say, two hours, and measuring again, some radiations will have grown fainter due to the half-life of their particular source elemental isotopes. This is a simple way to get another clue as to WHAT is decaying. It involves waiting and retrying. A one-time measurement misses this discriminant against background radiation.

Fantastic post as always, KD. How we think about radiation exposure seems to be mediated by culture more than science.

For example, why were we so much more concerned about Krypton-85 in 1976? I've only read the abstract, but once I read the full article, and if I were actually able to understand it, I would probably wonder why KA-85 monitoring stations are not up and running all over the country by now:


(Contorted sentence structure necessary to express demented idea.)

My only quibble: Do not assume that a WW-II artillery shell is something we do not have at home. I know there is part of the depth gauge for a submarine and a lifeboat sextant somewhere in our garage.

We do not know what else is in there. (Note my post below.)

You would be foolish to believe that because the Geiger does not register any radiation above background, that its safe.

It may be also true that if you do put your personal Geiger counter up to food, and it starts to chatter multiples above normal background, that the food emitting might want to be avoided.

I posted a moderately long comment a few weeks after the disaster about our tendency to believe what we like until we get smacked upside the head with a brick or two, which on rare occasions leads somebody to reevaluate thier thinking.

I used my own conversion from pro nuke to anti as an example.

The fact that the entire Japanese engineering profession signed off across the board on siting the plants in such dangerous spots perfectly illustrates the reasoning of the anti nuke faction-you simply cannot trust ANYBODY if enough money is at stake.

Apparently nobody was willing to put his career on the line by refusing to sign off on the design criteria;or else if such responsible and courageous engineers were on the payroll, they were transferred to other jobs or fired.

In the same comment I also pointed out a few examples of what I personally consider to be some of the more dangerous intellectual blind spots popular among various political factions well represented here.

I got only a couple of responses, and niether was very much to the point.

We shouldn't expect too much of humanity-your truth is always apt to be my or somebody else's blasphemy.

Not likely that tofu would be radioactive since most is made from US grown soy.



I tried Tofu for the first time recently and I am sorry to say I was not impressed. It made no impression on tastebuds or pallet. What is the secret to preparing it to be enjoyable?


Tofu is a remarkable food. It has little taste, but it takes on the spices and flavors of whatever it is cooked with. It comes in various textures, and the stouter ones have a good mouth feel. The lighter tofu is better in soups (a good hot and sour soup for example).

Absent strong spices it is bland and has little to recommend it. Properly prepared - wonderful!


zap - If one enjoys the heat jalapeno poppers with tofu is mighty tasty especially if you roast the peppers first. You almost think it's filled with cream cheese.

""What is the secret to preparing it to be enjoyable?"


The Martian.

What is the secret to preparing it to be enjoyable?

Same as any other bland food: deep fry it and serve with a strongly flavored sauce. Tofu's not meant to be tasty: it's a protein backdrop for other tasty things.

Hooray for The Oil Drum: Gourmet Edition.

A good soak in a marinade - I make one up from oil, tamari, sesame oil, ginger and garlic.

Stir-fry up some veggies, add cut up tofu - a tasty meal.

I always get extra-firm tofu, and stir gently so it doesn't break up too much.

The secret of good tofu is the same as the secret of any good food: good ingredients. So tofu that has any kind of preservatives or additives is just not good enough. It has to be fresh, preferably organic and with only soybeans and nigari (the gelling agent made from magnesium something found in seawater). Then if the tofu is perfect only a tiny bit of salt is needed---so delicate is the delicious flavor! on the other hand if it just ordinary tofu then vinaigrette or soy sauce etc. would be OK. But still--no additives and preservatives is a rule for any tofu. If you can't get good tofu you can make it yourself from soybeans. Or just eat the beans cooked the way you like.

In all my experiences with tofu the only one I ever really enjoyed was tofu cutlets breaded in nutritional yeast then pan fried with a bit of olive oil. Trying to masquerade it as a meat substitute it didn't work. Tofu cheese on pizza was as disappointing as ground tofu in spaghetti sauce as was tofu strips in stir fry. Only when I gave up trying to disguise it and just left it as blatant obvious tofu was it any good.

But that is now in the past. Where I live now tofu is an extremely rare imported item. If I wish to eat vegetable protein the local options are beans, lentils, garbanzos or dried peas. Dried legumes probably take a lot less energy to process and store, and one day, when my solar oven works they will take less energy to cook too.

Thanks Pi and the rest of you. The one I found was supposed to have been fermented in the box so I guess no preservatives but we don't get a choice of many things like that here. I tried it in a sort of Miso soup, could get the Miso but not the ingredients for the Dashi. I'll try some marinades and frying next. No fresh Soya beans here but I am enjoying the cooked ones as a salted snack.


High heat + peanut oil (high smoke point) + extra firm tofu = golden fried tofu. Thai restaurants call them "golden triangles". Nice chewy texture. Great with spicy peanut sauce.

ABC Kecap Manis Sedang
A medium sweet soy sauce. Really nice.

Aroy-d Red Curry
One can: easy to do. Just add food and simmer.



Western Australia crude oil depleted by 75%

A peak oil denial mode in Australia was well established under the Howard government:

"Yes, Prime Minister", peak oil 2006 under your watch

Libyan govt. delegation visits Israel

The Libyan delegation obtained visas from the Israeli embassy in Paris after gaining approval from Israeli security services.

Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports suggest that the embattled Libyan ruler might seek asylum in Israel.

Israel's Channel 2 News last year interviewed two Israeli Jewish women of Libyan origin who claimed to be relatives of Gaddafi.

"The story goes that Gaddafi's grandmother, herself a Jewess, was married to a Jewish man at first. But he treated her badly, so she ran away and married a Muslim sheikh. Their child was the mother of Gaddafi", said Rachel Saada, who claimed to be a distant relative of Gaddafi.

Should their story be true, which would make Gaddafi a Jewish, then Israel would be obligated by its own laws to grant him asylum.

Libyan delegation reportedly visited Israel, met Livni

A delegation from Libya sent by leader Muammar Gaddafi recently visited Israel and met with opposition leader Tzipi Livni and other officials, Channel 2 reported on Sunday.

According to the report, the delegation of four senior Libyan officials received visas from the Israeli embassy in Paris after gaining approval from Israeli security services. Once in Israel, the delegation immediately asked to meet with Livni.

Upon receiving the invitation for a meeting, Livni immediately turned to security officials, who gave their approval for the opposition leader to meet with the Gaddafi delegation.

Subway Crush No Longer Gets Weekends Off

The new weekend rush speaks to significant improvements in a transit system that was once seen as a national symbol of urban blight. But it also points to the shifting cultural and economic picture of New York, where changing work habits, population patterns and generational attitudes have helped turn the subway into the default mode of transportation at any time of day.

Dozens of residential developments have sprouted up around subway stations in once-desolate parts of Brooklyn and Queens. And the rise of a service-oriented city economy means many workers report to jobs on the weekends or at off hours.

Just 10 years ago, the transportation authority was running advertisements that encouraged riders to take advantage of extra space on weekend trains. Today, in nightlife-heavy neighborhoods like the Lower East Side, the subways move nearly the same number of riders on weekends as they do during the week, a phenomenon once considered unthinkable.

How Seawater Can Power the World

Seven partners — the European Union, China, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States — have teamed up on an experiment to produce 500 million watts of fusion power for 500 seconds and longer by 2020, demonstrating key scientific and engineering aspects of fusion at the scale of a reactor.

However, even though the United States is a contributor to this experiment, known as ITER, it has yet to commit to the full program needed to develop a domestic fusion reactor to produce electricity for the American power grid. Meanwhile other nations are moving forward to implement fusion as a key ingredient of their energy security.

Indeed, fusion research facilities more modern than anything in the United States are either under construction or operating in China, Germany, Japan and South Korea. The will and enthusiasm of governments in Asia to fill their energy needs with fusion, as soon as possible, is nearly palpable.

Seven partners — the European Union, China, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States — have teamed up on an experiment to produce 500 million watts of fusion power for 500 seconds and longer by 2020, demonstrating key scientific and engineering aspects of fusion at the scale of a reactor.

The first patent for fusion power generation was issued in 1946.

The first positive results were announced in 1951.

Now a demonstration is promised by 2020.

I'm not holding my breath.

Still not reliable power, as requires so much cooling water.

One nice plus, is the assumption there will be no possible Fukushima-ish event once they have to do non-expected emergency shutdowns due to jellyfish clogging the intakes or other force majeure earthquakes, tsunamis, and control system BSODs.

Confiscated Iran arms blow up in Cyprus, 12 dead

MARI, Cyprus - A massive blast at a military base in Cyprus of confiscated Iranian munitions killed at least 12 people on Monday and knocked out the island’s largest power station, officials said.

Witnesses said metal rained down on a nearby motorway and the explosion was felt for miles around in the olive groves and small farming villages that surround the Evangelos Florakis navy base on the south coast.

Cyprus’s defence minister and army chief both resigned hours after the explosion, a government spokesman said.

The Iranian armaments were the cargo from the Monchegorsk, a ship Cyprus intercepted in 2009 sailing from Iran to Syria in violation of U.N. sanctions on Iran.

In Nicosia, the capital some 65 kms to the north east, residents were woken by power cuts. Communications in the popular holiday island was patchy, as mobile networks were jammed.

Edit: The explosion registered 3.0 on the Richter scale.

Here's a photo of the power station

Evangelos Florakis blast kills 12

Military sources said they believed all 98 containers of the Iranian armaments -- kept exposed in scorching temperatures -- went up in the early morning blast which badly damaged the Vassilikos power plant. The facility, one of three in Cyprus and the newest, provides the Mediterranean island with half its electricity.

"We can't assess the extent of the damage, but it's a biblical disaster," electricity authority spokesman Costas Gavrielides told Reuters.

Photographs of the power station showed the outer walls of two large multi-storey buildings had been shredded by the explosion. Lines of search and rescue workers walked through nearby olive groves.

This really looks like an absolute disaster for Cyprus. Peak generation today was less than 60% of the projected demand. There appears to be no easy solution. Desalination plants have shut down.

tow - When was the last time you read a report of a house burning down after the owner set a gasoline can next to the NG fired water heater in the garage? It would be really funny except for thinking about the locals who'll suffer. Maybe Cyprus didn't have a single person who understood the instability of ordinance. But they couldn't find a better place to store other then next to a power plant? I suppose it could have been worse: store it next to a school or hospital.

Even in a warehouse district that kind of damage would hit some valuable assets, one would expect. Perhaps we're too early on to know how many people are really dead, and what else might have been damaged.

I hope that was a sheet-steel skin over a space frame, and that not much heavy components were damaged. I'm sure the big parts would take a year to replace.

And they were actually about to build an LNG import/storage/regasification terminal right next to it. And an oil import terminal/strategic petroleum reserve is also under construction at the site. Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket!

Edit: Here is the oil/LNG import facility under construction at the site

Had LNG tankers been sitting docked right next to this as depicted...

Ammunition, Oil and gas stored in huge quantities in a small area. That military base do not really need an enemy.

Indeed. When I was in college, I worked at an ag field lab located on a former WWII ordinance storage facility. Individual warehouses were in neat rows with about 100 yards of spacing between buildings in the row; earth ramped up on three walls to direct blasts straight up as much as possible; rows staggered so that when the unreinforced wall (south facing, with doors) blew out, it was at least 200 yards to the building in line with the doors, whose north wall was behind the thick dirt ramp.

This was in Nebraska, where there was plenty of empty space. Probably not possible to take the same kind of precautions on Cyprus. You can't be too paranoid when you're stacking that much high explosive in one place.

One report I read stated that it was caused by a brush fire. Apparently the Commander (who was killed in the blast) had been complaining about the conditions and the government had finally gotten around to deciding to do something about it though had not got as far as actually doing something about it.


Apparently the Commander (who was killed in the blast) had been complaining about the conditions and the government had finally gotten around to deciding to do something about it though had not got as far as actually doing something about it.

Sounds like a "Play within the play" on alerting people about the risks of Peak Oil.

There appears to be no easy solution

I don't mean to be rude here, Undertow, but what do you mean? A solution to what? I see so many.... um, how does one say in the modern vernacular? "Epic Fails" here? Or something....

I am laughing here because at least we didn't all get sprayed with radioactive waste or oily sludge this time.

I mean a solution to their ongoing electrical power crisis. There are no electrical cables connecting the island to mainland Europe and they need about another 400-500MW generating capacity even with their other two stations running flat out.

You guy(s) are seeing and "electrical crisis" (shortage) problem.

I see a longage problem. I also see a stupidity problem but hey, I am stupid. Worse, I see a small problem with weaponry storage but that is for the "Art of War" crowd...

As a native Cypriot, I can confirm that we are not terribly intelligent lot. The reason that my copatriots put all the energy facilities there is to keep the rest of the shoreline available for tourist use. I currently do not live in Cyprus so I cannot provide information on the current situation.
Almost all power is oil based thermal with a tiny amount of renewables.
Since this is an oil related website, Cyprus has no oil and gas production yet. There is supposedly plenty of gas at he sea.

Also during the 6 summer months you only get rain (overcast?) 5 days, Limasol. If this is not solarcell-land , what is?
That said- i feel with Cyprus over her hardships ahead and also a minor hattip to Iran who has proven to be able to make big firecrackers


Cyprus tv (PIK Sat) - not English mms://iptv.cytanet.com.cy/cysat

Cyprus: Zygi naval base munitions blast kills 12

The fire has also had a knock-on effect on the BBC's broadcasts to the eastern Mediterranean.

Six of the eight transmitters in the BBC's relay station at Zygi are without power, interrupting direct English-language broadcasts to the Middle East.

Cyprus navy commander among dead in blast-police

The Commander of the Cypriot navy and the commander of a military base were among those killed in an explosion at a munitions dump on Monday, police said

Smoke can still be seen rising from parts of the power plant and adjacent to large storage tanks, in live video as darkness falls.

The Iranian armaments were the cargo from the Monchegorsk, a ship Cyprus intercepted in 2009 sailing from Iran to Syria in violation of U.N. sanctions on Iran.

Karma. It's what happens when you do the Great Satan's bidding.

"sailing from Iran to Syria"

Does anybody notice the "spin" on the news?
They were purchased by Syria.
They were being stored for Syria.
Our good friends, Syria.
Who slaughter whole towns and pave them over.
Who shoot directly into the crowd.
Who draw no attention from the American
"freedom fighters".

You mean like the US ambassador to Syria, who visited protester-held Hama? Or the US secretary of state, who just dismissed the Syrian president as being "not indispensible"?

Or is this an example of sarcasm, which I hear is all the rage in Paris this season?

Ahhhhhhhh... Paris in July!

I was not aware of a photo-op or of an opinion.

But lucky idiots, the blast could have killed far more people.

Sad to hear about the accident and the people dead and wounded. And people taking one step back in living standards to less electricity consumption.

To make something black out of the situation:
With all these peak oil problems giving headaches all over the world, CIA looked around and said - "where can we reduce demand without influencing our economy and not offending anyone". And they blew it up.

Moreover Cyprus seem to have quite some debt, which again, CIA ofcourse, decided they cant pay back, so instead of defaulting - blow it up.

From last years Lumina article http://www.theoildrum.com/node/7007#comment-728066:
Cyprus imports:"...60,000 bpd according to the EIA, which costs $1.75 billion per annum (at $80/bbl) or about 8% of GDP". See - a way to reduce lending and lowering oil demand.

To make something black out of the situation:

How about - A real life experiment to gather data on how a dip in energy effects a population and business.

Story on the worsening conditions in East Africa.

A glimpse into the post-PO globally warmed world soon to come to your front yard.

Both GW and oil prices are discussed, especially toward the end of the video, but not PO directly.

Pretty doomy.



"UN calls Somali drought worst disaster"

"The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) has expressed grave concerns about persistence of famine in the Horn of Africa, saying that drought-ridden Somalia represents the 'worst humanitarian disaster' in the world."

Thanks for this heads up.
I guess this is the video you are trying to link to (?) "Drought in the Horn of Africa" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXYFvx0SAMI&feature=player_embedded#at=11

And meanwhile from India

According to the finance ministry, if tariffs remain the same, these SEBs will suffer annual losses of Rs 1,16,089 crore by 2014-15. But for the fact that these boards are utilities and backed by state governments, they would be considered bankrupt and unworthy of commercial rescue

Welcome to the world of free entitlements, we take birth to enjoy cheap electricity, oil and coal. More power to guilt free consumption binge subsidized by our democratic governments.

Goldman Sachs: Saudi Arabia Will Fail To Meet Oil Demand By 2012

Despite claims by analysts and even OPEC that Saudi Arabia will be able to increase output to meet growing market demand, Goldman believes that the Saudis have reached their peak oil output. This stems from 2008 when oil surpassed $100 a barrel. This was plenty of reason to boost market supply, but Saudi Arabia hit its peak at 9.5 million barrels a day. Now, despite claims that Saudi Arabia has the potential for a 12 million barrel-a-day capacity, Goldman estimates a supply shortage. US natural gas, gold futures and copper prices (due to China demand) could also see a significant increase...

Over time, it is increasingly getting obvious that Saudi Arabia is going through the process of peak oil production and eventual decline.

Bold theirs. Finally there is someone who is able to put two and two together. Is this the beginning of the end of the Saudi oil myth? By myth I mean the myth that they have 260 billion barrels of proven reserves and 4 to 5 mb/d of spare capacity. I believe, and this is just my opinion of course, that with this latest rise is Saudi output and perhaps UAE increase, every OPEC nation is now producing flat out.

The OPEC Oil Market Report is due out tomorrow and then we will find out who has increased production and who has not.

Ron P.

Edit: I have been unable to find any link to where Goldman Sachs actually made this claim. If anyone else finds it, please post it.

Here is a link to a post I made on the 7/7/11 Drumbeat thread, which has a link to a WSJ article that discusses a Goldman Sachs report on Saudi Arabia:


As noted in my comment, perhaps one of these days someone in the MSM might even notice that Saudi net oil exports have shown year over year declines for four of the past five years, with 2010 net oil exports being one-fifth below their 2005 rate (BP).

Thanks. Here is the link to the Wall Street Journal article. It is behind a pay wall but available through Google. Goldman Warns That Tight Supply Will Lift Oil Prices

Others say that years of heavy Saudi investment has substantially increased capacity since 2008. "The kingdom spent money, built facilities, developed fields and drilled wells to deliver 12.5 million barrels when needed," said Sadad al-Husseini, who was a head of exploration at Saudi Arabia's national oil company, Saudi Aramco, until 2004.

I see this statement as basically an admission that Saudi was at peak in 2008. Of course Khurais has come on line since then but they have had heavy depletion in their big giant fields since then.

Ron P.

OPEC report: Saudi oil exports to decline

WikiLeaks cable from Riyadh implied Saudis could pump only 9.8 mb/d in 2011

Hey, Ron! While reading through TOD today (lately I am working 12 hrs a day, so it is almost rare, and a pleasure) I reflected on the incredible knowledge that has been written about here, and that many newbies may become confused by some terminology, and of course by our acronyms (ELM for example).

What is the chance that you and/or one or two others of the better educated, oil-wise, of the regulars write up and submit a Peak Oil Glossary for TOD?

If you do, would you favor me with a copy to my email? Or let me know when it is published.



Craig, I have never been in the oil business. I did work in Saudi Arabia for five years but with computers and I actually had nothing to do with their oil business. In those days I was only a disinterested observer. The last three years I was there I did work in Safaniya, helping install flow monitors on offshore platforms that fed into a computer on the mainland, my my main concern was technical computer problems. There were a lot of those because in those days, the early 80s, computers were nothing like they are today. And this one was really a lemon and crashed a lot. This was largely because the person who wrote the specs knew nothing about computers and screwed it all up.

I really don't like acronyms and only use them if they are ones that everyone would recognize, like ELM, OOIP and such. The only one I might think of that some use that a newby would not know is R/P, or reserves to production ratio. But that one is likely already in your glossary.

I think WestTexas, Rockman, RockyMountainGuy or someone other oil man on this list would be a lot more help than I.

Sorry I couldn't be more help. I am going to post this to the list, as well as email it to you, so you might check the to see if anyone else responded to your request.


Edit: I just remembered, I did once do actual oilfield work. In 1959 I worked for 30 days as a roustabout out of Odessa, Texas. I made $1.15 an hour. That was just too much like work so I quit and went elsewhere.

zap - Keep this one saved in your favorites. The only acronyms missing will be PO related but you know those already.


thanks! I appreciate it.


Try this ;)



PS Rockman's is very useful.

What is the chance that you and/or one or two others of the better educated, oil-wise, of the regulars write up and submit a Peak Oil Glossary for TOD?

Even better would be a URL here on TOD that points to the glossary ;D

My two cents, create: http://www.theoildrum.com/glossary

Chinese government official predicts auto sales of 50 million units by 2021:


"The Chinese auto industry is likely to reach a peak of 50 million units over the next decade," said Liu Shijin, deputy director of the Chinese Cabinet's Development Research Center.


What brand of koolaid are they drinking?

It sounds like the middle management brand

And, in other news, China becomes completely uninhabitable by the year 2020.

Due in large part to massive toxic Kool-aid spills...

Its only a 10% growth rate. Sounds about right to me if there is a Chinese takeover of car manufacture. They have taken over a lot of other manufactures, why not cars too?


Request to Shut Earthquake Zone Nuclear Plants [US]

Notice is hereby given that by petition dated March 12, 2011, Thomas Saporito (petitioner) has requested that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) take action to order shutdown of all ``nuclear power reactors in the USA [United States of America] which are known to be located on or near an earthquake fault-line.''

...In as much as this task force charge encompasses the petitioner's
request, which has been interpreted by the PRB to be a determination if additional regulatory action is needed to protect public health and safety in the event of earthquake damage and loss-of-coolant accidents similar to those experienced by the nuclear power reactors in Japan resulting in dire consequences, the NRC is accepting the petition in part

I notice that petitioner did not appear to suggest which reactors were considered to be in fault zones. California's four reactors are obvious candidates; Arizona's three and Washington's one, not so much. Those eight account for the West (as defined by the Census Bureau); nuclear power is largely an Eastern thing. A surprising number would appear to be located within a medium-risk zone centered on the New Madrid fault in Missouri, and around the Summerville seismic zone centered in South Carolina. USGS earthquake risk map here.

Maybe he should have added nuclear reactors parked in river flood plains. A couple in Nebraska come to mind.

Given Vermont's struggles to shut down the Vermont Yankee plant within its borders because the plant owners say the State has no jurisdiction, I suspect that when the Federal Government tries to shut down nuclear plants (if that would ever happen - I'm not holding my breath) the plant owners will try to say that the Federal Government has no jurisdiction either, or that ordering them to shut down will somehow be found unconstitutional. This seems to be how these things work.

Until, of course, one of these earthquake prone faults let go! Then the owners will probably blame the government for allowing them to build a nuclear reactor on an active fault zone!

Privatize the Profits - Socialize the Risks

It's the American Way!

Make the owners live on site! QEF.

Climate change reducing ocean's carbon dioxide uptake

... Working with nearly three decades of data, the researchers were able to cut through the variability and identify underlying trends in the surface CO2 throughout the North Atlantic.

...the researchers found that rising temperatures are slowing the carbon absorption across a large portion of the subtropical North Atlantic. Warmer water cannot hold as much carbon dioxide, so the ocean’s carbon capacity is decreasing as it warms.

It seems like the ocean works just like a Coke.Gimme a rum and ocean, plz.

Another positive feedback loop. So many systems are moving in the "make it even hotter" direction as they get even hotter. Maybe this is how the earth cleanses itself of pesky pests.


Chinese Metro Lines

Besides electrifying 20,000 km of rail lines, building a massive High Speed Rail network and building new railroad lines (one direct to Pakistan over the Himalayas. another to Afghanistan) the Chinese are also on a massive Metro building project across China.

Shanghai is well on the way to having the world's largest Metro system.

Operating lines - Thick solid lines
Under Construction - Thick dashed lines
Planned - Thin lines


Beijing will rival New York City, Tokyo, London and Moscow for #2 Metro city
Beijing in 2015


More impressive is that 29 Chinese cities either have operating Metros or lines under construction.

I picked a city I never heard of, Hangzhou. Population - 1.9 million in the city proper, 3.9 million including suburbs. Located just south of Shanghai.

Their first 48 km Metro line will open late in 2012. Eight lines are planned for 278 km.

Xi'an is in central China (one of the poorer areas) and home of the Terra Cotta Army buried with an Emperor. Population 3.3 million, regional 8.2 million. Line 2 (27 km) will open later this year, Line 1 (? km) in 2013 and Line 3 (50 km) in 2015. 252 km when all six lines are opened.


And so forth for an impressive list. The focus has clearly shifted from Shanghai and Beijing to the next rank of cities.

An interesting counterpoint to the fact that China is planning to build and buy 6 million more cars than the USA this year, and bicycles are being banned on more city streets.

Best Hopes for Oil Free Transportation in China,


Amazing. We keep hearing about how we are running out of capital. Apparently, all of the capital is either in China or embedded in the U.S. military. But we can afford $20 billion a year for A/C in our war zones. We can't build, but we can sure blow it up. China does seem rather schizophrenic, though. They don't set priorities; they just build everything.

Yes, they build a LOT of everything in China. IMO, the USA uses too much of it's GDP for consumption (+10% since 1980) which strangles our savings and investments.

IMHO, cars will strangle the streets of cities in China and will be banned/taxed (like London) once adequate subways are open. Add an oil shortage, and bicycles will be welcomed back. Folding bicycles to fit on subways will be the next big deal in China.

In addition to the 29 cities with open or under construction Metros, 15 more Chinese cities are making plans for Metros. IMHO, China will have more Metro line km than the rest of the world combined by 2030, even if there is a massive building boom everywhere in response to post-Peak Oil.

I was going to add two more cities.

Ningbo, population 5.7 million, will open Line 1 in 2014 and a second in 2015 with five lines by 2030. No km given.


OTOH, Hefei, population 5.7 million is building a single 24 km subway line with no information about future plans.

Best Hopes for China,


PS: Longer term, after cars are largely gone from city streets, I foresee surface light rail/streetcars connecting subway stations from different lines, and all along the way. Think of East-West light rail on Manhattan connecting largely North-South subways lines.

Cars are already strangling China. Remember the story about the weeklong traffic jam?

I traveled to Xian by train a couple years ago, arriving before dawn. The crush of humanity was indescribable, and it was an average day. The roads were clogged with taxis, buses and cars, to be sure, but every rail station I visited was so overwhelmed that they were approaching "pedestrian gridlock." It was packed to the limits of functionality, much worse than the showcase-subways of Beijing or Shanghai.

I ended up "tipping" some shouting woman in uniform to get out of the central train station. She insisted that I rent a luggage cart to move my stuff about fifty meters before dumping it, but she did shave some time off my exit process.

Being coal country, the air in Xian was acrid and opaque. Old folks cooked their rice on the curb over soft-coal burners, even in the center of the city. Sure, there were scads of shiny new high-rises, but people still had to eat.

I see no solution to the urban blight in China's major cities; they're already too far into overshoot. On an average day everything barely functions. Now food prices are accelerating out of reach for the poor, and the water supply is so critically low that they're choosing between running factories and providing a safe supply for domestic use. Ironically, the June floods only further endanger water quality. What good is a subway to hungry, thirsty people?

The main impact I see resulting from China's spending spree (dwarfing our own "Quantitative Easing") is a spiking of their GINI coefficient.

I picked a city I never heard of, Hangzhou. Population - 1.9 million in the city proper, 3.9 million including suburbs. Located just south of Shanghai.

You picked a city that I have been to. I wouldn't say it is just south - maybe 80 miles from city center, but I don't really know how far Shanghai has sprawled out. But it is worthwhile visiting as a tourist.

The thing I don't get is that they are able to throw infrastructure money around like it is candy. Some projects make sense, some don't. They built the maglev train from the Shanghai airport to downtown, and I would venture a guess that nobody here would argue that this was a wise investment.

And then of course there are the "ghost cities" - new cities that are complete but largely unoccupied..

...they are able to throw infrastructure money around like it is candy.

Keep consumption down to a bit more than half of GDP, and that leaves *LOTS* of money left over for things like infrastructure, or buying T-Bills.

If the USA reverted to the consumption % of the last year of Jimmy Carter's Presidency and we too would have money for worthwhile investments (like 10% of GDP).

As I have stated before, I see the "way out" as reducing consumption and diverting those resources to long lived energy efficient and energy producing infrastructure.

Best Hopes for Seeing the Light,


Misinvesting in infrastructure or capital goods is as problematic as misinvesting in consumer goods. Considering the massive amount of bad state loans currently buried in Chinese shell games, it's a question of when it goes, not if.

Alan you keep harping about "consumption". Could you explain your perception of "consumption".
It must obviously be different to mine, as I see consumption as an absolute necessity in today's economy.
Government stimulus worldwide is directed at the "consumer".

Consumption is the sugar of the modern economy. Quick stimulus with no nutritional value.

It covers what you would expect - travel, new personal cars (except business vehicles which may have a productive role), food (one cannot cut consumption to zero), clothing, and much more.

It will be an adjustment to go to a medium investment, medium consumption economy (from a low investment, high consumption economy) but jobs are created building capital equipment as well as consumer products.


I think this way but I must obviously be wrong................
So we cut consumption by how much percentage? That provides more money for investment in capital projects????

Jobs creating consumer products (can't see that as being anything special). Jobs are businesses, wholesale and retail selling the consumer items. Movie tickets, football games, venue construction, advertising with flow on effects to radio, television and paper media. There are consumer electronics, electronic games of many descriptions and applications. Education, research of many descriptions, computers, phones, perfume.....oh hell the list goes forever and I haven't even started on the hospitality industry, pharmaceutical, dentistry, pet, airlines etc.

Of course the above consumption is not sustainable but without it we have a depression and there is no capital investment in a depression. It's debt now providing the stimulus and debt which will eventually break the system. I doubt there will be more debt available for the required investment afterwards.

Of course you can trot out figures and show mathematical possibilities but that does not convert into the present consumer psyche. For that to change there has to be some kind of disruption, caused by economic and financial upheaval, about-face, shakeout or something and I can't see that as being conducive to further "capital investment".

So as I see it, the capital required for crucial infrastructure adaptions, needs the consumer and the jobs the consumer provides. Governments need the populace to be working and consuming for taxation to grease the cycle wheel. That is what is happening now because BAU is on the mind of all those with influence.

Research and education are not, I believe, consumption but different types of capital investment.

The Great Recession has depressed consumption. Perhaps keep consumption as is and grow investing.

Partially via the tax code (raise gas taxes, and first year write off for certain investments and XX% Investment Tax Credits with the proceeds as one example).

Publicize the existing retirement tax credit (50% tax credit for up to $2,000 IRA/401k contribution for low income people) and improve the program. A dollar saved by a poor person saves later social services, generates self respect and many other benefits.

There is $1 trillion in unrepatriated profits from overseas. If, say, 75% is invested in long lived energy efficient or energy producing infrastructure, it all "comes home" tax free.

Best Hopes,


Research and education are intrinsically or fundamentally linked to consumption. One drives the other.
Consumption provides the inducement for just about everything including crime in many societies. It's the capitalist way.
Have it your way though, no harm in dreaming.

Good luck with the 401k, the government is going to get that for sure.

You and I are on different wavelengths.


Yes nothing at all has changed there.

Alan, as much as I agree with your goals I don't think your suggested means come anywhere close to getting to that goal. China pretty remains a command economy where the various governments can just pretty much order this or that produced or built. Sometimes this works but often it backfires causing more economic damage than good. In any case it ain't gonna happen here.

The politics are obviously impossible and people of low to moderate income have very little reason these days to defer immediate gratification in favor of some kind of abstract investment that most are convinced only serve to make rich people richer. People with money invest in, well, "investments," stuff that sometimes goes into actually building infrastructure and so forth but usually is just a big circle jerk scam of musical chairs run by the carnival barkers of wall street. Sorry to be so negative 'cause I really do agree with you wholeheartedly.

I will respond tomorrow. Please check back then. Too tired ATM.


When education becomes a capital investment, we have truly become a degenerate society.

Monies spent on R & D eventually end up paying people who do the work. Those people then go out and spend that money to buy stuff, from food thru consumer goods to large items, such as cars and houses, in addition to the energy to make things go and keep the buildings warm or cool. In the end, the result is still consumption of resources. The only difference is that at the end of the year, R & D may drive capital investment in plant and equipment can then be used to produce more stuff for the market. R & D is useless until the new knowledge is "put to work".

Take a look at Lenotief's work with so-called input/output economic models...

E. Swanson

But R&D may leave useful information as well. A new and better window film to reduce energy loss (just out by 3M), better power electronics to convert HV DC <-> HV AC, a more efficient collector of solar heat in dim light and cold conditions, a more efficient washing machine, etc. A permanent gain in our ability to be more energy efficient.

I think you are confusing research with development and production. It should be obvious that R&D may provide future benefits, which then might reduce overall consumption. However, it's well known that only a small fraction of the R&D work effort actually results in marketable products. For example, only a small fraction of patents result in new products. In the short term, the choice by governments (or industry) to use available funds for R&D or for direct transfer payments isn't quite what you previously implied. This year's funds are eventually passed on from hand to hand and thus eventually used for consumption, the difference is in exactly which groups in the economy do the actual consuming...

E. Swanson

I think it's fair to ask, though, 'just how many marketable products does the LACK of R&D end up yielding?'

It's a hefty investment, but as Alan seems to be pointing towards, once it has yielded a new, 'energy positive' product that not only produces the jobs in making, selling and installing it, it ALSO is generating an ongoing and presumably growing return at the Energy, CO2, Pollutants or Materials ends as well.

I do think that over the long term, R&D is likely to provide positive benefits. However, our society is so out of whack that just throwing money at various R&D proposals won't help. For example, low temperature solar thermal has been available on the market for more than 30 years. There's little to be expected from further research and the systems now on the market provide useful energy at costs below electricity. Yet, how many people in the US have actually installed solar hot water or solar space heating in their houses and (perhaps more important) how many builders put them in their houses? Worse, how many land developers make any effort to orient their houses to face the sun, such that the available technology can be put to best use?

Since Reagan was elected, there has been little support for solar thermal R&D and the solar tax credits enacted under Carter were killed. More R&D without major structural changes to adopt the known technology won't allow the transition toward renewables to take place in time to meet the impacts of Peak Oil, which those of us who frequent the Oil Drum seem to think is waiting on our doorstep today...

E. Swanson

Eric, I think you have hit the nail on the head with the solar thermal example.

I think a big part of the problem is everyone expects R&d to yield "magic bullet" solutions, as this is seems to happen regularly with computer related stuff.

But in the world of materials and energy, rather than software and communications, it is a different game - there are physical laws the limit progress to incremental steps, and, with the possible exception of fuel cells and battery electric vehicles, it is just not sexy.

Websites like Gizmag put out an endless stream of concepts for gadgets, most of which will never make it to market, but the focus is always on trying to find the next big thing.

Meanwhile, good, reliable things like solar thermal and passive solar, get ignored, for all the reasons you say. when it comes to home building, history suggests that the only way to get good/necessary but boring things adopted, is through the building codes. Theya re gradually adapting, but I think it is time for some serious change, and some serious energy (and water) use standards. Does't have to be PassivHaus, but PH has shown just how far behind the standard building codes are when it comes to energy performance.

The other problem, specifically with solar thermal, is that many of the systems being put in today are way overcomplicated, to the point where they are pointless. Some posting here from Minnesota had been quoted $8k for a solar thermal system! That is the equivalent of the $100k electric car - nice and all, but hardly anyone can afford it. But the mech contractors and their equipment suppliers love the plethora of pipes pumps and controls involved, and are proud of giving their customer the "best" system, even though it is also a wealth destroying one.

It seems that your part of the world (Maine, or Vermont?) is out there on the sensible solar stuff, but I'll take a guess and say that even these operations are still having trouble getting mainstream acceptance;


And this great story about the success of the low tech approach;


We did an "unglazed" version of that to heat the pool at the farm decades ago - the water off the brown tile roof scalded my 9yr old hand when I first tried to see how "warm" it was!

Sometimes less is more, but it's hard to make money out of that...

Alan--if you are educating an engineer, I can agree. But if you are providing degrees in gender
studies, or law degrees, consumption it is. No net benefit to society.

Training people to envision, debate and create a juster version of society could probably be considered just as much an investment as training people to design the infrastructure that society uses.

Not that every law student gets properly trained or does that afterward, but then again how many engineers graduate then go on to work on that EN-V car thing, or "clean coal", or any other of the plethora of BAU stuff that does very little good for society.

I'd say it's an 80/20 thing. Many grads today are in the 80% that makes 20% of the contributions. Paying $100K to get "the university experience" isn't the same as "getting a well-rounded education and skills to make a significant contribution to the world".

<< the present consumer psyche. For that to change there has to be some kind of disruption, caused by economic and financial upheaval, about-face, shakeout or something >>

Agreed. This is now an identified problem, and an embryonic movement to address this through some sort of non-catastrophic vector is underway, at least in community mental health where I studied and am working.

Of course, the chances of this effort producing anything useful in the required time period are dismally low, but we are working on it.

I am also working on building a replica of the Krell mind-expansion device from the '50s science fiction film "Forbidden Planet" from broken guitar amps and CRTs in my garage. (This appears to be necessary simply to learn the metrics used in this thread, let alone digest the content.)

Updates to follow, if my wife has not euthanized me before the project is complete...

I see consumption as an absolute necessity in today's economy.

The key here is today's economy what should be emulated/kept?

Seems there's more unanticipated costs going forward regarding ethanol transportation and use.

From GAO highlites Challenges to the Transportation, Sale, and Use of Intermediate Ethanol Blends

[Wholesale Costs] ...Later in the decade, ..., a number of challenges and costs are projected for transporting additional volumes of ethanol to wholesale markets to meet peak RFS requirements. According to EPA estimates, if an additional 9.4 billion gallons of ethanol are consumed domestically by 2022, several billion dollars would be needed to upgrade rail, truck, and barge infrastructure to transport ethanol to wholesale markets.

[Retail Costs] ... $36-100 billion for upgraded service station tanks and pumps. Multi-billion in engine and equipment damage.

Full Report: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11513.pdf

... EPA estimated that the necessary spending on transportation infrastructure due to increased ethanol consumption would be approximately $2.6 billion. Example: EPA estimated that approximately $1.2 billion would be needed for an additional 8,450 rail tanker cars ($760 million) and the construction of new train facilities ($446 million). ...The agency stated that it believed overall freight-rail capacity would not be a limiting factor to the successful implementation of RFS requirements.

However, while this task may be achievable, it is likely to be increasingly difficult because of congestion on U.S. transportation networks.

... Ethanol pipeline - $3.0-4.5 billion - DOE
... UL stated that it advised against the use of intermediate ethanol blends with dispensing equipment certified for E10 and, instead, recommended the use of new equipment designed and certified for use with intermediate ethanol.
... 150,000+ service stations x $100-150k/tank & pump x 2-4 pumps = $36-92 billion retrofit

From Popular Science Special Energy Issue

The Last Drops: How to Bridge the Gap Between Oil and Green Energy

Oil Economy Oil threatens the environment, destabilizes nation, and is in dwindling supply. It also provides 35 percent of the power we use on Earth. Oil won't run our world forever, but as we make the transition to a greener economy, it will need to run it for at least another few decades.

For a mainstream publication - very well done

Pretty "feel good" if you ask me.
Much like National Geographic's "End of Oil" article back in, when was it? '06 or '07.

Both of these pubs are expert at writing on subjects without injecting any sense of alarm or urgency. IIRC, Nat' Geo wrote an article about Vietnam during the late sixties or early seventies and never even mentioned that little bit about a war goin' on.

All things are relative. PoPSci is not PNAS, Science or Nature. For PopSci at least it gets the meme across to the general public.

Getting 20% of culture to understand an issue is usually the 'tipping point'. The rest are followers

While you’re up, print me a solar cell

The sheet of paper looks like any other document that might have just come spitting out of an office printer, with an array of colored rectangles printed over much of its surface. But then a researcher picks it up, clips a couple of wires to one end, and shines a light on the paper. Instantly an LCD clock display at the other end of the wires starts to display the time.

...The resilient solar cells still function even when folded up into a paper airplane. In their paper, the MIT researchers also describe printing a solar cell on a sheet of PET plastic (a thinner version of the material used for soda bottles) and then folding and unfolding it 1,000 times, with no significant loss of performance. By contrast, a commercially produced solar cell on the same material failed after a single folding.

At 1% efficiency it is only a novelty. Another piece of the puzzle, but only a piece........

Walk before run


You can run an LCD clock on the energy of a fly sneeze. And I'm so relieved that someone is finally working on the significant problem of how many times you can fold a solar cell.

There are no numbers in the article, it's a meaningless piece of feel-good fluff. Maybe they should have had it proofed by someone knowledgeable at a decent engineering school.

EDIT: You can run an LCD clock with potatoes too, but it no longer works after you mash them. I'm hoping that MIT will get to work on this important problem soon.

At 1% efficiency it is only a novelty.

Could still have high value, for powering stuff like remote wireless sensors. A lot of electronics only needs a tiny amount of power to function, they key difference comes about by being able to give it a long lasting source.

But, I agree, as far as a breakthrough in gridscale generation, this doesn't breakdown the wall, but is just a tiny scratch on it.

Indeed - this could have a big impact on the Internet of Things. At IBM Research where I work, there has been a big push into this space. The basic idea is to embed intelligence in all kids of things and of course powering them is one of the big issues being dealt with.

If it is cheap and flexible they can cover a large area with it. Imagine every building and all the vehicles covered with this stuff. Even with 1% efficiency it could generate a lot of electricity.

I would say no, it won't compete with cheap panels. With cheap panels (say $1 per watt or $.50 per watt), the balance of system costs, such as mounting and wiring are going to be at least half of system cost. These costs laregly scale with collector area, so even if this stuff was given away for free, the system cost (per watt) would be higher.

But I thought there would be negligible mounting & wiring costs in this case. Imagine roof shingles, siding, backpacks, cell phones, laptop bags, camping tents, cars, buses, etc being covered with this at the time of manufacturing.

Well maybe. However I don't think BIPV (building Integrated PV) has gotten much markey share. I do like the idea, use structure you already plan to create for another purpose. Another usage if the stuff's optical proterties are siutable, would be tinted windows, where the tint is PV. So you get to look out the window, but also get some power from it.
I just don't see these as being major players in the bulk power market. But, as they say, every little bit helps.

I just don't see these as being major players in the bulk power market.

I would agree with that. First of all, paper is hardly a substrate that will be durable for 20yrs.
if we put the stuff onto sheet metal, it is a different story. Roofing metal, designed to be out in the weather for decades, can be had, in bulk for $1/sf. With 1% efficiency, 1sf will produce about one watt, so already our cell costs $1/W, before we have "printed" it, or mounted it, hooked it up etc.

So, I would say this process might have value if it can turn sheetmetal roofing into PV metal roofing, for minimal extra cost.

But to erect panels of this purely as PV, where you need 15-20x the the area of current PV, forget it.

HERE's a link to a company which makes combined roofing and PV. HERE's another and there are many more out there...

E. Swanson

In their paper, the MIT researchers also describe printing a solar cell on a sheet of PET plastic (a thinner version of the material used for soda bottles) and then folding and unfolding it 1,000 times, with no significant loss of performance. By contrast, a commercially produced solar cell on the same material failed after a single folding.

Folding - the traditional threat to solar cells.

VS sitting out in the UV light from the sun.

Now, how long will the PET plastic last in UV light? Cells cut from Silicon slabs have demonstrated lifespans. How long does plastic last in the sunlight?

Corporate pays for MIT research. Corporate pulls MIT 'strings'. If corporate wants a folding solar cell for a new consumer toy, that's what they get. It's just business.


Have to be able to imagine other applications.


Low-cost materials and roll-to-roll manufacturing processes are used to make... inexpensive and flexible solar cells. They are made like film or tape: on a reel.

Plastic Solar Cells Roll Into Unlit Villages:

Plastic Power: Plastic solar cells integrated with batteries and LEDs could replace kerosene lamps.

Kerosene, that is. This is The Oil Drum, yes?

The Coming Clean Tech Crash

The clean tech sector is headed for a major crash, as the subsidies required to make clean energy artificially cheaper are becoming unsustainable. Avoiding future crashes will require reorienting our energy policies to drive innovation, rather than simply deploying existing technologies that can't compete without subsidy.

....from The Breakthrough Institute:

Our Mission: The Breakthrough Institute is a paradigm-shifting think tank committed to modernizing liberal thought for the 21st Century. Our core values are integrity, imagination and audacity. Our goal is to accelerate the transition to a future where all the world's inhabitants can enjoy secure, free, prosperous, and fulfilling lives on an ecologically vibrant planet.

I wish them luck. Methinks cleantech will be part of an overall crash, in all sectors,,,but that's just me...

This was going to be my response to the Bendable PV thread, but I'll put it here..

Taoists believe that because these seemingly opposite polarities are actually balanced and work together through cycles, you can actually produce one from the other. This sort of behavior is the fourth principle of Taoism: Harmonious Action. This can be observed in a bamboo stick. Watch it bend with the wind: it overcomes the wind by yielding to it. If it were stiff, it would break because it's so brittle, but because it yields, it overcomes. Thus, weakness produces strength, and strength produces weakness.

I think many things are brittle and will break.. 'clean tech' likely includes both brittle and flexible parts.. (and I'm agnostic whether printable PV is the former or latter of these) will have both precious and cheap approaches, etc.. As with Leaf robotics, I think a branch of clean tech will be one which incorporates a minimalist philosophy in all levels of design, making devices almost seem like an elemental gesture from a cartoonist, instead of an elaborate, multilayered painting..

NIce quote.

Thinking of it in human terms: Being too nibble may lead to dissipation, but being too rigid could prevent mitigation of a problem.

Too much of any one design principle is a failure in the end. One size does not fit all.

Climate change effects overseas 'matter to UK'

The authors of the report, examining the international dimensions of climate change for the UK government, say Britain must plan ahead for uncertain times.

Climate change-related problems could threaten international peace and security, they warn, and fluctuating global temperatures could disrupt the flow of natural resources and commodities.

Full Report: International Dimensions of Climate Change

1   Introduction 13
2   Global climate change 21
2.1 Human activity is changing our climate 22
2.2 Climate change is already being observed 23
2.3 Predicting future climate change 24
2.4 Potential effects on the future global climate 29
3   UK threats and challenges part A 37
3.1 Foreign policy and security 38
3.2 Finance and business 51
4   UK threats and challenges part B 59
4.1 Infrastructure 60
4.2 Resources and commodities 69
4.3 Health

Supporting Studies

Arctic may be ice-free within 30 years

... Computer simulations performed by Nasa suggest that the retreat of Arctic sea ice will not continue at a constant rate. Instead the simulations show a series of abrupt decreases such as the one that occurred in 2007, when a "perfect storm" of weather conditions coincided and more ice was lost in one year than in the previous 28 years combined. Compared to the 1950s, over half of the Arctic sea ice had disappeared

Eerie video of floating ‘ice city’ captivates viewers

...“I’ve seen icebergs before but this was unreal. It looked like something that shouldn’t be there,” the 52-year-old fisherman told the Star Monday from his home in Port Hope Simpson. In utter silence, what looked like a floating ice city sat in front of Burden and his sons, a dazzling white ice island five kilometres long and alive with mountains, valleys, brooks, waterfalls, ponds and seals.

The ice island, now drifting down the Labrador coast toward Newfoundland, is a chunk of the Petermann ice mass three times the size of the old city of Toronto that unexpectedly snapped off a Greenland glacier last August.

We appear to be heading for another record low arctic ice volume this year. The melting trend appears to be accelerating.

Ice volume at the end of June was already below the average summer minimum (1979-2010), and that was with 10 weeks of melting
still to go.


To my inexpert eye, arctic weather patterns seem to be pushing what little remains of multi-year ice north of Greenland east and south down the east coast of Greenland this summer. I very much expect record melting and fragmentation of most of the remaining ice this year.


What to do if you are frustrated by your electricity utility? Why, you start your own, of course...

The city of Boulder, Colorado, is considering replacing Xcel Energy with a municipal owned utility.


There has also been the frustration of dealing with a big corporate utility and a highly bureaucratic state Public Utilities Commission.
"There is a desire to get more local control over energy choices so they reflect community goals," Cowles said. Municipal utilities — such as those in Colorado Springs and Fort Collins — are independent of the PUC, answering to local officials.
And so the City Council voted 6-2 not to give Xcel a new franchise, and in November, 69 percent of Boulder voters approved a $4 million stopgap tax to cover the $4 million in lost franchise fees while the city explores other options.
Since then, the city has honed its goals to decarbonize, democratize and decentralize its energy.

I have written before about the need for the electricity utility to maintain the trust/good faith of its customers, and this move by Boulder clearly shows that they lost their trust in Xcel.

Having managed a community electricity utility myself, I can say that it is much easier for a local utility to achieve trust/faith/respect of the local customers, and they may even be willing to pay a premium for electricity, in return for local ownership and accountability. In the case of Boulder, it would also open up more opportunities for local generation projects - which Xcel would not be so receptive to, as it is spending $bns on new and refitted coal plants.

Interestingly, Boulder is not the first place to do this, but they are the biggest. From the article, there have been 16 municipal electric utilities set up in the last ten years, reversing the decades old trend of electric co's buying up municipal ones. For the corporate electric co's these local utilities are what farmers; markets are to the supermarket chains - something that goes against their business, but until now, has been too small to really be a threat. But the times, they are a changin'...

Best hopes for more locally owned utilities!


I have stated it a few times..

Local Generation, Local Distribution, Local Consumption...

The only way to go for any future in the US.

Super Grid is a Bridge to nowhere man.....

The Martian.

Paul Krugman's rant on how the government is failing to create jobs No We Can't? Or Won't?, set me off on my own rant, News Flash for Paul Krugman (and other progressivists).

I try to explain why there in nothing anybody can do to create jobs, short- or long-term. Our leaders are flailing. Peak oil and declining EROI are all you need to understand as to why jobs are declining (and will even in China). Oh, well, maybe some basic physics would help too.

Now I'd better get back to my job, while it still exists.


Here is a news flash for Professor Krugman. Nothing anybody can do, not government, not the financial markets, not corporations sitting (supposedly) on cash, and especially well-intentioned economists, NOBODY, can create jobs.

What makes you doubt that corporations are sitting on cash? I am genuinely interested, because I have been reading this lots lately but have not found any data/analysis to back-up my skepticism.

I don't doubt that their books reflect cash as a big part of their assets. It's the purchasing power of the nominal value of that cash that is in question. And how many debts (real) do they have on their books as liabilities as well? The answer seems to be no one is really sure any more!

In other words, its the 'sitting', implying they are holding back spending, that one has to question, as Krugman does.

Breeding a better bee

... Researchers at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg are shipping queen bees from hives that show some resistance to the mites across Canada. The scientists, along with colleagues at the University of Guelph in Ontario, then expose the queens to high levels of "disease pressure" according to Rob Currie, professor of entomology at Manitoba. The survivors then are bred the next season and so on -- seven generations so far.

Beekeepers usually breed bees by taking a queen from a hive, but these new efforts are designed specifically for the current situation.

But humans have ways of getting rid of mites already:

1) Be willing to get rid of brood comb and shrink the cell size. Smaller cell size shortens the time the bee spends in the pupal stage and short time means less time for the bees to become infected with mites. 5 years is recommended for getting rid of comb.
2) dust the bees with powdered sugar - the bees will groom and mites get knocked off. Combine with mite trapping bottoms.

And a "no work" solution - plastic full extruded cells.
Why? Because the mite life cycle of being in cells can't happen. (or so they say)
1) Hard to clean
2) some queens won't lay in 'em
3) if you have pesticide pollen that can be transfered see consumption as an absolute necessity in today's economy.red to the plastic and can't be removed.

I often scan through the comments posted by readers on various news items and mutter to myself "oh brother !". For example, in relation to Australia's new carbon tax:

Renewable energy sources will have their day, but the technology is still too embryonic to justify skipping over the important contribution that nuclear power plants will make in the intermediate term. With today's technology and Australia's abundance of safe geological sites, we won't have the issues seen in Japan, Russia and the US. Even then, those great disasters were manageable and the harmful effects much less than anyone predicted.

See: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/letters/nuclear-scene-is-clean-...

[My emphasis.] Gosh, really?

But scrolling a little further, we find this:

I am not that poor young woman, most likely in agonising pain, sitting in a third-rate hospital suffering severe burns to her face after more fighting in Libya (''Horror of life in a city under siege'', July 11). I am not that grief-stricken mother lying over the coffin of the remains of her sons slaughtered in Srebrenica (''Mass burial for 613 victims of the Srebrenica massacre'', July 11).

I am not sitting in a dustbowl of an African refugee camp hopefully awaiting resettlement some time this century. I have not had my babies die in my arms from starvation. I have not had to flee my homeland with the clothes on my back in fear of my life.

But I am going to be about $518 a year out of pocket as a result of the carbon tax. So what? I count myself extremely fortunate indeed.

Thanks, Bernadette, for making my day !


In that same article they say "The new radioactive species can then be put back into the ground where they would have been naturally formed albeit at a much slower rate."

Yes that is fine - if only someone would come up with a place that we could safely do this for, say, the next few geologic epochs.

Until then, nuclear is hardly "green".

Citi analyst sees $40 spread between WTI and Brent:

And while market players are doing everything to move crude away from those producing areas, short of airlifting it out, it just isn't enough. The result, according to Citi: "At some point between now and summer 2012, market dynamics are being set up for perhaps a doubling of the recent spread to $40/bbl or even wider, combined with a shutting in of production both in Western Canada and the US midcontinent due to the continued explosion of production of crude oil in these regions and the inadequacy of physical evacuation to other markets whether by pipeline, truck, rail or barge."


Yes, I mentioned that yesterday. Goldman Sachs however says exactly the opposite and expects the spread to close. Goldman probably has access to higher quality information but do we believe them?

The WTI refining crack spread is currently an astonishing $34/barrel and would presumably be over $50/barrel if the WTI/Brent spread went over $40 as Citi suggests.


" Energy Minister Eric Besson announced on radio Europe 1 the launch of a study on Friday on the country’s energy mix by 2050, with options including a complete exit from nuclear production, a cut in the share of nuclear to 50 percent and a progressive reduction of total electricity production in France.

“We will study all possible scenarios for what we call the energy mix,” he said. “It will be done with total objectivity, in full transparency, without avoiding any scenario (…) including the scenarios of a nuclear exit.”

An energy ministry official told Reuters one scenario would consider a total exit from nuclear by 2050, or even 2040."


(Sorry to shout the headline, but it seemed a pretty significant development!)

Seems they might even be looking at an alternative...


A French minister said Monday that Paris was allocating 103 million euros (146 million dollars) to help finance Morocco's solar energy plan...

...France, Spain and Morocco will also cooperate to boost their electrical interconnection networks, with a summit on the issue planned before the end of the year, the French minister added.

Setting aside wither nuclear is good or bad what do they plan on using in its place?

Yeah, there just aren't any options around anywhere. It's not as though the wind every blows anywhere in or near the place. It's not as though the sun ever shines there. It's not as though they are within a few hundred miles of a vast expanse of almost always sunny land that has almost nothing in it so is ripe of large scale solar applications.../sarc

I really do wonder sometimes how much of our problems and predicaments come down to an inability to imagine alternative possibilities--or really even see possibilities that are staring us right in the face.

Even so, I imagine getting much more efficient and some amount of power down will be part of the plan, too.

'an inability to imagine alternative possibilities..'

or maybe just the insistence on 'getting todays bills paid', such that many or most people quickly conclude that trying to suss out what's coming 'the day after tomorrow' amounts to little more than navel-gazing. Even if the numbers add up, it seems very arcane to people to pose these long-term values, when there are SO many immediate fires to quell, and so much less time available for (American at least) families today to even start to take in where we are headed.

I just announced last night how great it felt to pop some holes into our ground floor apartment walls and start blowing cellulose in, finally! (and with my handmade cellulose blower, to boot).. and I got the little pause and the 'huh'.. as if she isn't entirely convinced that I'm doing something truly useful with my time.

She's not an idiot, and does get so much of the predicament we've formed for ourselves, more around food quality, toxics, and depletion of our Culture, etc... but these parts, the most basic bits of our energy profile, like not pissing it all out through all the walls.. she approves of the 'concept', but once it means I've committed time or money to it Today instead of pounding the pavement for freelance work or doing the immediate chores, then it's 'poor time management'.

She wants to put out today's fires, and just can't put the emphasis on the long-term energy course.

Where this mindset really gets me is with our Home Heating Assistance, LIHEAP, which channels funds away from weatherizing towards Paying for more Oil/Gas, when it should be going in the other direction.

Gemasolar solar thermal power plant supplies power for 24 hours straight

Last week, the Gemasolar power plant near Seville, Spain, became the first commercial solar thermal power plant to supply uninterrupted power for a full 24 hours, according to builders Torresol Energy.

Great that someone is addressing storage. The article gives no information on cost.

NREL has some details.


It has the build cost, but no operating cost numbers (which would be fairly low as it does not need to pay for fuel). It works out to be about 0.07 per kwh with a 40 year life. That would be pretty good. If the utility was allowed to collect rates early so it did not need to borrow (the way Georgia is financing a new nuke) then something close to this would be the end cost.

If those mirror towers were high enough, I wonder if you could have a park under it?

It's not even close.

230 million euro ~ 320 million US$ /
100 GW-h = 11.4 MW-yr per year
= 28 $/W(average)

~13 billion US$
2.2 GW x 0.85 CF -> 1.9 GW-yr per year /
= 7 $/W(ave)

Plug those numbers into
and see what you get for cost per kW-h.

Yeah but the whole nuclear instability and waste issue is not included in your calcs. How much does Fukushima cost. You know. The basic details and all that.

Name a solar power-plant disaster. LMAO.

No your calculation is different from JonFreise's point above, he is correct.

GemaSolar has, if you assume a 40 year lifetime, a simplified cost per kWh of 8 cents.
0.08 US$ per kWh.

You are mixing watts (power) with energy (kWh) in your calculation and I believe you want to calculate the installation cost per W, which is 320 million US$ per 17 MW max output.
That is 18.8 $/watt in construction cost (not too far from your figure by chance, but by wrong equation). EDIT oh I see you have indeed sneaked in a "per year" in your unit, so your equation is OK. Have you added some capacity factor for your figure of 28 $/W?

I thought important to correct this.

Calculation: 320 000 000 $ / (40 years * 100 000 000 kWh/year ) = 0.08 $/kWh
Major investment cost (at your preferred % and scenario) and maintenance not included.

For comparison the Finnish new nuclear plant has a construction cost of approx. 7 Us$/W (around 1-10 who knows).
Solar residential grid connected is somewhere approx. at that cost.
Wind appears to trend to 2 dollars per W installed (nameplate, multiply with 3 for effective output) and a kWh cost of approx 0.05 US$ (judging by wikipedia).

No your calculation is different from JonFreise's point above, he is correct.

GemaSolar has, if you assume a 40 year lifetime, a simplified cost per kWh of 8 cents.

My point was that if you apply the same 0% interest rate and lifetime to both projects, the nuclear cost is much less than the solar cost. About a quarter, in fact: 2 US¢/kW-h. If you don't believe the latter figure, don't believe the former either.

Have you added some capacity factor for your figure of 28 $/W?

Since the source gave the estimated annual energy production ("100,000 MWh/yr"), I didn't have to. But you can work it out:
100,000 MWh/yr / 17 MW = 11.4 MW-yr/yr / 17 MW = 67% capacity factor.

General Motors shows vision of urban mobility

From inside the bubble, the futuristic EN-V feels like a living organism as it slowly rises from a crouching position, before balancing on two wheels as if they were legs.

Unlike a motorcycle, which has one wheel in front of the other, the two-seater electric car has one wheel on either side of its flimsy body.

also http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/24/g-m-en-v-sharpening-the-focus...

Your tax dollars at work....

That truly is a ridiculous toy, that one only expects to see from the drawing boards of Japanese or Korean desginers.
Surely Gm is not serious about this.

But, in some good news from GM, they are going to be bring the diesel version of the Chevrolet Cruze to the US, in 2013.

This car is already on sale in Australia. There are three engine options - a 1.8L, 4cyl gasoline, a 1.4L 4 cyl turbo gasoline($2k extra) and a 2.0L 4cyl turbo diesel ($4k extra).

From the Australian fuel economy specs, the 1.8L gets 7L/100km (33.5mpg), the 1.4 gets 37.2mpg, and the 2.0L diesel gets 42.5mpg.(all figures manual transmission)

So for a 15,000 mile/yr car, you use 448gal on the 1.8, 403 for the 1.4 and 353 of diesel.

Using the current average prices of $3.641 for gasoline, and $3.899 for diesel (EIA), the annual costs will be $1631 (1.8) $1467 (1.4) and $1376 (diesel). so the diesel will save $255 per year over the 1.8 and $91 over the 1.4.

For a high mileage driver, at 30,000 miles, you can double this. Also, the diesel has more power and torque, so if you are likely to be carrying four people, or towing anything (capacity 1500lb unbraked, 2500lb with trailer brakes), the diesel will be the way to go.

The auto trans is a $2k option, and increases fuel consumption by 10%. Save that and get the engine upgrade instead...

And, according to the reviews, the 1.4 is a better drive than the 1.8 - more low end torque, though the diesel would be better still. And will hold its resale better too - and last longer.

Anyway, a step in the right direction for GM - much better than that silly toy pictured above.

42.5mpg is reasonable but the Honda Civic Hybrid gets 44mpg so now we need to know the prices. My wife swears by Honda Civic Hybrids. The civic price is $24,050. The article says 50mpg for the diesel Cruze? Not clear what price. If it is 50mpg and priced around $26,500 I will seriously consider it.

Here the prices of the Cruze in Australia;

The new Cruze Series II range will be on sale in Australia from late March.

2011 Holden Cruze Series II CD - 1.8L Petrol - $20,990
2011 Holden Cruze Series II CD - 1.4iTi - $22,240
2011 Holden Cruze Series II CD - Diesel - $24,990
2011 Holden Cruze Series II CDX - 1.8L Petrol - $24,490
2011 Holden Cruze Series II CDX - Diesel - $28,490
Automatic transmission - +$2,000
Prestige Paint - +$500

According to this site the base model Cruze in the US has a list of $16,600, so I would expect the diesel to be about $21-22k

The fuel consumption figures I quoted are the Australian ones for combined city/hwy. The 50mpg mentioned is likely the hwy rating.

For comparison, the US fuel economy ratings for the 1.8L Cruze are 26 city/36hwy - so a combined of about 32.

If you do more highway driving, the diesel is the way to go. if you do all city driving, then the hybrid is likely a better bet, for fuel economy. I'll bet the diesel Cruze will out perform a hybrid Civic.

The trouble with Civic Hybrids is that the performance falls when it's very hot or very cold. When hot, the A/C use drastically affects the mileage, and when cold, the battery does not perform as well. Maybe mine is an outlier, but 35 is the average, and 42 is the best we get during the spring and fall.

I think the transmission and battery control tuning of the Civic is off as well, though in my view just about every vehicle has some sub-optimal features - the bane of being an engineer.

I've found the Prius to like hot weather. Once it gets hot enough that you are running the AC, further temp increases are a wash (the engine/battery get more efficient, but the AC draw goes up, and they roughly cancel). I measured the same milage at 90F as 110F.

Generally the hybrids are favored in a warm climate, and where there is more low speed driving than fast.

Our Civic definitely like 80-90 best. Over 100 and it goes down significantly. Under 40 as well.

Temperature matters w/hybrids, but use matters a lot, too.
I consistently get better gas mileage in my Prius in hot weather. I think the shorter warm-up times cancel out the higher battery usage to run the A/C. I never use my Prius for short trips; basically only for my 72 mile commute.

One really interesting thing I've noticed is that I get much better mileage with well used tires. The two years before buying my new set I was able to pretty reliably get a little bit over 60mpg on my cumulative per tankful (summertime). With new tires (same brand, same model) mileage dropped off pretty dramatically by almost 10%. Now, with over 25k on the "new" set, mileage is beginning to creep up again.

Also, just a little bit of fuel for the hybrid vs diesel debate; my Prius, at over 90k is still on its original brake linings. This is a little appreciated fact of hybrid tech, that the brakes last a lot longer than in a conventional car. So, this is something that must be factored into the economies of operating the car as well as the gas mileage.

I consistently get better gas mileage in my Prius in hot weather. I think the shorter warm-up times cancel out the higher battery usage to run the A/C. I never use my Prius for short trips; basically only for my 72 mile commute.

That is an interesting observation. I am not a Prius owner, but I thought one advantage of the hybrid was supposed to be for short trips, but it sounds like it has the same warm up problem as a normal. I guess the Volt configuration (or all electric) is the real answer for vehicles that do lots of short trips.

The tyre observation is interesting too, though I can;t offer a reason why it would be so.

I will offer a comment about the hybrid braking v conventional. There is no question that this is a real advantage for hybrids in city driving. Vancouver taxi driver report that Prius taxis go about 3-4x longer on brake pads than the Corolla (similar sized taxis). (Most gave up on Crown Vics years ago as they are just too expensive to run).

But I should also point out that diesels have much better "engine braking" than gas cars - when you lift your foot off the pedal, the engine cuts the fuel injection completely, and you can feel it slow the car down. So you are able to "coast" to a stop more often. I would put the brake life as definitely better than a gasoline car, but certainly not that of a hybrid.

The diesel is certainly a good choice for those with lots of hwy driving, and anyone who ever wants to tow anything. Even the Ford Escape Hybrid is only rated for 1000lbs, and Ford would prefer you to not tow with it at all.

If you are comfortable towing a trailer, a diesel car, especially a wagon, becomes a formidable "utility" vehicle

I am guessing the current hybrids are really not going to exist for much longer. The best hybrid design has a smallish battery Li-ion that can do short trips (say 10-ish miles) and plug in, making the car a really useful tool to reduce gasoline consumption.

I'm not so sure- the Prius has been, and remains, a very good seller.
I do agree that we will see a trend where the new hybrids have plug-in, and electric only capabilities, but, as the Volt has shown, that is a significant increase in complexity and expense compared to the non plug-in ones.

I think that level of complexity will decrease, it can go much lower if we accept some trade off in performance.

I still think the diesels are the way to go for people who do lots of driving, though we would like to see less people doing lots of driving, of course.

I am yet to read any real world reports of the hwy mileage that the Volt is getting, but I'll guess it is not as good as the diesel Jetta.

I would be interested in an EV, as long as I could buy an optional off-board or on-board generator for extended-range needs.

A few percent of the mileage delta on old tires is probably change in the length of apparent miles caused by the change in diameter of the tire.

A little more could be due to newer, softer rubber on the surface.

I think the biggest reason is air resistance. New tires with high tread will move more air than tires with less tread. Ever stand near a tire spinning on a balancing machine? It moves air like a giant squirrel cage blower.

There is also the effect of bald tires, versus aggressive treads. There is less tire deformation and road noise with the bald old tires. Some (I think most) of the delta is lower rolling resistance.

Well, it might be good for US fabrication standards but my 3rd generation petrol Toyota Prius 2009 does 51 mpg over the last 25.000 miles (4.6 L per 100km/40.000 km). I don't see why a 50mpg diesel due in 2013 is that special given that there are already plenty 50mpg diesels available from non-US manufactures...?

But I guess that's

Anyway, a step in the right direction for GM

for some. To a non-US citizen it's nothing special at all.

Well, a 50 mpg diesel car is indeed not that special - except that, until now, there has only been one of them available in the US and Canada - the VW Jetta/Passat.

So, to bring in a diesel to the north american market is indeed a big step for GM, and hopefully, it will lead to more diesels coming in.
Who knows, they might even wake up and put them into their pickup trucks and vans.

Don;t be too hard on the Yanks, it is definitely a step in the right direction, - just that the rest of the world took that step 20yrs ago.

The US is often slow to catch up to the rest of the world, and on some things, it never does - any bets for when they will go metric?

I'd be pretty cautious about buying a diesel now - precisely because this is standard technology in the rest of the world, and the rest of the world runs on diesel. It looks to me like there might be an advantage to be using the fuel everyone else is not. Besides, direct gasoline injection allows some very efficient small engines, especially with a turbo. But that would take more effort than dropping an Italian diesel in their Daewoo/Opel designed Cruze.

The new FORD direct injected, turbocharged engine running on gasoline is claimed to provide gas mileage above 40 MPG in their Focus and Fiesta models, especially when coupled with the new 6 speed automatic transmission. Older automatic transmission designs suffered because the hydraulic pump used to control the shifts operates continuously, pumping fluid thru a pressure regulator, which wastes energy. My limited understanding of the new FORD tranny is that it doesn't rely on a hydraulic control system, which may be part of the reason for the claimed improvement in MPG.

One of the long term advantage to a diesel system is their longer lifetimes. Another potential advantage is the possibility of using biodiesel instead of diesel made from crude. But, you are probably right to worry about fuel availability, but we are all caught in that trap...

E. Swanson

But, you are probably right to worry about fuel availability, but we are all caught in that trap...

Very true. But it's worth remembering that both diesel and gasoline engines are actually multi fuel capable - with appropriate modifications - and that the diesel will *always* be more efficient with said fuel.

You can run both engines ethanol, methanol, higher mixed alcohols, propane, butane, hydrogen, natural gas, biogas, woodgas, coal gas, and so on. Diesel has the advantage it can also run on biodiesel or even, with some fuel system modifications, straight vegetable oil.

So, there are alternatives, but all involve cost and/or inconvenience. And at that point, I'd rather be using the alt fuels in an engine that needs less of them.

Of course, if you really want to be able to use anything that burns, you just need to power your car with one of these;


They are gearing up for an attempt at the steam power land speed record, with a vehicle that looks suspiciously like the the one you built a few decades ago;

I must take strong exception to the claim that diesel engines CAN BE EXPECTED to outlast gasoline engines.

There is absolutely nothing about a diesel that makes it inherently more durable or reliable than a similarly sized gasoline engine, in an automotive application.

Diesels have a well earned rep for durability due to the fact that up until recently, when they started popping up in consumer applications, they were used almost exclusively in commercial applications where the purchaser was ready, willing and able to pay for that durability, and the enhanced fuel economy.

There is an enormous difference between the sort of quality that is economically practical in for example an over the road truck engine that will be running from forty hours a week on up to a hundred hours plus, for fifteen or twenty years, and a car engine that will typically be running fifteen hours or less per week.

That commercial/industrial diesel engine durability is due to no more and no less than better materials and more robust design standards.

Automobile engine designers simply cannot design thier engines to such high standards due to cost considerations.No one should expect them to do so simply because the engine is a diuesel.

If the relative prices of gasoline and diesel fuel stay about the same as at present,the owner of a new diesel car is not likely to save a dime over the life of the car unless he drives it into the ground, and maybe not even then.

I believe in diesels, but I also hang around garages and gear heads, and do a lot of repair work myself.Automotive diesels generally speaking ARE NOT noticeably more reliable or durable than automotive gasoline engines, in terms of either absolute reliability or overall cost of ownership.

This could change of course, as newer engines designs are often more durable and reliable than older designs.

Generally speaking, serious engine failures are due to poor maintainence or poor design.

Manufacturers change thier designs so often nowadays that by the time a durability problem with a particular engine becomes obvious, it is likely already out of production, and there is no opportunity to correct the design or assembly flaw..

Ninety percent or more of the basic components of a typical "high mileage" automotive engine that has been well maintained are in excellent to functionally new condition when the car hits the scrap yard.If an engine croaks before it's time ,this is usually due to the failure of a single component, such as a head gasket, timing belt, or water pump.

Cars are throwaway consumer goods, and automotive diesel engines will be built to throw away consumer good standards.

Corporate bean counters aren't interested in cars lasting beyond past two hundred to three hundred thousand miles as a general rule.

Mac, what you say about the quality of automotive v industrial engines is quite true, but that aside the diesels do have one inherent advantage - they are slower revving engines. With more low down torque, their average rpm is lower and thus so is the mean piston speed - the primary indicator of engine life.

From the Wiki page;

low speed diesels ~8.5 m/s for marine and electric power generation applications

medium speed diesels ~11 m/s for trains or trucks

high speed diesel ~14 m/s for automobile engines

medium speed petrol ~16 m/s for automobile engines

high speed petrol ~20–25 m/s for sport automobile engines or motorcycles

This and the fact that people who choose diesels are not generally "performance" (=aggressive) drivers probably account for the generally longer life of automotive diesels.

It may also be that people who do lots of highway driving choose them so the cars rack u miles faster than city cars, which will likely wear out from bumpy roads, or simply become obsolete, before they get the chance to do as many miles.

The bean counters may not care, but the people that like to buy diesels certainly do.

Yair...OFM, it gets me too. I sort of agree with you. I can never understand people going off about 'unreliable' petrol generators that only do a few hundred hours...if you buy a good quality industrial petrol engine and look after it it will last.

I have mowers with over six thousand hours on the single cylinder sixteen horse power Kohlers, several GX series five and a half horse Hondas with over three...and a seven thousand rev. thirty one cc. Honda four stroke line trimmer with well over one thousand hours.

I say again 'good quality' is the key.

If we want to take the discussion to extremes slow revving Lister petrol engines were expected to last tens of thousands of hours.

When they went diesel nothing much changed. I knew stations that ran luberfiners and the engines never stopped for years.

I bought a reconditioned HR4 from Listers that did about one hundred and ten thousand hours running unattended on a weather station...that is running continuously for near thirteen years with just an hour shut down every year to run the tappets and maybe change the squirters.

This was old industrial grade technology.

As OFM says the present crop of automotive style diesels are a different beast completely and while they offer reasonable fuel consumption and performance they seem to rarely make it to five thousand hours.

As OFM says the present crop of automotive style diesels are a different beast completely and while they offer reasonable fuel consumption and performance they seem to rarely make it to five thousand hours.

But they have to be a completely different beast - look at the way they are operated. the industrial engines, incl the ones on your mowers, generally run at a constant speed, and often under constant conditions - that is pretty ideal for an engine. They also have alow ratio of cold starts per operating hour.

Automotive engines have lots of cold starts, operate at high revs, low revs, high power, low power, have lots of idling time, have to be able to operate in subzero to 35C conditions and so on. On top of all that, they have to be in a car, so they need to be light weight, and have good power to weight ratio, and have good acceleration.
Finally, they need to be relatively cheap in $/hp.

The end result is the engines have to be built different, and lighter and cheaper. There are often some efficiency compromises - like a pre combustion chamber - to give better performance, but that's the nature of the beast.

Sure you can put a Perkins industrial diesel in a car (I know someone who did put a 3cyl Perkins into a Holden Gemini back in the 80's!), but the car will be heavier, underpowered, and the car will die long before the engine does.

And the operating life - 5000 hours would be about 3-400,000km - that is a sufficient operating life for an automotive engine - often the car will be worn out/obsolete by this point.

An extreme example - you could put a Lycoming aircraft engine into a car - very reliable engines, but would cost more than the car! Also, the time between overhauls for those is all of 2000hrs - though this is for aircraft use - you could tolerate a breakdown in a car but not a plane.

Take a typical automotive engine and run it near full power and you'll be lucky to get 50hrs from it, they are just not made for that sort of use.
Take an industrial engine, and put it in a car, and it will be so heavy/underpowered that the car will handle like a dog - they too are not made for that use.

Car engines are an exercise in compromise, and, let's face it, the majority of buyers have no experience with industrial engines, so have no idea how long a "real" engine can last - they'll be onto their third vehicle by then...

A Diesel-Hybrid would seem to do a bit better, though perhaps with a weight penalty. Run the diesel at its optimal point continuously, and let the battery take the cycling. It would be interesting to learn how long the EV motors are lasting, and what the failure modes are (bearings always come to mind). Of course you have battery replacement to deal with instead.

At 200K miles, the cost of an engine is likely to be small compared to the cost of the fuel it has consumed (say, $5K for a decent engine, that's only 2.5cents/mile, compared to 10cents/mile for fuel).

Smaller cars need smaller engines. Efficient cars need smaller engines. Smaller engines tend to be cheaper. Yet another reason to "go small" where possible.

My thinking as well. A steady running liquid/gas powered engine optimised to produce the average power consumption with the peaks, troughs and regeneration taken up by super capacitors and batteries. You would not even need so much battery power either as you would not need to store huge amounts for range. Transmission being electric.


Yair...Paul. I agree with what you say...I just make the point that as soon as you mention "diesel" (as did OFM) folks seem to think the thing is going to last forever because that is what diesels do.

Had to laugh. I stuck a blue-printed 4-236 Perkins in a shorty ragtop 'Cruiser in about '72. We waste gated it back to nine PSI (turbo borrowed from a Dorman) and thing went pretty well.

I suppose there was turbo lag but it did'nt realy matter. It was only a three speed of course. Biggest problem was finding the sweet spot at idle...it tended to want to walk a little sideways when waiting at the lights.

It was totalled after a B and S Walgett 1979. All recovered.

It was totalled after a B and S Walgett 1979. All recovered.

Ha! the B&S recovery - death of many a ute.

Back in my late high school days I remember driving in a friend's, mothers, Mercedes 190D - 1.9L diesel, heavy German car, with three speed auto. Progress was- glacial! I can see why the engine there would last a long time as you just can't "race" it - as long as you change the oil it would keep going. Eventually that car got run into (rear ended). Car was a write off but they took the engine and ran it for an irrigation pump. Was still running 10yrs later...

The old Merc 300D's are a popular SVO conversion - something to do with the old style injector system.

We have a 1962 Chamberlain 6G tractor/backhoe on the family farm, with the original Perkins 4-236 engine. Still runs well, and gets used regularly.
When you look at the size and weight of that engine, and the fact it is 40hp, and a car engine with 4x the power is half the weight, there has to be a decrease in longevity.

We also have a 1950's Cat D2 crawler - the engine in that weighs about a ton! Has a two cyl petrol pilot motor start - bit of a bear starting the pilot, but the diesel runs beautifully. Very clever system with the pilot motor that warms the engine oil (and coolant, I think), and pre-warms the air intake, so that the diesel in engine is not starting "cold" - no wonder those D2 engines last so long!

I have a 1982 Mercedes Benz 240D (manual transmission). About as durable a diesel as has been put into a passenger car. Steel head and block. Heavier than a V-8 gas engine. But without good maintenance, they do die @ 300,000 miles.

Best Hopes for Good Maintenance, Ultra Low Sulfur fuel and Synthetic oil,


Oh boy. What happened to the smart 3 or 4-wheeled efficient car plan?

Either SUV or space pod. Nothing in between.

Psst: It's not real, it's just marketing hype to help the consumers to imagine how the car culture will feel in the glorious green world of tomorrow. Besides, given its small size, it should fit quite well in between the tar paper shacks in the new Hooverville where they'll be living.

for some reason this image stretched out about 1000 time vertically on my display. Some failure of technology, I suppose...

That is *really* cool.

This is the car I drive.


Of course, that is only 106 mpg in US gallons.

In the real world I get 70 mpg mostly urban driving (58 mpg US).

Best result I got in the car computer was 93.8mpg over 130 miles. (78 mpg US) but the computer is too optimistic by about 5mpg

Japan's citizen scientists map radiation, DIY-style

With the Japanese government only providing spotty information about the radiation leaking from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant in the early days after the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami, a group of tech-minded citizen scientists set out to fill in the “black holes” in the knowledge base.

They did so by crafting their own Geiger counters and handing them out to volunteers in the disaster area to measure the fallout. Months later, they have assembled thousands of radiation readings plotted on maps that they hope will one day be an invaluable resource for researchers studying the impact of the meltdown at the crippled nuclear complex.

Unfortunately what these people need there is a mobile-van with gamma-spectrometer and a small lab to process soils samples. Recently there was a news report on BBC? if I remember where they had found very high amounts of cesium in cow milk. But when they tried to detect any radiation from the pasture or feed there was none to be found.

In order to really assess fall-out - you need to be able to measure radioactive particles quantitatively and qualitatively. All 'geiger-counters' and 'scintillation-meters' just give you a reading of how much radiation is hitting its sensor (type distribution depends of window-material).

This is of course a useful measure for purely safety purposes - but it doesn't show the quantity of the radiation sources are hidden inside soil or biological barriers etc.: behind soil particles, inside plants or seeds. You need to prepare samples and see their spectrum to get an idea of the size and type of fall out. Such information is typically needed to make long term decisions about public health, agricultural use and long term remediation needs: eg. removal of top-soil layers etc.

Naturally this kind of information isn't readily available and (foil-hat-on) isn't in the interest of those who would like the public just to see media reports of 'radiation-meters' what happily show 'safe'-levels (foil-hat-off). Anyway the sad thing is that months after the accident we still need to source this kind of information from just public sources ...

Here is a new video.
The subject is "Why Fukushima Can Happen Here".

It is Arnie Gunderson and David Lochbaum.

(I no longer respect Gunderson, who loves attention, and I don't know Lochbaum. Gunderson is on about detonation again. He completly ignores an obvious shock-wave in available videos. http://www.asianweek.com/2011/04/30/nuclear-cloud-over-fukushima/#commen... ,John Ross, look above this location for all of the videos referenced. Lochbaum presents what must be a personal analysis and time-line of the explosions.)

It looks interesting and informative.

If there is a video on that page somewhere, I can't find it. I guess these people assume everyone is running Windows and has IE.

I see a vimeo flash video there. That's with Linux and Firefox.

Here's the direct URL http://vimeo.com/26231562

There's loads of videos at the asianweek link as well.

ransu -

Unfortunately what these people need there is a mobile-van with gamma-spectrometer and a small lab to process soils samples.

Maybe something like this Mobile Radiation Detection for WMD Response, by Ground Vehicle

Great story. The hand-crafted radiation monitoring devices are wonderful. If only they could have had their operation up and running from the beginning. Of course the downside is that the conditions during which collection of this data is most critical are the same conditions during which one's personal health is most at risk from running around through clouds of fresh radioactive fallout trying to monitor and record it.

And from the article:

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it was not in a position to comment on the initiative, but public affairs officer Scott Burnell noted in an email: “Speaking very generally, significant training and specialized equipment is required to provide the most accurate surveying and analysis of radioactive materials in the environment.”

Well, yes, certainly... But as we have clearly seen here, a crisis of this type is exactly the condition under which those resources are least available for general wide-area surveying. So how about some official support for and coordination with these grassroots efforts?

I am gradually ramping up my new hobby of environmental radiation monitoring, or at least the study thereof, and have one fairly decent Geiger counter so far. But as has been noted elsewhere in these discussions, and as the manufacturer (SE International) clearly states on their web site, this type of instrument is basically useless for determining the safety of food. A Geiger counter will detect and measure imminent radiation hazards and/or gross contamination, but actual food can contain a dangerous-to-ingest number of nasty particles that a Geiger counter still cannot distinguish from background. It's a fascinating area of study, and the instruments and methods required for this analysis are not trivial.


They used to have scintillator/PMT assys and NIM modules.

( from the 'Back to Yucca Mountain' story ) Most environmental groups have been opposed to [the site] for years

It's the environmental groups intent on shutting down nuclear power plants by making it too expensive in paperwork terms that should probably get most of the blame for the safety failures of the nuclear power industry IMHO. Very likely these groups have Japanese analogues that deserve most of the blame for Fukushima.

Even if Yucca Mountain isn't the best site imaginable, it's probably pretty darn good and surely rates orders upon orders of magnitude better than the status quo. Even if it's downright awful, having it all in one spot means that only one area gets permanently ruined.

You've got to be kidding. (Looks around for /sarc tag, but doesn't see one.)

Yes, let's blame environmental groups for the disaster at Fukushima.

That's crazy talk.

Yes, let's move all the spent fuel to Yucca Mt. even if it's a downright awful site.

I don't see any signs of sarcasm, so I must conclude that you don't have a clue as to what you are talking about.

I heard a talk by a geologist recently who had done a study of the structure of the rock in that area.

It looks like swiss cheese--full of holes, very porous--not a great place to keep stuff you want to stay put for millions of years.

"Yes, let's move all the spent fuel to Yucca Mt. even if it's a downright awful site."

So name a better one.

No sarcasm intended. Though I believe that nuclear fission power in anything like the form currently done ( and I don't have a better alternative ) is probably something that shouldn't be done by humans ( IQ inversely proportional to number of people in group ) the fact is that it WILL be done. So the only thing is to do it well.

Doing it well means not egregiously adding paperwork and regulations so as to make nuclear power less profitable in the vain hope that nuclear power will be discouraged altogether, but to make good and necessary regulations where they are actually helpful in preventing the most dangerous sorts of corner cutting, keeping it to a minimum so that it doesn't trip well intentioned people up or obscure real dangers and genuinely bad practices from the eyes of those same well intentioned people.

It also means opening Yucca Mountain, and keeping all the waste under watchful eyes for the next hundred years or so. Committing to watch over the waste for that length of time puts the problem into the hands of the next generation. People don't live more than 100 years. That's all the time frame that needs to be considered. The geology of Yucca Mountain is almost irrelevant.

Should there be regulation of the nuclear power industry? Absolutely. Do activist groups have a part to play? Maybe, but attempting to discourage nuclear power from being produced at all by throwing monkey wrenches into the works is irresponsible given that the nuclear power that can be produced WILL be produced. And the waste will be reprocessed eventually proliferation concerns or not.

Very likely these groups have Japanese analogues that deserve most of the blame for Fukushima.


And I am known here for my support (nuanced) for nuclear power.


Possibly. It's a completely unresearched assumption based on a rule of thumb I use that 'people are basically the same everywhere'.

If your concern is specifically the storage of spent fuel in cooling ponds well after it could be moved, then the major cause is the United States anti-nuclear proliferation programs which have strenuously opposed developments of nuclear fuel recycling facilities. It has attempted to maintain the "once-through" burning of nuclear fuels as the norm, and objected to other countries developing reprocessing techonology out of fear that plutonium or other materials would be diverted into military uses.

(OTOH, I wouldn't bet that US anti-proliferation programs haven't done some adroit covert management of anti-nuclear movements and organizations.)

It sounds like you haven't heard about all the shenanigans that TEPCO and the Fukushima MGMT had been trying to get away with in the years prior to the Tsunami.. or the similar BS that has been documented in other wings of this fly-by-night industry.

If 'leaks' in a Nuclear Power Plant can create really serious toxic waste problems, is it worse that people are strongly objecting to unacceptable outcomes from this industry and forcing policy to protect against it, or is it worse that the industry becomes ever more insular, deceptive and prone to hiding any leak that they discover unless forced to come clean?

I'm sure it's a convenient target.. but ultimately the logic is twisted.

What color is the sky on the planet you live on?

Limits to wind energy:

Abstract. The availability of wind power for renewable energy extraction is ultimately limited by how much kinetic energy is generated by natural processes within the Earth system and by fundamental limits of how much of the wind power can be extracted. Here we use these considerations to provide a maximum estimate of wind power availability over land. We use several different methods. First, we outline the processes associated with wind power generation and extraction with a simple power transfer hierarchy based on the assumption that available wind power will not geographically vary with increased extraction for an estimate of 68 TW. Second, we set up a simple momentum balance model to estimate maximum extractability which we then apply to reanalysis climate data, yielding an estimate of 21 TW. Third, we perform general circulation model simulations in which we extract different amounts of momentum from the atmospheric boundary layer to obtain a maximum estimate of how much power can be extracted, yielding 18–34 TW.



Even wind is a finite resource. :)

We will need to limit human population.

You also have to maintain the wind turbines. They need replacement parts from time to time. These have to be made to precise specifications, transported to the proper location, and installed by an installer who most likely uses a truck (or helicopter) to get to the right locations. This truck needs to travel down roads, and they need to have been maintained. All of these processes use oil.

So wind turbine maintenance depends on oil. So wind is limited by oil issues as well.

But all this begs the question: what is the point of pointing that out?

So, the maintenance guys breath oxygen. That too is a limiting factor somewhere along the axis towards infinity.

Parts, roads, materials, tools, power, oil - pretty much everything is required by pretty much every part of our civilization - as are all other modes of power generation. Pointing that out specifically with wind power gives us an insight into what exactly?

Rather one should, if possible, point out limits characteristic specifically to wind power - and then compare those to other modes of power generation. Doesn't the sudden disappearance of abundant and cheap oil make every other mode of power generation moot just as well?

I'm no fanatic for wind power but can't resist when I see and argument so clearly pointless...

I was recently looking at some documentary series, about the Baltic Sea I think, where they showed a brief intro on how they were building those multi-megawatt wind turbines off the coast ... looked like a really neat setup - everything simple, modular, very basic structural and mechanical engineering - all electrics and electronics built into modules in the factory - all you need to do on site is two guys to install everything ... remotely monitored - in the event of fault will shutdown and feather-off - even the central control, monitoring and transformer station was a clean small unit standing off the coast on one of those pilons, unmanned too...

My point being that its really hard to think of why wind power specifically would have some sort of special 'limits': like special components or materials - that pretty much every other thing in our technological civilization wouldn't have?

I suggest start over from there.

Edit: I'll start: in order of significance:
Political and economic limits:
1. political will
2. available investment
Technical limits:
3. grid to distribute (-> smart grid -> super grid)
4. storage to balance

I think when we've built over these four limits then we can start debating wind speeds and amount of available steel etc.

- Ransu

Not really true.

Some wind turbines could be installed by rail mounted cranes alongside tracks (much larger WTs and hence more efficient). The tracks could be existing or purpose built.

For example, build a track, using old, recycled rails, across a West Texas or Dakota plain. Use a large rail mounted crane to mount staggered (right, left, right, left ...) 4 or 5 MW wind turbines (otherwise only installed off shore). Rail would allow MUCH larger cranes than roads will (like rail guns in WW I and WW II, when naval guns were brought inland). Larger cranes > larger WTs > more efficient WTs.

And for truck WT installations, the VERY small amounts of oil used could be replaced by ethanol and/or biodiesel and/or biomethane (sewer gas). The EROEI of WT installation energy (energy minimized) is probably >100,000 to 1. A good use for limited biofuels.

Short distances from a rail head could be done with electric trucks.

Best Hopes for Sustainable Wind,


Not quite in the same league as modern multi MW turbines, but the Dutch managed to maintain a fleet of thousands of wind turbines for centuries, without using fossil fuels.

I would agree that the energy return, on liquid fuel invested, will be several orders of magnitude - indeed easily enough to be covered by biofuels.

I know Alan is a big fan of rail, but an alternative, electrically powered way to do it, would be to use a version of the draglines used in mining operations. These things have a lifting capacity-radius of more than any road or rail crane, and are electrically powered. If you were doing a large wind farm on flat ground, it would just crawl from one site to another to another. If you were going to do a thousand turbine farm on the Texas prairies, this would be one way to do it.


Having said that, even a road going heavy duty crane could be adapted to run on cabled electrical power - and any wind farm site will have that. When it needs to be transported over road, it can be towed by a tug-truck, and, of course, it can easily be transported by rail.

As for the maintenance vehicles, there are enough types of electric trucks available today to handle all of that. It is only the transport of the turbine components that is beyond them, and these could indeed by done by rail, and if the last miles need to be by diesel trucks, so be it.

So, wind powered construction of turbines can be done - it just needs a bit of commitment, that's all.

Best Hopes for Sustainable Wind

Yes. Despite Alans absurd EROEI number (maybe he meant EROEI on WT maintenence), little in the way of high quality portable energy is required for maintenence. Partly we have a problem with the industrial mindset. They are currently prepping the sites of removed obsolete WTs on Altamont pass for something (I assume giant multi-megawatt WTs). But they are making a massive effort, moving early, building haul roads. Looks like scores of heavy duty construction equipment. Now you have to realize, this is rolling grassland, even the whimpiest 4WD could drive anywhere it had permission without any roadbuilding effort. But we have to make a massive industrial effort to prepare it for a few pylons!!! No wonder the environmentalists are opposing such projects.

The same thing seems to be happening with utility scale PV. Why not do the minimum disturbance needed for access (a 4WD pickup needs very little road, even foot high boulders are no obstacle). But we end up leveling and grading the whole area. Why? Some private landowners use horse teams to haul lumber, because it is less destructive of the land. Can't we apply the same mentality to large-scale renewables?

"Why not do the minimum disturbance needed for access..."

Didn't we go into this a couple of weeks ago, and it turned out to be "safety", in that the utility workers cannot be allowed to walk on any surface that's the least bit uneven, so there's little choice but to bulldoze the area flat?

In California, it wouldn't surprise me if even walking ion flat ground will soon be considered a workers hazard. The goal is to get it so they can build these things without even having to get out of the vehicles!

At the risk of making an over generalisation, this business of bulldozing flat, big roads etc seems to be a very American way of doing things. I havn;'t worked out if it is because the design engineers don't know any other way, or are obsessed with "minimising risk" (of being sued after someone trips over), or if it is a bit of scam to turn these into make work projects for unionised construction workers.

But certainly it is making these things less environmentally friendly - this is the wind energy equivalent of forest clear cutting

You can grow oil seed rape in the fields around the wind turbines. Convert this into biodiesel and use this to drive the trucks.
I would be surprised if you need more land than the footprint of the windfarm to grow enough oil.

Anyways, We will never run out of oil... we just have to prioritise the uses we put the supply to.

I see this graph is from Stuart Staniford's blog. He observes:

KSA is now back up to the oil production level immediately before the great recession. Historically, they have never maintained this level very long, yet alone gone beyond it. It will be interesting to see if they can now do so. (They brought on a couple of mb/d of new projects in the period 2005-2008, but some of us think a lot of that might have only offset declines in older fields).

Actually they are still 100,000 bp/d below what they produced in July of 2008 and so is Kuwait. UAE is about 70,000 bp/d below their July 2008 level. But that is the monthly average. If they began increasing production on the 11th or 12th when they, Saudi, announced they would they are likely above their June monthly average.

Percentage change in production from July 2008 to June 2011. Crude only from OPEC's Oil Market Report.

  Algeria  Angola  Ecuador  Iran   Iraq	   Kuwait1
 -10.56% - 18.29%  -3.57%  -6.90%  12.77%  -3.95%

  Libya	   Nigeria  Qatar  Saudi   Emirates  Venezuela  OPEC 12
  -93.42%  12.58%  -5.90%  -1.08%  -2.72%     2.91%	-6.54%

Notice that Iraq, Nigeria and Venezuela have actually increased production since the OPEC peak in 2008 while Algeria and Angola have taken huge hits. It is my opinion that every OPEC nation is now producing flat out. No one is paying any attention to quotas anymore.

Ron P.

So they claim they are raising production, but the tanker trackers don't see any oil movement. Is it real? Or is it Memorex?


Good point: OPEC deliveries in millions of barrels per day through the week ending 7/23/2011 Does not include Ecuador and Angola.


Ron P.

I see ELM.

Oil production flat out, and steady, with increasing amounts required domestically to keep the air conditioning going.


And of course one of the key problems with focusing on monthly data is that the monthly numbers can be influenced inventory changes. Also, the annual net export data show that Saudi Arabia has shown year over year net export declines for four of the past five years, with 2010 net exports being one-fifth below their 2005 annual rate (Total Petroleum Liquids, BP).

At Saudi Arabia's 2005 to 2010 rate of increase in their ratio of domestic oil consumption to production, Saudi Arabia would approach zero net oil exports in only 14 years.

Sandia Develops a Fundamentally New Approach to Air-cooled Heat Exchangers

I usually (never?) post optimistic articles on new technologies, but this is the kind of stuff that I'm familiar with at our physics-standards' lab and think they've done a good solid job with this one - it's not exactly off-the-shelf -stage yet but in my (professional opinion) it's nothing short of slam dunk. Congratulations to the fine engineers/physicists who dared to work on such a simple but powerful idea:


" The performance obtained with a highly unoptimized version 1 prototype device already represents a major advance in a technology area of fundamental importance that has changed little in the past 40 years. The potential implications in the U.S. energy sector (air conditioners, heat pumps, and refrigeration equipment) amount to a ~5% reduction in electrical power consumption, significantly increased grid operating margin, and significant reduction in heat-wave generated load spikes. The potential implications in the information technology sector (desktop computers, high-performance graphics cards, server farms, and data centers) are also very large and center on resolving the thermal brick wall problem, which has prevented CPUs from advancing beyond clock speeds of ~3 GHz, and emerging concerns about the energy consumption of data centers, half of which is associated with cooling. "

Great link, ransu (needs large .pdf warning). This type of air-bearing heat exchanger could have many uses; refrigerators/freezers comes to mind, among other things.

Really good! Just this weekend I "sheared" the fuzz off of an A/C unit at the non-profit where I volunteer. The crud literally came off like lint off the dryer (and now I wonder if a dryer does not vent into that space).

BP's oil spill crowdsourcing exercise: 'a lot of effort for little result'

The technical experts who reviewed more than 43,000 suggestions on how to tackle the Gulf oil spill say the exercise failed to find a silver bullet.

It was an idea born of desperation: an appeal to wannabe scientists and armchair engineers to come up with the technological fix that had eluded the world's biggest oil companies and the brainiest members of Barack Obama's cabinet.

I guess they didn't like my giant Roomba hovervac idea :-0

Oil imports drove May trade deficit to $50.2B

WASHINGTON — The U.S. trade deficit surged in May to the highest level in more than two and a half years, driven by a big increase in oil imports.

Maybe that's one more reason why Bernanke is starting to lean towards more QE action.


NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Persistent worries about the European debt crisis dragged stocks down late Tuesday, wiping out afternoon gains fueled by indications the Federal Reserve would consider further monetary easing if the economic recovery remains sluggish.

Wow, that didn't take long after closing the books on QEII last month and claiming no more easing would be necessary. The risk of more easing is continued inflation and at some point the all too real possibility of hyper-inflation in which there is no stopping that train once it gets moving.

Where did Bernanke say he was leaning toward more QE?


A few FOMC members said they would consider more Fed action if the economy deteriorated, and a few others said they favored tightening sooner rather than later.

Desalinating seawater with minimal energy use

At a pilot facility in Singapore, Siemens has cut the energy needed to desalinate seawater by more than 50 percent. The plant processes 50 cubic meters of water per day, consuming only 1.5 kilowatt-hours of electricity per cubic meter. The most efficient desalination technique currently in use is reverse osmosis, which consumes more than twice as much energy. The magazine "Pictures of the Future" reports that the new technique uses an electric field to remove the salt from the water. Plans call for demonstration units to be set up in Singapore, the U.S., and the Caribbean by mid-2012.

From the 4 Degrees or More: Australia in a Hot World. 2011 Conference

+4ºC scenarios for Australia's future climate

"Rapid global warming of 4ºC would be unlike anything experienced before by modern human societies – presenting us with huge challenges in terms of our ability to adapt," Dr Whetton said

Australia’s Great Sandy Desert summer daytime temperatures are some of the hottest in Australia. Regions further south average 38 to 42 °C (100 to 108°F)

Add 4°C to 6°C in inland areas (7 to 11°F) = 107 to 119°F on average. But average is not the problem, it's the extremes. High temperatures have reached 120-123°F and new high temp extremes could reach 130-135°F.

Not sure, but that seems incompatible with multi-cellular organisms ... like us. Just sayin'

Meanwhile in the US: Dangerous Heat Wave Spreads

Popular TV shows teach children fame is most important value, psychologists report

Fame is the No. 1 value emphasized by television shows popular with 9- to 11-year-olds, a dramatic change over the past 10 years, UCLA psychologists report in a new study.

On a list of 16 values, fame jumped from the 15th spot, where it was in both 1987 and 1997, to the first spot in 2007. From 1997 to 2007, benevolence (being kind and helping others) fell from second to 13th, and tradition dropped from fourth to 15th.

Community feeling (being part of a group) was the No. 1 value in 1967, 1977 and 1997, and it was the No. 2 value in 1987, the study found. By 2007, however, it had fallen out of the top 10, to 11th

..."The biggest change occurred from 1997 to 2007, when YouTube, Facebook and Twitter exploded in popularity," Uhls said. "Their growth parallels the rise in narcissism and the drop in empathy among college students in the United States...Changes we have seen in narcissism and empathy are being reflected on television

Quick, unplug the TV

Quick, unplug the internet.

edit: to clarify.

""The biggest change occurred from 1997 to 2007, when YouTube, Facebook and Twitter exploded in popularity," Uhls said. "Their growth parallels the rise in narcissism and the drop in empathy among college students in the United States"

So the social media lead the way and television mirrors and reinforces. In both the middle east revolutions and in the mind-napping of the industrial world's population.

thanks for the link

Having people watching Disney channel, I bet it is even more true for teenagers. Fame, and being seen as cool by one's cohorts seem to come out on top.

I didn't need a fancy study to tell me that because my kids have been saying that for years already.
They believe that "fame" can be transformed into "wealth".
Maybe it is part of the population explosion thing. You know. Where you are just one in 7 billion and you want your life to mean something? I'm not sure. But definitely the quest for "fame" is a big thing among the younger generation.

Whadda ya know?

Motorists driving less, but gas prices keep rising

Gasoline prices are rising again even though drivers in the U.S. have bought less gas for four months in a row.

... EIA added that global oil production won't be enough to satisfy demand. The U.S. and other countries will have to keep dipping into spare supplies, if they don't want prices to spiral out of control, the EIA said.

Now all we need is an infinitely large spare supplies barrel.

Also http://www.marketwatch.com/story/eia-sees-rise-in-2011-world-oil-use-201...

and http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/retrospective/

Foolish statements by the EIA. I would expect the volatility of the oil markets to increase unbelievably if we depleted a good portion of the SPR. I guess they expect quite a bit of oil production growth after 2012 so we can refill the SPR?

Cultivating wisdom: Studies identify a promising way (w/ video)

"Although humans strive to be wise, they often fail to do so when reasoning about issues that have profound personal implications," said U-M psychologist Ethan Kross, who co-authored the article with doctoral student Igor Grossmann. "These experiments suggest a promising way for people to reason wisely about such issues."

That makes sense - the greater the distance, the lesser the perceived threat, the lesser the limbic FFF (fight/freeze/flight) response, the "wiser."

Thanks again Seraph. Good stuff.

Pakistan 'punished' in Pipelineistan

Before the end of 2011, Pakistan will start working on its stretch of the IP (Iran-Pakistan) gas pipeline - according to Asim Hussain, Pakistan's federal minister for petroleum and natural resources. The 1,092 kilometers of pipeline on the Iranian side are already in place. IP, also known as "the peace pipeline", was originally IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India). Although it badly needs gas for its economic expansion, faced with immense pressure by the George W Bush - and then Barack Obama - administrations, India still has not committed to the project, even after a nearly miraculous agreement for its construction was initialed in 2008.

More than 740 million cubic feet of gas per year will start flowing to Pakistan from Iran's giant South Pars field in the Persian Gulf by 2014. This is an immense development in the Pipelineistan "wars" in Eurasia. IP is a major node in the much-vaunted Asian Energy Security Grid - the progressive energy integration of Southwest, South, Central and East Asia that is the ultimate mantra for Eurasian players as diverse as Iran, China, India and the Central Asian "stans".
This Pipelineistan development may go a long way to explain why the White House announced this past Sunday it was postponing US$800 million in military aid to Islamabad - more than a third of the annual such largess Pakistan receives from the US.

News from EIA

Mexico Country Analysis Brief

Forecast for Mexico's Oil Production: Based on the June 2011 Short-Term Energy Outlook, EIA forecasts that Mexico will produce 2.85 million bbl/d of oil in 2011 and 2.83 million bbl/d in 2012. The decline is driven mainly by falling production at the super-giant Cantarell field, which has only been partially offset by higher production from other areas. Over the long-term, the EIA International Energy Outlook 2010 forecasts that Mexico will become a net oil importer by 2020, with net imports of over 1 million bbl/d by 2035. As one of the largest oil exporters to the United States, this has important implications for future U.S. energy supplies. From Mexico's perspective, changing into a net oil importer would have important repercussions on the overall economy, due to the dependence of the federal government on Pemex for a sizable share of its revenues.

And ten years ago the 2002 EIA report said:

...Expected production volumes in Mexico exceed 4.1 million barrels per day by the end of the decade and remain near that level through 2020...

I wonder if, perhaps, they are still too optimistic?

Hacker group claims hit on US defense contractor

also Anonymous leaks 90,000+ emails from compromised military contractor Booz Allen Hamilton

Booz Allen Hamilton has produced a number of classified energy resource papers for the DoD. Stay tuned.

Two Million Dead - Now What's That South Sudan Independence About?

The New York Times produced a nice article the other day covering Independence Day in the new country of South Sudan. It mentioned all kinds of things, from the dignitaries who attended the ceremony, the history of warring that resulted in two million deaths, the continued threat from multiple insurgencies, the religious differences that divided the South from the North of Sudan (North: Muslim, South: Christian and Animist), the hellish heat dogging the festivities. It even noted that the new president wore his signature black cowboy hat, a gift from George W. Bush, and that someone in the crowd held up a sign reading, "Thank You George Bush."

Just one teensy thing it nearly skipped: Oil.

(For more on Sudan, oil, and the very real prospects of renewed war--explicitly over the oil, see this report from the Inter Press news service.)

According to USDA report Chinese hogs will gobble up more American corn that could have gone to make ethanol:


Exports of agricultural products from the U.S. jumped to $60.2 billion in the first five months of 2011, up 33 percent from a year earlier, the government said last month. Shipments last year climbed 18 percent to a record $115.81 billion. China became the leading market for U.S. farm goods by boosting purchases 34 percent.

China, the biggest buyer of soybeans, became a net importer of corn last year for the first time since 1996. The USDA said today that China will import 2 million tons of corn in the year that begins Oct. 1, up from an estimated 1.5 million this year.

Feeding corn to hogs is a big waste of energy. Shipping it half way around the world to feed to hogs is a much bigger waste of energy.

But it appears that is what is going to happen with some of the new crop. Instead of pushing more ethanol into the system by keeping current incentives, the U.S. will be exporting the corn and buying imported oil.

From both an energy and economic point of view this makes no sense.

More ethanol plants would have created jobs and taxable economic activity while partially solving the liquid fuel dilemma.

Instead the benefit of using the corn will go to the Chinese who are building American type hog factories. The jobs will be created in Chinese construction, hog factory operation and pork processing.

Dianne Feinstein will be pleased though.


“We knew Congress was responsive to the oil industry’s needs, but even this surprises us – all of the petroleum industry’s subsidies remain intact. It makes one wonder why, if this is really about reducing the deficit, the Senator does not put this kind of effort into reducing petroleum subsidies and pollution. She could probably be very effective,” added Irvin.

It should come as no surprise that earlier this year, Feinstein voted to keep current oil subsidies in place, while voting to end ethanol subsidies. According to a 2010 study by the Environmental Working Group, estimated cumulative ethanol subsidies between 2005 and 2009 were US$17 billion. Yet each year, U.S. oil subsidies are more than $100 billion give or take, while fossil fuels subsidies worldwide were more than $312 billion as reported by the International Energy Agency. One must ask that if you are trying to balance the budget, ending oil subsidies is a no-brainer but our legislators have proven time and time again they have no brains.

Feeding corn to hogs is a big waste of energy.

Perhaps then the American corn industry should *refuse* to sell the American pork industry?

From both an energy and economic point of view this [shipping corn to China] makes no sense.

More ethanol plants would have created jobs and taxable economic activity while partially solving the liquid fuel dilemma.

This may come as surprise to you, X, but there is no law prohibiting the construction of new ethanol plants in the US. Perhaps if the ethanol industry used some of that $17bn of taxpayer subsidy they could build a few more plants. How much more money do you need to make ethanol "competitive"

After all, if, as you say, it makes no economic sense to ship the corn to China, then why is no one building new ethanol plants today?

June 2011 Dashboard

The take rate for hybrids this month was 1.2%, a further decline from last month’s 1.5%


Your post perhaps unintentionally implies lack of popularity, which is not the case:

The number of hybrid vehicles sold in the United States in June continued to decline in the face of supply shortages that have hit gas-electrics particularly hard. The industry-leading Toyota Prius continued its decline due to availability, but the Hyundai Sonata hybrid picked up some of the slack and overtook the Honda Insight to become the second best-selling hybrid on the market.