Drumbeat: September 7, 2011

Saudi Arabia's water needs eating into oil wealth

(Reuters) - Long before it understood the value of oil, the desert kingdom of Saudi Arabia knew the worth of water.

But the leading oil exporter's water challenges are growing as energy-intensive desalination erodes oil revenues while peak water looms more ominously than peak oil -- the theory that supplies are at or near their limit, with nowhere to go but down.

Two reasons why Asia's still thirsty for crude oil

SINGAPORE: Two seemingly unrelated bits of news on Monday show why there is hope that Asia's oil demand remains robust even as the global economic outlook darkens.

Firstly, Saudi Aramco saw fit to raise the premiums it will charge refiners in Asia for crude supplies for October, a sign the world's biggest oil exporter isn't too worried about slowing demand.

And secondly, China made a major revision to its July crude import figures, saying it actually imported 6.3 percent more than earlier reported, as some Russian pipeline imports weren't counted.

Authorities scramble to prevent aviation fuel shortages

Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin gathered government officials to formulate a response to looming fuel shortages at the nation’s airports on Tuesday. Media reports had earlier speculated that Moscow airports’ fuel reserves had dropped to critical levels over recent days. Sechin announced at the meeting that a 10-day fuel reserve was to be created for the capital’s airports.

Is Ukraine alone against Russia in the renewed pipeline wars?

Most places ignore the inauguration of new energy pipelines, but most places are not Russia, where the control of the flow of hydrocarbons means raw power. Yesterday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin inaugurated Nord Stream, a huge gas pipeline linking his country to Germany. It ought to have been an ordinary event, but this 760-mile, $12.5 billion line is steeped in politics -- from Putin's explicitly stated perspective, Nord Stream at last allows Russia to bypass pesky former Soviet Bloc countries such as Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine that resist Moscow's will.

We thus enter an elevated stage in the pipeline wars, a long-running and turbulent tournament of shadows under way on European soil. But there are signs that time has passed by this strategy for fortifying Russia's place in Europe.

Ridge: Shale drilling worries 'phony hysteria'

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Energy executives opened a major conference on shale gas Wednesday by advocating a national energy policy in which natural gas plays a leading role, citing its domestic abundance and cleaner-burning characteristics.

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, now an industry consultant, said that gas extracted from the nation's vast shale deposits can help reduce U.S. reliance on foreign sources of oil.

Industry Hears Details of New FERC Energy Strategy

The Obama administration is briefing industry on a new energy strategy that could create a fast-track approval process for major transmission lines serving renewable energy projects, according to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff comments on the plan.

Popping the hype balloon on electric cars

We continue to see new critical rankings of the top electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, but the truth is that these models so far are selling at best in the low thousands and more often in the hundreds (the new French-German Mia pictured above). So neither the U.S. nor Chinese are likely to achieve their competing goals of 1 million such cars on their respective roads in the next few years.

This is not surprising -- it is simply the air starting to go out of the hype. So what truly does seem likely in the coming years? Read on to the jump.

Cassandra and the limits to growth

No matter how well the model was explained, understanding LTG required an effort that most people were not willing to expend. It is difficult to fight against the human tendency of disbelieving bad news - the Cassandra effect, in short.

But we can learn something from the LTG experience. A fundamental point is related to the public perception of models. For a scientist, the need for models is obvious; but it is not so for a politician or for the public. In this sense, world modelling and modern Climate Science have the same problem. Both fields are seen as based on complex models that are beyond the capability of understanding of the non-specialist. So, what is exactly the role of models in the public debate on the issues of climate change and resource depletion?

Are jobs obsolete?

We're living in an economy where productivity is no longer the goal, employment is. That's because, on a very fundamental level, we have pretty much everything we need. America is productive enough that it could probably shelter, feed, educate, and even provide health care for its entire population with just a fraction of us actually working.

According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, there is enough food produced to provide everyone in the world with 2,720 kilocalories per person per day. And that's even after America disposes of thousands of tons of crop and dairy just to keep market prices high. Meanwhile, American banks overloaded with foreclosed properties are demolishing vacant dwellings Video to get the empty houses off their books.

Our problem is not that we don't have enough stuff -- it's that we don't have enough ways for people to work and prove that they deserve this stuff.

Visualizing a plenitude economy

This beautifully drawn 5-minute video provides a vision of what a post-consumer society could look like, with people working fewer hours and pursuing re-skilling, homesteading, and small-scale enterprises that can help reduce the overall size and impact of the consumer economy.

Big Oil: To create jobs, let us drill more

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- With job creation taking center stage in American politics, the oil industry Wednesday made a pitch for drilling more widely. With looser restrictions, the industry says it could deliver 1.4 million new jobs, boost tax rolls by $800 billion, and increase domestic energy production almost 50%.

To hit those numbers, the industry would need to drill off the East and West Coasts, in waters off Florida's Gulf Coast, in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and on most federal public land that's not a national park. These areas are currently off limits to drilling, except for some public land in these regions.

Crude Gains on Forecast Stockpile Drop as Cyclone Builds in Gulf of Mexico

Oil advanced from the lowest in more than a week in New York as a weather system in the Gulf of Mexico threatened supplies in the U.S., where production halts because of storms have already reduced crude stockpiles.

West Texas Intermediate climbed as much as 1.6 percent after the National Hurricane Center said a weather system over southwestern Gulf of Mexico may become a tropical cyclone. An Energy Department report tomorrow may show inventories declined 2.25 million barrels last week as Tropical Storm Lee shut production in the gulf, a Bloomberg News survey of analysts showed. Brent’s premium to U.S. prices narrowed from a record.

EU Energy Chief: Russia Committed To Respect EU Gas Deliveries

BRUSSELS -(Dow Jones)- The latest spat between Russia and Ukraine doesn't seem to pose any threat to Europe's natural gas supply at the moment, the European Commission's energy chief said Wednesday.

Don't talk oil with Cuba, lawmaker warns

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- Washington is sending the wrong message by having a delegation in Cuba review the country's plans to drill offshore for oil and natural gas, a lawmaker said.

A delegation led by William Reilly, a top official at the National Oil Spill Commission, left Monday for Cuba to examine Havana's oil plans.

Cuba is looking into cutting the amount of oil it imports from Venezuela through development of offshore reserves.

Russia Can Double Oil Reserves By Tapping Arctic Potential -Lukoil Executive

SINGAPORE -(Dow Jones)- Russia can double its oil reserves if the governcment is determined to exploit the potential in the Arctic, a senior OAO Lukoil Holdings (LKOH.RS) executive said Wednesday.

"The development of Arctic fields needs political will and support from the government," Sergey Chaplygin, chief executive of Lukoil International Trading and Supply Co. said, but didn't elaborate. Lukoil is the country's biggest private oil producer.

BP: Significant Resource Extension Of Mad Dog Field In Gulf Of Mexico

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- BP PLC, an producers of oil and gas, Wednesday announced the drilling of a successful appraisal well in a previously untested northern segment of the Mad Dog field in the U.S Gulf of Mexico, adding that pending confirmation through future appraisal drilling, the total hydrocarbons initially in place in the complex are now estimated to be up to four billion barrels of oil equivalent.

Chevron finds new oil site in Gulf of Mexico

SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Chevron Corp. said Tuesday that it has found a new oil source at the Moccasin prospect in the Gulf of Mexico.

The oil company said it is evaluating the results of the find, adding that more work will be needed to determine the extent of the discovery.

Suncor Energy Chief Sees Record Year for Cash Flow on Oil Price, Cost Cuts

Suncor Energy Inc. (SU), Canada’s largest oil-sands producer, will report record cash flow this year because of higher oil prices and lower costs, Chief Executive Officer Rick George said.

Where is global growth without U.S., Europe, Japan?

It is getting harder and harder to see where tomorrow’s global growth will be coming from. Job creation in the U.S. has come to a screeching halt. Growth in the euro zone has done the same. And a still irradiating Japanese economy continues to stagnate, while an emerging energy crisis has suddenly sparked plans to start off-shoring manufacturing.

One of the top questions for our time: how will Peak Oil affect the economy?

Peak oil might hit sometime during the next five years. How might this affect the world economy. We we examine important dynamics about oil prices, some misunderstood by many writing about Peak Oil — from doomsters to cornucopians. The bottom line: we cannot reliably forecast what will happen. Peak oil might have little effect — or crush the economy.

Many Libyans miss trappings of security under Gadhafi

Away from the celebrations, there are some in the city who fear for the future and say they miss the stability and security of life during Moammar Gadhafi's 42 years in power.

"We lived in peace before. We had money. We had everything," Akram Mohammed Al Garbarji, 30, said as he waited to withdraw money from a bank in downtown Tripoli. "I love Gadhafi; I will die for Gadhafi."

Heavy gunfire in central Syria; several killed

BEIRUT (AP) – Security forces intensified their crackdown in the flashpoint city of Homs on Wednesday, killing and wounding several people in fresh attacks amid heavy gunfire, activists and residents said.

Syria shrugs off sanctions, eyes China oil sales

ABU DHABI - Syria plans to sell the oil European customers cannot take under a new EU import ban to Russia or China and will be unharmed by western sanctions as long as its own energy needs are met, Syria’s finance minister said on Wednesday.

Marcellus Shale conference to open in Philly

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Energy executives and elected officials are gathering in Philadelphia this week for a major conference on natural gas drilling.

The Marcellus Shale Coalition expects 1,600 attendees at its inaugural "Shale Gas Insight" conference at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Wednesday and Thursday.

China's Cabinet orders ConocoPhillips spill probe

SHANGHAI (AP) — China's top leaders have ordered an investigation into oil spills in China's Bohai Bay that have drawn intense criticism from marine authorities and environmentalists, adding to pressures on oil field operator ConocoPhillips.

Chevron to pay $4.5 million for Utah oil spills

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Chevron Corp. has agreed to a $4.5 million settlement with Salt Lake City and state environmental officials for two oil spills that polluted a creek and city pond.

Through the agreement, announced Tuesday by city officials, Chevron will pay $3 million for mitigation projects, $1 million to help impacted residents and businesses and a $500,000 civil penalty to the state.

Gulf Coast beaches rebound 1 year after oil spill

PENSACOLA, Fla. — Last summer John Ehrenreich wondered whether his Pensacola Beach go-cart track and parasailing business would make it through the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

But this summer, business has boomed at Bonifay Water Sports, Ehrenreich said as he waited for a parasailing group to return. And he's not the only local businessman with good news. Beach towns from Alabama through the Florida Panhandle have had a strong summer 2011 rebound after a 2010 marred by tar balls, crude oil sheen, and cleanup crews and equipment ruining the views for any would-be sunbathers.

Nobel winner urges Japan to abandon nuclear power

TOKYO (AP) — Nobel laureate Kenzaburo Oe urged Japan's new prime minister on Tuesday to halt plans to restart nuclear power plants and instead abandon nuclear energy.

Oe cautioned Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda against prioritizing the economy over safety. Noda has said he will allow idled nuclear plants to resume operation when their safety is confirmed.

Easing Stance, Iran Offers Inspectors ‘Supervision’ of Nuclear Program

WASHINGTON — Iran on Monday made its first counterproposal in two years to ease the confrontation with the West over its nuclear program, offering to allow international inspectors “full supervision” of the country’s nuclear activities for the next five years, but on the condition that the mounting sanctions against Iran are lifted.

Russia Says No Plans to Build Nuclear Power Stations in Iran After Bushehr

Russia isn’t currently planning to build any new nuclear stations in Iran after operations start at the Persian Gulf state’s first atomic plant in Bushehr, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said.

The Bushehr power plant is due to be fully operational soon, Bogdanov said yesterday in a written reply to e-mailed questions from Bloomberg. It’s “premature” to speak about further plans for Russian-built atomic facilities in Iran.

Wind Industry Lobbies for Tax-Credit Extension

So far 2011 has been a good year f0or wind energy projects. Installations in the first six months of 2011 were almost double what they were in the comparable period in 2010 in terms of total megawatts (2,151 versus 1,250), according to the American Wind Energy Association. But a bipartisan coalition of 24 state governors, fretting that the industry could lose momentum, has already begun lobbying the Obama administration to improve business conditions for wind energy developers.

Energy innovation: From a garage to the Pentagon

TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (CNNMoney) -- Spurred by a desire to save money and lives by reducing the number of vulnerable fuel convoys they depend on, the Marines last month invited 13 companies to their desert base to pitch them the latest in battlefield solar and fuel efficiency technology.

When it comes to energy waste, tech is hero and villain

(CNN) -- Let's take a little quiz. Which piece of home technology do you think uses the most electricity?

A. Refrigerator

B. Laptop

C. DVR/set-top box

D. HD television

If you answered set-top box (C), you're right. That little box near your TV -- the one that plays and records cable television -- uses more electricity than a modern refrigerator, and it probably sucks down more power than the TV it's attached to, according to a recent report from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Policing Your Power-Hungry Appliances

Belkin has a new line of products that measure the electricity consumption of specific bulbs or appliances, calculate the costs and find ways to achieve savings.

Utah ends 4-day workweek experiment

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman launched the “4/10″ workweek — 10 hours a day, Monday-Thursday — for thousands of employees in 2008 to improve efficiency, reduce overhead costs and conserve energy at a time when budgets are tight and resources are dwindling.

A 2010 legislative audit showed the savings never materialized, in part due to a drop in energy prices.

Ambitions for carbon capture on standby

The UAE is among the most vocal advocates of the practice of burying greenhouse gas emissions underground, hosting UN talks today in the capital. But it has trouble selling the idea within its borders.

Kiribati considers oil rigs as answer to climate change

Rising sea levels could force Kiribati authorities to move the country's entire population onto artificial islands.

Some villages in the country have already been forced to relocate due to rising sea levels.

Total Arctic sea ice at record low in 2010 - study

(Reuters) - The minimum summertime volume of Arctic sea ice fell to a record low last year, researchers said in a study to be published shortly, suggesting that thinning of the ice had outweighed a recovery in area.

The study estimated that last year broke the previous, 2007 record for the minimum volume of ice, which is calculated from a combination of sea ice area and thickness.

Unlocked by melting ice-caps, the great polar oil rush has begun

It's the melting of the Arctic ice, as the climate warms, that makes it possible — and you can understand why they're all piling in. In July 2008, the US Geological Survey released the first ever publicly available estimate of the oil locked in the earth north of the Arctic Circle.

Seoul, Moscow to hold talks on new arctic route

Korea and Russia will hold maritime talks this week to discuss Seoul's development and use of new Arctic Ocean shipping routes that encompass Russia, officials here said Tuesday.

In the world's breadbasket, climate change feeds some worry

Some scientists and agronomists are becoming increasingly concerned about the real effects they see now on growing conditions in the Midwest, the vast black-soiled region long the core region of the U.S. agricultural miracle.

They also say that not only skeptical farmers but also government authorities are trying to quietly adapt, from equipment to planting to research.

"We don't have a long-term reserve. We have a global food supply of about 2 or 3 weeks," said Eugene Takle, Professor of Agricultural Meteorology and Director of the Climate Science Program at Iowa State University.

Death spiral of Arctic sea ice continues

Now that August numbers for sea ice area and extent are available from NSIDC, let’s update the prediction of the upcoming September value. This September we’re sure to see either the lowest or the 2nd-lowest extent value on record. This is clear from looking at daily data from JAXA...

Fortunately, the Antarctic ice pack is 4x larger and has been perfectly stable over the same time period mentioned in the article.

See http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/

Perhaps that's due to the fact that the ozone layer above the Antarctic has been reduced from the chemicals we dump into the air. Ozone is a greenhouse gas and the loss of ozone has resulted in a cooling of the stratosphere. That cooling propagates down to he surface, off setting the warming effects of the other greenhouse gases, IMHO. Then too, the geography of the Antarctic is different from the Arctic, with the Arctic sea-ice being located further toward the pole and surrounded by ice free land in summer. The fact that the Antarctic sea-ice has not exhibited the decline found over the Arctic should not be surprising...

E. Swanson

Not the ozon layer, but oceanic circulation. I don't remember the details of why, but one side effect of the climate change is that the depth to surface circulation in Antarctic waters slow down. This in turn leads to a smaller heat buffert, so in the winter ice growth gets faster.

Wait, did the guy write that icegrew in Antarctica during the SAME TIME PERIOD? They got winter down there this time of year. Off course it grows...

Overall, the Antarctic ice has decreased recently when looking at land and sea. The Antarctic also has warmed over the same time period. It is true that sea ice has not decreased as much as the Arctic sea ice.

The decreases in the Arctic ice have significant effects on weather in the Northern Hemisphere that are independent of Antarctic ice. I wouldn't call increased temperatures in the Corn Belt or melting permafrost fortunate and that is where we are heading, if we aren't there already.

Antarctic Sea Ice Area

Antarctic ice sheet losing mass, says University of Colorado study

I think its mainly the strength of the Antarctic circumpolar wind belt. Climatoligists talk about the Antarctic Annular Mode. A strong AAM, helpts to bottle up the cold, and helps with sea-ice. Supposedly the ozone depletion is supposed to be associated with a stronger AAM.
Satellite measurements indicate that land ice is decreasing. But aside from the Antarctic penisula, the rate of warming of the continent has been small. The temperature albedo feedback, hasn't been able to kick in (a few degrees diff, don't change the amount of ice cover by much), as it does in the Arctic, so we have Arctic amplification (of global warming trends), but not Antarctic amplification.

Hmm... I thought it was the other way around, that cooling in the stratosphere increased the size of the Ozone hole, but of course I am way outside my field of expertise, as usual.

One thing that's been bothering me for the last ten years or so is that... well, er... the ozone hole isn't exactly closing. In fact, it's at 24 million square kilometers as of 9/5/11, and the record is, supposedly, 27 million square kilometers in 2006.


I say "supposedly" because I watched this website closely in 2008, and I swear I saw the minimum hit 28 million, and then the numbers somehow got revised downwards.

Of course, minimum ozone is another story, and it's not really that thin this year so far. And the record is very short, we don't know what was going on before the '70s, I think.

It just seems weird to me that so little attention has been paid to this, even on environmental websites.

It is not strange at all. We tend to only be able to worry about one problem at a time. When the ozon hole begun to heal up, we got more evidence that climate change was a growing problem, and dropped the one to pick up the other.

In Sweden the big issue was acid rain. When we heard about climate change we sort of for got all about acid rain we ever learnt. Problem gone. Poof!

Here on TOD we are able to monitor both PO and CC because those problem are the fruit of the same issue, consumtion of fossil fuels.

Actually, Antarctic ice pack is about the same size as arctic one.

So the reason sea ice in Antarcticais growing is that land icemelt, and the melt water (wich is fresh, not salt) flow out in the ocean and lay on top of the water as a lid, wich prevents bottom to surface circulation, wich is a source of heat that is turned off.

Alas; the growing sea ice is a result of warming. Try to explain that to a denialist (who generally can only think in one step).

Graph of the Day: Antarctic Ice Mass Loss, 2002-2009

The continent of Antarctica has been losing more than 100 cubic kilometers (24 cubic miles) of ice per year since 2002.

Thanks for the graph and link.

The graph appears to be somewhat confusing and so does the statement about 2002 being the critical year.

A better explanation can be found at the mouth of the horse: NASA



The daily update page just went up after several days of outage. During the time the site was down the melting has catched up with the record low trend of 2007 and is now almost identical in area cover. However the melting speed is slightly higher so there might be a new record low this year. Supporting this guess is that the ice seems to be thinner than ever before wich may indicate a longer melt season.

Air temperatures are now below freeze point, so it is only heat in the water that drives the last push of melting up there. We'll see in a couple of weeks how it turned out.

the Antarctic ice pack is 4x larger and has been perfectly stable over the same time period mentioned in the article

Whoooosh - it took me a minute - summer in the Arctic is winter in the Antarctic.

For some Denier acquaintances (don't rise to level of friends), when was the last time the Arctic Ocean was ice free in late summer ?

I vaguely remember 100,000 years ago.

Best Hopes for Delaying the Next Time,


There is some evidence that 6000 years ago, the summer arctic seaice was lower than recently. This is not especially surprising, arctic summers had more intense sunlight back then. But, it is considered as an indication that sea ice can recover from a meltdown (if the global temp is allowed to recover).

That's correct. The Arctic Ocean was most likely ice-free in summer during the Holocene Climate Optimum 9,000 to 5,000 years ago. The glaciers in the Canadian Rockies may have disappeared at the same time. Just another routine episode of Global Warming.

On the science side, not the politics side, do the earth science folks have ideas about what caused this?

The waxing and waning of ice ages has been driven by variations in the Earth's orbit which change the effective solar insolation. This is relatively well understood by the Earth Science folks.

And since orbit variations are not caused by fossil fuels, then the science is "well-understood." How odd? Even though no one was there to document the orbit variations. I guess the stomping of feet and gnashing of teeth on science only occurs when CO2 is on the table.

Last time I checked humans did not cause orbit variations. Not much we could do about a warming planet caused by that.

This time is different. Never before have a group of Earth animals dug up millions of years worth of buried carbon and burned it off in only one century.

We do have the option of not toasting ourselves if we choose to take it....


I'm no expert in this, however my understanding is that one must keep in mind the "scales" of time involved.

Yes, the Earth's orbit changes. But that happens on a huge scale involving 100's of thousands of years.
Eventually, in thousands of years from now, the orbit will flip back to Ice Age mode.

The AGW folk are worried about what is happening in the next hundred, not thousand years.
If we don't make it through the next hundred, what happens in a thousand is immaterial.

Enough GHGs will knock us out of any more ice ages. Remember that ice ages are a relatively recent phenomena in the history of the earth, only the last few million years, iirc. Before that CO2 levels were too high for them to occur. The smashing of the Indian subcontinent into Asia and the ensuing formation and weathering of the Himalayas started the long process of draw down of CO2 in the atmosphere. We have abruptly and dramatically reversed that trend.

And our forcing appears to be just the trigger that will set off the release of much larger quantities of GHGs--from seabed methane, to tundra melt, to burning forests--while at the same time slowing down natural processes that had been drawing down CO2--the waters of the oceans are becoming too warm to keep absorbing about half of the CO2 that we have been emitting as they have been doing, and the same warming has killed of nearly half of the phytoplankton that had been taking in massive amounts of CO2 and sequestering much of it as they died and fell to the ocean floor.

In short, we are setting in motion many things that are going to make the problem many times worse, while at the same time destroying some of the few things that had a possibility of mitigating the full negative effects. Not a good combination.

Wallace Broecker has hypothesized that the formation of the Isthmus of Panama some 3.3 million years ago started the Ice Ages. The result was that the Gulf Stream flow changed and the THC at high northern latitudes in the Atlantic Ocean began. There's no THC flow now in the North Pacific, as the waters are to low in density, whereas it appears there may have been sinking before the Isthmus cut off the flow between the Caribbean and the equatorial Pacific.

The THC flow removes surface water from the North Atlantic, which is very cold and thus carries CO2 to the bottom of the ocean as the cold water can hold more CO2 than the warmer waters of the tropics. Also, once the ice sheets began to build, the CO2 levels would tend to fall as the fresh water derived from cold precipitation would also capture CO2. It may be of importance that the end of the last Interglacial (the Eemian) some 120k yr BP, coincided with temperatures which were warmer than today and the sea level was also higher at that time.

Ask yourself a question: How did all that water which became glaciers over eastern Canada (Hudson Bay) get there? Why did the glaciers form there (and over Northeastern Europe) and not over Western Canada and Siberia? Was the weather sufficiently different such that the moisture flow out of the Atlantic was the source, perhaps more like that of the past 2 winters???

E. Swanson

If my Ph D of geology I took at Youtube Uniersity is worth its salt, the ice ages has been a re-occuring phenomenon the las 30 million years. The connection is as mentioned above the CO2 that was released when India drifting north hit mainland Asia and the following vulcanoes emitted loads of CO2. I think the dionsaurs had some opinions on those vulcanoes as well. Once the carbonate source of carbon was depleted, the CO2 was beginning to be absorbed by the oceans agan, forming new carbonates. And CO2 PPMs begun dropping, and we got cyclic ice ages.

Also, it is paramount for ice age cycles that there is a land mass near the poles. Such as Antarctia right now. Open sea by both poles, no ice ages.

The opening and closing of the "Panama Canal" has nothing to do with this, although it is a very strong climate forcer.

But then again, my degree may not be worth as much as tose of the real geologists.

The dinosaurs died out some 65 million years ago. The Indian volcanism you refer to is probably that which formed the Deccan Traps, which occurred during roughly the same time frame. HERE's an article from Wikipedia which presents more information about the most recent Ice Ages, for what it's worth. Notice the data from sediment cores with the first downward dip at around 3.3 million years BP. That article presents different hypotheses for the cause of most recent period of climate shift...

E. Swanson

Don't you worry. Peak oil will fix all of this. We may be transitioning into peak growth and peak population right now. 200 years from now it will be a cleaner, more sustainable world... with far fewer upright walking apes running around destroying things.

How convenient, but don't count on it.

It looks as though we will burn through even the very low EROEI ffs, and that will keep us emitting vast quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere for decades to come.

I worry little about future emissions. I worry of those we already have made. Even if I were to release my deadly zombie virus tomorrow and end humankind as a race, we would still have released enough of the stuff to guarantee 5 degree Celsius more heat, feedback loops included.

We need to undo at least 100 PPM of CO2 to get inside the safe mark agin.

Dunno. Reducing emissions is different than removing the obligate bipedal primates from the picture. With the latter, emissions of course stop, but also large amounts of agricultural land would abruptly transition from a CO2 source to a carbon sink.

Yeah. De-forestation would turn into re-forestation. Maybe I should make a tripp to the Copenhagen Airport with my little virus vial anyway.

On a related note, Dr. Þröstur Eysteinsson, the
Sviðsstjóri þjóðskóganna of Skógrækt ríkisins told me in an eMail that Tree planting has decreased by 40% from the maximum in 2009 and will decrease more.

It will take almost a century to replant the forests (with larger trees) that the Vikings cut down.

A reforested Iceland with larger trees (Sitka Spruce, lodgepole pine, Siberian larch, hopefully Douglas Fir etc.) can absorb several years of humanities carbon emissions.

Best Hopes for Icelandic Forests,


If they run their models forward in time when would they predict the next orbit induced warming? This is a science question.

Orbit changes take pretty long, thousands of years. You wouldn't run a climate model that long, rather you'd start it with the different solar forcing (oribital parameters), and see what sort of climate comes out. The orbital variations can be computed for quite a while (either forward or backwards), but you can't go too far forward or backwards, the error bars will eventually swamp the signal.


My understanding is that we're overdue for another ice age if orbital cycles were the only variation - all other things being equal, so to speak. The orbital cycles would have normally kicked us into a regime of growing ice sheets by this time. But instead there's warming. Now, only the very recent warming in the last few centuries or so can have anything to do with fossil fuel use, obviously. However, there's one hypothesis I read about - not at all proven or disproven as of yet, as far as I know - that the onset of large scale rice farming in East Asia some 3,000 years ago may have put enough methane in the atmosphere (by creating all those rice paddies which are artificial swamps) to prevent the tipping into another ice age.

One more point - what we're doing now by burning fossil fuels is considered a huge input into the climate system, a giant thumb on the scales of climate that dwarfs natural factors in it's immediacy.

I looked up the orbital cycles a while back. We are trending cooler, but weakly. Multiple centuries to > 1,000+ years till we are in a serious tipping point due to orbital dynamics.

None-the-less early agriculture and perhaps even removing megafauna may have altered the balance.

The Vikings emitted a lot of carbon (about 10 months worth of modern emissions) when they settled Iceland and cut down the short, small tree forests.

Larger areas with MUCH larger trees were cut down earlier. Which also affected the albedo.

But pre-Industrial Revolution humanity made only modest changes compared to today.

Such modest changes could have altered the climate, but nothing like today.


Ed and other curious people,

Here's a link to a concise presentation about ancient man's possible influence on climate, from our good cousins in Texas:


I heard about it from the Scientific American article, the title of which is shown on the first page of the linked presentation. SciAm offers an abstract online, and will sell you the article (and the whole volume) for a modest fee or if you decide to subscribe.

This guy says human activity averted ice age 4500 years ago. Very interesting.

If one looks at the graph for CO2, there is almost no change, although he graph makes it appear that there is because the scaling is so narrow. The range shown is between 260 and 280 ppm in slide 8, whereas it's now approaching 400 ppm. The range for methane is also small, between 600 and 700 ppm in slide 16. Slide 16 includes a projection for methane which is speculative and only matches the early portion of the graph. Both slides begin with the Younger Dryas cold period 12k yr BP and include the 8200 yrBP cooling event. The methane graph could also be interpreted as nearly constant between 8k yr BP and 2k yr BP, depending on the way the curve is fitted. The graphical data does not support the conclusion that mankind really changed things that much back then, IMHO...

E. Swanson

I am quite willing to entertain the hypothesis that substantially less forcing than modern humanity is creating can still create noticeable climate changes.

The changes are likely to be slower and less dramatic than our future holds - but changes none-the-less.

Not that Hopeful,


Yes, I agree that such a scenario would make our situation appear to be much more perilous...

E. Swanson

Thanks for the close scrutiny on the presentation I posted. I do think it's rather speculative, and I'd be interested in any reasonable competing theories for an apparent delay in our next ice-age.

In general, the orbital cycle is on the order of ~100,000 years. Orbital precession also influences (orientation of the Earth at perihelion and aphelion). Also generally speaking, the warming and cooling of the planet has to do with the change of orbital eccentricity (going from more elliptical to less elliptical orbits). The more eliptical the orbit, the more time the planet stays at a greater distance from the sun (Kepler's Third Law if memory serves, tht equal areas are swept out over equal times).

Occasionally, as is evidenced by looking backward over the Antarctic ice record, Earth has exeprienced extended periods of time with relative warmth. From an orbital dynamics standpoint these are periods where the planet takes a relatively long time to go back to a more elliptical orbit. We are in one of those extended periods as the planet will continue to progress to a nearly circular orbit in approximately 25,000 years.

About 12,000 years from now the northern Hemisphere will be at "summertime" at perihelion with all the attendant heating of land mass. Right now it is the opposite of that.

The ice record from Antarctica demonstrates this quite nicely along with the interplay of CO2 in the atmosphere as a positive feedback or forcing as it is termed in the climate science field, There are other places on the Antarctic continent to get at a long ice record (more remote and difficult to support) but the current ice record goes back more than 850,000 years. We are well above any CO2 value seen in the those ice records. More over the change in CO2 in the last 150 years is unprecedented in the entire ice record. See separate graphic coming soon.

Here is the graphic that demonstrates atmospheric concentration of CO2 at Antarctica since the last ice age.


Looks like changes in orbital forcing (more / less energy input 'insolation' per unit area) and 'internal feedbacks' such as sea-ice-albedo, (more / less reflection of energy from the ocean) and retreat or advance of boreal forests. (Orbital forcing reduces / increases length of growing season; there is more / less snow cover, thereby reflectance). See one example of results from model simulations;
Renssen et al Climate Dynamics 2005 http://www.falw.vu/~renh/pdf/Renssen-etal-ClimDyn05.pdf
[small EDIT: "more/less" depends on whether orbital forcing is increasing or decreasing these variables.)

For what it is worth, from the link above:
In the 'warmer' Arctic the key forcing over the time period 9-8k years BP ('Holocene Optimum') is:
Orbital forcing calculated as the sun's input at midsummer in the far-North (see nice chart for June insolation at 60N @ W/meter squared) from a 'high' 512W/m.sq 9000 years ago, reducing to a 'low plateau' 1000 years ago below 475W/m.sq). 'We' are still at a low summer energy input in the arctic. 'Our' warmer arctic is happening when the input of summer sun is lower than it was at the 'Holocene Optimum'.

Other variables ('internal feedbacks' such as extent of sea-ice & vegetation when the summers are warmer in the far-North) result in progressively lower reflectance from the white 'sunshade', and more sun energy absorbed by the surface.
But, see also chart for CH4 and CO2 atmospheric levels, for interest.

"We now know that conditions at this time were probably warmer than today, but only in summer and only in the extratropics of the Northern Hemisphere. This summer warming appears to have been due to astronomical factors that favoured warmer Northern summers, but colder Northern winters and colder tropics, than today (see Hewitt and Mitchell, 1998; Ganopolski et al, 1998)".

One school of thought:

"Short-term atmospheric C14 variations measured from tree rings correlate closely with Holocene glacier and tree-line fluctuations during the last 7000 yr. Such a correspondence, firstly, suggests that the record of short-term C14 variations may be an empirical indicator of paleoclimates and, secondly, points to a possible cause of Holocene climatic variations. The most prominent explanation of short-term C14 variations involves modulation of the galactic cosmic-ray flux by varying solar corpuscular activity. If this explanation proves valid and if the solar constant can be shown to vary with corpuscular output, it would suggest that Holocene glacier and climatic fluctuations, because of their close correlation with short-term C14 variations, were caused by varying solar activity. By extension, this would imply a similar cause for Late-Wisconsin climatic fluctuations such as the Alleröd and Younger Dryas."

Try Google. All levels of explanations presented.

Cosmic rays are completely irrelevant to the angle of tilt of the earth's axis.

Also, there is no trend in GCR flux that correlates with the observed trend in surface warming.

Routine episodes occur over thousands or millions of years, not a few human generations.

I don't know about that, doug. Just drove up the Missoula floodway, and it reminded me that punctuated equilibrium pretty much rules. While geology is measured in epochs, single transformative events can happen in a day or two, or even minutes. The Cascadia Fault isn't going to slowly grind its way to its next position. The earth's polarity doesn't take long to shift from one state to the next. I have to assume atmospheric conditions can shift rapidly as well.

Clearly, pumping so much CO2 is destabilizing to the atmosphere, but the Earth is quite used to making quick corrections for stuff like that. I get the feeling we'll be corrected more rapidly than we think, maybe the same way the twins at the Overlook Hotel were corrected.

Gould stated his saltation jumps occur from pressures or conditions forming over lengthy time series. I like the teapot analogy, it sits quietly over the heat, then screams.

Several weeks back, Seraph I think, posted a story that rapid increases of methane release in the Arctic prompted several nations to go run and get a handle on it. It may be more rapidly than we think. I wonder if there's been any followup to the story?

The Siberian expedition won't be back till the middle of Oct. If the results are bad we'll read about it in PNAS in January. If they're really bad you probabaly won't hear anything. This piece is from earlier this year rearding research off Norway

Methane Escape Research

... Ifremer's SYSIF sonar system produced detailed images reaching 100 to 200 metres beneath the seafloor, which show how gas is in some places trapped and in some places is travelling upwards through narrow fractures and pipes to the seafloor. A seismic system towed across the sea surface provided images of deeper gas pockets beyond the reach of the towed sonar

Prior research at NOC suggest we're in for a wild ride

...Based on their carbon isotope measurements and computer simulations of the Earth system, the researchers estimated that the rate of carbon emissions during the PETM peaked at between 300 million and 1,700 million metric tonnes per year, which is much slower than the present carbon emission rate. [for comparison - global CO2 emissions in 2010 broke a record - 30.6 billion tonnes (Gt or gigatonnes) or 1.6 Gt over 2009's 29.0 Gt. - 20X to 100X more CO2/year]

“Our findings suggest that humankind may be causing atmospheric carbon dioxide to increase at rates never previously seen on Earth, which would suggest that current temperatures will potentially rise much faster than they did during the PETM [55.9 million years BP],” concluded Dr Harding. [During its main phase, average annual temperatures rose by around 5°C.]


From my sources we are emmitting CO2 at speeds 20 000 times faster than when India colided with Asia and kept ice ages away for a coupla million of years. I think we should be impressed of our self.

Yes, the Siberian expedition. US and Soviet.

Here's your original link:


To repeat:

"This expedition was organized on a short notice by the Russian Fund of Fundamental Research and the U.S. National Science Foundation following the discovery of a dramatic increase in the leakage of methane gas from the seabed in the eastern part of the Arctic, said Professor Igor Semiletov, the head of the expedition.

Deniers make some logically curious claims.

"Prior climate changes were not caused by humans".

Duh ! Absent some proof related to early agriculture, quite true.

"They were caused by orbital fluctuations, changes in solar flux or massive volcanic eruptions or ...".

OK, true enough. But none are applicable today or for the last half century (satellite observations of solar flux since 1962, so very good data of no forcing there, orbital fluctuations are trending towards cooling weakly, no really big volcanoes).

"Since massive injections of GHG have not caused past Climate Change, they cannot cause them."

Never before has a species deliberately injected megatons of GHG into the atmosphere. So that claim misses a step in logic.

Calculations show a clear change in the heat balance from observed levels of CO2, CH4, SF6, CxFy, etc. Changing the heat balance leads to a changed climate seems "intuitively obvious".

Best Hopes for Basic Logic,


I hope my comment wasn't misconstrued as some kind of man-made climate change denial. You only have to look at the charts of GHG concentrations to see we're dangerously out of whack. I was responding directly to doug fir's blanket statement, badly. The tea kettle analogy is a good one, and applies to earthquakes, the Missoula floods, and our GHG emissions. It's the point where the kettle whistles that interests me; the heat we're putting under it is self-evident (you would think).

I am also looking at "non-linear" responses.

I am also a critic of the IPCC. I think they understated the probable rate of change for consensus political reasons.

We are quickly entering a period where rapid and catastrophic changes are becoming ever more likely.


Jökulhlaup, an Icelandic term used to describe a subglacial outburst flood

any relation to jokuhl here on TOD ?

Happy to say that it's just a kuhl coincidence!

More than that I will leave to your imagination..

Jökul is the traditional norse word for glacier. We still have it in swedish but everyone uses the imported word glacier instead. I'd like to go back to the old word for reasons of ease of spelling and pronounciation as well as some patriotic pride but I am not the deictator yet.

Laup is of the same root as swedish löp and english leap, and means to run or jump.

You can see the differences in the languages, when the icelanders say jökulhlaup, swedes would have said jökellopp.
I should have been a linguisitc, languages are fun.

I was thought the general "There is no way we humans can change the climate of the gigantic Earth" quite curious. Uh . . . microbes created out oxygen rich atmosphere.

Of course this requires them to understand (and believe) evolution, so that right there often ends things.

Never before has a species deliberately injected megatons of GHG into the atmosphere.

Indeeed, and for the carbon cycle perturbation, the magnitude of the excursion is actually around 8 gigatons per year.

"Prior climate changes were not caused by humans".

I love this one.

Your wife calls you at work to tell you that a guy with a chain saw is outside cutting down all the trees in your yard.

And you reply to your wife...

No one has ever cut down our trees with a chain saw before. They've always fallen on their own in storms, whatever.

Therefore, there is no one cutting down our trees.

The arrogance and certitude of deniers is dangerous and scary.

I suppose the Tea Party crowd feel they know all they need to know because of the Bible. God promised Noah that he wouldn't use another huge flood against mankind therefore climate change (and its predicted ocean level changes) is obviously false.

Certitude perhaps supports arrogance, but unfortunately it's not a terribly good estimator of accuracy.

I think it's interesting that about 20% aren't really terribly sure, but they seem to know that they don't know. I personally suspect those are the only ones with a good handle on things. There is probably a splinter group of Dems (say, green party sorts) who are just as convinced as Tea Partiers.

Both can't be right, but both can be wrong.

I probably would have said 'no' to the first question, because it is not a matter of 'belief.'

I understand that anthropogenic global warming is about as close as you can come to a fact of science.

If massive numbers of new, carefully done and peer reviewed studies showed that there were major factors influencing climate that we had not known about before and that explain the data much better, then that would be a new understanding.

Belief has nothing to do with it.

In fact, assuming it is the same 50% of Tea Partiers that say they don't believe in GW and that say that no amount of information would alter their belief, those guys are being more consistent with the wording of the question, especially if (as I assume would be the case) they interpret 'belief' in a religious or semi religious way. Religious belief is not something that is generally subject to refutation by objective or scientific evidence or information.

You might as well have asked them if any amount of information would alter their belief that Jesus is the son of God.

"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."

I am not sure that Twain wrote that, though many people are, and are more sure than they should be. I would put the probability at about 60%. Error bars are useful notions for data and predictions.

For what it's worth, I assume that human do alter climate. But it's not that important to me, because:
1) There are other major issues which at any given time seem more urgent. I'm not at all sure we'll do anything about it, so to a great extent it's trivial
2) Most of the reasonable things to do about it are reasonable for many other reasons...and we don't do those either.


I used to think that other issues were more urgent, but after what we've experienced here in North America over the last year weather-wise, I'm not so sure. As for your point #1, I agree with you that it's not commonly seen as urgent (I would say that the effects are seen, but it's not put all together and recognized as urgent). As for your point #2, tell me about it!

It is one of my pet professional peeves that "urgent" tends to trump "important". Everybody knows that "urgent and important" wins the priority battle. Beyond that, though, "urgent but not terribly important" seems to always trump "important but not terribly urgent".

By the time climate bubbles to the top, it will be urgent and important. And it will have company -- energy availability, water availability, debt overload, fertilizer shortage, social unrest.

I like to use the correct definition of words. So lets get to it.

"Belief" is actually the container of the meaning you describe it to. No debate there. However the english language have another word, "faith", that means another thing. Many people, atheists and religions people both, mix up the meaning of these words.

Faith means "to put trust in". There is no contradiction between science and faith. Example: "I have faith in this bridge. It will hold the load of this truck." is a correct use of the word. Hence my confession that I have faith in science. And so do you.

The word "belief" should only be used in situations where we make the best guess based on information we have, but can not be sure. Example: You believe you will get a bicycle as christmas gift.

I have seen, and been part of, many forum flame wars that stems from the confusion of the meaning and correct use of these words.

In swedish it is even more complicated because we have only one word "tro" (same root as english word "trust") for both faith and belief.

"There is no contradiction between science and faith." Not exactly Mr. Welder. You can't put error bars on faith.

Having "faith" in a bridge, knowing that there is engineering and experience of materials science behind it, and having "faith" in the religious sense, are two utterly different things, and to conflate them is absurd.

In other words, you have "faith" in the bridge because you place you trust in the history and science of engineering.

You have religious "faith" because... well, I don't know why.

Just because you can use the same word in different contexts doesn't mean there's no difference between faith and science. Science is belief because of the evidence, and faith is belief in spite of it.

because... well, I don't know why

because we are herd animals who feel good when we "congregate" with others of our flock

[ i.mage.+]
[i]= image, [+]= more info

The words here are older than science itself. To have faith means to trust. Period. The word do not concern itself in the object of its action. It just mean what it means.

The key factor here is that faith - where you put your trust - is a matter of choise. Based on information X I trust object Y.

You are not used to use the word faith outside its religious context and are therefore unwilling to accept this usage. It is ok, after all you probably already have other words to talk about these things and do not need new ones.

For me it is different. We use the word "tro" in all kind of circumstatnces. You can have "tro" within a marriage, meaning you don't cheat. Or you can have "tro" on Santa if you are a child. Or you can have tro on my word, that I am not lying. Easyer for me to apply the word on a wide range of circumstances.

I recently read a few interesting uses of these words in a book written by a scientist. First, religious believers try to uphold the ideals of their faiths. Second, science is a religion that worships factual reality as its god.

"Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult"

Full article at Truthout, but this excerpt seemed appropriate to this discussion :-

"Pandering to fundamentalism is a full-time vocation in the GOP. Beginning in the 1970s, religious cranks ceased simply to be a minor public nuisance in this country and grew into the major element of the Republican rank and file. Pat Robertson's strong showing in the 1988 Iowa Caucus signaled the gradual merger of politics and religion in the party. The results are all around us: if the American people poll more like Iranians or Nigerians than Europeans or Canadians on questions of evolution versus creationism, scriptural inerrancy, the existence of angels and demons, and so forth, that result is due to the rise of the religious right, its insertion into the public sphere by the Republican Party and the consequent normalizing of formerly reactionary or quaint beliefs. Also around us is a prevailing anti-intellectualism and hostility to science; it is this group that defines "low-information voter" - or, perhaps, "misinformation voter."


1700 years ago we european christians got an offer from roman emperor Constantin of a merge between the church and the state. We accepted the offer. That turned out to be the biggest misstake in the history of the church. It alone caused more problems than problem 2-10 on the top ten list of misstakes in the church put together. We learnt the lesson to never mix church and state again.

Now they try to redo the mistake on the left side of the Atlantic. I am afraid. Very afraid.

They'll have a harder time than they think getting it, however. The 'obedience and compliance' in our culture is very visible, and I agree with you, it can be very worrying.. but the independence and the secularism is also heavily embedded in the roots of this culture.. it'll be harder than bamboo to root out.

Re: Kiribati considers oil rigs as answer to climate change, up top:


I just received, in the mail, the book Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown. The book was offered free for postage and of course an offer will come later to try to sell me three very expensive newsletters. Anyway…

The book proclaims that the world economy is in a bubble phase and the whole thing will burst within the next few years. It predicts massive inflation for the dollar. Chapter 5 is titled: "Global Mega-Money Meltdown: It's not Just America's Bubble Economy, It's the World's Bubble Economy"

I looked in the index for every reference for "peak oil" and found nothing. There were a few references to oil however. Found this on page 145, bold mine:

With the exception of Israel, which will react more like Europe and Japan, the Middle East will look a lot like China in many ways. The big problem for the Middle East is oil. The massive decline in economic activity worldwide will dramatically decrease the demand for oil. Plus, the world's largest consumer, the United States will be faced with skyrocketing price for imported oil because the dollar has fallen. So, demand from the United States, which will be declining because of the terrible economy, will take an even bigger hit because of the high price.

Although exploration for oil will dramatically decline, it will take many years for supply to decrease enough to match up with rapidly falling demand. The collapsing demand will ultimately push oil down to the $10 to $20 (in 2011 dollars) per barrel range.

Such a dramatic decrease in income will devastate the Middle East, especially because some of these countries are already significantly poorer than the United States, Europe, and Japan, even before the world bubble economy burst. Like China, the Middle East will suffer massive unemployment. And like China, the global mega-depression will likely accelerate political turmoil, especially in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The monarchy there could quite possibly go the way of the monarchy of Iran, since there is already underlying tension in the Kingdom.

Ron P.

I saw an interview with the guy on newsmax. I didn't know what Newsmax was until I saw the interview(apparently some conservative online rag). The interview itself had the feeling of a total infomercial so I stopped viewing it a few minutes in.

Apparently, the book seems quite co-ordinated with financial vested interests. Take a look here:


Apparently, the book seems quite co-ordinated with financial vested interests.

There is no doubt about that. They are basically gold bugs trying to sell newsletters. Otherwise they would not have sent me the book just for the cost of postage. But they tout the accuracy of their past predictions. And we all know what happened to gold.

But I found it interesting that many on both sides, left and right, are predicting collapse. I am currently reading Chris Martenson's latest book The Crash Course. He is not outright predicting total collapse soon but he is stressing the same points that this "Aftershock" point out. A bubble is a bubble no matter which side of the aisle you sit on.

However the "Aftershock" folks seem to have no hint of peak oil or resource constraints while it is one of Martenson's main points. In other words, if the "Bubble bursting don't get us peak oil will". Everyone is predicting collapse but for different reasons. Depressing isn't it.

Ron P.

Yeah, really depressing:

In Euro Zone, Banking Fear Feeds on Itself

U.N. Body Warns of Risks of Global Austerity

Where's that recovery we keep hearing about from the BAU pundits?

E. Swanson

I hope your "depressing" comment is sarcasm. I welcome peak oil and growth. To me it means a cleaner, more sustainable future with a lower population. It's good news -- the worst is over.

Here in Europe, we see governments struggling with debt they took from banks like a contagious desease... If states cannot even pay the interests, who is going to rescue the banks then? I do not see private (not state-controlled) banks surviving, as they lose their business premise: annually growing energy supply, hence growing economy.

Anyhow, Tainter defined collapse as a more or less sudden drop of societal complexity. Not all scenarios lead to Mad Max or The Road, but quite a few do. I am a bit afraid of the time when all that artificial capital on financial markets is being spent on real-world items, a process that is already beginning. Stocks are just not very promising anymore.


Asian stocks are still promising. They have not given up and rolled over to die.

Great Dog in Flight
Blue Skies Ahead
Chain comes short..

I’ve read “Aftershock”. I found the book very uneven. Some sections were well reasoned whereas other parts were pretty much fluff.
IIRC there was one mention of PO somewhere in the beginning. My guess is though that PO in a way is pushed back because of the general economic collapse that they are predicting. Their basic reasoning seems to make sense – we are growing debt way faster than actual economic growth, not just in the US but pretty much everywhere – and at some point the economic activity has to come back in line with the amount of debt outstanding.


Btw Denninger pointed out this morning that we are only 45bn away from the debt ceiling.

45bn from the new debt ceiling? So we have to go through the whole show again? :(

Let's see at 1600 billion per 365 days that is 4.4 billion per day. So, 45B in 11 days less than two weeks.

I say cut all federal spending by 20% (ALL). If you want stimulus OK print 3 trillion dollars and give every America $10,000. Yes, even Bill Gates, the money saved by not vetting each person more than make up for the money given to rich people.

If we are going to cut spending, cut it on the basis of need and merit. In any event, expect the pols to exempt Defense for starters but God determines the defense budget.

I am all for cutting the war department from 1500 billion per year to 200 billion per year.

Thank you for calling it that! I've been saying for 20-30 years that the name should revert to the "War Department".

I was thinking "Invade and Occupy Dept"

As long as we're calling spades spades, how about "Resource Procurement Department?"

Right now, there are a bunch of people trying to make money by selling people gloom and doom. I don't really hate people who say 'hey read my newsletter on how to stay alive and make money post peak oil' but this kind of logic that reading a newsletter will keep you well through collapse does sound like a lot of hot air. Survival is more or less a matter of luck (Good luck getting that from a newsletter or a book), preparation will take you some distance but not much.

A significant number of them have honest intentions of course but we always have some people wanting a free ride don't we. I personally do not read any of the gloom doom books or newsletters. There's enough information on the internet that allows you to add two and two and see the bigger picture.

And I would classify doomers into two categories 1. Financial doomers : people who fuss about the debt situation, thinking that a return to gold standard will rid us of all the evils (the zerohedge kind) 2. Resource doomers : people who think the real problem is with humanity and there are no magic tricks to fix it (Oildrum kind)

There's category 3: Those who believe many ecosystems having reached a tipping point due to human activity, which will eventually break our civilized neck.


My 80-year-old dad gave an interesting perspective: Sure, he said, there will probably be a financial "collapse", but money is a fiction anyway, and the goods will still exist, won't they? I could only point out that without money our economy won't function, and that the world is trending towards a smaller resource base supporting a larger population... but that is a more gradual transition than a "collapse".

I understand the logic about lower investment leading to lower production etc., but doesn't it seem like much of the hoopla about bubbles and crashes is about money rather than real life? The 2008 recession erased billions from corporate balance sheets, but I didn't see any reports of widespread starvation as a result.

Just wondering...

PT in PA

Calgary energy firms monitor Texas drought:


Texas drought likely to continue:

however, below to well-below-normal precipitation will likely by the dominant weather trend over most of the state though next May.We can always hope for some type of a weak tropical system during the latter half of September into October, but even that scenario is looking less likely with time.


Isn't it frighteningly ironic that the very people denying Global warming are the ones rushing to take advantage of its currently most obvious effect... because they can now continue doing the very thing that caused GW in the first place.

My god we are such stupid creatures.


When you say 'we', do you mean the policymakers that set the dictats? Do you mean the scientists that help forge a race whose tchnological advancement has been little short of astounding? Do you mean the public whose demand for a better standard of living has put a severe burden on the planets resources or do you perhaps mean the engineers whose work helps realise the ideas of scientists? Or do you mean the population of the developing world that want exactly what the developed world have in tems of wealth and prosperity?

I think the stupid ones are those who sit sanctimoniously in their armchair pretending to themselves they have the answer to the energy problem that humanity faces and how simple it would be to implement it.

Do you understand why 'we' would want to extract more oil?
Do you understand the challenges facing society in shifting away form fossil fuels?

Clearly not.


All "wealth" eventually comes from the Earth. Every time "we" build something, "we" must destroy something else to do so.

Do you understand that as "we" continue to destroy the Earth that "We" will suffer as a consequence?

E. Swanson

Eric, I'm not going to put up much of a fight on your first point but it isn't entirely true as different project types have different ecological impacts and with time i'm sure this could improve. OK, maybe if it is true it's way too general a statement to make a defence for!

Your second point assumes the use of a crystal ball which I normally only give the befetit of the doubt to weathermen and even then only 3 days out.

I would bet on a human die-off long before a Gaia die off!!! Have you checked out what the earth has survived in the last 800 million years. Now i'm being a bit general.


It will be more of a poor people die-off.

It will be more of a poor people die-off.

I'm sure it will not be long before Fox news is advocating just that, a poor people die off. Anyone see Jon Stewart's bit where he had footage from Fox describing the working poor as animals and one person called them racoons? The working poor own only 2.5% of US assets, and to equal 700 billion in new tax revenue would need to give up 1/2 of all their assets, but Fox thinks that's preferrable to raising that amount from increased taxes on the wealthy, because those people need to be rewarded for their success. Oh my!

In a society who's only values are money killing poor people is a logical conclusion. I being a Quaker still hold to all those old fashion values and so do not want to kill anyone.

They do not want to tax the rich for they hope to one day join them. When they realise that train have left permanently, they may changee their opinion on the matter.


"...sanctimoniously sitting in their armchair pretending to themselves they have the answer to the energy problem that humanity faces and how simple it would be to implement it..."

Ironically, the above statement more accurately reflects, as a group, the attitudes of Exxon executives eager to drill in the Arctic or others who are content with the status quo in energy policy than those who are actually speaking up for change. They figure that once the oil runs out or starts getting scarce (a long time from now, surely) the problem of energy scarcity will solve itself through the same magical powers of human innovation you describe. It's, in the words of your typical Republican presidential candidate, "the magic of the free market!" Is this not the naive, "stupid" response: to assume that the problem will fix itself when the time arrives and in the meantime, sit on our hands and do nothing?

Speaking of which, it's worth pointing out that individual smarts or the ability to solve technical problems does not equate to intelligent systems of collective decision-making. In fact, if you study the social science of government or political science, you'll quickly realize that designing a political system that accurately reflects the will of most individuals is no simple task. It becomes even more difficult when a major party within such a system sets out explicitly to manipulate its twists and turns, exaggerating all the problems that already existed with democratic systems. Hence we arrive at our collective action problems when it comes to energy policy, mitigating climate change, etc.

Anyway, sure, there are a fair number of folks who believe naively that a few solar panels here and a few bike lanes there and the problem is solved, no doubt. But it's unfair to lump everyone in collectively and assert that anyone who sees a problem with a "Drill Everywhere!" energy policy must be a simpleton. There are actually quite a few people who do understand many of "the challenges facing society in shifting away from fossil fuels." Some of them are known to hang around this discussion board. And nobody is pretending those challenges are insignificant or that they won't require us as a species to put the aforementioned engineering smarts to good use. In fact, these challenges are likely to be the largest we as a species have ever faced and will be the ultimate test of whether we are really as intelligent as we seem to believe. It's doable, but it gets harder the longer we wait, which is why it is so frustrating to read about those cheerleading for drilling in the Arctic and other such (absurd) propositions, while the real responses to the dilemma of resource depletion, and the dilemma itself, get virtually no attention at all.

If "we" as a species end up being incapable of addressing the oil scarcity dilemma that we have created for ourselves, then it is "we" in the sense of "all of us" who deserve the label of "stupid."

When you say 'we', do you mean the policymakers that set the dictats?...

Everyone, as a species, taken all together. Too many people choosing short term gains and following the path of least resistance again and again... and we did this knowingly and joyfully.

Do you understand the challenges facing society in shifting away from fossil fuels?

I guarantee that no effort need be expended, nor challenges overcome to shift away from fossil fuels in the coming future. Surviving of course is a different matter and I am already attending to that.

Do you understand why 'we' would want to extract more oil?

We extract oil mostly it seems to drive around in oversized metal-protected armchairs.

can some one answer me this question

in as far we can tell Global Warming is real (well it looks real to this billy beer barrel).

Peak Oil is real form what I've seen as well, and may have happened back in 2005 for normal oil ( not the BOE stuff).

can we persuade Chinindia to stop building coal fired power stations and burning as much carbon as they can ? Its two a week for China alone according to what I've read

I mean does it matter if we can cut carbon dioxide emissions by 25% 30% if they make up for it ?


PS: Oil doesn't worry me so much ( maybe it should) as oil as the public knows it is declining but coal, there's seems to be enough of that to make Global Warming really bad - and we're hell bent on burning it, economic crisis or not

( thank god we can't burn limestone ......)

It could matter.

A plausible scenario has the marginal cost of coal increasing dramatically as mining costs increase due to declining availability of oil. You need quite a bit of diesel to mine: no one has come up with an easier way to dig up rocks. So one might argue it's better to pursue a lower energy path and let China exhaust itself trying to become a 19th century industrial power. They will end up reducing emissions the 'hard way' while we pursue the 'less hard way'.

Pursue a lower energy path is easier said than done, of course.

Actually, the technology for mining coal with electricity is pretty well established. I can remember nearly fifty years ago when the lights dimmed throughout central Queensland when the giant walking dragline at Moura took a bite. And I spent a day underground at a coalmine south of Newcastle (N.S.W.) in 1960 where the whole mine was run by electricity, except for some underground maintenance work done by (literal) horsepower. They did use explosives, which probably had some oil input.

Good point, I'm over generalizing. Australia is using steam coal to supply electricity to its met coal mines. With met selling at a significant premium to steam (especially the lignite) the economics of that system can work quite well. Using steam coal electric plants to supply power to a steam coal mine will eventually collapse on itself.

Forbin, they will only stop building coal plants if they can find a replacement for the cheap power.
They are intelligent leaders, but sociopathic as most government leaders are, and are balancing their near term grasp on power with long term worldwide harm. They would not build the coal plants if they felt they had another choice at the present.
I don't think what we ask of them will make much difference. Our climate and energy research, on the other hand, I am sure they take into consideration, hence the large amount of dollars they are pouring into energy alternatives.

They need to look closer at Molten salt reactors. Even if you are not in favor of nuclear power you can use the technology to generate power using other types of power. This is without using water.

I like molten salt nuclear reactors. My favorite are thorium fueled. Getting rid of the super heated super pressurized water that exist nuclear plants use it a great thing vastly improving safety. Thorium/U233 reactor produce 10x less waste and the waste is sorter lived 300 years versus 100,000 years. Looking forward to the Chinese prototype in 2021.

A reactor using liquid salts and thorium would still need to produce high pressure, superheated steam to drive the turbines to in order to produce electricity. The difference is that the molten salt heat transfer fluid wouldn't have the tendency to expand rapidly if there were a leak or explode if the leak is catastrophic, which would spread the radioactive products over a wide area. And, as you note, thorium could potentially produce less rad waste and provide a much larger resource base...

E. Swanson

Actually Swanson, LFTR is best implemented with a Brayton, (gas turbine), cycle rather than Rankine, (Steam), cycle. The critical temperature for water is about 375ºc, however fluoride salts freeze at about 450ºc making it difficult to keep the salt from freezing in the steam generator. The higher inlet temperature of the gas turbine, ~ 600ºc, allows the system to obtain high efficiency with 90ºc outlet temperatures. This matches up very well with several desalination systems.

A Brayton cycle, dumping low temperature exhaust to the atmosphere, has a rather low cycle efficiency. Steam cycles have well known characteristics and the obvious problem with freezing of the salt would likely be less of a problem than overheating the salt and the core if the steam boilers were shut down quickly from a full power state. Without the cooling from the boiler, the core would continue to heat, just as a water cooled core would. Just another nasty failure mode to worry about, only not one which would spread radioactive material via a steam explosion as long as the melted corium hadn't descended into the water table.

With your liquid salt system, what are you thinking about as a solution to the problem of a failure in the secondary cooling loop, aka, the boiler or heat exchangers for the Brayton cycle? Is there to be an auxiliary heat exchanger with pumps in the loop which would be kept operating at a temperature above the freezing point of the salt or is that auxiliary system to be kept empty in a cold state ready to take over if there is a failure in the primary heat exchangers? With water in the primary loop, it's much simpler to just open valves and provide water from an another loop...

E. Swanson

That is true for an open Rankine cycle, or Brayton cycle. When the exhaust is discharged into the air efficiencies are low. When you use a closed cycle, possible because you do not have to use oxygen in the air to burn the natural gas, you can use CO2 as a working fluid. This reduces the size, and cost, of the turbine by a factor of about thirty. https://share.sandia.gov/news/resources/news_releases/brayton-cycle-turb... When working between about 600ºc and 100ºc the turbine can achieve about 50% efficiency. with more advanced LFTRs that operate at 900ºc 60% efficiency could be achieved. This compares with around 35% for steam.

LFTR has a much easer time with loss of load accidents than PWRs. Passive heat pipes can take care of the 5-6% of rated power needed for the plant that loses load from a 100% power history. A freeze valve dumps the core into a tank where criticality is not possible if the core overheats. It is also used for normal shutdowns. Just turn off the power and go home just like they did back in the nineteen sixties with the MSRE. No Fukushima possible here.

Having the salt freeze in operation is not a problem in an operating system, however for startup when there are no fission products in the core, or some maintenance procedures we would have electric heaters that could heat the plumbing, and/or melt the salts.

like molten salt nuclear reactors. My favorite are thorium fueled.

And yet there are no demonstrated long term working Thorium reactors and molten salt is avoided due to the fire hazards.

You might want to just follow the 84% of Americans who are choosing equally fancyful options.

and molten salt is avoided due to the fire hazards.

Ha, I would like to see the person that can get a fluoride salt to burn. Unlike water that will expand explosively if released from the reactor system, or Sodium which will burn wildly if exposed to air or water Fluoride salts will just freeze into a lump if dumped on the ground.

The Molten Salt Reactor Experiment, (MSRE) that operated from 1966-1970 was shut down for several reasons. One the US government needed to reduce spending due to the Vietnam War cost, and unlike the Sodium cooled fast fission reactor it could not produce Plutonium. Power and copious quantities of weapons grade Plutonium from the same reactor, such a win win situation, at the time.

It is interesting to note that none of Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, or Fukushima could physically happen if they had been LFTRs.

Any reactor is still just a heat source. To convert the heat to electricity requires a working fluid and a turbine. Whether you use a closed Brayton cycle gas turbine or a Rankine cycle steam turbine, they require a heat sink at some stage and wet cooling is simply more efficient than dry cooling. Dry cooling is already used in commercial power plants where water supplies are unavailable, or more expensive than the loss of efficiency due to dry cooling.

China has a more aggressive clean energy program than the US has.

It seems to me that we should judge countries not on their total CO2 releases but on CO2/person.

We emit several times more CO2 per person than do the Chinese. We are pretty much the worst in the world on a per capita basis. The nine or so worst are mostly oil producing countries which burn lots of oil for electricity.

Some (like Derrick Jensen, for instance) argue, that collapse is the more severe, the later it occurs -- a complete breakdown would cut carbon and plutonium and SO2 and overfishing etc. by almost 100%... Hence their, not mine, conclusion: let us cancel project Civilization voluntarily.


China is "interesting". They are also pursuing all non-coal alternatives as fast as possible.

Conservation "with an iron fist", hydro (90 GW more), wind (#1 in world for new wind by a good margin), majority of world's solar hot water heaters, some solar PV, majority of new nukes in world, ramped up NG imports ... and a massive coal build-out.

Including one very efficient coal plant/month that replaces an inefficient plant. 1/3rd less coal/MWh with new plant.

Domestic production of coal is running into production problems - and depletion soon enough.

My GUESS is that China sees coal as a transitional fuel. Looking at Chinese coal reserves likely confirms that view.

Personally, I expect to see Chinese coal consumption peak within a few years (<5), stay on a plateau for a few more years and start declining significantly @ 2022-25.

Best Hopes for Less Carbon Emissions,


A bit off topic here, but a good spot to mention this.

The news on the population front is actually considerably better than most of us here think it is.

There is a really good article on the subject, focused mostly on Brazil, but including a lot of useful data relating to other countries, in the current issue of National Geographic.

As another interesting aside, the Center for Biological Diversity just began showing their "7 Billion and Counting" PSA in Times Square today - http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/overpopulation/7_billion_an...

That is technically wrong. We will break the mark somewhere next year. Not that it is far away...

I suppose it depends on who you ask,, and how many people starve to death in Somalia this year..

The sources I've been looking at (all of them) sugest next year. Now those were predictions and those can always be wrong. But that is what they have said.

The death toll in Somalia matters little. Assume 5 million will die, wich is a worse than worst case scenario. It will still not offset the anual increase by 75 million by much.

BTW; I have said we are 7 billions myself for a good while. For the same reason I have said for months I am 34 years old, when my birthday realy is in October. Rounding off the numbers.

We will never know the exact date, or even the month, perhaps even year, that we reached 7 B. We just don't have that good of data. We know that we are either already there, or will be there in a few months.

So, yes, rounding is the best thing to do when the real data have such large margins of error.

Yes, China is "interesting". A modern economy runs on electricity, and China is trying to lift 600-700 million peasants out of poverty, which will require prodigious amounts of electrical power. I'm much more surprised when (or should that be "if"?) someone identifies a generating technology for which China is not leading the world in new installations, than when they are.

To be honest, I don't think China can do it. I think they'll run into the limits of how much they can generate, and how much they can conserve, before they can make enough peasants enough less poor to avoid catastrophic social unrest.

Here's hoping I'm wrong.

The US plans to increase its coal burning by 25% by 2035. So why are you picking on China?

ed - And to add to that irony if you didn't catch my earlier post: They've just begun construction of a coal-fired plant literally on top of a NG field I currently developing on the Texas coast. And just 10 miles from the S Texas Nuke plant...the largest single source of electricity in the state. A nuke plant they were about to expnan 50% until that little accident in Japan.

And will they be burning lignite as they are just up the road about 80 miles? Nope: going to ship coal in by rail from Illinois. That coal source might explain why the current administration just signed the plant's Clean Air permit without any hesitation. Or a public announcement. You would think they might want to brag about bringing us one step close to "energy independence".

Is this the coal fired plant that is still awaiting a deal from the Lower Colorado River Authority for cooling pond water ? It kind of sounds like it.

ATM, the LCRA is reluctant to make new long term commitments for water - except on an interruptable basis.


Alan - true or not I can't say but was told by an insider it was just a negotiation tactic...it's going to happen. The deal is a lot more than just getting the water. The plant is going to pay for a new reservoir and the pipeline to get it back down to the plant. Though right on the Colorado River it's too close to the coast and too salty.

Rockman, will the electric be used locally (Texas) or will some be shipped back to Illinois? Of course if industry moves to Texas no need for energy in Illinois.

If the dem gang can get the polluting end out of its gang territory and into repub gang territory but still get the electric that would be as good as California burning coal in Arizona, Nevada, new Mexico and shipping the electric back to Cali.

Being down wind from Illinois (New York) I like the idea of building coal plants in the south. As long as we put in the "smart grid" to ship it back to the north.

ed - I'm sure I'll be corrected if this isn't correct: can't ship the e- to IL...Texas isn't connected to that grid or any other...we're the third grid besides east and west.

"Being down wind from Illinois (New York) I like the idea of building coal plants in the south." I feel the same way: all the coal nasties will drift to Louisiana...so who cares. LOL.

You are correct, the Texas grid or interconnect (ERCOT) is largely an entity unto itself, though there are a couple of interconnect points to other regions outside of ERCOT.

Texas is out of phase with the rest of the US (as are Hawaii and Alaska).

from memory, AC-DC-AC ties are 600 MW to non-ERCOT Beaumont Texas and 300 MW to Mexico near Laredo.

ERCOT has about 70 GW of generating plants.


Texas is out of phase with the rest of the US

Oh, is that what they call it? ;->

A double entendre pun was intended :-P


Not completely isolated, but quite limited HVDC capacity between ERCOT and the East and West Interconnections. If Tres Amigas gets built that will change somewhat. OTOH, given the location of Tres Amigas and what I've read about major transmission plans that seem at least semi-serious, Tres Amigas would seem to be more about moving wind power from West Texas towards Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Southern California markets than anything else.

In terms of being "downwind", the EPA's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule is scheduled to go into effect at the beginning of 2012. This rule is already finalized; it is not the rule that Obama recently delayed. CSAPR will have major impacts on new coal-fired generators built in most states from Texas and east. Growing impacts on existing coal-fired plants, as well, as mandatory reductions come into force. To describe Texas' reaction to the rule as "incensed" is an understatement.

MC - "Texas' reaction to the rule as "incensed" is an understatement". And remember we have more weapons than most of the militaries around the globe. Not a threat, mind you...just a reminder. LOL.


Love ya, but beware if Connecticut decides to succeed from the Union - they could turn Texas into even more of a parking lot than it already is with their Trident nuclear submarine base in Groton.

Bro - Sounds like the beginning of a beautiful friendship between our two states.

ed , thanks I didn,t know that

great more coal burning !

in the UK theres mandates to cut carbon emissions - I can see we'll scrap them and burn more polish coal if we can

You'll have to look elsewhere. Poland doesn't have any to spare.

From the Energy Export databrowser:

( thank god we can't burn limestone ......)

Actually, we can and do burn limestone in the process of making cement. It's yet another source of anthropogenic CO2 emissions generated by the release of sequestered carbon, in this case of calcium carbonate that formed as marine organisms extracted the calcium and carbonate or bicarbonate from seawater to make their - usually - exoskeletal material.

It's not burning in the sense of burning wood, coal, oil, or gas, but cement kilns do consume a LOT of energy to "burn" the limestone to make quicklime, and there most definitely is a compositional change involved as the single reactant (limestone) becomes two products (quicklime and CO2).

In 2008, global CO2 emissions from the cement industry were 577 million metric tonnes according to this source.

That's about 7% of the 2007 estimate for total global CO2 emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels, which was 8365 million metric tons according to this source.

Illumitex chases LED horticulture apps with research deal

MANHASSET, NY -- Illumitex, which specializes in LED lighting for horticulture applications, has entered into a joint research and business development relationship with Syngenta, a Swiss-based global crop company.

“While once thought to be a small niche of the LED revolution, the horticulture segment is now an extremely relevant application for solid-state lighting. said Matt Thomas, CEO of Illumitex, in a statement.

The joint collaboration envisions projects to improve live plant production processes in Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United States scheduled to begin in Q3 2011. Additional projects are being planned globally.

Illumitex claims its horticulture lighting systems provide dynamic wavelength control to regulate plant growth and its Digital Distribution beam technology produces high light quality on the plants.

There should be a good market in LED lighting to reduce the energy required for the indoor cultivation of high-value crops.

I'm sure that pot growers will like the lower power and heat signatures of their operations!

In order not to be found by their high electric bills pot growers were early adopters of solar PV. ;)

...and no one can see the PV cells on the roof.

I'm a big fan of LED lighting . . . but other than pot farming, it would seem that solar power is much better.

Maybe Plants can be started from seeds indoors in the winter without an expensive greenhouse. But it seems like there would be some conversion losses ;-)

depends on the length of the day and outside conditions.


With Katia currently forecast to recurve and miss North America...

Here's Maria

And possible "Storm 96"



TS Nate has formed. This named "N" storm is one day slower than 2005 which recorded the fastest "N" storm ever (and the most storms in a single year).

From the NHC.

MPH...70 KM/H...GUSTING TO 50 MPH...80 KM/H.

It appears likely to help relieve the drought in Mexico, as Lee helped relieve the drought in western Louisiana.

Only two of the spaghetti models do any good for Texas.


What a difference a day makes? Looks like the entire GOM is in play now.

UPDATE 3-Nate brews in Gulf of Mexico as energy ops resume

Widely divergent forecasting models showed the slow-moving storm could move west into Mexico or north-northwest toward the U.S. Gulf Coast in the coming days.

Late Wednesday, Nate had not affected Mexico's oil production, but two major crude exporting ports were shut down for safety reasons.

There was a very dramatic shift in the spaghetti models from 8 AM to 9 AM EDT.


Indeed, for Maria as well. Will be an interesting week.

Hurricane activity is getting more prevalent in the Atlantic. Warmer waters means more storms.

If anyone is still tracking Deepwater Horizon oil spill science, here's something important out this week:

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution researchers have published details of their measurement of the crude oil released at the wellhead.

Summary statements from a press article:
Press article: http://www.oilandgasonline.com/article.mvc/WHOI-Led-Study-Sharpens-Pictu...

...the blown-out Macondo well spewed oil at a rate of about 57,000 barrels a day, totaling nearly 5 million barrels of oil released from the well between April 20 and July 15, 2010, when the leak was capped. In addition, the well released some 100 million standard cubic feet per day of natural gas.
On May 19, 2010, prior to commencing investigation of the Deepwater Horizon leak, Camilli testified to Congress that this proposed acoustic measurement technique would be capable of quantifying the flow rate to within "a factor of two." The WHOI-led team found just a 17% uncertainty, or error, associated with their estimate.
Analysis of the sample showed that, by mass, the Macondo well fluid contained 77 percent oil, 22 percent natural gas, and less than one percent other gases.

Conclusions (in part) from the Reddy et al. WHOI article:

The material [samples at the wellhead] had a GOR [gas-to-oil ratio] of 1,600 standard cubic feet per petroleum barrel. Using the federally estimated net liquid oil release of 4.1 million barrels (19), the total C1-C5 hydrocarbons released to the water column was 1.7 × 1011 g.

The deep sea entrainment of water-soluble hydrocarbons has far-reaching implications for deep water oil spills. Our results demonstrate that most of the C1-C3 hydrocarbons and a significant fraction of water-soluble aromatic compounds were retained in the deep water column, whereas relatively insoluble petroleum
components were predominantly transported to the sea surface or deposited on the seafloor, although the relative proportions are not known.

forbin - Bad news. We can and do burn limestone. That's how we make cement. The process (CaCO3 -> CO2 + CaO) and the energy inputs required account for roughly 4% of man-made CO2 emissions...

Just a nit, but "burn" usually denotes oxidation. Cement clinker forms when calcium carbonate (along with the necessary amounts of other materials) is heated to the proper temperature, where a number of reactions occur, but they're not oxidation. It would be more accurate to say that we "burn" some sort of fuel in order to "heat" the limestone.

Modern Portland cement consists mostly of calcium silicates; there's very little free calcium oxide remaining. The calcium oxide is a precursor necessary to form the silicates. And all sorts of fuels get used: coal, natural gas, shredded tires, etc.

It is not unusual to find, within the industry, to find people that refer to the calcining of limestone as "burning." It does, indeed, release CO2 but from the breaking of the carbonate, not from the combustion of carbon with oxygen.

The rest of the fuel is necessary to take the calcined material, along with alumina, iron, and silica up to a temperature where the mixture begins to chemically react exothermally. Modern pre-calciner cement kilns preheat the raw, homogenized at the top of the typical 4-stage preheater tower. Pre-calcining is usually accomplished by a flameless burn of pulverized coal between the 3rd and 4th stages. The feed material continues down through the tower counterflow from the exhaust gases from the kiln to continue to heat (and complete calcination) the meal prior to feeding into a short rotating kiln.

The purpose of burning the additional fuel at the burner end of the kiln is to raise the feed material temperatures up to the point where the exothermic reaction begins in the nodules that eventually end up as "clinker." The nodules are "plastic" as they discharge from the kiln with 30-40 percent of the nodule being defined as being liquid phase. Upon discharge from the kiln, they quick quench cooled with air so that the clinker temperature drops below 1800°F within 10 minutes to allow proper crystalline characteristics for clinker grinding into what we call cement.

Fascinating! Thanks.

The US Clean Water Act states BP can be fined $4,300 per barrel leaked into Gulf. With count at 4.2 million barrels, that adds up to $18.1 billion. Congress is in a deadlock trying to figure out what to do with this money.

EDIT: Correction to account for .8 million captured barrels.

The House will want to implement tax cuts.

The house will call for Oil drilling subsidies. /sarc

"TS Lee Washes Tar Balls Onto Orange Beach" - Alabama


Thus far it is not clear where the tar balls came from. We will wait for the analysis.


HI, Doc!

Good to see from you. Thanks for remaining "on the story." Who else besides our friends at Woods Hole are publishing ongoing research out in the Gulf? I'd like to keep up with it -- there is no mention in popular media.

I miss y'all "Macondo Thread" folks. I still lurk around these parts on some days, poke in when they are talking about politics and wtshtf, sometimes. :)

How's everything? I've put my email address where you click on my name.


Erainh20, NOAA, partnering with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) and the University of New Hampshire, Center for Ocean & Coastal Mapping (UNH-CCOM), is currently exploring the area for seeps with state of the art sonar. They are gathering new data on oil seeps around the Deepwater Horizon site as well as the Northern and Eastern Gulf region. http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/explorations/ex1105/welcome.html
My son is on this ship. Interesting sonar images of seeps on these "public" web sites.

The September issue of the EIA's Short-Term Energy Outlook is now out. I have been watching their predictions for non-OPEC output. There were some major revisions from last month's issue. I knew their estimate of what they said non-OPEC liquids were for April and May were just flat out wrong because those two months took a huge hit according to JODI. Sure enough they corrected their underestimate this month. But they make it up in September. They say their estimate of September non-OPEC liquids last month was way too low and have revised it upward by 870 thousand barrels per day.

Non-OPEC revisions for Apr 11 thru Oct 11 in thousand barrels per day.

 Apr     May    Jun      Jul    Aug     Sep     Oct
-410	-770	40	-120	70	870	120

And here is what their chart looks like thru December of 2012, all liquids in thousands of barrels per day. Or their best guess. As you can see they see non-OPEC production really recovering in June and holding for the rest of the year. Then they say it will hit a high plateau in January of 2012 and hold that level for the rest of that year.

Ron P.


How credible do you consider their forecast? That's a healthy increase they expect to see by spring of next year. But doesn't it also look like they are forecasting a peak in non-OPEC next year?

I have been following the EIA's forecasts for years and they are usually off by a country mile. So I don't consider their forecast very credible. They are saying non-OPEC all liquids will increase by 1,240,000 barrels per day from May to June, from 51,380 kb/d to 52,620 kb/d. JODI says non-OPEC Crude+Condensate increased by 77,000 barrels per day from may to June, from 40,413 kb/d to 40,489 kb/d.

So expect June non-OPEC production to be up but I would bet my Social Security check that it will not be up anywhere close to 1.24 mb/d, not even all liquids.

Note* JODI numbers are only approximate as some EIA data must be used and a few very small producers are not counted. Nevertheless the JODI numbers, along with a very few EIA numbers represent over 99 percent of all crude oil production. So their numbers are relatively accurate. Also, the EIA says May non-OPEC C+C production was 41,818 kb/d. So they have non-OPEC C+C at about 1.4 mb/d above the JODI figures.

Ron P.

From this report, the EIA ethanol forecast for the US is approximately even for 2012 when compared to 2011. Ethanol margins appear healthy right now so I would guess the EIA ethanol forecast is correct (and we will be eating less meat next year).

The EIA is predicting a slight increase of 200 KBD in oil imports in 2012 . It is likely they are wrong since ELM 2.0 is expected to have a continued effect on world net exports. Since it is a small increase, maybe they have a chance of being right if the US economy is better than others.

On a funny note, the EIA is not predicting any withdrawals or additions from the SPR in 2012. I bet they are wrong there since more stimulus is needed for growth.

Re: Big Oil: To create jobs, let us drill more

There are two issues here:

1) Oil companies, not being completely stupid, have already drilled the best areas. If they thought there was a huge amount of oil to be found in the undrilled areas (East and West Coasts, off Florida's Gulf Coast, Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) they would have lobbied the politicians enthusiastically with large amounts of money to open them up. The fact that the areas haven't been opened up suggests that Big Oil is not that keen on them, and it is really speculators and politicians who are pushing the agenda.

2) Drilling in the aforementioned areas would be extremely capital-intensive. If you want to create large numbers of jobs, you want to promote labor intensive projects. Historically this has included building highways with the least amount of equipment and most men possible, and digging irrigation canals with picks and shovels.

The truth is that many conservative commentators and politicians in the USA do not want to believe that the country has run through the vast majority of its oil reserves and is now down to producing the last remaining fraction at a very slow rate. They want to believe that the good times could have rolled forever if only those darn environmentalists hadn't held the country back.

And to add one little bit to Rocky's comments: 1.5 million jobs. In their dreams. First, every oil field hand with any experience has a job today if he wants it. And there are quite a few working in the oil fields that don't have sufficient experience. I know first hand...I'm running into them more often. And they scare the heck out of me. So the 1.5 million jobs will go to folks who currently have no experience. And who's going to pay for that training and how long will it take? The typical engineer/geologist/geophysicist has 6 years of college and 4 to 5 years of on the job training before they are typically of much use. That's over 10 years for the prospect generators and well designers to come into play. The more blue collar jobs don't require that much lead time especially for cross over backgrounds. But that doesn't matter: won't need those drilling hands, truck drivers, welders, etc, until all those new prospects are generated. And that won't happen until the new prospect generators come on line...in 10 years or so.

Of course, we might still have a drilling boom of sorts. Just like we're seeing today. And just like the boom of the late 70's when the rig count jumped to over 4,600...more than twice what we have today. Unfortunately that activity didn't correspond to a proportional increase in production: many of those rigs were drilling wells that had almost no chance of finding oil/NG. Greed and too much capex ruled the day back then.

I knew a guy who worked as a roughneck in the 70's. Back then it was good money for a drinker -- work hard, drink hard. Seeing all the squashed body parts probably helped with the drinking.

Only guy I ever knew to get 40 DUIs. Died young from cancer though.

Point being, nobody REALLY wants to go back the 70's oil field, right?

Well, I guess Bush and Cheney proved they were real oilmen with their DUIs. :-)

spec - Me too...big time oil man. LOL. I wasn't an alcoholic but in my youth I gave a damn good imitation. Never got a DUI but deserved one a time or two...and a good beating with a nightstick.

But long time since I was that stupid. And now I always wear my seat belt too.

1.5 million out-of-work people could carve lots of Big Stone Heads.

Big stone heads, sand castles, and peacock feathers. That's mostly what we as a society produce.

Hey my paper-pushing job makes paper stone heads. Be nice.

You mean making big stone heads, sand castles and peacock feathers hasn't been out-sourced to the chinese yet?

Super important headlines yesterday and today for all of Europe but especially Germany:

Russia opens gas pipeline that runs direct to western Europe

Russia's Putin launches Nord Stream pipeline

It is thanks to this pipeline that Germany might actually wean itself from nuclear while Japan, reliant on LNG deliveries, will probably be unable to.

It is this pipeline that will make it increasingly difficult for Germany and other European countries to criticize anything that Russia is doing, lest the flow of energy essential to the economy be interrupted.

German engineering has a well deserved reputation for quality. Surely German engineers could be entrusted to keep a few nuclear reactors running safely!

Nukes or Russians -- difficult friends and dangerous enemies both?

Well said !


I can't see how Russia compose a treat to may countries at all - any more. It's a flawed claim from another time ...
If the rest of the world turned into salt-pillars, Russia could go on roughly like today for 100+ years - energy, land and technology they have and master..

Japanese engineers had comparable reputations.


Yeah, this is one of the big surprises of Fukushima. I used to think the Japanese knew what they were doing. Now it appears they do not have a clue. I can not tell if this is bad management at TEPCO, bad management from Japanese government, or incompetence on the part of Japanese engineers. But the net is they look like the three stooges.

The song, "Money money money ... money", ring a bell. That is your answer.

Japanese culture does not allow you to say no. There is a lot of pressure to find a compromise. But in things nuclear compromise is not a good thing.

You did see the report of the Japanese reactor vessel where they failed to put in the supports before the annealing stage, then after it warped the senior engineer figured out how to use jacks to make it round again?

As an ex-navy nuke, I can just imagine what NR would have to say about that, much less what Rickover would have done to anyone even suggesting it. Ingalls shipyard in Louisiana was decertified from all nuclear work for just using uncertified bolts. Granted this was after they lost the Thresher to exactly that cause, but still that's a whole different attitude than "Oh look, the Rx vessel is oblong, we'll have to jack it back out."

It's certainly my impression that poor management contributed to all three major nuclear accidents, TMI, Chernobyl and Fukushima. So the question would be does German excellence in engineering carry through to the management level? That Germany has so many successful manufacturers despite relatively high labour costs (even by Western standards) suggests that management are focused on quality and doing things right.

Their weakness was in emergency management. This is one reason why our ships failed to sink in WWII and theirs did. The plants were hit by beyond design basis events. They still could have recovered if they would have asked for outside help sooner. The amount of cooling water was not that much but with the whole area also wiped out there is not much they could have hoped for locally.

as far as waste goes. how difficult can it be to dig a hole. that is the solution and always has been. The problem is there is value in the waste and no one wants to waste it.


That's TMI, Chernobyl, Fuku U1, Fuku U2, Fuku U3, Fuku U4.

There were others, less known or "forgotten".

Now you only begin to comprehend the scope of the threat.

As for German tech expertise, it becomes irrelevant when tech design is trumped by profit/political considerations, unknown failure modes, stupid cost-benefit and "reasonable odds" theories which ignore global scope of failure, not to mention equakes and regulatory personnel subject to bribery,intimidation and worse.

For example, the containment concept [no release of reactor fuel products] has long been recognized as a myth, and recently demonstrated by the 4 Fuku failures.[3 reactors released mass and multiple spent-fuel releases.]

Quality engineering cannot make the impossible possible nor fix the inherent dangers of nuclear power. Especially when it's just stereotypes and myth anyway. There were plenty of stupid design decisions made in the Fukushima plant (like having the in-plant power distribution in the basements where it could be destroyed by seawater). But none of that is as dumb as implementing a catastrophically dangerous technology on a massive scale before anyone designed a way to deal with the waste. It is not an engineering problem, although poor engineering and maintenance can make it worse.


It is clearly understandable in this context why former German chancellor Schroeder now is a pretty well paid employee of mighty Gazprom. He negotiated that darn pipeline.


It's not about trusting engineers alone, but teams of engineers and financiers that are one lynchpin for this safety-grenade.. and then there's the rust, and too much water, and not enough water, and faulty backup equipment, and thirsty trucks arriving on decaying roads, and..

U.S. Energy Information Administration | Annual Energy Outlook 2011
Generation from coal increases by 25 percent from 2009 to 2035
Electricity generation from renewable sources grows ... from 11 percent in 2009 to 14 percent in 2035.

They also predict by 2035 that 3.4% of US total energy will come from wind, solar, geothermal combined.

So, officially, the planet is screwed. And why even bother to increase renewables. Way to go Obama with the help of congress.

The solutions will not come from the US federal government. I expect each business that uses energy will make their own solution. For example Apple will produce its own electric from natural gas "burned" in fuelcells on its new 20,000 person campus in silicon valley and only use the grid as a backup.

For my house wood, for my transport if push comes to shove a gas powered scooter, for my electric the 5KW of PV on the roof.

Each business is looking at the bottom line. Each business (other than a few token examples) will burn the cheapest - electricity generated by coal. Nope, we are screwed.

Yes we (NAFTA region) will burn through our coal just like China and South Africa and everyone else. So what is the total world coal supply and when will it be gone at current usage rates? At growing usage rates?

Google for BP Statistical Review of World Energy. BP kindly makes the spreadsheet available for download.

Thank you.

A global contagion or a nice big EMP would slow up overall consumption rates.

Screw-age is all relative.

Wind was 1.8% in 2009, 2.5% in 2010, and it hit 3% this year. The year's not over.

I'd say that's a safe prediction if they included "at least"....

That is 3% of 1/3 (electric 1TW out of 3TW total) so 1% of total energy.

I suspect you're trying to make some sort of comment about capacity?

The reported percentage of electricity produced from wind turbines hit 3% earlier this year.

This is not a statement about installed capacity, nameplate or realized. It's about the amount of electricity flowing down the wire.

Here are the 2009 EIA numbers. The official 2010 numbers will be out in the next few weeks. You can take the Net Generation for Wind (73886)and divide it by All Energy Sources (3949694), multiply by 100 and get the percentage for 2009.

BTW, I made a mistake. 2009 wind's contribution was 1.9%, not 1.8%. Failed to round correctly.

Net Generation (thousand megawatthours)
Coal[1] 1755904
Petroleum[2] 38938
Natural Gas[3] 920797
Other Gases[4] 10629
Nuclear 798855
Hydroelectric Conventional[5] 273445
Other Renewables[6] 143824
Wind 73886
Solar Thermal and Photovoltaic 891
Wood and Wood Derived Fuels[7] 35596
Geothermal 15009
Other Biomass[8] 18443
Pumped Storage[9] -4627
Other[10] 11929
All Energy Sources 3949694

From the EIA 2011 Annual Outlook Report in units of Quads for 2009

Consumption Liquid Fuels and Other Petroleum[9]...36.62
Natural Gas.......................................23.31
Nuclear Power......................................8.35
Other Renewable Energy[3]....................1.29

So 1.29/94.79 = 1.3% for 2009 for all renewables other than biomass and hydro

You are talking electric, I am talking total energy. Electric is about 1/3 of total energy use in the US.

They project "other renewables" to 3.22 in 2035 and total to 114.19

So 3.22/114.19 = 2.8% in 2035

They are allowing for a 150% increase. An annual rate of 3.6%

I like renewables. I hope it is higher.

I like renewables. I hope it is higher.

edpell, I hope we could be at least a 10% annual increase versus the projected 3.6% rate.

This report

Projects soalr PV will contribute 11% of global electric by 2050. This is on a produced electric output basis not a thermal energy input basis. They project 4.5% for the year 2035

This report

Projects wind will contribute 12% of global electric by 2050. They project 7% (approx hard to read graph) by 2035.

Not bad 23% total by 2050.

I really don't think anyone can make predictions about the percentage of solar and wind much past 2020.

You can take current build rates and push those numbers forward, but that tells you what will happen only if other factors stay constant.

What if the US, Europe and Australia get hit by a number of successive years of extreme weather, something like we've been having the last few years. We're at, what, eleven $1 billion extreme weather events so far in the US this year? Australia has had massive droughts and floods the size of France, something like that.

What if the rate of butt-kicking doesn't drop, but increases over a few years?

What if people decided that it was time for a change and pushed to get us off fossil fuels ASAP? What if it became very clear to governments and businesses that it would be cheaper to switch to clean energy than to pay for storm damage and droughts?

What if solar does drop to $1/watt installed and wind drops lower than $0.05/kWh and NG and coal prices double or more? And if new battery technology gives us very affordable storage? In other words, it becomes cheaper to install new wind and solar than to pay for fuel for NG and coal turbines.

I just wouldn't want to bet on 23% by 2050. We have the ability to make it 2x or 3x more if we were well motivated.


You have never given the links I requested on quite questionable #s you quote.

Such as 5 cents/kWh for wind and another one I requested.

And battery storage is not doable for seasonal shifting of power.


I haven't looked at the data, but I suspect that you are double counting. Quads of coal represents mostly thermal energy used to make electricity and all nuclear becomes electric. Is the nuclear contribution the quads of thermal energy or the quads of electric? All hydro is electric and should be included as renewable. Does biomass include the local guy who cuts his own firewood? There are lots of ways to look at the data...

E. Swanson

Re: Are jobs obsolete? up top:

IMO many, but not all are. Any job producing things or services that can be more cheaply out sourced is obsolete.

Currency Wars, Trade and the Consuming Crisis of Capitalism:

Alas, you can't have it both ways, and that is a key dynamic in the Crisis of Advanced Capitalism: if you want to dump your surplus production on America, then you have to accept its paper money in exchange. If you decline that deal, and cease producing a surplus, your domestic economy will implode and your political stability will unravel.

Given the choice, the rest of the world accepts the dollars while complaining that it had a better deal in the good old days. Meanwhile, the U.S. consumer, hollowed out by intolerable debt loads, a declining asset base (the family home) and a domestic economy based on ever-expanding credit, is unable to continue the decades-long buying spree without massive transfers from the Central State, which must borrow $1.6 trillion every year to keep the whole creaky structure from collapsing.

The existing WTO agreement allow any member state to impose import tariffs as large as are needed to reach balanced trade.

You are right any thing that can be made cheaper elsewhere will be unless we take action and impose an import tariff. Likewise any design work (programming, semiconductors, robots, cars, planes, boats, subways, nuclear power, turbines, etc) can be done cheaper else where and so will be. The only jobs that stay are one that require physical presence like plumbing, electrician, doctor, nurse, school teacher, sale clerk, road construction, building construction, etc.. Even these jobs can be partially automated or sub-assemblies produced off-shore.

On the 80% work front will we tell super high training professions like surgeons that they can only work 80% to pay off that $500,000 loan? Will we train 20% more surgeons?

The video says benefits can be handled. Now at 110% everyone is having their benefits cut or they are already gone. I wonder how they will be handled? I guess if you are tenured professor it is easy.

Outsourcing and globalization are dead. However, most jobs do not produce anything of value in the society, which will soon be shown to be true as those jobs disappear. The definition of societal collapse is when the activities of the society produce no (or a negative) net return. Who do you think it is that is doing those things that produce no returns?

The things I use are food, energy, transportation, internet and a little medical. Indirectly I am consuming education of the people providing the aforementioned. Basically I could live the same standard of living with at least 50% of the economy shutdown. But I will let someone else debate the details.

Shelter? Water? Sanitation?

Yes those should be on the list. But as far as shelter goes I think we are over built and can go slow on it for 10 to 20 years?

I guess it is my local think I have a well and a septic tank. Yes I need the tank sucker once every three years.

Convert to a composting system and you wouldn't need the tank sucker either.

Lets see shelter, water, food, transportation, police, fire, medical, sanitation, schools, lol, did I leave anything out? That is basically civilization more or less. Unless we want no schools and then the systems mentioned above can disintegrate. Not looking good

Add courts (police without trials... not desirable), customs (want to import those lead-coated tins of tomatoes? Uh-uh), banks, insurance (yes, they're both necessary to make everything else work).

If the electric utility goes bust because it's lost half of its customers, and the grocery store does too, and the street lighting is shut off and the police and fire depts are closed because people aren't paying their property taxes ... well, perhaps you get the point. It's not likely Ed could maintain his standard of living with 50% of people out of work. He sure wouldn't have the same quality of life.

So true. People that talk about getting rid of jobs that are unnecessary are odd to me. Well why were people doing those jobs, but the economy pays for them to exist because they serve a purpose. It is not a whimsical system. Once we cannibalize it, as we are starting to do, we are admitting that project civilization is eroding.

I did technology and business analysis for most of 20 years, and I suspect that the internet would not survive for long if 50% of the economy shut down. At the very least, the shut down would have to be gradual, and preserving the internet would have to be a conscious social decision. There are two parts to my reasoning.

First, there's a steady turn-over of equipment as things fail. The very large scale integrated circuits that are the core of everything sit at the top of a large technology "pyramid": chemistry, mechanical engineering, etc. You have to maintain all of that in order to go on making the ICs. It is not clear to me that you can keep the high-tech parts of the economy running while so much else is shutting down, particularly if it happens quickly.

Second, there's the business problems. The transport companies -- those with the long-haul fiber like Level 3, last-mile companies like Comcast -- are all carrying very large debt loads. It won't take too large a decrease in their revenue streams and they're completely broke. Without government intervention -- and more than the bankruptcy courts -- I simply don't see those businesses remaining active.

Bankruptcy won't necessarily destroy a network, though. It simply provides a venue for a lower-cost solution to emerge without debt.

Electronics integration is an interesting problem. On the one hand few parts are needed, with ever increasing integration. On the other, feature size is ever-decreasing, and so frailty increases.

Not to long ago the average expected life of a functioning circuit was almost constant -- once you got past infant mortality issues from production, any failures were almost random and due primarily to the environment. With no-lead solder, smaller parts, poor-quality capacitors, less-caustic cleaners, and a bunch of other minor influences I doubt that is the case anymore. Electronic devices are now designed to wear out and fail.

Still, maintenance cost of the existing network won't be all that great. Technical obsolescence is a key driver for networks today, and if evolution slows down then support costs and product costs will drop as well.

On the other, feature size is ever-decreasing, and so frailty increases.

Finer geometry in the chips means dopant migration leads to quicker failure....

I've got Pentium II's in the field still working fine. But Pent 4's - lots of corpses.

Geometry is not the whole story. The later generations generate more heat. The higher die temperatures accelerate dopant migration.


I hear tin whiskers are worse with ROHS solder. Coupled with fine pitch geometries this alone could cause early failures.

Capacitor quality is low as well. I've heard that cheap caps from China are behind most laptop power supply failures, and many phone failures as well.

"Disposable" in cost pretty much leads to "self disposing" through poor quality and limited life expectancy.

The internet is very susceptible to disruptions. I agree. The fabs to make the ICs for these things are not trivial. Connecting copper wire is doable, but fiber optics. That is not easy to repair unless you have places to make fiber optics. A frail system and I think business is so dependent on the internet that many processes and systems would fail when the net goes down.

Bankers are doing activities that produce no returns, or more accurately, a negative net return for society-at-large. However, their rent-seeking parasitic "activities" produce extremely lucrative returns for themselves personally. Since their accumulated vast wealth translates directly into bribes and political power, the cycle continues unabated.

Bankers just sit on the top of the parasitic pyramid. The problem is that the total number of people involved in parasitic activities is outstripping the ability of the host to carry them. In the parasitic class I would included most sales workers, brokers of any kind, agents, lobbyists etc.

Telephone sanitizers.

Yes, the people who work in what Greer calls the tertiary economy - basically playing with money - are clearly producing no net benefit. But I was referring to most of the rest of us too. If you are not dealing with natural resources or using labor to directly produce things of value then likely you are not really doing anything benefit, regardless of how hard you work or how good you are at it. And even then, you may be costing more in environmental damage than that benefit is worth. Pretty much what Westexas has been saying too.

A lack of telephone sanitizers may cause the entire civilization to crumble. Leaveing the planet cleared for alien colonizers. Everyone knows that.

Bankers certainly have a valid role, as they hold and facilitate the easy transfers of money, which facilitates most of our activities. If you do away with bankers, then you have to do away with money, and then everything gets seriously complicated...

But no big argument that the banking sector was far into overshoot in 2007 or so, and the massive shrinkage of the sector since then is bringing them closer to the scale of their actual usefulness.

There is something terribly amiss with banks, though. Here there are new branches popping up all over, for all sorts of banks, yet more people than ever use on-line banking and ATMs are available anywhere, and cash is used less.

Banking for moving money is a trivial purpose, as is using it as a storehouse for cash. Banking as a facilitator of unreasonable loans, pusher of usury credit card rates, bundling of loans, creator of investment vehicles, and other forms of high-finance are the worst culprits.

Investment can easily happen without banks -- an investor takes a stake in a business directly, and the investor and operator are partners. It's more personal than a depositor at one window and a borrower at the other, with interest cuts to the "house" in between, and with less overhead. This is why I think you can have robust free enterprise without hefty capitalism, though it will be low-growth.

Banking is necessary, but it should be a boring utility industry. Aggregate small deposits into loanable funds for various capital projects, and have a small but steady income stream from the interest differential. And in the mean time store and facilitate the transfer of money around the economy.

But they all want to get rich. And they start getting creative, and it's straight to heck from there.

That is why we had Glass-Stegal until Clinton.

You are probably ignoring the folks that wrote the repeal in Congress. LOL. I wouldn't try to pin these things on a person. We all asked to do away with the law.

Lets remove the apparent spin from your statement:

Provisions that prohibit a bank holding company from owning other financial companies were repealed on November 12, 1999, by the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act, named after its co-sponsors Phil Gramm (R, Texas), Rep. Jim Leach (R, Iowa), and Rep. Thomas J. Bliley, Jr. (R, Virginia).[2][3]


Thanks. I was lazy.

Yeah, "innovation" in banking is generally bad it seems. Usually it means things like 30% credit card rates, pay-day loans, or AAA-rated subprime mortgage backed obligations. The last good banking innovation was the ATM.

Yes, they are pretty much obsolete in America and nothing said by Obama tonight will change that. Neither side wants to deal with fundamental realities.

The Germans have this idea of building solar PV in the Sahara and shipping it to Germany. Why not build nuclear reactors in the Sahara (yes they will need to pipe sea water in and out to cool) and ship the electric back to Germany. I wonder which would be cheaper.

Colonization is out of fashion ATM.


It is a business deal. The host country gets to collect taxes. The land owners sell the land or land use rights in the "free market". It is not colonial it is capitalist.

And what people would want some process "just too dangerous" to operate back home - built and operated in their country for the benefit of others ?

Not going to happen in North Africa - but perhaps in Kalingrad.


People ruled by elites that have Swiss bank accounts and homes in Switzerland and Santa Barbara. Elites that do not care if the people are poisoned. So, many countries in the world.

On the more positive side there are place in the Sahara where you can have 200 mile exclusion zones. This adds some level of safety.

better have a salt cooled or gas cooled reactor.

It is not so important what cools the nuclear core. In the end the electric generation turbine must be cooled. The only terminal source for this is air or water. Air does not hold much heat, water holds much more, and water to steam holds the most.

'It is not so important what cools the nuclear core.'

Ed.. what do you mean by that?

The heat is generated in the core. Some working fluid transport the heat out of the core to a heat exchanger. Water takes the heat out of the heat exchanger to the turbine that make electric. After the turbine the water is cooled and re-pressurized and go back the the heat exchanger for the next go around the loop.

Avoiding high pressure in the reactor and reactor to heat exchanger is very good big plus for safety. The high pressure, high temperature water in the Heat exchanger and turbine is outside the radioactive area. If it breaks it does not poison anyone.

The cooling of the water out of the turbine before the compressor is to air or water. Almost always to water.

It is important to use a safe liquid to cool the core but the water will be used for the turbine and it is safe out there away from the radioactive stuff.

The reactor coolant can be light water, heavy water, sodium, a sodium-potassium alloy, lead, lead-bismuth alloy, and a variety of molten salts. Helium also works well. NERVA would have used liquid hydrogen going in, hydrogen plasma going out. I think someone even tried a mercury cooled reactor in the bad old days. You have to pick your coolant at the beginning of the design process, and that can limit your fuel choices, but in general you can make some type of fission reactor with any given coolant.

In countries no one wants to have access to nuclear materials? Even if it was cheaper it wouldn't happen.

I also can't imagine Europe depending on the security of power generated in North Africa for anything important. Want to hold Germany hostage? Take over some PV farms. It's bad enough they're letting Russia control their NG supply.

I realy hope that Eon(A German company that owns nuclear reactors in Sweden) will invest in new nuclear reactors in Sweden. That would keep our local grid solidly supplied with energy, generate lots of taxes and a fair number of jobs and exporting electricity to Germany might get them to burn less coal and that is good for us all. They and others are also welcome to build wind powerplants, etc.

What about Vattenfall building new Swedish nukes ? They would seem to be the logical ones.

IMVHO, buying half or a third of a second Finnish EPR reactor and new transmission to Sweden is the most likely source of new Swedish nuke power.


It would indeed be logical. The established nuclear plant owners are Eon, Vattenfall(Swedish government) and Fortum from Finland and there is a Swedish industrial consortium of energy intensive industries with enough financial muscle to build a new reactor that are begging to build. They seem to have been more hindered by Fukushima then the 2008 financial crisis. (mumbles naughty things about Tepco management)

A third northern 400 kV AC transmission between Sweden and Finland is in the planning pipeline and the southern HVDC link is already being uprated from 500 MW to 1300 MW as the Olkiluoto 3 EPR is built.

A major part of the Swedish industrial investment capital might indeed go to Finland or Lithuania. Lithuania will in any case get a 700 MW HVDC connection with the Swedish grid. Having it invested in a neighbour is second best to having it invested here, worst case is losing the opportinity for lots of electricity as the oil age ends.

As far as I know Sweden has the worlds highest energy from renewables percentage. And adding nuclear wow. Go Sweden.

How come the northern euro countries are so much more successful than the southern ones? Is the cooler weather up north more conducive to success? Does it keep their brains cooler so they make better decisions?

How come the northern euro countries are so much more successful than the southern ones? Is the cooler weather up north more conducive to success? Does it keep their brains cooler so they make better decisions?

Jared Diamond might have been onto something in his book: Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies...

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies is a 1997 book by Jared Diamond, professor of geography and physiology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In 1998 it won a Pulitzer Prize and the Aventis Prize for Best Science Book. A documentary based on the book, and produced by the National Geographic Society, was broadcast on PBS in July 2005.[1]

It was also published under the title Guns, Germs and Steel: A short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years.[2] The book attempts to explain why Eurasian civilizations (in which he includes North Africa) have survived and conquered others, while refuting the assumption that Eurasian hegemony is due to any form of Eurasian intellectual, moral or inherent genetic superiority. Diamond argues that the gaps in power and technology between human societies originate in environmental differences, which are amplified by various positive feedback loops. When cultural or genetic differences have favored Eurasians (for example, written language or the development among Eurasians of resistance to endemic diseases), he asserts that these advantages occurred because of the influence of geography on societies and cultures, and were not inherent in the Eurasian genomes.

Excellent book, Fred.

IMO, better than "Collapse". Diamond lays out how much more effective germs been have than guns or steel in decimating other cultures. Early animal husbandry, and close association with their diseases, gave western man the edge. Why did western man adopt husbandry so extensively and much earlier? He fortuitously developed in an area which had so many more natural animal candidates than others.

Another point he makes...until the 20th century, urban areas greater than 50,000 were literal death traps, and would not exist save continual immigration from the rural countryside.

My guess: We were later on to the civilization train. Therefore we will hit the decline of civilization later as well. Civilizations go up and down in a cycle.

Also I believe the colder climate results in less food wich results in less population, and overpopulation is a big problem.

Lets face it the cold led to the fossil age. Fossils were not exploited in warm places first.

My Guess - Whether they were part of the Late Roman Empire.


Why not build nuclear reactors in the Sahara

*points to Chernobyl*
*points to Fukishima*

Perhaps you've not been paying attention or more likely the Germans are just being more responsible and understanding of the limitations of what Man can do safely?

Chernobyl and Fukushima are the reason why you want to build reactors in a no-man's land like the Sahara. Losing Japanese coastal real estate is a huge financial loss. Losing some near worthless desert? Not so much.

The Desert is still connected to the rest of the biosphere.

And Chernobyl and Fukushima are the reason why you want to build reactors in a no-man's land like the Sahara is an admission that the reactors are too damn dangerous for Man to operate given the flawed nature of Man.

See levels of CO2, CH4, SF6 and other GHG gases in atmosphere.

Look up Morton's Fork.

Germany has already pursued the best path out - increased efficiency - as much as any nation (kWh/capita use in Germany is half US demand).

The safest possible nukes, and accepting occasional "no go" zones, appears to be the better of two bad choices.


accepting occasional "no go" zones, appears to be the better of two bad choices.


This what "we" are left with:

Make a bad choice

If this is the solution - MAKE A BAD CHOICE humanity might as well just pack it in and turn the management over to the cockroaches.

Such is the nature of conundrums and predicaments. Needing a good solution does not necessarily create good solutions. Hence, the best of two bad options.

I would take minor issue with Alan's choice of words. The best of two poor options is still a good choice.

Nuclear is already a very expensive way to make electricity.

Add the cost of transmission.

But sometimes it is the only non-carbon option.

Germany, despite massive efforts to improve efficiency and build out renewables, will burn substantially more coal and natural gas if/when they shut down nuclear power.


But sometimes it is the only non-carbon option.


Bull's Hit.


The answer of "burn substantially more coal and natural gas" is just buying into the 'extend BAU' the same way as 'no need for rail - we'll use compressed natural gas for transport' is offered up to extend BAU wrt transport.

If one has a pipe dream of education on transport - why not education on the end of BAU wrt excess per capita consumption?

Because the claim of "But sometimes it is the only non-carbon option." ignore Man's demonstrated failure to manage that "option".

Only the Swedes rival the Germans in their efforts at energy conservation - efforts that will no doubt be redoubled.

As noted, the Germans get by with half the electricity and overall energy use/capita of Americans. And this will continue downward.

The German population is stable - down -0.3% in 2009.

However, Germany is simply not in a position to go non-industrial.

They will increase their carbon emissions substantially if they go completely off nuclear. This will be mitigated by importing excess nuclear power from France and Kaliningrad.

Conservation is the first choice - before renewables and nuclear and fossil fuels.

Germany has done conservation.

Germany has almost saturated their viable on-shore wind sites and they are going off-shore. WT makers offer "German WTs" - large blades with smaller generators to harvest low wind speed sites.

Cloudy, high latitude Germany has installed massive amounts of solar PV - 17 GW.

And some efforts to build more small and micro-hydro. Failed geothermal experiments.

The choices left are fossil fuels and nuclear.


however Sweden have one Achilles heal of energy dependancy: The country is large in surface, low populated (21 inhabitants/Km2 wich is very low), and long,shaped as a sussage. With all our heavy industries (cars, trucks, timber and paper, steel) that is a lot of long transportations of heavy goods on long roads.

My sugestion is that we use waterways and transport over the Baltic Sea on barges, for an energy tranport cost reduced down to 0.5% per unit of goods transported.

Sweden already has heavily electrified railroads (7,918 km of 13,000 km). Why not shift from truck to electrified rail ?

BTW, I meant to edit and add that Germany plans to install 5 to 6 GW of solar PV this year and has a goal of 66 GW of solar PV installed by 2030. A good supplemental power source, especially mid-day in the spring and summer.

I wonder if an energy efficient solution would be to ship retired Germans to Spain and install solar PV and wind there to keep them going :-)

I think they may be already trying that strategy.


Even if it is expensive, it is consistent . . . not intermittent like solar and wind.

Wind energy is pretty cheap these days as long as it is blowing. But those times when it is not blowing make it pretty expensive.

It's not THAT consistent.. Reactors have been tripped for Irene, the Quake, the Nebraska floods, and now this Grid SNAFU in the SouthWest.

Outage affects 6 million in Calif., Ariz., Mexico

NUKES depend on a whole network of BAU features to remain steady and ready in order to remain on. Do you believe those conditions are ones you will be banking on, between climate, economics and oil supply?

Even if it is expensive, it is consistent

No, fission power is not "consistent".
(if you wish to deny this fact, we can debate it. All I have to do is show unplanned shutdowns to win the debate.)

not intermittent like solar and wind.

Because *YOU* "grew up" with 24/7 power, you are expecting the same to continue.

Are *YOU* thinking its OK for other places, like say Baghdad to have non-24/7 power? What, if anything are *YOU* doing to get other humans what *YOU* expect for yourself?

But lets see if you'll state its OK for North Korea to have fission power. Same for KSA or Zimbabwe, Libya or Iran...no matter who's in charge. (Oh, that goes for you also Alan. I believe Alan has a 'strong viewpoint' about what Quaddaffi should/should not have)

I'll take a lack of response as admission that fission power is only for the "right kind of people", whatever the 'right kind' means.

But those times when it is not blowing make it pretty expensive.

Or perhaps Man is gonna have to suck it up and live within the energy flows as provided by Sol and the rotation of Earth? As Humans did for years long before the tapping of fossil fuels.

Humans can pick a path that EVERYONE gets a shot at, or is limited to those who meet some arbitrary political bar. The Peaceful Atom program/laws were an attempt to allow all of humanity access to fission power - and it failed.

And the fission pushers are not explaining how ALL of Humanity gets to 'play'.

But hey - if fission is the solution - show how all the Humans on this planet get equal footing.

Thus the best, realistic (close to) non-carbon grid I can envision has a residual 10% or so from FF.

I hypothesize a highly variable cost for electricity (say 4 to 60 cents/kWh) and the FF would be pegged at 60 cents via taxation.

It is interesting to conjecture how industry would adapt. Even continuous processes, such as aluminum smelting, can modulate their power consumption up and down.

One side note.

10% at 60 cents = 6 cents per average kWh.

I hypothesized the same economic cost for electricity - cut demand/capita by -40% to -50% and nearly double the price/kWh i.e. close to 20 cents/kWh. This implies a fair amount of power cheaper than today (4 to 9 cents/kWh) and a lot of power close to today's prices (10 to 16 cents/kWh) with price spikes to 55 and 60 cents/kWh common - anytime renewables cannot do the job.

55 to 59 cents/kWh would be where pumped and other storage would kick in. Buy at 4 cents and sell at 55 to 60 cents/kWh makes a good investment case.

Best Hopes,


"I don't think dealing with unreliable electricity is easy for a high tech society."

I would go one step further on one aspect of that claim--it is impossible for a high tech society to operate under BAU, eternal growth assumption on intermittent, renewable electricity.

All these MSM sources have BAU as their bench mark for what is to be sustained.

But that is not sustainable under any scenario anyway.

We really have to get over this and try to envision what kind of survivable/tolerable system is compatible with sustainable sources of energy and materials.

Japan is at the cutting edge, and it will be important to see how they proceed, but let's get passed writing off wherever they end up as a failure just because it doesn't end up looking like some industrial country in the midst of an unsustainable bubble.

All these MSM sources have BAU as their bench mark for what is to be sustained.

Many of the posters here on TOD have some form of BAU as being kept, be it support for the growth-economy to keep the money at interest system going, keeping the store shelves full of cheeze-doodles, cars, or even the large drains of government/military.

Question @ Prudhoe Bay oil field - the big one, not the satellite fields.

Once natural gas production starts, with a large pipeline, oil production will decline rapidly and be close to zero with a few years. True ?

From memory, Prudhoe Bay is at 14% of peak (likely 13% today) and declining. It supplies @ 2/3rds of the oil in the pipeline (the rest from satellite fields).


I think Prudhoe Bay (at least all the fields that make up the complex called "prudhoe Bay") account for less than half of the total North Slope oil produced and sent down the pipeline at the current time. Over time it may havve accounted for about 2/3rds of all prduction from the North Slope.

Its also watering out pretty dramatically as well.

I think you are correct that with the loss of reinjection (minus incidental usage), the loss in drive to many of these reworked wells might be pretty dramatic. In addition to lots of water separation and injection, the more practical aspect is the pipeline itself. It does have a minimum turndown ratio in terms of minimum pumping flow. Last I checked, that turndown ration is about 11:1 (or about 200,000 bpd).

And you've got to do most of your maintenance in the summer (which is when you'll see the flows drop off through the TAP), so there has been this oscillating drop in flows, even though there have been some offshore injections into the system. The hope is that additional development of NPR-A will keep the TAP functional a few more years beyond the last projection I saw for abandoning the pipeline.

Like many I suppose, I've taken quite a few tips I learned here and been pleased. Years ago, I got a Kill-a-Watt meter promoted here long before today's Top Story "Policing Your Power-Hungry Appliances". Couple of weeks back, I got a little auxiliary thermostat to turn a chest freezer to a fridge. Works great! There's several hundred pounds extra of fruit that will be saved.

One of the above climate change articles sort of contradicts the other. It cites a public inability to understand complex models as the reason for general denial of climate change. Nope, I think it's more of the the second piece, on climate change in the breadbasket: "We've become insensitive to climate -- with air conditioning, irrigation and better practices,"

And most of the public is. Solution is simple-adjust the thermostat. Except those already living with the effects, like low-lying islanders or Arctic natives. They understand, and when the rest of us are impacted, we will.

Proppant Progress

... The amount of proppant used in a well depends on the number of stages, or fracturing points, that will have material pumped into them along the horizontal length of the well. Wells routinely reach more than a half-mile laterally and have 10 to 20 stages or more, each taking an average of 300,000 lb of proppant. That can quickly add up to 3 million to 10 million lb, Olmen says.

In the Marcellus Shale wells of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, drillers may use 10 million to 20 million lb of proppants in wells that reach 1.5 miles down and another 1.5 miles across, says Jerry Borges, vice president of Momentive’s oil-field technology business. He points out that 20 million lb is equal to 100 railcars of sand, and all of it goes down a wellbore pipe only 5.5 to 7 inches in diameter.

That's a lot of truck traffic on back contry roads. Who pays for the repaving?

Proppants can be materials as simple as silica sand, mined from ancient sandstone deposits of smooth, spherical quartz grains in places like Saskatchewan and Wisconsin and sieved into different sizes.

Just thinking of the scale of it

100 rail cars traveling 1000 mi (2000 mi roundtrip) for each well.
500 wells/yr
200 rail cars per mile

(500 x 100)/200 = 250 miles of sand filled railcars per year

Cost of 250 miles of sand filled railcars versus price of the natural gas produced, which is bigger?

How much oil is used in digging out the sand, transporting it to the rail station, shipping to the other end of the line, and then shipping it by truck over the route to where it will be used?

The big cost in transporting sand would seem to be all of the diesel used as fuel.

This is why we are where we are and the price of oil will remain high. A bunch of tiny wells is massive amounts of resources and capital. Perhaps the rail and road and mining system will reach a point of saturation. Rockman always says he is waiting for drilling mud. Maybe this is one of the bottlenecks. And I think the other one is people knowledgable about drilling. Lots of stress on the system it appears to me.

S - If my Yankee cousins are as smart as our county politicians they'll charge a county production tax like we do. Usually around 1.5%+. So for every $1 billion in NG sales the county get $15 million. The state of Texas gets about a 5% production tax so that's around $50 million per. That should takes care of state highways. Charge the oil patch...they'll either pay or won't drill. And they will pay.

Ridge: Shale drilling worries 'phony hysteria'

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Energy executives opened a major conference on shale gas Wednesday by advocating a national energy policy in which natural gas plays a leading role, citing its domestic abundance and cleaner-burning characteristics.

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, now an industry consultant, said that gas extracted from the nation's vast shale deposits can help reduce U.S. reliance on foreign sources of oil.

I like how the second sentence completely destroys his credibility. Yeah, Tom, I wanna see you fill your car's gas tank with natural gas.

The level of discourse on energy in this country is so low that there is no way the electorate can make rational decisions. People actually fall for the Bachmann $2/gallon gas promise.

/sarc on/
Hey dude I'm voting for her I want my $2 a gallon gas.
/srac off/

Contrary to what you seem to think, you can run vehicles on natural gas. I have worked for oil companies that ran most of their truck fleets, as well as most of their stationary engines on natural gas.

However, industry has more flexibility than individuals to switch fuels and in addition can use burners and heaters designed to switch back and forth between fuel oil and natural gas. Given the relative prices at this point in time, I think that probably any industry that can switch to natural gas easily has already done so.

CNG is well under $2 per gallon-equivalent here. Except for the "islanding" issue it's a superb deal for city-car usage. Infrastructure is slowly building out, and with a little planning you could do all in-state travel in a typical CNG vehicle. But those are few and far between on the consumer market.

It is also not as easy to fuel a CNG vehicle as it is a gasoline or diesel fueled one.

Our CNG vehicles operate at one of two pressures and to quickly fuel a near empty automobile one needs a compressor with a large intercooler to keep the fill times relatively short (i.e., less than 20 minutes). Some of our bus fleet uses CNG, but since overnight filling is an option for those vehicles with a relatively large dedicated filling stations, it is not as much an issue for that type of vehicle fleet.

You do need to be careful in monitoring your consumption because when you are out of fuel, you are dead on the side of the road until a tow-truck comes along to tow you to the nearest CNG filling station.

There should shortly be a market for a AAA or similar service with a CNG bottle to get you going again before long. Around here, there are quite a few quick-fill stations (though they would congest rapidly if ever CNG catches on). A home Phill seems ever so civilized!

A variable-wastegate turbo bi-fuel offering would be better still, but expensive.

In Germany, many retrofit their ordinary cars to run additionally on natural gas, which costs less than 2000$. Furthermore, most gas stations support NG by now, being about half as expensive as diesel fuel per mile.


Here the conversion is more like $10-12K for most gasoline trucks, and the kits are limited to only a few vehicles. I assume those you mention are for diesel cars, as a simple throttle-controlled fogger instead of metered injection?

A retrofit gasoline car doesn't get the same performance as a factory CNG-only car, due to compression ratios.

"You do need to be careful in monitoring your consumption because when you are out of fuel, you are dead on the side of the road until a tow-truck comes along to tow you to the nearest CNG filling station."

And this is different than a gasoline car how? I take it you mean you can't carry a bottle of CNG a couple of miles to refuel enough to get to the filling station.

Actually monitoring your mileage would be natural for most motorcycle riders. They generally do not have gas gauges. I go by the trip meter to determine when to fill up. There is also the reserve "tank" and a switchable reserve could be built into a CNG vehicle too.

Pressure in the tank is an illusive value for CNG

The advantage an oil company has over most companies in converting to CNG is that it already has all the equipment it needs to handle NG. NG is produced as a side-effect of oil production, so it is often easier to put it into the vehicles and stationary engines than it is to deliver it to a marketing pipeline. The company already has NG compressors sitting around all over its properties.

Typically the vehicles are dual fuel, so if NG is not available to a company vehicle traveling away from company locations, it just switches to gasoline or diesel fuel and continues on its way.

Of course you can. And you can use natural gas to run power plants that charge electric cars. But if you want to do either of those things they you need to be out talking about policies to encourage natural gas cars and electric cars, not shale gas. We've got plenty of shale gas, it doesn't need any more help.

I hope the shale gas bubble pops soon. It's so wearying listening to people pin their hopes for energy salvation on it, and meanwhile we're doing a huge amount of environmental damage - only to eventually find out it was just another scam trading bogus gas leases just like they did mortgages.

It will be some time until this happens. The US government energy plan is based on it. When it goes the US will be show to have no plan. So it will be fought tooth and nail before the dream is given up.

Oh, I don't think it will be very long at all.

I don't really think the US government has any kind of organized energy plan. However, it does have very large amounts of shale gas, much of it under energy-deficient parts of the country. This probably is going to be the ultimate determiner of what happens, regardless of what kind of plan the government does or does not have.

By plan I mean the EIA Annual Energy Outlook. It claims all is well and energy use of all type continues to grow out to 2035. I would guess the military is doing some more in depth planning. For army operations they seem interested in nuclear. The navy is already nuclear and the air force is into biofuels for their planes.

They have no plans because according to their data there is no problem.

I don't really consider the EIA Annual Energy Outlook to be a plan, I think of it as being more of a delusional fantasy.

But that's only based on 35 years experience in the oil industry. There are a lot of media people and politicians who disagree with me, and of course they know all there is to know about everything.

RockyMtnGuy, you just made me laugh out loud.

Yes, but the issue is not really how much gas is there, but rather how much it costs to get it (real comprehensive cost, not some partial accounting and tricks) and at what rate. Which of course I know you understand well.

This piece explains alot

Mike Lofgren has been working for 28 years as a congressional aide, on the Republican side, earning more than $100,000 a year every year since at least 2001. He worked as Repub staff on both the House and Senate Budget Committees. He is a serious insider who knows how things work and where the bodies are buried.
He recently retired and has decided to say what he has learned about the two parties and it’s amazing.

Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult

... “A couple of years ago, a Republican committee staff director told me candidly (and proudly) what the method was to all this obstruction and disruption. Should Republicans succeed in obstructing the Senate from doing its job, it would further lower Congress's generic favorability rating among the American people. By sabotaging the reputation of an institution of government, the party that is programmatically against government would come out the relative winner.

...This constant drizzle of "there the two parties go again!" stories out of the news bureaus, combined with the hazy confusion of low-information voters, means that the long-term Republican strategy of undermining confidence in our democratic institutions has reaped electoral dividends.

...Far from being a rarity, virtually every bill, every nominee for Senate confirmation and every routine procedural motion is now subject to a Republican filibuster. Under the circumstances, it is no wonder that Washington is gridlocked: legislating has now become war minus the shooting, something one could have observed 80 years ago in the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic. As Hannah Arendt observed, a disciplined minority of totalitarians can use the instruments of democratic government to undermine democracy itself.”

Diogenes may have found his man

Yes it is two criminal gangs (dems and repubs) killing for control and turf.


Yes it is two criminal gangs (dems and repubs) killing for control and turf.

and Rockman

As long as I can remember that's been SOP for both parties. Don't need a whistle blower running around telling us the sun will rise in the morning.

Did you read the article? Those sorts of responses are precisely proving the point.

The article claims that the worse the Republicans behave, the worse they make *all* government / *both* parties look. Since that's exactly their intended goal, their bad behaviour pays off. So expect more.

Incidentally, I liked the quote just after the headline.

Barbara Stanwyck: "We're both rotten!"

Fred MacMurray: "Yeah - only you're a little more rotten." -"Double Indemnity" (1944)

Sounds about right to me.

S - You sound surprised. I doubt you are. As long as I can remember that's been SOP for both parties. Don't need a whistle blower running around telling us the sun will rise in the morning. If anything obstruction is more obvious now then ever before. And just wait if the R's take the White House and more of Congress. We'll see obstruction raised to a world class art form IMHO.

No Rock, I'm not surprised. But I always took that line about 'taking government and draging it into the bathroom and drowning it in the bathtub' figuratively [I think that's a Grover Norquist meme].

Unfortunately, now there appears to be a minority that has taken that line to heart and is bound and determined to change our form of government. In many ways, that is bad for our nation on many levels.

This article spells out in great detail what sort of leadership will be running things after PO if they're allowed to.

Distrusting government I see this as having a positive side. If they get nothing done it seems almost ideal. Of course they do manage to spend 4 trillion per year so not close enough to nothing, oh well.

If current trends are anything to go by, the US will end up with a truly dysfunctional government where the only efficiency is to be found in the military and security services. The only things that will be politically possible are the ones that come across well to the uninformed in a 30 second sound bite (e.g., $2 gas). Needless to say there will be a steadfast unwillingness to recognize problems, let alone deal with them in a meaningful way and the most likely outcome of scorched earth politics will be to make things worse, much worse:

- gasoline taxes reduced to zero and/or implementation of outright subsidies;
- elimination of most environmental laws and the minimal enforcement of the ones that remain;
- disbandment of EPA;
- defunding of environmental research;
- more secrecy in government;
- more military operations to "secure our oil supplies".

These anti-environmental measures cannot create jobs in the long run. Heck removing pollution controls will put people that make pollution controls out of work. LOL. Most big states have strong enough environmental laws even if the US lost it factories would not just spring eternal. Then you have the whole China jobs export thingy to deal with.

I see misery, but I am bullish that the EPA is not going to be taken apart so easily. Bush had 8 years. LOL. He didnt really change much other than waste a lot on wars.

I see misery, but I am bullish that the EPA is not going to be taken apart so easily.

The EPA (and the equal rights laws) were a reaction to the movement to amend the Constitution with laws to protect both women and the environment.

Want the EPA protected? Start pushing for a Constitutional Amendment again.

Somalia on steroids, more or less...

I have no problem with not trusting government, but being in denial about the benefits we enjoy from government is another thing. Imagine no roads, no schools, no judges, no money, no police, no standards for food, air, water or medicine, and so on. We could all wind up happy hunter-gatherers, but there wouldn't be many of us.

The roads are useful the rest I can live with private sector provision of. It would be great if we had a government that protected us from the "too big to fail global corporations" but we do not.

Let the drug company sell you whatever they want in their pill bottles?

Let the slaughter houses determine how much rotten carcass goes in each pound of hamburger?

Let the gas station operator decide how many ounces in the gallon?

Let the mortgage company decide your interest rate based on their needs that month?

I can see how this would work. Yeah. Let's give anarchy a try.

After our plane crashes and kills us because the company didn't bother keeping up maintenance we can sue them...

I would buy products that are vetted by an independent lab (items 1 and 2)
I would not buy gas at stations that shorts me. In the good old days they had clear glass containers built into the pumps so you could see what you were getting.
I would have a written contract if I was getting a mortgage.
Yes, I understand there are folks who distrust all humans and want dictatorial rule by a stern father figure.
I would not fly with a company with a bad record. Yes today when planes crash there are suits it would be the same without the FAA.

I would buy products that are vetted by an independent lab (items 1 and 2)

No, you would buy products that are vetted by a lab paid to vet the products. Just like the credit rating agencies.

Ed, very myopic vision of reality. Your model would only support a small tribe of loosely tied persons. You cannot have big industry without stability. No Gov. No stability. No industry. Your ideas are readily tested by looking at Africa and asking why industry is not invested there, since there are many persons to exploit. Well ... let me clue you in ... it is called chaos.

Darn right it explains alot. What we're seeing is a struggle between those that contend that a strong federal government is necessary to deal with increasingly complex issues, doing battle with those that contend that the best government is that which governs least. The way the "small goverment" folks win is to do all they can to make sure that government is ineffective. And what better way to do that than to put people like GWB into the White House, or to have your Congressional delegation stonewall at every turn? It's a no-lose strategy.

What happens when the lights go out?
Japan’s recent tsunami and earthquakes have left parts of the country in darkness from power blackouts. Jill Entwistle speaks to some of the country’s lighting designers as they reassess the way they use light.

The media circus may have rolled on, but the legacy of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan earlier this year will be more long term. One of the many compelling problems the country faces is the loss of many of its 54 nuclear reactors, which supply around 25 per cent of Japan’s electricity. The number of reactors damaged varies in different reports, but Bloomberg reported recently that 38 remain offline. According to a Business Week report, an electrical generating capacity of 21,000 megawatts was lost through the disaster, roughly equivalent to the electrical output of ten Hoover Dams.


Although Japan is considered one of the most energy-efficient countries in the world, the blackouts have been a revelation for the way in which lighting is used, and [mis]used, says Nagata. “It was an eye-opening experience with regard to the interior spaces. Turning off half of the lights in offices, public facilities and transportation made quite a difference to our everyday lives. Not only lighting designers but also business owners and thegeneral public realised that we had overused lighting over the years. Many of us felt that the temporary darkened environment was not affecting our activities and tasks.

See: http://www.lighting.co.uk/know-how/what-happens-when-the-lights-go-out/8...

On a somewhat related note, the LED retrofit that I mentioned recently is now a Philips testimonial (draft copy below).

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/ChattersSalon.jpg


I am sure it's good see recognition of your work! And deservedly so!

Tried to find the 17W Enduras at my local Home Depot. No luck. Got a couple more of the 60W replacements though. In only another $3000 or so I'll have the house converted!

I have installed 15 (60W) so far, and I am trying to persuade my lovely bride to let me install more.

Thanks, Paleo. These lamps can be difficult to source through the retail channel. I would call the Philips Lighting support line at 1.800.555.0050 (M-F, 08h30 – 17h00 EST) and ask who stocks this product in your immediate area. The Philips Product No. is 41018-3 and the Ordering Code is 17PAR38/END/3000/120V/DIMM/22D. Most wholesalers have an cash counter where you can buy one or more lamps at a time and you could save a few bucks in the process.

You could also try their locator page at: http://www.usa.lighting.philips.com/connect/where_to_buy.wpd


Down here Home Depot is several times more expensive than the trade outlets. I would certainly give them a try.


A little upfront legwork can certainly pay off, especially if you have several sockets to fill. Oddly enough, Home Depot in these parts is surprisingly competitive, although I wouldn't assume this to be true in all cases, as your own experience confirms.


Thanks for good news. Keep it up.

Have you run across any sort of bulb replacements (either LED or CFL) that can be used with those torch lamps that take those special 300W halogen bulbs? We have two such fixtures - my wife insists on using one of them and then complains that it is too hot in the office.

Accidentally knock it over and break it. ;-) (I guess it will be hard to do that with 2 of them.)

Do a little re-engineering and get a socket from the hardwar store. Rip out the halogen thingy and mount your socket. Do some soldering and never tell your wife. Should work ;-)

Hi Eric,

Sorry, I'm not aware of any CFL or LED retrofit options for this type of fixture. With that in mind, GE sells a 225-watt halogen-IR T2 Torchère lamp (12282 – Q225T2CL/ULTRACD) that provides the same amount of light as the 300-watt lamps you use now. Assuming both lamps normally operate at full brightness, that's a 150-watt reduction in load and 50 per cent longer lamp life to boot.

In addition to being horrendous energy hogs, these things pose a serious fire hazard and really should be replaced for this reason alone.

See: http://www.lrc.rpi.edu/programs/nlpip/lightinganswers/halogentorchiers/q...


Yeah, that's the bulb. The more I think about it, knocking over the lamp is probably easier - I could even blame it on the cats roughhousing. One of the two is very rarely used - the other maybe 4 hours per day, but I don't know how bright it typically is set to (there is a built-in dimmer).

The cleanest solution is just a different fixture of some sort - something designed to work with an improved bulb. The whole concept of the torch lights is really flawed in that they throw tons of light on the ceiling to try and illuminate the room..

On my side of the office I have a small desk lamp with one of those Philips LED bulbs in it. I never turn on the torch light myself.

My parents had a traditional three-way mogul-base floor lamp with three independently switched Edison-base candlestick sockets around the inner parameter of the shade. This one harked back to the 1940's, but assuming something like this would still be available today and complimentary to your décor, I would fit the main tri-light with a Philips Marathon 3-Way (this 18-26-34-watt CFL is the equivalent of a 50-100-150-watt incandescent at 700, 1400 and 2025 lumens respectively). If your wife is really fussy about light quality, you could fit the three satellite sockets with 17-watt EnduraLED 75-watt replacements at 1100 lumens each; rather pricey at $40.00 a pop, but the light quality is superb and they would help address some of the perceived shortcomings of the CFL (see: http://www.homedepot.com/buy/philips-17-watt-75w-equivalent-a21-ambient-...); and if light quality is not a concern, then three standard mini-twists at $2.00 a piece would fit the bill nicely.


Do a web search, I think I saw something like that the other day while I was looking for something else. Maybe try Osram and Magg, I think those were ones I was looking at but I am not sure.


A bit more on the bulb swap scheme that has started here. It is spreading to more big stores in the area and people are using it. Saw one lady pick up her 4 lamps, yesterday, and noted that they are Philips 23W CFL spirals with a big Philips branded tester on the desk for the assistant to check the bulbs work. Shame I have none to swap :( I am telling people about it though.


'Bloom Boxes' a blow to clean energy

Officials in Gov. Jack Markell's office say the decision to declare fuel cells a renewable power source -- despite running on natural gas -- will help grow another piece of a cleaner-energy industry, while generating 900 or more jobs in Delaware.

"You are trading some out-of-state wind and out-of-state solar support for Delaware jobs," said Brian Selander, Markell's spokesman.

Critics contend that the trade-off gives Delaware a short-term economic boost but weakens long-term demand for truly carbon-free electricity.

Nat gas to electric with out having to pay the federal, state, county, local taxes on electric. A winner.

Anybody know of a good high level review of global energy reserves and usage rates? I am feeling the need for some numbers.

here is what I found

fuel..reserve..use/yr...J/yr......yrs left

so about 34 years with current mix, 11 years with gas and coal, 31 years with coal
total 76 years, my grandkids will live to see the end of all fossil fuels in about 2087

So no more CO2 dumping after 2087. What do the climate models say happens in the 100 years after we no longer dump CO2?

They say "Sorry Charlie".

"You were told not to press your luck. You were told that you might get away if you stopped by 2050, but even that was taking a risk.

You got all those monster floods and other warnings back in the first part of the century and you didn't take it seriously.

You tipped the methane switch.

So, bye-bye...."

I doubt the serious scientists at Columbia's Lamont-Doherty lab say that. I think they have computer code that gives numerical values that answer the question. I still wonder what values come out of the computer code.

I'd suggest you start reading on this page.


Read the 'basic' page first, get that under your belt, and then go on to the intermediate page.

It's not really the year. It's the amount, as you'll see.

As you read you might keep in mind that July of this year the atmospheric level of CO2 was 392 ppm. That's in the "you might have screwed yourself" range.

We're adding over 2 ppm per year. At that rate we hit 450 ppm in well under 29 years.


Thanks, I looked at it. They give projections for "with coal phase out by 2030". I expect everybody keeps burning coal. As the US EIA data implies with its 25% increase in coal burning by 2035. I would like to see that simulation.

I hope it is phased out by 2030 but I see no reason to believe that it will happen.

I would like to see the sims for the case where all know fossil reserves are burned through. I expect this will be the case. I am not saying I favor this. I am not saying this will be without harm perhaps great harm. I am only saying poor people who do not want to stay poor will burn what is at hand and global corporations will do the same but for different reasons.

A great paper he includes 8 different factors. I am impressed with his model. He only runs it out to 2020. I wish he just let it rip out to 2300.

I will check out his web page.

Fighting for change is great. I would still like to see the projected result of burning all of it. Which barring cold fusion or social collapse I expect it will all burn.

From an article on his website

Can renewable energies provide all of society's energy needs in the foreseeable future? It is
conceivable in a few places, such as New Zealand and Norway. But suggesting that renewables
will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole
is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.

This Easter Bunny fable is the basis of 'policy' thinking of many liberal politicians. Yet when
such people are elected to the executive branch and must make real world decisions, they end up
approving expanded off-shore drilling and allowing continued mountaintop removal, long-wall
coal mining, hydro-fracking, etc. – maybe even a tar sands pipeline. Why the inconsistency?

Because they realize that renewable energies are grossly inadequate for our energy needs now
and in the foreseeable future and they have no real plan.
They pay homage to the Easter Bunny
fantasy, because it is the easy thing to do in politics. They are reluctant to explain what is
actually needed to phase out our need for fossil fuels. Reluctance to be honest might seem
strange, given that what is needed to solve the problem actually makes sense and is not harmful
to most people. I will offer a possible explanation for their actions below.

Renewables and efficiency, plus some nukes, can get most of the world on a very low carbon economy.


I agree these three are the way to go: renewables, efficiency and nuclear. Now if someone would just show a plan to fund and build these in a timely manner. If anyone wanted to solve the unemployment problem in the US or EU or Japan or anywhere they could just fully fund and build these three over the next 30 years.

Now if someone would just show a plan to fund and build these in a timely manner.

Would you settle for a 20 year plan?


You are entirely correct about our employment problem. If we built a new energy infrastructure over even a 40 year period we would create tons of good jobs for a couple generations of workers.

The way I read the numbers on what we spend on the hidden cost of coal and what we pay (directly and through military costs) the build out would likely pay for itself.

(Don't forget to include things like doing new builds of renewables with the money we would otherwise use to replace worn out fossil fuel equipment. And the fact that solar costs are calculated using a 20 time frame when, in fact, we'd get a few decades of almost free electricity from them after the 20 years was up.)

Bob, that article as a plan to go 'renewable' in 20 years is a joke. It is full of 'if we could', 'we might', 'perhaps if we', 'limited supplies of tellurium and indium', 'could be restricted by the silver', 'not enough economically recoverable lithium exists', etc.

Yet the thought of building it all in 20 years, without the plans in place, nor the money for even a fraction of it. As I have mentioned before, the Moree solar farm of 150 MW will take years to build, if built now would be the largest in the world and costs something like $A923m to build. To build 89,000 in 20 years of 300 MW capacity would mean 4450 completed a year with a cost of ~$8.2T/yr. Of course that is on top of the 190,000 5MW wind turbines built each year.

It is dreamland stuff.

This guy Hansen is big on nuclear

We suggest that near-term emphasis should be on efficiency measures and substitution of coal-fired power by renewables and third-generation nuclear plants, since these technologies have been successfully demonstrated at the relevant (commercial) scale. Beyond 2030, these measures can be supplemented by CCS at power plants and, as needed, successfully demonstrated fourth-generation reactors.

Gen III and Gen IV nuclear power plants.

Hansen's a great climate scientist.

I think he got it wrong on nuclear and CCS. Both are priced off the table.

I suspect that he suspects as much as well, but in his position it's better to not make more enemies than necessary. You can include nuclear and CCS in your list of potential solutions while understanding that their costs are likely to keep them from being built on any meaningful scale.

>As you read you might keep in mind that July of this year the atmospheric level of CO2
>was 392 ppm. That's in the "you might have screwed yourself" range.

More like "we've all screwed ourselves, but it's not terminal yet. Not quite".

Evidence for this:

1. All the disruption so far is with < 1 degree warming.

2. The temperature is still climbing, since the Earth is out of equilibrium. It has a long way to climb yet.

2. CO2 levels *now* roughly match the early Pliocene, three to five million years ago.
Average temperatures *then* (at equilibrium) were 3-4 degrees warmer. There was no
ice cap at the North pole or Greenland; no ice on West Antarctica; less ice on East
Antarctica. Sea levels 25 meters higher than today.

3. Many species around now (including us, and most agricultural species) had not
evolved in the Pliocene. There is no evidence they could have survived in that
climate. The species that did live then have mostly died out. Climate change does that.

BUT, it will take decades or centuries to get all the way to equilibrium.
IF we stop burning fossil fuels, the CO2 level will drop back down before
we get there. We'll still be left with a changed climate, but one we have
more chance of living in.

No, ed.

"Reserves" is an economic number. It can and does grow while resources are being used up.

No contradiction; here's why. There are two considerations.

1. If the resource is abundant companies don't have any incentive to do any ore exploration than is needed for about 40 years of reserves. That's all they need to do their production planning.

2. If the resource is scarce its price goes up so deposits that were uneconomic to mine -- they were in the "reserve base" -- suddenly change to reserves.

To make estimates of how much is going to be consumed you need to know: amount originally in place, amount consumed so far, the recovery fraction, how the recovery fraction can change with technology (not much) and price (sometimes a lot,sometimes not much).

Rockman has explained this many, many times over the years (superhuman patience, has Rockman); maybe one day soon he'll do it again.

In the mean time look at this diagram: http://www.groundtruthtrekking.org/Issues/AlaskaCoal/CoalTerminology.html It's not quite the textbook version but it will give you some idea of how to think about this.

Key point: reserves numbers depend on price, not (much) on how much is there.

Edit: Conclusion: fossil fuels will not "come to an end" in 2087 whatever happens.

I just wanted an order of magnitude number. If you know of a more exact analysis I am interested. Thanks.

Louisiana Sweet $118.34

Bloomberg Louisiana Sweet

Bloomberg Louisiana Sweet/WTI Differential

"Curiouser and curiouser" said Alice.

Since we are now in some kind of “Alice in Wonderland” world regarding Mid-continent oil prices, if Cushing inventories were to approach zero, I suppose that the WTI/Brent and WTI/Louisiana price spreads would approach $100.

Does that mean WTI = oil sands syncrude & sour pockets from a shale formation?

The presence of oil from the Canadian oil sands depresses the price of WTI in the same market. Although refineries get a lower cut of gasoline from heavy oil, if they are designed to handle it, it becomes just a matter of how much money they get for the products versus how much it costs for the feedstock. For the refineries that are designed to handle the available oil, it is like having a license to print money.

Oil from the Bakken formation of North Dakota and elsewhere is often of similar quality to WTI, so it depresses the price of WTI even more.

The Onion strikes again

We Need To Do More When It Comes To Having Brief, Panicked Thoughts About Climate Change

... Many well-intentioned people will take 20 seconds out of their week to consider the consequences of the lifestyle they've chosen, perhaps contemplating how their reliance on fossil fuels has contributed to the rapid melting of the Arctic ice cap. But if progress is what we truly want, 20 seconds is simply not enough. Not by a long shot. An issue this critical demands at least 45 seconds to a solid minute of real, concentrated panic.

Simply amazing how The Onion can make one smile at the stark dark ugly truth.

I read the Onion's piece and thought, "wait, has The Onion started printing straight editorial now"?

It is amazing. Just like hundreds of years ago when the court jesters were the only ones who could openly poke fun of the king and live.

Today's court jesters are The Onion, John Stewart, Colbert...

Don't forget the Ironic Times. New issue every Monday morning.

I haven't listened to this yet but I thought it would be of interest...

Drawing A Line In The Tar Sands
We’re debating the thousand mile pipeline that would cut across the U.S., from Canada’s tar sands to the Gulf of Mexico. The “Keystone XL” pipeline.


Credit system versus debt system


No he is not prefect but he does have some good ideas.

"Not perfect" is very charitable: Lyndon Larouche and the New American Fascism.

I suppose that the National Socialist German Workers' Party probably had "some" good ideas too.

The idea is to issue credit to make the system run rather than issue debt to make the system run. In the first we can have free humans in the second we get debt slaves.

ref http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._H._Douglas

Douglas a Scots engineer.

Ed, I don't often agree with you, but in this case I think I do. If we're going to print money, with the obvious affect that everybody will suffer the loss of value, the least we can do is to distribute the new money. Printing money and stuffing it into a few pockets here and there would seem to centralize the profit of the exercise, while socializing the impacts. Why not just print money and give a little to EVERYBODY if that is what is desired?

To go along with it we need a strong import tariff otherwise the stimulus to all Americans will only lead to more jobs in China. This is allowed by the current WTO agreement.

Why not just print money and give a little to EVERYBODY if that is what is desired?

Because the dollar would plummet like never before, and any added advantage of moving more money through the economy would be offset by much higher prices, which we would all have to live with permanently.

Speaking of which, I was shocked recently on a visit to Walmart at the high prices for what use to be cheap chinese made clothing. Whoa that's a big increase! 30 bucks for what use to be 18, 14 for what use to be 9, etc.

QE1 and QE2 gave us zero inflation according to federal government statistics. COLA for social security and federal employees pensions zero. No inflation.

QE1 and QE2 appear to me to be straightforward increases in money supply. As such, they contributed to price rises in certain must-need commodities - food and energy sectors, key imports, maybe?, without re-inflating the housing market or other sectors of the economy, as was probably desired by the politicians. So, while a few workers in ROCKMAN's world saw their wages go up, the rest of the country saw their day-to-day expenses go up even higher, including imported clothing, for example (although my Wal-Mart clothes-shopping experience is not as shocking as the price rise in dairy goods - cheese, for example - and I'm a regular Wallace of Wallace and Gromit when it comes to cheese, maybe you could make a ROCKMAN / BlueBell analogy to me / cheese).

But Keynesian economic theory is not just about inflating the money supply, from what little I know - it's also about fiscal policy - having the government becoming the buyer of last resort, spending money in a way that will create jobs and stimulate demand. Which I am in favor of - but here's where I differ from straight up Keynesian's - I don't think we should go about building roads willy-nilly, for example - that was a mistake - it creates a large maintenance liability for the future, and it's a mode of transport which is destined to contract. So, I'm a Keynesian but only for projects which I think have at least a non-negative return in the future, i.e. projects that will help us prepare for the future.

Why not just print money and give a little to EVERYBODY if that is what is desired?

G. W. Bush did exactly that, and encouraged everyone to spend it. Did the dollar plummet?

Credit and debt are flip sides of the same thing. You can't have a debtor without a creditor, or vice versa. He's just playing on the common connotation of the words, credit=godd/moral, debt=bad/immoral. We are primarily emotional thinkers, so we fall for this pablum.

No. There is one special body that can issue credit. The US federal government (and any other government brave enough to throw off the yoke of the global bankers). To quote article 1 section 8 of the US Constitution

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof

But you give that money to X, it says he can use it to buy something I created/own. No wealth was created, but a call on others wealth has been handed out.

'4:44 Last Day on Earth': end it all or stay and watch?

As the ozone layer disintegrates and the world prepares for certain doom in "4:44 Last Day on Earth", man is left with just one question: 'to be or not to be?', to commit suicide or stay and watch?


Krugman sorta admits peak oil:

Are Other Commodities Like Gold? (Quick and Wonkish)

. . .

Also, if other things — such as new oil discoveries and improving drilling technology — are keeping the real price from rising much, there won’t be any Hotelling-type hoarding at all. This has been true of oil for most of the industry’s history, although it may be ending now.


krugman has been a PO believer for many years and has publicly said so.

but so what?

nobody listens.

for heavens sake, roscoe bartlett has been on the floor of the US Congress many a time lecturing them about PO.

nobody listens.

Not only did the candidates last night not believe in peak oil, they believe, with the right policies, that we could have a new oil boom in America which would wipe out foreign imports. Double down, baby. Double down. And I do believe that their meme will be enthusiastically received by the American people.

And I do not believe that Obama, even if so inclined, will be able to successfully contradict this paradigm. In fact, I believe he will embrace it just like he decided we really don't need to issue new ozone regulations.

After all these years of discussion/debate here on peak oil, this is where we are. Absolutely nothing has been accomplished. If anything, the cornucopians are more dominant than ever and will sweep the Republicans into the presidency the next election. The meme is that we just need more freedom and America can accomplish anything, except, of course, do anything about global warming.

Yeah, stand by for more "hope and change" crapola tonight, methinks.
The next Repub president, I'm afraid, truly will be the dawn of a new "Mourning in America".

"Mourning in America"

What a difference a single letter makes!

Fossil fuel industry outspends pro-environment groups by eight-fold in battle over climate change legislation

It was supposed to be their time.

With significant majorities in Congress, a president promising action and favorable public opinion all on their side, many environmentalists believed their political stars had properly -- and finally -- aligned. ...

Clients in the oil and gas industry unleashed a fury of lobbying expenditures in 2009, spending $175 million -- easily an industry record -- and outpacing the pro-environmental groups by nearly eight-fold, according to a Center for Responsive Politics analysis.

It takes money to make money. Oh and that profit at the pump. It goes to D.C. LOL.

Yeah, I watched the debate and it is disappointing to see them all ignore the elephant in the room. Actually, they go beyond ignoring it and assert it doesn't exist by suggesting policies that demonstrably won't work in view of known evidence.

They all act as if evil Obama is causing high gas prices and Bachmann can fix them with drill, baby, drill. Never mind that there are now 4 times as many rigs as a couple years back and that US oil production has surged in the past couple years yet this has not brought prices down. People want to believe in magical solutions. They don't want to hear reality.

An election seems to be a contest as to who can best spew the lies that you will believe and will comfort you.

Huntsman seemed to be the only person on stage willing to deal with reality as it is . . . and thus the audience hated him.

I got the feeling Huntsman was wondering if he had wandered into a Ibsen Play.

Yeah, I felt bad for the guy. He seemed to be the only one who would be pro-science. He refused to sign any pledges because they distort policy-making. And he would not say blatantly untrue things such as "I'll get you $2/gallon gasoline".

And he got punished for it. He was too sane and honest to be on that stage with the rest of the carnival barkers.

I think Huntsman is positioning himself for 2016.

The Tea Party has shot its wad. Good chance it will force the Republican party far to the right in the primaries and cause a bunch of losses in the general election. The general public has a very low opinion of the Tea P and their behavior.

The corporate wing of the Republican party may decide that they can't win from a far right position and want to come back toward the center to pick up independent voters. If so, Huntsman has a lot of attributes that would appeal to the center.

Don't forget, five years from now a lot of the old 'haters' are going to be off the voter lists and a new group of voters who are quite comfortable with people of other races and sexual orientations will have taken their place. The old issues which the Republicans have relied on (think 'hate those not like us') ever since Nixon's Southern Strategy are just no longer operative.

I believe you have some confirmation bias on "public has a very low opinion" of TPs. On the right, they are seen as being the only ones to keep the faith, and the primary complaint is that they cave too easily when in a powerful position. Be careful not to overlook the focus on economics right now, and the fact that economic conservatives have no friends in Congress other than the TP.

The Reps went for a moderate candidate last time and lost. They will have to pick those who sound further right to make it to and through the primary. After that, the candidate will move left, but will stick to economic conservatism, jobs, and cheap energy points. Independents are going to vote jobs and economic conservatism as well, I think.

The Reps can easily go astray by too much of a focus on big business though. They are right in their view on corp taxes, but not on corp regulation, and their view of free trade sees only half the picture.

I think your "hate" paragraph has no place here, and shows an extreme bias that is likely to cloud your perception of the rest of the platform. Sure, there will be some grandstanding on social plank issues, but the rank and file cover a broad spectrum, and focusing on those outliers that get press from the popular media isn't a good way to get a representative view.

In summary, I strongly expect Reps to have the wrong understanding of energy and tax changes, but they will probably still win based on platitudes on those topics and better cred on jobs. Obama has nothing to combat them so far.

I saw only part. Looked like Newt had better poise, control of the debate, and political savvy than the others, but that won't help him in the election. Huntsman may have had the most realistic view, but that won't help him either. The best he can hope for is a VP slot with a leading candidate. Newt won't even get that.

An election seems to be a contest as to who can best spew the lies that you will believe and will comfort you.

That's a pretty darn good description, because most people have very simplistic ways of determining who will get their vote. Remember when people liked Bush jr. but had no idea why (meaning no knowledge of his policy expectations), except to say he seemed like someone they would enjoy sharing a beer with?

disappointing to see them all ignore the elephant in the room

What do you mean?

They ARE the GOP elephants in the room!

and ... they take the cake

The "Undulating Plateau" that CERA (in 2005) predicted would arrive in three or four decades seems to have arrived in three or four months* after their presentation to Congress, and ExxonMobil in early 2006 was similarly suggesting that we would see increasing production for decades to come, but in what is probably an excellent example of cognitive dissonance, the cornucopians have redoubled their efforts to make us believe that we aren't seeing what we are seeing.

It's a little like the woman who walks in and finds her husband in bed with another woman. Her husband asks, "Who are going to believe, me or your lying eyes?"


"Rather than a 'peak,' we should expect an 'undulating plateau' perhaps three or four decades from now."

Mr. Robert Esser
Senior Consultant and Director, Global Oil and Gas Resources
Cambridge Energy Research Associates
Huntington, NY,
Understanding the Peak Oil Theory
Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality
December 7, 2005


"Contrary to the theory, oil production shows no signs of a peak . . . Oil is a finite resource, but because it is so incredibly large, a peak will not occur this year, next year, or for decades to come"

ExxonMobil Advertisement in New York Times
June 2, 2006

*BP shows global total petroleum liquids production at 81 to 82 mbpd fro 2005 to 2010, except for 2009, and the EIA shows global C+C production at 73 to 74 mbpd for 2005 to 2010, except for 2009. At the 2002 to 2005 rates of increase in production, total petroleum liquids production in 2010 would have been at about 94 mbpd and C+C would have been at about 86 mbpd.

My "Peak, What Peak?" net export chart:


If anything, the cornucopians are more dominant than ever and will sweep the Republicans into the presidency the next election.

That's because the US culture is one of rejecting facts if they stand in the way of being non-doomerish. Politicans run from the moniker of being a doomer, so in spite of oil peaking in 05, or ice volume annually descending in the Artic, etc., what wins the day is cornucopianism. 'Might as well die with our cornucopian boots on, lest we had to actually face facts and change our lifestyle', is the unwritten battle hymm of the populace as they vote in those that hold that line of thought.

Nothing has changed since Carter warned of energy problems, only to be shot down by a right wing that embraced cornucopianism. Give them cake in the form of what they want to hear, vs. ever being courageous enough to venture into doomerism and spell it out the way the facts indicate they actually are.

That's why the current BAU will need to collapse and be replaced by something else, because people will not voluntarily give up their over-consumptive way of life.

You are correct, and this is why I feel doomerish on the economy, cause people do not change quickly, especially older people, which these days are living longer than ever. The Tea party is all about older people trying to cling to their consumption kicking and screaming in most cases. Younger folks are asking the questions about how to get by growing food, riding their bikes, and so forth. We have to just let the system consume itself and produce for ourselves locally as best we can and hope the violence is contained. It is not going to be pleasant the next decade. I still think Nature will have the last thing to say, and peak oil will enable Nature to do more lasting damage than she normally does. We can all look at Japan to see how optimally industry recovers from Nature. That is the future mixed with a lot of social unrest. Look to MENA for that.

ts - I haven't had time to dig out details on the debate. But I mentioned your comment to a couple of my contractors this morning. I don't know how to communicate the level of disgust most of us feel about such positions as you described. Cornucopians are free to believe whatever they want. But we live with the reality 24/7. We don't stop thinking when we leave the office about the struggle to find the next hole to punch in the ground. IOW the next opportunity to justify our existence and our jobs. From the outside many think we're just cruising along with no worries. High prices are nice and provide more drilling opportunities. But even now with those high prices and $80 million at my disposal to spend (actually at the insistence of my owner) we're filled with anxiety: I've got two wells drilling and one to start next month...and nothing any time soon afterwards. And we buy most of our deals from companies that exist to do nothing but generate prospect for companies like mine to drill. And they are coming up with but a few opportunities. And again, even at current high prices (although, most of the remaining wells to drill will target NG and thus those low prices aren't much help).

I did have a bit of wishful thinking that Perry might take Bachmann to task for her foolish promises about our "energy independence". President Obama has likewise set himself up for a sharp attack on this subject IMHO. Whether you like the man's politics are not Perry would have some street cred with many in the public: he is the gov of the center of the oil patch. And a Texan to boot. He could make a video with any number of well respected oil men who would back him up. Of course, none of them would be running a public oil...would make their shareholders happy. But it appears my fanatsy will go unfilled. Maybe, again probably wishful thinking, who ever eventually gets elected will begin breaking the news to the American people. At least the new prez would have 4 years to pound it into them before they run him out of office for being a heretic.

Yuan to be fully convertible


Chinese officials told European Union business executives that the yuan will achieve “full convertibility” by 2015, EU Chamber of Commerce in China President Davide Cucino said

IMO this has immense implications for the whole world. If China's purchasing power goes up, what's to stop them from importing every single barrel of oil and truckload of coal in the world into China. Commodity shortages will only soar in the future as China becomes a fully consumerist society.

At their 2005 to 2010 rate of increase in their net oil imports, as a percentage of global net oil exports (GNE), "Chindia" would consume 100% of GNE in about 20 years. If we just look at Chinese net imports, China would consume 100% of GNE in about 23 years (at the 2005 to 2010 rate of increase).

It will happen for coal before it happens for oil. China already consumes 50% of the coal mined in the world. In 2009 they became a net coal importer. In 2010 and again in 2011 their coal imports have doubled. If this keeps up, by 2013, China alone will import all the coal exported in the world.

In India and other coal importing countries, they should get ready for more "load shedding".

LOL. "Load shedding". It's been quite some time since I heard that term.

The Global economy is basically toast more or less. And heck oil is only part of the problem. No Coal. No growth. Maybe the site has the wrong name. It should be called "Fossil Joule."

With Yuan appreciating by 20-30% you can effectively double that rate of increase, 23 years should come down to 15 years.

In a vacuum perhaps. But a China trying to compete as a producer and exporter of goods with a floating currency will not be the same beast as China with an artificially devalued currency. It's not that simple.


And there are other issues....

Fitch: Local government debt makes China credit risky

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) – Fitch Ratings said Thursday that China's credit risk has increased because local governments have become heavily indebted, with a lack of disclosure by financial institutions compounding the problem.

The comments by Fitch, one of three major credit rating agencies, come amid concern that borrowing by local authorities in China for expensive public works may overwhelm the ability of some of those local governments to repay banks.

Senior Director Jonathan Lee of Fitch Ratings in Taiwan said a large chunk of the lending has gone into unprofitable infrastructure, raising the prospect of default.

Yes, no kidding.

Ghost cities-China.

How do you say "greatest mis-allocation of resources in history" in Chinese?


It was all a grand show. The olympics, the chinese stock market, the whole nine yards...to produce cities that no one lived in ... stone heads for our era.

There is a culture of corner-cutting and corruption that will make China struggle with an inevitable downturn once their currency floats up and the US moves from being a strong customer to a more vigorous competitor. Internal stresses will dwarf the external ones, and anything they do to diversify their dollar and EU currency hoards will tend to strengthen their currency and weaken the others, which will help them consume imports but not export. If they are going to sell dollars, they have to trickle it out NOW, not dump it later, really.

That said, there is a huge momentum of consumption already built in China, and that will suffice to create global shortages IMHO. And you can expect immigration and asset acquisition to grow as well. How much of the US could they simply buy? Controlling interests in global corporations might be quite attractive.

I think it's probably a mistake to take current trends and extrapolate them into the future forever.

More and more, I'm reminded of Japan. In the '50s and '60s, Japan made cheap crap. There was a belief that Japanese culture (some even claimed genetics) made them incapable of innovation. All they could do was copy American products. They'd never be a threat to us.

Then came the '70s, when they started kicking our butts. In the '80s, people feared the Japanese juggernaut would buy up America. Japan was frequently the villain in movies of that time, being far scarier than the previous international villains, the Soviets.

And now? Japan hasn't bought up the world, and they seem very unlikely to do so.

Good points. I wonder what fraction of their economy will go toward procuring energy to feed their growing and increasingly affluent population?

Following is a range of scenarios for Available Net Exports (ANE, i.e., Global Net Exports, or GNE, less Chindia's net imports).

The observed GNE 2005 to 2010 net export decline rate was 1.3%/year (BP + Minor EIA data, top 33 net oil exporters in 2005). The observed rate of increase in Chindia's net imports was 7.7%/year for 2005 to 2010.

For the low case, we assume a GNE net export rate of change of -1.3%/year and a Chindia rate of change in net imports of +5.0%/year.

For the middle case, -2.5%/year and +7.7%/year respectively.

For the high case, -5.0%/year and +10%/year respectively.

The low case is basically a continuation of the volumetric decline rate that we saw from 2005 to 2010, but note that this assumes no increase in the GNE decline rate and it assume a one-third reduction in Chindia's rate of increase in net imports.

Here is why available net oil exports do not matter for the United States until they reach zero:

Duros and Quatloos: Why the Dollar Remains the One Essential Currency

The article explains why deficits do not matter for the United States despite all the current angst that they do.

The United States is not like other countries nor is it like a business or a household. Comparing it to these is a false analogy.

The United States has the power by virtue of the dollar's reserve status to buy the last available barrel of oil. And it probably will no matter the price.

The United States will in the end be able to outbid Chindia for the last barrel of oil because it can print the money electronically whereas Chindia has to earn it. Even with their lower costs, earning oil dollars is more expensive than creating them electronically.

The implication here is that we face rapidly rising oil prices and a very steep drop off in real economic activity as zero net oil exports approaches. Chindia will hit the net export wall slightly before the United States.

After that I expect military might will rule just as it does today.

Given current American Peak Oil non policy, oil producers should prepare for invasion as the United States will take their oil by force if none is available on the market. Some justification will be created out of thin air to explain the theft to the public who will accept it because they want the oil.

Donald Trump is already advising such even with oil available to be purchased.

I think that you may have been growing, and consuming, something besides corn in your fields.

The whole premise behind the ANE metric is that developed countries like the US are faced with taking what is left over after the developing countries buy what they want. At least this has been the recent pattern. And as noted above, Chindia's net imports have shown a substantial increase versus 2005, while US net imports (and consumption) have shown a substantial decline, versus 2005.

Total normalized oil consumption by the US and four developed countries 1998 to 2009 (EIA, 100 = 1998 level):

Regarding force, the US may be able to seize control of foreign oil fields, but being able to successfully transport the oil to our shores via highly vulnerable tankers is a different situation.

China is very interested in selling to oil exporters.

Chinese contractors are building most of a double track, electrified rail line in Libya, from the Tunisian border to Benghazi (later to Egypt). They are helping build a subway extension in Tehran, and many infrastructure projects elsewhere (100,000+ Chinese in Angola).

I suspect that these type contracts, or useful goods, will earn the last barrel of oil.


One part of the equasion probably not understood by many is where Westexas's GNE and ANE numbers leave the various countries in a few years time. According tto the useage patterns from here....


China consumption 2007 5.733 bbl/day/1000 people
US consumption 2007 68.72 bbl/day/1000 people
Japan consumption 2007 39.29 bbl/day/1000 people

If China were to keep oil use growing at 7.7% pa (not just imports) then they would only reach a useage of ~15 bbl/day/1000 people by 2020, far below even Japans use. Given the increase in auto production in China, it would be churlish to think that the Available Net Exports that Westexas highlights wont happen.

From what I can see, nobody is preparing for a huge reduction in ANE in a short period of time, as in 3-5 years.

I've read an analysis by a brilliant Chinese economics professor(don't quite remember his name right now, will try to look it up) who penned just a few weeks ago that the real Chinese debt may be up to 160 % of GDP, simply because the stimulus that they passed was a whopping 25 % of the economy.

Far, far higher than anything the Obama administration even considered passing. They also forced local muni banks to take on tons of bad debt and to keep lending even if they lost cash because they needed/wanted economic growth. This was really an artificial bubble.

The result is, of course, the Ghost Cities phenomenon that we all have heard of but there are many more issues. The Chinese will likely keep cooking the books so I don't expect a hard landing but the news that they will let the Yuan go completely is a very strong sign that they understand their overinvestment/extreme exports model is coming to a close, not least because of the energy demand. Henceforth it's 4-5 % growth rates in a good year, if even that.

Consumption is now the Chinese way, which means even more debt(that's what happened for the Western nations).
India's not doing much better and in many ways is China's inferior except a few bright spots(IT, for one). But India has the demography on it's side. I wouldn't rule India out 50 years hence compared to China, which I think will maintain it's lead over India for at least 10-20 years.

Leiten,We have WT talking about the GNE and ANE crisis in as soon as 2015,and you go and make projections 20 years and 50 years ahead.Your posts are always reasonable so how come this ?Is it the weather or the blues?

You are partly right, but a rise in yuan would translate to cheaper raw materials and they can maintain their exports even with a 20% appreciation. It's not just currency that determines industry. US maintained an iron grip on manufacturing into the 60's and 70's even with a very strong dollar.

But a China trying to compete as a producer and exporter of goods with a floating currency will not be the same beast as China with an artificially devalued currency. It's not that simple.

It's not supposed to be that simple. The Chinese are aiming to reconfigure their whole economy away from export dependence.

China has for many years had the highest level of household savings of any country in the world. It was over 40% of income, which economists thought incredible and dangerous. In the last couple of years it has risen to over 50%, well above previous records.

By saving and not spending money, Chinese households are forcing Chinese businesses to focus on exports and overseas investment. The point of floating the exchange rate is to make imports cheaper for Chinese households, so they start to spend more. For this to work, Chinese authorities will have to beef up pensions and medical care for the elderly, and set wages on a slow rise as well.

If things go as planned, over time the Chinese economy will re-balance to focus on production for its domestic market which will be the biggest in the world, and China will be a net importer for many years. Everyone will win.

However, I don't think the plans take peak oil (peak everything) into account...

EIA Weekly Report is out:


Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending September 2, 2011
U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 4.0 million barrels from the previous week. At 353.1 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 0.2 million barrels last week and are in the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories decreased while blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 0.7 million barrels last week and are in the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories remained unchanged last week and are below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 4.3 million barrels last week.

US summer driving season comes to soggy end as SPR oil distribution winds up

The combined impact of Hurricane Irene and SPR releases failed to prevent crude inventories from falling in this week's EIA report. Without the distribution of about 4.9 million barrels of Louisiana Light Sweet crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, crude inventories would have fallen a huge 8.9 million barrels - instead of the reported fall of 4.0 million barrels. As of last Friday, 99% of the 30 million barrel SPR oil release has been distributed to the various buyers (although some of that supply may still be in transit to its final destination within the US). According to a statement from the IEA yesterday, no further distribution of oil or oil products is presently planned. Japan is even planning to slowly restock depleted reserves.

Crude oil imports fell about 1,050,000 bpd as compared to the prior week, but East Coast imports accounted for 750,000 bpd of that fall. In the prior report week, shippers rushed crude to eastern ports ahead of the hurricane. As the storm hit some major US ports, such as New York City, ship traffic was closed for a few days included in the last reporting period.

Various independent surveys of gasoline sales indicate that gasoline demand was adversely affected by Hurricane Irene. Reports indicate domestic gasoline demand incrementally fell a further 3% last week, which was already generally running this summer about 2 to 3 % less than last year. However increased foreign demand for US gasoline, especially from Brazil, has cushioned the drop in US refinery output of gasoline (and also diesel). It is expected that demand from Brazil will further increase this fall, as a poor sugar harvest has reduced supplies of ethanol, and forced Brazil to look elsewhere to keep its subsidized transportation fuel industry well supplied.

While the Gulf Coast region stepped up utilization of refinery capacity to record levels, 94.2%, East Coast refiners greatly scaled back operations as Hurricane Irene swept up the coast, with utilization falling to just 58.3%.

Net import/exports (total imports and exports oil and oil products added together) are 1.6 mbpd less than the comparable 4 weeks period a year ago. This is a steep fall whose effects have been obscured by the release of oil from the SPR. However, since exports of high quality oil from Libya have not resumed, a worldwide scramble is still underway to fill the gap left by Libya. According to the latest weekly report (below) from the oil tanker tracker, Oil Movements, OPEC countries are making up none - that is zero - of the lost supplies from Libya. This is despite well publicized statements from various OPEC officials and members that they will increase oil supplies - if needed. While there is evidence that OPEC (ex-Libya) has in fact increased output, that extra output is not being exported.

Note: Not mentioned in Oil Movements article below is the fact that OM made a major downward revision to prior weeks’ totals. OPEC exports are running about 1.4 mbpd less than early February, when Libya went off line. At that time Libya exported about 1.35 mbpd.


OPEC to Raise Exports Most in Two Months, Oil Movements Says
By Grant Smith - Sep 8, 2011 11:30 AM ET

Exports will rise 1.3 percent to 22.65 million barrels a day in the four weeks to Sept. 24, the Halifax, England-based tanker-tracker said today in a report. That compares with 22.37 million a day in the month to Aug. 27. Shipments typically decline at this time of year as refiners undertake seasonal maintenance. The figures exclude Ecuador and Angola.

Refiners are seeking additional supplies as governments end their program of reserve releases to make up for the halt of exports from Libya, Oil Movements said. The International Energy Agency won’t ask its members to tap their stockpiles again, Maria van der Hoeven, the new head of the energy adviser to 28 industrialized nations, said in an interview in Paris yesterday.

Excellent Report !


EIA explains large increase in US oil product exports:

Total U.S. exports of finished petroleum products have increased more than 60% since 2007 as markets have become more globally integrated. This trend is driven primarily by finished motor gasoline and distillate fuel oil which are increasingly exported to Latin America. Annual U.S. exports of gasoline and distillate increased by 133% and 144%, respectively, from 2007 to 2010.

Both exports and imports are a normal part of global trade, but the volume of petroleum products exported from the United States is a small portion of U.S. consumption of those products. From 2000 through 2009, motor gasoline exports were generally 1% - 2% of motor gasoline product supplied (a proxy for demand). From 2010 to mid-2011, they have averaged close to 4%, reaching a high in December 2010 of 5.8%. Distillate exports, which include diesel fuels and fuel oils, represent a more significant share of total available product. From 2000 to 2008, distillate exports were less than 10% of distillate product supplied in all but two months. From the beginning of 2009 to mid-2011, distillate exports were more than 10% of distillate product supplied.


Was combing through the WikiLeaks files today at www.cablegatesearch.net and ran across some interesting stuff. I’ll drop them in as time permits.

Declining Oil And Parliamentary Intervention Equals Bad Times For Oil Businesses In Yemen

… (C) Estimates on Yemen's proven reserves range from 1.3 billion barrels (World Bank) to 4.0 billion (Ministry of Oil) barrels in 2004. Thompson believes that Yemen's Ministry of Oil and regulatory agencies do not manage their existing oil resources for sustainable production. The Ministry of Oil, Thompson asserted, takes undue time and charges oil companies unnecessarily for activities such as drilling new wells in production blocks.

The Ministry's time-consuming, overly bureaucratic processes are a disincentive for oil companies to drill new wells and encourage companies to pump oil with as few wells as possible. Thompson explained that fewer wells were inefficient and poor management can cause as much as 20 percent of the oil in a field to be left behind. (Note: Several foreign oil company executives echo similar complaints regarding the Ministry of Oil. End note). Senior Oil Ministry officials also directly ask Oil companies to maintain high yields also contributing to declines in production. Thompson concluded, "when it goes, it will go fast."

Some of this may not be news but it shows that some in the State Dept. know the score and how the game will play out.

Yemen is a failed state that is about to happen. (Or is happening.) Between declining oil and water resources, that place is going to fall apart. Saudi Arabia has been propping them up giving them oil and supporting the leader . . . but that place is going to implode.

Renault CEO: Electric Vehicle Investment Will Top 4 Billion Euros

9-6-11 7:30 AM EDT
PARIS -(Dow Jones)- French auto maker Renault SA (RNO.FR) has already invested EUR4 billion in electric vehicle technology and more is to come in the years ahead, Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said Tuesday.

Renault and its Japanese alliance partner Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (7201.TO) have set their sights on becoming the world leader in the nascent electric vehicle market, and the two companies have said in the past they planned to invest EUR4 billion in the field to develop cars, battery and powertrain technology.

Ghosn said he is sticking to Renault-Nissan's projection that electric vehicles will represent 10% of the global automobile market by 2020. That figure has been considered optimistic by many industry analysts, but Ghosn said the other forecasts of the electric vehicle market at the end of the decade have been revised, mostly on the upside.

World's biggest peak oil bet? (That PO will definitely occur and have significant impact on oil markets before 2020.)

I'm a supporter of EVs but due to the battery costs, I don't think that EVs achieve significant market share unless oil prices rise.

There's a pretty constant release of new developments in battery technology. Some of it is likely to scale up and bring down prices. Larger scale manufacturing alone will bring down prices.

If the Leaf comes down about $6k to around $26k it would be as cheap to pay for and drive as a $20k 30MPG ICEV and just fifty bucks or so more than a 50MPG Prius.

Then after the five year payoff period was over it would save the owner a few hundred dollars a month.

I suspect after people get more acquainted with EVs they'd pay a couple thousand above break even for the years of really cheap driving (or much higher resale).

I suspect after people get more acquainted with EVs they'd pay a couple thousand above break even

Why ?

EVs have serious range and refueling issues, especially in severe weather (running heater or a/c, much higher rolling resistance in snow and heavy rain).

If anything Americans prefer to pay less up front and more every month.


If the Leaf comes down about $6k to around $26k it would be as cheap to pay for and drive as a $20k 30MPG ICEV and just fifty bucks or so more than a 50MPG Prius.

Only if the tax-credits continue forever which they don't. They are limited in number and it would be hard to renew them . . . if they did get renewed, they would be at a lower rate.

I suspect after people get more acquainted with EVs they'd pay a couple thousand above break even for the years of really cheap driving (or much higher resale).

Well then they should be buying them like crazy today. If you look at the lifetime operating costs of a Leaf and rationally assume rising gas prices (just at inflation or so), a Leaf is pretty much on par with the lifetime operating costs of an ICE car.

I'm a supporter of EVs but I think it is going to be a long hard slog. Battery prices are only going to come down relatively slowly . . . this is not microelectronics where you can shrink things and integrate parts to reduce costs. I think rising gas prices are primarily what will make EVs desirable (outside of the current audience of tree-huggers, national security mavens, and technogeeks).

From www.cablegatesearch.net

World’s Largest Food Company: Forget The Global Financial Crisis, The World Is Running Out Of Fresh Water

… (SBU) Nestle sees the world, and global food production, largely in terms of the water economy. Its management is convinced that growing shortages of fresh water, rather than land, will become the Achilles heel of global agricultural development. This -- and not the current financial crisis, oil depletion, or global warming -- is the most dangerous near-term threat to the planet's well-being.

Nestle has studied water use in crop growing and concluded that the main reason crops are grown in many dry regions is subsidies and mis-pricing of water. Growing a calorie of food crops in a hot dry climate such as California requires much more water than elsewhere.

(SBU) Nestle is also concerned by the current political push to massively subsidize biofuel use and legislate compulsory blending. The company says that in the best case, it takes 1000 liters of water to produce 1.5 liters of ethanol. … Nestle also dismisses desalination as a panacea for water shortages, due to its expense, pollution, and counter-productivity. The company points out that it takes four liters of fuel to produce 1000 liters of water. It thus makes more sense to move agricultural demand for water to regions where it is in most plentiful supply.

…Nestle estimates the upper limit on sustainable global fresh water withdrawals to be 12,500 cubic kilometers per year, with 2008 use running at about 6000 cubic kilometers. [2011 estimated at 6800 cu.km.] However, rising population, growing meat consumption, and new biofuel demands are predicted to absorb the surplus entirely by 2050. On present trends, Nestle thinks one-third of the world's population will be affected by fresh water scarcity by 2025, with the situation only becoming more dire thereafter and potentially catastrophic by 2050. Problems will be severest in the Middle East, northern India, northern China, and the western United States.

Switching from coal to natural gas would do little for global climate, study indicates

Although the burning of natural gas emits far less carbon dioxide than coal, a new study concludes that a greater reliance on natural gas would fail to significantly slow down climate change. The study appears this week in the Springer journal Climatic Change Letters

... The study also found that methane leaks would need to be held to 2 percent or less in order for natural gas to have less of a climatic impact than coal due to the life cycle of methane.

Where does the methane come from? How much is typically leaked?

Ed, I don't mean to be snippy but your questions have an uncanny similarity to those of someone who hasn't bothered to read the linked article; or the simulated output of a chatterbot.

Maybe you just caught me on a bad day.

Most of the molecules natural gas is methane.

Wigley's computer simulations indicate that a worldwide, partial shift from coal to natural gas would slightly accelerate climate change through at least 2050, even if no methane leaked from natural gas operations, and through as late as 2140 if there were substantial leaks.

So shifting to nat gas will make climate change worse. LOL
But since we will burn both coal and nat gas...

Looks like the only good thing about NG is that it is dispatchable.

As renewables grow on the grid we can turn off the gas turbines during times of low demand. Harder to do with coal.

we can turn off the gas turbines during times of low demand.

Not quite. Good winds will be needed as well.

It will take a combination of low demand and high renewable generation.


'Flybus' prototype may be hybrid bus of future

The new Flybus hybrid has taken on cost considerations with a unique energy-saving approach. The bus makes use of the "flywheel" technique demonstrated earlier this year by Porsche in Detroit. The flywheel can feed energy back into the wheels on the vehicle's acceleration. The technique is praised as a way to generate emissions-free energy. The system takes the kinetic energy that is generated from the braking stops-and starts of a city bus run and sends it back to the vehicle. The team's goal has been to come up with an energy-efficient redistribution process, supported by a continuously variable transmission system.

If only science writers had some knowledge of science.

"energy that is generated from the braking stops and starts of a city bus run"

should read

"energy that is generated from the braking stops of a city bus run and uses it to accelerate the bus"

Room for nuclear energy in the future: new IEA chief

The new chief of the International Energy Agency Maria van der Hoeven said Wednesday nuclear power will have a place in the future despite the Fukushima catastrophe and the decision by some countries to opt out.

Van der Hoeven, formerly the Dutch minister for economic affairs, said she would be looking to countries to explain how they plan to cover their energy needs.

"If you would like to abandon nuclear, then my question is: 'How are you going to meet the growing demand of energy when you are abandoning one of your sources?", she said in an interview with AFP.

"That question has to be answered by all those countries and governments who would like to abandon nuclear."

She added: "If the answer is 'we'll do it with renewables', then my question will be 'how'?.

"How cost effective are renewables? How much are they deployed at this moment? How are you going to speed up the curve of renewables so that they're going to be a greater part of the energy supply?"

She is great! A realist. How did she get a political job? How long can she maintain this level of honesty given the pressures of her new position?

How cost effective are reactors? How could you possibly build them at a rate fast enough to be a greater part of the energy supply?

I hope she is talking only about hanging on to existing reactors (the safest ones) until we get fossil fuels shut down. If she's talking about building new capacity then van der Hoveven may be steering the IEA into the ditch....

Climate report links extreme weather events to global warming

•In 1950, record breaking hot weather days were as likely as cold ones. By 2000, they were twice as likely, and in 2011 they are three times more likely, so far. By the end of the century they will be 50 times more likely.

•With global warming's higher temperatures packing about 4% more water into the atmosphere, total average snow and rainfall has increased by about 7% in the past century, says the study. The amount of rain falling in the heaviest 1% of cloudbursts has increased 20%, leading to more flooding.

Related: http://climatecommunication.org/new/articles/extreme-weather/overview/

Full Report: http://climatecommunication.org/new/articles/extreme-weather/download-fu...

What will the temperature rise be in 2100? Taking the middle of the US what difference in latitude does that represent?

New from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center: La Niña is back

... Today, forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center upgraded last month’s La Niña Watch to a La Niña Advisory.

“This means drought is likely to continue in the drought-stricken states of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center.

The strong 2010-11 La Niña contributed to record winter snowfall, spring flooding and drought across the United States, as well as other extreme weather events throughout the world, such as heavy rain in Australia and an extremely dry equatorial eastern Africa.

That means no relief for Somalia, maybe another washout of Queensland, and more flooding of the Mississippi next spring. Hope they repair the levees around the nuke plants.

FBI raids solar panel company hailed by Obama - Washington Times

Why the HELL would the Gubbermint give hundreds of millions to a company who's product NO ONE will touch? Heck, Evergreen had a great panel, they just did not execute scale and had an screwball size. I think I'll use an Evergreen panel for a Table, so I can say this was actually made in the U.S.A. Meanwhile the Germans, Koreans, TW, China, etc are kicking butt in the Solar Market with fantastic products and prices. We clearly need more Lawyers making technical decisions. Sigh...

You only thought they were a panel manufacturing company. They were in actuality a money-disbursing vehicle. Apparently they didn't think they needed to do a very convincing job of illusion. I'm not surprised, given how much money has been shoveled out for nothing in return.

A table that looked like a solar panel would have more utility to most of us than a Goldman Sacs executive bonus.

I am faced with an energy-related land-management dilemma which I would like to pose to the forum, in the hope that somebody has some good ideas.

I am fortunate enough to own a parcel of land near where I live in southern Wisconsin. Currently, I'm in discussions with the county regarding a potential streambank restoration project which they wish to perform on the land. The project will involve, among other things, the removal of approximately four acres of unwanted trees (nearly all box elders). These trees, considered "weed trees", are removed to permit sun to reach the stream, with the goals of improving the stream's ecology and stabilizing the streambanks against erosion by promoting the growth of grasses (currently, the heavily shaded sections of streambank are largely bare earth and quite vulnerable during episodes of high water). In general, I'm in favor of the project.

At issue is what to do with the unwanted timber. To date, the county's standard practice (further up the valley) has been to rip the trees up with a large excavator, deposit them in a heap on-site, and burn. This approach is a cheap and easy way to get rid of the wood. However, it troubles me for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it is a waste of energy. And it produces a poor-quality, smoky fire (lots of green wood), meaning that it is also quite bad for air quality.

I've already explored a few options, with little success:

- The nearest power plant which burns wood chips is some eighty miles away by road, which is further than ideal but possibly feasible. This seemed a viable option, but we have been unable to locate a contractor in the area who has appropriate equipment (whole-tree chippers) and is willing to take on the job. The one contractor who we found who has this equipment told us that, to justify moving his men and equipment into place, he normally looks for significantly larger projects (20-30 acres minimum), because of the set-up costs.
- Some of the neighbors burn wood for heat, but nobody seems to be particularly fond of box elder. I also burn wood, but this quantity far exceeds my needs, storage capacity, and ability to cut/remove quickly.

I'm looking for a responsible way to put this wood to good use. Any suggestions?

You might try to turn the wood into wood pellets. The equipment isn't very large, however for a small site, it would be prohibitive to purchase. You might be able to rent the equipment or find someone that would chip the trees to send to a pellet milling outfit. I don't know how well your box elder would work as wood pellets. There appear to be grades of pellets depending on the ash content, so you might want to investigate that side of the situation first.

Another option might be to purchase a low cost fabric covered shelter in which you might store the wood for use over several years...

E. Swanson

I had the same thought--expand the storage area. It may not be the best firewood, but a large quantity of seasoned hardwood has got to have some value, and probably increasing value, in future years. And he could make a deal with someone to provide help, in exchange for partial ownership.

I spent a few minutes searching with Google and found this about box elder.

"Seldom used or available in lumber form, Box Elder is occasionally harvested in small quantities by hobbyists or specialty sawmills. Prices should be moderate given Box Elder’s commonness, though figured pieces and/or burls are likely to be more expensive."

and this

"In woodworking, Box Elder is used mainly for ornamental and decorative purposes, with lumber exhibiting reddish pink heartwood streaks being the most commonly seen. Dyed/stabilized burl blocks for use in turning projects are also offered. Common uses for Box Elder include: turned objects, small ornamental objects, wood pulp, charcoal, boxes, and crates."


So maybe you can try checking out local crate manufactures and/or specialty sawmills? Good luck.

Open up a craft workshop and invite artisans to use it.


Depends on how rapidly you want to get rid of the wood. You might try myco-remediation, as suggested by mycologist and author Paul Stamets. (see http://fungi.com/mycotech/mycova.html also http://www.fungi.com/mycotech/roadrestoration.html)

What it involves is inoculating wood chips or small logs, etc. with edible mushroom spawn (available here). In the process you get about 10 lb of fresh mushroom per 100 lb of wood over several seasons and the mushroom mycelia convert the wood into high-grade organic compost/topsoil. This encourages a robust micro-ecosystem. I strongly recommend the book Mycelium Running as a primer on mycoremediation.

This works for any carbon containing waste, including petroleum (see http://permaculture.tv/tag/mycoremediation/)

P.S. I have no interest in the book or company, but I grow mushrooms and have dealt with this company. They are fair and honest.

Shroom farm sounds good and box elder is suitable. Use logs for shrooms, save the burl for sale to craftspeople, keep the rest for fuel. Rent a chipper for the smaller limbs to make mulch.

I use this stuff and the plugger they sell to plug my logs with shitakes and oysters.

Who knows, maybe you can get Obama's jobs bill to help pay for it. Start a business, hire a couple of folks to grow shrooms, sell wood and mushroom mulch: "St Clair's Fungus Folly"

It may be a little to cool for Shitake in Wisconsin [need a zone 7 or warmer] but Oyster mushrooms would work. So would Enoki.

What a change a generation makes. It wasn't but 25 yrs ago we were doing the opposite, at least in the west and, I imagine, the Lake states F&G or DNRs also. Desperately trying to shade the stream to keep water temperatures cooler. Willow, alder, box elder, cottonwood were planted, trees that grew fast. The reviled targets were grassy waterways.

A local US Park Service reservoir cut down all locust trees less than 10" dbh, ironically, at their Locust Grove Campground. Rationale was that they were not a native species, so they had to go. Public complaints led to the 10" compromise. As a longtime ranger candidly said, "With all that's wrong in this world today, you would think we'd have better things to do."

As for all your boxelder, 4 ac is alot of wood, but as you've found, not enough to work with. If it's too much for you to chip (rent a chipper) for mulch, or cut for firewood, let them pile it, but you torch it say a yr from this winter, when its dry. Or wait a few yrs, it isn't going anywhere, and you can cut out of the burn pile for your winter wood till you think it's too rotten. Then grab your marshmallows and have fun, an all-nighter in the Wisconsin winter wonderland.

How about a biomeiler?


I saw it first done by this french dude, Jean Pain, he wrote the book "Another kind of garden".

First saw it here on TOD.
You could aim for generating heat or try to generate methan.

It would involve whole tree chippers as well and a lot of labour as well, but you wouldnt need to move it. Could do it on site.

Hugelkultur - using wood to make a plant bed. Given your volume/time issue this may be the best bet.

You could try growing some 'shrooms. http://www.fungi.com tropharia rugoso-annulata or oyster would be fine targets.

a TLUD style burner http://www.biochar-international.org/technology/stoves (make biochar)
or gassification http://gekgasifier.com/

Good luck.

Thanks to all for the good suggestions - you've given me a lot of reading and options to consider! Much appreciated.

"Massive Power Outage Has 1.4 Million San Diego Residents in the Dark"

"A major power outage in San Diego is being attributed to a severed power line in Arizona, and currently all 1.4 million San Diego Gas & Electric (SDGE) customers are in the dark."


Hey, who turned off the lights?

Power Outage Hits Southern California

LOS ANGELES—A massive power outage has cut electricity to a large swath of Southern California, and parts of Mexico, according to electric-power companies and law-enforcement officials.

San Diego County, parts of Orange County and the Mexican state of Baja California lost power late Thursday afternoon, they said.

At a televised news conference Thursday, an official with San Diego Gas & Electric said residents in the affected areas could expect to be without power through the rest of the night and into Friday.

See: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405311190483610457655932258933339...

See also: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/blackout/


Interesting. Didn't know - N. OC seems to be fine as my computer is plugged in and running.


Check out the ISO chart. Huge power loss registered.


The coincidence of the loss of power at peak load smells like melted infrastructure due to heavy electrical consumption. A/C systems pumping too hard down there. I bet we see more of these as the planet continues to heat up.

Massive blackout hits Southern California, Arizona

A high-power line supplying electricity to Southern California from Arizona was knocked out of service, sparking the outage, California's power grid operator said.

It's likely their was a meltdown on one of the Path 46 legs, from Palo Verde:

Path 46, also called West of Colorado River, Arizona-California West-of-the-River Path (WOR), is a set of many alternating current high-voltage transmission lines that are located in southeast California and Nevada up to the Colorado River.[1] This power transmission system is essential to meet the electricity demands of Southern California's massive population centers like Los Angeles and San Diego. The massive system has three separate systems of power lines....

Individual power lines of Path 46:

Supporting system (230 kV only) El Centro - Imperial Valley 230 kV
Ramon - Mirage 230 kV
Coachella - Devers 230 kV

Southern System (500 kV only) North Gila - Imperial Valley 500 kV
Palo Verde - Devers 500 kV No.1

Northern System Marketplace - Adelanto 500 kV - although this line is called Path 64, it is part of Path 46.[3]
Eldorado - Lugo 500 kV
Eldorado - Lugo 230 kV lines 1 & 2
Mohave - Lugo 500 kV
Julian Hinds - Mirage 230 kV
McCullough - Victorville 500 kV lines 1 & 2
Hoover - Victorville 287 kV

Too many air conditioners, not enough redundancy...not that this sort of thing wasn't anticipated:


A new 500 kV line called Devers - Palo Verde No. 2 (DPV 2) proposed by Southern California Edison (SCE) has been approved by both the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO) in the years 2007 and 2005, respectively. The new 230-mile (370 km) 500 kV line will follow the existing DPV 1 - 500 kV from San Bernardino in California to the Harquahala Generating Station (near the Palo Verde Nuclear Plant) in Arizona and the line will cost USD 680 million to build. The new line and associated upgrades to the regional transmission system will bring an additional 1,200 MW of electrical power to the Los Angeles area, which is enough to power 780,000 homes.[6][7][8][9]

In June 2007, the Arizona Corporation Commission rejected SCE's application for the line expansion. SCE then appealed to the FERC, and is currently working directly with ACC to find a solution. Construction on the California portion of the line could begin in 2009, but Arizona is not expected to respond before the end of 2009.[10][11]

San Diego Gas & Electric has also proposed a new 500 kV power line, with its eastern terminus at the North Gila substation and several possibilities for the western terminus and route configuration.[12]

No problem.
Obama man to the rescue!
With a new jobs, jobs, jobs bill.

If there is crumbling infrastructure, the magic words on this piece of paper (The Pass This Bill Bill) will fix it.

I'm still here, says Gaddafi, as he vows to 'fight the rats'

I'm amazed at how tenaciouly these long-time dictators cling to power. They'll do anything, no matter how barbaric, to hang on. It's as if losing prestige means that life is essentially over. I guess that having a big ego comes with being a dictator.

Once arrested however they are often found to be very sore losers as well as real wimps. Just because you can mistreat someone, doesn't mean that you can handle similar types of mistreatment.

It will be interesting to see what happens to Gaddafi. Will he go into hiding like Saddam Hussein or Bin Laden, will he try to escape to a friendly country, will he give himself up (I doubt it), or will he make a last stand in the desert?

I've been hoping he just accepts an exile deal and goes into quiet retirement. That minimizes further death and destruction. But if he is going to keep yammering on like that . . . well then he deserves the fate of other dictators after revolutions.

Do any of these guys make a last stand?

Even Hitler whacked himself rather than joining the fight.

"Galileo got outvoted for a spell," said Perry, in attempting to argue that the issue of climate change remains "unsettled." But what Perry fails to realize is the fact that the scientific community actually agreed with Galileo. It was the clergy who outvoted him, accusing him of being a heretic.


I searched for an article about this Galileo spell thing, since it wasn't anything I ever heard of. The spell cast by Galileo is to say natural law describes everything in the universe. This is from Stuart Kauffman article Breaking The Galilean Spell: An Open Universe

I think one's view depends on from which side of the divide one is taught :-

I have found two conflicting views of the Galileo situation from different sources. I leave it to the reader to evaluate.

1. Galileo vs the Church

"Almost everything he looked at seemed to contradict the earth-centered theory of Ptolemy and the 'perfect' models of Aristotle but these discoveries had put him in serious danger and he was beginning to get himself into very deep water with the Catholic Church. In fact, he and his colleagues used to send coded messages and anagrams to each other to announce their findings and to ensure that they would be properly credited later with their discoveries! (Anagrams and coded messages were similarly used by both Newton and Huygens.)"

It is also apparent that not all scientists agreed with him at the time, although he was, in fact correct.


2. The Galileo Controversy

"Anti-Catholics often cite the Galileo case as an example of the Church refusing to abandon outdated or incorrect teaching, and clinging to a "tradition." They fail to realize that the judges who presided over Galileo’s case were not the only people who held to a geocentric view of the universe. It was the received view among scientists at the time."


What Perry is trying to do, from what I can tell, is re-hash the view that the issue is not settled, that not everyone agrees - of course, we know that the vast majority of scientists do agree, and the issue has, in fact, long been settled. Throwing in Galileo is to inject the idea that even contemporary scientists do not agree. Which, of course, is the propaganda, not the reality. Where he made his mistake is that Galileo was correct, which would mean AGW proponents are correct.


Do you have any insight into how much of the President's proposed $50B in transportation spending (in his jobs/stimulus proposal made tonight)would go to rail...and what specifically that would men (passenger, freight, etc)?

The plan includes tax breaks for employees and companies that hire the unemployed, programs to help cities and towns retain teachers, firefighters and police officers, and money to rehab vacant and foreclosed homes. It also calls for $50 billion to improve transportation and $10 billion toward a public-private "infrastructure bank."

I also did not notice in the one article I have read over what time period this 'jobs/stimulus' proposal would cover.

The single largest proposal would cut employee payroll taxes in half in 2012 — a provision that carries a $175 billion price tag. Administration officials said that would put $1,500 into the average American family's pocketbook. Other proposals include:

_ $35 billion in aid to cities and towns to keep teachers, firefighters and police officers on the job;

_ $30 billion to modernize 35,000 public schools across the country;

_ $50 billion for immediate road, rail and airport construction;

_ $10 billion for a private/public infrastructure bank;

_ $15 billion to put construction workers to work rehabilitating vacant and foreclosed homes and businesses. The administration said the rehab project would bring in capital from the private sector and could help stabilize housing prices.

_ Expand high-speed wireless to remote areas — a proposal Obama said would cost $10 billion but could result in a net deficit of $18 billion through auctioning off spectrum rights.
_ $70 billion in three tax cuts for employers, including cutting the payroll tax in half for employers on the first $5 million in wages and temporarily eliminating the employer payroll tax on wages for firms that add new workers or give existing employees pay raises;
_ Extend a tax break allowing all firms — big and small — to take an immediate deduction on investments in new plants and equipment.

_ $62 billion in programs to help the long-term unemployed.

Almost 43 percent of the 14 million Americans who are officially unemployed have been out of work for more than six months. The president's plan would extend unemployment insurance, require states to develop more rigorous re-employment services and expand work sharing to encourage using unemployment insurance to keep employees on the job, rather than laying them off. He's also endorsing programs like those in Georgia and North Carolina that help workers keep unemployment benefits while working temporarily or voluntarily.

_ A tax credit up to $4,000 for hiring the long-term unemployed.

_ Putting $5 billion toward a program to support summer and year-round jobs for youth and low-income adults.

At least one of Obama's proposals doesn't require congressional approval: he said he's directed his economic team to work with mortgage providers and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to eliminate barriers that prevent homeowners from being able to refinance at lower interest rates.

It would have been nice to have seen some tax breaks/subsidies for modernizing the electric grid, including more transmission lines to carry wind power and to provide more path redundancy..and better incentives to spur more and faster adoption of more efficient HVAC, lighting, etc for homes, businesses, and industry, better incentives for PV installation, etc.

H – This is neither support nor criticism of this plan or any other. It was difficult to put these numbers into some perspective. So I pulled some numbers of the govt web site.


Personal yearly income: $13 trillion less taxes $1.4 trillion = $11.6 trillion. So the $175 billion payroll tax cut is a 1.5% increase in income. GDP is around $14 trillion essentially confirming Americans spend most of what the take home. So the $175 billion is about 1.3% of GDP.

Granted these are just crude measures. And there are other components in the plan but are much smaller than the payroll tax cut. And a large portion of those monies will go to materials and not salaries. But you can see where I’m going: something may be better than nothing. But it doesn’t seem like increasing the average income of Americans less than 2% is going to lead to a spending frenzy that would put many of those 14 million+ unemployed folks back to work. And that’s assuming folks didn’t put any of that money into savings (why would anyone do that given no fear of rainy days down the road) or payoff some debt (most folks don’t mind paying 18%+ interest on their credit cards, do they). And note: this is a one-time infusion…maybe.

I’m not smart enough or foolish enough to think I have a obvious solution to the situation. But I don’t have much faith in any of the “plans” (R or D) will have an impact anywhere to what’s being promised.

My thoughts on "Where from here ?"

The % of GDP devoted to consumption increased by 10% form 1980 till 2008. This came out investment, savings/borrowing, maintenance.

Sidebar - How did a much lower GDP USA manage to build our interstate highway system, go to the moon, spend 10% of GDP on the Cold War & Vietnam ? Answer - we consumed less back then.

My thought is leave consumption where it is (or even shrink it 1% or so). Reshape the economy with a MUCH larger investment % - with investments in long lived energy efficient and energy producing infrastructure being the main focus.

Three simple examples.

"Over" insulate your attic, buy double honeycomb insulating blinds and buy insulated steel doors. Perhaps low ROI, but positive and lasts many decades (blinds at least a few). Fewer $ for utilities for whoever lives there. Less energy demand for society, reducing stress and increasing economic efficiency.

Build and install a wind turbine. 90+% of the cost for 20 to 25 years worth of electricity paid up front.

Electrify BNSF from Los Angeles to the Texas border. Capacity 135 trains/day - 200 to 250 containers/train or equivalent in grain, etc.
Transmission (HV DC) on rail RoW allows West Texas wind turbines to sell to either Dallas/Houston or Southern California.

The same lines allow CA, AZ, NM to help Texas when ERCOT is on the edge of blackouts.

Diverse markets mean higher average prices and more West Texas WTs.

Trucks would have to buy diesel at 18 cents/gallon to = fuel cost of these trains. A permanent reduction in the cost of transportation for a sector of the economy.

Increase economic activity - but have almost all of the increase go into investments with positive feedbacks rather than invetsments.

In 20 or 30 years, we may have lower incomes, but be richer :-)

Best Hopes for Changing Direction,