Drumbeat: October 21, 2011

Declining Energy Quality and Economic Recession

According to many, downturns in the U.S. and European markets are primarily the result of unsustainable behaviors in the financial industry. But, some critics are asking – was declining energy quality a major contributor to these negative turns? According to Dr. Carey King, a research associate at the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin, the answer to this question is likely “yes.” And, he is not alone is his opinion – critics including Professors Robert Ayres and Charles Hall, as well as former chief economist at CIBC World Markets Jeff Rubin have also voiced their belief that energy quality was (and will continue to be) a main driver in our economic strength (or weakness).

Dr. King’s research focuses on a metric called Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROI). In his work, he strives to define what EROI includes and what it means – with the hope of allowing us to compare the efficiency of the different energy sources that we currently, or might soon, rely upon to power our lives. In Dr. King’s publication in Environmental Research Letters, he discusses EROI in terms of another interesting dimension, called the Energy Intensity Ratio (EIR), which brings economics into the mix.

US sheds 10 rigs

The number of rigs drilling in the US fell by 10 this week, bringing the total in the country to 2013, according to the weekly report by Houston-based oilfield services giant Baker Hughes.

Mexico's Pemex expects output to hold steady at 2.57 mn bpd

Mexico City (EFE via COMTEX) -- State-owned Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, estimates that oil output will climb to more than 2.6 million barrels per day by the end of 2011, enough to lift average production for the year to 2.57 million bpd, or the same level as 2010, CEO Juan Jose Suarez Coppel said Wednesday.

In a congressional hearing, the executive said that result would mean "the production shortfall that began in 2005 with the decline ... of the Cantarell field will finally have been halted."

Malawi needs fuel pricing reforms – MCCI

Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) has called for reforms in the pricing of fuel, saying Malawi is experiencing severe shortage of fuel because of the poor performance on the availability of foreign exchange.

Private fuel stations scramble as diesel supplies tank

SHANGHAI / BEIJING - Private-sector gas stations, which account for almost half of the nation's total, are experiencing a severe diesel shortage that won't pass quickly, analysts said.

Diesel shortages arise every September and October, the traditional peak months for diesel use, forcing private-sector gas stations to scour the country for supplies. But the shortfall is worse than usual this year.

Trouble turning up the heat

THE energy market isn’t working, says Chris Huhne, Britain’s energy secretary. At the Liberal Democrat party conference in September he attacked firms for “predatory pricing”. Gas and electricity prices have risen by nearly a fifth this year, which helped push the latest consumer-price index of inflation, released on October 18th, back to its 2008 peak of 5.2%. This week David Cameron, the prime minister, held a summit with the utility companies to whip them into line.

But an ear-bashing from politicians won’t fix the problem. At stake is more than grumbling by domestic consumers. Since 1990 Britain has boasted one of the most liberalised energy markets in the rich world, and could initially point to some of the lowest prices in Europe. No longer. Bills are rising and fuel poverty, defined as spending more than 10% of household income on energy, is growing: Consumer Focus, a watchdog, predicts this year’s price hikes will increase the number of households in fuel poverty from 5.1m to 6.4m.

Richard Heinberg: Course Review (or why Daniel Yergin needs to do his homework)

Let’s start with the “game changer” of natural gas hydrofracturing. Here we have complex, costly technology being applied to the production of a resource that is otherwise getting scarce (conventional natural gas production is in decline in the US, and soon to be so in most other regions). But today the US has plenty of gas and prices are low. Reserves in the Marcellus and other shale regions are high. Is this evidence that the “peak” thesis is wrong?

Mozambique's bonanza feeds evidence of a coming cleaner China

Mozambique is the world's newest petro-state. U.S. and Italian companies say they have found the natural gas equivalent of more than 4 billion barrels of oil offshore from the southeast African country.

The news is larger than Mozambique, as we see again that long stretches of the African continent from north to south on both coasts appear to be swimming in oil and natural gas. The geologic structures are so rich that drillers have sought and found analogues across the Atlantic in French Guiana.

BP Wins U.S. Gulf Deep-Water Plan Approval

BP Plc (BP/) received U.S. permission for oil exploration in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the first approval since the company’s Macondo well caused the nation’s worst offshore spill last year.

The company must obtain a drilling permit before work can begin in a field about 192 miles (309 kilometers) off the Louisiana coast, according to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which announced approval of the exploration plan today in an e-mailed statement.

Shale Gas a Major Contributor in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions -API

Natural gas from shale formations represented a walloping $37 billion of the overall $108 billion that the petroleum industry invested in technologies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 2000 and 2010, according to a new report released by the American Petroleum Institute (API) on October 20.

EPA To Develop Natural Gas Wastewater Standards

U.S. officials plan to create new environmental standards for natural gas production and coal bed methane extraction.

The Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday that it plans to propose new rules for wastewater associated with shale gas in 2014 and for coal bed methane extraction in 2013.

Nigeria village files $1B suit against Shell in US

LAGOS, Nigeria—A village in Nigeria's oil-rich southern delta where observers found a drinking-water well polluted with benzene 900 times the international limit has sued Royal Dutch Shell PLC for $1 billion in a U.S. federal court.

Shell to Boost Nigeria Natural-Gas Output Within a Year, Reduce Flaring

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), operator of Nigeria’s largest oil fields, plans to boost its natural-gas production in the country as it starts a new facility and cuts flaring, or the burning of the fuel at fields.

The Hague-based company plans to increase daily output to one billion cubic feet within a year from about 700 million, Osten Olorunsola, Shell’s vice president for gas in sub-Saharan Africa, said yesterday in an interview in Abuja, the capital.

Obama: 'America's war in Iraq will be over' at year's end

U.S. President Barack Obama, announcing Friday that "the rest of our troops will come home by the end of the year," said: "After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over."

Clinton warns Pakistan: 'You can't keep snakes in your backyard'

ISLAMABAD — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday that the United States had held a preliminary meeting with representatives of the Haqqani network, a group of militants Washington has blamed for a series of attacks in Afghanistan.

Syrian protesters: ‘It is your turn now, Bashar’

AMMAN — The killing of Libya's Moammar Gadhafi fueled anti-government rallies across Syria after Friday prayers and security forces killed 13 people in a continued crackdown on protesters seeking President Bashar al-Assad's ouster, activists said.

Exclusive - Libya summons Gazprom over Gaddafi-era oil deal

(Reuters) - Libya's National Oil Corporation has summoned Russia's Gazprom to a meeting in Tripoli to discuss what the Libyans said was a breach of investment obligations -- the first sign the new leaders are prepared to renegotiate Gaddafi-era contracts.

No oil bounty for France and UK as Libya rebuilds

London (CNN) -- As the National Transitional Council (NTC) prepares to dissolve itself, and its replacement starts working towards Libya's new constitution and democratic institutions, it is worth reflecting why the United Kingdom and France supported the revolution back in late March. Contrary to what some believe, it was not all about oil; but oil and gas will be central to Libya's recovery.

In Libya, echoes of when the CIA's Afghan funding went wrong

For six months -- ever since the rebel movement took shape in Benghazi -- one of the liveliest guessing games in Libya has been deducing the whys of Qatar's deep intervention in the uprising. After all, for the last decade or so, Qatar ruler Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani's main preoccupations have been the accumulation of a fabulous natural gas fortune, and the creation of a wondrously successful all-news TV channel. But now, Sheikh Hamad has deployed jets, military and political emissaries, and tens of millions of dollars to project the influence of his ultra-tiny sheikhdom.

This sudden high profile has generated concern, particularly among those familiar with how similar well-meaning Arab largesse went wrong in 1980s Afghanistan, leading to that nation's long period of jihadism.

Chugoku to borrow $1.31 bln from banks - Nikkei

(Reuters) - Major Japanese banks, including Mizuho Corporate Bank and the Development Bank of Japan, decided on Friday to lend a total of 100 billion yen ($1.31 billion) to Chugoku Electric Power Co by the fiscal year-end, the Nikkei business daily said.

Chugoku plans to use the money to purchase fossil fuels for power plants, the paper said.

What Will Turn Us On in 2030?

Will it be solar power? Nuclear power? Biofuels from algae? At a Future Tense event on Wednesday, energy experts took their best at prognosticating where our energy will come from in 2030. Though the participants came from a variety of backgrounds—academia, the auto industry, clean-tech startups, science journalism—everyone agreed on one thing: Our energy sources two decades from now won’t be too different from today.

Trouble in the algae lab for Craig Venter and Exxon

A much-trumpeted partnership of one of today's most celebrated scientists and the world's largest publicly traded oil company seems stalled in its aim of creating mass-market biofuel from algae, and may require a new agreement to go forward. The disappointment experienced thus far by scientist J. Craig Venter and ExxonMobil is notable not only because of their stature, but that many experts think that, at least in the medium term, algae is the sole realistically commercial source of biofuel that can significantly reduce U.S. and global oil demand.

China's Great Wall eaten away by mining

Voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the 4,000-mile wall snakes its way across 11 Chinese provinces and draws millions of tourists every year, mostly to restored sections near the capital, Beijing.

Away from the tourist trail, however, some parts of the wall are being allowed to crumble away.

About 124 miles southwest of Beijing, in rural Laiyuan county in Hebei province, dozens of small mines are threatening the stability of the centuries-old wall as prospectors dig for copper, iron, molybdenum and nickel, state news agency Xinhua reported.

John Michael Greer: A lesson in practical magic

Up to this point in our discussion of the intersection between peak oil and magic, we’ve mostly talked about what doesn’t work. That couldn’t be avoided, since the misunderstandings of magic that run barefoot through contemporary culture have to be dealt with before it’s possible to make sense of anything more substantive.

Study: Better neighborhood lowers obesity, diabetes risk

Obesity increases people's risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other serious health problems. People in poorer neighborhoods are at a higher risk of becoming too heavy because they may not have access to grocery stores that are well-stocked with healthy fare such as fresh fruits and vegetables, often don't have safe places to be physically active and may have greater concerns about safety, which could impact their psychological stress and eating habits, Ludwig says.

The Energy Trap

Many Do the Math posts have touched on the inevitable cessation of growth and on the challenge we will face in developing a replacement energy infrastructure once our fossil fuel inheritance is spent. The focus has been on long-term physical constraints, and not on the messy details of our response in the short-term. But our reaction to a diminishing flow of fossil fuel energy in the short-term will determine whether we transition to a sustainable but technological existence or allow ourselves to collapse. One stumbling block in particular has me worried. I call it The Energy Trap.

Oil Advances Amid Speculation European Rescue Fund May Ease Debt Crisis

Oil advanced in New York as European leaders prepared for talks on how to bolster a rescue fund that will ease the debt crisis threatening the region’s economy.

Futures climbed as much as 1.3 percent, paring a weekly loss. Europe may deploy as much as 940 billion euros ($1.3 trillion) to fight the debt crisis, two people familiar with discussions said. U.S. crude inventories dropped to a 20 month- low this week, tumbling to the five-year seasonal average for the first time since July 2010.

Brazil's Petrobras To Cut Natural Gas Prices By 19%

SAO PAULO -(Dow Jones)- Brazilian state-run energy company Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PBR, PETR4.BR), or Petrobras, will cut the price of natural gas by nearly 19% as of Nov. 1, providing some welcome news for the outlook for inflation.

In a statement published late Thursday, Petrobras said it cut prices due to prevailing market conditions.

Norway in gas 'wake-up call'

Norway’s foreign minister has issued a wake-up call to the country’s gas producers, led by state-owned Statoil, to raise their game or risk losing their role as a major supplier to the European continent.

Statoil doubles estimated size of North Sea find

Norwegian oil firm Statoil has said there are twice the oil reserves it previously estimated in its newly discovered North Sea field.

Statoil now says the Aldous Major South field contains between 900 million and 1.5 billion barrels of recoverable oil.

Russian Minister: Profit Tax On Oil Unlikely Before 2013 -Report

MOSCOW -(Dow Jones)- Russia's Finance Ministry doesn't expect a profit-based tax system for the country's oil industry to be introduced until after 2013, due to disagreements both within the government and with producers, the Vedomosti daily said Friday, citing Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Shatalov.

Six-figure salaries, but homeless

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- They're pulling in fat paychecks, but now they're also homeless.

In the town of Williston, N.D., America's newest oil boomtown, more than 6,000 job seekers have come from every corner of the country looking for work. Yet, oil companies and other developers haven't been able to build housing units fast enough.

Looking to strike it rich for oil in offshore Ireland

IRELAND has watched for years as neighbours in the UK and Norway reaped the benefits of staggering oil strikes in the North Sea.

This week, efforts to emulate that success here stepped up a gear when the Government granted licences to 12 companies from four countries to search for hydrocarbons off the west coast.

Gadhafi era ends: What's next for Libya?

Gadhafi's bloody finish, documented in grisly cellphone photos that swept the globe after being sent by rebels at the scene, triggered bullets of celebration and cries of "Allaha akbar!" or "God is great!" across his battered North African nation.

Yet Libya and its long-suffering tribal society, sitting atop vast oil riches, faces an uncertain future as it tries to establish a real government in place of the dead leader's personal tyranny.

Legacy of Repression Marked Qaddafi Rule That Left Rich Nation in Poverty

Muammar Qaddafi’s four decades of rule in Libya were marked by international sanctions and a distribution of income that left Libyans, who sit on Africa’s largest oil reserves, poorer than the people of almost every other major Arab oil producer.

Gadhafi's death helps clear way for oil exports

It will still be several months before Libya can export as much oil as it did before it descended into civil war earlier this year. But the killing of Moammar Gadhafi reduces the chance that violence will get in the way as Libya cranks up production again.

Schlumberger Third-Quarter Profit Misses Estimates on Mideast Income Drop

Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB), the world’s largest oilfield-services provider, reported third-quarter profit that failed to meet analysts’ estimates as income from the Middle East and Asia declined.

Arab world needs an economic revolution

The momentum of the Arab Spring has been mesmerising, yet the future is uncertain. The region lags behind other emerging markets.

EU oil sands ranking a trade threat: Alberta

The government of Alberta, home to the bulk of Canada’s oil sands, has written to European Union experts voicing “grave concerns” over the bloc’s plans to rank unconventional oil as a highly polluting fuel saying the measure is unfair and a potential threat to trade ties.

“The proposed measure has been deliberately crafted in such a way as to discriminate specifically and uniquely against oil sands derived fuels,” said a copy of the letter seen by Reuters.

The Arctic and the Lessons of the Gulf

The Interior Department has been inching closer to approving Royal Dutch Shell’s ambitious plans to drill for what are believed to be huge deposits of oil in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska. In August, it approved an exploratory drilling plan for the Beaufort Sea, and two weeks ago it upheld the validity of leases in the neighboring Chukchi Sea that had been challenged by environmental groups.

The Interior Department and Shell both insist that they have learned the lessons of the disastrous BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico. They must prove it. The Interior Department has written tough new regulations governing drilling, including requirements for subsea containment systems to plug a runaway well.

Analysis: Russia not ready to cover China rare earths gap

(Reuters) - Russia, with as much as a third of the world's rare earth deposits, will take at least a decade to develop them and step into the breach that has been created since China chopped supply of the metals to the rest of the world.

The Peak Oil Squeeze

It's easy to watch the big fish panic. It can even be enjoyable.

We have front-row seats to their race against Peak Oil, so we might as well sit back and let them put money in our pockets...

Everett council candidate wants to raise oil awareness

And there's another, more important reason for Minchew: the fact the world will have less oil in the future than it did in the past. It seems like a big topic for local politics, but Minchew believes even city decisions need to be considered through the lens of peak oil.

"Nobody thinks about how pervasive oil is in our lives," he said. "It's in our pharmaceuticals, our clothing, our cosmetics -- everything is steeped in oil."

No Peak Oil to Yergin Who Sees Years of Rising Supplies: Books

“The Quest” is still worth reading for Yergin’s erudition and insight. For instance, he debunks the peak oil theory, which says world gas and oil production may soon top out and then rapidly decline. (This idea helped lead to the price spike of 2008.) Yergin notes that such fears have cropped up before.

“This is not the first time the world has run out of oil,” he writes. “It is the fifth.”

Yergin is confident that the industry will be able to keep up with growing demand. He says an IHS CERA study of some 70,000 oil fields reveals that “the world is clearly not running out of oil. Far from it.”

All too hard to face unpalatable truth about oil

"Drill, baby, drill!" It's the battle-cry of the believers in "business as usual". Sarah Palin's infamous injunction is also the Populist Right's translation of former American vice-president, Dick Cheney's, much more ominous observation: "The American way of life is non-negotiable."

What did Cheney mean?

In brutally simple terms, Cheney's words meant that nothing should be allowed to come between Americans and the supply of cheap fossil fuel that underpins the USA's extraordinary wealth.

"Drill, baby, drill!", also sums up the National-led Government's policy on fossil fuels.

Viable alternatives not easily adopted

The greatest risk posed to the New Zealand maritime environment comes from coastal shipping, not oil exploration.

Ignore the sceptics, the 'peak oil brigade' is right

Contrary to what Professor Helm argues, current high oil prices have nothing similar to what happened during the 1979 oil shock. While oil prices could, momentarily, decline with another recession, since conventional oil production peaked in 2006, we have entered a new energy paradigm.

Peak Oil, Entirely Nonsense: As is Peak Gas

One of the things that really rather annoys me about the peak oil (and in the UK, there’s a similar one about peak gas) argument is that it entirely ignores the impact of changing technology.

Peak coal puts SA growth at risk

Apocalyptic prophecies abound. Bludgeoned by messages of growing global economic doom and ambushed by information overload, it is easy to ignore predictions of impending change, particularly when they come from scientists or geologists rather than economists.

But now even economists are sounding a warning and perhaps it is time the world took heed.

More Greenwashing From Sir Richard?

Bio-diesel has made some nice gains, but still only accounts for a paltry 2 percent of world production.

The overwhelming reason that this is true is because Branson's "with oil running out" statement is complete hogwash. Most people in the energy industry know this but only the radical fringe in the alternative fuels industry continue to push the idea that "peak oil" is upon us. They have been saying this for 120 years and have been consistently wrong.

Most energy-efficient state? Calif. no longer tops list

California no longer ranks as the most energy-efficient U.S. state as other states made gains despite tight budgets and Congress failed to adopt an energy strategy, says an annual scorecard released today.

For the first time, Massachusetts takes the top spot, which California held for the last four years, according to the fifth annual 50-state ranking by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a private research group.

Japan: Radiation Cleanup Will Cost at Least $13 Billion, Premier Says

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, left, said the government would spend at least $13 billion to clean up vast areas contaminated by radiation from the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

Tepco ‘Deal With Devil’ Ends Japan’s Postwar Era

Kazutaka Kikawada ran track and field at Fukushima’s Yamafunyu Elementary School before becoming the local boy made good, attending the elite University of Tokyo and carving out a career that made him president of Tokyo Electric Power Co.

The school ground where he ran his races a century ago now has a yellow backhoe digging out topsoil irradiated by the wrecked nuclear reactors Kikawada approved for construction 60 kilometers (38 miles) away. The dirt is piled under sky-blue tarpaulins. Graffiti in red and black kanji on the main road demands Tokyo Electric remove its “radioactive trash.”

Tepco President: Rise In Electricity Rates "Important Issue"

TOKYO -(Dow Jones)- Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501.TO) president Toshio Nishizawa said Friday the possibility of a raise in the company's electricity rates is "an important issue," citing its increased fossil fuel use to produce thermal power to make up for idle nuclear power capacity.

However, he declined to say if a rate hike was necessary to keep itself afloat. "Streamlining efforts come first," he said.

Less nuclear power, more emissions

The pullback from nuclear threatens the world's climate change targets, particularly in the OECD where nuclear accounts for more than half of low-carbon energy, says the International Energy Agency.

SolarWorld Trade Dispute With China Divides U.S. Solar Industry

A trade complaint seeking to protect U.S. solar-panel makers from unfair competition from China may harm other parts of the U.S. solar industry, project developers said.

California becomes first state to adopt cap-and-trade program

The California Air Resources Board on Thursday unanimously adopted the nation's first state-administered cap-and-trade regulations, a landmark set of air pollution controls to address climate change and help the state achieve its ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Millions Will Be Trapped Amid Climate Change, Study Warns

The study, titled “Migration and Global Environmental Change,” warns that trying to block migration will result in increased poverty and ultimately, potentially unmanageable waves of movement.

It therefore recommends planning for and financially aiding some migration, both within and between countries.

“Reduced options for migration, combined with incomes threatened by environmental change, mean that people are likely to migrate in illegal, irregular, unsafe, exploited or unplanned ways,” it warns.

Global warming study finds no grounds for climate sceptics' concerns

The world is getting warmer, countering the doubts of climate change sceptics about the validity of some of the scientific evidence, according to the most comprehensive independent review of historical temperature records to date.

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, found several key issues that sceptics claim can skew global warming figures had no meaningful effect.

Climate Skeptics Stay Unswayed

At least one of those skeptics, Anthony Watts, had written in March on his climate-themed blog, Watts Up With That, “I’m prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong.”

But neither Mr. Watts nor other longtime critics of climate science seemed satisfied with the report. Mr. Watts contended that the study’s methodology was flawed because it examined data over a 60-year period instead of the 30-year one that was the basis for his research and some other peer-reviewed studies. He also noted that the report had not yet been peer-reviewed.

Re: Global warming study finds no grounds for climate sceptics' concerns & Climate Skeptics Stay Unswayed

Anthony Watts has taken on the lead in challenging the global surface temperature record(s) which show that the Earth is warming. The BEST study was supposed to provide an independent temperature record that would not be tainted by the supposed intentional jiggering of the record. Funny thing, this latest study shows a warming trend.

Watts would have us accept the satellite "temperature" results from Christy & Spencer at UAH and the alternate calculation using the same algorithm from RSS. Watts doesn't appear to question the satellite data, which brings one to ask why he isn't skeptical about that heavily manipulated data set. As I showed in a GRL paper published in 2003 (doi:10.1029/2003GL017938), the UAH data is clearly flawed over the Antarctic, yet Christy and Spencer still include this data, while RSS does not...

E. Swanson

A USA Today article: High gas prices trap more Americans

Consumers are no longer responding to price increases as they did in the late 1970s, when many drove less and bought more fuel-efficient cars, says author Skip Laitner, who analyzed U.S. government data. When prices hit $4 in 2008, he says, demand for gas fell only 3%.

Energy prices meet economic MOL..

One reason is that the easy cuts have already been made.

Leanan, I agree that the price-elasticity of gasoline may be lower than it was in the 1970's due to easy cuts already being made.

With the gasoline price increases in 2008 and 2011 the price did not remain at its peak for very long before falling back. I think we would have seen a more pronounced reduction in demand if the price had stayed at the elevated level for a longer duration.

The blog post you referenced is interesting and drives the point home that increasing MPG will not reduce gas consumption that fast.

As you say, since the easy cuts have already been made, the next step is the "hard cuts" which will mostly be just driving less, that is starting to happen and I expect it to accelerate at least in the US and EU (neither my kids nor most of their friends own cars, several of the group do not have licenses, and the statistics for car ownership and miles driven are headed down sharply in the young adult cohort).

yea. my current car gets in good weather 22.6 mpg but when winter hits it will drop to 19-18mpg. when i get a new job i plan on paying it off(i have just over 6k left on it) and getting a smart fortwo or possible scion iq if smart goes under by then. i am aiming for a car that will average about 1/2 the mpg on my honda rebel which gets about 64 mpg for my weight. a prius even the new smallest one is over 20k way out of my price range.

If you are knee deep in debt, the first priority is of course paying it off. And it doesn't make sense to go into further debt, even if it's to buy a more efficient car.

I do suspect we'll be driving less, one way or another.

Notice how they got some know-nothing right wing shill, David Kreutzer, to comment that public transportation is "inefficient" and that the problem is not high gas prices, but a "bad economy" as if the two were separate.

The madness never stops.

Romm's been calling Christy out for years.
Here's the most recent.

The Damaging Impact of Roy Spencer’s Serially-Wrong ‘Science’ http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/09/05/311864/roy-spencer-wrong-science/

The comments to Romm's post give a whole other view of extreme weather. There's a comment about rainfall amounts in Japan from Typhoon #12 (Talas) which are completely mind boggling. Consider that there were reports of 1.81 meters of rain fell on Kamikatayama, Nara Prefecture, 1.62 meters in Odai, Mie Prefecture, and 1.15 meters in Kozagawa, Wakayama Prefecture. For the metrically challenged, that first town was hit with almost 6 FEET of rainfall...

E. Swanson

Another nail in coffin of denier's excuses

No Simultaneous Warming of Northern and Southern Hemispheres as a Result of Climate Change for 20,000 Years

Svante Björck, a climate researcher at Lund University in Sweden, has now shown that global warming, i.e. simultaneous warming events in both the northern and southern hemispheres, have not occurred in the past 20 000 years ... "What is happening today is unique from a historical geological perspective", he says.

"As long as we don't find any evidence for earlier climate changes leading to similar simultaneous effects on a global scale, we must see today's global warming as an exception caused by human influence on the earth's carbon cycle", says Svante Björck

"Romm's been calling Christy out for years."

I had to stop reading Romm's blog. Three times I have pointed out errors in posts he made, and three times he refused to post those comments. Others have told me that the same has happened to them. I documented one of those situations here: http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/2011/09/26/when-agendas-trump-facts/

So if Romm is not big enough to let an actual discussion take place, I am not going to attempt to have one with him. The irony is that I saw a link last week where Romm was complaining that censorship had taken place in Texas over a government report that contained references to climate change. I have no time for hypocrites, even if I agree in general with their basic position.

Robert, thanks for the link. I haven't read Romm's blog very often, only when someone points to an interesting post. I think that there's no doubt that Global Warming has become a political football. The denialist are not the only ones with an agenda. There are blogs on both sides which give the appearance of using scientific reasoning, but which promote one side or the other. Spencer is one such, as are the Idsos (1, 2) with their site, CO2Science.org. I think that the proliferation of blogs only leads to Balkanize or "Tower of Babel" effect, where a following develops with people who have already decided what's correct and will ignore any other data. Sad to say, that's not what science is about...

E. Swanson

Mr. Watts would have us think he is a true skeptic.

I think he is a denier, along with many who like to brand themselves as skeptics.

Any fence sitters (and we in the US seem to have quite a few) should continue to be educated about AGW and the deniers, since they are not true skeptics, are best ignored.

Mr. Watts would have us think he is a true skeptic.

I think he is a denier

This is obvious from the standpoint that he took umbridge for the use of 6 months of data vs. what he said was what he demanded, 3 months. For anyone doing testing it is known that more data is always better in narrowing down a conclusion.

It's called fear of deflating one's ego. This probably applies to most other deniers as well. They have pushed themselves out on a ledge from which there is no way to avoid an intellectual injury to the ego at some point in time when it becomes overwhelmingly obvious to the general public. However, the longer they remain entrenched the dumber they will look later as conditions worsen.

"There’s lots of hay being made by the usual romminesque flaming bloggers, some news outlets and the like, over my disagreement with the way data was handled in one of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) papers, the only one I got to review before yesterday’s media blitz. Apparently I’m not allowed to point out errors, and BEST isn’t allowed to correct any before release, such as the six incorrectly spelled citations of the Fall et al 2011 paper I pointed out to BEST a week earlier, which they couldn’t be bothered to fix.".....


He used to be our weatherman

The markets don't seem to care much about Libyan oil coming back online in the coming months (read: don't believe it). They still seem to be mostly swayed by the demand side prospects of a crashing Europe.

Don't worry, the Franco-German grand plan to save Europe will no doubt be agreed by next week. Namely that the US bails out Europe as there is no alternative and it's all the US's fault anyway plan or alternatively; give us the money or the euro gets it plan.

Once Europe's future is secured it can borrow some more money to buy oil and boost demand.

Did you forget your [sarcanol] tag?
One problem here. Who is going to "bail out" the US? We aren't in such great shape with our budget deficit and high unemployment rate. Not to mention the fact that the major US banks aren't willing to admit that their assets aren't worth as much as shown on their books, given the decline in real estate values and the massive over valuation due to lax lending standards. If the European problem is pushed back on to the US, the US banking system could crumble as well, which would pull everything down with it. Worse, its looking like the US economy is beginning to slow into another recession (or, call it a depression)...

E. Swanson

I seem to recall a study that showed that a significant number of stock market declines occur in october.
Anyone else have that information available?

If so it certainly looks like a the market stars are starting to align.

B. Swansburg

"OCTOBER: This is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks in. The other are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August, and February." -Mark Twain

Did you forget your [sarcanol] tag?

Lol, yes it was tongue-in-cheek. I guess we're into the end game with some major financial shock (default and deflation, expulsion, voluntary exit, quantitative easing and inflation, reversion to national currencies, etc.) increasingly likely. It's like being stuck in quicksand with the tide slowly rising.

With China now joining the global "soft patch" (aka. global Depression), the US unable to help and Europe incapable of bailing itself out the stage is set for the next leg down and massive economic damage.

Namely that the US bails out Europe as there is no alternative and it's all the US's fault anyway plan or alternatively; give us the money or the euro gets it plan.

That was floated about a week ago and the US declined. Also, it would be very unwise for Obama to fork over US taxpayer/borrowed from China funds for the current EU bailout during a lameduck prez time period, in which he needs to do all he can to get votes. The last thing he needs is to be rolled over by MSM, and in particular Fox (more than usual).

Tom Murphy's 'Energy Trap", up top, is yet another excellent tool for those of use trying to explain the damned-if-we-do, damned-if-we-don't conundrum we're mired in. Those I've managed to explained this situation to generally come up with thoughts like conservation to offset the shortfall, using reclaimed energy to build out more renewables, improve efficiency, etc.. I then have to explain that even conserving/retasking energy has the effect of removing already dedicated energy from an already stressed and brittle ecomomy. This energy/economic marriage, (and the scale of the predicament) is one that folks often fail to grasp.

e.g.: Electrified rail replacing trucking to transport goods - An entire industry/infrastructure shift, loss of jobs, businesses, etc., all the while using energy that the shift is supposed to conserve. ther are many such examples of robbing Peter to eventually pay Paul.

Priority needs to go to shifting energy use in ways that have the least effect on economic output. Halifax's lighting efficiency programs is one example - quick economic and energy payback/recovery though these schemes tend to be incremental, and still require an upfront energy/resource investment.

In a pickle, we are. Throw in a bit of Jevons and debt bubble (climate change, overall finite resource depletion, etc., etc.)...

I learned something new from this post:

For resources that do not require substantial up-front cost in the form of infrastructure, the trap does not apply. Fossil fuels tend to be of this sort. The energy required to deliver a barrel of oil or a ton of coal tends to be specific to the delivered unit, and is not dominated by up-front cost. It is similar for tar sands, which requires substantial energy to heat and process the sludge... Thus it is possible to maintain a steady energy supply. The fact that fossil fuels don’t trap us encourages us to stick with them. But being a finite resource, their attractiveness is the sound of the Siren, luring us to stay on the sinking ship. Or did the Sirens lure sailors from ships? Either way, fossil fuels are already compatible with our transportation fleet, strengthening the death-grip.

So, in other words, those who deny that fossil fuels will peak anytime soon will be able to show that when we implement their "drill, baby, drill" policies, the economy soon gets better (or gets worse at a much slower pace). This will make their point of view look correct to the voting public.

This will be deadly in the long run, of course, but I suspect the relief from short term economic pain will be irresistble.

Good discussion of Thorium Molten Salt reactors in the comments of the Energy Trap article.

Coal or thorium?

None of the above.

The US east of the Great Plains gets 50% of its electricity from coal and 20% from existing reactors (which seem to be aging... less than gracefully, shall we say). That region, particularly the Boston-Washington urban corridor, has quite limited energy resources. Their power is going to have to come from somewhere, or they are going to have to shut down an awful lot of their economy.

They is me, and the economy is going to be shutting down anyway. The damage we are doing to ourselves and our decedent's futures in trying to maintain our per-capita energy use is not worth the short term benefits. Using less is the only choice.

Its not hopeless, the problem is caused by human perniciousness, and the cure is prevented by the same. Talking US here, we do waste a great deal, perhaps as much as half. Certainly enough that if we saved some of it and diverted the saved to an alternatives buildout we could do it. Of course there is no sign that is going to happen in time ....

Also payback times of wind and PV are decreasing, especially for PV, so the nearterm energy hit should decrease substantially.

All depends upon not letting the perniciousness let shorttermism prevail (and the general ignorance of energy of 98% of the population). I have the impression a few places are on a right track, for example Sweden. We have a biased view (in the USA), because our politics and media are the worst.

Indeed an interesting article Ghung. As a result of reading it I did a quick calculation on the EROEI on heating my house with wood that I cut myself from the forest. If my calculation is anywhere near correct I'm get an EROEI of approaching 100:1. Although I'm not including any embedded costs or energy expended in manual labour, neither of which really come into the equation in this instance.

Link up top:Peak Oil, Entirely Nonsense: As is Peak Gas

This Forbes article says peak oil is nonsense primarily because of two reasons. 1:

we now have the entire planet to prospect again at 5,000 feet down, not just the 2,000 feet down that the previous technology afforded, to see how much oil there is.

Of course that is not true at all. We have the sliver of "Continental Shelf" that is in deep water. Saying we have the entire planet is a bit of a stretch.

But now that we’ve found the technology to get oil from oil shales this does not mean that we’ve only found the Bakken Shale. This means that we want to scour the entire planet for other oil shales that can be exploited using the same technology.

Well I really don't know enough about the prospects of shale oil production worldwide to really estimate what that will likely add to world oil production during the next decade. But I don't see anyone really getting excited about it. Is this really a game changer? Will crude oil production shoot up when they start fracking worldwide? Just how much "tight oil" is there in deep shale that can be freed up by the fracking process? I have no idea but I would love to hear some opinions.

Ron P.

...and, predictably, no mention of increased costs and decreased efficiency in extracting said sources of oil. The lies of omission continue.

I guess one way to look at it is US versus global rig counts. Here is a link to current data:


The most recent data show a total US rig count of 2,023 rigs, with 1,080 devoted to drilling for oil. The global number, oil & gas, is 3,662.

It appears that the net increase in US annual crude + condensate production is going to be about 300,000 bpd, from 2009 to 2011 (from 5.4 mbpd to about 5.7 mbpd), or about 150,000 bpd per year. The post-hurricane low was 5.0 mpbd in 2008, but I would argue that the past two years, including 2011, give us a better idea of the net increase, as a result of shale (plus conventional) sources.

So, if we divide 150,000 bpd per year by about 900 rigs drilling for oil (in 2010 & 2011), we get a net increase--after depletion--of 170 BOPD per rig per year.

The mathematical model, and recent C+C data, suggest that the world is at about the same stage of conventional depletion at which the US peaked in the early Seventies.

So, if the US serves as a model for the kind of net increase that we can show, from shale sources, in excess of conventional depletion, then if we wanted to offset the current ongoing decline in Available Net Exports worldwide (about one mbpd per year), globally we would need about 6,000 rigs. If, as I expect, the ANE volumetric decline rate increases to about two mbpd, we would need about 12,000 rigs drilling for oil.

Also, my working assumption, and Art Berman concurs, that at least 90% of all currently producing oil wells in shale formations will be plugged and abandoned, or down to 10 BOPD or less, by 2020. While it's certainly possible, if you drill fast enough, to initally show rapid increases in production from a group of rapidly declining oil wells, with time this gets increasingly difficult as the inventory of declining wells increases and as one encounters personnel and infrastructure constraints.

And a big question is how many shale formations worldwide will produce commercial quantities of oil, especially given much higher drilling and completion costs in many other areas, versus the US.

Ron - "We have the sliver of "Continental Shelf" that is in deep water. Saying we have the entire planet is a bit of a stretch." You're being kind...you getting soft in your old age? LOL.

It's not a stretch but an absolute lie. Or at best a flimsy misconseption. The continents are rimmed by a relatively narrow band of sedimentary rocks that could host hydrocarbon reservoirs. The vast majority of the areas covered by the oceanic plates have zero potential for commercial hydrocarbons.

"Well I really don't know enough about the prospects of shale oil production worldwide to really estimate what that will likely add to world oil production during the next decade." Nor do I exactly but most of the sedimnetary rocks around the globe are shales. Those which have coincidental hydrocarbon generation could be viable targets for development. But, again, their development won't be based on "new tech". As we've discussed the tech really isn't that new nor has the existance of the various fractured shale trends been unknown. Two factors will drive these plays forward: high oil prices and the requirement of public oils to replace their reserve base.

I'm alwasy a tad cynical when "new tech" and "new trend" cards are played. I suspect it's often done to avoid stating the reality of the situation: PO is driving up prices which allows for these well known technologies to be applied to known plays. If there were a lot of conventional oil plays left to develop no one would be employing these expensive techs to these relatively low profit unconventional reservoirs.

There seems to be renewed energy (no pun intended) from the likes of Rick Perry, Kudlow, Yergin, others...that the US is sitting on soooo much oil and gas wealth....and the only thing holding us back is government regulations. Here is spirit of this thinking from the kudlow show yesterday


This line of argument from Perry, Yergin, et al. has these benefits for them (but not us):
1. It blames Obama, not geology, for the inability to raise oil production;
2. It allows BAU to continue, along with a continued dependence on fossil fuels, and a longer, guaranteed market for oil at higher and higher levels;
3. It prevents action on constructing alternatives, which would (in the short run) goose the economy and boost Obama's re-election prospects; and
4. It suggests that oil companies do not have sufficient financial resources to exploit our natural resources, and thus we should tax and regulate them less.

Result: higher profits, lower taxes, and lower production costs for the Koch Brothers, et al.

That this line of argument is bad for the country and the world does not matter.

"1. It blames Obama, not geology, for the inability to raise oil production;"

The problem is that domestic oil and gas production have both increased since Obama took office. You can see the numbers from a recent post I did on Michele Bachmann's claim about reducing gas prices:


May I edit my statement to add "the inability to raise oil production above the 1970 level"?

Or how about "the inability to raise oil production sufficient to drop the price of gasoline below $1/gallon"?

The problem is that domestic oil and gas production have both increased since Obama took office.

That would be a problem, if actual fact checking was a feature of our MSM, and public discussions of stuff. But, fact checking isn't, fact checkers are treated as anti-social elitist party poopers.

Actually Enemy, the increase in US production has been all over MSM lately. I read it every day on MSM from those denying peak oil. They never consider that the US is not the world. And of course they never say anything about "since Obama took office".

US Crude+Condensate production in thousands of barrels per day Jan. 2006 thru Jul. 2011.

Ron P.

Boo - I listened to the clip as long as I could stand it. IMHO it borders on criminal with respect misleading the public by very carefully worded hype. The worst spin was that the regulators were holding the oil patch back. I've been drilling wells for 36 years and not once has any regulation stopped me or the companies I was involved with from poking a hole down. I'm guessing a few $billion worth of drilling on my part alone.

First, the fast majority of onshore mineral rights are privately owned. Other than complying with environmental and safety regs no govt restricts leasing and drilling on those lands. And I've spent 1/3 of my career drilling in the offshore OCS completely controlled by the feds. Granted that not all OCS leases have been available for the last 25 years or so. But much has been open for leasing and account for a large portion of US production today.

I have no great love for the regulators. They have been a pain in my butt on some level for over 30 years. But they've never stopped me from drilling a single well in all that time. Not one.

Thanks for that, Rock. I have a someone coming by this evening who is utterly convinced that high fuel prices are because of regulators. Perhaps your post will be useful.

New approach to Solar Power with Hybrid Solar-Thermoelectric Systems

... The new MIT study “shows a unique opportunity for thermoelectrics integrated within solar thermal systems,” says Evelyn Wang, associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, who was co-author of a paper describing the potential for such hybrid systems in the journal Solar Energy.

The novel arrangement proposed by Wang and graduate student Nenad Miljkovic embeds a thermoelectric system in the central tube of a parabolic-trough system so that it produces both hot water and electricity at the same time. The key to making this work is a device called a thermosiphon that draws heat away from the “cold” part of a thermoelectric system, maintaining its temperature gradient.

Thermal engineers are well aware that stacking one thermal machine in series on top of another thermal machine gets higher thermal efficiency, for example, a stirling engine dumping heat to an organic rankine cycle, or a diesel engine exhaust driving a steam turbine, and on and on. The problem is always the same - how much do you have to pay for the additional complexity to get the higher efficiency (here they claim 52%, which is nice).

But in the case of solar, we could just go out and buy a Carnot engine and get over 90% efficiency in one go, so why bother with all that hardware stacked up in the desert?

"Cause a carnot, while the ultimate in efficiency all right, has to be reversible, That is to say, slow, That is to say, lots of efficiency but don't you dare let it move. So no power. Sorry 'bout that.

Now, where did I put that crummy old steam engine?

Wait a minute, I forgot PV which is not really a thermal machine, but instead is a selected sliver of a thermal machine running on only part of the thermal input. Just get an efficient PV that can run hot, put an organic rankine behind it to keep it cool and get more power from that, and what do we have? Exactly the same problem as we have with any other cascaded thermal machine. Shucks, back to bed.

Floodwaters Reach Bangkok

... In Thailand, more than 200 major highways and roads are now impassable, while several key industrial estates have been inundated. Damages are expected to tally at least $6 billion and shave up to two percentage points off gross domestic product, according to economists' estimates. Humanitarian groups said parts of the affected provinces—covering about a third of Thailand —are inaccessible, with some towns under water more than six feet high.

Although bad seasonal floods are common in Southeast Asia, rainfall has averaged 25% more than normal in some areas this year—and has sometimes been a lot worse—resulting in an overflow so big that it would leave Connecticut a meter deep in water, officials said.

But a rising chorus of experts says man-made factors have greatly exacerbated the problems—especially the growing concentration of people in vulnerable areas as Southeast Asia urbanizes.

also Thailand Floods 2011

Walmart cuts health coverage for part-timers, raises premiums

Walmart’s 1.4 million workers are about to see much less health coverage -– or pay much more for it -– than they’re used to.

Rat is trying to co-opt Occupy Ukiah. He is hoping to find 50 people holding posters of solar panels to occupy the roof of BofA...Spend Money Now!! It has been suggested he bring a proposal for a PO working group.
Anybody here live in Ukiah?

The entire health insurance and medical care system in America is just another bubble. Eventually nobody's going to be able to pay for it, whether that somebody is the employer, employee, or government.

So it's hard to fault Walmart for this. We keep people with advanced dementia alive on ventilators and do all manner of unnecessary tests and procedures. We eat toxic food, sit around watching the boob tube, end up with diabetes and then heart disease and kidney failure, needing a coronary bypass and dialysis.

And we expect Walmart - or any other business for that matter - to pay for all of this? Get real.

But, of course, don't expect Walmart to stop selling soda or potato chips.

This is all the natural consequence of a society in which everything revolves around the almighty dollar.

Collapse of Soviet Union equivalent to Chernobyl for land-use change

... “We were not surprised that the nuclear meltdown and the collapse of the Soviet Union had an effect on land-use but we were surprised at how similar that effect was,” said Kuemmerle. “It shows that when we think about land-use change we need to consider sudden socio-economic changes as well as gradual ones. The research also highlights the strong role that institutions, such as governments, play in the outcome of land-use change.”

Twenty-five years after the Chernobyl disaster and nearly twenty after the collapse of the Soviet Union, most abandoned [agricultural] lands continue to lie idle and are slowly reforesting.

Shape of things to come for the U.S.?

This is amazingly good news! And I am not sarcastic. Reforestation and letting land go wild is the best we can do for the future - we discourage overpopulation and maintain some parts of natural world.
This news reinforces the idea that inequality might be better for the Earth (and our future) than democracy or equality.
I refer here to both social inequality (e.g. inside Russia) and country inequality (e.g. between the empty expanses in Russia and overpopulated China or India). As long as Russia stays together as a country, there will be less destruction of nature than if China would have free rein to develop it.
This goes against my innate moral compass but I guess it makes sense from an evolutionary perspective.

Over the past few years as home developers have gone bankrupt, I have noticed large tracts of suburban land in my Midwestern city that was formerly farmland is now abandoned and becoming overgrown. It doesn't take long for reforestation to begin.

Though this is not directly related to any of the articles posted, it is somewhat relevant.

I'm a civil engineer undergrad (with a minor in mathematics, and hopefully geology) looking for a career in the oil and gas industry or mining. Does anyone know of companies that would hire a CE? Any advice would be appreciated - not too many faculty can here at Washington State have been able to help me.

Was that a coincidence? You and I, both college students, post within 6 minutes of each other who are both from Washington state. Are you from UW? Anyway I can't help you with the oil and gas industry but I wish you the best of luck!


That is quite the coincidence! I'm from WSU in Pullman, I suppose you're in UW? What's your major? And thank you, I wish you the best as well.

CE - I think your best bet might be looking at the service companies like Halliburton and Schlumberger. Many folks love to hate H. but they have good training programs. A CE isn't exactly mainstream oil compaby background. OTOH the oil companies have gotten far away from practical engineering. Most of that is outsourced to the service companies. The majors also gave up on original research decades ago and shifted it all over to the service companies. But the service companies are very bottom line: when times are good and busy they give you the world. And when things slow up they'll kick you to the curb in a heartbeat. If you get on during the good times like now: the good times never have lasted more than 5-10 years...so far. Save your money.

Rockman - I've considered both H and Schlum. I've also looked at Baker Hughes, Weatherford. I've heard they all have great training programs.

Do you think any of the majors would retain CE's longer than some of the service companies?

I have lurked on TOD for about a year now and have found it to be a valuable resource both for news and intellectual discourse. Just thought I would introduce myself:

I am a 21 year old Master's student in a Bioengineering program in Seattle and am quite concerned for an increasingly darkening future. Few of my peers are interested in looking out beyond their formal educational boundaries but I am trying to engage quite a few of them on the global crises (as I call things such as peak oil, climate change, water scarcity, etc.). I will contribute insight on what my generation thinks as I get more experience.

On a side note, how many 20-somethings here? I hope there's more of you guys!


Hey, I'm turning 21 on Halloween. All these old folks and their depressingly doomed Society have certainly inspired me to get incredibly drunk when that day comes. Hahah, hah, hah.

Anyway I'm an undergrad at the University of Chicago, working on Geographical Studies and Philosophy.

- resid

You kids get off of my lawn! :-)

I mean, save me a beer!

The more 20-somethings here, the better, as far as I'm concerned. I am only a youngster of 56 myself - we have some real geezers here. Let's hope we all make it to true geezerhood! :-)

BTW - I have a niece with a 10/31 birthday... Happy Birthday!

I'm wondering about the definition of true geezerhood. At 62, I don't think I am there yet, but akin to approaching a city at night from afar, I think I can see the glow in the sky.

Ah yes, that distant glow. Having some medical adventures brings it that much closer...

The stage you're at is called pre-geezer

Thanks. I feel like I'm getting closer to being taken seriously, but it also feels like a long way to go since my age group (with most of whom I do not identify anyway) has been so thoroughly slandered. (A recent example: http://nymag.com/news/features/my-generation-2011-10/ ... not to mention that whole supposed "twentysomethings" phenomenon the, uh, "experts" declared a while back, which amounted to declaring that youths no longer possessed any vitality. Those youths can speak for themselves. I know this card will leave my hand so I'll play it.)

And of course, if I'm wrecking yall's lawns it would be in order to make those trivial cosmetic enterprises lie fallow and/or produce permaculturally. There is a lot of carbon to fix, and I imagine constantly trimming the lawns isn't helping. (Not trying to weasel out of my yardwork, honest).

... Well, it'd be that and playing loud music, partying and probably trying to seduce all of your granddaughters. I think I can manage these endeavors simultaneously, since plants tend to grow themselves (hosanna!).

Anyway, hopefully I'll be posting more, since I'm trying to get the word out about the energy problem to my fellow "twentysomethings," and since I can perhaps make them more legible to yall older folks.

- resid

Every generation gets slandered, for the simple reason that every generation is full of different kinds of people - a "generation" is not a monolithic thing.

For example, I have spent my entire life since high school working on environmental issues, more recently energy issues, etc. I live extremely frugally, and strive to make the smallest footprint that I can. As a result of my attempts and my lifestyle, I am pretty much broke, but OK. My retirement plan is to die.

And yet, I'm a f-ing boomer, worst generation in the history of mankind, destroyer of the Earth and the future.

To which I say, simply, "bite me". It just ain't that simple, is it?

I think the "Greatest Generation" made off pretty well in the cultural memory. But today, what's it gonna take?!

- resid

Yeah, thanks Tom Brokaw for the Greatest Generation meme.

Let's put it this way - the product of the "Greatest Generation" was the Boomer Generation. The whole post-WW2 thing is just an incredible spasm of... of... I don't know what.

Your generation faces challenges that, IMO, make WW2 look like a straightforward walk in the park. It's no generation's fault fer godz sake - it's baked into the human "progress" cake. This is the inevitable outcome of that ideology. That ideology is the problem.

I occasionally teach college courses in ecology, energy, environmental science, sustainability. I find some of "your" generation who get it, and some who don't. Those that do, I share every bit of what I can with them. It's not generational so much...

boomer, worst generation in the history of mankind, destroyer of the Earth and the future.

Its bizzare. Our (I'm a boomer too) generation cut its teach with the whole anti-Vietnam war, pro environmental hippie thing. Guess we (or should I say most of the rest of um) rebelled against their own youths. Maybe I did too, I never bought into that 60's stuff back then, but now that I'm older/wiser I can appreciate it. I guess we show be renamed the yo-yo generation.

I think there are way more boomers like us than you think.

"My retirement plan is to die" - priceless!


Hope you can get a descent job with that degree. John

Well I've got two (meager) jobs right now. As for the degree, GIS (which I'm learning throughout this year) is supposedly a marketable skill. Or maybe someone will pay me to talk about Middle Eastern politics, or something of that nature.

But what do I care? My reading in philosophy has already taught me about happiness, and how Diogenes found more of it on the side of the road than history's conquerors ever found. I think my retirement plan will probably be the same as sgage's -- dying sooner or later. And besides, it is increasingly obvious that many of these jobs are institutionalized pointlessness or even bald-faced lying when they aren't just ways for the powerful to soak everybody and everything they can. Then there are a number of others which seem intent on annihilating the future. I'm afraid our society worships work and considers much of it far more necessary than may be the case, and that it should be ruthlessly critiqued.

I neglected to mention what I bring to the table. It's an odd mix, much of it from proceeding alone using this school's wonderful library... in no particular order, philosophy (cynicism, stoicism), history, politics, the affairs of the Middle East (I'm learning Arabic), assymetrical warfare. Also poetry, especially drinking poetry, and especially Arabic drinking poetry (i.e. pre-Islamic or from the decadent height of medieval Baghdad). Then there's all sorts of heretical things that aren't really worth mentioning. I used to be pretty good at math; I was doing diffEQ and graph theory in high school, but my interests in other areas were too strong. I settled on geography since with it I can combine physical sciences (ecology, geology) with the softer (and, to be honest, less dry) things.

Perhaps not incredibly employable. But like I said, I don't mind. I have friends who work for banks, I have friends who panhandle and hop trains, and in the end we'll be in much the same place thanks to the only truly democratic institution in the universe.

- resid

...sounds like you'd enjoy hanging out at Greer's place.

As he has an interest in "assymetrical warfare" then Global Guerrillas is the place to hang out with John Robb. Interestingly John has changed his byline to "Don't just survive the future. Thrive!" to reflect his new emphasis on resilience and meeting our troubled future head on with a full toolbox of methods to survive and thrive.

The Automatic Earth seems to be pushing out beyond analysing our predicament and looking for ways to survive the outcomes those predicaments are going to produce. Something I hoped The Oil Drum was going to do, but it unfortunately failed to make the transition (ie. demise of the camp fire posts).

Yeah, I miss the Campfires, though it's been mentioned that they may return in some form. My suggestion would be Fridays, in place of the one-day Drumbeat. They were a good exercize for wrapping one's head around the implications of peak oil, et. al.. What good is all of this information and analysis without reflection and perspective? I know some of this occurs in the Drumbeats, but it is scattered and diffuse. A Campfire-style review of the weekly posts/news would be useful, IMO, and perhaps more discussion of some of the more poignant comments could be promoted. The idea that "what happens in yesterday's Drumbeat stays in yesterday's Drumbeat", while understandable, can be frustrating and limiting. Many of these discussions beg to be revisited.

It's been said that there are other forums/sites for this sort of thing, though they aren't the TOD community. Eliminating the Campfires was like when they took recess or PE out of school.

Best hopes for the return to a more holistic TOD (and that some of the staff will actually read this :-)

Cheers, from yesterday's Drumbeat....

Last I heard, Nate was thinking of resurrecting the Campfires at Energy Bulletin. They have a message board now.

Thanks, Leanan, though I think TOD needs the outlet. JMO :-)
(Let's all run over to EB and blow off some steam.)

Well, the jobs market has been going down.


As for me, I am 28 but consider myself still a 'twentier', since I am not yet done with my studies. I am running for a PhD in cellular biology, more precisely in the field of oncology, which has very few to share with peak oil/collapse discourses...

Have been reading TOD for more than one year, and that fairly contributed to reshape my mind. All the considerations I can find here seem to me to bear crystal-clear reliance.

By the way, I am French. I can tell you that nothing perspires about all this stuff in MSM in France. Only do we have a Greenie deputy with some public exposure who fiercely tries to adress PO issues to our government. We are more concerned with no-growth movements from a political point of view here, I mean no reflection about endless growth in limited world.

I was wondering wether there was other French people in here ? I happened to once to think that Burgundy is French too, judging from one of his posts. Incidentally, I currently resides in Burgundy, so if that were the case, I would be glad to get the opportunity to meet him/her.

Thanks for reading and sorry for the English, I am more concentrated at writing my manuscript right now.

Also, I had the idea yesterday to write an article aimed at summarizing the issues debated on TOD and other sites. The recipients would be a few searchers of my lab, with whom I had some relational issues about, let's say, a weakening commitment to my work. The trick being that they have absolutely no clue about something that could have struck my mind. I guess they think I am a lazy and stupid guy. Thus, the goal of this article is to explain them why I lost motivation during my PhD course. Maybe they won't read it in extension, but nevermind. I don't beg their pardon or something. Just would like these people to understand why I intend to 'reformat' myself. Besides, if this article can educate some people to PO issues, this will be the cherry on the cake.

So, I wrote yesterday evening an introduction, and it would be very kind to me to give some feedback.

Here is the text :


The aim of this piece of work is to provide a glimpse of very thought-provoking matter I happened to be struck with during the course my PhD. I intend here that the recipients get a grasp of something that have considerably reshaped my mind and drove me to thus reconsider the odds of making a decent living with a career as an academic searcher or as an employee in a cutting-edge biomedical or something company. Of course, what I am going to write about diverted a non negligible part of my attention from the work I committed to. I am about to share some considerations that were really mind-puzzling for me at moments, and that I think will make me define new objectives in my life.

I decided to write in English for several reasons. The primary of which being that French is effectively more than painful of language to explain scientific-like concepts, especially when this had not been my field during the whole course of my studies. Secondly, I think this is an attempt to compensate for the real article I have not written by the end of my PhD, and thereby to prove that I could have done it and that it has not turned to a total waste. I also tried to build this document as close as possible as a scientific review, for the same reason. To this end, be certain that the reflections exposed thereafter were all proposed and debated by searchers and/or teachers who are highly competent in their field. I mean that those authors publish in peer-reviewed scientific publications, although I mainly read the fruit of their work on specialized blogs. Those searchers, as guests, feed these blogs with articles that have a more popularized and digested savor than a reviewed paper. Still, these articles often come out with the classical stuff such as diagrams, graphs, citations and so on. Of course, as any scientist would have to read another paper from the bibliography of a previous one, I frequently had to compare several sources on a given subject, or read an original paper summed up in such an article. What’s more, many commentators on these blogs are directly involved in what is called the oil patch, i.e. the whole sector of oil production, and provide valuable technical insights from the inside.

The notions I personally feel to show up through the title are at crossroads between several disciplines such as ecologic economy, the dynamics of society, and basic concepts in ecology, the overall background of these being the concept of Peak Oil, the theorization of which has fairly evolved since its first mathematical formulation in the 1950s. What lies under the most recent potential scenarii of our future as an animal species is an irrevocable link between the high degree of complexity of our occidental model and its sustainability which mainly relies on the availability of fossil fuels at an affordable price, from the point of view of our economies that must constantly grow in accordance to the neoclassical dogma.
To briefly introduce each term of the head title, let me begin with ‘high skills’. This refers to the specialization in one particular field of an individual, acquired through his academic course and professional experience. In our society, social status can be achieved and exhibited through money (income and financial holdings) and/or the perceived social usefulness of professional activity (e.g. a scientist is more ‘useful’ to the society than a carpenter). A high-skilled person has a good chance to produce a greater economic output and then to get a higher social status. I think this is likely to undergo dramatic change in the coming decades. For that matter, this is possibly the message I would most like you to get to understand my reasoning. In a highly organized and stratified society, social status is the best way for an individual to ensure his ‘fitness’, as to guarantee his progeny the best environment. The word ‘fitness’ here echoes the verb ‘to fit’ in the title. The fitness (of an individual or a species) in ecology is the capacity to survive in an adverse environment, to be adaptable and eventually to pass on a genetic pool, which is the inflexible path of evolution. The notion of ‘entropy’ refers to recent adaptations of the original concept in thermodynamics. It views our global economic system, and by extension the world as we know it, as a thermodynamic model system. In this system, the economy is a box corresponding to the transformation (i.e. production) of energy inputs into physical goods and services, a meta-process that intrinsically generates an irreducible part of waste. The second law of thermodynamics grossly stipulates that during any conversion of energy, a part of this energy will be lost under the form of heat and will never be recovered and available for any work. Another interpretation of this law says that a system tends to adopt the lowest potential energy conformation. This could also be worded as the ineluctability of the loss of complexity in a system. The latter definition sticks with the aforementioned concepts of skills and specialization. In the last two years, I got very interested in these notions, at first separately and progressively trying to link them, and I found it to form a limpid bloc of coherence. So here, I will attempt to develop these points, according to the substance of my readings. I again insist on the academic status of many of the authors I will cite the work of.

i'm 27 and have been mostly lurking here for ~3 years.

Long-time lurker here too. 39 years old (Gen X-er), doctorate in environmental engineering, licensed engineer and geologist. I worked for Chevron out of grad school (2003) and in consulting with travels to Angola, Congo (DRC), Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and UAE. I first read Yergin's "The Prize" in 2001 and have been learning about/fascinated by oil production, demand, and economics ever since. I am now working as a hydrogeologist in the governmental sector. I have learned so much from the contributors to this website over the years. I hope that after all these years of reading that I can at least ask better questions. My wife and I are trying to do what we can to increase our self-sufficiency: gardening, canning, public transportation, low consumption, etc.

I'm curious, what does a hydrogeologist do in a typical day, if there is one? My total education in hydrogeology consists of wikipedia-surfing. What interesting things have you encountered on your consulting travels?

Hydrogeologists find employment with engineering consulting firms, local/state/federal government, large corporations with large environmental liabilites/potential liabilities, or in academia. Entry level hydrogeologists conduct field work such as pump tests for water supply or groundwater remediation wells (to determine aquifer hydraulic characteristics), sampling wells for water quality parameters, helping survey wells, data manipulation, geographic information systems (GIS) mapping/analysis, some report writing, and possibly some numerical modeling. There are a number of numerical models out there that are used for groundwater flow and contaminant transport modeling. As one progresses through their career there is less field work and more modeling and report writing, and (in consulting) more client management/development. The modeling work is particularly interesting as that is how hydrogeologists make estimates for groundwater supply projections, contaminant plume migration, remediation engineering, etc. Even Schlumberger is in this business now as a few years back they purchased Waterloo Hydrogeologic (Canada), a purveyor of a GUI for one of the most common groundwater flow models (MODFLOW, a USGS product). Geochemistry is of course a primary concern with all things hydrogeologic, so a strong background in that field is helpful. And fun.

Consulting travels…I am glad that I do not have to get on airplanes anymore. But I did see the Congo River, found (with a colleague) a magazine photo of Lenin in a Kazakh landfill, and ate sturgeon on the Caspian shore. But hotels do get old.

Good to hear from you all.

My story:
During junior year (undergrad at UW) I was pretty over my studies and my social cricles, and began having discussions with my oldest friend (and roommate) about how depressing the future was - to leave UW and go into the working world, and have little to look forward to besides making money, flaccid socializing at bars/clubs/birthday parties, getting old and dying. We turned towards discussing the intertwined psychology behind the behavior of the people we knew from our generation - Consumerism, social stratification, sexual conquests, and myopic decision-making (better described as the discount rate, thanks to Nate Hagen's posts). I took my search for intellectual food to the internet, and eventually found a little niche on the Wiki-space involving Consumerism, the Myth of Progress, Peak Oil, Climate Change, and Societal Collapse. References on the peak oil wiki entry eventually pointed me towards a site called The Oil Drum, and that's where my extra-collegiate education truly began!

I'm wondering how all of you individually learned about peak oil/TOD. Please share!

I learned shortly after 4/20/10 after greed, ignorance, and sloppiness cost the lives of 11 men and BP bespoiled the lands of my ancestors. I am still cleaning up the mess. IMHO, the cleanup will not be complete before I add my own personal hydrocarbons to the far into the future reserves. Maybe the next evolution of intelligent life on this planet will get at least 100 MPG from my molecules.

Edit: Not on my dead ancestors. They are buried too far inland.

Glad to hear from so many young people! As for the word 'young' I can say I'm neither young nor old but "ripe": 30 yrs old. Joined TOD 3 years, 36 weeks ago though I heard about Peak Oil in late 2005 and remained ignorant / denier for well over a year. By mid-2007, the syndrome described by Kathy MacMohan (of peakoilblues.org fame) set in clearly as I started voraciously reading/learning about Peak oil and Global warming (yes, just the two - not limits to growth).

2008 was significant because I happened to be visiting the US and right around the time there was huge news about 'possible collapse of the USA' due to an oil price run up. Saw the US from a completely different view than what I had earlier. 2008 was truly significant because until then I was still just approaching the bargain mode ("not in my life time", "won't happen to me", "when it happens we will run solar panels or do organic farming"). 2008 was also the year when I bought over 15 books related to peak oil (Deffeyes, JHK, Permaculture and most importantly "Limits to Growth: the 30-year update" edition) Since then I have both acquired important/necessary corrections to my world view as well as made significant alterations to my life style:

  • became more healthy - quit bad habits, got into a fitness routine.
  • Have started socializing and doing more 'human' things than doing digital things (except, I still read TOD for about 2 hours a day :D).
  • miser but wiser
  • bought a tiny patch of land (2 acres) ~3 years ago and have been applying and adapting permaculture principles to our local conditions since.
  • recently sold my house that was on a mortgage.
  • actively talk to and help people within my friends / relatives circle, though I must admit I have been received very different by those same people.
  • got out of all debt.
  • quit my IT job. (Haven't thought through too much about what I'm going to do)

There is only one remaining debt: I'm indebted to the TOD community :)

Emotionally, the ride has been rough thus far (especially when it comes to talking about all of this to the family and 'taking steps') but, IMVHO, not at all as tough as what I think/believe is coming at all of us.

I learned about peak oil in the '70s. There was actually a lot of concern for a while until we all decided not to worry until the Saudi's oil was peaked. The attitude from the time of Reagan on was to let the grandchildren worry about it.

Learned about peak oil in 2008 during the crash. I've been figuring out more and more about our converging crises since then, especially when it comes to the debt and population bubbles.

However I've also had to learn not to let the internet dominate my life. The world is physical and it's important to be physical, lest we all end up with flaccid bodies, weak hearts, distracted minds and a digital "identity" that outlives us.

I intuited it.

Okay, not really. I don't think I remember precisely, but I think it was through teaching myself about resources and their misuse in general, of which fossils were just one *very* problematic category. This all via the internet of course. I also remember watching the Collapse film a couple years ago. I found TOD something over a year ago and have been lurking pretty constantly.

Anyway, in the spring I took a wonderful class on energy tech and usage. The oil peak was touched on, but most of the class was learning about the system(s) and refuting bad ideas for future energy sources. There were also field trips to some impressive infrastructure. My professor incidentally recommended TOD, but I'd already found it by then.

- resid

LOL I wish I could say that as well regarding me and my friend. We got the abstractions down but really needed the internet to figure out everything else. What kind of infrastructure? Refinery?


I found out about peak oil in February of 2005 when I stumbled across the dieoff.org website. I became obsessed with the topic. I found the The Oil Drum soon after that. Been here ever since. There is nothing else like it on the web.

I can recall in the 70's (as a lowly grad student), my roommate when to a presentation on peak oil. The idea of running out of something finite always made sense to me, however he claimed the logistics curve was obvious, but I didn't think so, extraction rate versus amount left -nothing about the economic side of things there.

In any case got into energy/alt energy blogs, and eventually ended up here, as the ones I was going to went poof.

25 y/o, been lurking on and off since 2007. Poli sci undergrad, recently completed my JD. In the Denver area. Discovered peak oil in the summer of '07 when I saw the documentary "A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash." Enrolled in an energy policy seminar that fall, where the professor directed us to TOD for several of our readings. Been interested (and frightened) ever since.

Hey, Baikalic. I'm 31, so I miss your 20-something cutoff by a bit. I got my BSME from UT Austin, then moved to Houston to work for a couple of tiny companies that served the oil majors. It was clear to me at that time (2005-ish) that the trend was further offshore, more complex and expensive operations, and smaller fields. I figured that process had to end somewhere. I really got interested in peak oil after the 2008 crash, when everyone seemed to forget the high cost of crude and gasoline overnight. I stumbled across TOD after that, and decided to stick around.

Im 26 so you've got at least one.

29 and 1/2. Kinesiologist by education, sports coach by profession.

Started reading the oil-drum over the shoulder of my gorgeous but somewhat incomprehensible boyfriend. Since it connected a lot of dots that the news never connected, and the line the dots plotted was a lot straighter than anything my favorite political websites could come up with, I have kept on reading. Even though my eyes still glaze over in the more technical bits, I like the diversity of information and opinion that can be found here. Plus all the doom and gloom resonates with my melodramatic bits.

(PS Now the gorgeous guy is my somewhat incomprehensible husband -turns out that you need to do more than read a man's data feed to understand him)


Ha! Was he born in June?

Actually, yes...why?

That's why he's incomprehensible, its a characteristic of people born in June. Don't ask me why, I don't know, it's just an observation I've made. Where you born in August or October?

Does this rule apply to plants and animals too? <g,d&r>

LoL! It's correct to be skeptical its just an observed oddity and possible just some kind of coincidence ;)

I guess a plant germinating in a given month would presumably have characteristics which prepare it for enduring whatever the following months throw at it. Evolution. Does something similar apply to animals or humans in a way we cannot perceive? I can't see how or why it would, but Nature is subtle and evolution goes with what works. Which means I haven't really got a clue :)

Re: Peak Oil, Entirely Nonsense: As is Peak Gas

Not quite as nonsensical as this statement from the author!

And to make the point more directly. Once we invent a new technology to extract oil or gas (or indeed any other mineral you might like to think of) this does not mean that we’ve just found that one new field that we’ve developed the new technology to extract oil or gas from. It means that we’ve just created a whole new Earth, an entire new planet that we can prospect for similar deposits that can be exploited with the new technology.

Yeah, right, dream on, Sigh!

There were many good points raised yesterday in the thread relating to the role of energy in economic growth, and what constitutes economic growth.

It helped me to better understand GDP. But I have another question that I will ask here.

Do refineries that are able to buy WTI and sell their product at over $20 mark up compared with refineries that pay world prices effectively add more to GDP?

I think that economic growth is much more closely linked to energy growth than the official GDP indicates.

The way GDP is determined seems to be the main reason why GDP has been growing faster than energy supply. In actuality I do not think that real economic growth can grow faster than energy.

The way I look at it is there are two types of economic activity; one creates wealth, the other doesn't. Production usually creates wealth, whereas services usually don't (they simply redistribute wealth created elsewhere). GDP contains both types of economic activity and is therefore a poor metric to measure real growth by. For example if GDP is made up of 80% services and 20% production the economy is primarily engaged in non-productive economic activity (like a car spinning its wheels but going nowhere).

As you speculate, non-productive growth uses less energy and allows GDP to grow faster than the energy supply. The downside of this economic model is that money has to be constantly created to allow the non-productive economic activity to expand, but this also increases the claims on productive economic activity which causes inflation. The reason the West has survived so far with this ridiculous economic model is that it has been feeding off the productive wealth creation elsewhere (ie. Asia). Something which is now coming to an end.

As globalisation collapses countries need to address the imbalance in their economies, which basically means inverting the ratio of productive to non-productive economic activity. The problem is that productive economic activity will be restrained by resource depletion, financial collapse and even climate change, leaving non-productive activity to fall off a cliff without any mitigation. Essentially Western economies are going to contract massively in a deflationary depression and unemployment is going to go to unheard of levels.

Some of you may know that I am under contract to write a book about energy. I have six chapters done, and am just starting a chapter on peak oil. At the beginning of the chapters that fall under the "Controversies" section, I like to pit two competing quotes against each other and then start to explore the issue. For instance, in the chapter on global warming I quoted Al Gore who warned of the dangers and James Inhofe, who called it a hoax.

So I am trying to find good quotes for each side of the peak oil issue. I think I am going to quote Jeff Goodell on the one hand talking about our insatiable desire for fossil fuels. On the other side, I thought I would quote Daniel Yergin or Michael Lynch. Essentially, I want a direct quote and source in which they call peak oil garbage. Does anyone have a suggestion?

Plenty Of Oil—Just Drill Deeper , September, 2006

Cambridge Energy Research Associates predicts world oil and natural gas liquids capacity could increase as much as 25% by 2015. Says Robert W. Esser, a director of CERA: "Peak Oil theory is garbage as far as we're concerned."

In this 2005 column, Yergin talked about a 20% increase in "capacity" by 2010:


Versus the "Yergin Gap for total petroleum liquids:

I see you already got the "garbage" quote. If Yergin had said that it would be a perfect contrast.

There's actually a fascinating pattern to Yergin/CERA "Capacity" predictions, that I initially missed. They have been consistently been promising "Capacity" increases of 20% to 25%, but in what is a "Receding Horizons" phenomenon, the time required to get the 20% to 25% increase in production keeps getting longer, and longer, and longer. . . .

July, 2005
Yergin: Up by 20% in six years (+3.0%/year)

Our new, field-by-field analysis of production capacity, led by my colleagues Peter Jackson and Robert Esser, is quite at odds with the current view and leads to a strikingly different conclusion: There will be a large, unprecedented buildup of oil supply in the next few years. Between 2004 and 2010, capacity to produce oil (not actual production) could grow by 16 million barrels a day -- from 85 million barrels per day to 101 million barrels a day -- a 20 percent increase. Such growth over the next few years would relieve the current pressure on supply and demand.

September, 2006
Esser: Up by 25% in 9 years (+2.5%/year)

Cambridge Energy Research Associates predicts world oil and natural gas liquids capacity could increase as much as 25% by 2015. Says Robert W. Esser, a director of CERA: "Peak Oil theory is garbage as far as we're concerned."

September, 2011
Yergin: Up by 20% in 20 years (+0.9%/year)

Based on current and prospective plans, it appears that the world's production capacity for "oil and related liquids" (in industry jargon) should grow from about 92 million barrels per day in 2010 to over 110 million by 2030. That is an increase of about 20%.

At the current rate of decline in their projected rate of increase in production, from 3%/year in 2005 to 0.9%/year in 2011 (a 20%/year rate of decline in their projected rate of increase), I suppose that before too long they will be promising a 20% increase by the year 2111. I guess we hit Peak Optimistic Predictions in 2005.


I'm truly disappointed in your short sightedness.

The year 2030 is millennia away in terms of informational technologies.

As soon as "we" reach the Singularity Nirvana in the computational fields (and SkyNet becomes real), the uber-intelligent machines will take over that thinking thing for us and figure out how to bend the space-time continuum and provide wormhole access to any place in the Universe. Then we will be able to access; not merely the "world's" capacity in hydrocarbons bwahaha, but rather the Universe's capacity in all form of energy sources.

All this is projected to happen well before the year 2030.

Therefore this war of words between you and the Yergin-miester is kindergarten bantering. Not worthy of our time and attention.
When the Singularity arrives, both you and Yergin will be proven wrong.

A single line of computer code will take care of the whole thing:

Public_function: SkyNet(Get_More_Energy(Use_Wormhole_Access(Create_Wormhole_Access(Figure_out-How_to_Create_Wormhole_Access)))));


If I were the consciousness behind the Singularity, I'd rationally 'backup' all the genetic information available on this planet and turn the planet into a little space ship, sling shot to the sun, gobble up the sun and have a nice little space adventure (go along gobbling up each star on the way)... and no, I have no intentions of finding "intelligent life" elsewhere in the universe. Why would I? I'm the most intelligent, after all! Bwahahaha! I'd probably solve The Last Question by way of amassing mass and recreating the initial conditions of this universe myself. FTWU!

PS: My vast array of knowledge banks indicate that there are no worm holes or time travels possible in this physical universe. Hence my decision to suck up stars.

- The last time before this time was in the 1970s, when people thought we were going to fall off the oil mountain and live in an age of permanent shortage. Since then, world supplies have increased 60 percent. I don't see why we're at the end of technology now, or why it would be finished now

- First, we have to find a common vocabulary for energy security. This notion has a radically different meaning for different people. For Americans it is a geopolitical question. For the Europeans right now it is very much focused on the dependence on imported natural gas.

- Cycles of shortage and surplus characterize the entire history of oil.

- So the major obstacle to the development of new supplies is not geology but what happens above ground: international affairs, politics, investment and technology.

- We are living in a different world now. You can see it everywhere in international relations: It was noteworthy that, after his visit to Washington, the Chinese president's next stop was Saudi Arabia.

- We are living in a new age of energy supply anxiety.

- The American people clearly want to know why they are paying $3, or more, at the pump. But we will not find the answer if we only look inside the United States.

- There are ample supplies beneath the surface of the planet to have significant growth in oil supply for quite a number of years. The technology is there, the resources are there. But the real question is what happens above ground.

- This is a long-lead-time business; the investment horizon is five, 10 or 20 years. There's no switch to pull.

- This is not the first time that the world has 'run out of oil. It's more like the fifth. Cycles of shortage and surplus characterize the entire history of the oil industry

- Ethanol is mandating additional diversity to the pool of motor fuels. The definition of oil is being widened

- All the tensions and stress in the world's oil markets are flowing into the gasoline pump. The crude oil market is very tight, and a market that's this tight is vulnerable to politics, to hurricanes, to strikes and to emotions, and that's what we're seeing.

Daniel Yergin

"This is not the first time that the world has 'run out of oil. It's more like the fifth. Cycles of shortage and surplus characterize the entire history of the oil industry"

This one was on my short list. I do know that there is a quote from CERA -- but not by Yergin -- that says "Peak oil theory is garbage as far as we are concerned."

My objective is going to be to show that they are really arguing against straw men.

- "Peak Oil theory is garbage as far as we're concerned", said Robert W. Esser, a geologist by training and CERA's senior consultant/director of global oil and gas resources, according to Business Week online national correspondent Mark Morrison (Sept 7). http://energybulletin.net/20418.html


Unfortunately, the man is a master of weasel words and qualifiers.

Back when America was capable of judgment, whether of the ethical or rational variety, a guy like Yergin would be tarred and feathered.

But now we are nihilists, and we pretend to value the opinions of everybody (thereby valuing the opinions of nobody). Only pessimism is disallowed. Happy faced optimism is enforced by consensus, and sometimes by gunpoint.

So if I call Yergin a shill, I'm being impolite, negative, cynical, or even un-American.

And it wasn't always this way. I do remember! Nobody can tell me otherwise. I remember before 9/11 and the Bush years, and the relentless right wing assault on everything, before the Patriot Act, before the wars, before the financial collapse and TARP and all the rest. We were crazy before, but never to the point of insanity. We were always optimists, but never to the point of propaganda. Disneyland was always a fantasy we could take comfort in; now, we actually believe it, and crucify those who don't. Such is life in a dying Empire that can't do anything but lash out at the world and at itself.

a guy like Yergin would be tarred and feathered


He would be placed in an asylum for the hopelessly, but not criminally, insane.
There he could take his crayons and draw exponential hydrocarbon production curves on the walls of the playroom to his heart's content.

Maybe he will have some cornucopian economists as his playmates. They will use their crayons to draw exponential GDP growth curves on the walls right next to his energy curves.

A thinking America will be a kind and gentle America, respectful of the mental infirmities of some of our fellow men.

The King of Saudi Arabia:

“Just leave the underground wealth for our sons and their sons,”


Hidden Dangers Lurking In Money-Market Funds

Money-market funds—U.S. mutual funds that buy short-term debt issued by companies, banks and governments—are supposed to be safe, cash-like investments that lead an inconspicuous life in the lower reaches of the financial system.

[but there are] three misconceptions embedded in the current regime.

First, individual investors and companies perceive money-market funds as "safe" and treat them as current accounts, withdrawing money at will, writing checks against their deposits and so on. This attitude overlooks the fact that, unlike banks, these deposits aren't federally insured so in the event of a run, investors are at risk of losing money.

Second, money-market funds keep their net asset value fixed at $1 a share regardless of market movements. This fiction is justifiable on tax and accounting grounds, partly because changes in the daily prices of those short-term investments are tiny, but it does reinforce the mistaken impression of money markets as "stable" and "risk-free."

In fact, the run on the Reserve Fund happened precisely because its Lehman losses had forced it to "break the buck" — i.e., admit that its net asset value had fallen below $1.

The third issue centers on foreign banks. Since most of them don't have U.S. deposits, they fund dollar loans by issuing debt to money funds.

But there is a catch: By borrowing short-term funds and lending them out for years banks leave themselves far too exposed to changes in interest rates, credit markets and economic conditions, as shown by European lenders' current plight

U.S. money-market funds still have around the same level of exposure to some large French banks as the Reserve Fund had to Lehman in 2008. It's count-down time to another run on the fund and credit squeeze.

S.S. Titanic twenty minutes before the great ship goes down. People are standing around watching ever perceptively the bow slanting towards the waterline. The band is playing. Poker players, dressed in smoking jackets, deal the cards. The third class scrambles to higher decks as water floods into the lower compartments. The wireless operator frantically sends out S.O.S. into the silent night. The life boats are being lowered but it is clear there is not enough room for most passengers. The stokers are manning the furnaces to keep the lights on. It is the surreal moment - the pause - before the decks flood, the stern rises, the mid-rift breaks, and shear panic sets in as everything safe and sound plunges into the abyss.

I never understood why they didn't just use the lifeboats to ferry the passengers onto the iceberg...where they could have been picked up later.

Any suggestions for a current rescue plan?

Ferry people to the moon in shiny new pick-ups?

Wrong type of iceberg, random unstable chunks of ice rather than one single flat topped floe.

The movie looks interesting. The future will have EVs and hybrids, but the total number of vehicles will drop due to economic conditions. We will either get 32 hour work weeks or permanent 25 percent unemployment, with family incomes dropping accordingly either way.

Coupled with the emerging electric vehicles will be a massive change in land use, with larger cities morphing into compact neighborhoods linked by public transit and smaller cities struggling to reorder their land uses to densities that make higher occupancy transportation functional. Cities of 50,000 to 150,00 population not near the remaining 50 or so commercial airports will demand linkage to an expanding intercity passenger rail service, but most will be fortunate to have dependable commercial bus service to the larger population areas.

Cities between 25,000 and 50,000 will try to support the bus links as long as they can. The smaller population communities which are isolated from major metropolitan areas (county seats in the more rural parts of states) will find a disturbing isolation as they organize van pools and shuttle services for intercity travel. Travel from one rural county to another will become a challenge, as road maintenance on the secondary highways declines. States will establish a priority for road maintenance, and rural communities will find themselves with fewer dependable roadways. In most cases the maintained roads will lead only toward the major cities, not to each adjacent thinly populated county. Combinations of passenger and freight transportation services will emerge as companies search for new markets in a transport-constrained environment.

The one problem of EVs that will go away in time is range anxiety. We will drive shorter distances in personal vehicles and make each trip count.

I say maybe small electric vehicles or bicycles might happen ... might not
I have 3 EV's
Collapse due to one of the E's (Environment,Economy,Energy) may come first


Probably quite a bit late in this particular Drumbeat to gather much attention but I had an interesting eavesdropping session at work today. I work as a geologist for a large engineering company in NY state and currently work out of a small office that is shared with a couple "veteran" tranportation sector engineers. Overheard one of my co-workers discussing NY budgetary issues particularly with respect to funding for transportation projects - was a phone call he was on so not sure who he was discussing this with but sounded like another industry "insider" who shared the many years of experience of my co-worker, both in the private sector and public (Thruway Authority in NY).

My co-worker was expressing his bewilderment at the situation in NY transportation funding and exclaiming that he had never seen it this bad in all the decades he's been doing this kind of work. My ears really perked up when I heard him mention that apparently things are dire enough that the state is prepared to give up on some bridges in rural areas of NY - for lesser used bridges, once they become unrepairable and/or unsafe, they are planning to simply abandon them and divert any potential repair funding to higher profile, more critical projects. There has been alot of mention over the years on TOD that eventually governments would, of necessity, have to let paved roads revert back to gravel and otherwise accept a lower quality of roads in the future. Well, based on what I'm hearing it certainly appears that the future is here. If there are water crossings involved it sounds like some trips in rural areas might get a whole lot longer in the not too distant future...

That is indeed happening. Practically speaking, many of these bridges have been closed for years. It's just becoming "official" that they aren't going to be repaired or replaced.

Usually, there are nearby bridges which are newer and can be used instead.

NY, like most states these days, is suffering budget problems. They have a supposed highway fund, but it's been raided to pay for other things. The state DOT workers are facing unpaid furloughs, and the federal funds from Obama's stimulus plan have mostly run out. The budget was cut to the bone...then Irene hit. The damage was incredible in the northeast. I'm sure there's some federal funding and some emergency funds, but I would guess that a lot of money that was going to other projects has been used to fix the Irene damage.

Your problem is you live in a false reality world.

I sit in a cubicle near a bunch of computer whizzes.
The Singularity is near.
No worries.

Just go ahead and "burn that gasoline" (a You-tube musical)

hat tip to Illusion of Prosperity

Oh yes, I forgot about that...

Is there anything in the Singularity regarding bridges ?

I suppose it will involve teleporting or some other techno-fix.

We don't need no stinkin' bridges :)

We don't need no stinkin' bridges :)

... not where we're going
--Doc Brown (Back to the Future Part 1)

I don't know whether this story got mention here:

Brothers charged with stealing Pennsylvania bridge, selling it for $5000

Blow-torch toting brothers stole a bridge in western Pennsylvania and scored over $5,000 by hawking the scrap metal, police said.

Was hoping this story ended with the brothers realizing that the scrap metal place they were going to sell the dismantled bridge to happened to be on the other side of the river :)

Transportation is indispensable for everyone that's why car companies don't stop developing new models possessing the qualities catering the needs of consumers. Producing a car which can conserve fuel is a remarkable accomplishment. Mazda plans to reveal its brand new Takeri concept at the Tokyo Auto Show in late November. The vehicle will come out an innovative regenerative braking system. The brakes will power the car's electrical capabilities and thereby conserve fuel. Resource for this article: New Takeri concept car hints at next generation Mazda6