Drumbeat: September 2, 2011

Will the real peak oil policy please stand up?

There has been much excitement in the press recently about the last government’s attitude to peak oil. Documents released under Freedom of Information requests seem to show New Labour facing both ways: dismissing the issue in public, while privately worrying about its potential impacts. Far more relevant today is the attitude of the coalition, which is just as perplexing and equally dangerous.

Tropical Storm Lee closures cut about half of US Gulf oil production, 1/3rd of gas

NEW ORLEANS — Tropical Storm Lee has cut off just under half of the normal oil production from the Gulf of Mexico’s U.S. waters.

That’s the word from the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.

Moscow airports face fuel shortage

A jet fuel shortage is looming over the Moscow airports. The situation is so critical that already on September 5, the airport officials will simply have nothing to fill the planes with. In the near future, Rosaviatsia (Federal Air Transport Agency) intends to request Rosrezerv (Federal State Reserve Agency) to provide the metropolitan airports with 180 thousand tons of fuel. Besides, the Agency is going to contact oil companies with a request to increase the supply of fuel by 10 percent.

US natgas rig count falls by 3 to 895-Baker Hughes

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States fell by three this week to 895, the second straight weekly decline, data from oil services firm Baker Hughes showed on Friday.

Global Offshore Drilling Pace Continues to Gather Steam

A current global snapshot reveals that there are 760 offshore rigs divided into two main types (277 floaters and 483 jackups) within the competitive fleet. The table above details the type of rig, the water-depth accommodated, and current region where these rigs operate. The highest concentration of shallow water rigs is located in the Middle East, which hosts nearly 31 percent of the total mix or 149 jackup rigs. From a highest contracted percentage, the best performing region is the North Sea, where 93 percent or 39 of 42 jackup rigs are leased. But the most active region for jackups falls back to the Middle East where 114 rigs are now under contract.

Fuel Shortage Hits Dakotas, Minnesota

FARGO - A critical shortage of gasoline and diesel fuel is showing no signs of improving. North Dakota Petroleum Marketers Association Executive Director Mike Rud says with the harvest getting underway and a huge demand for diesel, supplies are short.

US, Mexican officials discuss plans to improve regulation of energy supplies in Gulf of Mexico

WASHINGTON - The U.S. and Mexico are working toward a deal on how to share and regulate oil in reservoirs crossing their maritime border.

The State Department says officials spent two days this week in Washington beginning formal talks on a "trans-boundary energy agreement" for hydrocarbon reservoirs underneath the U.S.-Mexican border in the Gulf of Mexico.

Analysis: Damages ruling may be pivotal in BP case

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A key court ruling in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill litigation could change the landscape in the massive case -- encouraging more plaintiffs to sue, or spurring the parties to make a deal to resolve what could be a long string of trials over damages.

Analysis: Research Group Defines 'Best' Fracking Practices to Ease Concerns

A research group has issued a non-commercial white paper that outlines the most serious environmental concerns associated with hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") in oil and natural gas shale operations – and identifies emerging practices that could substantially ease these concerns, if they were put into wider use.

Hundreds arrested during pipeline protest at White House

WASHINGTON – Mary Mann, a 68-year-old grandmother from Atlanta, had never been arrested — until this week in front of the White House.

"I'm tremendously concerned about our children," says the petite woman in sneakers and a floppy sun hat. She's holding a sign with a campaign appeal President Obama once made to free America from the "tyranny of oil."

South Carolina Lawmakers Consider Gas Cap After it Failed in Hawaii

State Sen. Dick Elliott is not only pushing forward with a goal of capping wholesale gasoline prices in the Palmetto State, he’s confident that if South Carolina takes such a step, other states will follow.

“I believe that if South Carolina passes a price cap you’ll see states across the nation follow our lead and impose price caps of their own,” said Elliott, D-Horry. “The fact is, the oil companies will own us if we don’t do something.”

Culture and behavior: The human nature of unsustainability

In 1992 the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) issued the following gloomy assessment of the prospects for civilization:

We the undersigned, senior members of the world’s scientific community, hereby warn all humanity of what lies ahead. A great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it is required if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated.

Thirteen years of continuing eco-degradation later, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the most comprehensive assessment of the state of the ecosphere ever undertaken, was moved to echo the UCS sentiments:

At the heart of this assessment is a stark warning. Human activity is putting such a strain on the natural functions of the Earth that the ability of the planet’s ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted.

The Myth of Fuel Efficiency

Fuel efficiency is a good thing, right? I don't see why not.

But the prevailing myth is that fuel efficiency results in the use of LESS fuel.

It's just not true.

Facing the new reality

The Community Action Partnership, which is the umbrella organization of Community Action Agencies--which in turn administer the lion's share of anti-poverty programs in the US--has just come out with a report, Facing the New Reality: Preparing Poor America for Harder Times Ahead. Input for the report came from (among others) Nate Hagens, Dmitry Orlov, Sharon Astyk, Dave Room, John Michael Greer, Megan Bachman, and Richard Heinberg.

TNK-BP, Gazprom lead Russia to record-high oil output

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Oil output in Russia, the world's top crude producer, hit a new post-Soviet high of 10.28 million barrels per day (bpd) in August on the back of production ramp-ups at TNK-BP and Gazprom , the Energy Ministry said on Friday.

Overall crude production last month edged up 0.2 percent from 10.26 million bpd in July.

Russia retained its position as the world's top oil producer ahead of Saudi Arabia, which also increased production last month to 9.9 million bpd, up by 50,000 bpd.

Gas prices near a Labor Day weekend record

NEW YORK — Gasoline is nearly the highest it's ever been for this time of year, just ahead of the Labor Day weekend.

The run-up in oil prices this year, combined with a rash of refining problems throughout the U.S., has boosted pump prices. The national average on Thursday was $3.629 per gallon. Drivers will pay more for gasoline this Sept. 1 than in any other year except 2008, when pump prices hit an average of $3.686.

Retail gasoline prices are rising in the U.S. even though motorists are buying less. Analysts say they have been pushed higher by a steady rise in international gasoline demand. Americans may be using less, but drivers in developing nations are using more.

Oil Drops Before U.S. Jobs Data; Gulf of Mexico Rigs Shut as Storm Builds

Oil dropped in New York, trimming a second weekly gain, on speculation that slower jobs growth in the U.S. may curtail fuel consumption in the world’s largest economy.

Futures fell as much as 1.2 percent before data today that may show companies slowed hiring last month. A tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico prompted companies including BP Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp. to shut almost 6 percent of the area’s crude output. The storm may approach the Louisiana coast this weekend, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Tropical Depression Stalls in Gulf of Mexico on Path to Louisiana’s Coast

A tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico that has shut almost 6 percent of the region’s oil production was “nearly stationary” in the south of Louisiana, according to the National Hurricane Center.

How Arctic oil could break new ground

As ExxonMobil beats BP to strike a deal for Russian Arctic oil, what does it mean for the industry – and the environment?

Ukraine ups stakes in gas dispute with plan to scrap Naftogaz

Ukraine raised the stakes in its spat with Russia over gas prices on Friday, announcing plans to scrap national energy company Naftogaz and tear up its existing gas contracts with Moscow.

TAPI pipeline project members welcome Russia's participation

Russia wants to participate in the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, members of the project said in a joint statement on Friday.

Russia may boost oil exports via Baltic in 2012

(Reuters) - Russia is likely to increase its crude oil exports via the Baltic Sea ports in 2012 by 40 percent to around 100 million tonnes, an official at Russian oil pipeline monopoly Transneft told reporters on Friday.

Due West: The rules of the oil game in Russia

The foreign business community in Moscow is very agitated. Quick on the heels of ExxonMobil’s unprecedented deal with Rosneft comes the Russian investigators’ raid on the offices of BP. The company nearly became Rosneft’s preferred partner in Arctic exploration last December. The deal got a personal blessing by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. However BP’s partners from TNK-BP (Viktor Vekselberg, Mikhail Fridman and Leonid Blavatnik) thought that BP broke its commitment to do business in Russia only via TNK-BP, which is co-owned by the British giant and the three oligarchs in question with about five per cent of the shares dispersed among minor shareholders.

Senegal Plans Offshore Oil Drilling in 2012 as West African Output Grows

Energy companies operating in Senegal will drill three offshore wells next year as the West African nation vies to join a growing group of regional crude producers, according to the state-owned oil company, Petrosen.

Pemex Sees Potential Deep-Water Oil Drilling Ventures With Spain’s Repsol

Petroleos Mexicanos, the shareholder doubling its stake in Spanish oil company Repsol YPF SA, wants to jointly drill in deep waters though media reports say Repsol is resisting the growing power Mexico’s state-owned company.

Offshore issue halts gas flow at UK terminal

(Reuters) - Gas exports from Conoco Phillips' Theddlethorpe gas terminal stopped on Thursday afternoon due to an operational issue offshore, a spokeswoman said on Friday.

Major Countries Burn Up Crude Reserves: Whether Big Oil Is In Trouble

It is something that peak oil advocates have been warning us for a long time; our world using up our last reserves of oil. While the day that the last drip of crude is burned up is a long ways out, some parts of the world may be heading for a major pinch in production. As our world population continues to expand, with the total predicted to hit nine billion by 2050, our addiction to crude only increases, as we use oil for a wide number of things in our daily lives. Besides its most dominant use as a fuel for automobiles and the like, oil is also used in a number of other processes like the production of plastics and variety of other industrial outputs.

Profit from Peak Oil

Twelve jackbooted thugs armed with assault rifles stormed the Moscow office of BP (BP).

These goons carried out a ritual search of the company in a show for the media.

To be sure, this raid is just one more example of the fight over limited resources.

Obama can’t catch a break on oil

Poor Barack Obama. He opens up the country to a drilling spree -- and naturally progressives are pissed because, well, we care about things like clean air, clean water, and a livable climate.

But conservatives are strangely ungrateful, too! They blame Obama's supposed anti-drilling policies. So Mitt Romney said earlier this year, "People are hurting, gasoline's expensive, and the policies of this administration that have focused solely on green technologies are not keeping the cost of gasoline down."

Darn you, Barack Obama, for only quadrupling the number of oil drilling rigs in the U.S.!

Dominion files plan to meet growing energy needs

Dominion, the state's largest utility with about 2.3 million customers, said that expected changes in environmental regulations will likely mean it will close its coal-fired Chesapeake Energy Center by 2016. One coal-fired unit at its Yorktown Power Station would likely close by 2015 and the second unit at the facility would be converted to natural gas. New air emissions controls also may need to be installed at certain facilities.

The company's plans also include two new 1,300-megawatt, natural gas-fired power stations to be in service by 2016 and 2019 and 12 smaller natural gas-fired turbine units coming into service between 2020 and 2026 at locations to be determined. It already is seeking approval for additional 1,300-megawatt, natural gas-fired power station near Front Royal.

EU agrees to ban crude from Syria

SOPOT, Poland (Reuters) - European Union governments agreed on Friday to ban imports of Syrian oil in a move to strengthen economic pressure on the President Bashar al-Assad and his government, EU diplomats and officials said.

The oil embargo marks a significant step for the EU, which has so far taken an incremental approach to sanctions against Assad as they try to force him to end a crackdown on anti-government protesters and relinquish power.

Nations Pledge to Support New Libya Leaders

Leaders of the international coalition that helped topple Muammar Qaddafi pledged economic and military support to Libya’s new administration as the former strongman vowed a long insurgency against his opponents.

Libyan rebels round up black Africans

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) – Rebel forces and armed civilians are rounding up thousands of black Libyans and migrants from sub-Sahara Africa, accusing them of fighting for ousted strongman Moammar Gadhafi and holding them in makeshift jails across the capital.

Virtually all of the detainees say they are innocent migrant workers, and in most cases there is no evidence that they are lying. But that is not stopping the rebels from placing the men in facilities like the Gate of the Sea sports club, where about 200 detainees — all black — clustered on a soccer field this week, bunching against a high wall to avoid the scorching sun.

Libya rebels aim to get oil flowing 'within days'

Oil wells in Libya that were dormant during six months of civil war are expected to be running within "days", according to a rebel official.

US debate over 'leading from behind'

WASHINGTON - As rebels moved to consolidate control over a post-Muammar Gaddafi Libya, foreign policy analysts in the United States are debating whether Washington's role in the nearly six-month civil war in the oil-rich North African nation marks a new model for military intervention and "regime change" in objectionable countries.

Panel awards Chevron $96m in Ecuador row

An international tribunal has ordered Ecuador to pay Chevron a $96 million fine for failing to rule on seven business cases filed in the early 1990s.

China curbs Iran energy work under shadow of U.S. sanctions

(Reuters) - China has put the brakes on oil and gas investments in Iran, drawing ire from Tehran over a pullback that officials and executives said reflected Beijing's efforts to appease Washington and avoid U.S. sanctions on its big energy firms.

Exxon Mobil's Arctic Deal In Russia: Showcasing The Difficulties Of Finding New Oil Reserves

If you turn the clock back to the turn of the century you will see oil prices in the $20 range, every middle class family in America with two cars and per capita car growth in Asia growing rapidly. Today we have oil near $90, every middle class family in America with two cars and per capita car growth in Asia growing rapidly.

The only thing that has changed is the price of oil. Oil prices are up four times, yet our lifestyles have not changed and oil demand globally continues to grow. It isn’t speculators in the oil market driving up prices, it is supply and demand. And in the 10 years during which oil prices have quadrupled we haven’t done anything to either address the supply challenges or control the increase in demand.

The DOD Energy Consumption in FY2010

Finally, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Installations and Environment) finally released the DOD’s Annual Energy Management Report for Fiscal Year 2010.

This report focuses on energy used by military installations and non-tactical vehicles. For ease of discussion, this report refers to both as “facilities energy.” In a footnote you will find out that this report does not address operational energy. This is the first shock you will get on the first page.

The Peak Oil Crisis: A Billion Vehicles

In the United States, we have reached the stage where there is a motor vehicle for every 1.3 people and at least one for every licensed driver. This situation is unlikely to obtain in an era of little or no economic growth, limited employment opportunities and undreamed of energy costs. It is highly unlikely that there will be anything approaching 240 million registered vehicles in the U.S. 25 years from now. From the vantage point of 2011, it seems probable that many will not be able to afford to own and operate personal motor vehicles of the size and types we have today

The configuration and energy consumption of vehicles are likely to undergo more changes in the next 25 years than they have in the last 100. After all, the car and truck of 1910 was not all that much different than what we have today. Given what we now think of as high gas prices, vehicle manufacturers are falling all over themselves in efforts to produce much more fuel efficient vehicles.

Car sales rise - against all odds

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Consumers shrugged off a slowing economy, plunging stock markets and even a hurricane to keep buying cars at a decent clip in August.

Industrywide sales were up 7.5% from a year ago in August. And the pace of August sales works out to an annual rate of 12.1 million, off only slightly from the July's 12.2 million pace.

China says ConocoPhillips hasn't ended Bohai spill

SHANGHAI (AP) — China's oceanic agency has ordered ConocoPhillips China to do a better job of preventing and cleaning up offshore spills in the Bohai Bay that have raised an outcry among fishermen and environmentalists.

The State Oceanic Administration said Friday that its investigation found the company had failed to fully comply with orders to completely clean up damage from the spills and to ensure they would not reoccur.

Tokyo Electric: can avoid blackouts in Sept

(Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power Co said on Friday it expects to avoid rolling blackouts in the four weeks to the end of September, despite the closure of two nuclear plants in Fukushima following the March earthquake and tsunami.

Japan nuke holdout resolved to stay

TOMIOKA, Japan (AP) — Vines creep across Tomioka's empty streets, its prim gardens overgrown with waist-high weeds and meadow flowers. Dead cows rot where they were left to starve in their pens. Chicken coops writhe with maggots, a sickening stench hanging in the air.

This once-thriving community of 16,000 people now has a population of one.

Md. state senator to join White House protest of plan to pipe oil from Canada

WASHINGTON — A Maryland state senator plans to engage in civil disobedience at the White House to protest a plan to pipe oil from western Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

Environmental activists have been gathering outside the White House for the past two weeks to protest the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Sen. Paul Pinsky, D-Prince George’s, plans to join them Friday, and he says he will risk arrest.

Greens Gain in Germany, and the World Takes Notice

BERLIN — A string of Green Party victories and strong electoral showings across Germany, from the conservative south to the port cities of the north, are helping to redefine politics among voters who are increasingly losing faith in the more established parties.

Will the Transition to Renewables Be Fast or Slow?

Yes, solar is a miniscule part of the energy budget, but history shows market shares can shift rapidly.

Solar company that got federal loan shuts down

WASHINGTON — A California solar-panel manufacturer once touted by President Barack Obama as a beneficiary of his administration's economic policies — as well as a half-billion-dollar federal loan — is laying off 1,100 workers and filing for bankruptcy.

Exploiting mineral wealth makes sense

Was it an accident that Tuesday morning's release of the Government's energy strategy, with its dangling promise of oil wealth, came just hours before Finance Minister Bill English announced the cupboard was bare in the Earthquake Commission's $6 billion Natural Disaster Fund?


Ignoring peak oil and scarcity - political myopia?

Oil will one day run out and without a comparable substitute - we can expect a return to 1970s-style oil shocks. And, yet, politicians and economists prefer to ignore the truth.

5 Reasons Why Peak Oil is a Myth

For years this idea has been hotly debated on many grounds. Many argue that if the production were to really cross its peak what explains the ongoing trend of new discoveries of extensive reserves found across the world? How are certain countries able to increase production on demand or to offset supply drop in other countries? Can Peak Oil be an excuse many companies adopt to hike prices and control market and consumer dynamics in the world? Many such arguments abound that have tried to reveal the many layers that constitute the theory in a bid to quell the fear and ultimately expose the façade of increasing oil prices.

Postcard from Europe, Verging on Collapse

The end of capitalism might seem like the end of the world, but only because we haven't been listening to many of this nation's finest thinkers. Any anxiety we feel at this historic crossroads results because our expected living standards have been produced much like any other good in our consumer economy. Capitalism's true crisis results from our inability to imagine an alternative.

The dilemma of growth, as dramatized by the voices in my head

As economist Peter Victor says, "We've had 125,000 generations of humans, but it's only been the last eight that have had growth. So what's considered normal? I think we live in very abnormal times. And the signs are showing up everywhere that the burden we're placing on the natural environment can't be borne."

The limitations on oil are starting to get traction in mainstream political and economic discussion, because we've reached a situation where there isn't enough spare capacity in world oil supply to cushion prices against swings caused by unexpected events. (See: Libya.) This is what happens when demand outruns supply: not a steady rise in prices but large, painful, disruptive fluctuations. That's the new normal.

Book Review: Is Humanity on the Ascent?

Every once in awhile a book comes along that ushers in a massive paradigm shift on a major societal issue.

The abolitionist cause was barely struggling along when it got a tsunami of support from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The ennui of the suburban housewife and the travails of the inner city working single mother had apparently little in common until the “click” of consciousness engendered by Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. And Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring almost single-handedly spawned the environmental movement.

The Ascent of Humanity: the Age of Separation, the Age of Reunion, and the Convergence of Crises that is Birthing the Transition by Charles Eisenstein is just such a book for everyone concerned with the crisis of civilization to which humanity seems to have brought itself.

Teaching peak oil to preteens

A new graphic novel series invites preteens to join Luz and her friends as they learn about and transform their fossil-fueled world.

The way the future wasn't

It’s a trajectory worth studying for more reasons than one. The intersection of imperial extravagance, technological triumphalism, and anti-Communist panic that flung billions of dollars into a quest to put men on the Moon made it possible, for a little while, for a minority of visionaries with a dream about the future to think that their dream was about to become reality. The dream unraveled, though, when the rest of the universe failed to follow the script, and a great many of the visionaries found themselves sitting in the dust wondering what happened.

Campaign group wants national debate on food safety

A Sydney food campaign group says Australia needs a major overhaul to ensure fair, sustainable and resilient foods systems are in place and have called for a debate on the issue.

The Sydney Food Fairness Alliance (SFFA) have expressed their concerns in a submission on the National Food Plan due today, where they have highlighted their concern about how the food environment will be impacted by climate change.

Keeping Industrial Plants Cool and Fish Alive

It’s hard to fathom how one sentence has sparked nearly 40 years of heated controversy and relentless litigation. But when the sentence in question is part of the Clean Water Act and its application in practice has a potential price tag of $100 billion to some of the largest power plants in the country, it’s even harder to imagine how the issue will actually ever be resolved.

South Africa: Global Warming Threatens Food Security

Pretoria — The food security threat posed by climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the African continent, says Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

"Africa has the responsibility to feed the world as well as its own African people, but we are faced with enormous climate change constraints such as severe drought, floods dreadful diseases.

UN: Netherlands most disaster-prone EU country

Of all European countries, the Netherlands is most at risk from natural disasters and climate change.

Russia, US join forces in race for Arctic oil

Moscow/New York - Russian and US companies are joining forces to exploit some of the world's largest deposits of oil and gas, which are thought to lie under the Arctic's ice.

As the ice is slowly receding because of global warming, the petroleum fields finally seem to be accessible.

Developing the North: Great riches, greater challenges

IQALUIT, Nunavut — At the rim of the Arctic Circle, gold mining firm Agnico-Eagle is learning how tough it is to operate in a remote region with temptingly large, but frustratingly inaccessible, reserves of oil, gas and minerals.

Commentators rarely mention nightmarish logistics, polar bears and steel-snapping cold when they confidently predict that as the Arctic warms up, melting sea ice and shorter winters will open up the expanse to exploration.

But the rosy words obscure the reality of working in an icy wasteland that stretches across Russia, Scandinavia, Alaska and Canada. And rather than making life easier, the warming of the Arctic and the thawing of its permafrost could make operating here even more complicated.

US Jobs report is out

August jobs report: Hiring grinds to a halt

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- So much for getting Labor Day weekend off to a good start.

Hiring slammed to a complete halt in August, as several fresh challenges put the American economy in turmoil.

Employers added no jobs during the month and the unemployment rate remained at 9.1%, the Labor Department said Friday.

"We expected a weak report, and what we got was even weaker," said Patrick O'Keefe, director of economic research at J.H. Cohn.

Dow down 150 points at open. Brent at $112.08

Dow now down over 240. Gold trading higher than Platinum, quite rare; usually not a good sign. Most commodities down, excepting precious metals. Of course, it's all Obama's fault ;-/

Of course, it's all Obama's fault...

Transportation policy = 0
Energy Policy = 0
Foreign policy = War
Agriculture policy = 0
National Health = weak-cave-in-to-industry

I could go on... but why bother. Maybe McCain would have put a few bankers in jail, maybe not. But Obama's done nothing.

Do-nothing Presidents may be the start of a new trend that's going to last a while.

Transportation policy = Has been zero long before Obama
Energy Policy = Has been zero long before Obama (unless you want to include Iraq)
Foreign policy = Has been War long before Obama
Agriculture policy = 0
National Health = weak-cave-in-to-industry

What did we expect--we put a cautious, economical conservative in the midst of a pack of rabid bull dogs and expected him to create miracles for us. He is spending most of his time, as probably most of us would in a similar situation, slowly backing up while whispering nervously, "Nice doggies, niiiiice little doggies."

Who is a cautious, economical conservative?

Not Reagan, or Bush Jr. that's for sure

Clinton yeah.......

Clinton was our last Republican President if you look at this economic policies.

"If you want to live like a republican, vote democratic"

Those voting machines are getting tricky...

If you still believe that Obama is a left wing democrat read some of the articles and posts at NakedCapitalism.com

One need look no further than his initial choices of top economic advisers--Geitner and Summers.

Its not quite that bad, although underwhelming for sure.
Transport policy - big push on CAFE, saved (part of) GM. Little else.
Energy policy - A few scattered loan guarantees and grants. Probably all a hostile congress would allow, but again underwhelming.
For policy - Only slightly less warlike than Bush. Turned down the know a bit, but shoulda pulled out the plug instead. Did manage to "get" Osama and Gaddafi. D+.
Ag Policy ?is it even on the radar.
Health. Underwhelming, but it saved my butt (kid has health issue that menas he unexpectedly isn'y full time student, it not for ACA, the insurance company would be signing "ha ha ha, I don't have to pay, ha ha ha"

A little above nothing, is still better that a lot below nothing, which was our other choice.

Obama has often spoken about reducing greenhouse emissions, yet he is now auctioning off contracts for offshore drilling.

...and today our radical left wing environmental president blocked new EPA rules limiting ground level ozone, ceding (suprise) to Repub demands.........

Is this part of the new, less inflammatory "please don't post political comments" TOD that was mentioned a few drumbeats ago?

You're one to talk when it comes to the question of posting inflammatory content.

I'm sure the EDs don't really want to play Mommy and Daddy and tell the commenters precisely how to have a mature conversation, without getting completely unhinged whenever we venture into the related aspects of Religion, Culture/Media, and Political Gamesmanship that certainly do play into the energy situation.

The question to keep asking with every post is 'Did I just throw in Water or Gasoline?' .. am I assuming my 'Adult Human Form', or have I switched into my 'Unassailable Super-Adolescent' Cape and Mask?

Just heard some presumably well-informed talking head make the comment that net private sector jobs was actually positive, but these were more than offset by layoffs in the govt sector, mainly state and local govts. Another example why austerity in public expenditures is the wrong idea at this time -- sort of a reverse WPA.


So when do you do the government layoffs?

State and local government coffers were flush during the housing boom. Wages, benefits, and headcounts soared. Then the money stopped flowing. Layoff time has arrived.

On a different topic Drumbeat seems to have missed this one;


Analysis: Solar shakeout will bring more failures, few deals.



Re: 5 Reasons Why Peak Oil is a Myth

According to World Public Opinion website, 85% of the British and 76% of the Americans who participated in a survey believed that the world is running out of oil. It is certainly a nagging thought, but does it hold water?

However the article goes on to tell us that we will be saved by such things as abiotic oil which means effectively endless supplies "in the middle-eastern countries like Saudi Arabia that seem to be replenishing on their own."

From the article:

Following its 1973 discovery, Eugene Island 330's output peaked at about 15,000 barrels per day (2,400 m3/d). By 1989, production had slowed to about 4,000 barrels per day (640 m3/d). Then suddenly -- some say almost inexplicably -- Eugene Island's fortunes reversed. The field, operated by PennzEnergy Co., is now producing 13,000 barrels per day (2,100 m3/d), and probable reserves have rocketed to more than 400 million barrels from 60 million.'

This piqued the interest of many petroleum scientists who investigated the geology of the field and attempted to surmise and provide an explanation for the unusual occurrence. This has also been the basis for many arguments that negate the theory of peak oil on the grounds that it is even applicable to the reserve base in the middle-eastern countries like Saudi Arabia that seem to be replenishing on their own.

Jeez, at this rate, oil companies can just stop drilling, sit back and pump up the profits.

Reminds me of an old movie about the ghost of a ship's Captain. He had a bottle of whiskey that refilled itself every time he tried to drink it dry.

Ghung – Once again I’m forced to use my amazing knowledge base to destroy another fairy tale. In the 70’s when I was a puppy geologist working for Mobil Oil we were developing a portion of EI 330 Field. In fact, the produced reservoirs were being recharged as we drained them. There was a fault system that not only cut across the reservoirs we were completed in but also extended downwards cutting through numerous smaller reservoirs that had not been drilled. As the oil was produced from the shallow reservoirs the pressures decreased. As they did it allowed the higher pressured oil to flow up the fault planes and recharge the shallow ones.

One company (Shell Oil?) actually drilled and completed a vertical well in the fault plane and produced some oil. But by doing so it drew down the pressure which allowed to fault to squeeze shut and end the production. Last I heard years ago someone was thinking about drilling a horizontal well in the fault plane to minimize the pressure drawdown but I’m not sure they ever tried it.

Just another abiotic oil fantasy shot down in flames. Just dang hard to escape those pesky facts.


Are you trying to tell us that YOU actually think you know more about oil and geology than Mr. Gold?!

Thomas Gold, a noted astrophysicist, in his theory Deep Hot Biosphere, said, 'oil is actually renewable, primordial syrup continually manufactured by the earth under ultra hot conditions and tremendous pressures.'

Really, ROCKMAN, Really! Since when does geology rise to the level of astrophysics?

I hear if you collect 100 cereal box tops and send them in you too can get a Certificate of Achievement and become an abiotic oil spokesperson or a climate change denier.

And if you don't have the hundred box tops, they'll send you the hundred boxes at no charge, and a Tea Party volunteer to empty, cut and post the tops for you.


Wish that would happen with my beer! Hic!

Well I sure do hope that the North Sea fields replenish themselves soon. Sure would help with paying down the national debt and to balance our trade current account.

Personally, I'm just glad that all those geologists and industry insiders (like Rockman, WestTexas and the late Matt Simmons) have been proven wrong by this article. Now I can sleep easy at night. As for those aforementioned 'experts', they should be ashamed of themselves for misleading people by using facts and figures when all that is clearly needed is hyperbole and fiction.

Why do they keep drilling new holes if the oil is refilling the old holes magically? LOL. What is happening? ;-) Scary fact. The guy was paid a fee to write the story. He is paid to lie.

5 Reasons Why Peak Oil is a Myth

This is actually quite humorous if you read it carefully:

1. Political constraints

Iraq, which happens to be holding one of the world's largest reserves is now a war torn country, severely bruised with its oil production majorly hampered.

Yeah, you invade a country to increase its oil production and the dirty rotten ingrates start shooting at you! It's SO difficult to produce oil while stepping around IUDs.

2. Eugene Island mystery

Thomas Gold, a noted astrophysicist, in his theory Deep Hot Biosphere, said, 'oil is actually renewable, primordial syrup continually manufactured by the earth under ultra hot conditions and tremendous pressures.'

Intergalactic hot soup theories from astrophysicists notwithstanding, more down to earth geologists like Rockman know what was happening at Eugene Island because they were drilling there. See his explanation.

3. Price control strategies of oil companies

According to this argument, many companies also consciously hold back production capacity and some even go to the extent of shutting down refineries in order to control profit margins...

The dirty scheming oil companies are closing refineries because they are losing money. The scumbags! Any ordinary nutbar with delusions of grandeur would listen to his voices and keep them running regardless of how much money he was losing.

4. Fears unfounded?

Countries like Saudi Arabia have raised the bar on its crude reserves by 200 billion barrels (2005) with many officials proclaiming that the country's oil production is 'secure and plentiful' for the next 70 to 100 years. This has raised many questions over the credibility of the theory of peak oil.

Yes, as I said, any delusional nutbar would listen to his voices and believe them.

5. Abundant resource, limited means

'The price of oil remains high only because the cost of oil remains so low. We remain dependent on oil from the Mideast not because the planet is running out of buried hydrocarbons, but because extracting oil from the deserts of the Persian Gulf is so easy and cheap... '

That's right, black is white and down is up. Surpluses cause the illusion of shortages and cheapness causes high prices.

Several of my former girlfriends were committed to mental institutions (I have a weakness for cute but crazy women), so I am quite familiar with this style of reasoning.

"Re: 5 Reasons Why Peak Oil is a Myth"

Yeah, that article was just utter tripe. Scary to think that these views are not all that unusual, and that this person is influencing people to believe that we don't have a problem.

... which has nothing to do with production peaking.

Those are the last few words in the 5-Fluffy Feathers and Myths article

and they are correct.

All of mankind's feeble efforts do indeed, have little to do with why production IS peaking.

It peaks despite our best efforts (and because of them).

I've heard this old song twice in the last two days. Somehow I think it would make great background music for that article:


England - 2011, the Year without a Summer


A counterpoint to Texas and Oklahoma.

Not Much Hope for Benefits from Climate Change,


England, my home country is green for a reason. When I worked in Scotland in 79 I thought some of the locals were sick, but it's just the pasty white skin they get from lack of sunlight. It gets real windy, then rains, then clears momentarily, then gets windy, then rains again, rinse, repeat. The jacket gets zipped up, comes off, gets put back on, zipped part way... and that's in the Summer! Hottest day: 74F and 3 people in town died of heat stroke.

Well here in Scotland we've just had what seems the worst summer I can remember. Well actually we got a week of summer back in April - unseasonably warm temps into the 70s (see I slip back to Fahrenheit myself when it gets over 70) and wall-to-wall sunshine. Then May arrived and it turned to autumn and has remained autumn until the start of winter it seems:-( I exaggerate only slightly as there has been the odd good day before it pours with rain the next day but that's about it.

And this after one of the worst winter months ever (December deep freeze and snow). Not looking forward to this winter.

I think we are going find that Scotland has been blessed with a miserable climate as far as renewable energy is concerned!

Wet, windy, battered by waves,an underpopulated semi-mountainous region, low population density compared with the rest of the UK and a strong offshore engineering industry courtesy of oil (and US knowhow). If the Scots cannot make a success of offshore wind,wave and tidal power backed up with pumped storage, then there is likely to be little hope unless the Sahara can be used for solar power.


I blame it on the coalition. In this age of austerity Cameron and Clegg have cut summer in order to pacify the bond markets.

Of course, we all know that the loony-tune denialists - like that muppet Christopher Booker who writes for the Telegraph - will now scribe off reams and reams of drivel about how the lack of summer disproves climate change.

Trouble with you Hac is you soon forget the good times.
Anniversary of the coalition wasn't it? - we had a Royal wedding and an extra day off to make up for the cold winter. Four public holidays in 2 weeks.
Who cares about climate change even when a nasty dry Spring ruined a lot of the wheat crops - farming hardly matters these days?

Three months ago he was probably writing articles saying how hot and dry it was and how terrible the drought was an how we were all doomed because it was never going to rain again. Summer was just so early this year and spring so late that they swapped.

Have they stopped paying for the monitoring of the gulf stream? Is this a sign of a shut down or shift?

[Edit: This from Wiki article "Shutdown of thermohalide circulation":

"In January 2010, the Gulf Stream briefly connected with the West Greenland Current after fluctuating for a few weeks due to an extreme negative phase of the Arctic oscillation, temporarily diverting it west of Greenland".

If anyone has more recent info, it would be appreciated.]

d - This may be relevant

Researchers discover Icelandic current, change North Atlantic climate picture

For years it has been thought that the primary source of the Denmark Overflow is a current adjacent to Greenland known as the East Greenland Current. However, this view was recently called into question by two oceanographers from Iceland who discovered a deep current flowing southward along the continental slope of Iceland. They named the current the North Icelandic Jet...

... Climate specialists have been concerned that the conveyor belt is slowing down due to a rise in global temperatures. They suggest that increasing amounts of fresh water from melting ice and other warming-related phenomena are making their way into the northern North Atlantic, where it could freeze, which would prevent the water from sinking and decrease the need for the loop to deliver as much warm water as it does now. Eventually, this could lead to a colder climate in the northern hemisphere.

HERE's a paper from one of the authors, which shows how little is known about the flow thru the Denmark Strait, as there appears to be no mention of this newly found flow. THERE is more information at Pickart's web page. I couldn't find a link to the paper from NATURE Geoscience...

E. Swanson

Thanks, S and BD. You guys are awesome.

Add N. California to that list of places with no Summer.

Although S. Cali is desert and the temps are quite high inland, the beaches haven't had very summery weather this year - cooler and windier than usual. The lifeguards are usually wearing their long-sleeved jackets or closed up in their huts!


This is Portland's second non-summer summer in a row. To be fair, they are calling for a warm Labor Day weekend. Last week, Mrs Tonypdx and I went to visit San Luis Obispo, where it was also cooler than usual. The weather is just doing this out of spite.

In a way, the lack of summer in the North West has been a blessing --didn't have to run the air conditioner all summer long

On the other hand, the tomato plants have not done too well with this cold spell

While Denver has just finished the hottest August on record, the air conditioner ran very little. Most nights, the whole-house fan was able to pull the interior temp down to 66-68 degrees F. Insulation and furnace fan for circulation kept the maximum daytime internal temp in the 74-78 range most days. Gotta love the high semi-arid climate.

Having the World's Most Sophisticated Whole-House Fan Controller™ may or may not have anything to do with it. I'm really hoping that, post-Peak, programming a microcontroller is a useful skill, as opposed to something like blacksmithing. I'm too old and skinny to be a blacksmith.

Having the World's Most Sophisticated Whole-House Fan Controller™ may or may not have anything to do with it.

Cool! I just open a few windows, turn on my fan, go to sleep, wake up, and turn it off in the morning. Not very sophisticated but works like a charm.

What's a fan?

Yes, my own inclinations are of the turn it on at night and turn it off in the morning variety, despite the occasional night in May or September when you wake up at 4:00 because it's 57 in the house and your feet are freezing. The spouse wanted something more complicated. Foolishly, I asked "How complicated do you want it to be?" After a season's worth of use, it turns out that I didn't make it complicated enough, so I'll be rewriting all the software this coming winter...

Can it be set up as a multi-channel controller to equalize temps in different rooms on time schedules? Could have uses for Ductless/ Mini-split/wood heat/ Sunrooms/ Basements/ etc. Use with the Super efficient Panasonic Vent fans or these Thru wall fans. www.espenergy.com/thru_wall_fantw209.htm

Could these past non-summers be due to the Iceland volcano from last year? That event, in combination with the prevailing winds, could explain why north of roughly Lat 40 N we've seen very wet and (fairly) mild conditions in the northern US these past 2 years. And it hasn't been just summer either, don't forget about the floods in the Great Plains this past spring. However, below that latitude we're seeing the Texas/Oklahoma drought and Arizona dust storms where the volcanic ash is not suspended in the atmosphere. This makes me wonder if the ash is acting as an atmospheric sponge, sucking the water away from the southern latitudes; however, the scale of the transport required for this is massive, so this is a completely unfounded, but not unfathomable, hypothesis.

I wish! Here's my list of predicted highs for the week."99,95,94,94,96,100,97". In most places they would call that summer. Where I live is just another early fall week.


“Darn you, Barack Obama, for only quadrupling the number of oil drilling rigs in the U.S.!”

FYI: President Obama didn’t increase the number of rigs drilling in the US. The oil patch did it all on their own with virtually no help from the govt. We’re drilling nearly exclusively on private lands that have been available for many decades. The only significant change in drilling activity contributable to the govt is the slowdown in offshore activity though numerically that isn’t a big number..

President Obama might be applauded for a number of achievements but increasing rig count isn’t one of them. No more than President Bush was responsible for a rig count increase during one point in his term (actually he had as many rigs running at one time as the current administration…anyone feel like patting him on the back?

As someone who makes a living producing oil/NG (and doing quite well at the moment, than you) I would like to thanks the govt (both R’s and D’s) for doing nearly nothing to reduce the PO impact and allow my income to rise to its highest level in my 36 years in the oil patch.

As previously discussed, on some days I just hope that the angry soccer moms don't torture the food & energy producers, before they shoot us (for the crime of "imposing" high food and energy prices on consumers).

That would be a very dumb thing to do, although, most people don't think rationally, they are too emotionally.

People already blame oil companies for high gas prices.

They'll probably just chase 'em off a cliff.


I'd like to say thanks too. Apparently there aren't enough engineers available in the support industry anymore, what with retiring oldsters and growing needs to optimize production. I just got the best offer of my life to change industries to nat gas support, and I was in a successful industry before.

Amazing how much credit or debit gets put on presidents for many things they have no control over. Obama can hardly do anything because of the House and the Senate, but if something's not right, he's to blame.

Don't you think Thatcher got as much credit as she did for turning things around, when in reality it was profit from North Sea oil that really deserved the credit? Just got to be prez or priminister at the right time I suppose.

Amazing how much credit or debit gets put on presidents for many things they have no control over. Obama can hardly do anything because of the House and the Senate, but if something's not right, he's to blame.

Pretty much. There's an infantile strand in American politics that sees the President as the fount of all good and all evil. This is as true with Obama as with Bush, Clinton, Reagan, Nixon, Carter, etc.

Don't you think Thatcher got as much credit as she did for turning things around, when in reality it was profit from North Sea oil that really deserved the credit? Just got to be prez or priminister at the right time I suppose.

Prime Ministers should get more blame and credit than American presidents, since Westminster parliaments fuse executive and legislative functions. If PMs lose votes, generally elections are called and the PM is tossed. (Generally, it is not always required.) But for things like oil prices and stock market bubbles, that's really out of the hands of PMs and Presidents. Doesn't stop the need for blame, though.

"There's an infantile strand in American politics that sees the President as the fount of all good and all evil."

Yup. It comes with the US football culture, where all the blame/glory falls on the quarterback.

In Navy culture it's all the Captain's fault.

Only in banking culture is it an unimaginable event, and therefore no ones fault, and up to the taxpayers to bail them out.

Well I don't want to get too much into a demographic discussion because these are sensitive areas, but there is a large and quite influential reactionary right wing that wants to destroy Obama merely because he's a black liberal (and even then, it's worth noting that he's only half black, and he's not too liberal).

What Obama does or does not do, and the effects on the country, are immaterial to these folks. I mean, look what they did to JFK or Clinton, as other examples. And they have been quite successful.

Not that I like Obama, because I don't. But I'm not some right wing nut who wants to tear him down, either.

Quite frankly I'm disgusted and appalled by the freak show that is American federal politics.

The U.S. Congress is still way too civil.
I wanna see fist fights and thumpings using blunt force trauma.

At least that would have a certain honesty to it.

It's happened before, and it could happen again.

"Preston Smith Brooks (August 5, 1819 – January 27, 1857) was a Democratic Congressman from South Carolina. Brooks is primarily remembered for his severe beating of Senator Charles Sumner on the floor of the United States Senate with a gutta-percha cane, delivered in response to an anti-slavery speech in which Sumner compared Brooks' relative, South Carolina Senator Andrew Butler, to a pimp, which Brooks interpreted as a humiliation laden with sexual innuendo.[1] Brooks was cheered across the South, but the episode was used by Northerners to depict the Southerners as violent fanatics, thus pushing the nation a step closer to Civil War."

That's precisely the incident to which I was referring.
But I couldn't remember when it had been or who had been the parties involved.

I'd rather see elected officaldom get legislated away, and have leadership done by vetting and a jury-duty like call into service. Terms in office to be, perhaps, 2yr terms ;D

leadership done by vetting and a jury-duty like call into service.

Ahhh, but who controls the vetting process then controls things.

In the US of A, there is things like Jury Nullification. Mention it, and you won't go near a jury.

And grand juries tilt toward lawyers being disproportionally represented in some places.

Quite frankly I'm disgusted and appalled by the freak show that is American federal politics.

I agree with this. Very little of what is discussed or taken action on by the federal government these days relates to what is happening in people's actual lives...unless you live in a war zone in some other country.

And yet they're simply playing to their voters, and getting elected. The problem is the abysmal self-absorption and ignorance (yes, ignorance - cluelessness, lack of knowledge/interest in the issues) of the average American voter. I mean, consider that every member of congress was elected by their state's population. Many, if not most, repeatedly. The people routinely vote against their own best interests, because they're kept so confused and frightened and stupid that it's real easy to push their hot buttons with abstractions.

You or I can spend hours upon hours researching the issues, weighing the various policies, etc. Our vote is worth no more than the broken person who knocks off work at the meth lab early to get down and vote. You can't have capital-D democracy with an uneducated populace, which is what we're trying to do in the US. It has no meaning.

As a "society", we've been hammered with the notion that we are all rugged individualists, that the free market can address every issue usefully, etc. There really seems to be no sense of "us", only "me". We've been turned against each other, and polarized in every possible way.

If there is a way back, I don't see it.

If there is a way back, I don't see it.

As with most forms of addiction, first you gotta hit rock bottom. Then you gotta be willing to figure out why. We are still quite a ways from the bottom, but accelerating rapidly IMO.

Quite frankly I'm disgusted and appalled by the freak show that is American federal politics.

If you think American politics are bad, you should spend a few years watching Canadian politics! Back in the "good old days" we could get CBC Canadian TV on our C Band dish down in Minnesota just south of Canada. My dad and I had lots of fun watching and commenting to each other on Canadian politics.
And, while the Canadians keep complaining that the US population knows very little about our neighbor to the north, they took the obvious step to scramble their CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company - government TV) broadcasts and will NOT make them available to US viewers?

It is an interesting world we live in.

I mean, look what they did to JFK or Clinton, as other examples. And they have been quite successful.

Agreed. I always wondered how interet rates got so high during Carter's Administration? Was it done to cause a recession to get him out of office? They went after Clinton like they were pathologically obsessed, and now they seeth with hatred for Obama. Not sure how or when it got started but the Repubs seem to feel the presidency is there's and if a Dem is in there, then anything goes in getting him out.

As I recall, the interest rates were pushed up the most during the first year of Reagan's tenure, when the Prime Rate hit 21%. Paul Volcker did it to crush inflation...

E. Swanson

Quite frankly I'm disgusted and appalled by the freak show that is American federal politics.

And a powerful Federal Government allows the 'freak show' to be 'an issue'.

Some think DC should be downsized. http://www.downsizedc.org/

The thoughts at the link are not what I would call downsize. Let's say we agree to a 10% downsize. That means we need to get rid of 44 House representatives. There are currently 435 House members and 10% should be escorted out the door with no notice. I've seen downsizing implemented in that manner where I work, so why shouldn't House members suffer the same fate?

As someone who makes a living producing oil/NG (and doing quite well at the moment, than you) I would like to thanks the govt (both R’s and D’s) for doing nearly nothing to reduce the PO impact and allow my income to rise to its highest level in my 36 years in the oil patch.

You're welcome

BTW, Who in the world would seriously believe any president has anything to do with rig counts?

I don't think that comment was meant to be taken that seriously, he's just responding to Republican talking points about how Obama is getting in the way of drilling.

“Darn you, Barack Obama, for only quadrupling the number of oil drilling rigs in the U.S.!”

FYI: President Obama didn’t increase the number of rigs drilling in the US. The oil patch did it all on their own with virtually no help from the govt.

I'm sure you do realize that it is tongue-in-cheek sarcasm. The point is that if you listen to am right-wing talk radio, you would have the understanding that Obama has done everything possible to prevent all domestic oil drilling. Clearly, that is not true. If they are going to bash the administration endlessly for high oil prices (which they do) then they should also credit them for quadrupling the oil rigs.

You mention the moratorium . . . well that only happened because of the BP oil spill. And right before that spill happened, Obama did announce plans of opening up more areas to drilling in Gulf.

I think the right wing (if they had their way) would have started more wells near the blown out BP well as it was spewing into the GOM. Cause regulations get in the way of progress. But maybe now I sounds like a liberal. LOL. Too bad progress in this Great Nation (ah hem) means destroy your children's chances for success. Or put another way, use up their resources before they grow up.

Starting more wells SAFELY would not have hurt, and would have continued to relieve the reservoir pressure. Might be better than letting it bottle up and possibly leak?

A little thought experiment. All figures hypothetical.

1 billion cars, average fuel consumption 30 mpg.

1 billion drivers get in their cars and go for a drive, at 60mph, burning 2 gallons an hour, or 2B gallons/hr all in.

In 24 hours that is 48billion gallons or a little over 2B barrels.

In 2 weeks that is 30B barrels, or global production for one year.

In one year, that is about 1 trillion barrels, or the entire known global reserves of oil.

One year.


oops. 48B is a little over 1B barrels.

2 years.

Now , of course not all that trillion barrels can be converted to petrol/diesel/lpg/CNG. Say, about half of it.

That works out at about 600,000 miles per driver.

Say you are a long distance commuter, 60 miles each way, taking an hour. You work 250 days a year.

That is enough fuel for 5000 days, or 20 years.

Half your working career.

It is worse than that because the available fuel is not equally divided among all drivers. The drivers in oil exporting countries get to consume more because it is subsidized for them. Also, the military. police and other essential services get to consume before the average driver. So maybe enough fuel for 1/4th of your working career.

Right the math behind it is relentless.

Which points one to the only possible conclusion: we won't be driving around. We'll be stuck in place, carpooling, walking, cycling, taking the bus or train or subway.

And say goodbye to 24 hour services, long distance trips, the auto entertainment complex, and much of the airline industry as well.

But maybe I'm wrong, maybe Rick Perry just needs to pray more, maybe Ben Bernanke just needs to create more digital money, and Texas will be rewarded with rain and we'll all be rewarded with abiotic oil or nuclear fusion.

We'll be stuck in place, carpooling, walking, biking, taking the bus or train or subway.

It is unlikely to be a diesel bus - the fuel economy is too low.

Perhaps CNG bus (despite the fuel economy) if we conserve NG in other areas, perhaps an electric trolley bus (5x the electricity of a streetcar - steel on steel vs. rubber on concrete/asphalt).

Best Hopes for Investing Soon,


The writing is on the wall. When will the fossils release their death grip on policy? It is remarkable as countries in Europe and Asia prepare like there is no tomorrow. Time to prepare for the inevitable.

"prepare like there is no tomorrow."

You made a funny!

Kind of an ironic statement.


It would be swell if you could tell us that you have convinced the President to write at least some of your plans into his legislative jobs (infrastructure?)proposal he will speechify to the people next week...

BTW, how is the rain? I heard the mayor of NO on the radio saying that all 24 pumps were fully operational, and that ball backup generators were operational, running presently, and will remain running for the duration of the rain event.

Is this a 'Fish Hurricane' (or close?)?

I had an organization with a letterhead that would get the letter read (you would recognize them) very agreeable to sending a letter I drafted (two sentences changed) to Obama, Chu, LaHood, etc.

However, the Chief DC Lobbyist/Contact person said they did not understand what I was proposing well enough to handle inquiries and wanted more education.

So, I am cutting my ideas into bite sized pieces {sigh}

I do have a commitment from them to future support - and we are working on a Congressional "Dear Colleague " letter.

On a separate track, I have a good chance of access to Dr. Chu via Nat'l Academy Science member.

It is hard to describe my feelings ATM - dogged determination and a shrug at the near miss.

Dealing with people can be a problem at times.

The US Army is responsible for the levees, the City for the rainwater pumps. We have damm good pumps (some old ones that run on 25 Hz power)..

13"/day and we are fine.

18" to 20"/day and street flooding and a dozen homes flooded.

20+" and we have problems.

Best Hopes !



I take heart that you are so close to these people...just a couple of contacts away from bending their ears!

I write reports, PP briefings, and have briefed Generals and their SES (Senior Executive Service...above GS-15) equivalents...an unfortunate fact of life is: Even though these folks are generally very bright, they are invariably very busy and need their 20-oz steaks cut into smaller, logically-grouped portions, eaten over several sittings.

Like one of my flying buds in the AF (who was a very good briefer) always said: Give it to them thin and crispy, not thick and chewy. Of course it is the big guys' staffers (Chief scientists, Engineers, etc) and their minions you need to court real hard, so they can understand and help 'prep the battlefield' with their boss. Their reputations and jobs are on the line when they advise their Kings, so they absolutely need to be on-board with your ideas.

I think starting with the electrified/double-tracked, double-stacked freight lines with improved tunnels, bridges, sidings, switch yards, elimination of many grade crossings, etc. and buying extra rolling stock and locos as a 'strategic reserve', along with the new and improved inter-modal freight transshipment terminals would be a good first chunk. The numbers you have on past, present, and future investments, as well as the cost differentials and savings moving freight from long-distance trucks to rail is compelling, and this chunk does not threaten the 'personal car=freedom, liberty, and our American destiny' crowd...that pitch for more inter-city and intra-city rail should come later, IMHO.

Numbers on the longevity of rail infrastructure, and on the 'annual virtual SPR' aspect over the course of years should also raise interest levels.

Pitching improved and new rail corridors/ROW as also being useful to route new electricity distribution and fiber-optic comm lines should sell well too.

You could do the people of Shreveport and Bossier City a favor and get them in line early for RR/street grade crossing elimination...if I had a dollar for every time I was waiting for a train (going 3 MPH..forward, then backward, then stopped) crossing Airline or Industrial drives...

...perhaps an electric trolley bus (5x the electricity of a streetcar - steel on steel vs. rubber on concrete/asphalt)...

Hi Alan,

I'm surprised to hear that streetcars are five times more efficient than trolley buses. According to one report, trolley buses at an average of 1,321 BTU per passenger-mile are more or less on par with light and commuter rail (1,146 and 1,608 BTU respectively) and notably more efficient than intercity rail at 2,091 BTU/passenger-mile.

Source: http://www.buses.org/files/ComparativeEnergy.pdf

So, would it be fair to say that streetcars operate in the range of 265 BTU per passenger mile?


Which points one to the only possible conclusion: we won't be driving around.

Perhaps you're right, but the only possible conclusion? If the last oil shocks of the late 70's and early 80's are any guide then I think we can expect people in the wealthy industrialized nations to start driving much smaller cars. After all, considering the decades of massive investments into infrastructure and living arrangements for the exclusive use of people in cars, what choice do they have?

At least, that is, until our financial and political collapse gets going with a vengeance, then I think we can look to the mega-cities of the third world for a view of our future.

In a world of slums ruled by corrupt police, vicious drug gangs, and well armed warlords we can expect a handful of wealthy and powerful people will still be driving luxury cars, the rest will be getting by on much, MUCH less.


Well, yes. At least for some. We've already switched to hybrids in my family. With plugins, downsizing, and slowing down, we could still have something that somewhat resembles our commuter lifestyle -perhaps it will take a bit longer to get places, and you won't have room to haul the 52inch TV in the new tinycars.

Examining 5 oilsands claims by Daryl Hannah

Actress and activist Darryl Hannah was arrested this week in Washington D.C during a protest against extending TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oilsands crude from Alberta through six U.S. states to refineries in Texas.

On Wednesday, Hannah appeared on CBC's Power & Politics to debate Alykhan Velshi, founder of Ethicaloil.org, a website devoted to defending Canada's oil industry.

During the debate, Hannah made claims about the oilsands, some of which CBC News investigated...

Celebrities, particularly in the acting profession, are given soap box privileges for which the rest of us can only dream. Name recognition is clearly an asset in the public relations game. Darryl Hannah, an actress of some renown twenty years ago, is given a spot on a reputable CBC news programme. Why? B/c she got herself arrested and she doesn't mind spouting off opinions regardless if they are necessarily grounded in facts.

IMHO, the expertise of many of the regular contributors to this blog would contribute far more to any public discussion on energy. I say this not so much to encourage TOD to do more -- several contributors have had their fifteen minutes of fame in one wider media form or another -- but instead to say how much I appreciate this blog. I don't know what I would do without my daily fix of peer-to-peer reviews on important energy issues in real time. Thanks folks.

Yeah, the article does it's share of spinning and twisting as well. Plenty of word games, little clarity from either side. Maybe RMG needs to visit Washington and get arrested.....Nah, nobody would notice ;-)

I agree. BUT She's pretty hot in an eyepatch though. Imagine any TOD contributor in an eyepatch. They just cannot compete.

I particularly liked the part where Uma Thurman gouged out her remaining good eye in Kill Bill Volume 2, although it wasn't nearly as inspiring as Thurman chopping up the Crazy 88 gang and numerous other people with her samurai sword in Kill Bill Volume 1, to the music of "Nobody but Me".

Hannah is a much better actress than an environmental expert, but I'm not sure she's that good an actress.

All the hoopla is driving me crazy. Build the darn pipe.

However, neither I am not sure it will do all the good things people are promising economically, nor do I think it does as much environmental damage. The pipe will be a maintain status quo thing.

All the hoopla is driving me crazy. Build the darn pipe.

Yeah. Much as I hate tarsands, this really seems to be the wrong battle.

Hotness draws the cameras, and the eyeballs. Fauxnews has understood this for years.

Shock in Supply Chain

Corn’s explosive takeover, mighty Chinese soybean demand and a weak dollar cause crisis for other crops
The days of predictable crop rotations have given way to acreage battles that respond to market opportunities. Larkin Martin, who farms in Courtland, Ala., knows this firsthand.

"From 2001 to 2006, 60% to 70% of our cropland was in cotton consistently, 20% to 30% corn and the remainder in soybeans and wheat. But in 2009, we grew no cotton: We were 50% corn, 18% to 20% wheat, soybeans and some sesame. This year, we’re 35% to 40% cotton and corn, along with smaller amounts of wheat, canola, sesame and soybeans," Martin says.

The reason for her dramatic year-to-year shifts in acreage? Price, pure and simple. Corn prices skyrocketed while cotton prices, until this past year, had tumbled, due largely to the global recession that choked off demand. Since then, the industry—needing acres—bid up the price of cotton from 60¢ per pound to the highest levels since the Civil War. By late July, cotton prices had given back half of that and gyrated back down to $1 per pound, still strong by historical standards.

Just a heads up that readers can follow the daily evolution of futures prices for a wide array of commodities at the Market Futures databrowser.

Here are today's charts (yesterday's close) for corn and cotton:

Happy Exploring!


An entrepreneur's view of solar

Word is China has given away tens of billions of dollars to help its local manufacturers step on the gas in mainstream crystalline technology, essentially buying market share in solar. They were following the pattern set by Samsung and LG in DRAMs and LCDs a generation ago.
CIGS, thin-films and other solar technologies still have plenty of promise. Efficiencies of solar cells are abysmally low. A new approach could offer a performance breakthrough to leapfrog China in the market--someday.

But that technology is not here today. The lesson of Solyndra, experts say, is solar alternatives deserve private and public funding at the level of lab research to pave the way for next-generation breakthroughs, but crystalline is the bet to make in mainstream manufacturing. It is edging toward the dollars/Watt sweet spot and its competitors don't seem to be close at the moment.

U.S. investors love to bet on leapfrog technologies that will become the next big thing. But in solar China appears to have a smarter approach at this stage of just out-producing everyone in what the market wants today.

Efficiencies of solar cells are abysmally low.

Exaggerate much. LOL. Define high efficiency. Higher than the quantum mechanical limits of the materials. LOL. I mean how efficient is a lump of coal after all? Same order more or less.

Those sorts of efficiency statements come from the land of comparing everything to our old Grade-scores. We've been so conditioned to think that perfect should be able to be expressed as some kind of proximity to the number 100.

If these people knew just how much nature is 'inefficient' on such percentage scales, and yet still highly 'effective' (when their environments haven't been torn up by our nearly efficient machinery and relentlessly efficient economic machinations..) they wouldn't bother with such empty catcalls.

An elephant is supposed to be very 'inefficient' in how much of its food is actually digested and turned into energy or elephant cells.. (some 2 or 3%, IIRC) and yet her waste is not a detriment to the ground it lands on, and feeds streams of other animals and plants in the herd's wake.

Photosynthesis is 1% efficient and look at the remaining great rain forests and ecosystems on this planet. Such ignorance. No doubt.

Solyndra was too flashy, and that was too big a loan guarantee. Their product might have served an important niche, namely flat roofs that couldn't bear the weight of traditional PV panels without expensive structural reinforcement. I hope someone else will fill that niche.

Yair...sorry folks I just don't get the preoccupation with the problems of putting PV up on roofs. Why would they need "expensive structural reinforcement"?

We live in a 52m/minute zone and on a sensible steel roof the PV mounting brackets are fastened by backing out and utilising the existing screws...all done from up on top in about an hour for a 3Kw system.

I have also made ground or verandah mounts that can be manually rotated for daily tracking and panel weight or wind loading has never been an issue.

I can see there would be more issues with fitting to horrible tile or faux shingle roofing but I just cannot envisage a situation where there would be a problem with the weight.

Could some one set me straight?


Yair...hey folks, what am I doing wrong? My comments sometimes appear in a different slot to that intended.


They're probably appearing in the right place. Sometimes they don't look like they're in the right place on the page you get right after you post. But if you go to the main thread, they're in the right place.

It's interesting to speculate on the timing of Solyndra's demise. We don't know yet, but it may be that their basic idea of placing their systems on flat roofs without tie downs didn't work when Irene blew thru. Maybe they were expecting a large expense for replacement of broken collectors due to the storm. I never did like that idea...

E. Swanson

Ballasted systems work pretty well in windy situations, SolarDock and others are qualified to 120 mph.
Though most folks in earthquake areas recommend tying things down.
The wind tests show that the wind mostly blows through the Solyndra modules.

The big problem with Solyndra is they just can't get the cost down fast enough.

Chinese module makers are doing 14% efficient crystalline silicon at a cost of $1.1X dollars per Watt (peak) now.

Solyndra's cost is over $2.00/Watt (peak) for just the 8.5% efficient tubes, and their racking, etc. is non-standard,
which means they can't leverage anyone else's work. All their production equipment is non-standard too.
(kind of Evergreen's problem - special equipment producing a non-standard wafer)

some articles here:

old article, but COGS was 2x sales price in Dec. 2009, still about the same ratio now apparently.

Good news

Germany set another record with renewable energy. A new report by the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) highlights, in the first half of 2011, renewables accounted for fully 20.8 percent of power production, as Der Spiegel reports.


Hmm, maybe this has some application in the energy quandary:

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."

~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author and aviator (1900-1945)

Have a good weekend, all.


Great line, Kate!

That should maybe be added to the Top Quotes, eh?

Our military uses a QUAD of energy a year. Wow. What a nice subsidy!

You can't lose a half-dozen wars for free!


"In polluted Nigeria region, an oil spill disaster long in the making"

"The air smells like poison, the creek water carpeted with crude, and the boat operator covers his nose as he steps on a jetty in a region hit by what may be the world's worst oil contamination.

"We have been living with this mess for years," says 31-year-old Friday Gimmogho, who is now forced to drive his boat out to sea to catch fish. "The oil companies are simply irresponsible and wicked."

The UN released a report this month saying decades of oil spills in the Nigerian region of Ogoniland may require the biggest cleanup ever undertaken, with communities dependent upon farmers and fishermen left ravaged (Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland pdf).

As a start, it calls for $1 billion dollars from the Nigerian government and the petroleum industry in Africa's largest oil producer."

Even if we weren't all about to fry from runaway AGW, we seem to be making more and more areas uninhabitable by our energy use and associated pollution.

Now I understand why your posts are always so depressing. "Desdemona Despair - blogging the end of the world" - Jeez... I read this site for ~20 minutes and I am ready to dig a hole and bury myself.

you really need to broaden your sources of information input :-)

Oh, I have much broader sources of information--there's also:

abby absolute-disaster
betty better-just-get-it-over-with-now
clara can-things-possibly-get-any-worse
emily eat-the-capsule-now

Actually, I find it refreshing to have people who don't pretend that we have to put a little smiley face on everything. It was one of the first things that attracted to the writings of JHK (who hosts the similarly cheerily named clusterf@cknation).

I find her to be one of the best sources of what is going on that is worthy of attention (along with our own leanan---perhaps she too needs an epithet: let-the-collapse-begin leanan??).

If you want a site that give an occasionally brighter spin on things, try climateprogress.

Or just watch those cute videos of babies farting '-)

I guess I should have put my post on the failure of the new smog rules under here...:-/

Una up-s#%t-creek-without-a-paddle

Welcome to oil production in the third world.

Of course, the government could do something about the environmental problems, but the generals and the politicians are worried that it might cut into their bribe money. It's much easier just to shoot anybody that complains.

The Nigerian workers are actually taking over a lot of the oil operations, but that doesn't mean that things will get any better. It just means that Westerners don't have to go there as much, which they appreciate.


A vast, swirling miasma of airborne cesium 137. Sickeningly hypnotic to watch.

Meanwhile, closer to the plant, many reports of soil showing over 3 million b.


Be sure to see the Fairewinds videos for more info too.


Basically Reactor #3 was a dirty bomb and blasted 1 cm sized fragments of fuel rods all over the local area. All that contaminated straw is going to be burned and sent into the atmosphere, since Japan will not responsibly take care of it problem. It is clear to me that the blatant coverup of this disaster is a bold-faced admission that we are amidst a global energy crisis.

Anyone see this about a huge oil spill in the Gulf near the Deepwater site?



Apparently the new video was taken 16 miles from the Macondo site.

Gulf oil slick: is it Macondo or something else?

On Wings of Care’s most recent oil sighting was on Tuesday, when it spotted oil about 16.5 miles northeast of the Macondo site. BP repeated its prior statements that it doesn’t think the oil is from the Macondo. The Coast Guard is investigating the latest sighting, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

not that story, but an update from a Florida paper:


Simply stated, our current way of life is utterly dependent on petroleum. Oil makes possible the flexibility and mobility that define our culture and our economy. In 2008, Americans consumed a total of 7.1 billion barrels of petroleum. Seventy percent of that total—nearly 5 billion barrels of oil—was used in the transportation sector. Our cars, trucks, planes, and ships depend on petroleum for energy, and there are currently no substitutes deployed at scale. Approximately 94 percent of delivered energy in the U.S. transportation sector is derived from oil.

The Electrification Coalition's Electrification Roadmap has a good overview of the extent and effect of society's dependance on oil, as well as prospects for future supply constraints. Probably nothing most folks here haven't seen before, but a good intro if you're looking for one.

Of course, whether their plan for electrifying the light duty transportation fleet will save life as we know it is certainly up for debate...

New EPA smog rules squashed.

Clearly we are losing the war against biosphere destruction. The microbes shall inherit the earth.

Clearly. We will eat the planet.

"Earth First - we'll rape the other planets later"


A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, had muted praise for the White House, saying that withdrawal of the smog regulation was a good first step toward removing obstacles that are blocking business growth.

"But it is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to stopping Washington Democrats' agenda of tax hikes, more government `stimulus' spending, and increased regulations, which are all making it harder to create more American jobs," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said.

That is all you need to read. The EPA is blocking job creating. LOL. Never finite energy. Always air and water quality.

"The president's decision is good news for the economy and Americans looking for work. EPA's proposal would have prevented the very job creation that President Obama has identified as his top priority," said Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute.

See. See. Big Oil says, "Bad environment means more jobs."

Yes, who needs air anyway? As long as we have "business growth". Sort of like "cancerous tumor growth".

John Boner is an idiot. Just say the magic word "jobs". If we don't accelerate the destruction of the ecosystem, it will get in the way of jobs. If we don't ruin the air and water, why, it will get in the way of obscene corporate profits. Did I say obscene corporate profits? I meant "jobs".

Wake up people. Wake up, conservatives - you need to breathe and eat and drink too, you know.

"Bad environment means more jobs."

Oh but it does. The biggest part of our economy, the healthcare sector will see a nice increase in demand due to this regression.

Yes, it's all good for the GD f-ing P.

I was going to add that point. People need to get sicker to add more GDP for the respirators and breathers and other shizzle. Build it, break something else, and fix it. LOL. I guess industry is like warfare on human health -- but it adds GDP.


Mr. Smithers: “Well, sir, where should we dump this batch? The playground?”

Mr. Burns: “No, all those bald children are arousing suspicion. To the park!”

That's why I'm hoping for peak oil as soon as possible. There's no hope of a political solution. To me, peak oil means a cleaner, less crowded world eventually. When you have a really incorrigible addict, sometimes forced cold turkey is the only remedy.

Let's get on with it. Drive a hummer to save the planet ;)

Meh. You are basically cheering on likely starvation in many parts of the world. :-(

Careful what you wish for.

well, if one thought it was inevitable, then the sooner the better. less people to starve to death, after all.

less people to starve to death, after all.

Right. Not only cuts down on the number of people that will starve to death but will also 'save' some of the non-people things - the forests, the oceans, the air, the water.

Of course, I'm hoping that when this giant cooperation orgy of peoples of the world ends, the destruction ends too. But it might just "get local" and continue on its destructive path in the face of desperation. Sometimes I wonder that the movie "The Road" isn't too impractical about what they show.

The microbes were here first, and whether you are a Doomer or belive the future is a Utopia, the microbes will be here last. The shear rate at wich they can create copies of themselves, means they are able to adapt far more rapidly then anything other form of life on this planet.

No joke. They found microbes at the bottom of the deepest Gold Mines in South Africa near effectively the "center of the earth." Named the robust critter, Desulforudis audaxviator, where Audaxviator is Latin for “bold traveler,” from a passage in Jules Verne’s book: “Descend, bold traveler … and you will attain the center of the Earth.”

What is the present status of imports of oil coming into the GOM region and how does LEE impact imports?

Well, at least 1 MBD is not being imported because of Lee. With production shut-ins, the total amount of crude unavailable is probably close to 2 MBD. Crude oil stocks in PADD 3 are very healthy so no problems with supply expected with the current forecast.

UPDATE: US Gulf Storm Roils Oil And Gas Production

The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port said it halted tanker offloading at 6:30 a.m. EDT Friday because of poor sea conditions. LOOP is a deep-water port off Louisiana that provides tanker offloading and receives oil from underwater pipelines. The port continues to make deliveries to customers from its onshore storage facilities, LOOP spokeswoman Barb Hestermann said.

"We'll still be able to make deliveries, so the refineries won't see any impact from us having marine operations shut down," Hestermann said.

Proof that insanity is not limited to economists, lawyers, and politicians (present company excepted)

Giant pipe and balloon to pump water into the sky in climate experiment

In what to some might seem almost ludicrous, (think Dr. Stranglove,) a British team of geo-engineers are set to launch a giant balloon a half mile into the sky pulling with it a water hose that will then spray water pumped from the ground, into the air. But this is only the beginning; the idea is to see if such a system is feasible. The real goal is to see if it might be possible to send such a giant balloon much higher, say twice as high as airplanes fly [20 Km], so as to release aerosols into the atmosphere to mimic the impact volcanoes have when they erupt. That is to cause a planetary cooling effect, to offset the warming effect of all the carbon emissions still being pumped full time into air. And that’s not all, the project dubbed Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering (SPICE), is being backed by the British government, via the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

...the principle of large-scale geoengineering has been backed strongly by Sir Martin Rees, the former president of Royal Society, which in 2009 concluded in a report that it may be necessary to have a "plan B" if governments could not reduce emissions.

"Nothing should divert us from the main priority of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. But if such reductions achieve too little, too late, there will surely be pressure to consider a 'plan B' – to seek ways to counteract the climatic effects of greenhouse gas emissions by 'geoengineering'," said Rees.

related http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-09-british-team-field-gigantic-balloon....

How much back-pressure would you have in a (flexible?) water pipe - say 2 in. in diameter and 12 miles tall? How would you keep the flow from freezing at altitude? Just sayin' [...not to mention that you're messing with the whole global atmosphere]

2000 atmospheres pressure


Could you put that in psia or kPa? How would that vary with the diameter of the hose? How would you compensate for reduced pressure (<0.9 psia) at the top?

29,400 psi

It is the weight of the column of water that counts.

Actually 12 miles of fresh water would be 27,435 psi but then you have to consider the suction effect of the reduced air pressure which would reduce the pressure all the way down to 27,421 psi.

Why does this smack of "The solution is worse than the problem.", type thinking.

Just watch 20 years later, if they get this idea to work. "Production of Green House gases espcially C02 and Methane, needs to be increased by 20% over the next 5 years to avert the current trend of global cooling of .5 degrees per year. Climate scientists agree if the current trend is not stopped Northern Hemisphere shipping channels worldwide coule be covered in ice 8 months out of the year. Meanwhile senator James Inhofe has proposed another large increase in the amount of tax credits for Hydro, Wind and Solar porjects, and expounded on the myth of Global Cooling, even though his home state of Oklahoma in the last two years experienced the two coldest summers and winters on record."

"Ok the climate is so complicated, we really don't understand it. And besides, it's so big that humans could never affect it anyway. It's all natural cycles. But if it's broken, we'll fix it with grandiose engineering wet dreams. Just don't ask me to drive a smaller car".

So-called geo-engineering is peak hubris.

"senator James Inhofe has proposed another large increase in the amount of tax credits for Hydro, Wind and Solar porjects, and expounded on the myth of Global Cooling, even though his home state of Oklahoma in the last two years experienced the two coldest summers and winters on record."

Well 'coldest summers...etc" - is just an amazing statement. We have had and are having a horrid
drought and heat wave like never before seen --- even in the dust bowl days. My local newspaper
said that Oklahoma had the hottest average temp (both day and night) in July of ANY state
EVER in recorded history. And August was not any better. Inhofe is an idot and a disgrace
to this state. I guess the voters here are just as dense as those in Kansas (as in "What's the
Matter With Kansas?)

We are forced to sell off a little more than half of our cattle herd because of the lack of
forage. The forecast for the winter, spring and summer of 2012 says a 50/50 chance ( or more)
of the drought to continue. Advice: stock up your freezer with beef now. The price is going
to sky rocket by early next summer.

'coldest summers...etc" - is just an amazing statement [for OK City and how Inhofe sees it]

Not really.

On the planet where Inhofe comes from; the one where their knees flip backwards every time they run (see "The Arrival"), this is a cool summer.

Advice:stock up your freezer with beef now. The price is going to sky rocket by early next summer.

Or, just cut back on the beef. Much cheaper and better for the environment.

Texas might even have a bigger problem with that.


Just spend 4 days in Montreal. Lots of bicycle usage. They have a system of public ebike (electrically assisted) with recharging stands all over the city. They have bike lanes. Also scooter are popular. It is a very nice city.

Is it Paul Nash who does lighting? Anyway in the Montreal subways they have light fixture for florescent tubes that cover about 330 degree of the output with a black metal allowing only about 10% of the light to do anything useful. Some lighting consult needs to make a proposal to the subway system for better lighting!

Any chance of finding an image for these? I can't quite picture them. Sounds like a string of LEDs would be far more efficient.


Ed, while I have done a few lighting retrofits in my time, it is Paul from Halifax who is the TOD lighting expert you are thinking of.

The fact that they use electricity inefficiently is probably something to do with being in Quebec, where excessive, verging on wasteful, use of electricity is the norm. Having the cheapest electricity in N. America may have something to do with that.

Here is a site that has pictures of all the Metro stations - lots if different fixtures there - can you identify the station you saw them at?


In a lame effort to dissipate, ever so slightly, the fog of gloom and despair, I offer this humble trifle of encouraging news, in case it was not posted earlier:


It appears that Spencer and Braswell got their asses thoroughly kicked.

Incredibly, Drudge Report -- which I check daily just to see what the bad guys are up to -- provided the link. Which is really, really strange, as Drudge has a track record as a serious denialist.

Libya related
Secret files: US officials aided Gaddafi

From: Tripoli headquarter of Libya’s intelligence agency - minutes of a meeting between senior Libyan officials – Abubakr Alzleitny and Mohammed Ahmed Ismail – and David Welch, former assistant secretary of state under George W Bush. Welch was the man who brokered the deal to restore diplomatic relations between the US and Libya in 2008.

Welch now works for Bechtel, a multinational American company with billion-dollar construction deals across the Middle East. The documents record that, on August 2, 2011, David Welch met with Gaddafi’s officials at the Four Seasons Hotel in Cairo, just a few blocks from the US embassy.

During that meeting Welch advised Gaddafi’s team on how to win the propaganda war, suggesting several ”confidence-building measures”, according to the documents. … The papers also document Welch advising the Gaddafi’s regime to take advantage of the current unrest in Syria. The documents held this passage: “The importance of taking advantage of the Syrian situation particularly regarding the double-standard policy adopted by Washington… the Syrians were never your friends and you would loose nothing from exploiting the situation there in order to embarrass the West.”

also Leaked UN Plan for Post-Conflict Deployment to Libya

(pg 8) … 24 Leading roles on economic recovery are expected to be taken by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, together with the European Union and leading bilateral actors. The mission will include a senior economic adviser, to link the SRSG and OSRSG/RC with these actors. Immediate action will be necessary to lift sanctions and unfreeze assets to ensure the availability of funds to the transitional authorities. The resumption of oil production and export will be the most critical element of economic recovery.

Corruption - it's not just for third-world countries any more.

How is this corruption, unless the US gov't was involved? Seems like politics coupled with free agency. The best influence and advice money can buy!

Speaking of third-world countries and wars; it looks like the U.S. has another one warming up in the oven.

U.S. Special Forces Training Mexican Assassination Squads to Battle Cartels

A small but growing proxy war is underway in Mexico pitting US-assisted assassin teams composed of elite Mexican special operations soldiers against the leadership of an emerging cadre of independent drug organizations that are far more ruthless than the old-guard Mexican “cartels” that gave birth to them.

... The information in the job posting described the US military contractor’s training network in Mexico as being part of an effort called “Project Sparta,” which is designed “to train Mexican Army soldiers in basic and advanced urban warfare operations” with the ultimate goal of creating an “Urban Warfare Elite Force.”

ATF let hundreds of U.S. weapons fall into hands of suspected Mexican gunrunners

What could possibly go wrong?

Now, that's a gun!

ATF - Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

That shouldn't be the name of a government agency - it should be the name of a store!



This is America, people. The shining city upon a hill. Depressed, fat, broke, scared. But we've got the most and bestest guns!

Reminds me of this clip by the master:

This is America, people.


This is SPARTA:


In my opinion, we all should globally legalize drug use in people's homes and bars:

Gang and organized crime revenue stream of the illegal drug trade would be terminated.
- Now such items would manufactured by legal means. Quality and purity requirements tested and enforced, so hopefully no more people being poisoned by the fillers used for many illegal drugs.

Driving under the influence, or public negative behavior would still be just as illegal and punishable as now.

The legalization could be like the Patriot Act *cough*cough* where it is done on a trial period of X yrs, and has to be re-approved to continue every X yrs *cough*cough* If legalization were deemed by the Greater Good as a failure, then things would revert back to BAU....

I hope he earned a lot but no matter how much it was, it won't be enough to buy back his soul.

(I wish I believed in the concept of souls so I could believe that comment. :-/ )

Hey Darwinian (Ron), I think Richard Heinberg indirectly mentioned you on his podcast with JHK. It's on part 2 from the End of Growth.


They get on the topic of whether or not they consider themselves to be doomers, and both try to distance themselves from that label by suggesting doomerism equates with thinking humans will become extinct. (I'm paraphrasing here) Heinberg says there are people on The Oil Drum that think in terms of extinction for the human race, and although all species eventually become extinct, he doesn't see that happening to the human race in the impending restructuring. I had to think of you when he was saying all this because you have asserted at times you think humankind will become extinct, but I'm not sure of your timeline.

Anyway, the podcast makes for interesting listening. Heinberg alludes to his sense of things that there could be a huge negative financial event taking place as soon as this Sept. or October. I suppose we are not expected to view that as doomerish because it doesn't include extinction.

Personally I think most people consider doomers as anyone suggesting the current way of doing business will come to an end, not the litmus test of extinction. So I find it interesting that neither Heinberg or Kunstler are willing to accept themselves as doomers. However, I suppose they need to remain marketable for their books and most people need to have a ray of hope.

While I respect both JHK and Heinberg, IMHO, Ron is better informed than JHK and more realistic in his expectations than Heinberg.

The difference between True-Doomers(TM) and the Panglossian ones is that the True-Doomer(TM) understands we're well in overshoot in every possible area. Irreversible damage has occurred, yes.

There are differences, alright. But none of the three ("The doomer on TOD", JHK and Heinberg) are advocating that we switch to electric cars or that we turn off the lightbulb in order to "save the planet" - I see this as essentially a good thing - that there is someone talking about practically relevant things that makes people wake up.

All said. I like Orlov's short-sighted, limited-scope approach to dealing with collapse more effective. There is just no need to talk about it, i guess.

Is forecasting the collapse of our civilization considered being a doomer ? In a scenario that rely upon the past like Easter Island there would still be human around to rebuild.
The great interrogation is what happend to our nuclear plants, if there is a massive chaos and panic where everything starts crumbling at once the reactors would be abandonned to their faith. With no cooling for weeks after their shutdown they will all blow up and their storage pool will evaporate like we saw in Fukushima. It would spell doom for large areas like the US , Europe, or Japan with their high concentration of reactors but some remote areas like New Zealand or south Chile should do OK ....

If people moved to and farmed within a few km of Chernobyl, they would have a higher cancer rate, but they would survive and have children.

You grossly overestimate the dangers of residual radiation.

The long term risks from Climate Change are thousands (if not more) times more dangerous for humanity than radiation risks.

From an American perspective, a Greater Dust Bowl from Kansas to the California border.


I agree with you about the survivability even with higher cancer rate but still it's a big threat to the people left.
Chernobyl was particular because the graphite moderated core exploded releasing massive amount right into the atmosphere but some containment measure were immediatly put into action like dropping sand and lead onto the core.
In the event of collapse their wouldn't be anyone to contain anything meaning the plants will continuously release radioactive materials for years ...
A map of all the nuclear reactors in Europe :
People living in belgium for example will suffer dozens of radioactive clouds. They might not be able to reach 25 years old or so to reproduce and their children will probably be higly contaminated, further reducing their chance to have descendants ...
I agree with you that climate change is a big threat over the medium term but over in the short term nuclear fallouts will be a huge issue . If the two are combined at the same time it will really be deadly for anyone concerned.
If i was given the choice on how to survive i would really prefer to be off in Chile rather than staying in France ;)

"The long term risks from Climate Change are thousands (if not more) times more dangerous for humanity than radiation risks"

As Einstein said "Ist das wirklich so" - I'm trying to comprehend on how Toxic the decades pileup of orphaned spent fuel in the onsite pools designed for only 3-5 refuelings. I asked here on TOD how much high level radioisotope soup would be generated by 1 decade of ONE average family electrical usage and the answer was ~300 grams - more than enough to render a state wide area unable to sustain life since the soil would be too toxic to grow food.

Spent Fuel issue seems to make a reactor corium meltdown low impact in comparison.
Would love to see info on the best and worse case models of Nuclear waste release into the environment vs trashing the air with emissions from coal. Perhaps a TOD risk assessment article? Who is going to train the next generation to deal with this nightmare? How much is set aside by Gov or industry to respond to nuclear cleanup?

Harry Reid killed the option of putting the Nuclear "waste" underground, so what is the next step?

IIRC, Ron is expecting a dieoff, but not human extinction. Outside of the way Heinberg mentions: that extinction is the fate of most species, and in the long run, we won't be immune.

I'm not sure, but it seems to me that Heinberg poked a finger in the TOD doomer eye. Then again, the discussion isn't complete without considering all possibilities, is it?

My assessment is that societies will become fragmented, and that some few will eventually flourish as others are obliterated by events and conditions. Further, it isn't just a crap shoot. Some areas and societies clearly will have a better shot, though how things play out will determine which are fittest. Ron, and some others here understand that our systems will eventually balance themselves regardless of our best efforts to defy nature. Overshoot is a label we give to the extremely imbalanced condition we humans find ourselves in. Doomer is the label we give to those who understand the equally extreme/severe correction required to respond to the reset that nature is imposing upon us.

One can hope that our species will avoid turning on itself, just as nature seems to, but that isn't our history. Our meme is to blame each other. I don't see that changing.

Extinction for primates including us is quite likely if conditions become more difficult. We're adaptable in some ways, but not nearly as adaptable as microbes. Homo sapiens has only been around for about 100,000 years. Neanderthal went extinct about 20,000 years ago. Some Homo sapiens may survive in pockets, but we're not meant to hang around the earth for the long term.