Drumbeat: September 21, 2011

The Peak Oil Crisis: The German Army Report

Last year two military planning organizations went public with studies predicting that serious consequences from oil depletion will befall us shortly. In the U.S. the Joint Forces Command concluded, without saying how they arrived at their dates, that by 2012 surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear and that by 2015 the global shortfall in oil production could be as much as 10 million b/d. Later in the year a draft of a German army study, which went into greater detail in analyzing the consequences of peaking world oil production, was leaked to the press. The German study which was released recently is unique for the frankness with which it explores the dire consequences which may be in store for us.

Venezuela has proposed $1 billion compensation for Exxon

(Reuters) - Venezuela has proposed paying Exxon Mobil Corp. $1 billion in compensation for the nationalization of its assets in 2007, much less than the U.S. oil giant wanted, the energy minister said on Wednesday.

Enbridge to ration space on three lines in October

(Reuters) - Enbridge Inc said on Wednesday it would ration space on three lines on its massive export system for October due to high nominations and capacity restrictions.

“The Quest” for Energy Security: The Search for More Oil and Its Alternatives

Mottanai: it’s a Japanese term that translates as “too precious to waste.” It’s the philosophy that guides the island nation’s approach to natural resources like energy, and it has become particularly important as the meltdowns at Fukushima have resulted in roughly 25 percent of Japanese electricity supply disappearing as other nuclear reactors remain shutdown.

It is also the antithesis in many ways of the American approach to energy, whether that is electricity, fossil fuels or renewables. We want, in the words applied to nuclear power once upon a time, energy to be “too cheap to meter.” And, regardless of whether it actually is, we treat it as such.

The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World

What does an energy transition look like?

Energy historians and policy analysts have struggled with this question since the 1970s. Will we know when we are in a transition away from fossil fuels?

If a transition goes on for decades, what will be the final tipping point?

A Rich History and a Strange Reticence

In the 1950s, a cantankerous earth scientist named Marion King Hubbert rose to prominence at Shell Oil and later at the U.S. Geological Survey. Hubbert was an unforgettable human being -- one colleague called him "the most difficult person I ever worked with" -- who loathed politicians and economists, looked forward to the collapse of American democracy, and thought technocrats such as himself should rule the world. He was also undeniably brilliant.

Peak Oil and Faith Based Energy Debates

As for me, I find these sorts of muddled, often faith based dustups utterly exasperating. Peak oil types tend to assume that stagnant global production over the past half decade is, in itself, evidence that oil production is headed for decline, when in reality, it doesn’t predict anything by itself. (They also tend to throw in some Hubbert peak theory, but that doesn’t really work once you pay attention to economics.) They also tend to assume that any decline will be economically disastrous, when there’s actually very little analysis of what it would really imply. On the other side, those who are convinced that peak oil is nonsense tend too often to resort to a similar sort of slippery logic: people predicted peaks in the past, but they were wrong; ergo, they are wrong this time too. Peak oil proponents didn’t realize that innovation would deliver more oil in the past; therefore, it will also deliver more oil in the future. Peak oil opponents also seem to claim that since the peak oilers have mangled their economics, the opposite of whatever they predict is what will actually happen. Not exactly sound logic.

Daniel Yergin’s The Quest garners mixed reviews

Peak oil, climate change, alternative energy – it’s all there in Daniel Yergin’s latest, The Quest. A follow-up to the Pulitzer prize-winning The Prize, the book begins where its predecessor left off. Those unfamiliar with the historian-turned consultant’s work ought to check out an opinion piece he wrote Saturday in the Wall Street Journal. (Warning to peak theorists: the patriarch of the movement, M. King Hubbert, takes a licking).

Oil historian: Plenty of oil, risk in energy outlook

WASHINGTON -- When Daniel Yergin published "The Prize," an 873-page exhaustive historical narrative about oil, in 1991, it changed how policymakers and academics alike thought about energy. His new book "The Quest," published Tuesday, is likely to do the same.

In Search Of Carbon Copies

Never mind the feel-good clichés—"The Quest" reveals there are severe limitations to wind and solar power, and to electric cars too.

Steve LeVine - Book review: Daniel Yergin's 'The Quest'

The Quest lacks the magisterial quality of the original, a meticulously researched, groundbreaking history that chronicled how the major events of the 20th century -- both world wars, for instance -- pivoted on oil, and delivered deeply etched personality portraits of those who counted. The Quest by comparison is a primer, based largely on other people's books and articles, and does not attempt to tackle history on a similar scale, nor to introduce the actors in three dimensions.

“The Quest” questioned: Yergin wrong on peak oil

Yergin tells a version of this story about Hubbert’s prediction in his book, but doesn’t give Hubbert much credit for predicting the date of the peak. “Hubbert got the date right, but his projection on oil supply was far off,” Yergin writes on page 236.

But the numbers he states in the book unfairly make Hubbert’s prediction sound worse than it was. Yergin’s argument is undermined by his own company, CERA, in their 2006 report “Why the Peak Oil Theory Falls Down.” Here’s a graph from that report, comparing Hubbert’s prediction (made in 1956) and what actually happened.

Yergin's "Quest" takes broad look at energy resources

(Reuters) - Every president since Nixon has advocated energy independence. Energy expert Daniel Yergin does not. In fact, he doesn't think that it would make the United States any more secure.

Daniel Yergin Examines America's 'Quest' For Energy

A television ad running in upstate New York has been warning residents that the state's water supply is headed for ruin.

"New York tap water has always been the best in the world," it says. "In places where gas companies are already using a dangerous process called fracking, like Pennsylvania, the water is cloudy and full of toxic chemicals."

Yergin is half-right about oil, but other half is what matters

In “There Will Be Oil” (September 17, WSJ, Page C1), Daniel Yergin concludes that a peak in global oil production is “nowhere in sight.” By focusing on the timing of such a peak, however, he dangerously distracts attention from the monumental challenges facing the oil and gas industry today, and the new energy and economic reality the world has entered. With demand for oil and all forms of energy continuing to rise exponentially—including rapid growth in China, India, and other developing countries—and huge uncertainty whether fossil fuels can keep pace—the most foolish course of action would be business as usual.

Kjell Aleklett: There will be peak oil

When Yergin discusses oil production he not describing actual production but rather the production volume that the oil companies consider maximally possible. Using these numbers is a clever way to lull readers into a false sense of security but the numbers are almost impossible to confirm. Actual oil production in 2010 was 82.1 Mb/d (according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy) but Yergin gives the number 92 Mb/d and that means that he believes that the spare capacity is 10 Mb/d. Thus, the fact that Yergin describes production for 2030 at 110 Mb/d means that, in reality, actual production can be much lower.

Hubbert’s Peak or Yergin’s Plateau?

One other point worth mentioning: Hubbert’s work was derived from the “hard-rock” mining industry, which searches for minerals such as gold, silver and platinum. A key difference between these precious metal resources and hydrocarbons. Au, Ag and Pt are elements; they occupy boxes on the Periodic Table.

Unlike elements, natural gas and oil can be created from other substances by alchemy (or, really, by chemical engineering). Gas and liquids can be manufactured from related compounds found in nature, such as coal, tar sands or kerogen. Economics also control the degree to which these technologies expand the effective oil and gas resource base.

Mexico to hand out stiffer prison terms for fuel theft

Mexico City - The lower house of Mexico's Congress approved reforms to the Federal Criminal Code and the Federal Criminal Procedure Code that would increase to 18 years the maximum prison term for those convicted of stealing petroleum or its derivatives from state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex.

Saudi gas shortage and Iran gas price hikes

The gas shortage in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, has been well documented with the situation expected to ease in the longer term once investments in new processing plants have been completed.

Gas station owners in Egypt deny responsibility for supply shortage

A group of 30 Cairo gas station owners demonstrated Sunday in front of Misr Petroleum, demanding proper allocation of gas and oil resources, fair commission and a change of the company’s management.

Some in Egypt have experienced a shortage of supply at a number of gas stations this past week. Earlier this month, South Sinai saw a fuel crisis that paralyzed Dahab, Nueweiba and Sharm El-Sheikh.

Massive Mine in Canada

The size of this property is mind-boggling. To put it into perspective, the Alberta Black Shale Project is almost the size of Rhode Island.

It's so big, in fact, that it can supply America's nuclear industry, military technologies, electric car market, and renewable energy sectors forever!

Are we all rogue traders now?

We have become a society reliant on expert forecasts. In the field of energy, many forecasters make fancy livings pretending to know the future supply and price of various energy sources, especially fossil fuels, projecting sometimes decades into the future. Not wanting to rely on outsiders, governments routinely hire their own experts to make energy forecasts for them. And, policymakers and managers everywhere in society make fateful decisions based on those forecasts without knowing how uncertain they are.

Richard Heinberg: Peak oil as a thermostat

Here’s a metaphor that may help in explaining why high oil prices are choking off economic growth for the U.S., and to a lesser extent the rest of the world as well. Think of the oil price as the mercury in a thermostat. As the economy heats up, the mercury expands (oil prices go up). This shuts off the furnace (the factors of production and consumption in the economy that make it grow). As the economy cools, demand for oil contracts and oil prices decline. But with oil now cheap, the factors of production kick in again; this causes oil prices to be bid up, and high prices once again choke off growth.

The rise of urban farming

Greg Peterson's 1950s tract home looks like any other house on his block in Phoenix, with one notable difference: Practically everything in his yard is edible. More than 70 fruit trees reach for the sky. Chickens patrol for bugs in the yard. Late summer tomatoes, okra, and herbs such as basil and oregano punch fragrance into the air. Rain and gray water are harvested for watering, and solar panels on his house convert the sun's rays into energy.

Don’t be afraid, the Earth’s seven billionth arrival is good for humanity

Look at our track record. We created the means for extracting and transforming mineral resources. We created cities, workplaces and homes on the back of those resources. Every decade that passes, as a species, we have managed to get more and more stuff from fewer resources and create new resources along the way.

The fact that more and more of us can live on Earth — while living conditions continue, in the main, to improve — suggests that people are the solution, not the problem. So we should welcome the seven billionth arrival, not fear her.

Collapse: Why Nobody Is Listening

There are several reasons why talk of systemic collapse doesn't get much response these days, but one clue to the puzzle may be the fact that "survivalist" Web sites still do very well. The image of Man Alone with his AK-47 and his lifetime supply of pork-and-beans has little relation to reality: a loner can never defeat a mob, and all it takes is one bullet to end that sort of battle. At best, the story of Man Alone is true only as allegory. Nevertheless, there's a question, and there's an answer, even if the two somehow don't match.

OPEC’s $1 Trillion Cash Quiets Poor on Longest Ever $100 Oil

Saudi Arabia will spend $43 billion on its poorer citizens and religious institutions. Kuwaitis are getting free food for a year. Civil servants in Algeria received a 34 percent pay rise. Desert cities in the United Arab Emirates may soon enjoy uninterrupted electricity.

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries members are poised to earn an unprecedented $1 trillion this year, according to the U.S. Energy Department, as the group’s benchmark oil measure exceeded $100 a barrel for the longest period ever. They are promising to plow record amounts into public and social programs after pro-democracy movements overthrew rulers in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and spread to Yemen and Syria.

Unlike past booms, when Abu Dhabi bought English soccer club Manchester City and Qatar acquired a stake in luxury carmaker Porsche SE, Gulf nations pledged $150 billion in additional spending this year on their citizens. They will need to keep U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil at more than $80 a barrel to afford their promises, according to Bank of America Corp.

Oil Slides in New York on Speculation Demand to Falter; Brent Erases Drop

Oil fell in New York as investors bet that rising U.S. fuel stockpiles are a signal of waning demand, while supplies from the Middle East and Africa grow. Brent crude in London widened its premium over U.S. futures.

New York oil slipped as much as 1.3 percent after the American Petroleum Institute said yesterday crude and gasoline supplies increased last week. A separate Energy Department report today is forecast to show inventories declined. Libya’s Arabian Gulf Oil Co. said it will be ready to export crude within a week.

Stuart Staniford: Peak Oil Per Capita

If you were wondering why things have never been the same after the 1970s energy crises - now you know. On the other hand, if you've been panicking that peak oil means the imminent end of civilization - settle down. In a per-person sense it happened decades ago and we've been living in the aftermath ever since. Peak oil is a slow squeeze.

India Government Said to Consider Almost Doubling ONGC’s Fuel Subsidy Bill

Oil & Natural Gas Corp., India’s biggest energy explorer, may be forced to double the amount it pays to support fuel sales at below-market prices, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said. The shares fell.

Iran says oil prices unlikely to rise soon

(Reuters) - Iran is not happy with current oil prices but does not expect them to rise soon because the market is balanced, the deputy head of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) told Reuters on Wednesday.

"Crude prices are not satisfactory but... we are not expecting them to rise in the near future... In October, the crude market will be balanced," NIOC deputy chief, Mohsen Qamsari, said.

Apache to buy North Sea fields from Exxon

HOUSTON (AP) — Apache Corp. said Wednesday it will buy oil and natural gas fields from Exxon Mobil Corp. for $1.75 billion in cash.

The Houston independent energy company said the fields are in the North Sea, where much of the oil and gas is delivered to Europe. The fields hold 68 million barrels of oil equivalent and currently produce about 19,000 barrels of oil and 58 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

Cheapest Gas Brings Boon for Kirby Shipping Dow Chemicals: Freight Markets

The world’s cheapest natural gas means Kirby Corp. barges are making more trips along the Mississippi River and Quality Distribution Inc. tanker trucks are rolling along America’s highways more frequently.

Ohio Governor Prepares Energy and Environment Plans for His Newly Gas-Rich State

The nation's fourth-largest carbon dioxide-emitting state is about to get a new energy policy that its governor says could be a model for the entire country.

This week, industry representatives, state officials, academics and environmentalists are gathering in Ohio to craft a new energy plan for the state that will culminate in a major energy proposal from Gov. John Kasich (R) by next spring.

Japan LNG, Thermal Coal Imports Rise to Record in August; Oil Imports Gain

Japan’s imports of liquefied natural gas and thermal coal rose to a record in August because of low utilization rates at nuclear power plants.

The nation’s LNG imports climbed 18.2 percent from a year earlier to 7.55 million metric tons, while thermal-coal imports increased 7.1 percent to 10 million tons, according to data released today by the Ministry of Finance.

German gas trading growth seen slowing - report

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German gas trading volumes are on track to see more growth this year but at a lower rate after a rapid expansion in recent years triggered by liberalisation, a pan-European study by British consultancy Prospex said in a report on Wednesday.

Asian demand to pull LNG east, price convergence uncertain

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Booming Asian demand for liquefied natural gas will draw supplies east from Qatar and the United States, but the prospects of prices falling for the region remain uncertain.

Asian LNG imports are expected to reach 152 million tonnes this year, according to one analyst's estimate, which would be a 15 percent increase on 2010. By 2020, it could jump to nearly 225 million tonnes.

Russian plaintiffs raise BP claim to $4.9 bln

(Reuters) - Minority shareholders in TNK-BP , the Russian oil firm half-owned by BP , have increased their claim for damages over the British major's attempt to ally with Rosneft to 154.3 billion roubles ($4.9 billion) from 87.1 billion.

Oil historian Daniel Yergin: Plenty of oil, risk in energy outlook

"The Quest" covers everything from the peak oil theory, which holds that the world's oil production is in or near a permanent decline, to renewable and alternative sources of energy. It took Yergin five years to write it, and even in that time frame much changed in the energy sector.

In that five years, oil prices surged, Wall Street began treating oil contracts as prize investments, new technology boosted natural gas production from shale oil, and crude oil produced from ultra-deep drilling in the Gulf of Mexico began supplanting imported oil from the Middle East. And of course, there's demand from China.

Visions of an Age When Oil Isn’t King

Mr. Yergin is back with a sequel to “The Prize.” It is called “The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World,” and, if anything, it’s an even better book. It is searching, impartial and alarmingly up to date. (Events like the partial meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear complex in Japan, the political upheavals in Egypt and Libya, and the killing of Osama bin Laden, all from this year, are combed into his arguments.) Mr. Yergin brooks no cant about climate-change denial, and lingers on the topic of cleaner future fuels. Our heads may be buried in our sleek laptops and gadgets, his masterly book announces, but our toes are still soaking in dirty, morally contaminated oil.

More thoughts on peak oil

Even in the absence of these facts, there's a real problem with Yergin's line of argument for the question at hand, and it troubles me because I have seen the same argument raised almost every time someone takes the skeptic's position on the question of peak oil. Suppose I was trying to convince you that you are a mortal being, and your counterargument was, "but that's what you said in 2005, and I didn't die then! You said it again in 2007 and 2009, and each time you were wrong. Why should I believe you this time?"

Perhaps acknowledging one's own mortality is a similar proposition to embracing the possibility that global oil production need not continue to rise forever.

Peaks and spikes

I'd just note that the phenomenon of peak oil is unlikely to manifest itself as a sudden sharp decline in supply. What you're more likely to see in a climate of more or less steady demand growth is supply that first tracks demand, then lags demand as the peak approaches while still growing.

Syrian forces kill 3, face challenge from defectors

AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian forces killed at least three civilians in military operations in central and northwestern regions on Wednesday, residents said, following an upsurge of attacks on the army by defectors sheltering in rural areas.

Libya Forming Cabinet Amid Struggle to Take Holdout Towns

(Bloomberg) -- Libya’s new rulers extended talks to form a government while their troops fought to oust Muammar Qaddafi’s loyalists from Bani Walid and Sirte.

Get Libyan oil flowing, says Opec

The most critical part of Libya's rebuilding effort for now is reviving oil production, says the head of Opec.

U.S. trails China in securing South Sudan oil business

The United States is trailing China in the race for business in the new nation of South Sudan, despite leading the international effort to help South Sudan become an independent nation after decades of guerrilla war, says Princeton Lyman, the U.S. special envoy to Sudan.

Oil-sands workers press MPs to oppose ‘wrongheaded’ Keystone pipeline

The union that represents many of the workers in Alberta’s oil patch will be on Parliament Hill on Thursday to ask politicians to oppose a pipeline that will carry bitumen to the southern United States for processing.

Coal’s Terrible Forecast

There are many unfortunate outcomes to Peak Oil. One of the more serious is the world’s transition back to coal. Expensive BTU from crude oil has influenced the energy adoption pathway of the Developing World for ten years now, pushing the five billion people in the Non-OECD towards coal. My work has documented this shift for some time. But, I have paid less attention here at Gregor.us to the effect this paradigmatic change will have on our climate.

Indian Officials Said to Lift Curbs on Coal Mining in Dense Forest Areas

A group of Indian ministers agreed to allow companies to seek approval to mine coal in some dense forest areas, overturning an environment ministry ban, according to two government officials.

Shell may face new Alaska battle

Environmental groups are considering a challenge to a set of permits issued to Royal Dutch Shell this week for oil drilling projects off the coast of Alaska, reports have said.

ConocoPhillips sets up 2nd China oil spill fund

SHANGHAI (AP) — ConocoPhillips plans a new fund to address environmental problems in China's Bohai Bay, following harsh criticism from marine authorities and environmentalists over oil spills in the heavily polluted sea.

BP Says It Didn’t Hide Information About Gulf Well Blowout

BP Plc (BP) said it didn’t hide information about a possibly dangerous condition in the Macondo oil well before or after it blew out in April 2010, killing 11 people and triggering the biggest U.S. offshore oil spill.

BP personnel determined that a sand layer above the target zone was water-bearing rather than a gas-containing “hydrocarbon zone” and provided supporting data to its well partners before the blowout, the company said yesterday in a court filing. BP investigators reported publicly after the explosion that this may have been gas-containing sand, while determining it wasn’t a cause of the incident, the company said.

Typhoon pounds Japan, heads for crippled nuclear plant

(Reuters) - A powerful typhoon struck Japan on Wednesday, pummeling the Tokyo area with heavy rain, disrupting public transportation and leaving four people dead, and it was headed towards the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

Facing budget squeeze, RIPTA bus service seeks support

PROVIDENCE — With the state’s transit agency besieged both here and in Washington, D.C., more than 100 supporters turned out in the rain Tuesday to defend Rhode Island’s bus system.

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority is struggling to cover a projected $4.6-million budget deficit, while Congress is considering legislation that could more than double the existing deficit.

GM to share electric car technology with the Chinese

DETROIT — Under pressure from the Beijing government General Motors has agreed to provide access to its proprietary electric vehicle technology to its lead Chinese partner.

The move is raising numerous concerns, critics contending that China is, for one thing, using unfair pressure to gain access to technologies that will later be used by its own domestic manufacturers to compete with foreign brands like GM.

Ex-President Clinton: Green movement needs money

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Bill Clinton said Tuesday that the success of the alternative energy movement is hampered by a lack of financing. His comments came as world leaders attending his annual philanthropic conference expressed fears about rising seas.

Obama $8 Billion Solar ‘Betamax’ Undercut as China Backs Rival Technology

The U.S. government’s $8 billion bet on solar energy that would pave the deserts with mirrors risks following the Betamax into the technological wilderness because of Chinese backing for a cheaper system.

China takes over as US solar power firms fail

China's solar power firms are emerging as the industry's dominant force after the collapse of foreign competitors, but the new market leaders are already struggling with low prices and overcapacity.

JinkoSolar Aims to Resume Output After Pollution Closes Plant

JinkoSolar Holding Co. said it’s working to resume production at a solar cell plant in eastern China as local authorities detained villagers for taking part in the violent protests over pollution that shut the factory.

“We’ve blocked the polluted river and are cleaning up the water,” Chief Financial Officer Zhang Longgen said in a phone interview yesterday. “We are still investigating the incident and expect to complete it soon.”

Tax Plan to Turn Old Buildings ‘Green’ Finds Favor

A business consortium that includes Lockheed Martin and Barclays bank plans to invest as much as $650 million over the next few years to slash the energy consumption of buildings in the Miami and Sacramento areas. It is the most ambitious effort yet to jump-start a national market for energy upgrades that many people believe could eventually be worth billions.

Focusing mainly on commercial property at first, the group plans to exploit a new tax arrangement that allows property owners to upgrade their buildings at no upfront cost, typically cutting their energy use and their utility bills by a third. The building owners would pay for the upgrades over five to 20 years through surcharges on their property-tax bills, but that would be less than the savings.

Superefficient Home With Big Ambitions, Built by Students on a Hoboken Lot

The compact, shoe-box-shaped mystery building is named Empowerhouse, and it is a superefficient, solar-powered house that will compete in the Solar Decathlon, an event sponsored by the Energy Department that will open on Friday on the National Mall in Washington. It was designed and built by architecture and engineering students from Parsons The New School for Design, the Stevens Institute of Technology and the Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy.

Michigan changing food stamp eligibility rules

Those with assets of more than $5,000 in bank accounts or some types of property would no longer be eligible for food assistance. Other assets that would count against the cap include vehicles with market values of more than $15,000 and second homes, depending on how much is owed on the properties.

Some assets, such as primary residences and 401k accounts, would not be considered for determining food assistance eligibility.

Got Cheap Milk?

Why ditching your fancy, organic, locavore lifestyle is good for the world's poor.

Of Beach Sand, ‘War’ and Carbon

“Government policy, particularly in America, is frozen,” he said. “And yet, we don’t just have a global-warming problem. We actually have an energy crisis looming. Demand for oil could exceed supply within this decade. For all the global-warming skeptics in America, at the very least they should be thinking energy dependency, their dependence on Mideast oil. They should be scrambling to join forces with the global-warming people to get on top of the problem.”

What exactly does he prescribe? In a nutshell, he wants businesses to make investments that cut their carbon footprint.

Weaving ‘Climate’ Into ‘Corporate’

A new report finds more evidence that climate change is gradually moving to the center of corporate strategy. Virtually every big company in the world now pays at least lip service to sustainability, and many of them are starting to take real action to reduce their environmental footprint. The new report from the Carbon Disclosure Project finds that for the first time, a majority of companies in the United States responding to the group’s survey “now integrate climate change into core business strategy.”

Another piece of the puzzle falls into place:

Carbon War Room Aims to Cut the Barriers to Building Energy Retrofits

The Carbon War Room today launched a new consortium that aims to cut through the Gordian knot of barriers that has made it tough to finance commercial building retrofits. In the process, the groups involved hope to pick off billions of dollars worth of the lowest-hanging fruit of building energy efficiency.

The Carbon War Room's approach opens the door to zero-upfront-cost deals for mid- and small-scale retrofits, where in the past only a limited group of larger projects could land financing for such deals.

To turn this trick, the new plan upgrades an existing financing model known as PACE. It also relies on private capital, rather than public subsidies.

See: http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2011/09/20/carbon-war-room-aims-cut-barrier...


The article mentions PACE financing. Biden and Obama were all excited about PACE financing for solar in the US. Then the FHFA banksters killed it with a letter saying 'no claims on equity ahead of us'. Not a peep from our Capitulator-In-Chief since...

Some days the Universe speaks to you and you should pay attention. The Universe is once again slapping you upside the head - Nanoparticles.

The regular readers of TOD know of this weeks comments by the technofixers - lets build everything from nano-Carbon meanwhile the people with a far broader knowledge base are pointing out the problems with nano-tubes and nano-Carbon.

Seems Nano-Carbon isn't the only issue, it may very well be anything Nano.


They subjected rainbow trout to titanium oxide nanoparticles which are widely used as a whitening agent in many products including paints, some personal care products, and with applications being considered for the food industry. They found that the particles caused vacuoles (holes) to form in parts of the brain and for nerve cells in the brain to die. Although some effects of nanoparticles have been shown previously in cell cultures and other in vitro systems this is the first time it has been confirmed in a live vertebrate.

I still puzzle over what we could be building with Carbon in some form that will be useful and stable, however.. if there was some way to sequester C in useful products. Wood isn't bad, of course, but I'm thinking something that makes good SIPS (Structurally Insulated Building Panels) or Road and Pathway materials, some kind of Concrete Variant..

Aside from the traditional Polymers that we use, and then perhaps Diamonds.. what other chemical forms of Carbon might be workable in this direction?

Calcium carbonate is CaCO3 (aka calcite) and calcium magnesium carbonate is CaMg(CO3)2 (aka dolomite). A combination of these two materials works well as a building material (aka marble).

The Carbon for building stuff was Carbon Composites - like bridge cables.

I doubt the original poster of the proposal will provide clarification or even address the nanoparticle issue because answering hard questions or questions that undermine her worldview is not that posters way.

Forget for a minute whatever that poster has done wrong, or will do wrong.. I am interested in a broader version of that question.. seeing that there are a lot of carbon compounds and molecule structures, even possibly different ways of working with the nanotubes and such, so that it gets around that problem and gives us an application where we could bundle up a lot of carbon.

In the interest of discussion, there's the obvious answer that materials with high lignin content (ie, hardwoods) tie up reasonable amounts of carbon by weight and are good construction materials so long as you don't want to build too high. I believe that researchers have developed methods for synthesizing lignin (of questionable quality, IIRC) but it's much more expensive than growing trees.

It's been a long time since chemistry, so the following may be inaccurate. The problem with carbon is that at normal temperatures and pressures, the molecular bonds tend to form sheets rather than three-dimensional structures (ie, graphite). This results in bulk materials that deform easily, hence make poor building material. Carbon fibers are much stronger (note that making them involves heating to ~2000 °C in a controlled environment) and can provide strength and stiffness, but must be bound in some sort of polymer composite. Carbon-carbon composites use carbon fibers in a graphite matrix, but are brittle (and ridiculously expensive to make for ordinary use).

Using carbon nanotubes as fibers would be much more of the same. very strong fibers, that are also very expensive. There are also some issues regarding nanomaterials versus biologic materials, that may limit their use. I don't doubt you could create some materials with micraculous properties, ultra strong for the weight, or useful for electrical or electronic properties etc. But price will limit their use.

There is a difference between an application where one is tying up Carbon for the sake of tying up Carbon and where one is tying up Carbon in a way that has environmental issues that need management. The use of "nanotechnology" needs to be done in such a way that it doesn't increase biosphere damage. Just stating "we'll solve problem X by using tech Y in configuration Z" and ignoring the side effects is why Humanity has ongoing criticality outside of a reactor vessel as an ongoing example.

If you are looking for a way to tie up Carbon - char plants and then bury the Char for the plants. (did you know that one supposedly sees a 10% yield increase by adding charcoal to Tomatoes?) It is a very doable thing if you have the stream of organic material to char along with the land to bury that char - GEK will sell you completed units, all the parts or one can just download the plans to make one yourself.

Aside from the traditional Polymers that we use, and then perhaps Diamonds.. what other chemical forms of Carbon might be workable in this direction?

How about mass-produced spider silk? It's quite strong, doesn't cause cancer, and has been used as a structural material for over a hundred million years. Whatever happened to those goat-spider hybrids?

Seriously, synthesized spider silk would be great for post-peak applications. If a bug can make it just from what it finds lying around, it should be pretty easy to "sustain".... It's amino acids I think, but still...

Ever heard of NYLON?

E. Swanson

The trick would be making it survive in the outside elements.

Seems to "last" as a "product"

Stuart Staniford: Peak Oil Per Capita

I was surprised to see this graph slammed by a few on his blog. While per capita is somewhat misleading in the sense that population increase in low consuming areas lack the oil consuming 'punch' of an increase of OECD population, nevertheless, virtually all people use oil based products to some extent. Increase of population, in general, is pretty much the problem. In fact, the argument of oil availability and population increase walks hand in hand. Therefore, his graph may be a 'cart before the horse' indicating consumption excess, that it has been in decline since the 70's indicates another glimpse of overshoot. Either way, it demonstrates the decline of BAU.

Staniford offers a useful perpective. The response of the gloomiedoomies is as predictable as that of your average vampire to sunlight.

But on the matter of BAU. What the heck is BAU? The exploitation of man by man? Patriarchy? The privatization of profit and socialization of cost? Technological change? Growth? (Oops; what the heck is growth...)

Honestly, I hate shortcuts like 'BAU'. I'm only reminded of the old saw about the hat that has been on so many heads, it no longer fits any one.

Anyway, to the broader matter of declining energy from oil, I believe the critical issues relate to the adaptive processes this change in our environment stimulate and sometimes even facilitate.

Because peak oil is multifaceted (per capita, energy content, eroi,exports...), and affected by increases in conversion efficiencies, the 'squeeze' is, as Staniford says, slow. This both benefits and hinders the transition to other energy sources and to lower per capita energy consumption: benefits, in the sense of allowing time for trial and error on the learning curve, and hinders, in the sense that mixed signals from the very important price mechanism interrupt the adoption of alternative ways of doing things.

The peak oil squeeze, globally, per capita, is slow. However, there are sub-divisions of the global population that are experiencing peak oil and its economic knock-on effects much faster.

The most indebted, least oil efficient economies in the world, to be precise. USA is close to the top of the heap, but parts of Europe are more financially squeezed at the moment. For these economies, and in particular the poor/low incomes in these economies, the peak oil squeeze is very hard, and getting rapidly tighter.

Think available net exports against net disposable income.

"What the heck is BAU?"

True enough and I get your frustration. Of course it varies with every individual and setting.

For me, and what I would say about BAU is this: but I always try and keep the words down. It, (BAU) means that what I have been taught as a natural progression of my life is/was false. It means that when the realities of PO rise up in my consciousness, I am afraid for my family and feel sadness. It assumes a collective guilt for screwing up the world when I was just trying to get by and build a life.

Sometimes, I feel like the kid that accidentally lit the house on fire when all I did was answer the phone while the stove was on. Ooops. I bought that truck 15 years ago to haul a camper and now know that everything about it was wrong.

In a sense, our version of BAU is akin to the Cod collapse, or as my neighbour likes to say, "the buffalo hunt is over". We know the problems, but the choices are narrow. Getting narrower.....and almost non-existent. I guess we were lucky to have had what we thought we had.....just a few years ago. It was innocence, I think.

The challenge is to not lament the past, but to go forth into decline seeing the positive and understanding the word, 'inevitable'.


A thoughtful response. I don't buy into the idea of 'inevitable decline' though. I agree that the probability of ongoing difficulties is high, but how does this differ with the past?

While the amount of stored, concentrated energy is diminishing all too rapidly, the capacity to exploit incoming, diffuse energy is expanding. Transitions, it can be safely said, are difficult.

Yes, segments of our species have precipitated a dangerous and uncontrolled experiment with our climate, with bio-diversity and the list does go on. But, other people have developed a means to diffuse information at next to no cost, and the body of knowledge grows, and some of it is proving very useful, and while the usefulness of other knowledge still escapes us, history demonstrates the force of ideas. While it took centuries for the discovery of zero to disseminate, it ultimately generated revolutions in the way things are done, including communication. Now, discoveries travel quickly and their adaptation only decades, or even years.


It's true that some transitions take only years now. It's possible to plot, for instance, the diffusion rate of TVs, then microwave ovens, then cell phones and find that the rate of diffusion for some new consumer projects is speeding up. Ideas now spread at the speed of email (but then encounter other, entrenched ideas that slow their diffusion).

However, energy transitions are another thing entirely. They take enormous amounts of capital, for one thing. Plus, so far the energy transitions that we have experienced have mainly occurred while previous energy sources were largely still available. This time we have to transition while one of the most important ones (oil, of course) is declining and the economy is contracting at the same time. This is not going to be a simple transition at all.

Hirsch made a decent first cut at what might happen once oil production begins to decline i.e. we are headed for economic contraction until the sum of all mitigation and adaptation efforts "catch up:"


I replaced your image with a link, because it was only displaying a "bandwidth exceeded" message.

Sorry about that. Haven't hit that before. That service must be throttling my account now.

'factchecker' wrote;

"I don't buy into the idea of 'inevitable decline' though"

We don't buy into the idea of infinite growth, though. I don't know one sane person who does.

"What the heck is BAU?"......The challenge is to not lament the past, but to go forth into decline seeing the positive and understanding the word, 'inevitable'

...feel the pain, feel the joy, and sidestep the little bits of history repeating...

"What the heck is BAU?"

Here is a shinning example of what I call BAU.

Re: Don’t be afraid, the Earth’s seven billionth arrival is good for humanity

The fact that more and more of us can live on Earth — while living conditions continue, in the main, to improve — suggests that people are the solution, not the problem. So we should welcome the seven billionth arrival, not fear her.

Read more: http://www.irishexaminer.com/opinion/columnists/stephen-king/dont-be-afraid-the-earths-seven-billionth-arrival-is-good-for-humanity-168185.html#ixzz1YhGCgIfY

It's because of people who think like this and have the ear of the public that I sometimes find myself in deep despair... and very very afraid for the future of humanity!

Not to be a 'gloomiedoomer,' fc, but consider: the squeeze is slow, like choking is slow. For a while the victim continues to live, and then suddenly, dies.

PO squeezes on the economy through limitation of credit. Witness the PIIGS of Europe. Just as oxygen is squeezed by choking.

It starts out slowly, and if not too extreme can be survived (my hope). Of course, in time it creates other problems with systemic health. Eventually we will have to turn away from oil, and find a new economic paradigm.


Or as I like to say. The economy is doing well enough until "you" lose your job.

The chart Stuart posted is accurate yet, in my opinion, misleading. During the six years the consumption by China and India have dramatically increased while OECD consumption, per capita, has dramatically decreased. The developed world is in serious decline and the decline in per capita is largely responsible.

I posted this chart a few days ago but it has been updated since the new EIA data came in yesterday. And I have changed it from gallons per day to barrels per year to match Stuart's chart. Eyeballing his chart, world per capita consumption in 2010 was about 4.65 barrels per year. By contrast OECD per capita consumption, for the first five months of 2011, averaged 13.49 barrels per year, down from 15.37 barrels per year in both 2004 and 2005.

OECD per capita consumption in barrels per year.

OECD  Per Capita Barrels per Year

OECD population is estimated here: OECD Stats with 2010 population estimated at the same growth rate the OECD experienced between 2009 and 2011. (One half of one percent.)

The point Stuart misses is that the developed world is in serious decline while India and China are trying to come into the developed world. What this means to the world economy I will leave to the economic prognosticators but I think it is not good.

Ron P.

Are there some break out statistics available explaining where this loss of per capita oil consumption is coming from?

Which portion of the decrease is due to efficiency gains? what portion is due to substitution with other energy sources (coal, gas, renewables)? How much decrease is due to less travel? Which modes of travel are most effected? Which countries are seeing the biggest declines?...

In order to understand the effects of the per capita decline in oil consumption on the overall economy, it seems important to have a more detailed view of how and where demand destruction is occurring.

I think one of the big parts of the decrease is due to off-shoring industrial production, and of course, the jobs and the tax base along with this. And I agree that it would be informative to have some sort of breakdown of the totals.

No, to my knowledge there are no stats showing any shift away from oil in overall energy consumption. I don't think there has really been any great shift, only a decline in petroleum consumption. The decline follows the increase in price, at first, then the economic collapse. The big drop in 2008 and 2009 was when the recession hit. Consumption dropped dramatically in late 2008 and continued to drop through most of 2009 due to hard times in the USA and Europe. They called it "The Great Recession".

And, contrary to what some would tell you, we have not recovered. The price of oil surely recovered but that only kept consumption down and the economy in the dumps.

It is impossible to separate oil consumption, oil price and the economy. They are inexorably tied together. As oil production declines oil prices will continue to rise... until... until prices get so high they knock the economy down. Then prices will fall as they did at the onset of the recession, but that will not produce more oil. It will however, cause people to blame the decline in oil consumption on the economy rather than peak oil.

Ron P.

Indeed. The overall shape of the curve, and the size of the big drop, pretty closely mirror the US employment-to-population ratio over the same period. A quick eyeball examination of Stuart's by-country oil usage and the employment-population ratio for the big European countries appears to have a similar relationship. The US probably dominates the shape of the OECD curve simply because so many more workers commute individually compared to Europe or Japan.

They are inexorably tied together. As oil production declines oil prices will continue to rise... until... until prices get so high they knock the economy down.

I share the same view and the overall trend is contraction until enough of the transition is accomplished and the contraction pauses...probably just temporarily since we'll then be dealing with all the other resources constraints heading our way and the evidence indicates to me we'll be dealing with climate change in a really bad way.

The result is something like this:

Staircase Model

Just as a microcosmic example, my wife and I spend a similar amount on fuel as we use to, but of course that translates into fewer gallons than it did when it was cheaper, thus our consumption is down. I'm sure it's the same for many people.

The incidental part of that reduction in gallons purchased is less time in situations other purchases could easily be made. Sure, we can get on the internet and order something but that's different than impulse buying.

This looks like the "NEW" "BAU"

Fukushima on-site webcam has been down for most of the last 4 hours (down again at time of writing). Exceptionally heavy rain and high wind in area as typhoon approached. Then hit by a nearby 5.3 earthquake. TEPCO says no damage reported however.



Fukushima & Japan

Report: Radiation level spiking around Tokyo as typhoon nears Fukush…
Over 20 microsieverts per hour radiation dose now being measured in …
Mainichi: "It remains unclear where the melted fuel is situated" --
Report: 75% of Fukushima's 300,000 children going to schools so cont…

Edit video previously included removed from post while I try to figure out what it is. Don't want to spread disinfo. Will re-post standalone.

Anyone know what this shows? Claimed to be explosion at Fukushima reactor 4 but probably something else. Original video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYHQuzmeM6M

That is NOT Fukushima. That is footage from a natural gas storage place. I remember watching that one right after the Tsunami happened. There is no city that close to the Fukushima reactor.

I guess this is the Cosmo oil refinery fireball in Ichihara City in Chiba (Tokyo bay),also happening during the mars quake as well Pick one...
Here is a spectacular picture from that fireball : http://media.oregonlive.com/today/photo/japan2jpg-85ee6fbf7e38cfd8.jpg

Thanks for posting the links. When I first looked at the video, I became quickly skeptical. The explosion looks like a hydrocarbon-related fire to me. I saw a number of explosions at a refinery when I lived in Martinez, CA, (seemed like the operation would have an explosion of one sort or another about every other month) and this one looks similar, though I am not claiming that it is a refinery, but likely the result of fossil fuel ignition. Plus, as you mention, the density of structures in the foreground seem to preclude the video being of the Fukushima nuclear facility. Looking at Google maps, farms largely surround the remotely-located plant.


I've found what may be another video of the same event taken from a completely different angle. The original upload is no longer available and this version seems to be from someone with strange nuclear bomb conspiracy theories. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtQddQO45oo

It appears to be a video of the oil refinery explosion

Oil Refinery In Japan Explodes After 8.9 Earthquake


Yes,the first of these links especially definitely looks like the same event. Hadn't seen video of the refinery so early on after the event or if I had I have forgotten. I did recall a huge fire but hadn't seen the actual explosion.

Do not worry! Not only are happy people not effected by radiation but if you are a "powerful social media voice" Japan wants you.


Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs have started to make preparations for inviting people from overseas who disseminate information via the social media such as Facebook and Twitter, as part of the countermeasures against "baseless rumors" that have damaged sales of Japanese agricultural products and tourism industry. More than 500 million people in the world are said to use the social media. The ministry has seen the great impact of the social media in the revolutions in the Middle East, and decided to use the social media to counter the "baseless rumor" by having people disseminate the messages of safety and favorable impressions.

I look forward to the pro-nuke TODers glowing reports from this trip paid for by the Ministry.

I don't want anything I have to start "glowing", so i'll give it a miss :)

Here are some close-up pictures of the 'raincoat' they're building around Fukushima 1,3 and 4. Based on the work completed up to Sept 15/11 it seems that the reactors had no cover during the typhoon (15+ inches rain). I would expect a spike in radiation runoff in the local seawater.


Thanks! I've been trying to find pictures of the "shower curtain" as I've been calling it. Steel structure and plastic material.

Here is a dumb question . . . has any human or robot been inside the containment structures of reactors 1, 2, or 3 since the accident? Or are they far too radioactive?

The robots have been inside. Unit 4 has had significant internal supports installed to prevent the spent fuel pond from collapsing. I'll see if I can russle up some pictures/video.

Edit Pictures/videos Cryptome Nuclear Power Plants

Don't be surprised if you end up on a 'watch list' after visiting cryptome. It's been a thorn in the side of DHS, et.al for some time.

BP oil not degrading on Gulf floor, study says

Auburn University experts who studied tar samples at the request of coastal leaders said the latest wave of gooey orbs and chunks appeared relatively fresh, smelled strongly and were hardly changed chemically from the weathered oil that collected on Gulf beaches during the spill.

The study concluded that mats of oil - not weathered tar, which is harder and contains fewer hydrocarbons - are still submerged on the seabed and could pose a long-term risk to coastal ecosystems.


Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending September 16, 2011

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.3 million barrels per day during the week ending September 16, 283 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 88.3 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging nearly 9.1 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased slightly last week, averaging just under 4.5 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged about 8.4 million barrels per day last week, down by 191 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged about 8.8 million barrels per day, 469 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 692 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 158 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 7.3 million barrels from the previous week. At 339.0 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 3.3 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories decreased while blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 0.9 million barrels last week and are in the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 0.6 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 5.3 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged about 19.2 million barrels per day, down by 0.9 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged just under 9.0 million barrels per day, down by 1.7 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged nearly 3.9 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 0.5 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 3.3 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

US oil production exceeded 5.7 million bpd last week for the first time since February 2004.

4-Week Avg U.S. Net Imports of Crude Oil and Petroleum Products at lowest level since March 1998.


Part of the drop is the SPR release. Without that "nudge down", the US would be close to other recent lows, but no cigar.

Edit: I looked at the data closer. Even without SPR, we would have hit a new record low oil imports. Just a bit higher low.


4-Week Avg U.S. Net Imports of Crude Oil and Petroleum Products at lowest level since March 1998.

Yes, all that while inventories of crude, distillates and gasoline are in the upper bounds of their 5-year average. Read: Consumption has been going down while domestic production has been going up. Combine the two and you don't need so many imports.

Yes, this is true but consumption has been going down a whole lot more than production has been going up. Production is up about half a million barrels per day while imports are down slightly more than three and one half million barrels per day. So six of seven barrels of the decline in imports are due to consumption decline. And consumption decline has been caused the recession and the price of oil.

Total Oil Net Imports (Thousand Barrels Per Day)

US Total Net Oil Imports, 2002 thru May 2011 in thousands of barrels per day..

US Total Net Oil Imports

Ron P.

US Refiners keep foot on the gas as the SPR oil of summer becomes just a memory

Two weeks ago, we saw US refiners increase their refinery output about as much as they could to produce more gasoline. This last reporting week, the higher level of gasoline output was maintained, and also, refiners stepped up output of diesel and other refined oil products (called ‘other oils’ by the EIA).
Refiners had been motivated by fairly low gasoline supplies in the Upper Midwest and Upper Northeast regions, and supplies in these regions have now increased notably in the last two weeks. For the nation as a whole, refiner utilization improved to 88.3% from 87.0%, and the nation’s largest pipeline, the Colonial Pipeline (which transports refined products from the near the GOM to the U.S. Northeast), continued to run its gasoline transport lines at nearly maximum capacity for another week.

The flip side to strong refiner output is strong oil demand, and with oil imports lagging, oil supplies have been falling at a relatively brisk pace - especially since the extra SPR oil of summer is gone. For the second week in a row, oil exports from Mexico to the US ran about 300,000 bpd or so below normal – probably as a consequence of tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico and some damage to offshore oil processing facilities.

Still, even if recent tropical storms are ignored, the trend in US oil imports and total US oil inventories is clearly down. The distribution of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve was completed before the US Labor Day weekend. Prospects of increased imports from exporters such as Libya still look to be some weeks away. Meanwhile refined oil product exports from the US to Brazil are increasing. With net import/exports (total imports and exports oil and oil products added together) running about 1.4 mbpd less than the comparable 4 weeks period a year ago, US oil supplies won't hold up for long before falling to MOLs (minimum operating levels). Now supplies will not be augmented by another emergency release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. That extra summer oil is just a fading memory - that won’t be of any help for the cold reality of the oncoming shortfall in oil imports ahead.

I guess that the spread between WTI and Brent is causing a decrease in oil imports now. With oil inventory falling over 65 m/b in 4 months, a reckoning may be on the way.

No, there is no reckoning on the way. Inventories are still in the upper range of the 5-year average, and domestic production is going up.


I hope you are right. From a mile high view I'm looking at just a few basic trends:

1) Imports gained from floating storage over the past year has been exhausted.

2) Imports from Canada will slow, but certainly not stop, if they can sell at higher Brent prices.

3) Just released 30 million barrels from SPR and yet Inventories are "in the upper range".

My thoughts are simply a suggestion of caution. Should the recent trend of major inventory declines continue for just a few more weeks the inventory picture could change quickly. We had a large decline last week that was written off to the weather. Another large decline this week that will be explained away somehow. If you're right then we should see this trend reverse in a big way. I hope that day comes soon. If you're wrong this market could spiral quickly out of control due to lack of preparation. It's not so much that production is a problem, nor is this a domestic story anymore. The real increases in demand are coming from China and other developing economies. I'm no expert but China imported a lot of oil in August.

Just my thoughts.

And if production can increase by another 9 to 10 million barrels per day or so then the US won't need to import anything. In the immediate future though the US either needs to considerably increase imports over the recent average by about 0.7 million bpd or else cut consumption. A few tens of thousands or even a hundred thousand barrel per day increase in domestic production wont do.

And the four week running average so far remains in the 5.4 to 5.6 mbpd range, where it has been since the fourth quarter of 2009.

Of course we shouldn't care about hurricane risks, or troublesome comments about political/religious issues in the Middle East, or keeping the Country protected in case of war or some other oil calamity. If we drift lower and MOL is in play, we risk a whole lot more. The spread may make a lot of money for oil companies and traders, but as inventories fall, risks increase. The spread should narrowed IMO.

Happy 'Earth Overshoot Day'

Humanity falls deeper into ecological debt

Humankind will slip next week into ecological debt, having gobbled up in less then nine months more natural resources than the planet can replenish in a year, researchers said Tuesday.

At its current pace of consumption humankind will need, by 2030, a second globe to satisfy its voracious appetites and absorb all its waste, the report calculated.

These calculations don't consider fossil fuels correctly, in my opinion. They assume we can just keep pulling them out as in the past, and they don't materially affect overshoot.

If we had to fund our lifestyles on current energy flows, we would reach overshoot in January, I would expect.

Good point. I haven't looked into how they are modeling other non-renewable resources, either, but it's likely the same story.

Gail. We have already emitted more than our civilization life time dosage alows us. Even if we stop today, we will still have emitted to much.

I always explain this like so: If you put a kettle with water onto a hot stove, it will take a while before boiling starts. This because water has a very high heat capacity. Now look at the oceans of our planet. They have loads of water (average water depth 3 Km) and are heated up by a layer of air. This takes lots of time. Due to this, there are a ca 30+ year lag between emission and climate change. IE we have the climate TODAY that corresponds with CO2 concentrtions from about when I was born, by the end of the 70ies.

If we stop emitting today, climate will aproach the new balance asymptoticly, so the process will take probably 1000 years, very slow in the end. But it would acumulate to the change of 30 years of linear change with todays trends.

We ALREADY see how methane are beeing released from Arctic sea beds. Nothing is proven yet, but with 30 more years of heating, those natural emissions will start up, and we will lose controll.

We passed what we can afford to release this year 00:00:01 jan 1:st. Everything above that is just making the problem worse.

Re: Obama $8 Billion Solar ‘Betamax’ Undercut as China Backs Rival Technology, up top:

Photovoltaic, or PV, panels have benefited from tumbling costs. That in turn fueled demand and allowed manufacturers such as China’s Suntech Power Holdings Co. to boost capacity and cut prices for use in fields and on rooftops.


PV has really had a boost due to low panel prices. With PV it generally much easier to get the necessary permits and high-voltage transmission wires are generally not necessary. But there will still be a niche for CSP since CSP can store heat in the molten salt and thus still generate some power after the sun has gone down. PV has no storage element at all.

But the 'betamax' analogy is just incredibly stupid. Betamax was actually the better technology, it just didn't win the standards war because VHS was more open. A very bad analogy to use but most reporting on technology sucks.

Although a KWhr from CSP (thermal) has better "quality" than a KWhr from PV. Even without thermal storage, the turbine acts like a spinning reserve, and can absorb short time scale load variations. And when a cloud passses over PV drops almost instantaneously, but the solar thermal can buffer the change, giving other components of the grid power solution time to respond.

The worrisome thing, is that solar thermal may not be developed to its potential, because too many early projects are being converted to PV. I don't doubt that PV is (and will always remain) cheaper than solar thermal electricity, but solar thermal electricty ought to command a premium price w.r.t. unbuffered PV.

Odd that you say that about price. Just today I heard from some people who are doing a big field experiment on both concentrated PV and solar thermal, as well as flat plate PV. They tell me that so far, quite a few months into the tests, it is clear to them that their solar thermal point focus is cheaper and will stay cheaper. And it not only can use stored heat, but also gas running in parallel with solar input, and also, pumped hydro storage if they site it properly.

24 hr operation gives a huge cost advantage.

There are lots of good sites for solar thermal/pumped store.

There are lots of good sites for solar thermal/pumped store.

Solar thermal, plus heat storage is already like solar PV plus pumped store. A great many projecst that were slated to become solar thermal have switched to PV. Clearly per nameplate capacity PV is cheaper (a bit over $3/watt), whereas CSP is a lot pricier. And it looks like PV is in a steep cost reduction curve, so in a year or two it should be considerably cheaper.

But one of the big things PV has going for it is that it is easy to pull permits and you can build right where the power is consumed. Just put up a bunch of panels on warehouses. No expensive long distance high-voltage lines needed. No environmental impact reports. Just panels, racks, and inverters. If you get up in size, you might need to locate the best spots to get on the grid but I think PG&E made a map showing where they would like more solar. Here it is:

Sure thats one of the things. Buts its untrue about the transmission -at least if you plan on running yout warehouse during night and through periods of cloudy weather. And we have three generic sectors for PV. Residential, commercial, and utility. These big projects are all utility. And getting some of the solar power gen away from the cities, gives you a more distributed source, which means unexpected cloudiness can't cover all the PV in the same instance. That buys some degree of resilience.

"If you can do it, you can do it better". Any new not widely used tech is also on a steep cost reduction curve, by the nature of things. That goes for solar thermal, as well as PV. The guys I mentioned above tell me they are betting on their solar thermal based on their experience in the field trials. their widget is not at all the same as the other well known thermal systems.

There's an op-ed column in today's NYT regarding oil.

How to Weaken the Power of Foreign Oil

It's written by Robert C. McFarlane (the national security adviser from 1983 to 1985) and R. James Woolsey (chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 1993 to 1995 after becoming an Admiral in the Navy). I think this commentary might fit in the list up top...

E. Swanson

Steep increase in global CO2 emissions despite reductions by industrialized countries

Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) – the main cause of global warming – increased by 45 % between 1990 and 2010, and reached an all-time high of 33 billion tonnes in 2010. Increased energy efficiency, nuclear energy and the growing contribution of renewable energy are not compensating for the globally increasing demand for power and transport, which is strongest in developing countries.

Report: http://www.pbl.nl/en/publications/2011/long-term-trend-in-global-co2-emi...

OECD population is about 1.2 billion, or roughly 1/6 global population. So if economic development equalizes at OECD emission levels, then global emissions should rise to about 60 billion tonnes per annum.

The EIA's recently released International Energy Outlook 2011 -- based on business as usual economic growth and no enforced CO2 reductions -- shows the total non-OECD emissions at just over double those of the OECD countries by 2035. The prediction is that total OECD emissions by then will be only slightly higher than the pre-current-recession level, but that the non-OECD emissions will have grown enormously. They have the world burning a fairly staggering (at least IMO) amount of coal at that time.

Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) – the main cause of global warming – increased by 45 % between 1990 and 2010, and reached an all-time high of 33 billion tonnes in 2010.

Now that's throwing CO2 emissions caution to the wind.

Microwave ovens a key to energy production from wasted heat

More than 60 percent of the energy produced by cars, machines, and industry around the world is lost as waste heat – an age-old problem - but researchers have found a new way to make "thermoelectric" materials for use in technology that could potentially save vast amounts of energy.

re "cheap milk"

I would rather support my local farmers market vendors and help them stay afloat rather than get some produce from some large "efficient" corporate farm halfway around the planet any day.

For one thing, the time in transit is nil. Usually that produce was picked that morning, or a day or two before. It will keep in my fridge for a week or more if I don't get around to eating it right away. Not the same with produce picked say in California and transported to Washington near Seattle where I live. One can get tubs of organic salad mixes by Organic Valley, grown near Hollister, from Costco. It lasts about 2-3 days before it starts having a bit of a funk.

The author of the article clearly hasn't spent much time shopping at farmers markets and doesn't get it.

I applaud the folks who are trying to make it on their own as farmers. They are hard workers who take enormous risks (the weather) and produce jobs for themselves and benefit the communities they live in.


Word. It's not the worst anti-farmer's market piece I've read, but I still detect the sulphrous reek of a Monsanto PR flack. Local, seasonal, veggie-centric food por vida!

Yeah, the article is pretty much pure BS.

They even pull out the old "lamb shipped from New Zealand lower carbon than British lamb" canard.

Even if it were really true that it has actually become that ecologically expensive to raise lamb in Britain, that would just mean the British shouldn't eat much of it.

It's not like God pronounced that everyone in the world has a sacred right to eat as much lamb (or whatever else it is) as they like.

It's like saying, "Bbbbut wait a minute, it would be create much more CO2 to create a vast green house to raise mangos in Minnesota than to ship them from New Guinea." Yeah, that's why mangos are not part of the staple of Midwestern diets.

Someone told me the other day she had trouble finding asparagus at the local farmer's market. In August.

People are going to have to divest themselves of the idea that they can have exotic or out-of-season produce 365 days a year.

It's a re-education process, from "I can have anything I want, anytime I want" fostered by the advertising industry, to "this is what there is, I have to manage with just that" - or reality-based food consumption.

In the real world, cows do not produce milk 365 days a year.

Here in the UK the trend is to build vast greenhouses next to power stations in relatively remote areas. They are heated 365 days a year by the waste cooling water from the station, and CO2 enriched warmed air is pumped over the produce to encourage rapid growth and cut net CO2 emissions in one step.

The plants are, however, grown with the aid of plenty of fossil derived fertiliser.

I wouldn't say it cuts CO2 emissions. Not unless the plat matter is buried deep in the ground. Otherwise it will be converted back to CO2 pretty soon.

I know we have talked the topic of 'WTI vs Brent' to death, but I have a question. Is it possible to make a program that charts the real global price paid for oil? Something like:

20 units of WTI sold at $80 per bl
60 units of Brent sold at $110 per bl

so, average unit price for oil is (20 * $80 + 60 * $110) / 80 = 102.5

and therefor, $102.5 per bl represents a more realistic cost for OECD.

The EIA does this

Last calculated price was $105.89

Individual grades weekly averages at http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_pri_wco_k_w.htm

and therefor, $102.5 per bl represents a more realistic cost for OECD.

You are suggesting bringing 'realism' to the price of oil? The news services are too busy quoting WTI, because it is the lowest and helps provide viewers with (as much as can be mustered for now) that cornucopian feeling they seek.

The EIA already has a program that calculates the average world oil price. World oil price has, for some time now, been running between 4 and 6 dollars below the price of Brent.

World Crude Oil Prices

Total World, United States, OPEC, and Non-OPEC are average prices (f.o.b.) weighted by estimated export volume.

However there is some kind of problem as of late. These prices which are usually updated weekly have not been updated now for three weeks.

Ron P.

There is also the cost of oil that US refineries buy. If what a person want to do is, for example, compare US oil prices to US gasoline prices, it seems like it might be the one to use.

Generational Change

Developers Cater to Two-Wheeled Traffic in Portland, Ore.

Until recently, Portland’s bike initiatives focused on improving the transportation infrastructure, said Roger Geller, the city’s bicycle coordinator. But as businesses awaken to the purchasing power of cyclists, “bicycle-supported developments” are also beginning to appear around town, Mr. Geller said. These are residential and commercial projects built near popular bikeways and outfitted with cycling-related services and amenities.

Best Hopes for Bikes!

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-----  _`\<,_    _`\<,_    _`\<,_    _`\<,_    _`\<,_
----  (*)/ (*)  (*)/ (*)  (*)/ (*)  (*)/ (*)  (*)/ (*)


That's some nice ASCII art there Jon :-)

Agreed! Very snazzy!

Great bikes produced in Eugene, Oregon by Bike Friday.

Sadly, however, most 'city bikes', such as the ubiquitous 'hybrid', are modeled after the mountain bike with its high bottom bracket (11 to 12 inches from ground to the centre of the bottom bracket), which results in many cyclists riding with their seats too low so that they can put their feet on the ground while remaining seated when stopped. A high bottom bracket is useful when stump jumping, but how many streets are strewn with logs and boulders. The problem with low seat height is that the knees come up too high at the top of the spin, causing unnecessary strain and even injury. It is actually very difficult to spin in this setup, spinning being the most efficient way to convert energy into forward motion on any given bike.

City bikes, or commuter bikes if you will, should be designed after the classical touring bike, which like the racing bike, has 10 1/2 inches from ground to the centre of the bb. The classical touring frame also has a long wheelbase and more fork rake affording a more stable and comfortable ride. European city or commuter bikes are generally better designed.

A small point maybe, but a factor resulting in discouraged riders.

So when can we anticipate a top post submission on "Optimizing the Almost-Perfect Transportation Solution"?

I and I'm sure many others would find such a post quite interesting.

One of these days, I'll try to learn how to upload an image of a commuter bike which I designed about twenty years ago, based on the geometry of a very good German model. I still have some of the frames that I had constructed back in the day. I did sell a couple hundred fully kitted with internal gears and coaster brakes and enjoy seeing them still around. It has to be said though, that different commuters have different needs with respect to frame design, bike performance (racing frame design allows quick lateral movement, for example, and some people benefit from this, although it is too twitchy for most riders). No one, though, should be cursed with high bottom brackets (unless the commute is over a goat trail).

I'm glad to see many companies now selling at least one model employing internal gears, though there is nothing wrong with derailleurs as such. Unfortunately, as noted above, the same companies have stayed with the wrong frame design. Moreover, they install the same cranks on all frame sizes. The standard is 170mm, which is great if you are the average American male with average leg length. In the nineties, the industry did finally wake up to the fact that women generally have shorter torsos and require a shorter distance from seat to handlebars. Yeah for one feminist victory in the biking industry.

Kids bikes are especially atrocious. Most are modelled on the BMX with cranks that are waaay too long and bottom brackets that are waaay too high. Bikes for kids fifty years ago were far better designed.

A bunch of years ago, I pulled a very well-designed but ancient Czechoslovakian frame (Rapido) out of a dumpster for my daughter. It had an appropriately short crank and low BB. I built new wheels with aluminum rims, installing a 7 speed internal gear rear hub with coaster brake. Months before her fifth birthday she was able to cycle 20 miles in a go and at age 6, 50 miles in a go, over hill and over dale. It used to blow the minds of others who cycled with us. But a super athlete she was not. It was all about the right frame, the right components and a proper leg extension permitting an easy and rapid spin.

Right now, I'm in the middle of patenting a design and method for building high raised gardening beds that take the stoop out of growing vegetables not amenable to mechanization (for a fraction of the current cost of doing so), while lowering water, fertilizer and pesticide use, which are the other benefits of raised beds. When done with that, I'll see if time permits more time on the bicycle front.

To be honest, I only come here when procrastination grips me (I don't like paying lawyers for anything and am writing my own patent applications with the aid of a great book from a US patent attorney, who I especially like since his view of his profession supports all my prejudices) and of course to read your posts, those of Allan of NO on rail transport, Paul on lighting, the solar people and some others who are moving the world forward, one step at a time.

And then the tiresome dogmatists of the gloomiedoomie persuasion steer me back to my work. I have that to thank them for.

I'm in the middle of patenting a design and method for building high raised gardening beds ... (I don't like paying lawyers for anything and am writing my own patent applications with the aid of a great book from a US patent attorney ...)

A couple of weeks ago, while walking in a local neighborhood, I spotted a man growing vegetables in tall plant pots on his front lawn. His number one motivation was to keep his dog from peeing on the plants and thus ruining them, although watering and other tending toils are also simplified by that scheme.

You should check that section in Pressman's book about 'prior art' before deciding whether to proceed or not with your patent.

Also, although I can understand your distrust for lawyers and the whole legal system (in which case one wonders why you are participating in the system to begin with), please be aware that the laws are full of traps for the unwary and that a new USA patent law was signed into effect on 9/16. The first part becomes active on 9/26/2011. Good luck.

Thanks, it's good advice. I do have Pressman's book. Very well written and very informative. I should say that I'm well aware that the probability of paying for my dentures, when that day arrives, with income from a patent is small indeed. But the cost of doing one's own patenting work, the dollar cost, is small. It's a just-in-case action.

It's not so much that I distrust lawyers, as not liking the profession's tendency to render the law incomprehensible, or to passively accept such. When I saw Pressman state the same concern, my appreciation of the man increased. When I read that his mother wrote the lyrics to one of Buddy Holly's hits, well, that sealed the deal.

With Pressman's advice to lean on, a reasonable level of reading comprehension, and years of experience with business law and lawyers, I worry not about writing my own application. And I like the challenge.

My invention is geared to commercial agriculture as well as home gardening, and several other uses. I have gone through thousands of patents and patent applications that in the smallest way relate to my work. Nothing close. But a lot of poorly written applications among the good, many with the aid of lawyers and patent agents, just as Pressman warns. It is interesting to note how many patents and especially patent applications relate to small changes to the prior art. My invention on both the level of conception and reification is radically different from the prior art.

I've run the idea by trusted friends who teach and/or work in the fields of industrial design and architecture (experience with structure and materials, including experimental configurations). Nada. Encouraging words of support though. I've spent days travelling the world by internet, searching, searching. Again nothing even close.

The whole process from problem, to solution, to the legal stuff, has been a lot of fun. Even though my tendency to procrastinate might suggest otherwise.

a lot of poorly written applications among the good, many with the aid of lawyers and patent agents

No doubts about that.

My motto is that you almost never get more than what you pay for, but that does not preclude getting less ... which is all too often the case.

I now commute on a short wheelbase recumbent, and find it so far superior to the standard upright bike that I'm never looking back. Lower aerodynamic resistance, greatly increased comfort, better visibility, and no issues with the 'male problem'...


“There’s as much penis inside the body as outside,” Dr. Schrader told me. “When you sit on a regular bike saddle, you’re sitting on your penis.”

More precisely, according to Dr. Schrader’s measurements, you are putting 25 to 40 percent of your body’s weight on the nerves and blood vessels near the surface of the perineum. “That part of the body was never meant to bear pressure,” Dr. Schrader said. “Within a few minutes the blood oxygen levels go down by 80 percent.”

Dr. Schrader has documented the results with the help of a couple of pieces of equipment, the biothesiometer and the Rigiscan.

In one early study with the Rigiscan, Dr. Schrader found that police officers patrolling on bikes with conventional saddles tended to have shorter erections than did noncyclists. Then, in a 2008 study titled “Cutting Off the Nose to Save the Penis,” he reported the results of having Mr. Brown and the other officers switch to new designs.

Before the study, nearly three-quarters of the officers complained of numbness while riding. After six months, fewer than one-fifth complained. They did better on the biothesiometer test of sensitivity and also reported improved erectile function.

And what of stopping every couple of blocks for a stop sign or light ?

Such a bike that you describe - where stopping and putting one foot on the ground is not easy and natural - seems utterly impractical for city biking.

Best Hopes for New Orleans Cycling (now #6 in USA),


You are correct. My previous bike was an extreme example, 13inch bottom bracket. Great for climbing rocky hills and getting over logs etc. Not so great for negotiating scary downhills. And definietly not so ergonomic for street riding. I used a small frame, and didn't cramp mt knees, but a smaller frame means you can't breathe as well.

The sport-touring frame of the 1970's 'ten-speed' makes a pretty good all round commuter bike assuming you're a guy of average dimensions and still able to swing a leg over the saddle (even though that more or less describes me, I much prefer the open, aka ladies, frame for commuting).

The BB height on the old sport/touring frame is generally right. It has a longer wheelbase than racing frames and more fork rake, meaning that the bike is more likely to come out of an unexpected pothole tracking forward. Change the handlebars and stem, if preferred. The problem is finding tires as the then common 27 inch wheel has been replaced by the 700c wheel. Not many tires on the market anymore. But a basic 27 x 1 1/4 is still available.

How to tell if its a sport touring frame? Look at the rake of the fork, and the angle of the seat and head tubes. Look for a wheelbase over 40 inches. Much longer and you've probablys stumbled onto a touring frame. Consider yourself lucky if you have.

Invest in a good saddle, with springs if you're riding upright (lower back shock).

I'm eagerly awaiting this development :-

Chicago To Roll Out Bike Share In Summer 2012

"In an ambitious move, the Chicago Department of Transportation announced today it would have bike share up and running by next summer, with 3,000 bikes and 300 stations. Another 2,000 bikes would be added in summer 2014.

In its RFP, the city said initial funding for the program will come from federal grants, and the “program will be self-sustaining through member and user fees, as well as advertising and sponsorship.” Responses to the RFP are due on October 25."

Russia dominates 'great game' with fresh moves


An energy market professional close to the issue said that with Nord Stream, which is a more concrete project than either South Stream or Nabucco, Russia is nearing its goal to become almost the sole natural gas supplier for Europe.

“Domestic production in Europe is falling since the resource in Norway is old,” the source told the Daily News, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Europe will have to meet 74 percent of its natural gas [needs] from Russia by 2030.”

Regarding possible suppliers of gas for the Nabucco pipeline, Pamir said Iranian resources can scarcely meet domestic demand of 137 billion cubic meters annually. “Iraq, another possible supplier, is facing political problems,” Pamir added.

Commenting on other handicaps of Nabucco, Pamir said the project’s initial cost was calculated at 4.6 million euros. “Today it is estimated at more than 12 billion euros,” he said.

“Russia has constructed pipelines and knows how to play this game,” Pamir said. “The U.S. is rising with shale gas, but Russia has the potential to become the main actor once again.”


Just a heads-up: Yergin will be on The Colbert Report tonight.

Colbert is a pretty bright guy, but I wonder what approach he'll use on this topic. Could be interesting.

I wonder what approach he'll use on this topic.

He should ask him how many Yergins (38 a barrel) it takes to purchase a barrel of Brent. That's the price we would be paying if his original prediction was correct.

Answer: slightly less than 3

Then he should ask him why oil peaked in 05, when he claimed it would take many decades longer.

On Colbert Tonight

September 21, 2011
Daniel Yergin
Author, "The Quest"

The author and energy expert talks about the role of energy resources in politics and global conflicts.

Got the DVR set to record it. This ought to be good.

Ron P.

Edit: Sorry Tom, I didn't see your post before I posted this.

This ought to be good.

I don't recall, old sport, if Danny Boy was invited to Gatsby's house tonight for the, you know, Happy Times Are Here Again party and if he was going to bring his cousin, Daisy Wishupon with him. Irregardless, we should have a gay old time. The green light at the end of the black crude rainbow beckons. Let us go down to docks and stare at it once again.

footnote: More on Gatsby, the "Roaring Twenties", and the hope of the Green Light here.

"Why do we need alternatives, if it ain't broke don't fix it." -colbert NICE!

Sorry old sport, we have reached Peak Interview.

You can watch the interview from the Colbert Report website now. Yergin is a master of disinformation but I already knew that. He contends that gasoline hasn't increased from when it was $1 when adjusted for inflation. Not worth refuting.

Shale gas firm finds 'vast' gas resources in Lancashire

An energy firm which has been test drilling for controversial "shale gas" in Lancashire has said it has found vast gas resources underground.

Cuadrilla Resources began testing for gas on the Fylde Coast in March, using a technique known as "fracking".

It said it had found 200 trillion cubic feet of gas under the ground, which if recovered could provide 5,600 jobs in the UK, 1,700 of those in Lancashire.

This appears to be gas in place, not the economically extractable reserves. Even so, it could be as much as 15 year's supply for the UK market, and would go a long way to returning the UK to natural gas self-sufficiency.

Given the high decline rates of fracked wells reported here on TOD, I remain to be convinced of this bonanza.

Here in the UK facking is rapidly becoming the cause celeb among the less rational end of the envornmental movement. This seems to be an extreme example of NIMBYism were importing high sulpher lignite from Poland or elsewhere is seen as preferable to dirtying our scenery with gas wells. Little complaint about arctic drilling, with Greenpeace activists being seen as Luddite terrorists, but touch our own back yard, even using technology that has been around for 30 years, and serried ranks of pitchforks appear.

Given the relative risks of Nuclear, coal, tar sands and the like, why did popular opposition have to latch on to the cleanest, least polluting of the unconventionals?

Rich Brazilian Eike Batista, the world's 8th wealthiest man, claims to be producing oil for $12 per barrel:


x - Listened to his presentation. Impressive entrepeneur. Not exactly sure what he means when he says he's "producing" oil for $12/bbl. If he actually means that his lifting cost I'm not impressed. It's costing me less than $8/bbl to get my oil out the ground right now. Of course, it cost more than that to develop the production but that's different than lifting costs.

One thing the link makes clear: he's going to be connected at the hip to China.

The Cleantech Threshold: Electric cars becoming economically competitive

I believe we’re nearing a crossover point in a key area of cleantech—electric cars. Over the coming months, two leading e-car models, the Nissan (NSANY) Leaf and the Chevy (GM) Volt, will expand beyond limited test markets. The global launches will be supported by new business models for creating a charging infrastructure.

To see how e-cars have started to cross key price-performance thresholds, we have to do some math. Using Kiplinger.com’s Green Car Calculator, my team at Innosight selected five car models to figure out how much they’d cost over five years of ownership (see chart). We compared the all-electric Nissan Leaf and the plug-in Chevy Volt, which is powered by a rechargeable battery but includes an extended-range gas engine. We put those two e-cars up against the Toyota (TM) Prius and a Lexus hybrid as well as a popular gasoline model, the Ford (F) Fusion.

The resulting chart shows that at $4 per gallon of gas, the Leaf is cheaper to own than a Toyota Prius, even though the dealer invoice cost of a Leaf is $10,000 higher.

And with gas at $4, the Volt is not only less expensive to own than a Lexus but it also narrowly beats a Ford Fusion. How can a $39,000 Volt be cheaper to own than a $21,000 Fusion that gets 33 mpg on the highway? Factor in the federal tax credit for e-cars along with five years of gas bills (compared to five years of electric bills) and you have your answer.

Check out the car calculator:

Now picking 15,000 miles a year is a bit high and gives the EVs an advantage. A really nice thing about this calculator is that it wisely increases the fuel price every year. People almost always make the mistake of just assuming today's gas price for the next 5 or 10 years of a vehicles operation . . . sorry, gas prices are going up.

Although this article shows EVs being economically better in some situations, you do have to deal with things like limited range and recharge time. But you also get advantages like zero noise. Low maintenance. Zero local emissions. The ability to "grow your own" fuel with a PV array. The pride of knowing you are not helping Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin, Ahmed Ahmedhinejad, and other unsavory oil barons.

For short commutes or trips EV's may be a sensible alternative for many people. But is it realistic for most people? It wouldn't work for our business. I drove 280 miles yesterday and only stopped once to fill up, which took 8 minutes. We don't drive every day, but when we do it's beyond the range of an EV. Much of the driving initially must be made on rural roads that do not hold the promise of an EV infrastructure. The best we could do here is a hybrid, but we often need to haul materials that require a small truck shell (my Ranger) or in our mid-sized SUV.

Also, since we only drive now and then, the cost of fuel is not a big ticket item. So even if fuel prices doubled we'd probably keep the (already paid off) vehicles we own.

Just not sure EV's are the panacea many envision, that is until they have a much longer range.

Answer: plug-in hybrid, e.g. Chevy Volt. It easily fits your range needs. I have some anectdotal evidence of one owner who mainly uses it for short trips, and claims only 57 gallons fuel used after 8000+ miles of service already! From a comment on the very excellent blog run by Joe Romm, aka Climate Progress.

"WVhybrid says:
September 20, 2011 at 9:50 pm
They aren’t going to get much from me this year. Since I picked up my Volt in March, I’ve only burnt 57 gallons of gas in 8100 miles of driving. There are going to be all kinds of plug-in cars available in the next few years. I hope the readers of this site buy a lot of ‘em.

Love my red Volt."

Not bad. My conventional diesel car, smaller than the volt, returns 70mpg (imperial, 58 mpg US) real world, mostly short trips.
So 8000 miles requires 138 gallons (US), no electricity. At $4 /gallon, that works out at an extra $320 compared to the volt, minus electric costs.
Of course, I pay nearly $8/gallon in the UK.

Purchase price in the UK $18,000 including 20% sales tax.

Now, if they made a plug in hybrid version of my car....

I'm afraid oil prices have just dropped a fair amount so EVs are no longer viable now.

Get back in the SUVs now please! and no pushing.

People did go right back to buying big cars after the oil price dropped after the 2007 spike. I think a 'gas guzzler bubble' is being formed. When an oil crunch happens, I suspect the market will be flooded with cheap used SUVs & big cars. Some people will end up 'underwater' on their car loans as the value of gas guzzlers drop below the loans on those vehicles.

But it all depends on where the price of oil goes . . . and it took a hit today as everything crashed on the market. But anytime there is good economic news, the price of oil goes up with that news.

EVs are certainly no panacea right now but they are becoming useful alternatives.

For short commutes or trips EV's may be a sensible alternative for many people. But is it realistic for most people? It wouldn't work for our business. I drove 280 miles yesterday and only stopped once to fill up, which took 8 minutes.

You certainly would not be a good candidate for an EV . . . you would be much better served by an efficient ICE or a hybrid. But your usage pattern is not the norm. The average person just commutes 15 to 20 miles to work & back 5 days a week and thus would do fine with an EV.

It all depends on your driving pattern. I bought a Leaf 3 months ago, have almost 3,000 miles on it. Works for my commute, local errands, and my usual weekly drive from West Los Angeles to Claremont (50 miles each way) to hike on Saturday in the local mountains. In Claremont, I charge at a free Chargepoint network charging station or at my sister's house. Only problem I have run into is that I have to keep my old Camry on a battery charger and take it out once a month to keep the cylinders from getting scored. I expect to use the Camry for about 5 trips per year, total of just over 3,000 miles. Probably won't go to a gas station until February.

I drive less than 3,000 miles/year and I do not have an EV. Last fill-up was start of hurricane season in early July. More than half full tank today.

Best Hopes for Reduced VMT,


Ad touts the moral supremacy of Canada's oil sands over Saudi Oil, angers the Saudis

From Marketwatch report

A Canadian TV ad that promotes Canada’s “ethical oil “ and blasts Middle East oil — from the same organization that’s run print ads showing an Arab woman about to be stoned — has caused Saudi Arabia’s lawyers in Canada to send a threatening legal notice to Canadian TV network CTV, which has held off running the ad until the matter is resolved.

Touchy, touchy. Saudis do so hate the West being reminded of where their oil comes from, even though the Kingdom of Saud has slipped to fourth in U.S. imports.

Canadian cabinet member Jason Kenney, the Minister of Immigration, felt the Saudis needed to be reminded this week that “Canada is a country that is a champion of freedom of speech. That is a constitutional right.

Since Canada has (in the final analysis) more oil than Saudi Arabia, expect Canadian Parliamentarians to be less than nice about this attempted intervention of Saudi Arabia into Canadian politics. Unlike the US or EU, Canada does not need Saudi oil.

To reiterate:

Jason Kenney, the Minister of Immigration, felt the Saudis needed to be reminded this week that “Canada is a country that is a champion of freedom of speech. That is a constitutional right.

Bell Media executives will, no doubt, be invited before Parliamentary Committee to explain why they are paying any attention to a legal threat from a country which is 1) foreign, and 2) not a democracy. The committee members will probably not be very nice to either Bell Media or Saudi Arabia.

I just wish they said 'electric vehicles' instead of 'ethical oil'. :-)

But why did they pick on Saudia Arabia which most American grudgingly accept as our "ally" when they could pick on Hugo Chavez nad Mamoud Ahmidinejad. (Well, I guess we don't buy Iranian oil here.)

Re: Don’t be afraid, the Earth’s seven billionth arrival is good for humanity

I wonder where these people come from? Look at the amount of enviornmental destruction we have pushed so far. The author of this text simply don't include that in his views. He just observe that we use resources more and more efficently, and thus there are no problem. I get so tiered. Open your eyes and look around. Even such a simple tool as Google Earth can show you the size of rainforest degradation. sigh...

I just shake my head. The author of the article apparently fails to connect our ability to use "resources" with the energy required to support that activity.

I don't see how a doubling of the population of sub-Saharan Africa can possibly be a good thing if they are unable to feed themselves. One can't factor in the ability of over-producing nations to provide, since that assumes the ability to transport the food to where it is needed. We are seeing in Somalia how that notion is failing - albeit for political reasons, in that case, but peak oil would have the same result.

Food-production will have to be much closer to home than it is now. In places where that is not feasible, and they cannot afford to freight the food in, or have others do it, population will necessarily decline.

I wonder where these people come from?

Might this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0kJHQpvgB8

be the answer.

Something we have touched on before, what if the global peak is like the North Sea peak?

1972 Texas peak lined up with the 1999 North Sea peak (C+C):

Note that the North Sea really showed a seven year plateau. They hit 5.8 mbpd in 1996, and the peak was 5.9 mbpd in 1999, but the average production for the six years after 1996 was 5.8 mbpd, until they fell off the plateau in 2003.

So, what if 1996 was to the North Sea as 2005 was to global crude oil production? We would fall off the global plateau around 2012.

Note that the EIA puts global C+C production at 73.8 mbpd in 2005, and for 2006 to 2010 inclusive it was 73.3 mbpd (inclusive of some sizable discrepancies in 2010 EIA data versus other sources). If we exclude 2009, post-2005 production averaged 73.6 mbpd so far.

Wouldn't a larger and more diverse resource base tend to smooth out the curve? I mean the North Sea is all one type of deep water target. The world, on average, is something with less sharp drop offs. Unless, one of the big ones goes down in flames, I guess.

Another thought, isn't the global production more influenced by price? I mean, when the North Sea peaked, they didn't have the smoothing effect of price (demand destruction).

Of course, one would think that the North Sea would be less likely to show a plateau, and that global production would be more likely to show a plateau, especially with an unconventional component. In any case, I guess that the North Sea shows what has occurred in a discrete region, i.e., basically a seven year plateau. Note that there was no unconventional component in the North Sea.

Regarding price, the 1999 North Sea absolute peak corresponded to the start of the current long term bull market in oil prices. So, both plateaus have taken place against a backdrop of generally rising oil prices, i.e., a pattern of higher annual highs and higher annual lows.

eastie -You sorta answered you own question. Notice that wt time adjusts his N Sea and Texas plot. Imagine if they were on the same time scale. Now add all other basins to the plot and it becomes much flatter obviously. Thus a world curve would always be flatter than some of the individual regions. But as you seem to imply you can't use any one curve or set of curves to project the world curve. Look at Brazil: we have no idea what its future ramp up curve will look like let alone the decline side of the curve. But at some point it's easy to imagine it will be a critical portion of global production. The global curve is the aggregate of everything going on. But not a good predictor of what will be. Consider what the UK future curve projection would have looked like at the time Texas peaked: not much anticipated.

Yep...two types of decline: natural and artificial (or manmade). But typically pricing doesn't tend to influence the decline of existing production very much. Operators often even try to increase production rates when prices decline: cash flow is almost always king. So the decline rate of existing fields tends to be dominated by reservoir dynamics and not pricing. Regionally, low prices will cut back new drilling of course but won't tend to stop development completely. Also the obvious: regardless of price changes as a region matures there are less fields to develop (and thus decline) in that regard. All regions will shown curves just like Texas and the N Sea. Probably 60 years or so wt's grandkid can overlay Brazil on top of Texas too.

The North Sea is not a deep water target. Average depth is 95 meters or about 312 feet. That, if I am not mistaken, is considered shallow water as far as oil rigs and platforms are concerned.

If global production is influenced by price then that did not help much as far as the North Sea goes, it peaked when prices were the cheapest in the world and the massive run up in price since their peak, production has continued to decline at a rapid rate.

But of course some oil production is influenced by price. The top few million barrels would not be produced if oil were below their marginal rate, which is somewhere between $60 and $80 a barrel and may be slightly more in some cases. Those barrels would not be produced if oil were $50 a barrel. Well, not for very long anyway.

That being said, every nation on earth, with the possible exception of Saudi Arabia, are producing flat out. And I believe they have been producing flat out for the last few months. They, along with the UAE and Kuwait could cut back slightly if Libya ramps up again. At any rate we are only talking a million barrels or so.

Bottom line, the limited production of oil was responsible for the dramatic run up in prices and the corresponding decline of the economy. It is all about the peaking of world oil production, though many deny it.

Ron P.

Ron - Very correct. When I stated 36 years ago 300' WD wasn't considered deep. What made the N Sea an engineering challenge were the rough seas compared to the GOM. That and hagis.

Well, I don't know where the dividing line is, what is considered deep water and what is considered shallow water as far as oil platforms go. But I would guess it has something to do with how the platform is anchored. Do they sit on the bottom, as do North Sea platforms, or do they float and are attached to long tethers which are anchored to the sea floor like Thunder Horse?

But I don't think any platform that sits on the sea floor can be considered to be in deep water.

Ron P.

Ron - Not sure if there's an official depth but typically about 600' WD is considered the break over from Deep Water to shallower depths. The 600' WD is about the limit of setting a fixed platform on the bottom of the sea floor. I once operated the deepest fixed platform in the GOM: the former Zapata East Breaks platform off Texas. The platform eventually had no commercial life but it was used a pipeline tie in for Deep Water fields further out in the GOM. Deeper water than that we go with subsea completions (well head sitting on the sea floor) and floating production facilities like Thunder Horse. At one point we estimated it would costs more than $20 million just to remove our east Breaks platform. Fortunately we were able to dump it on the DW players.

In the subsea business, we consider it shallow if you can use divers, but DW if you have to rely on ROVs. Though that still doesn't give a very clear dividing line. Once upon a time Comex dived to 330m, and some of the latest DSVs have diving systems rated for 350m - but realistically divers would never be sent to such depths except in extreme desperation. Anything over 200m will normally be ROV-only.

Fixed versus floating production facilities? That's even more vague. The monster Troll A fixed platform sits in 340m of water, whilst the Chestnut floater produces in 120m of water!

Can I discourage TOD use of the term North Sea, as it's seriously misleading. For a start it should be the East Sea from my point of view. (My Norwegian colleagues would no doubt prefer Southwest Sea.) It sort of means the rectangle of sea between Shetland, Stavanger, Hamburg and Kent, but that excludes many of our most promising fields - e.g. Clair, Schiehallion, Foinaven, Laggan/Tormore, Lochnagar/Rosebank. Same on the Norwegian side, where Ormen Lange, Draugen, Åsgard, and Snøhvit are quite clearly in the Norwegian Sea, not the North Sea. I prefer the term North West Europe Continental Shelf - NWECS - because that covers everything for Ireland/Holland/UK/Denmark/Norway, which is what TOD contributors generally intend, I think.

Incidentally, NWECS production-averaged depth is significantly more than 95m nowadays, though that was probably a fair estimate in the early days.


Texas and the North Sea are prime examples of what happens with oil production in a politically stable, free market environment. If the rest of the major producers in the world were politically stable, free markets I expect global production would show a similar evolution.

However, for better or worse, this is not the case. Here are the top 15 producers and my admittedly flip assessments of them:

  1. Saudi Arabia -- politically stable (at the moment) but a command economy
  2. Russia -- some (HUGE) instability in the recent past; command economy
  3. US -- stable and free market by definition
  4. China -- appears stable; command economy
  5. Iran -- barely stable; command economy?
  6. Canada -- see US
  7. Mexico -- mostly stable; free market?
  8. UAE -- stable up to now; free within the confines of OPEC
  9. Brazil -- stable; free market?
  10. Nigeria -- not stable!; free market?
  11. Kuwait -- minor invasion in the recent past counts as unstable; free within OPEC
  12. Iraq -- hugely unstable; so unstable in fact that market orientation hardly matters
  13. Venezuela -- unstable; unfree
  14. Norway -- stable and free market
  15. Algeria -- stable for now; free market within OPEC

Given this list of top producers, I expect that future global production will be much more subject to the vicissitudes of history than the predictable limits of geology.


Texas and the North Sea are prime examples of what happens with oil production in a politically stable, free market environment. If the rest of the major producers in the world were politically stable, free markets I expect global production would show a similar evolution.

It make economical sense to produce the oil as fast as possible even if total volume is a little bit lower so the peak would come as soon as possible.

In any case, what do you include in the numbers above?

The data are from the EIA International Energy Statistics.

The plot shows "Total Oil Supply" which, according to the EIA, includes:

  • crude oil including lease condensate
  • natural gas plant liquids (NGPL)
  • other liquids
  • refinery processing gain

I don't know how stable Mexico can be considered. More people have been killed in Mexico in the last 2 to 3 years than in Iraq and Afghanistan COMBINED. But I guess they have largely been leaving the oil infrastructure alone. But who knows if that may change.

When you just look at the total death toll you miss out what a lot of it is. Much of it is gang members removing other gang members. Gang A kills members of gang B, somebody is given drugs to sell and doesn't pay back so gets bumped off, someone looks at his boss's girlfriend the wrong way. The 3rd party toll is much very lower but does unfortunately happen such as the recent casino fire. We had one local event that sent touristas panicking and running around saying that it was a drugs death but is most likely a result of a domestic issue and the wife is under deep suspicion. So please let us not overdo this 'more people killed' business.


what if the global peak is like the North Sea peak?

I don't think global peak will be like any other peak. With specific field and region peaks, they amount of effort to extract more is tempered by better prospects elsewhere. Certainly more oil can (and eventually will) be extracted from a declining field/region but if the current market prices don't support it and there are better prospects elsewhere, the field/region will be abandoned for a while.

Global peak will certainly coincide with sharply price rises, so people will work even harder to keep the oil flowing. I think Yergin may be quite correct in that there may not be a 'peak' as such but a long relatively flat plateau. In the big long-term picture, it will be a peak but while experiencing it, it will be flat production with rising prices. The rising prices will help fund the more difficult extraction and will kill off excess demand.

But as I often like to point out, it is not 'peak' that matters to consumers and the economy . . . that is just an arbitrary shape on a graph. What matters is those rising prices . . . that is where the rubber meets the road. (Or the rubber is pushed off the road because you can no longer to afford gas.)

Markets are tumbling this morning again. Oil prices are way down. A bunch of countries on the verge of default. Is this the beginning of a long, deep recession?

It began several years ago but this is a major financial step down. It is alright to say "Depression".

Obama will have this website shut down, if you say that word again.

Man, it's ugly. Almost 400 point drop at one point.

If gold is such a "safe haven": does anyone know why it's plunging too?

Primarily two things.
1) the dollar is strengthening.
2) traders are selling gold to raise cash to offset loses in equities.

I expect gold will rebound faster than the equity market, but it may fall as low as the $1,500/oz. dollar range before this is over.

Okay... someone fill me in. According to CNN Money, investors are fleeing to the safety of bonds. My question:
Given that bond prices drop as interest rates rise, in inverse proportion, and that interest rates are super low (for 3 month bonds, none at all), how is that safe?

Continuing: I mean, 30 year Treasuries are paying less than 3% today. S&P dropped our rating, and has already threatened to drop if farther. If interest rates go up, a virtual certainty, IMO, values will drop. Guaranteed loss, it would seem. And, this is consdidered a safe investment? It has to be for the very short term as the Stock Markets crater. Once that happens, the money comes out of treasuries, and goes in to the market at the bottom (again!). Rinse and repeat?

Does anyone recall Lucy and the football? How often do we do these things before we learn?


Guaranteed loss, it would seem. And, this is considered a safe investment?

The safety of bonds is in terms of minimizing pain (potential further loss) not maximizing pleasure (growth in profit or return on investment). Everyone is looking into the cataclysm and asking whether it is better to fall 5 feet or 50 feet. The difference is important... may ultimately determine survivability, particularly if you're a broker playing with clients' money.

Your observation is quite astute. U.S. Treasuries are a "safe haven" if you're addicted to crack perhaps.
But the market is not rational when it comes to this. Stoneleigh at TAE is always quick to point this out and over there they have been predicting exactly this kind of market reaction regarding flight into Treasuries.

Ultimately, all those T-bills will have to disappear down the same black hole event horizon along with all the rest of the world's non-repayable debt.

The only way to diversify a portfolio is to have non-corollated assets, but a lot of folks just cannot grasp this. Inevitably, they build wealth from assets that are "all same" risk corollated.

There is only one way to diversify a debt-based portfolio and that is to add counterbalancing non-debt assets, things like; (all paid for) productive farmland w/water supply, fuel/energy resources (wood lots and the like), weapons, gold, silver (hard bullion, not ETFs), etc.

But the players in the equity markets seem happy to move from one debt based asset class to another. It's entirely faith based and emotional; the "Big Kid" (the U.S.of A.) simply can't go down; Ha, ha, ha!

...the "Big Kid" (the U.S.of A.) simply can't go down; Ha, ha, ha!

A chief concern is not whether the Big Kid can go down but whether the Big Kid will be the last to go down. In the game of international fiscal chicken I suspect the current mentality is summed up in the phrase, "last one standing, wins."

Wins what? Nobody nowhere knows.

Win a continued comfortable life for their citizens and world domination over the ruins of what's left.

Best Hopes for a Greater Sweden ?


Under Swedish domination we could go back to school to learn svenska, pay our respects to King Carl XVI Gustaf, and listen to the gentle sounding tunes of ABBA. Ya, quite a nice alternative to the way the world is run today.

Alas, Sweden already had its day in the sun under Gustavus Adolphus Magnus.

If a new Swedish Empire is too much to ask for, how about a future under the yoke of Bermuda - not too complicated dress code, great golfing, and superb climate.

Bermuda sounds good - they could try this...

Remote island paradise to be powered by coconuts and sunshine

... Under the new energy plan, most of the islands' power - 93 percent - is slated to come from solar energy. The coconut power will supply the remaining 7 percent, and will come into play when skies are overcast or when electricity demand exceeds solar supply.

A recently conducted feasibility study for the plan found that each of Tokelau's three atolls will require 20 to 30 liters of coconut oil per day to account for their needs, which can be supplied by about 200 coconuts. Since the islands are essentially covered in coconuts, that's a number that is easily sustainable.

No stone head carving neccesary

Did a professor get stranded with fellow cast-a-ways after a three hour tour?

With Treasuries there are two sides, one is yield and the other is price. As yield goes down, prices go up which means you can sell the bonds for more than you bought them for. That's why investors are buying bonds. With Operation Twist and other Fed buying tricks why not be in bonds? You almost cannot lose right now.

If yields start to increase and prices go down, I think that it would be the end of the road for our economy (at least in it's current sickly state, home prices have to start increasing before yields rise or ...).

My question was why, with bonds at zero percent or near enough, would people go there. Since you cannot drop below no interest, they can only go up in yield, down in price. I would say you almost cannot win.


Gold/Silver should plunge if a new magical energy source exists.

Why not think that is why so TOD readers can clap their hands and say "We are Saved*!"?

EU markets closed now. CAC (France) and DAX (Germany) both off around 5%. Societe Generale off another 10.25%.[edit: 14.6%]

From PIMCO = world's largest bond investment fund

Pimco: French banks could tip Europe to recession

... El-Erian [PIMCO CEO] said French banks are a particular cause for concern, noting that "credit markets now put their risk of default at levels indicative of a BB rating, which is fundamentally inconsistent with sound banking operations." He adds that bank equity now trades at a 50% discount to tangible book value on average, while the ratio of market capital to total assets has fallen to 1%-1.5%, compared with 6%-8% for "healthier banks."

"These are all signs of an institutional run on French banks. If it persists, the banks would have no choice but to delever their balance sheets in a very drastic and disorderly fashion," he says. The result, he says, would be a banking crisis and a recession.

Although the ECB has moved to boost liquidity, El-Erian says "capital cushions and asset quality remain unaddressed. As a result, Europe is on the verge of losing control of orderly solutions to its debt crisis."

and from NPR A Slow-Motion Bank Run In Europe

I tend to think we are in year four of the "Great Contraction." Probably will last about 10 years.

10 Years?! Then what?

Then things will get really bad.

Then the new normal.

If anything you have it backwards.

The new normal plateau is now, which will probably last 10, 15 years, who knows. Then the crash begins in earnest.

Then we'll have another new normal perhaps 40, 50 years after that.

I am no expert, can only go by what others have said. Right now I am waiting for 2012, to see if the predictions that production decline starts that year come true. We'll know in 2013.

Phase 1 (2008): High finance plays casino, skims off top with dodgy paper schemes, and passes bill to the public account.

Phase 2 (2011): Public account comes due.

Not pretty in either Europe or America.

Down down over 500 points.

Robert Altman is making comparisons to the Great Depression.

yet the news today was awash with stories of places hiring for temporary and seasonal work for the holiday season.

Recession changes the American way of life

The dismal economy is having a profound effect on the American way of life, from delaying marriage and divorce to reducing car ownership and private school enrollment, according to new Census data.

Lingering bad times may alter expectations and lifestyles for years to come, some demographers say.

"It's going to have a long-term impact and to say it's going to end is optimistic," says Cheryl Russell, former editor in chief of American Demographics, now editorial director of New Strategist Publications, publisher of reference tools. "I'm more pessimistic that this is the new normal."

Some interesting effects. Fewer people marrying, fewer kids being born. Fewer people owning cars, but also fewer people carpooling.

"...but also fewer people carpooling."

Having carpooled and used mass transit, I prefered mass transit. It's generally more time flexible, and if you don't like another passenger, you can move or get off and wait for the next train/bus. I carpooled with a guy who ate a lot of curry and garlic, and he smoked. I never told him that I stopped carpooling with him 'cause he just stunk :-/

I once carpooled with a guy who smoked cigars. Not only would he use it to turn the interior to a blue fog, but he would wave it vigorusly whenever he needed to emphasize a point of conversation.

When he drove and conversed with back seat passengers, he would turn his head over his shoulder and wave his cigar at them. If he was really emphatic, he would gesture with both hands.

This was in the 70s, during one of the gas shortages. Once gas became available, I left the carpool.

Do not worry, Tim is on the case! Saving the fiat currencies need for growth.


WASHINGTON (AFP) - Boosting growth should be the top priority of governments around the world, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Thursday, urging them to adjust their fiscal policies accordingly.

(Say - how's that growth gonna happen without an expansion in "cheap" energy?)

I was reading about the decade old subway and plans for a light rail line in Brasilia (and other South American Urban Rail).

Brasilia has just taken delivery of twelve more 3 car subway trains (total of 32 trains now) to meet increasing demand on the existing subway. There are plans to extend each leg of the "Y" subway plus they are building a single light rail line.

The expanded bent "Y" subway plus a single light rail line that parallels the trunk of "Y" and then goes to the airport is expected to REDUCE DRIVING BY 30% in a city of 2.6 million people. This is comparable to the impact of Washington DC's Metro.

{click magnifying glass to get a detailed look}

In addition, there are significant expansions underway in Lima Peru (finished subway started 22 years ago and started half of Line #2, plans for 5 lines), other expansions in Brazil, Venezuela and Santiago Chile.

Best Hopes for Oil Free Transportation,


PS: A -30% reduction in VMT is excellent, but not enough, by itself, for a post-Peak Oil world. However, add more economical cars, some bicycles, some EVs AND more urban rail (Brasilia is very far from saturated - just looking at the built-up areas, I could see places for another subway and a dozen light rail & streetcar lines)) and a sustainable city is with-in reach.

Buenos Aires Oil Free Option

39.3 km km will be added to the [subway] network, expanding it to about 97 km in total length and provide several stations with various interchanges and include north-south routes to create an appropriate network to avoid the city centre. The new lines will mean that more than two million citizens of Buenos Aires, or about 70% of the city's population will live within 400m of a metro station. The new lines will be distributed over 56 new stations.


This is a real world example of what a not particularly rich city can do,

Best Hopes for Buenos Aires,


Illinois launches campaign to improve Asian carp's image (for eating)

"Minced Asian carp tacos? How about spaghetti with carp sauce?

Illinois officials hope serving the invasive species on a plate is the creative solution to two big problems: controlling the plankton-gobbling carp from entering the Great Lakes and record numbers of people facing hunger.

But the idea has major obstacles, mainly overcoming people's nose-crinkling response to eating a fish that grows to 100 pounds and is able to sail out of the water; a trait spotlighted in YouTube videos"

If you can't beat 'em, eat 'em.

How do you deal the bones in dratted carp? The bones are through-out the flesh, that's the problem!

I know folks who make fish cakes from grass carp. They boil the skinned, cleaned fish and strain the bones and cartilage out, making a paste.

Another use of carp is as an animal feed. Grinding the entire fish and creating pellets for feeding other fish, or ingredients for dog and cat food, or a protein/calcium/nutrient source for livestock seems like a good use. Fish emulsion for fertilizer, etc, lots of uses.

For the last two weeks this comic in our newspaper has captured the zietgeist of what you could do with carp. Here's three - use the date button for others


But the idea has major obstacles, mainly overcoming people's nose-crinkling response to eating a fish that grows to 100 pounds and is able to sail out of the water; a trait spotlighted in YouTube videos"

A number of years ago when the Atlantic fisheries faced diminishing cod returns, the industry replenished its stocks with ground fish, particularly the ugly halibut. Today most people know halibut as a nice white fish while few have any idea what it looks like. That's b/c it is served up already fileted and processed. Fish sticks, anyone?

If the name carp has too many ready made connotations in people's minds - "I think I'll have a goldfish for lunch today" - the state of Illinois can follow in the footsteps of rape seed growers a generation back - name their commodity something else. Today canola oil is available on every grocery shelf and raises few eyebrows.

An old house, that used to be in my family, had a large tank in the grounds. It was used to provide carp for the dinner table.


I think that's the purpose of the "rebranding" campaign. One chef is calling the carp "silverfin". On the other hand, with so many people needing help from the food pantries, one would think people would be more accepting of what's for dinner. Especially with the processed junk people seem to swallow without complaint.

An Italian friend of mind is beyond aghast at Spaghetti-Os. "Stuff a dog couldn't eat - what Americans have done to such a fine Italians food !".

So food scientists can certainly do something with grass carp. Unfortunately, it has become the dominant species in many of of our rivers.

How many people "got by" with the help of a fishing pole during the Great Depression ?


Here is a fiction book TODers might enjoy "Freedom(tm)" by Daniel Suarez. It covers peak oil, debt, corporate personhood, sustainable farming, synthetic fuels, sustainable towns, localization, and alternative energy.

At CIA, Climate Change is a Secret

Last week, the CIA categorically denied a request under the Freedom of Information Act for a copy of any Center studies or reports concerning the impacts of global warming.

“We completed a thorough search for records responsive to your request and located material that we determined is currently and properly classified and must be denied in its entirety…,” wrote CIA’s Susan Viscuso to requester Jeffrey Richelson, an intelligence historian affiliated with the National Security Archive.

With some effort, one can imagine records related to climate change that would be properly classified. Such records might, for example, include information that was derived from classified collection methods or sources that could be compromised by their disclosure. Or perhaps such records might present analysis reflecting imminent threats to national security that would be exacerbated rather than corrected by publicizing them

FOIA reply

I've been looking at the CIA site for the past 2 years. This explains a lot. Although the article goes into a different tangent, this seems to support the view that things are starting to get out of hand. No sense frightening the sheeple.

It would be downright frightening to think they might have information that could make Climate Change look worse than what the scientists are actually saying.

Wind, Water, and Solar Power for the World

We don’t need nuclear power, coal, or biofuels. We can get 100 percent of our energy from wind, water, and solar (WWS) power. And we can do it today—efficiently, reliably, safely, sustainably, and economically.

We can get to this WWS world by simply building a lot of new systems for the production, transmission, and use of energy. One scenario that Stanford engineering professor Mark Jacobson and I developed, projecting to 2030, includes:

•3.8 million wind turbines, 5 megawatts each, supplying 50 percent of the projected total global power demand
•49 000 solar thermal power plants, 300 MW each, supplying 20 percent
•40 000 solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants supplying 14 percent
•1.7 billion rooftop PV systems, 3 kilowatts each, supplying 6 percent
•5350 geothermal power plants, 100 MW each, supplying 4 percent
•900 hydroelectric power plants, 1300 MW each, of which 70 percent are already in place, supplying 4 percent
•720 000 ocean-wave devices, 0.75 MW each, supplying 1 percent
•490 000 tidal turbines, 1 MW each, supplying 1 percent.

We also need to greatly expand the transmission infrastructure in order to create the large supergrids that will span many regions and often several countries and even continents. And we need to expand production of battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, ships that run on hydrogen fuel cell and battery combinations, liquefied hydrogen aircraft, air- and ground-source heat pumps, electric resistance heating, and hydrogen for high-temperature processes.

To make a WWS world work, we also need to reduce demand. Reducing demand by improving the efficiency of devices that use power, or substituting low-energy activities and technologies for high-energy ones—for example, telecommuting instead of driving—directly reduces the pressure to produce energy.

The papers are at:

"Reducing demand by improving the efficiency of devices that use power"

Why not 55 mph speed limit ?

At current prices how much will this cost?

Conservation is always the best bang for the buck. time to Power Down

Power is the rate that work is done..

the cost will be ... leave a little earlier ... wait a little longer

what do you feel would be a more cost effective measure ?


At a steady 55 my does does 95mpg (imperial). At a steady 75 it does 55 mpg (imperial).

Drag increases with the square of speed.

Merrill - A favor please. I'm willing to accept on face value what they say could be done. But save me some reading: what do they project the cost of this transition to be and exactly who will be required to pay for it as well as what authority will be monitoring enforcement?

Thanks in advance.


While you're at it, can you tell me how from 1920 onwards the US managed to spend trillions of dollars (inflation adjusted) on roads, parking facilities, traffic cops, driver training, filling stations, cars, buses, motor cycles and trucks, hospital bills from road crashes, etc. etc? Where was that money stashed in 1920?


fc - I'll help Merrill with that answer. First, almost none of those monies existed in 1920. Almost all of it came from govt tax receipts or from private investors during some of the strongest economic growth periods ever recorded on the planet. And with some of the lowest energy costs we've ever seen. Of course, it wasn't all cream and sugar: had a World War and a few other conflicts to pay for but also got some tech gains out of the process. And as a bonus we got to destroy the economies of some of our biggest competitors in the world.

But it might not be too hard to afford. We're only $14 trillion in depbt. Another $20 or $30 trillion won't hurt. Heck...we'll never pay back what we owe now so more shouldn't be much of a problem. In fact, assuming that, I wonder why the govt isn't doing it right now? All those unemployed folks could certainly use the jobs. So if we follow the same time line as the great expansion period you mention we'll have all that green energy flowing in about 90 years. Should be great for the children of my greatgrand kids

What do you mean, we're only $14 trillion in debt, white man?

But seriously, in debt to whom? Someone who's going to break your knees? Or put you in debtor's prison? Chairman WingDing going to show up with a posse?

The sooner that more people realize that money is an act of imagination, the sooner it will become a more useful tool. A tool with an everchanging optimal quantity and velocity. A tool that, like photons, can be in two places at once: here, savings; there, debt.

Green energy is already flowing in a big way. If it wasn't we'd all starve, mostly naked without a roof over our heads.

Now we were on course to capture even more of it and concentrate these incremental amounts so that socially useful work is accomplished. To accelerate this growth, it would be very helpful to redirect the flow of money that presently moves from consumers of the declining resource, oil, to its extractors. The money needs to be redirected to the resource with a long, long future, and to better ways of converting captured energy into useful work. That would be great for your progeny. Although it might not accord with the short-term interests of the few invested in the rapid depletion of the remaining endowment of hydrocarbons.

2.5 trillion owed to people who paid social security tax for the last 50 years. Do you plan on stiffing your mom and dad? Part owed to federal employees pension fund, part owed to military pension funds, part owed to medicare. Shall we stiff all these old folks just tell them debt is meaningless, get a job?

from this website http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/tic/Documents/...

China holds 1.2 trillion out of the 15 billion, projected end of year debt.

My mom and dad passed a decade ago, my dad nearly 100 years at the time. But thanks for your concern, however much you miss the mark as to what I'm saying. For example, did I say debt is meaningless? Debt is a creation of the intellect. It is a way of doing things. A way of doing things that changes over time and space. A way of doing things is not meaningless.

Do we have an obligation to others, or not? That is the question. I say that we do and that obligation includes a decent life for the elderly including (unenforced) idleness. Personally, I intend to do as my dad did and continue working until I no longer can.

China is not going to try to redeem its notes. For one thing, doing so would only cause domestic inflation. Avoiding INflation motivated it to exchange its cash for the notes in the first place.

The wealth came from a new energy source called oil and from an old energy source coal. It was easy to find and easy to extract. The next wave of development will come from a new energy source wind or thorium. I expect wind in the OECD and wind and thorium in China.

The wealth in the US to build out came from the US. For the future build out the energy will come from imported oil. That is taxed 20%. That is 20% is sent to far away lands to "defend" the US. I can see how KSA will build out the new system using the wealth of oil and the incremental new wealth of wind and thorium.

The article calls for a 40 year build out about twice as fast as the last round of building a new energy infrastructure. In this round I would expect the low cost countries to see capital investment first and have the fastest build out. While high cost countries fail to attract capital and are slow to build out.

I didn't find any bottom line numbers in the reports, so I did the following calculations.

The capital cost can be derived by multiplying the nameplate capacity per unit in Table 4 of the first report times the number of units in Table 4 times the capital cost per kW in Table A1.b of the second report and summing over the technologies. The result is about $160 trillion.

The operation and maintenance annual costs can be derived by multiplying the factors from Table 4 times the O&M annual cost per kW in Table A1.b and summing. The result is about $2.3 trillion.

There are various tables with alternative numbers, and the above don't include some of the technologies, such as wave. However, since there are a lot of unknown unknowns, they should suffice for a rough estimate.

Over a 20 year period, say 2012-2032, this would be about $8 trillion per year of capital investment. IIRC, the global GDP is about $45 trillion per annum. Thus you can't raise the capital to do this with savings rates typical of OECD countries, which are in the vicinity of 10%. You would need savings rates more like those of India or China, but on a global basis.

There's got to be a tipping point some time with a payback percentage of 110% on one year govt. backed loans. How's that going to work for longer than the short term? The markets are acting as if there already is a Greek default, so when it happens the drop won't be as severe.

The problem is that when it defaults it will trigger the CDSs. What if you are the owner of the CDS and the counter party defaults because they don't have money to pay you? You could then default on your obligations because you counted on collecting that money. The magnitude of the CDSs could be a lot larger than the value of debt on which Greece defaults.

Another problem is that as soon as Greece defaults, attention will shift to the other PIIGS. The rest of the PIIGS are a lot bigger than Greece.


About the time I started work on last week’s Archdruid Report post, The Oil Drum posted without comment this year’s most serenely idiotic statement about peak oil. The source was investment analyst Porter Stansberry; he was being interviewed about why peak oil isn’t a problem, and his reasoning ran as follows: "[G]eology doesn’t create oil; capital creates oil. The more capital you put toward oil, the more of it there will be." (snip)

Stansberry is thus claiming that the manipulation of symbols wields occult powers that can override the laws of nature and conjure up petroleum from the depths of the Earth. (snip)

...the Third Law should properly be renamed Clarke’s Fallacy; no matter how advanced a technology may be, it does the kind of thing technologies do—that is to say, it manipulates matter and energy directly, which again is what magic does not do. I’d like to propose, in fact, an alternative rule, which I’ve modestly titled Greer’s Law: "Anyone who is unable to distinguish between magic and any technology, however advanced, doesn’t know much about magic."

I spoke up last week praising JMG's writing and mind, and I'm not about to retract that; he's still one of my favorites. I just read his recent post and am underwhelmed. Oh, it's well-written... there's a lot of tap-dancing going on and it's done artfully. But I'm posting this as a followup to my last week's post, because it mentions TOD, because it mentions magic, because Clarke was a friend, and perhaps because demons urge me on.

Seems as though JMG is simply defining the word "magic" to a different meaning than others think it has. He means it to be the art of the placebo effect (and presumably more along those lines).

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That, as an affectation. I often refer to my border collie as a skunk, and nobody seems particularly disturbed; there is quite a resemblance.

And Porter Stansberry makes a great foil; he's clearly delusional. On the other hand, what are economists doing if not utilizing a placebo effect? They mumble arcana and the economy changes, because there is mass belief in their oft-nonsensical utterings. Placebo power, which this morning I've learned is magic.

Far being it from me to deny the power of placebos. Sugar pills work... even when you KNOW they're sugar pills. (google it). The human mind is is a strange place, and we don't have direct access to much of it at all. Moreover, if JMG can successfully re-brand "systems thinking" as "magic", who am I to complain? If I had choice in the matter, he would be put in charge of holding the nuclear launch codes.

However, there's another aspect to such re-branding, and it is precisely the fact that it trades upon the standard definition, memes, legends of magic while rebuking them in prose. For most people won't read the disclaimers; they'll take "magic" at face value as supernatural. And that baggage is what gives the word its power & enables the placebo effect. That is, the term as re-defined depends significantly on most people not noting it has been re-defined.

Now in all fairness, I think Sir Arthur would have greatly enjoyed Greer's writing, and perhaps he did. But I think calling his "law" a "fallacy" pushes the point a bit far, since Clarke was using the standard definition. I wouldn't have expected him, from Sri Lanka, to have known my "skunk" was really a border collie without proper explanation.

On this too-early no-coffee morning, I find myself thinking involuntarily in sci-fi quotes - one hazard of a childhood spent much like Greer's - and the one that pops to mind is by Papa Manzano, Dictator of San Lorenzo: "Science is magic that works".

Still, I'm a big fan of the placebo effect, having used its variants on scales small and large for decades to steer various things in the real world. There's definite power in learning the ways human minds work, individually and in aggregate. I suppose if my dog comes when I call skunk (she does), he's entitled to his best shot at reframing magic. Though I suspect it's placebo power will depend on its deep consensus meaning and gut mythology of the supernatural remaining intact. After all, any sufficiently obscure redefinition of a cultural icon is indistinguishable from none at all.

Greenish, perhaps you could crosspost this over at thearchdruidreport and let Greer and his followers have at it. I'm sure it would be welcomed. I'll post a link if you like, though it wouldn't have the same effect on the discussion I fear. As the conversation over there progresses, there seems to be more to Greer's definition of magic than a simple placebo effect...


As always, thanks for your valued take on things.... and please tell me you aren't disappointed that even Greer doesn't believe in a purely supernatural definition of magic, as I was when Joseph Campbell revealed to Bill Moyers that he didn't really believe in God ;-/

I checked out the postings at his site after reading the story on EB. As is right and proper, they seemed to be more-or-less eating it with ketchup. This post doesn't really belong there. Rather, his article proposes to redefine the work of one of my dead friends as a fallacy, weaves TOD into the story ("posted without comment"? I saw lots of comments), and is connected with a post I did here last week suggesting that we cut him slack. I know JMG often reads here and will likely see it, which is fine, but as I'm not a regular commenter over there I don't wish to ring his doorbell and leave what might be received as a flaming sack of poop.

I'm certain that there will be more to it than the placebo effect; there would have to be, rituals being rituals. But I think that may sum up the direction it's heading.

Of course I'm not disappointed in his beliefs (well, except for that Youtube audio of him talking about demons and the like being real). As JMG is a champion of non-delusionality, I didn't expect otherwise, as I said last week.

Perhaps I was hoping for a more deft segue, or perhaps no segue at all. I've recommended him to many people, and will continue to.

It's the "crazy uncle" thing. Ever had a friend who is entirely lucid except for some spectacularly odd belief? You wince if someone mentions UFO's in his presence because he thinks he was anal-probed by an Arcturian when he was 14, and will enthusiastically begin recounting it in the middle of a scholarly discussion of aerodynamics, which causes his valid points about aerodynamics to be lost in the shuffle. Even if he WAS probed by a an ET - dubious - it ain't salient to aerodynamics.

Now maybe Greer is just good enough to pull it off, like a golf handicap. Doing what other commenters on world predicaments have been largely unable to, AND while wearing a funny hat. It may take some magic, though.

Uncle George....he taught advanced mathematics at the University of Washington; swore cigars were good for you :-()

I tell you, those irrational numbers will get you every time, especially when you try to divide up the π into equal parts...

Re "crazy uncle" and UFOs - I suspect my friends and family think that about me and peak oil.

Heh. Undoubtedly. Certainly my actual nieces and nephew believed that about me even before I mentioned Peak Stuff. Could be that everyone interesting is someone's "crazy uncle".

However, when leading off with stuff like "peak oil" which most people find conceptually dubious, it's probably best to minimize tourettes-like digressions which would seem to confirm their doubts. Like a professed belief in sasquatch & unicorns, an admiration for the nifty look of nazi uniforms, or faith in the practicality of an armada of space power satellites.

Matt Savinar is doing astrology readings these days. Slippery slope?

Given that people need a new creed to live by in a post -oil world, and people are prone to believe in the supernatural, be it magic, horoscopes, UFOs or God(s), I think having a superficially crazy Druid with an underlying deep understanding of human nature and the physical limits to growth, as well as sound moral principals, drum up a bit of support for a new world order by adding in a bit applied psychology dressed up as hocus pokus for the mass audience, is probably a good move.

The more that we squeal about him here, the more followers from happy flower land are likely to take him seriously ;-)

I hope he gets a lot of followers. The main reason for my critique is that I like his stuff; I'm just afraid calling it "magic" will limit his audience or cause excessive rolling of eyes. But perhaps not. At any rate, no disagreement with your main points, thanks.

There is a valid point that without capital, buried hydrocarbons might as well be non-existant and those on the surface are of no value. Until someone figures out that they can be useful when poured burning over an enemy. But then figuring out something is introducing capital into the equasion.

World Bank: ditch fossil fuel subsidies to address climate change

Leaked World Bank documents propose that rich countries should eliminate the $50bn a year they give in fossil fuel subsidies, in order to financially help poor countries address climate change.

The documents, due to be presented to the G20 finance ministers in November, also suggest that countries redirect "climate aid" money already pledged, towards the propping up ailing carbon markets.

Leaked Document: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/interactive/2011/sep/21/mobilising...

Ya, I know it's unrelated but, from the 'that's cool - but spooky' corner...

Scientists use brain imaging to reveal the movies in our mind (w/Video)

Also a fundamental principle of Physics doesn't get broken everyday ...

Particles Found to Break Speed of Light

and Roll over Einstein: Pillar of physics challenged (Update)

Warm up the Dilithium crystals

You cannot travel faster than the speed of light in vacuum. In this particular case the neutrinos were not traveling through vacuum.

The neutrinos were traveling through solid rock which is a tad denser than a vacuum, yet the neutrinos exceeded 'c' in a vacuum.

Their data seems to contradict the observation that 'a [particle] cannot travel faster than the speed of light.

Their data is openly available and they invite identification of any fallacy in their calculations - have at it.

Most everyone wants a techno fix instead of conservation/powering down.

Ahh... I don't think the experiment was meant as a technofix.

As for powerdown, they went through as much electricity as a small city to accelerate a packet of neutrinos that wouldn't cover the head of pin. It doesn't look like there will be too many high energy physics experiments on the down slope of PO.

Ahh... I don't think the experiment was meant as a technofix.

No. They were trying to answer a different esoteric question about neutrinos. The apparent violation of the universal speed limit was an acident, one I think they'd like to explain away. But, so far they haven't been able to. So the thing is being put out as a request for the broader physics community to find out where they went wrong. No one really expects it will be confirmed.

Not being a particle physicist, I probably don't have the chops to find any holes in their math. Nonetheless, I expect someone to eventually find an error in their setup or in the assumptions governing their equations. Someone on one of those links above made the point that if neutrinos really moved at c+60ns, the neutrinos that arrived "with" SN (supernova) 1987A would have arrived years earlier, instead of beating visual evidence of the supernova by a mere three hours or so.

Have they attempted to explain conceptually how something known to have mass (like a neutrino) could move faster than a massless particle?

Just repeat the experiment over twice the distance and see if the delay changes.

Or send two different particles simultaneously, and see if the arrive at the same time.

Not too difficult at a superficial level.

I think the point is that they don't want to explain why the figures are right, they want someone to find out what they've done wrong to give them these consistently "wrong" values.

As you point out, the findings from SN1987A would take some explaining.

They'll probably just use these new findings to "recalculate" the speed of light and we can all go back to sleep.

Perhaps neutrinos interact with other matter just enough to get a tiny boost, sort of like spacecraft getting "slingshotted" around the moon or a pinball hitting one of those little active bumpers :-0

The problem is that they can't find the holes either. They are not worrying about explaining it but asking people to check their math, they'll look for the explanations later. They are releasing the data earlier than normal so that it can be checked.


Back when I was a snot-nosed young college undergrad, I did an analysis on Einstein's equations to see if there was anything to see if there was anything in them to prevent a particle travelling faster than light.

The answer: Nothing really, it's just that the math gets weird on the other side of the "light speed" barrier. Your four-dimensional universe ends up with three time dimensions (or what look like time dimensions) and one space dimension and to slow down you have to accelerate. All kinds of strange things happen.

But it's not really any weirder than quantum physics, which has all kinds of counter-intuitive effects. The Universe doesn't really care what you think, it only cares if the math works out.

So, I can see a Warp Drive in our future. Watch for it coming to a galaxy near you.

From taiga to tank: hard scrabble for new oil

... For all the field's complexity, such challenges may be the new normal in Russia, the world's largest oil producer, which is struggling to keep output steady at 10.2 million barrels per day as Soviet-era fields decline.

Fields like Eastern Siberia's Verkhnechonsk, set to pump nearly 100,000 bpd this year and reach its plateau of over 150,000 bpd in 2014, are ever more complex and remote, but essential to maintaining Russia's oil exports as the Soviet oil heartland of Western Siberia declines.

Up to $6 billion in investment have been committed to Verkhnechonsk with a view to healthy returns at oil prices from $75-$120 per barrel.

... "If things were done purely on the basis of economic considerations, perhaps some of these development projects would not be going ahead," said Alexander Burgansky, head of oil and gas research at Otkritiye in Moscow.

Anyone in PSE's service territory in need of a new, energy-efficient electric water heater? If so, act now.

PSE Electric Customers Hit the Energy-Saving Lottery
PSE Electric is offering more than 1 million customers in Seattle/Olympia up to $500 in rebates for the purchase of energy-efficient water heaters until Oct. 5, 2011

With the PSE rebate, tax incentives, and discounts from manufacturers such as GE, homeowners can be almost completely reimbursed for a new water heater purchase.


From now until Oct. 5, 2011, GE is offering a promotion that encourages its local and national retail and wholesale distribution partners to offer the GeoSpring at up to $400 off the suggested retail price of $1,399.*** The GeoSpring also qualifies for a $300 federal tax credit if purchased and installed in 2011.

Adding all these together, total purchase incentives tally $1,200 on the GeoSpring, if purchased before the Oct. 5, 2011 deadline.

See: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/pse-electric-customers-hit-the-energy-s...

See also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5IxWTUNdXo

A conventional electric water heater retails for about $400.00, so you could conceivably purchase one that uses half as much electricity and save a couple hundred bucks in the process.


Seeing that almost makes me wish I was a homeowner, but alas...

So this is a heat pump that adds extra heat to the water tank by removing heat from where? The outside air or another body of water ?

This thing is quoted as using 1856kWh per year, my total domestic electricity consumption, family of four, is less than that.

If this represents a 50% saving for one appliance for an average American family, there as a lot of low hanging fruit.

Hi Ralph,

In the southern United States, water heaters are typically installed in garages and this would allow a HPWH to scavenge free heat. In the mid and upper states, they're generally located in basements, some which would be heated during the winter months and other not. For folks like myself, there's the added bonus of free dehumidification which in our maritime climate is a huge win if it helps to minimize the operation of your dehumidifier (as I type this, the relative humidity outside is 100 per cent). Our electric water heater is currently averaging 3.5 kWh per day whereas our dehumidifier consumes anywhere from 6.0 to 9.0 kWh.


Solyndra Gate Pocalypse is Mark Fiore's latest:


I was dissapointed Obama didn't focus on providing lease free govt. owned land for solar in the Nevada to Arizona dead man's zone. Provide the land rent free (as long as it is being used for power generation from wind or solar) and low interest, long term loans. There's no need to give the money away to spur development.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich was on C-SPAN Journal this morning and he nonchalantly mentioned Peak Oil as being real and here.


But then he went on to talk about how Mother Earth needs her vital lubricating fluids kept inside so that she doesn't quake her earth and at that point I had to gnash my teeth. OMG. What are they teaching in freshman Earth Science class these days?

link to a video blogger here

Congressman Dennis Kucinich was on C-SPAN Journal this morning and he nonchalantly mentioned Peak Oil as being real and here.


Not exactly the spokesman PO needs. I know the little guy means well . . . but he is pretty far on the left fringe. The guy believes in UFOs, IIRC. And he often doesn't have his finger on the pulse . . . he came out with a big anti-Libya Op-Ed just as the rebels took over Tripoli.

And speaking of being on the fringe, it is too bad Matt Simmons isn't around to advise Romney on oil. Simmons was a big Romney backer. But now Romney is on the 'Drill, baby, drill' band-wagon like the rest of the GOP presidential crew.

He said he once "saw a UFO". He didn't say it was an alien spacecraft from another planet.

I belive in UFOs. Not everything that flies have been identified. I don't belive they come from outside the solar system, though.

But now Romney is on the 'Drill, baby, drill' band-wagon like the rest of the GOP presidential crew.

Romney's a master at finding votes. If drill baby drill gets more votes, then peak oil takes a back seat.

PE - And that's the most frustrating aspect of all. Any candidate, R or D, could have his cake and eat it too IMHO. You might have noticed that I'm a big drill, baby, drill proponent a well as a PO believer of the highest order. Those possitions are not incompatable. Drilling, done responsibly, is good on may levels that I've detailed before. But it won't change PO to a significant degree. By taking a strong PO position a candidate can push for more drilling (producing more jobs, tax revenue and smaller trade deficits and also push the absolute need for consservations and alt development. And roll the whole pitch up in the flag and sell it as a national security issue.

Who wouldn't love at least some portion of that pitch: conservatives wanting more biz oportunities, liberals wanting more efficient/green consumption, right wingers wanting more national security babble, socialists wanting more jobs and tax revenue to redistributte. Granted each interest group would dislike some portion of the plan but they would also have something to latch on to. And best of all for the rest of us we would have a candidate finally telling the whole truth as we know it for a change. Many don't like Good Hair Perry. But imagine if he pushed such a platform, especially with a strong PO scent, you might just hold your nose and vote for him. Many here might not admit they would but if they felt he was really sincere...who knows. Every other candidate, R & D, will be lying to th American people telling them we can become enrgy independent.

The reason I offer Perry as a possibility is that he would have more cred with such a pitch than the other candidates IMHO. For instance he can push the oil man BS while also pointing out that he's the only gov in the country that has granted offshore wind farm leases. And more wind power than dozens of other states combined.

Your view is prescient. If there is ever going to be any progress in getting out of the mess we're in as part of any kind of Federally directed initiative, the way you describe it is the only way it can happen. Sort of like President Nixon's initiative to "Open Red China"; only a politician with impeccable anti-communist credentials could have ever pulled that off.
Of course, this doesn't mean that such a thing is at all likely.

jabby - True...more of a fantasy for me than a prediction.

"Many don't like Good Hair Perry. But imagine if he pushed such a platform, especially with a strong PO scent, you might just hold your nose and vote for him."

Sorry, Rock. Your last Gov/Prez eroded the line between church and state more than enough. This will trump peak oil and economics for me every time. If, like me, one believes that economic decline is inevitable regardless of how peak oil is handled at the top, it becomes clear that we certainly don't need the kind of divide Perry's pious religiosity can create. I've seen firsthand how this sort of divide manifests itself when economies collapse. The list is long, the mass graves never deep enough.

BTW: Who's handling Perry?

Ghung - So you're ready to vote for a non-religious candidate that rejects PO? But I do agree with you: the bad times are inevitable. The question for me is whether someone should get out there and warn folks in way they can absorb it. Who ever becomes next president in part because he convinced the public he can lead the country to "energy independence" isn't going to make matters better. Doesn't matter to me if it's Perry or any other candidate including President Obama. My point was wanting to see someone take that big leap to start telling the public the truth.

Perry handlers: did you see my post about his campaign managers? Very interesting. He has 3 top dog academic Yankee liberals who have been running him for years. Google Perry's campaign staff and you should find them. On Amazon a writter has a $.99 chapter out of his book on campaign methods. In his opinion Perry has one of the very best campaign staffs in the country. But apparently they are having trouble making him look presidential in the debates. But that's not their expertise. Their skill is getting the most votes at the cheapest cost. If Perry ends up going agaisnt President Obama's $billion war chest he'll need every bit of financial leverage he can get.

...start telling the public the truth.

And what then ?

As Hans Herren told me - It is like telling someone they have cancer, but we have no treatment plan.

IMVHO, a "treatment plan" has to be included with the Peak Oil message.

Best Hopes for "Planning for a Panic - And Panicking with a Plan".


If I were dying from cancer I would like to know. Clear up some important business, settle some old scores, have one more po'boy from Mothers. You know...take care of the important matters in life. And if I were 20 yo I might change my career plan of building energy greedy products and might not look forward to buying that 15,000 sq ft McMansion.

I've seldom seen a situation where ignorance was a plus. But I get your point. Even if you convince them about PO I hate to think about the "solutions" some would come up with.

I don't think your reaction is normal.

I think I'd want to know, too, but maybe it would be different if I were actually in that situation.

There's a genetic test for Huntington's now. There's plenty of reason to want to know if you've inherited the disease or not. Even though there is no cure, it can help people decide whether they should put their money toward retirement or more medical coverage, whether to have children and if they want to screen embryos first, whether offspring already born are at risk, etc. But only 5% of those at risk choose to be tested. Most people just don't want to know.

Living life without hope is a problem for most people.

I have come conclusion that, within two and perhaps three standard deviations of what is likely to happen, that Climate Change will be VERY "disruptive" for humanity.

In other words, a nearly certain catastrophe.

None-the-less, I see value in slowing down and reducing the maximum Climate Change.

Likewise post-Peak Oil.

Yet I read history and see what has happened before - and some fraction of humanity middles through.

Best Hopes for Hope,


I once saw a UFO. It was round, spinning rapidly, about 2 feet across, and flew past, nearly taking my head off.

It rapidly became an IFO when a car screeched round the corner on 3 wheels and an axle :)

Per the oil tracker consultancy, Oil Movements, OPEC exports have remained range bound for some weeks now. They are more or less stuck at about 22.7 mbpd, per OM.

OM earlier this year reported peak 2011 exports in early February of about 24.05 mbpd, just before Libya started to go 'offline'. Libya exported about 1.35 mbpd of exports then, so total OPEC exports have been reduced by almost exactly the amount of exports lost from Libya. Putting this in another way, OPEC has not increased exports at all to make up for the loss of oil from Libya.

Apparent increases in 'output' by OPEC, mostly in Saudi Arabia, have ended up being used internally there.

Note: OM lately has a habit of downwardly revising prior weeks. The original report (further below) was a higher figure for Sept. 10.

OPEC to Boost Crude Exports on Asian Demand, Oil Movements Says
By Lananh Nguyen - Sep 22, 2011 11:30 AM ET

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will raise shipments this month as Asian refiners increase purchases of crude, according to Oil Movements.

Exports will rise 0.6 percent to 22.7 million barrels a day in the four weeks to Oct. 8, the Halifax, England-based tanker- tracker said today in a report. That compares with 22.57 in the month to Sept. 10. The figures exclude Ecuador and Angola.


August 25, 2011

OPEC exports to rise in 4 weeks to Sept 10 -analyst

Jonathan Saul
Keiron Henderson

LONDON, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Seaborne oil exports from OPEC, excluding Angola and Ecuador, will rise by 30,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the four weeks to Sept. 10, an analyst who estimates future shipments said on Thursday.

Exports will rise to 22.69 million bpd on average from 22.66 million bpd in the four weeks to Aug. 13, UK consultancy Oil Movements said in its latest weekly estimate.

The top story above mentioned the recent Bundeswehr and the US Joint Forces Command reports on peak oil. So I searched the Oildrum and found a link where I could download the English translation of the German report. Then I went searching for the Joint Forces report, but couldn't find it. Google-searched, found lots of comments about it back when it was published, but can't find a link to get an actual copy of the report to read it for myself. Found the Joint Forces Command website and ..."The United States Joint Forces Command was disestablished as of August 31, 2011."

JOE 2010 (PDF)

By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 MBD.

IMF chief tells Europe: you must bail out the banks again
IMF says debt crisis has cost institutions €300bn as bank shares plummet on new market fears for global economy

Here we go again!