Drumbeat: November 9, 2011

Energy Costs to Rise ‘Viciously’ Without Nuclear, IEA Says

Energy will become “viciously more expensive” and polluting if governments don’t promote renewable and nuclear power in the next two decades instead of burning coal, the International Energy Agency said.

Global demand for energy is set to increase 40 percent by 2035, the Paris-based agency said today in its annual World Energy Outlook report. Consumption will rise 1.3 percent a year to 16.96 billion metric tons of oil equivalent in 2035, spurred by China and other emerging economies, the IEA said.

Fossil Fuels Got More Aid Than Clean Energy: IEA

Fossil-fuel consumers worldwide received about six times more state subsidies last year than were given to the renewable-energy industry, according to the chief adviser to oil-importing nations.

Aid to cut the price of gasoline, gas and coal rose by more than a third to $409 billion as global energy prices increased, compared with $66 billion of support for biofuels, wind power and solar energy, the Paris-based International Energy Agency said today in its World Energy Outlook.

Oil Drops on Concern Italy’s Turmoil May Derail European Economy

Oil declined for the first time in six days in New York after political turmoil in Italy revived concern that Europe’s debt crisis may continue to spread.

Futures fell as much as 1.9 percent after reaching their highest price in more than three months. European equities declined and the euro sank against the dollar as the cost of insuring against Italian default rose to a record. The Energy Department may say today gasoline supplies rose by 1 million barrels, analysts indicated in a Bloomberg News survey.

IEA fears oil spike; OPEC dreads European defaults

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices could hit economically damaging record highs if unrest in Africa and the Gulf cuts investment in output, the West's energy watchdog warned oil producers, which said the real problem was likely defaults among euro zone members and banks.

The International Energy Agency (IEA), which advises major oil-consuming countries on energy policies, said on Wednesday oil prices could spike by a third to above their all-time high of $147 a barrel. The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said the main risks were of price falls.

OPEC concerned by EU debt, US jobless

"We are concerned about some of uncertainties, we are concern about EU debt, we are concern about United States' unemployment rate," OPEC Secretary General Abdallah Salem El-Badri told Press TV on Tuesday.

El-Badri also assured the consuming nations that OPEC, which is responsible for more than 40 percent of global oil output, is ready to meet the global demand for oil.

Ten Opec forecasts

Read the ten major forecasts from Opec's latest World Oil Outlook, ranging from the challenges and prospects for oil developers to the intense competition they will face over the next 25 years.

Could Shale Gas Reignite the U.S. Economy?

Unlocking vast reserves of shale gas could solve the energy crisis, the jobs crisis, and the deficit. Now, about fracking’s safety ...

Gas reserves to provide energy for 'a century'

AUSTRALIA is about to enter a ''golden age of gas'' that will last for many decades, the head of the peak oil and gas industry body has declared.

Both coal seam gas and liquefied natural gas are expected to benefit in the short term from the price on carbon, because they generally emit fewer greenhouse gases than coal and at present they are cheaper than solar, wind or geothermal power.

Merkel, Medvedev inaugurate new gas pipeline

The leaders of Germany and Russia are opening a euro7.4 billion ($10.2 billion) natural gas pipeline that links western Europe directly with Siberia's vast gas reserves.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Dmitry Medvedev met Tuesday in the village of Lubmin on Germany's Baltic Sea coast, where the 760-mile (1,200-kilometer) Nord Stream underwater pipeline reaches land.

Syrian toll mounts as Homs assault continues

More than 3,500 Syrians have been killed in a crackdown by the government of President Bashar Assad in an uprising that has persisted for eight months, the United Nations said Tuesday, as the government pressed its assault on Homs, the city where the uprising has demonstrated its greatest strength.

Apartheid Oil?

You may have heard of "Dirty Oil", "Ethical Oil", "Bloody Oil" or even "Conflict Oil"-- but have you heard of Apartheid Oil? This is the question that Edmonton based writer and activist Macdonald Stainsby has been asking himself since he visited the Middle East and Northern Africa earlier this year.

In a four part series to be release over the next two weeks, Stainsby examines key shifts in technology and politics that could change the face of oil extraction in Israel/Palestine, Jordan and Morocco. As an introduction to the series, The Media Co-op had a chance to talk with Stainsby about what he learned on his visit, and through the writing process.

U.S. to Open New Areas to Offshore Drilling

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Tuesday announced its proposed five-year plan for offshore oil drilling, which calls for opening new areas in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska but bars development along the East and West Coasts.

The plan disappointed environmentalists but fell far short of what the oil industry and its Congressional supporters demanded.

State Department probed on oil pipeline review

The State Department's inspector general has agreed to probe the agency's environmental review of the proposed, 1,700-mile Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, likely delaying President Obama's decision on the controversial project.

TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline May Be Rerouted Amid Nebraska Opposition

The U.S. State Department is weighing whether to seek a rerouting of TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s planned $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline away from the Sandhills region of Nebraska, a department official said.

The department is considering how to respond to concern among Nebraska citizens and public officials about the risk that TransCanada’s current plans may pose to the Sandhills, said the official familiar with the deliberations, who spoke on condition of anonymity yesterday about internal discussions.

Exxon Mobil Estimates Cost for July's Yellowstone Oil Spill at $135 Million

According to the Wall Street Journal, Exxon Mobil announced it expects to pay $135 million in cleanup efforts related to the oil spill that occurred in July in Montana.

Both sides cite bad faith in Solyndra case

WASHINGTON – With the White House due to deliver a response to a subpoena to produce internal documents on its dealings with failed energy company Solyndra on Thursday, administration officials and GOP lawmakers are exchanging charges that the other is acting in bad faith.

Siemens lands $900 million wind power contracts

BERLIN (AP) — German engineering company Siemens says it has recently landed new wind power contracts worth more than $900 million in North America and the Caribbean.

Siemens AG said in a statement Monday that an agreement was reached late last month to build a new wind farm in Puerto Rico with a capacity of 100 megawatts — or about a tenth of an average nuclear reactor's power.

Nearly 500 Birds Found Dead at Wind Farm

A West Virginia wind farm that I wrote about last month because of its battery installation was the site of a big bird kill in October, according to a consultant’s report for the Fish and Wildlife Service. And it wasn’t the blades of the wind machines that killed the birds, according to the consultant; they seem to have been drawn to the lighting around the batteries and an associated electrical substation.

Most Solar Manufacturers May Vanish by 2015, Trina CEO Says

Most of the biggest solar-equipment makers may disappear in the next few years as plunging prices erode margins and drive the weakest out of business, according to Trina Solar Ltd. (TSL), the fifth-largest supplier of solar panels.

Here Comes the Sun

For decades the story of technology has been dominated, in the popular mind and to a large extent in reality, by computing and the things you can do with it. Moore’s Law — in which the price of computing power falls roughly 50 percent every 18 months — has powered an ever-expanding range of applications, from faxes to Facebook.

Our mastery of the material world, on the other hand, has advanced much more slowly. The sources of energy, the way we move stuff around, are much the same as they were a generation ago.

But that may be about to change. We are, or at least we should be, on the cusp of an energy transformation, driven by the rapidly falling cost of solar power. That’s right, solar power.

Solar Power Only One Piece of the Sustainable Economy Puzzle

The car culture we’ve cultivated since Eisenhower’s highway project won’t survive when gas prices get too high, and even the electric car requires power generation, which requires coal.

It’s not likely that solar and wind can power the vehicles of the future unless those vehicles drive a lot less. Alternative modes of transporation, such as rail, are a key ingredient.

Christie Targets PA Power Plant, But Won’t Support Broader EPA Effort To Curb Air Pollution

TRENTON – On Monday, Gov. Chris Christie announced plans to appeal a court ruling that dismissed New Jersey’s legal efforts to force owners of a coal-fired Pennsylvania power plan to reduce its pollution.

However, the governor chose not to support a broader effort by the federal Environmental Protection Agency to curb interstate air pollution.

Greenpeace protests 'climate killer' coal plant in S.Africa

Six activists from environmental group Greenpeace scaled a crane at the construction site of a coal-fired power plant in South Africa on Monday and unfurled banners calling it a "climate killer".

China hunting for energy resources in the Arctic

BEIJING // The pristine waters and ice sheets of the Arctic have long captured the imagination of explorers, but with global warming causing large-scale melting and opening up the region for resource extraction, interest is now also growing among governments and energy giants.

Chief among the outside players is China, which has a burning need for new sources of energy to fuel an economy that is the world's second-largest and which continues to grow at more than nine per cent a year.

Delaying Climate-Protection Fight Is a ‘False Economy,’ IEA Says

Delaying an international deal to protect the climate is a “false economy” because costs to deal with increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will surge, the International Energy Agency estimated.

“For every $1 of investment avoided before 2020, an additional $4.30 would need to be spent after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions,” the Paris-based IEA said today in its World Energy Outlook report.

The situation with EU debt loads seemed on the surface to have been satisfied with the recent financial aid package, however things are quickly beginning to unravel again now Italy's bond rate has exceeded 7%.

Really starting to wonder where all this is headed. Will the contagion spread from the EU to rising rates for US debt bonds?

Very apropos

Yes, very apropos. While all eyes have been on Europe, Asia is beginning to slide seriously.

Global shipping downturn worse than 2008-China

"The shipping industry is in a downturn, which is worse than the financial crisis in 2008," transportation minister Li Shenglin told the conference. "This condition may last for a relatively long period of time."

China is particularly important for the shipping industry as its huge appetite for raw materials has been one of the key factors supporting rates.

The supply glut, made worse by economic woes in the United States and Europe, has pushed rates for dry bulk vessels that transport goods such as iron and coal below 2,000 on the Baltic Exchange , less than a fifth of the 2008 peak.

Hong Kong home sales fall over 50% in October

HONG Kong's home sales fell for a 10th straight month, dropping by half in October from a year ago as buyers put off purchases.

The value of transactions last month declined 50 percent to HK$22.5 billion (US$2.9 billion), the city's government said in a statement on its website yesterday. Sales of residential units shed 2.2 percent from September, it said.

Simple cause and effect.

Hong Kong Tips Into Recession

Hong Kong’s exports declined in September for the first time in almost two years, and the benchmark Hang Seng Index plunged 21 percent in the third quarter, the biggest loss since 2001, as Europe's debt crisis roiled global markets. Donald Tsang, the city's chief executive, warned yesterday in New York that there’s a 50 percent chance of a world recession in the coming year.

“The economy is faltering on a rapidly deteriorating external environment,” said Raymond Yeung, an economist at ANZ in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is “the nerve center of regional economic activities” and “any degeneration may signal a global economic downturn,” Yeung said.

And how about mainland China? Real estate is getting cheap fast.

Property Prices Collapse in China. Is This a Crash?

Residential property prices are in freefall in China as developers race to meet revenue targets for the year in a quickly deteriorating market. The country’s largest builders began discounting homes in Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenzhen in recent weeks, and the trend has now spread to second- and third-tier cities such as Hangzhou, Hefei, and Chongqing. In Chongqing, for instance, Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa cut asking prices 32% at its Cape Coral project. “The price war has begun,” said Alan Chiang Sheung-lai of property consultant DTZ to the South China Morning Post.

What started slowly in September turned into a rout by the middle of last month—normally a good period for sales—when Shanghai developers started to slash asking prices. Analysts then expected falling property values to move Premier Wen Jiabao to relax tightening measures, such as increases in mortgage rates and prohibitions on second-home purchases, intended to cool the market.

From your last link:

The overriding reality is that, because of Beijing’s stimulus spending, there are too many properties and not enough buyers at this time. The market will have to arrive at equilibrium at some point, but what is surprising is the rapidity at which this is now happening. In common parlance, it’s called a crash.

China will crash because it must crash. China's massive growth has been based on construction, construction of houses, apartments, office space, malls, and even whole cities. And they are all largely still empty with no buyers for the homes and office space and no shoppers for the malls.

But the worst is yet to come. All those millions of construction workers must now stop building space that no one will ever occupy, they will all be out of a job. Builders will go bankrupt and their construction loans will never be paid. Banks will then crash.

However the banks are now trying to loan their way out of the mess they are in, hoping to somehow keep hundreds of millions of construction workers employed: Chinese Banks May Issue $102 Billion In New Yuan Loans

The paper said China can't rule out possibility that the central bank will cut reserve requirement ratio for some small banks to ease their liquidity pressure.

Cutting reserve requirements so they can loan more money is just a way of digging the hole deeper, meaning fewer defaults will be needed to cause total collapse.

But many still insist that China will not crash, that they will find a way out of this quagmire. Really? Then please tell me how they are going to pull that off?

Ron P.

When China goes down, so too will the two countries with commodity currencies, Canada and Australia. China's robust growth sheltered part of the world from the full impact of the last downturn.

Chinese blessing/curse: may you live in interesting times.

I wouldn't count on China going down. It's Europe and the United States I am worrying about - particularly Europe with the financial insolvency of Greece and Italy to deal with.

I am worried about the whole damn world. The question is: What will be the tipping point? Will it be China or Greece or Italy or whomever? We live in a global economy. It will be like a row of dominoes, when one goes the others will be knocked down one by one.

Yes, I am very worried about China going down. I am worried about Greece but more worried about Italy. But I am just plain worried. The world is in a real damn mess and I think that China, because of its size and influence in the world, will trip the world economy into the gutter far faster than Greece, or even Italy. But any of them can do it and one of them will do it. The question is who will start the dominoes to tumbling.

Ron P.

I am struck that economic growth and or "catastrophies" usually represent relatively small changes around the margins. Todays "grim" economic forcast for Europe has the growth form a year being flat. Thats not great news, but looked at from 30,000feet its a small change in the overall size of the economy. Its like they have an economy that currently employees 100 people, and next year they only need 97. One of the three to go is retiring, so you get 2 layoffees, plus the two new people joining the labour market when there are no new positions available. Pretty tough to be one of those four. But, the reason it is tough is because these societies haven't figured out how to share the opportunities and benefits. It they had. And if the population wasn't committed to being on a financial tightrope whereby a two percent drop in income translates into having to default on some obligation, such changes would be easily absorbed.

So the real challenge/lesson, is about resiliency; how can we organize societies/economies so that a few percent regression can be absorbed in stride, rather than being a calamity.

I think at least part of the answer lies in organizing societies small enough that 1) trust among its citizens ensures a stake in social safety nets and commonly possessed natural capital, 2) understanding/monitoring of sustainable natural capital flows from forests, rivers, fisheries, etc. is within practical reach.

Without trust and knowledge, the distribution of energy surpluses will tend towards the what we have now in industrial civilization, which maximizes consumption as far as it can, exceeding sustainable natural capital flows. The winnings are then distributed very unequally partly because of the massive scale of the global economy, which tends to de-personalize citizens that are far-flung.

To quote Ronald Wright:
"Such a civilization is therefore most unstable at its peak, when it has reached maximum demand on the ecology. Unless a new source of wealth or energy appears, it has no room left to raise production or absorb the shock of natural fluctuations."

Which may explain why we seem to be dealing with very small margins of error before going off cliffs...

EofS, you ask how can we organize so that a few percent regression can be absorbed in stride? How can we best prepare for resiliency? I'm not optimistic that that is even a possibility now.

It's looking more and more, with each passing day, like the path of least resistance is calamity.

Euro crisis leaves US howling into the wind

"The lack of unity, the lack of credibility coming out of Europe is disheartening. Spain and France are now starting to weaken."

Is it going to get worse? "You betcha. It's crazy."

Easy for the US to criticize Europe. But the obstacle facing Europe is the same as if the US had to coordinate it policies through the legislatures of all 50 states with New York, Texas and California calling the shots. Considering the budgetary fiasco on Capitol Hill this past summer, American officials are in no position to ridicule Europe's political quagmire.

Chinese politics, despite the outward solidarity of the one party state, may not be much better.

Nobody has any idea what to do. Everybody is on board. Each is watching the engine going off the rails.

If growth is held flat for a year, we'll be lucky. The descent maybe steeper than we can prepare for.

The fundamental problem is not negative growth, it is the unmanageable debt that some of these countries have built up. Any downturn will put them into default on their debts, whereas a country with big cash reserves - like China - can ride out the downturns easily and throw money at problems without worrying about borrowing it. If China gets into trouble, it will just cash in some of the trillions of dollars that other countries owe it, and the debtor countries rather than China will be in trouble.

The biggest concern is the PIIGS - Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain. Of those, Greece is the first concern because it is completely insolvent, but Italy is the biggest concern because of its size - it is a G8 country. The EU has enough money to bail out Greece, but it does not have enough money to bail out Italy.

The US would be a problem because of the size of its debt, but fortunately for Americans, the Chinese have been funding their government for some years. However, it is questionable how long the Chinese will continue to do that if their own economy takes a downturn. Having talked to many Americans about it, I know they don't realize what the consequences of that would be.

Fortunately, I'm in Canada, which is in very good financial shape these days and has the strongest banking system in the world (by comparison to all the others).

Fortunately, I'm in Canada, which is in very good financial shape these days and has the strongest banking system in the world (by comparison to all the others).

Do you ever read this site:


The implication is that there is a major housing bubble up there that has not yet popped.

Are you saying it's all Sarkozy's fault?

Well, maybe it's Hungary's fault... >;^)

Sarkozy is a Frenchman of mixed national and ethnic ancestry. He is the son of Pál István Ernő Sárközy de Nagy-Bócsa (Hungarian: nagybócsai Sárközy

Oh, good to know that his name originates from Sárközy and not, as some of my friends had hoped, Szarközy... :P

But either "Sár-" or "Szar-", they still think that he is full of it.

The conversation then drifted to Netanyahu, at which time Sarkozy declared: "I cannot stand him. He is a liar." According to the report, Obama replied: "You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!"

the interesting thing you missing is how come obama 'has' to deal with him when he knows he is a lair?
could it be because the millions of dollars the isrialie lobby has spent on most of the united state's government to make sure they 'always side with them'? the same money he fears being put into ad's against him and labeling a anti-Semite if he so much as dares not to tow the pro isrial line?

Is the Israeli lobby (AIPAC), really effective because it can outspend other lobbying groups? Or is it some other feature of the US political landscape that makes it so potent? I don't know the numbers, but it seems to me that because of our psychologica; reaction to the holocast (combined with the guilt of having largely ignored it until after German territory was conquered), make accusations of being anti-semitic so politically devastating. I suspect they are exploiting our collective gognitive weaknesses and biases very skillfully. If it was just money, surely the Arab side could vastly outspend Israel?

One of many strange ironies of US politics is that the Zionist programme is strongly supported by some of the same extreme fundamentalist Christians who believe that all practising Jews are damned to hell because "they killed Christ" etc. That is, we have a collection of trad hardcore antisemites who nevertheless support the Likud faction and pro-Israel policies. iirc the reason is: NT prophetic scripture concerning the Rapture (or some contemporary interpretation thereof?) requires that all Jews must return to a restored Kingdom of Israel before the Second Coming can occur... I'm not sure, but I think the prophecy also requires that they all convert or face damnation. Anyway, politics makes strange bedfellows, but politics plus fundamentalist religion makes for some truly bizarre liaisons :-)

Italy: Too big to fail, too big to bail.

And the French banks are totally gorged on Italian sovereign debt. TPTB have been amazingly good at containing the damage; and the coming panic. One can only wonder when the dams will finally break. But both the U.S. and the Europeans have, so far, come up with an impressive number of little Dutch boys with a seemingly limitless number of fingers.

If we do start getting major defaults from Italy et. al., who are the major losers?

If OPEC countries are major holders of bonds etc., will we see OPEC economies going into recession as they are forced to face economic reality that the world can no longer afford $110 oil? Will we see a renewed Arab Spring, with multiple exporters going off-line?

I can't help thinking that Robert Rapier's Peak-Lite is way too optimistic.

The consensus seems to be that the PIIGS group of countries using the Euro are considered likely to default because they are no longer able to print their own money, and have borrowed in excess of their ability to repay through taxes. Absent an explicit decision by the Congress to default, the Treasury and Federal Reserve can print an arbitrary number of dollars to pay off US bonds. In normal times such a move would probably be inflationary; the prices for 10-year Treasuries suggests that the bond market doesn't believe that inflation is going to happen.

There's a lot of speculation that the European problems propagate to the US if one or more of those countries default without prior agreement with the bond holders. A default without such an agreement would be a "credit event" that would trigger the bond insurance that the big European banks have purchased. The big US banks are believed to have written large amounts of such insurance -- but they're not required to disclose such operations. Some of the guesses going around are that if Italy were to default on half its debt and the insurance is triggered, two or three of the big US banks will be bankrupt.

And for that reason, whatever is done for Italy will be termed "voluntary" and "not a credit event." And governments and the media and the financial institutions will extend the pretend. I wonder what will happen that will end the pretend? An attack on Iran seems to be a new candidate now.

A bit of a witches' cauldron brewing. Ahmadinejad pledges Iran won't retreat from its nuclear path; Russia rejects tighter sanctions

In an interview with Israel Radio on Tuesday, ahead of the report's release, Defence Minister Ehud Barak said that without effective sanctions, Israel would not take any option "off the table," a reference to possible military action.


But Russia, which has veto-wielding power on the U.N. Security Council, said new sanctions would be unacceptable.


Gatilov said Russia believes that dialogue with Iran is the only way forward.


Meanwhile, Iran's other chief ally, China, issued cautious statements calling for diplomacy and dialogue.

There will be no war, it's just posturing. No one in the world can tolerate $200 oil right now. Iran has already vowed that if they are attacked, they won't let any tanker get past the straits of Hormuz.

I agree to some extent. However, it is a dangerous confluence of events at work here and posturing can put heads of government into some dastardly predicaments (witness World War 1).

So much for the melodrama of the moment. Iran has been on and off the burner for a while now. IMHO, the United States, acting in its own self interest, will put behind-the-scenes pressure on Israel to cool the rhetoric and sabre rattling while conducting under-the-radar diplomatic talks with China and Russia and Saudi Arabia. Whatever actions are taken, they likely will involve a concert of other international players. Obama hasn't been as inclined as Bush to exercise American unilateralism.

The Iranians have stated on more then one occaision that they would be happy to live in the stone age - taking the rest of the world with them would only be considered a bonus....

The Iranians have stated on more then one occaision(sic) that they would be happy to live in the stone age

Source please...

"..they would be happy to live in the stone age."

The same kind of stuff comes out of Oklahoma on a pretty regular basis, and I don't even have to depend on a translator to verify it.. but of course, this is not really the 'Voice of the People', just certain elected and ordained representatives who act like that's what they are.

Be careful who you are quoting, and who they might be misrepresenting..

Yeah, I didn't mean to imply a unilateral attack on Iran by the US. And there could be other distractions that get the blame for flush the economy: someone actually leaves the Euro, for example. I just see things on a gradual down slope, but there might be something that becomes a cliff.

Amusing and insightful 2005 article by Gary Brecher examining the likely consequences of a war with Iran http://www.exile.ru/articles/detail.php?ARTICLE_ID=7606&IBLOCK_ID=35

As it happens I vwent on holiday to Iran a few weeks ago - it's a stunning place to visit - really interesting, staggeringly beautiful (Esfahan, Shiraz), world-class historical stuff, great food, perfect weather, cheap, and most of all, the people are phenomenally friendly and hospitable.

Regards Chris

it's a stunning place to visit

I bet it is. Of course coming from my country, forces within Iran looking to trump up spy charges would deter me, from taking the plunge. Politics can sure screw up a good thing.

My observation travelling abroad, and at home, is that people in general are friendly and hospitable. It is their governments and religions that are mean spirited and hostile to one another. Oh, and the multinational corporations who get rich during all the conflicts.


Definitely true in Iran - as a UK citizen I was hardly a friendly visitor viewed from a macro-political angle - but Iranians are well able to distinguish between a hostile government and a friendly tourist. I went around with £1000 and an expensive camera on my person, but never once felt the slightest threat. I received nothing but warm welcomes, offers of friendship, and genuine hospitality. Can't say I'd adopt the same approach in Florida.

However Americans are required to travel in organised tour-groups, and the visa situation is probably deteriorating badly right now..... but wait for your window of opportunity and go - you won't be disappointed.

Regards Chris

U.S. Plans Bomb Sales in Gulf to Counter Iran

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration has quietly drawn up plans to provide a key Persian Gulf ally with thousands of advanced "bunker-buster" bombs and other munitions, part of a stepped-up U.S. effort to build a regional coalition to counter Iran.

The proposed sale to the United Arab Emirates would vastly expand the existing capabilities of the country's air force to target fixed structures, which could include bunkers and tunnels—the kind of installations where Iran is believed to be developing weapons.

Wishful thinking. I wish so too.

However, there was a deep economic problem pre-world-war-II.

Even in nature, we can notice that the general behaviour of resolving competition for resources (whether its for a female or food) is a (game) function of the availability of related resources in that environment. In tropics, the behaviour is to use fun, frolic and posturing as a means for resolving competition and conflict of interest, whereas in resource scarce environments it is usually harsh, violent tests that often results in the death of the loser.

I'm still back with the Greeks. The media door on them closed pretty quick when the Italians entered.

It seemed the last thing anyone wanted was a popular vote. All the press stories featured reactions from government officials and outside leaders. But nowhere did I hear what Joe Blow on the street felt about getting to vote on their referendum, then overnite that opportunity whisked away. They're just the ones who pay, I guess. Any links to their reaction on having the vote dissolved?

But nowhere did I hear what Joe Blow on the street felt about getting to vote on their referendum

The popular will has been sidestepped in Europe ever since the Maastricht Treaty (1992) unraveled in the ratification process.

The process of ratifying the treaty was fraught with difficulties in three states. Denmark first rejected the treaty on 2 June 1992 by fewer than 50,000 votes in a referendum. In September 1992, a referendum in France only narrowly supported the ratification of the treaty, with 51.05% in favour. Uncertainty over the Danish and French referendums was one of the causes of the turmoil on the currency markets in September 1992, which led to the UK pound's expulsion from the Exchange Rate Mechanism. The treaty was eventually ratified by Denmark on 18 May 1993 with the addition of the Edinburgh Agreement which lists four Danish exceptions.

In the United Kingdom, an opt-out from the treaty's social provisions was opposed in Parliament by the opposition Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs and the treaty itself by the Maastricht Rebels within the governing Conservative Party. The number of rebels exceeded the Conservative majority in the House of Commons, and thus the government of John Major came close to losing the confidence of the House.

European statesmen have henceforth been more sensitive to markets than popular opinion. A big part of the problem. The Eurozone fails a very fundamental litmus test: its sovereignty does not rest on the consent of the people. Authority is diffused. Legitimacy is suspect. Centralized decision-making is fraught with inertia. Not Merkel nor Sarkozy nor any other European leader will address the real dilemma - the lack of "general will". The Emperor truly has no clothes.

Thank you Zadok, at least somebody understands. The E.U. is a construct of Human Hubris and is in the early stages of total breakdown. I personally do not expect it too be around in 4 years time. It reminds me very much of the Austrian Hungarian Empire a multicultural multilingual anomaly. It looked strong and permanent in 1914, four years later it had broken up into its component parts. War was the destructive force in 1914 but I expect economic break down with be the driving force this time.I can remember Barrosa saying that the E.U. was an empire without an Emperor an oxymoron if ever I heard one,you can enjoy more of his blather here


The emergence of the Frankfurt Group has turned back the democratic clock

The real decisions in Europe are now taken by the Frankfurt Group, an unelected cabal made of up eight people: Lagarde; Merkel; Sarkozy; Mario Draghi, the new president of the ECB; José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission; Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the Eurogroup; Herman van Rompuy, the president of the European Council; and Olli Rehn, Europe's economic and monetary affairs commissioner.

This group, which is accountable to no one, calls the shots in Europe. The cabal decides whether Greece should be allowed to hold a referendum and if and when Athens should get the next tranche of its bailout cash. What matters to this group is what the financial markets think not what voters might want. To the extent that governments had any power, it has been removed and placed in the hands of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF. It is as if the democratic clock has been turned back to the days when France was ruled by the Bourbons.

In the circumstances, it is hardly surprising that electorates have resorted to general strikes and street protests to have their say. Governments come and go but the policies remain the same, creating a glaring democratic deficit. This would be deeply troubling even if it could be shown that the Frankfurt Group's economic remedies were working, which they are not. Instead, the insistence on ever more austerity is pushing Europe's weaker countries into an economic death spiral while their voters are being bypassed. That is a dangerous mixture.

things are quickly beginning to unravel again now Italy's bond rate has exceeded 7%.

It began to unravel the day after the financial package was agreed upon. Italy could not sell its bonds on Friday,28th October . Greece came to the rescue on the following Monday and provided a convenient distraction by all the foolishness over a referendum. Greece was a sideshow.

The Eurozone is facing a political and existential crisis. What is it? Who has authority? Those questions are not answered. Until there is political will to resolve these fundamental problems, the financial debacle will escalate. The last round of negotiations was smoke and mirrors. Sovereign debt is toxic. The Euro is toxic. Outsiders will not back the Eurozone if the insiders express no confidence in it.

Will the contagion spread from the EU to rising rates for US debt bonds?

You betcha! And the options in the remedy bag (quantitative easing, bailouts, etc.) are no longer effective or justifiable. Doesn't mean they won't be tried. Heads of government and central bankers don't like to be seen as incompetent or impotent.

Don't be so certain that US debt bonds will be impacted all that much. After all, capital will flee the coming crash, into whatever looks the most secure. This is why Gold is selling at +$1,700/TOz and interest on bonds are so low.

Of course, in the meantime, all of the early-on defaults will be "by agreement." Which means, of course, the creditors "accept" a 50% reduction of principal. No defaults in Europe. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Later, we should expect US bondholders (mostly China and Social Security, I guess) to 'accept' the same deal... giving rise to the Rabid Right's fondest dream... virtual distruction of Social Security. At which point, all those retired folks who can work are added to the swollen ranks of the unemployed, and the "value" of labor diminishes - far too many bodies looking for work. If the do it right, they might be able to engineer deals with workers for housing and food in exchange for a job. We used to call that slavery. Then we will see how Faux News spins that.

The ultimate poll tax is going to be, you are not allowed to leave work to vote, and work during the hours the polls are open! Owners and management excepted, of course.

One of the talking heads last evening asked, "How can a billionaire donate to and support a liberal candidate?" To me the answer is that there are, after all, one or two moral billionaires. The true question is, "How can middle class workers vote for and support the candidates of the far right?" For that I have no answer, except "you can fool all of the people some of the time."

Best hopes for Jubilee in the 2010's.


IMF chief warns of a 'lost decade' for global economy

The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, has warned that the global economy is at risk of being plunged into a "lost decade".

"Our sense is that if we do not act boldly and if we do not act together, the economy around the world runs the risk of downward spiral of uncertainty, financial instability and potential collapse of global demand," she said.

Dear Seraph,

I believe this is going to be our "Found Decade".

I've been a member here for 4.5+ years and have traversed the entire spectrum from ignorant of peak energy, surprise, fear, attentive to the JHK doomsday prediction of the month, through the Long Descent, and finally as a recovering doomer.

Rather than becoming lost, I found myself through Peak Oil. Life goes on for me and I hope for you as well.

Lost Decade. Lost Money Decade, maybe. But the decade will pass one way or another. Choose your own way carefully. In the meantime, relax and enjoy the ride.


jteehan -

You may be right about the 'Found Decade'. Your phrase 'recovering doomer' strikes a chord.

After the visceral body-blow of discovering about Peak Oil many years back, I've found it's given me a real purpose in life and allowed me to put much of the material world and my daily worries in context. Life is a learning experience - relax, enjoy the ride - words to live by.


Great idea as this Paul is also a 1/2 full type after too much 'inevitable decline' readings. It may not change anything, but I am now able to live working towards change than worrying about it.

It may be a slower decline than I used to worry it would be. Life remains everyday.


Fact is, with a few exceptions the stuff I need to be doing to be more prepared for PO is stuff I would want to be doing anyway for various other reasons -- conscience, personal preferences, etc. Being a doomer is not necessarily being a gloomer... I always liked that phrase "life-loving economic doomer" (forget who coined it).

One friend likes to say "90% of life is just showing up.."

It's worth finding ways to just go through the motions when one's spirit has temporarily left the building.. and after a couple things are accomplished, I find (found yesterday, for example) that the spirit has snuck back in to join the party again.

Capped and Weathersealed a retired chimney at sunset yesterday, looking over the rooftops of Portland as a Full Moon Rose next to Jupiter (and I saw all 4 moons in the Binocs..) I realized I had actually managed to accomplish several things, and felt ok.



p.s. I'm glad to chat with you again. We've been through a lot on this site, you more than me, and I've always enjoyed reading your posts.

Can you believe how long we've been here? I wasn't sure there would be a TOD in 2011. Or electricity, for that matter.


Hi, Zap,

I generally find it a pleasure to read your comments and often gain a new insight from them.

But methinks you are just a little bit out of the mainstream in terms of what the VAST majorityof conservatives of this country would like to see happen.

I could easily come up with an eqiuvalent right wingers rant involving the nationalization of all banks, confiscation of all weapons except in the hands of police, the incarceration of dissenting thinkers in a gulag, the creation of a superclass of public servants who are our defactomasters in every single respect as is currently the case in say North korea, etc

Speech codes and laws that outlaw the saying or even the thinking of anything not consistent with the current political line, etc

But I won't, for the simple reason that I know only a minute fraction of the people on the left end of the political spectrum want such things to come to pass.

And anyway, the moderator would almost certainly strike out any such right wing extremist rants.

But in a fit of pique [ (or if I forget to take my meds ;-)] I might eventually post such a comment anyway.

Enjoy yourself but please-don't go too far out in the deep water.

I fight a constant fight trying to get my more conservative friends and acquaintances to accept reality as we see it here on TOD;it is not their fault that they don't see things as we do-they simply aren't as well educated as to the relevant FACTS-even though a lot of them are very well educated according to accepted standards.

All it takes is one such rant to cause one of them to strike this site off his list of bookmarks.

Nobody enjoys being insulted and taken for a cretin.

But methinks you are just a little bit out of the mainstream in terms of what the VAST majorityof conservatives of this country would like to see happen.

Recall, OFM, that I said "Rabid Right." That does not include what the vast majority think or want, though most seem to favor 'privitization' of Social Security. And, when I was a card carrying Republican, not so many years ago I am sad to say, my friends, who were not in the far right, freely discussed our plans to "starve the beast" in order to take down Social Security, and that SS was the one program that they wanted to destroy. Which is one reason that I left the party, as I had left the Dems many years before.

At times the extreme fringes of the two touch! My disgust at each is the same, and for the same reasons. They have become doctrinaire and idological, each in its own way. And seem determined to allow the country to fail based on their particular idiosyncracies. Better to have the country fail than to allow a Democratic President to pass anything that might actually help. My only exception to total enui toward the parties came with President George H.W. Bush, who at least stepped up and passed a tax increase when that was necessary (and I believe was the reason for the decade of prosperity that followed, rather than anything that Bill Clinton did). Also, when we accomplished our stated purpose in the first Gulf War, he stopped. Good man, GHW. I would take him in my Party any time!


I believe after reading your reply that we have a lot more in common than I thought.

I too have traveled about the same path politically that you have.I have been a union guy, a card carrying ACLU type, a committed right winger, and a middle of the road independent insofar as my vote has been concerned.

I still count myself a conservative in the old true meaning of the word-which implies that govt takes on those jobs which are necessary and only the govt can handle.Given modern society, and modern technology, etc, it is obvious that only the govt can prevent individuals and corporations from destroying the environment, so it follows that we need the EPA..

It is also obvious that given modern economic conditions we simply must have an old age safety net-hence ss is justified , in principle at least, if perhaps differently organized.

As times change, the things that work for the greater good of all the people change too.I don't know anybody-or any conservative- who does not believe in the concept of a "free" education for kids, as everybody realizes that in the long run, universal literacy is a bargain in terms of security and prosperity across the board, for everybody.

I believe that enlightened conservative opinion will in another decade or two come around to the pov that a European style health care system is infinitely better than what we have now,for the simple reason that the Euro system has proven itself to be far more efficient and cost effective, not to mention that healthy people are more peaceable and productive.

Of course we are stuck with the medical system we have for the same reason we are stuck with the educational system we have-the people involved in each are more interested by far in their own welfare than the welfare of the general public.The teachers are deathly afraid of being held accountable , which would be the result of having competitive affordable (subsidized)private schools, and the medical industry is deathly afraid of the end of the gravy train ride that will follow Eruo style health care.

My current opinion of our party system is that I wish a pox upon both parties.

The republicans are too dumb to appreciate the sciences as a general thing, and the democrats are too naive in respect to human nature to govern successfully over the long term.We either fry and choke to death from the right or or we succumb to fiscal insanity from the left , if I may myself commit the same sin I accused you of-excessive stereotyping.

Please accept my apology.

Both parties are grievously in error in so many ways, and often in the same ways, that it would take a thick book to even begin to discuss this subject.

None needed, Mac. Sometimes I feel the same way about my posts after I read them.

Having said that, I would add to:

I still count myself a conservative in the old true meaning of the word-which implies that govt takes on those jobs which are necessary and only the govt can handle.

the following:

I am of that conservative bent that says that, after we undertake some task as a nation, we are obligated to pay for it. This means, eventually retiring our debt, and getting on pay as you go basis. (except for true emergencies).

Those who benefit most will have to pay the most. Including owners of corporations, CEOs and hedge fund managers. I have written a prospective bill for taxation that would do that; if need be I would support a real balanced budget amendment that says, basically, what I just did. Every spending bill MUST be, and IS, a taxing bill. If not today, then later.

Republicans and Democrats alike must bite the proverbial bullet. The must work together, and soon, or we will see that crash so often alluded to on these pages.

Yes, we are much alike! I am an NRA member, and supported myself in college and law school selling guns (plus assorted sporting goods, hunting equipment and the like). I have been chronically employed throughout my life... including today. Never got rich... never got really poor either. Have very difficult emotions when considering what my grandchildren's lives will be like!

For that reason, indeed, a pox on both their houses.



Will the contagion spread from the EU to rising rates for US debt bonds?

You betcha! And the options in the remedy bag (quantitative easing, bailouts, etc.) are no longer effective or justifiable

Guess I'm blockquoting myself then you Zadok, but to make the point it seems like this debt situation is going viral. It's like someone else mentioned, dutch boys with fingers in the dyke. That routine is whithering on the vine and seems bound to lead to similar problems here in the US.

If the stock market's drop today is any indication of how bad this situation could get, oh my, watch for some precipitous drops in the market once the contagion reaches our shores.

Maybe the world needs 'Debt Free Day', in which every single debt to any and every institution is forgiven. We could use a boost like that - own your house free and clear suddenly. What a bump the world economy would get in the following year.

Maybe the world needs 'Debt Free Day', in which every single debt to any and every institution is forgiven. We could use a boost like that - own your house free and clear suddenly. What a bump the world economy would get in the following year.

The consumer economy would certainly see a bump, Earl. Not sure the climate would be helped, as most folks would use their suddenly discretionary income not for saving for retirement, or for unexpected needs, but rather for a trip to Hawaii, a new Dodge Truck, or a bigger, 3-D, HDTV! Meanwhile, many corporations would be helped, wealthy investors would be devastated, and more than just a few retired people would have to go back to work!

I think the unintended consequences would be rather profound. It would be interesting, though.


Maybe the world needs 'Debt Free Day', in which every single debt to any and every institution is forgiven. We could use a boost like that - own your house free and clear suddenly. What a bump the world economy would get in the following year.

What about the people who did not borrow or have already paid their debt? At any rate your solution will not work. What is debt for a person is asset for the entity that holds that debt. If all debt is forgiven, then all bank assets and bonds become worthless, no more money in Social Security trust fund, pension funds, etc.

Debt Free Day could also be described as Lose Your Savings Day and for business, Lose Your Cash Flow Day. For banks and credit unions it would be Bankruptcy Day. For workers it would be, You Will Not Get Your Next Paycheck Day. Economic collapse....

I would give people a few more months to move their assets out of the major banks, then liquidate all of them forgiving all debts owed them. They have no legitimacy anymore (if they ever had any). They exist to suck the blood out of those with few resources and they destabilize the world economy. To paraphrase Norquist, shrink them down to a size that they can be drowned in a bathtub.

Banks have very little money; their assets are basically in their portfolio of loans. If we all try to withdraw our money from the big banks, only the first few will be able to take the money out. The banks will then collapse and FDIC has very little money compared to the size of the deposits (less than 1%). FDIC is in no position to bail out depositors.

"If we all try to withdraw our money from the big banks"

There's a movement to do just that:


They have no legitimacy anymore (if they ever had any).

They also have no real (=value adding) function anymore either - an interesting view of that is here;

Are the TBTF banks unnecessary?

'Whithering on the vine'. I love it, unintentional though it probably was. Reminds me of a word my father used to use, 'swithering' which seemed a combination of swivelling and dithering, which is what I see a lot of these days as the undulations of the - somewhat inevitably tilted - plateau drift ever downward. Whither indeed.

I see the Euro as a lame confabulation of the EU to pretend they have something the oil producing countries would trade for. The Eurozone has no oil. Thus it must produce something to trade for oil, at prices competitive with Asian goods prices. When this inevitability happens it will be nice to not have to pay $6 for a $2 cup of coffee in Milan.

Energy Costs to Rise ‘Viciously’ With Nuclear, I Says...

Yeah, that IEA line was a pretty desperate grasp, no?

I think people better be ready for that 'Vicious Price Rise' with or without Nuclear.

The 'Vicious' is us babies getting our candy taken away from us, as the cheap fuels wither..

Regarding the Link above: "Could Shale Gas Reignite the U.S. Economy?"

A typical Bloomberg article. The headline (and article) leaves the impression that shale gas will reignite the economy and lead to energy independence. However the article is really a story of how McClendon of Chesapeake has enriched himself by effectively playing the market with good PR and getting in and out of each resource play at the right time. Nowhere do they demonstrate how this will reignite the economy or provide energy independence.


Just for the record NG production in the US peaked around 1969 at 23 trillion cu ft per year. It rose quickly from 5 tcf immediately after WWII. Since the peak it dropped to around 16 tcf in the recession of the mid 80’s. Currently it’s back up to around 20 tcf.

Will the surge in NG drilling lead us to energy independence? Time will tell. But we’re certainly not anywhere close to it today. We’re currently producing 25% less NG today than at the peak. And obviously our demand has increased the last 40 years.

Since NG peaked 40 years ago we’ve been on something of a plateau. And we owe that for the most part to the offshore GOM. The GOM was almost virgin NG territory in the early 70’s. A combination of low NG prices and the lack of pipeline infrastructure produced little exploratory interest beyond oil. An eventual decline of oil potential combined with a startling development in seismic technology led to a surge in NG exploration offshore. The typical exploration approach is to define the geologic parameters that could led to hydrocarbon traps and then poke a hole. The success rate of this approach was rather limited. But offshore seismic in the 70’s began to reveal direct indication of NG fields. Called amplitude anomalies or “bright spots” they appear as very dark (“bright”) areas on the seismic section. In some offshore areas it raised the success rate from 20% to over 80%. Equally important it gave a much better estimate of reserve size. Very large reserves and, most important, very long lived high flow rates. Fields often maintained close to their initial rates for 5+ years.

And then came the Deep Water. Though oil was the primary objective much NG was discovered. Again, lack of pipeline infrastructure held back production. And then about 3 years ago...TA DA!...the DW Independence Gas Hub came online delivering one BCF/day of NG online overnight. Almost 0.3 tcf/year.

The current fractured shale gas plays are certainly bringing new reserves to the market daily. And as long as the public oils are forced to satisfy Wall Street’s demand for reserve replacement they’ll keep drilling like there’s no tomorrow. Because if they don’t there won’t be a tomorrow for many of them. But these wells are nothing like the offshore wells that stabilized our production for the last 40 years. Compared to the current shale gas wells the typical offshore wells came on at 10X+ the rate, produced 4X as long and recovered around 10X the reserves. But the SG wells do have one advantage: there are many thousands of potential drill sites out there as long as NG prices stay up and the pubic oils have drilling capex.

The shale plays are certainly adding to our reserve base. But IMHO I don’t see them producing results similar to the offshore NG plays of the last 40 years. Glad we have the fractured shale plays. But "energy independence"? Strikes me as a cruel promise.

The Energy Export Databrowser shows U.S. natural gas production in 2010 equal to the peak in 1972 or 1973 at 22 trillion cubic feet per year. EED is probably showing annual averages though.

Thanks Blue. The chart I was reading was a tad out of date but I knew we had gained some. And will go higher as we keep popping those shale gas wells. But again my main point was that we were far from "energy independence" when NG peaked. And were becoming more dependent upon iMported energy as NG production stayed high during that plateau since the peak. The fractured shale plays will be an important source of new energy for us. But energy independence? We have to drill many more thousands of shale wells before we can get back to our level of non-independence we had 40 years ago. Might be possible but we're very far away from that day IMHO. And that's if we ever get there.

1973 was the peak, at 22.65 TCF.

The first 8 months of 2011 is 4.6% higher than 1973.

US NG production - http://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/hist/n9050us2M.htm

Imports are falling:

2006 4,186
2007 4,608
2008 3,981
2009 3,751
2010 3,737

Radiation cleanup plan falls short: Experts liken current strategy to letting nature run its course

Radioactive fallout from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has caused widespread fear, prompting the government in August to adopt basic targets for decontamination efforts in and around Fukushima Prefecture.

But the government's plan falls short and efforts should focus in particular on residential areas with more aggressive decontamination measures and goals, including reducing current radiation levels by 90 percent, two radiation experts said when interviewed by The Japan Times.

"I really doubt their seriousness (about decontamination)," said radiation expert Tomoya Yamauchi, a professor at the Graduate School of Maritime Sciences at Kobe University.

...The ICRP theorizes that cumulative exposure of 100 millisieverts could increase the cancer mortality risk by about 0.5 percent, meaning about 50 out of 10,000 people exposed to that level could die of cancer caused by radiation.

Scientists are split over whether exposure to less than 100 millisieverts is harmful.

Cancer risk related to low-dose ionizing radiation from cardiac imaging in patients after acute myocardial infarction

Mark J. Eisenberg, MD MPH, Jonathan Afilalo, MD MSc, Patrick R. Lawler, MD, Michal Abrahamowicz, PhD, Hugues Richard, MSc, and Louise Pilote, MD MPH PhD

...There was a dose-dependent relation between exposure to radiation from cardiac procedures and subsequent risk of cancer. For every 10 mSv of low-dose ionizing radiation, there was a 3% increase in the risk of age- and sex-adjusted cancer over a mean follow-up period of five years (hazard ratio 1.003 per milliSievert, 95% confidence interval 1.002–1.004).


Exposure to low-dose ionizing radiation from cardiac imaging and therapeutic procedures after acute myocardial infarction is associated with an increased risk of cancer.


...These results call into question whether our current enthusiasm for imaging and therapeutic procedures after acute myocardial infarction should be tempered.

The ICRP says a 0.5% increase per 100 millisieverts. The Canadian research above suggests a 30% increase for 100 millisieverts with the procedures they examined.

30% per 100 mSv would have been noticed years ago. IMHO, this is an example of cofounding factors at play.

It didn't say 30% (absolute) per 100 mSv - it suggested 30% increase in the probability of developing withing 5 years.

The research is peer reviewed and they refer to previous similar findings. Exactly what do you mean by "confounding factors at play" anyway?

Its about cardiac examination. Those patient might have other medical condition increasing cancer risk.

What an underlying condition that magically increases the probability of developing cancer in proportion to the radiation dose received but has nothing to do with that radiation? That's some bizarre logic.

Your need more exam because your condition is worst, hence more cancers. All those epidemiologic studies are at risk of such problem.

They knew what "radiologic procedures" the patients received from their medical records. And they address your point explicitly in the paper. Did you bother to read it?

Yes, I read it. But, for the text you cant rule out a correlation between the applied procedure and previous medical condition that could create a spurious correlation. Also, from the figure 1, radiation effect of non-cardiac procedure would be almost a factor two more effective to induce cancer. This raise some bell in my head.

I have been retired for over a decade and have not kept up with the radiologic literature. To my knowledge this Eisenberg article is a first (excluding those that make arbitrary projections using an LNT (Linear No-Threshold) assumption. I would appreciate any follow up discussion that anyone encounters. I will be watching for discussion at http://www.auntminnie.com

Robert Wilson MD Radiology ret.

Good to see someone with experience in the field. Did you ever read Dr. Ernest Sternglass's "Secret Fallout: Low level radiation from Hiroshima to Three Mile Island"? (Available online at http://www.ratical.org/radiation/SecretFallout/ ). If so what did you think of it?

Ernest J. Sternglass

Ernest J. Sternglass (born 24 September 1923, Berlin) is an emeritus professor at the University of Pittsburgh and Director of the Radiation and Public Health Project. He is an American physicist and author, best known for his controversial research on the health risks of low-level radiation from atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons and from nuclear power plants.

Many years ago I spent an long evening with Sternglass over dinner and drinks in a quiet corner of an Atlanta hotel (Roentgen Ray Society meeting). I wanted to talk about his research, especially his statistical methods. He wanted to talk about the holocaust.

Edit to add another Pittsburgh physicist


Edit#2 to add a recent note about Hermann Muller


By one of the main proponents that low dose radiation is good for you I note.

The paper suggests that radiation is good for you in doses of a few millisieverts but contains data showing substantial increases in risk at 100 millisieverts and above to Japanese bomb survivors. The data for nuclear power workers has too small a sample size of workers above 100 millisievert to really conclude anything definitively although even Cohen says there appears to be an increase above 400 millisievert.

I'm always a bit wary about research showing a beneficial effect of full body exposure to low dose radiation as Cohen suggests. We know full well that a high dose is very bad for you. Maybe there is a very low threshold for external radiation that is beneficial but I'm not buying it above a very low threshold at best (if at all) based on what I've read from both sides.

The huge problem is that cancer is not a rare disease so we're looking for changes against a very large background with a huge number of other factors. Did nuclear workers smoke less than other workers historically? Is that why their cancer rates were still lower than the general population at low doses? What other factors were in play? I don't know the answers but if Eisenberg et. al. are correct then even 10 millisievert is too much if it can be avoided.

The 1000 ++ references in T. D. Luckey's two books and articles suggested that there was more evidence for radiation hormesis than for the LNT hypothesis. Unfortunately the data is often buried in a sea of noise.

What I'm really concerned about though to be honest is the internal long term exposure risks and weighting factors for individual elements and their isotopes.

As I recall, experiments on Beagle dogs found that inhalation of between 1 and 10 microgrammes of plutonium could cause cancer. Further, for humans, one documented worker had 0.3 microgrammes of plutonium removed from inside an old skin puncture several years later after a "pre-cancerous" lump was detected at that location.

Also as specific radioisotopes (such as those of uranium and plutonium for example) seem to have a higher affinity for DNA and hence genetic damage we have to be very careful. We can't put that genie back in the bottle if we overly contaminate the biosphere.

Unfortunately we have very little idea of what flew through the air from Fukushima, where it went and in what quantities, other than some estimated enormous amounts for caseium, iodine and noble gases.

I think the .5% is absolute (.5% of exposed people will get result X), the thirty percent is a change of getting Y. I.E. without exposure your odds of getting Y is S, with exposure your odss are 1.3times S. So if S is 1% your extra rish is .3%. These results could be consistent, but the context of what is meant is crucial.

If we extrapolate to all cancers for lifetime risk then a 30% increase in about 40% would be a 12% absolute increase. The authors do not make this extrapolation of course.

I suspect it was only for cetain types of cancers. So the observed increase (absolute measure) would be lower.

World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns

If fossil fuel infrastructure is not rapidly changed, the world will 'lose for ever' the chance to avoid dangerous climate change.

Anything built from now on that produces carbon will continue to do so for decades to come, and this "lock-in" effect will be the single factor most likely to produce irreversible climate change, the world's foremost authority on energy economics has found. If this infrastructure is not rapidly changed within the next five years, the results are likely to be disastrous.

"The door is closing," Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA), told the Guardian. "I am very worried – if we don't change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum [for safety]. The door will be closed forever.".

If current trends continue, and we go on building high-carbon energy generation, then by 2015 at least 90% of the available "carbon budget" will be swallowed up by our energy and industrial infrastructure. By 2017, there will be no room for manoeuvre at all – the whole of the "carbon budget" will be spoken for, according to the IEA's calculations.

From what I can tell, there is no real possibility that the world will shift away from fossil fuels in the next few decades. The only worry I hear about in mainstream media is "What if there's not enough oil?" or "Oil growth doesn't seem to be keeping pace with oil prices", not "We need to transition away from fossil fuels entirely." We're going to continue consuming 80 million barrels of oil per day for as long as we can afford to extract that oil from the ground. There's a huge PR blitz around the various shale fossil fuels in the US, I/ve been seeing their advertisements on internet shows such as Daily Show or Rachel Maddow for a good six months now.

So long as we keep studying the phenomenon and so long as society doesn't completely collapse, at least we'll get lots of good data to learn about (inadvertent) climate engineering for future endeavors!

"Always look on the brighter side of your life..."

The world is locking itself into an unsustainable energy future which would have far-reaching consequences, IEA warns in its latest World Energy Outlook

In the New Policies Scenario, cumulative CO2 emissions over the next 25 years amount to three-quarters of the total from the past 110 years, leading to a long-term average temperature rise of 3.5°C. China's per-capita emissions match the OECD average in 2035. Were the new policies not implemented, we are on an even more dangerous track, to an increase of 6°C.

World Energy Outlook 2011 Presentation

Deferred Investment Case’ looks at near-term investment falling short by one-third

- MENA output falls 3.4 mb/d by 2015 and 6.2 mb/d by 2020

'Low Nuclear Case' compared with the New Policies Scenario, By 2035:

- coal demand increases by twice Australia’s steam coal exports
- natural gas demand increases by two-thirds Russia’s natural gas net exports
- power-sector CO2 emissions increase by 6.2%

World Energy Outlook 2011 Factsheet

pg 3.[Admission of 'Peak Oil' by IEA]... Crude oil supply increases marginally to a plateau of around 69 mb/d (just below the historic high of 70 mb/d in 2008) and then declines slightly to around 68 mb/d by 2035.

Nonetheless, gross capacity additions of 47 mb/d – twice current OPEC Middle East production – are needed just to compensate for declining production at existing fields.

World Energy Outlook 2011 Key Graphs

Translation: We are well past the point where possible action could stave off the tipping point. We are now in "the devil or the deep blue sea" territory of climate change runaway or fuel-induced collapse. If we don't act now, we get BOTH, but we can't say that to the plebs.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending November 4, 2011

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.3 million barrels per day during the week ending November 4, 358 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 82.6 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 8.8 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging 4.3 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.6 million barrels per day last week, down by 336 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 8.7 million barrels per day, 34 thousand barrels per day above the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 750 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 102 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 1.4 million barrels from the previous week. At 338.1 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 2.1 million barrels last week and are in the middle limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 6.0 million barrels last week and are in the lower limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 0.1 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 15.3 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged just under 19.0 million barrels per day, down by 1.3 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged about 8.6 million barrels per day, down by 5.6 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged nearly 4.3 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 3.9 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 6.6 percent higher over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

"Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 15.3 million barrels last week."

Interesting. Methinks we are being outbid.

I suspect that we won't get through the winter without another release of emergency supplies, unless demand collapses, which is possible too I suppose. As they say, "Interesting times."

However, note that it appears that oil demand only fell one year in the Thirties (in 1930), rising thereafter, and there were several million more cars on the road in the US in 1937 than in 1929. Of course China is to our current predicament as the US was to the Thirties.

The increase in cars in China compensates for the lack of increase in the US, making the current overall increase similar to the 1930s, as you say. The difference is that in the 30s, even allowing for increased consumption, the price of oil did not rise, in fact it fell slightly. Now any worldwide increase in the number of cars contributes to the price of oil remaining high, even when many economies are stagnant. I am treating China, for consumption purposes, as the 51st state. The fact is, producers can’t produce sufficient oil to allow for increased consumption worldwide at a stable price.

In the 30s Japan was desperate to get its hands on oil, and the US prevented it getting what it wanted. Pearl Harbour followed. After the war new discoveries and a different approach to world trade permitted universal economic growth. It seems certain that again producers and rich consumers are in a position to use energy as a political stick to beat their neighbours with, and richer countries will doubtless outbid others, which is tantamount to restricting supplies for those who cannot pay. Many of these countries are dirt poor and invisible in Africa, but what will happen when developed nations can’t get the energy they want and are unable to continue masking the true situation by blaming banks? Nothing is ever exactly the same, but remember what happened when the US embargoed Japan.

Here is what Global Financial Data shows for annual US crude oil prices for 1929 to 1939:

1929: $3.67
1930: $2.38
1931: $1.79
1932: $1.82
1933: $1.78
1934: $2.39
1935: $2.13
1936: $2.43
1937: $2.60
1938: $1.89
1939: $2.06

After hitting $1.79 in 1931, oil prices averaged $2.14 for the next eight years. Of course, the biggest difference between then and now (other than the volumes) was that global crude oil production rose throughout the Thirties, after falling in 1930, versus the global crude oil plateau that we have been on since 2005, with a measurable decline in Global Net Exports (GNE), and with China & India consuming an increasing share of a declining volume of GNE.

The Never-ending Story – US Oil/Product Supplies Continue Decline (Updated)

The 15 million barrel drop in US commercial inventories may be about the biggest one week drop ever not associated with some weather or political event.

Possibly the figure was somewhat exaggerated by month end adjustments that the EIA makes to previously issued figures. Even if so, the decline was rather dramatic – and clearly indicative of falling oil imports and rising oil products.

As explained before (above and link below), the US is being outbid by other countries – notably China for oil supplies. While this trend emerged in full force in mid-March after Libya’s oil fields mostly went off line, that trend continues today. If anything, recent diesel shortages spreading through China have encouraged the Chinese to step up their bidding up for oil supplies – and even has forced them to take the unusual step of seeking diesel supplies outside of their country.

Chinese refiner buys extra Saudi crude
Published: Nov 7, 2011 23:45 Updated: Nov 7, 2011 23:45

TOKYO: At least one Chinese refiner has bought extra crude for December from Saudi Arabia, while the Kingdom will supply full contracted volumes to at least six Asian term buyers, industry sources said.


China's CNOOC makes rare diesel purchase -sources
Tue Nov 8, 2011 9:45pm EST

BEIJING, Nov 8 (Reuters) - China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), the country's third-largest oil company, imported about 100,000 tonnes of diesel last month, to replenish thinning inventories as it closed its main south China refinery for major overhaul.


The decline in diesel supplies has been particularly steep, and has resulted in short supplies in the Dakotas. Ironically the development of shale oil in the Dakotas and that region in general was also cited as a reason by wholesale diesel suppliers as to why diesel is in short supply.

11/9/11 AFX Asia 19:30:00
November 9, 2011

US Cash Products-Midwest diesel up on demand, refinery work
HOUSTON, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Midwest cash diesel markets diesel extended gains on Wednesday on strong demand in regional shale drilling operations, the autumn crop harvest and refinery maintenance, traders said.

[no link]

Fuel shortages a big problem in the Dakotas

Shippers also report that the EIA’s figures concerning product exports, especially diesel, significantly understate the true amount of exports. There is high export demand from Latin America and Europe.

My post from October 3:
Blame it on Rio

My prior post (from October 12):
Why US Oil Inventories Will Keep Falling

The Wall Street Journal’s also chimes in on falling inventories (from November 3):
Oil Inventories Slip, Slide Away

An acquaintance who is in the commodities markets had the following comments:

"Excluding PADD II, crude stocks at 5-yr lows, and East Coast stocks are drawing down at an alarming rate."

He noted a couple of weeks ago that oil supplies in the entire Atlantic Basin were quite tight.

WT -

This cannot possibly be true. Jim Cramer on CNBC yesterday assured me that the US is awash in oil - truly massive quantities is how he may have phrased it. Trouble is we just don't have the pipelines to deliver it.

The segment during which he made this claim sounded to me like the most blatant presentation of propoganda I've yet heard. It was put forth with typical bluster and self confidence yet contained a distinct undertone of "Take it from me - this is true. God I hope this is true. God, please let this be true." Eventually it became apparent that it was just hyperbole that was trying to be used to plug a hole in the very leaky dike that is "american consumerism".

awash in oil - truly massive quantities is how he may have phrased it. Trouble is we just don't have the pipelines to deliver it

If you are sitting in Cushing OK, it probably feels like that. Other places not so much -or at all.

Iran nukes - worries could spike oil to $200/barrel


IAEA Iran Making Nuclear Weapons Report- November 2011 - FOUO

43. The information indicates that Iran has carried out the following activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device:

• Efforts, some successful, to procure nuclear related and dual use equipment and materials by military related individuals and entities (Annex, Sections C.1 and C.2);
• Efforts to develop undeclared pathways for the production of nuclear material (Annex, Section C.3);
• The acquisition of nuclear weapons development information and documentation from a clandestine nuclear supply network (Annex, Section C.4); and
• Work on the development of an indigenous design of a nuclear weapon including the testing of components (Annex, Sections C.5–C.12).

Report: http://info.publicintelligence.net/IAEA-IranNukes.pdf

Iran's president is (was) a populist, brutal hardliner who has lost almost all popularity, and brutally crushed the legitimate opposition in the last election. He needs external enemies to unite his people and distract them from kicking him out.

How better than to trigger an attack from US/UK/Israel by developing (or pretending to develop) a nuclear bomb? It does not matter if the bomb is real, or works. As long as the attack comes before the weapon is tested.

It is the reverse of the usual MAD tactics. Develop the bomb to guarantee a military attack, because once it is developed , nobody would dare to attack.

Interesting hypothesis, reverse MAD. I'm skeptical. Starting a war to bring popularity at home has, historically, been an extremely risky proposition. Moreover, it is only workable if the odds are in favour of a winnable war. Agitating the U.S., U.K. and Israel to attack is hardly a recipe for a winnable war or even a convincing way to gain friends and influence people at home.

The president of Iran is also one character among many. The Supreme Leader is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Even if the president is a loose canon, the mullahs would be a tad more calculating in their assessment of self-preservation.

I suspect that if Iran is developing nuclear arms capability it is for the same reason as most of the others: Iran sees itself as a major and growing player in the region/world and wants the firepower to back its status and influence.

IF IT IS THE STRATEGY, he is probably banking only on an airstrike or two. That'll be enough of a distraction for his purposes. Question is, would he like it to be US missiles or Israeli planes?

And the United States and Israel are models of accountable democracy? Give me a break.

This scapegoating of boogeyman gets tiring after awhile. Especially since the U.S. is now, by a considerable distance, the most corrupt nation on the planet.

I'd rather laugh about it...

America, F&%@ Yeah! (WARNING:Explicit Lyrics!)

Osama bin Laden Has Farty Pants

Kyle: Dude! I almost thought those Afghani kids talked you into not liking America.

Stan: No, dude. America may have some problems, but it's our home. Our team. And if you don't wanna root for your team, then you should get the hell out of the stadium.

Kyle: Yeah.

Stan: Go America.

Kyle: Go America...

Kyle: Go Broncos.

Stan: Yeah, go Broncos.

Cartman: Yeah.

amen brother

In my opinion it is bad karma to strike a country 1st if unprovoked by anything more than speeches or words.

If Iran wants to have their own thermonuclear bombs, fine by me. For all I know, it may actually help stabilize the region. If things stabilize, then perhaps oil prices will reduce, as 'risk' is recalculated.

and iran's president has as little power as the secretary of agriculture here in the states. seriously he is not in charge of the country, the ayatollah's and a Islamic council are above him power wise.

Europe - A cluster!

People have been talking about the PIIGS for years now. They all owe each other, and now no one can pay.
Rates are climbing, and soon the entire budget will be paid on debt interest.
IMHO - They should cancel all debts and start over with a new currency - GOLD!
No more debts for nations......

Personally, I would be dead against having the currency based on gold or any other precious substance, otherwise the holders of that substance becomes the masters of the world!

Best to just to have the state issue fiat currency by spending it into existence and keeping a tight control on the quantity of money in circulation. Banks would then become just part of the financial system rather than running it as they currently do, they would have to borrow money from savers before lending it to businesses & mortgagees, fractional reserve banking would have to be banned.

Such measure would make for a much more stable financial system and the Government can just tax excess money out of the system if needed.

What you describe is fractional reserve banking! Then you suggest you want to ban it!!!

What I am suggesting is that the banks can only lend out what they have received in reserves at 100% and not lend out the same deposits 10-20 times like they currently do.

For example, if they receive €10million in deposits they can only lend this once rather than multiple times like they do now, this puts a sane limit on the amount of money in the system.

Fractional reserve banking is where deposited money is lent out. A fraction is kept by the bank, say 5%. The 95% lent out represents new money in circulation. This money can be redeposited in a bank and lent out again, having the effect of multiplying the money deposited. The lower the fraction kept by the bank, the higher the multiplyer.

Lending out more money than the bank has taken in is illegal and is not fractional reserve banking.

Having said that, banks can lend to each other, creating a similar multiplying effect. The key is that the money created is limited by the reserve requirement. At 100% no extra money may be created. A reserve requirement of say 25% should be enough to prevent excessive money creation and to prevent banks from going out of business due to being over leveraged.

Interestingly, we know what happens when banks operate this way, since it's the way things used to be:

  • Financial panics every few years,
  • Bank runs and failures where the depositors lose their money,
  • All loans are callable,
  • All mortgages are short-term balloons,
  • Etc.

It all works fine while the deposits are rolling in. The problems arise when they go out, and the positive feedback loop kicks in.

That dynamic depends upon the reserve requirement being too small (say only 5-10%), and other sorts of stuff like minimal regulation. The key is having the correct amount of control over the system. The industry wants little to none, so they will always push to lower reserves requirements and regulation below what is needed by society in general. Heres where the corruption of our political/media system comes into play, we've allowed the foxes to be in charge of the henhouse.

Best to just to have the state issue fiat currency by spending it into existence and keeping a tight control on the quantity of money in circulation. Banks would then become just part of the financial system rather than running it as they currently do, they would have to borrow money from savers before lending it to businesses & mortgagees, fractional reserve banking would have to be banned.

You might find a discussion of Modern Monetary Theory interesting. It is actually how the US system is structured, although not that many people seem to understand this.


Thanks for the link. I found it very educational about the Eurozone as well as about the USA and UK.
However, not a trace of the Age of Petroleum and what that has meant and means for all that 'industriousness' and 'productivity'. Nothing really about the world that Fatih Birol is warning us about. Might have been better if this economic/financial understanding had prevailed 30 years ago (and definitely during the period Clinton/Bush leading up to 2007), but even these more percipient economists, having been proved right, are still looking in the wrong place if they want to see what is coming?

Gold is not a currency it is a store of VALUE. Money is a little more complicated. They never teach you in economics what money is. My economics teacher came into the class one day and placed on his desk a gold coin a bank note and a check and asked the question which of these were money.When we had all had a guessed, he explained that gold was a store of value the check was a means of exchange and only the banknote was money as it was legal tender and as such was acceptable for the payment of debtas it was an amalgam of all three .May I gentle advise you to go and read This article and study anything related with the history of money. Gold can be used as a backing for money but it certainly not the best form of backing Virginia backed its currency for 200 years with tobacco, and labour was tried in England in the 1830s with the labour note.


Deep Regards


"Gold is not a currency it is a store of VALUE."

This is a straw man comment as the comment being replied to did not say that Gold is a currency.
Gold has been and can be used as a currency. Which is patently true and what the previous poster stated.

"Gold can be used as a backing for money but it certainly not the best form..."

No evidence is presented for this assertion. Just because alternatives exist it is a logical fallacy to conclude that the initial option is not the best.

The fact is that many things can be used as currency. All it requires is a government decree and the acceptance by the users.

Strange how history repeats itself. More than 100 years ago, in 1896, this discussion was a major point in national politics:


Enjoy the speech.

Best hopes for a stable currency.


Edit: This excerpt is so timely... some things never change.

There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that if you just legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, that their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up and through every class that rests upon it.

Best wishes finding something new under the sun.


Good old 1896.

That was about 40 years after another famous event:

1858: Edwin Drake goes off to investigate suspected oil deposits in Titusville, Pennsylvania

A Resurgence in Net Energy Research: Special Issue Online in Sustainability

There is a new special journal issue of the online open-access journal Sustainability on the topic of net energy: New Studies in EROI (Energy Return on Investment). This has been organized over the last year by Charles Hall of the State University of New York. This special journal edition has many papers on new and updated assessments of EROI for oil and gas in the United States, Canada, and Norway. Additionally there are new papers discussing how to relate EROI to energy prices and costs as well as how different constructs for EROI measures (e.g. for a technology or a business) are useful for different decision making contexts.

Seraph thanks for the links and for your value-added contributions to DrumBeat

Thanks, glad to be of service.

Every drumbeat there are at least one article of the type "oil [rice/fall] on [cause]". I just wonder; do they realy know to such detail what moves prices around?

Not always but in most cases they do. They usually know why the stock market moves up or down and the oil market, more often than not follows it. As proof of this go to this month's OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report which just came out this morning. Then check Graph 1.3 on page 7. "NYMEX WTI futures vs. S&P 500 indes, 2011". I was shocked when I saw this graph. The price of WTI has tracked, almost exactly the the S&P index for the last 5 months. Brent would likely also tract but at a higher price.

Anyway news moves the market. When the news is bad the market moves down and when the news is good the market moves up. Really, it is no great mystery.

Ron P.

Project CLAMER finds 'disturbing' evidence of changes to Europe's seas

Project CLAMER, an 18-month initiative involving 17 European marine institutes, has amassed some 'convincing' and 'disturbing' evidence of changes in the European marine environment, according to its organisers

The researchers found that sea-level rise, combined with higher waves being recorded in the North Atlantic and more frequent and severe storms, threaten up to 1 trillion euros' worth of Europe's physical assets within 500 m of the shore. Some 35% of Europe's GDP is generated within 50 km of the coast, the synthesis notes.

... The poll found that those worried by climate change largely blame the phenomenon on other groups of people or nations, and assign governments and industry responsibility for mitigating the problem (though they perceive government and industry as ineffective on the issue). Some 86% of respondents said climate change is caused entirely, mainly or in part by human activities. Only 8% thought it was mainly or entirely caused by natural processes; in the US, around 32–36% hold this view.

I've been in that harbour. It is built shaped like a sack, and local curents move algae in, but there is now outlet. The algaes form pontoons large enough to support an adult with floating power, but in that water you would not want to risk a rollaround. And the stench there is beyond words at times.

Methane may be answer to 56-million-year question

... While the event that began the carbon-discharge cycle remains a mystery, the implications are clear, Dickens said. "I've always thought of (the hydrate layer) as being like a capacitor in a circuit. It charges slowly and can release fast – and warming is the trigger. It's possible that's happening right now."

Abstract: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/ngeo1301.html

'Nudge' policies are another name for coercion

WE HAVE all cringed watching friends and family make terrible decisions, and been tempted by visions of the pain spared if we could only make them follow our advice. The same feeling motivates well-intentioned technocrats to take charge of the public: people are plainly making sad blunders they will regret.

"Nudging" = "libertarian paternalism": it lets people "decide" what they want to do, while guiding them in the "right" direction.

... the key problem with "nudge" style paternalism: presuming that technocrats understand what ordinary people want better than the people themselves.

The key problem is what people want.

China faces hurdles to developing shale gas

BEIJING — Energy-hungry China is tapping its vast shale gas reserves to reduce its reliance on dirty coal and imports, but experts warn its lack of technical expertise and scarce water supplies pose challenges.

China, which has substantial reserves of the hard-to-reach gas -- trapped in formations of shale, or sedimentary rock -- has started drilling to meet an ambitious annual production target of 80 billion cubic metres by 2020.

"The technical conditions appear relatively challenging and... large amounts of water are essential to shale gas development," said Tom Grieder, an analyst for IHS Global Insight.

He noted that the country's southwest -- where drilling is currently under way -- is prone to droughts

... Chinese companies are also reaching out overseas to gather much-needed knowledge and experience which can be used to develop the embryonic domestic market.

In January, Chinese oil giant CNOOC agreed to pay $570 million for one-third of US firm Chesapeake Energy's shale oil and gas drilling project in the American states of Colorado and Wyoming.

That is very depressing news.

The consequences of this move are bound to be catastrophic, but the Party can be counted on to bulldoze through with that plan anyway. They have a longstanding tradition of interfering with - and totally wrecking - the natural environment which sustains the Chinese population (exemplified in the hugely distrupting water diversion/damming projects the CCP has undertaken during the last fifty years or so).

In China, scientists who specialize in the relevant scientific disciplines are very concerned, and often speak out against the awesome blitz of Chinese environmental degradation. Of course, the obvious question is: are they - meaning the middle-class benefactors of economic development - willing to abandon the hopes and promises of the modern, energy-abundant lifestyle? And are the people further down the rung - the vast majority who have yet not tasted the bittersweet fruits of modernity - willing to abandon slight, but tangible hopes of a better future, the only thing keeping them on their feet in the face of endless toil?

Until the day that a concerned effort - somehow encompassing all of society - is made to guard against the most unsavory outcomes of our current gamble, we will always be two steps behind developments, suffering the worse in the process.

How much water is needed?

How much water is needed to frac a well that might produce 1M barrels of oil over it's lifetime? More or less than 1M barrels of water?

Last time I checked it was in the neighborhood of 12 million bbls of water for every million bbls of oil. Might be higher.

Do you happen to have a source for that? We read that disposal of frac water in the US can cost $6/bbl, and that shale oil is economic at $60/bll, so 12bbls per barrel would too expensive.

The drilling and hydraulic fracturing of a horizontal shale gas well on average requires 3.5 million gallons of water. This volume of water is equivalent to 5 and ½ Olympic size swimming pools. Producing natural gas from shale requires about 0.6 to 1.8 gallons of water for every million Btu (MMBtu).


Drilling a typical Chesapeake deep shale natural gas and oil well requires between 65,000 and 600,000 gallons of water.

Water is also used in fracking where a mixture of water and sand is injected into the formation at a high pressure to create small cracks in the rock allowing gas and oil to freely flow to the surface. Fracking a typical Chesapeake horizontal deep shale natural gas or oil well requires an average of 5 million gallons per well.


also http://geology.com/articles/hydraulic-fracturing/

and http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d1135.pdf

Nick, not all the load water from a frac comes back up. But "yes" a lot does. However the question of disposing of frac water should be viewed in context. Very few oil wells produce truly water free and some produce very large amounts of briney water. Those that produce a lot of water are at some point either tied in to a local disposal well where water is injected or gravity fed into a suitable formation far below the level of potable or treatable water ... or are plugged. Having written that, the $6 a barrel number sounds more like the cost for sucking out and disposing of the water that makes it past the oil water separation process and accunulates in the bottom of the stock tank rather than a high volume disposal problem after a big frac. Depending on the availablity and legal right to access local water supplies, hauling water in for a frac job can be about as expensive of disposing of it after the frac.

All oil field brines must be disposed of properly with periodic certification of the intergrity of the tubing and casing of disposal wells by the state regulators. Disposal of frac water is not really any different than disposal of formation water except that an operator may be less likely to have a disposal well close at hand.

I am not much of an oilman, but technically am an independent oil producer. I can state than it is sometimes quite profitable at the present to produce oil onshore from wells that have less than a one percent oil cut. I have interests in wells than make >99% water and are quite viable ... and "no" it costs a few cents rather than several dollars to dispose of the brines of these sorts of wells.

Check out Scientific American November 2011, Volume 305, Number 5, page 80! "The Truth About Facking." An excellent article. Don't know if it is available on line... maybe Leanan can check that out. Right now I am at work, so ...


It's behind a paywall, or I would have posted it in October when it appeared.

Nearly 500 Birds Found Dead at Wind Farm Up top.
I find it very hard to believe that just FIVE 250 WATT LIGHTS caused the demise of almost 500 birds at or near the above mentioned West Virginia windfarm site. Anyone else find this a strange conclusion?

If those bulbs lured them into perching on high-voltage switches it's possible.

Unfortunately the article is tantalizingly incomplete.

Incomplete is an understatement - why can't these "expert" reporters see that themselves?

In any case, one solution, as noted in the article is to simply turn the lights off, and it has to be asked why they were deemed necessary to waste this precious *stored* wind energy every night on lighting?

For a windless winter night, the five lights will use 20kWh of electricity, and this alone has required 50kWh of battery storage (50%DoD, and 80% round trip efficiency). Assuming lead acid batteries, that is 1.25 tons of batteries - to keep the lights on all night when no one is there.

This is not the first place ever to have an outdoor electrical facility/switchyard - surely the designs of such were made "bird-safe" quite some time ago, otherwise we would be getting the same story at places like hydro facilities, and even powerline substations - and we don't

why they were deemed necessary to waste this precious *stored* wind energy every night on lighting?

Copper thieves and their ilk? If the facility was manned safety, yep, there are better solutions to that one but putting up a few lights may have seemed the cheapest option to the beancounters.


It sounds a little strange, but it could be that the bulbs attracted a large number of bugs. Five lights spread around an industrial site with lattice towers and cabling could create some really nasty shadows. Think about how difficult it is to run through the woods with a light source (like headlights or a house light in the distance) illuminating your path.

Increasing, or eliminating the light (and allowing moon light to illuminate the space), would likely reduce the number of birds killed. Assuming the lights are the problem and not the turbines.

Light is especially dangerous to birds in specific weather condition (fog, cloudy night) and complex geometry. They have been many report of mass dying of birds due to light in those conditions.

To the point of which, Chicago is a particularly nice place:


At least if you're a bird!


Long-Term carbon storage in Ganges basin may portend global warming worsening

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists have found that carbon is stored in the soils and sediments of the Ganges-Brahmaputra basin for a surprisingly long time, making it likely that global warming could destabilize the pool of carbon there and in similar places on Earth, potentially increasing the rate of CO2 release into the atmosphere.

Using radiocarbon dating, WHOI researchers Valier Galy and Timothy Eglinton found that organic carbon resides in the basin for anywhere from 500 to 17,000 years. Downstream, in the Gangetic floodplain, the longest residence times range from 1,500 to 3,500 years.

"Global warming would likely destabilize this ancient carbon, generating an extra flux of CO2 to the atmosphere, hence further warming.

Gasoline prices have been raised in India recently. Despite this rise, there is still a pretty high subsidy. There has been a lot of outrage over the price hike. Somebody created this picture as a joke. To understand the background: many things like liquid soap and toothpaste are sold in small sachets like these.

Oil and Gas Industry using Military Psyops Tactics to break ‘Insurgency’ against Fracking

... “We have several former psyops folks that work for us at Range because they’re very comfortable in dealing with localized issues and local governments,” Range Resources communications director Matt Pitzarella said on tape. “Really, all they do is spend most of their time helping folks develop local ordinances and things like that. But very much having that understanding of psyops in the Army and in the Middle East has applied very helpfully here for us in Pennsylvania.”

In another session, Matt Carmichael, manager of external affairs for Anadarko Petroleum, made similar recommendations.

“Download the U.S. Army-slash-Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Manual, because we are dealing with an insurgency,” Carmichael said. “There’s a lot of good lessons in there and coming from a military background, I found the insight in that extremely remarkable.”

Not surprised at all.

As my daddy used to say, "There's more than one way to skin a cat."

Remarkable ain't it, how quickly/easily the metaphor moves from resource extraction to war. I suspect there are good reasons for that. Massive resource extraction generally harms anyone who was already living there; so the locals vs extractors dynamic is familiar and often escalates into colonial occupation and a state of war. So locals are easily modelled as "insurgents" and the extractive campaign as a military campaign....

See Avatar

Please don't give away the ending of the movie. Let me guess:

Mother Nature (Gaia) bats last?

The evil resource extractors are defeated?


(Sorry about that, Unobtainium/RockMan)

That movie was ruined for me by my DH.... half way through he started shouting "why don't they build a tunnel under the tree"... he found it incoherent that they could fly half way across the know galaxy, spending who knows what energy just to be unable to dig a tunnel and come up under the tree without any of the natives knowing.

Once you start thinking in terms of available energy lots of those science fiction movies aren't so fun.

"why don't they tunnel under the tree?"

Very simple

TMIC: The Military Industrial Complex

Our economy will collapse if we don't find new theaters (of the war kind) in which to expend our ordinances

Also, what good is a boy toy movie without some good ole' explosive effects and drum beating music?

The naive but basically good-hearted Kewl White Dude teaches the noble-but-quaint aliens how to *really* mount an insurgency, the bad guys get trounced, happy ending. Yaaawn. Way cool visuals though.

A Proactive Planning Tool for Renewable Energy Development

Working with U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), NRDC developed a first-of-its-kind mapping and analytic tool called the Renewable Energy And Defense Geospatial Database, or READ-Database. This tool provides Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data and is available online to help renewable energy developers identify appropriate sites for renewable projects such as utility-scale wind, solar, and geothermal energy facilities, that are unlikely to interfere with military activities and training, and have the fewest environmental conflicts.

Related Mapping military sites for energy projects to avoid

Governors led by Hickenlooper sign pledge to purchase compressed natural gas vehicles

ENGLEWOOD — Gov. John Hickenlooper and three other governors this morning signed a promise to convert some of their states' transporation fleets to compressed natural gas, a move he says could make the clean fuel more viable on a consumer level.

The joint memorandum of understanding, issued during a ceremony with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, aims to create a critical mass of fleet vehicle purchases to entice automakers to manufacture more affordable compressed natural gas vehicles. Wyoming Gov. Matthew H. Mead and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett also signed the agreement.

related Chesapeake chief renews call for US policies that promote use of gas

McClendon estimated that it would take about $2 billion to build a network of natural gas fueling stations across the US to stimulate the adoption of gas-fired vehicles by owners of commercial vehicle fleets.

In addition, he said he looks forward to a time when the 70% of Americans who have natural gas delivered to their homes can fuel their vehicles in their own garages. He said conversion kits to allow homeowners to fill their natural-gas fueled vehicles could be bought for about $1,000.

McClendon, who owns a vehicle fueled by natural gas, which he said costs the equivalent of about 60 cents per gallon, said such conversion kits would quickly pay for themselves in fuel savings.

Ethanol production in 2012 has to take a significant hit since cattle will be eating their fair share and crop estimates for 2011 keep shrinking.

Lower corn prices, strong beef market drive calves to feedlots

"Per capita availability of beef in 2012 will be down to just 54.3 pounds, according to USDA estimates," Hurt said. "That's a startling 17 percent reduction since 2007 when escalating corn prices set the beef industry into a liquidation tailspin."

USDA also predicts a record 2.7 billion pounds of beef to be exported this year, which encompasses 10 percent of U.S. production. Next year that number is expected to reach 11 percent of production.

That's a sharp contrast to 2007 when only 5 percent of U.S. production was exported.

USDA Reports Both Corn, Soybean Crops Smaller

The 2011 U.S. corn crop is now forecast at 12.31 billion bushels, 123 million smaller than the October forecast and 137 million smaller than the 2010 crop. The national average yield is forecast at 146.7 bushels, 1.4 bushels lower than the October forecast.

Corn feeding downgrade deepens US grains mystery

But the Wasde only deepened a mystery in the USDA's own backyard - what domestic livestock are living on.

That puzzle arose in September, when USDA inventory data suggested that domestic corn consumption had fallen its lowest in at least 35 years over the summer.

Government Counting Sheep? Now, Only in Its Dreams

Many of the reports being cut today, including those on mink, catfish, trout, flowers and honey, were eliminated during an earlier round of budget tightening in 1982. A year later, most of the reports were restored by Congress because of appeals from farm groups.

William E. Kibler, the administrator of the statistics service at the time, said the experience showed how hard it was to eliminate a government program, no matter how small the constituency.

“The commodity organizations out there are pretty strong,” he said. “These congressmen up on the Hill say, ‘$50,000 is not much, let’s give it to them.’ ”

Bill Clinton: How I'd fix the economy

Many of Clinton's other proposals would try to create jobs linked to projects that would help change the way Americans produce and consume energy.

For example, Clinton wants an "aggressive, fifty-state building retrofit initiative" that is financed with a government-backed loan guarantee program. Meanwhile, states should launch their own retrofit programs. Congress should bring back full tax credits for green tech jobs.

The United States should also develop more efficient biofuels, work to harness geothermal heat and extract more natural gas -- a process that often requires companies to use the controversial "fracking" technology.

At the very least, rooftops should be painted white, Clinton says, to help cut down on energy costs.

Simply say there are minimum standards of house quality for being able to sell any property - and that that standard is a certain level of energy efficiency. All the possible paths improve matters for the economy or the environment or both.

So you want the poor to be unable to sell their homes for lack of energy efficiency, and you think that would be an economic improvement?

I think you are being a little overly dramatic JP. There are already minimum standards for selling homes. Far more poor people rent than own their homes. Setting efficiency standards for homes would help far more of the poor than it would hurt.

Ron P.

So all old houses have to be torn down, reducing supply of houses, and increasing prices for the remaining stock. The real-estate agencies will love it. Everyone else, not so much.

The current value of the house goes to less than zero, (have to allow for the demolition cost) so if there is a mortgage on it, and it's no-recourse, the bank eats the loss. If the bank eats enough losses, it fails, causing the government/taxpayers to have to bail them out.

If there is a mortgage on it, and it's a recourse loan, then when the current resident wants to move, he/she has to come up with the balance of the mortgage. If the current resident dies in place, the heirs inheritance will be nothing on the house, and they may have to pay to demolish the house so that they can sell the building lot. That's assuming the building lot meets code for new construction. It may be that you can't build a new house on the old lot. We have one of those in my subdivision. The lot is too small for a septic tank under current laws, although it was fine when platted. Since no one ever built on it when it would have been legal, now they can't. One of the neighbors on either side could buy it and expand their lot, but they are offering almost nothing, and the undiligent current owner thinks he'll get his money back someday when the laws change back.

And in the mean time, since the house is worth nothing, the property taxes are also nothing. This collapses the local government's revenue stream, so they roll over and die, needing a bailout from somewhere.

Revoking the "grandfather" clauses for meeting building codes is a really bad idea even out here in the West where nothing is over 100 years old.

You don't tear it down, you retrofit it.

If you can push solid stone building up to passivhaus standards, you can deal with americas cheaply built, low quality, houses.

Solid stone buildings have thermal mass to spare, for heating and cooling this is efficiency gold.

Think about the type of houses that the poor own: manufactured homes built cheaply and sold cheaply. They will not have tens of thousands of dollars in cash to upgrade the energy efficiency of their houses before selling. So do they abandon, demolish or go into debt trying to sell them?

All the possible paths improve matters for the economy or the environment or both.

Improving efficiency without restraining population growth, allows more people to consume less energy per capita promoting continued population growth. Your idea delays population (and economic) collapse and stresses the environment with even more people. Long term, anything that promotes exponential growth on a finite planet fails for both the economy and environment. If we decrease human population and constrain it, then there is a chance everything else would fall in place.

So your idea is to 'kill them now'?

You'll excuse me if I don't consider that a fix.

What about a serious campaign at birth control, including abortions and sterilization for women after 2 children? You are correct, from the Fundamentalist point of view, that abortion is a form of "killing them now". How would you solve the dilemma, do nothing and allow the population to rise to such a level that starvation becomes rampant?

E. Swanson

Maybe we should start trading "child credits" -- every woman entitled to 1.5 child credits, can sell all or part to any other woman who wants legal permission to have more than 1.5 kids?

I speak mostly in jest, since in the real world women are daily subjected to immense coercion from more powerful men and hence there would be much corruption and exploitation from the git-go.

Absolutely guaranteeing women's right to contraception and abortion on demand, however, would be a relatively sane step. However, even this fairly non-authoritarian policy is anathema to legions of fundamentalist Christians who presently wield considerable political power -- they are even whittling away at foreign aid line items that support family planning education and tools overseas. Contraception is immoral, y'know, whereas blowing those other people's kids up with military technology is morally acceptable. Go figure.

What about a serious campaign at birth control, including abortions and sterilization for women after 2 children?

In what countries? It's Africa and ME that's left now - almost everybody else is already below replacement total fertility rates. The world average is down to 2.5. Your policy might not do much for population numbers in the short-to-medium term.

Best hopes for peak homo sapiens!

Stephen King, raising money to help Mainers with Oil Bills..

Here was my comment below the article, and I sent a similar note directly to the foundation he and his wife have to help Maine Communities.. http://www.stkfoundation.org/Home.aspx

With gratitude for Mr. King's support and compassion for Mainers, I still have to say that if we can start putting a dollar into insulation for every, what, maybe $10 that goes into Oil, Electric and Gas, then we would be able to start keeping more of our money and our effort here in our home economy, and not just sending it away, year after year.

That money you are raising, Mr. King, it's spent once, and then it's gone. Put a portion into improving these homes, and it saves money year after year. Maine's a big state, we've got room to make our walls and attics a bunch thicker. We've got to stop burning our money..


Feathered labour for Philippines rice farmers w/Video

Integrated rice-duck farming has helped farmers to spend less money on harmful pesticides.

Now view:

Ducks and rice major factors in bird flu outbreaks, says UN agency


Strange how unexpected and unintended consequences keep popping up, eh?


Strange indeed, but give me a naturally functioning ecosystem anyday ...

Birds help keep vineyards pest-free

Properly functioning ecosystems have their own pest management system – predation – but as new manmade ecosystems develop, these natural maintenance systems are often disrupted. In some cases, though, installing a simple nest box may be all that's needed to restore the balance, and improve avian conservation, according to a new report published Nov. 9 in the online journal PLoS ONE.

Leading Banks and Wall Street Firms Repeatedly Break SEC Anti-Fraud Agreements

A Times analysis of enforcement actions during the past 15 years found at least 51 cases in which the S.E.C. concluded that Wall Street firms had broken anti-fraud laws [puposeful or negligent fraud in interstate commerce] they had agreed never to breach. The 51 cases spanned 19 different firms.

Citigroup has a lot of company in this regard on Wall Street. According to a New York Times analysis, nearly all of the biggest financial companies — Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America among them — have settled fraud cases by promising that they would never again violate an antifraud law, only to have the S.E.C. conclude they did it again a few years later.

Federal Judge Roasts SEC for Supine Citigroup Settlement

MANHATTAN (CN) - With obvious relish, a federal judge held an SEC attorney's feet to the fire for proposing a settlement with Citigroup that represents a fraction of an alleged $600 million mortgage fraud and does not require the bank to admit wrongdoing. Citigroup sold $1 billion in mortgage-backed CDOs, which a Citigroup trader called "a collection of dogsh!t," while secretly shorting the securities.

SEC attorney Matthew Martens urged U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff not to factor the public interest into his decision on whether to approve the deal.

"That's an interesting position," Rakoff replied with acid understatement. "I'm supposed to exercise my power, but not my judgment."

Border Surveillance Plan Stumbles as Two-Thirds of Mexico Declared Unsafe

... At least 65 percent of Mexican territory is now considered “unsafe” by foreign governments. In eastern Tamaulipas, fighting between the Gulf Cartel (CDG) and their former enforcer wing the Zetas has encroached into Monterrey, Mexico’s wealthiest city and the country’s second largest.

From CNN: Are police becoming militarized?

... The siege in Oakland, where police have repeatedly clashed with protesters, reminds us that there's one thing that police officers shouldn't do: impersonate soldiers.

That's what concerns my friend, ... Like many law enforcement officers, he was in the military. But after he was discharged he began a career in civilian law enforcement. He knows the difference between the job that he used to have and the one he has now.

But, he fears, that may not be true for a lot of cops on patrol these days. The way my friend sees it, our police forces have become militarized.

Leaf through a police magazine these days and you'll see ads for automatic weapons, military equipment and the like - all being pitched at police officers.

They kicked down doors and 'black bagged' people in Iraq - Will we be next?

I've got a brother that is a police officer. Told me if they give him anymore equipment, he is going to need a trailer to haul it. They have pistols, shotguns, pepper spray, tasers, m-16's and who knows what else in there. On top of that they have all the electronics today. When he started they had almost none of this stuff, it really has changed in the past 20 years.


Riot Police Beat Unarmed Berkeley Students Trying To Set Up Camp

also Brutality: Watch Riot Police Rough Up Occupy Cal Protesters on Berkeley Campus

It’s unclear what sparked what you’re about to see, but the video isn’t easy on the eyes. After authorities issued “a dispersal order around 3:30 p.m., police used batons against protesters ... maybe the riot police were just giving these students a taste of what their parents faced in the ’60s. You know, like an anthropology or sociology class.

Dozens of Occupy protesters arrested at Berkeley

Television news footage from outside the university's main administration building showed officers pulling people from the steps and nudging others with batons as the crowd chanted, "We are the 99 percent!" and "Stop Beating Students!"

"How'd you get that bruised kidney?"

"Oh I was nudged by a baton at the protest."

The High Cost of Freedom from Fossil Fuels

For more than six decades, this nation essentially sold its soul for what it thought was cheap [nuclear] energy that may not be so cheap, and clean [nuclear] energy that is not so clean.

It is necessary to ask the critical question. Even if there were no human, design, and manufacturing errors; even if there could be assurance there would be no accidental leaks and spills of radioactivity; even if there became a way to safely and efficiently dispose of long-term radioactive waste; even if all of this was possible, can the nation, struggling in a recession while giving subsidies to the nuclear industry, afford to build more nuclear generating plants at the expense of solar, wind, and geothermal energy?

Americans Using More Fossil Fuels

American energy use went back up in 2010 compared to 2009, when consumption was at a 12-year low. The United States used more fossil fuels in 2010 than in 2009, while renewable electricity remained approximately constant, with an increase in wind power offset by a modest decline in hydroelectricity. There also was a significant increase in biomass consumption, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

hi resolution copy of the chart here

more charts here

what is rejected energy ?

With any heat engine, high-temperature heat energy is converted partly into useful work or electricity, and partly into low-grade (low-temperature) heat. The low-grade heat is often referred to as "rejected energy", as LLNL seems to do in the chart.

Other things being equal (and sometimes they aren't), the hotter the hot side of the heat engine relative to the cold side, the larger the fraction of the input converted into work or electricity, and the smaller the fraction converted into low-grade heat. The ratio of the useful output to the total input is often referred to as the efficiency of the heat engine, conveniently expressed as a percentage. For internal combustion engines and older steam power plants it tends to be low, as seen in the diagram, which shows plenty of "rejected energy" for those.

Please note that the existence of "rejected energy" is not a remediable defect of heat engines; to the best of anyone's knowledge it is simply part of how they work.

To the contrary. If you park your generator someplace where the "rejected" heat can be put to good use, you can easily get up to 85% total energy efficiency, with the remaining 15% going mostly out the stack. A simple example would be a large Diesel engine used as a cogeneration system.

Some large Diesel generators can produce up to 48% energy out at the generator terminals. Then, if your engine is well matched to a thermal load, where you can use another 40 to 45% of the input energy, then you can have up around 85% total energy efficiency. It's a complete mystery to me why more industrial plants, and even shopping centers, don't make better use of this readily available technology.

so thats a lot of heat and pollutants going into the atmosphere. no wonder we are in trouble.

park your generator where the "rejected" [waste] heat can be put to good use, ... easily get up to 85% total energy efficiency

Ah, if only it were that simple.

Except there is no such thing as a free lunch in this universe.

If you impede (slow down the ejection and rejection of) the waste heat of a first engine to feed a second engine, you also baffle the power output of the first engine.

There is no winning against the Laws of Thermodynamics.

It can be that simple.

For a diesel engine, running the engine coolant through a water to water heat exchanger, before it goes back to the radiator, does (almost) nothing to slow down the rejection of that heat.

Similarly, running the exhaust through an air to water heat exchanger does (almost) nothing to slow down that heat rejection - the exhaust is long gone from the cylinders.

There is some minor energy use for moving the coolant and exhaust through the HEX's, but this is really minor. If this energy is supplied by the external heat user (e.g. an inline circ pump and exhaust blower) then the engine's efficiency is not diminished at all, and the heat user has probably had to supply electricity in the order of 1% of the heat they get for it.

if the heat user takes all the heat from the coolant, and returns it "cold", then the engine can eliminate the radiator and fan entirely - eliminating a parasitic energy use.

Many large stationary (or marine) engines do this, all the time, as do many GT power plants.

The heat recovery system could easily use thermoelectric generators or an ORC system to power itself, and produce a surplus.

And, another - very specific - use for really low grade waste heat is pre-warming of water for desalination plants. They can use the exit cooling water from any power plant to warm their feed water - makes a substantial difference to the energy needed to force the water through the membranes.

There are many, many uses for the waste heat if we start looking for them, and minimal, often zero, efficiency penalty for the heat engines providing it.

The heat recovery system could easily use thermoelectric generators ...


Please don't get me wrong.
I'm all for dreaming the impossible dream and striving for the unreachable shores.
The devil is in the details. (Thermoelectric generators? Really?)

Yes, really, thermoelectrics.

but don;t take my word for it, the car companies are working on it:

Other units available here;

and here, the world leader, in Calgary:

They have been used in remote, unattended locations for decades.

The devil is in the cost, but TEG costs are coming down and fuel costs and TEG efficiencies are going up.
so the systems can *easily* use TEG's, it is just where it is economical to do so.
For comparison, you can;t easily use fuel cells (except methanol ones) or Stirling engines, and they are not economical either.
But putting in a TEG is very simple, and it could provide the auxiliary power needed to overcome the friction loss of running coolant or exhaust through a HEX.

Here is an example of a TEG powered device to improve heat removal/air circulation from your wood stove:


150CFM from a TEG!

Keep in mind, I am not saying TEG's are the answer to the energy crisis - I am merely saiying that they can provide the motive power to offset the friction loss of the HEX's for waste heat recovery, such that the original engine does not suffer any loss of efficiency. Indeed, in hot conditions, the increased heat removal capacity may even improve it.

Thanks for the update.
I didn't know they had new materials.
Best hopes (for their and your success)

"For a diesel engine, running the engine coolant through a water to water heat exchanger, before it goes back to the radiator, does (almost) nothing to slow down the rejection of that heat."

At what temperature is this water? The colder the water, the more you help your cause, but the less useful the heat you do capture. If you want hotter water, then you reject more of your exhaust heat to the atmosphere, since you need a difference in temperature to transfer the heat.

And thermoelectric generators need a difference in temperature to work as well.

The coolant water coming is typically 180-210C for automotive type engines (source), though for industrial engines, where you are more likely to be doing CHP, it can be higher.

The rad caps can develop 5psi, so the coolant can get over the water boiling temp.

So, run this into a counterflow HEX, and you can get water that is well above the temperature of domestic hot water.

If you use the exhaust, then you can get lots more hot water, or a lesser amount of much hotter steam.

Like the V-20, 9MW Jenbacher 920:

Combined Heat and Power
The simple use of jacket water heat, and heat from oil and mixture coolers, combined with heat from the gas engine exhaust makes the J920 gas engine an effective CHP solution. The best total efficiency is achieved when the heating water circle has a return water temperature of 70°C and a hot water temperature of 90°C. The J920’s 2-stage turbocharging technology enables a total efficiency for providing power and heat up to 90% and more — more than 3% better than that of a single-stage turbocharging gas engine.

These parameters for hot water would match a recirc hot water system - just don't put your hand directly under the hot tap!

At 177 tons(!) this is not your granddaddy's diesel engine;

Back in the '70's, such diesel powered CHP systems used to be called "Total Energy Systems". I recall that the utilities offered low electric rates to the builders of large buildings as an incentive for them to forgo the use of CHP type energy systems. Just another example of the lack of concern for the environment on the part of the electric utilities...

E. Swanson

Actually, no: to the contrary again. Those pesky "laws of thermodynamics." We were discussing the basic principles of heat engines and rejected heat, and you have changed the subject to practical ways to salvage rejected heat.

Back to the original subject: burning fuel to create low-grade heat is a highly effective way to destroy thermodynamic free energy, which, unlike plain vanilla E=mc2 energy, can be, in effect, destroyed. Here on planet Earth, there is plenty of low-grade heat available everywhere for the pumping. You'll get more of it where you need it if you pump it in from nearby. In this sense the notion of a natural-gas furnace being 90% efficient is nonsense, which is one reason why HereinHalifax and others often bang on about heat pumps. (Especially geothermal heat pumps, which tend to work across a low temperature difference and thus, in principle, can pump a lot of heat using rather little free energy.)

Similarly, if you've built the very best heat-engine electrical power plant anyone knows how to build in a practical way right now, you might capture around 60% of the free energy in the fuel. The rest, the other 40%, is discarded as low grade heat and counts for something but not much. At, say, a COP of 5, we could count that discarded heat as representing another 8% of the energy originally in the fuel, making a district-heating arrangement, as a whole, notionally 68% efficient - not, repeat not, 85% or 100%. (At a more theoretical COP of, say, 10 or 15, computed from likely actual working-reservoir temperatures, we could call it 63% or 64%, but in the real world there are losses in heat exchangers etc.)

Now, there's nothing wrong with district heating; for the time being it's sometimes an economical way to salvage something from a situation. Under some circumstances it might even improve heat removal slightly and thus tweak the efficiency of the heat engine. And it's more efficient than getting the low-grade heat from separate furnace(s), which will often be the practical alternative.

But in principle, and as we have just seen, it's far from optimal approach, and the thermodynamic principles are what underlie the original discussion of rejected heat and heat engines. And yes, rejected heat remains an unavoidable property of a heat engine, not a remediable defect. This property is one reason people keep on working on fuel cells - no heat engine, no necessarily rejected heat (though probably still some in practice.)

Turning to the new subject of putting rejected heat to some use instead of no use, some practical reasons not to bother in the case of a diesel might be (1) diesel generators tend to be a bit twitchy and you may not want to be guaranteed to lose both heat and electricity simultaneously, or (2) in order to fix (1) you end up putting in some kind of backup system and the whole works is seen as getting to be more complicated than it's worth, or (3) diesels (in the US) are often last-resort peak-load or emergency generators that aren't running most of the time. Also observe that many building owners seem to live almost in mortal fear of the supposed complexity of their HVAC controls even as things stand now, without piling on even more.

It's Friday morning and I'm back, and I'll say again that most of that "rejected heat", also often called "waste heat" is wasted only because people who should know better choose to waste it.

The so called waste heat from a Diesel engine is typically around 180 to 190 degrees F, which is plenty high enough for a district heating system, so I don't consider that to be low grade heat.

The Diesel cycle is much different than the Rankine cycle, which is the one that applies to steam boiler and turbine systems. With the Rankine Cycle, the electrical output is maximized by getting the exhaust temperature and pressure down as low as possible, usually in the 50 to 70 degrees F range. With a Diesel cogen system you can run the Diesel at maximum power and efficiency and still get all of the "rejected heat" out at 180 degrees F or slightly higher.

So to summarize, 50 to 70 degrees F is low grade heat, but 180 to 190 degrees F is not. 180 to 190 degree F is plenty hot enough to be valuable, and I see no good reason to call it waste heat.

As for standby power, that is obviously something to be considered in your feasibility study, but it is usually not a show stopper.

I did a cogeneration study for a tannery about fifteen years ago. My conclusion was that they could have installed a two megawatt Diesel Cogen system using a single engine and achieved about 4 to 5 years simple payback. For this tannery a single engine was feasible because they only needed to run the Diesel about 50 hours per week, and the electric utility already had a published standby power rate that was quite reasonable.

The tannery never installed the Diesel cogen system, but they used my study to negotiate a significant rate reduction from the electric company.

"It's a complete mystery to me why more industrial plants, and even shopping centers, don't make better use of this readily available technology."

O&M expense and emissions regs.

NOAA greenhouse gas index continues to climb

NOAA's updated Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI), which measures the direct climate influence of many greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, shows a continued steady upward trend that began with the Industrial Revolution of the 1880s.

NOAA's Annual Greenhouse Gas Index Report

Trends in carbon dioxide

Frequently asked questions

Carbon factsheet

In just a little more than two years, oil production in North Dakota has doubled from 232,000 barrels per day in August 2009 to a new record-high 464,000 barrels per day in September of this year, according to data released yesterday by the state's Department of Mineral Resources

Link: http://seekingalpha.com/article/306599-north-dakota-oil-continues-expone...

U.S. Government Confirms Link Between Earthquakes and Shale Gas Extraction


YPF, which produces more than 50 percent of Argentina’s crude, is boosting exploration to arrest a decline in output and last year had a 100 percent annual oil reserve-replacement ratio for the first time in 13 years. The Buenos Aires-based company, led by Chief Executive Officer Sebastian Eskenazi, made its largest oil find in Argentina after drilling a dry hole off the disputed Falkland Islands earlier this year.

Double Reserves

The field will roughly double YPF reserves and helps cement Argentina’s ranking as having the world’s third-largest probable reserves of shale oil, behind the U.S. and China, based on U.S. Energy Information Administration data.

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-07/ypf-finds-six-times-more-shale-...

There are many important factors that need to be considered.

For example: 1. What is the cost of developing the shale oil field? 2. What production rate can be obtained? 3. What will be the depletion rate of the wells? 4. Will an average well produce enough over its lifetime to pay for itself?

Does The Oil Drum have a facebook page like their G+ page?

ztycoonz you joined 1 hr ago. My SPAM meter is pegged

Crap, maybe I shouldn't have replied. Too quick trying to be helpful!

Ah thanks for the link. I don't have a FB account, but I think contributing to the discussion is easier in a FB or G+ style thread.

Sorry about the caution but I get twitchy if I see anonimized links.

Alabama's Jefferson County files for bankruptcy

Alabama’s most-populated county voted Wednesday to file for bankruptcy in the largest municipal bankruptcy ever in United States history, according to reports.

The Jefferson County Commission voted 4-1 to file for an estimated $4.1 billion bankruptcy, The Birmingham News reported. The commission decided to seek Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection due to the county’s $3.14 billion sewer debt.

The irony with Japanese imperial expansion in the 1930s is that the US was already moving to grant the Philippines independence, but the Japanese generals were too impatient and bombed PH. Had they been able to wait a few years, they might have easily rolled over a newly independent Philippines.

Deal on Greek premier collapses, Papademos re-emerges

Greeks have pulled their savings from banks over the past week because of the deepening political crisis and fear of an exit from the euro, banking sources said.

They withdrew as much as 5 billion euros -- nearly 3 percent of total deposits

"Many people withdrew their money from banks Thursday and Friday and money couriers had a hard time supplying banks with cash to satisfy the emergency demand," said another banking source, who also requested anonymity.


Maybe the Greeks should pull all their money out of the banking system. It's hardly working in their favour.

What's more, the myth of the laid back Greeks vs. the industrious hardworking German should be put to rest.


Portuguese, Spanish, Greeks work more, longer than Germans

The study, based on OECD and Eurostat figures, said a German's average annual work duration (1,390 hours) was substantially lower than for a Greek (2,119), an Italian (1,773) a Portuguese (1,719) and a Spaniard (1,654).

A French person works 1,554 hours per year, reveals the study.

"Germany's productivity per head remains close to the average of southern European countries. Its hourly productivity rate is above average but not better than France or Greece," the study added.

Although the legal retirement age is older in Germany -- currently 65 years set to rise to 67 -- the Portuguese and Spanish work longer. Their real retirement ages are 62.6 and 62.3 respectively, against 62.2 for Germans.

If I was Greek or Italian I would be some peeved. Work harder, longer, and more productively, and then get blamed when you're screwed over by the markets and fiscal system.

Update: Former European Central Bank vice-president Lucas Papademos has been named as Greece's new prime minister, following days of negotiations.

No surprise there. However, it is another indication of the democratic deficit in Europe. So far Europe, in response to the mystical hand of the almighty markets, has told the Greek government, a government of a sovereign state, that it could not hold a referendum, then imposed what budgetary legislation was acceptable, and then dictated to a chief of state, the president, a suitable candidate to head the government.

Violates every principle of the Westminster system of parliamentary government as practiced since the Glorious Revolution of 1689. No wonder the Brits, and most of the Anglo-Saxon world for that matter, shake their heads in disbelief at the antics of the Eurozone. Obviously, they just don't get it - even superficially or cosmetically.

This, along with the OWS points to another existential question: whom does the economy serve? There was a time, not long ago, when the assumption was (at least ideally) everybody. Now, it seems, it is based on the hierarchy of natural selection and serves the appetite of the 1% of predators on top. Traders don't care - they will make a lot of money whether it's prosperity or adversity. It's a win-win situation for them.

Remember this guy? "Governments don't rule the world. Goldman Sachs rules the world."

As a EU resident and taxpayer I support the bailout of needy member states. However, there is no question that the Greeks ran huge deficits and blaming "the banks" or "the market" is a very weak argument.

I am suspicious of your work and productivity statistics, as they fail the reality check: Germany is a much wealthier, modern, industrial country than Greece. Can you even name a famous Greek multinational? Compare that with Siemens, Adidas, BASF, Volkswagen, Daimler, BWM, Porsche, Puma, SAP, SolarWorld, ThyssenKrupp, Bosch, DHL, T-Mobil, Aldi, Leica, Lufthansa, MAN, Deutsche Bank, Miele, Hapag-Lloyd, Hugo Boss, Carl-Zeiss, Birkenstock... Just going by name recognition rather than size. So if the Greeks are so productive, what are they producing?

The strange thing is, people in banana republics work a lot more hours than me, but have a lot less money. Does that pass your reality test?

Since the Greek has 48% more hours per worker, higher productivity (if we are to believe that) and 33% lower per-capita GDP, the only explanation is that the proportion of Greeks that actually has a job is less than half the proportion of Germans having a job. I.e. demographics, retirement ages, joblessness, female participation and so on combine to make very few Greek work.

Btw, if you push up joblessness, you also push up productivity per hour, since the least productive workers are most likely to lose their jobs and be unable to get a new one.

If I was Greek or Italian I would be some peeved. Work harder, longer, and more productively, and then get blamed when you're screwed over by the markets and fiscal system.

It would help if, in addition to working hard, they actually paid their taxes. One of the biggest problems they have is that evading taxes is a national tradition in both countries.

Another problem is lavish social services. The Greek pension system is more generous than the German one, and pays pensioners twice as much as the American pension system. Greece is not a rich country, it cannot afford to give away money in such large amounts.

If states are going to have a common currency, there need to be controls on the spending and taxes of the individual members. The EU does not have this, so there is great potential for individual governments to indulge in reckless spending of money they cannot afford to spend.

Not that the US is a great deal better in that regard. There seems to be a common belief in the US that you can spend money lavishly on military adventures without taxing the people to pay for it.

Rocky, I'll try to address what you are saying as well as biophilias above. Please, don't get me wrong, the Greeks are not entirely blameless. In the Eurozone, everybody is to some degree the author of their own misfortune.

That said, the chief problem facing Europe is political. Financially, productively, and in terms of spending power, it is a formidable entity. No question. If ever got its act together, it would be a powerhouse. But it does not have its act together.

The Eurozone is neither fish nor fowl. It is not animal, mineral or vegetable. It is not a federation like the United States, Brazil, Canada or Australia with a central authority by which the parts can act as a whole. Nor is it merely a trading block bound by treaty. It has a parliament, a central bank and a common currency used by many of its members. There's the rub. Fiscal policy is determined by the sovereign states. Currency policy is set by the Eurozone. Where lies power? Where lies sovereignty? What exactly is the overarching purpose of the Eurozone? Is the central bank the lender of last resort? Should it be empowered to issue European government bonds? Who determines it's decision making process? Should it print Euros to cover debts? Or must that all come from austerity measures at home?

Who governs? Brussels? Frankfurt? Berlin? Paris?

Who determines monetary policy? Brussels? Frankfurt? Berlin? Paris? What if the policy runs amok of the fiscal management of the smaller partners? Does Athens have a say? Does Rome? Does Madrid?

Was there any brake impose on national economies borrowing against the Euro? Obviously not. Does it now have the authority to impose a brake on the bleeding out that caused? Doesn't look like it. And who exactly determines that? Nobody knows.

Berlin has its say. Paris has its say. The ECB has its say. The G20 has its say. The markets has its say. Athens is expected to jump. Rome is expected to jump. Madrid is expected to jump.

It is a monstrosity. And until the partners sit down and draw up a political plan of action that answers some the existential questions besetting the Eurozone it will remain a monstrosity.

It began with good intentions. It served, IMHO, a good purpose. It has served to keep the peace among peoples who do not historically get along. But it does have a democratic deficit. It has a political deficit. It has numerous fiscal deficits. Ergo, sovereign debt is toxic. Ergo, the Euro is toxic. And its dragging the rest of the world down with it.

Sh#t, by any other name, smells. The nebulous and ambiguous composition of the Eurozone is giving off a putrid odor these days.

Another good (non)explanation of the Greece and Euro situation:

Clarke and Dawe on Europe

It began with good intentions. It served, IMHO, a good purpose. It has served to keep the peace among peoples who do not historically get along.

Like everything else we humans seem to touch, the EU has turned toxic. What's the opposite of the Midas Touch? Or is it just some natural dynamic that things must go through a cycle from positive to negative without exception? Of course this would mean that all grand centralising schemes should be anathema to us as in the end they seem to take back more than they give, plus some (negative EROEI?).

this would mean that all grand centralising schemes should be anathema to us as in the end they seem to take back more than they give

bingo :-)

all grand centralising schemes should be anathema

For countries (and in the case of Australia, a continent) where there is sufficient centralization to be federated (US, Brazil, etc.), such pooling of people and resources has been, historically, a stabilizing force.

The dilemma facing Europe is that it is neither centralized (universal) nor local (particular). It has the worst of all worlds and none of the benefits that the universal or the particular may present.

That chart reminds me of the Soviet-era joke, "we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us." The nature of the activity that goes on during the work day counts for something. Tourism is a huge activity in Greece, but bedsheet-changing is not, on the whole, terribly lucrative.

There also may be confounding factors. I simply don't understand how they got only 1772 hours for Japan, where there is still a fetish there for staying quite late at work. Perhaps some weighting-in of unemployment, part-time work, or something else, makes the figures unrepresentative of what a "typical" full-time employee would experience as the work week and work year - and that experience would be what people tend to think about in off-the-cuff discussions of who is or is not laid-back. And beyond that, all you need is for people to hear about some of those lavish public-sector retirement plans (retiring at 50) in Greece, and the conversation may be over.

Paul, at first glance the article clearly implies stereotypes about the Greeks may not be true. Now that I've clicked on the chart and had a look at the link, the answer to your question may lie in the readers' comment fields of the New York Times article that first carried the story.

South Koreans Put In Most Hours

From stevem in New York:

One reason the numbers are misleading is because, as Cukier points out on his blog, they are for hours worked per person who is working, not for all working age adults. Greece has a low workforce participation rate (62 percent) among working age adults compared to the US (71 percent), the UK (72), and Japan (72), for example.

And then from livingingreece:

let's remember that greece was caught falsifying its stats. so every year when these results show that greeks supposedly work the most hours, how can this be true when productivity is so incredibly low?

a lot of people show up and count smoking a cigarette, drinking coffee and talking on the phone as "work." also, if you've ever seen a majority of people work here, you'd know they take longer because they move slower and don't know what they're doing. the work force is educated, but very low skilled and most do not know how to use a computer.

Adds to biophiliac's point that these stats seem counter-intuitive. If right, I stand corrected.

[That said, I hold to the assessment that the Greek situation is symptomatic of a bigger European debacle. Robbing people of a say in the next step of their future does not bode well for the long term survival and sustainability of the Eurozone. If I was Greek, I'd be highly peeved about being shut out of the process.]

Addendum: Interestingly, the countries listed with the fewest work hours: Luxembourg, France, Germany, Norway and in the lead, the Netherlands, are all countries that are fairly decent places to live. Could there be a correlation between leisure time and productivity? Or automation and productivity? Truly an intriguing finding if it turned out these figures were an accurate reflection of the workplace.

It could be that there is a reverse correlation between intensity of work and work hours. For instance the Japanese put in a lot of hours, but some of it is team building at the local sushi bar. The one week I spent working in Japan, they noted that I was a very hard worker, yet I've nevere put in the sort of hours that are typical over there. And it makes sense, the harder you work, the sooner you get tired.

I would expect that working hours in highly technical economies would be short since most people are only capable of hard mental work for a few hours/day.

How Does The Current Economic Recession Compare To The Great Depression?

David M. Edwards, BA Economics, Yale


broken link???

Regarding "AUSTRALIA is about to enter a ''golden age of gas'' that will last for many decades" ...


Tragic for the marine wildlife off Gladstone. Pity they don't have a say about the price of progress.

Nature, as they say, bats last.

Yeah, but when she bats, too often it is a home run.


Looks like people are considering Rick "Drill Buddy Drill", "Good Hair" Perry has fatally holed his already sinking campaign with a total grasp of his policies (sic).


Perry's Cornerstone performance two weeks ago was also very odd:

Last night's brain freeze (1:44):

He would eliminate DoE?
It would seem from his brain freeze that for Perry these agencies are simply names (which we can all forget) as opposed to fundamental concepts (like God, country, wife, brother, environment, food, energy...).
We don't forget the latter group.

During his brian freeze Perry discarded Romney's suggestion of eliminating the EPA. Apparently he forgot his own position on that agency as well.

Living, and coughing, downwind of Texas smoke stacks

Port Arthur, Texas has some of the dirtiest air in the United States. Some people like to say it's the smell of money.

Texas Governor and White House hopeful Rick Perry is among those who, critics say, don't seem to mind the stench.

While Perry may be trailing in the polls to win the Republican nomination, his desire to dismantle the federal Environmental Protection Agency -- which he calls a "jobs cemetery" -- is popular among the party's conservative base.

... There were 2,553 "emission events" in Texas last year which poured 44.6 million pounds of contaminants into the sky. The state took enforcement action in 123 of those incidents and issued violation notices in 172 others.

"When you have a loose environmental regulatory scheme such as we have in Texas, what you have is the people who are supposed to watch out for the public interest... really don't give adequate review," says Ken Kramer, director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club.

Seems the Texas regulators are not as diligent as ROCKMAN suggests.

S - The Texas Rail Road Commision is very diligent...they don't allow such polution from well sites. And the state air quality guys are diligent too...they diligently watch that pollution drift across the Sabine River to La.

It's also good to remember that most of the refinery products generated in Port Authur are shipped to the rest of the country. Your welcome.

I sure hope he doesn't have a brain freezes when deciding whether to push the Red or the Green button.

Oops. I darn near forgot. He's already declared himself as being against any "Green" initiatives.

Most of us-especially those of us opposed to the petrochemical and oil industries in general-conveniently forget that such industries are very heavily concentrated in Texas.

On any sort of scale that takes the SCALE of the Texas petrochemical industries into account, to the best of my knowledge, Texas comes out looking reasonably clean in terms of released pollution.

One thing is for sure-the Texans could cut their emissions by 90 percent or more if they quit supplying the rest of us, who for mysterious reasons take pride in releasing no petrochemical manufacturing emissions even though their states have no such industries.

Meanwhile frack fluid seems to be in the wyoming aquifer:


This took a couple more weeks than I expected.


A section of pipeline carrying gas from Egypt to Israel and Jordan has been blown up in northern Egypt, the latest in a series of attacks.

3 weeks on, 3 weeks off....

Just made a breakthrough (possibly) in publicity. A transportation "heavyweight" and I have agreed to jointly write a couple of op-eds for the Washington Post or New York Times. *NO* guarantee of success, and the editor he knew at WaPost has retired, but he thinks he can still get access.

Best Hopes !


Good luck Alan -- I really hope it works out. The significant energy efficiency advantages of electrified rail are an unknown concept to most of the population.

Hey Alan,

Any chance of an electrified rail line across Alligator Alley, from Fort Lauderdale to Naples Florida?

Sure could use it myself. Yeah, this one is for a very selfish and personal reason, but I'm guessing others might also find it useful, eventually... >;^)

BTW, my hat is off to you sir, for your vision, your persistence and for everything you have managed to accomplish so far!

Best of luck for continued high hopes!

Thank you,


Fred, you guys didn't just elect a new Governor, did you? This might be step #1..

We had a candidate for Mayor in Portland, ME who had as one of his key goals putting Streetcars back into our city.. but alas, even with our first stab at instant runoff (ranked choice) voting, he didn't get the job.


Yeah, let's just say I'm not very optimistic that we will see much progress towards expanding Florida's railroads under his tenure. From where I'm sitting he comes across as being firmly in the BAU camp with little vision or courage to risk anything outside that box...

In Case You Missed It:Bullet train project nearly triples in cost — $98.5 billion — from earlier projections

Statement from Governor Rick Scott 11/1/2011 Tallahassee, Fla – Governor Scott issued the following statement regarding news reports today (like this one: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_19236454) that the expected cost of high speed rail in California has nearly tripled from its initial estimate to $98.5 billion. “The news today out of California that High Speed Rail cost estimates [...]

In case you missed it, Governor Scott is a dud!

Did we have a running bet on if the WTI would be priced at one Benjamin Franklin by the end of this year?

It's funny how the price is still going up even as Rome burns, again. (Italian bonds going up)

Funny you should mention that because just this morning I was watching the numbers on CNBC and noticed WTI going up, closing in on a hundred! And as you say while Rome burns. If the price of oil is this high and rising while the world economy struggles and the EU is close to a debt implosion, then it sure sounds, feels and looks like 'peak oil'.

Fascinating how the price of oil goes mostly ignored by MSM, as if to say as long oil is available, price means nothing. Yet price is everything. When will they learn?

Fascinating how the price of oil goes mostly ignored by MSM, as if to say as long oil is available, price means nothing.

That's because $100 WTI is nothing new. We've seen it before, the last time just a few short months ago. And it hasn't hit $100 yet.

Plus we've had a lot of the tabloid sort of stories the MSM thrives on: Michael Jackson manslaughter case, Penn Stae sex scandal, etc. MSM always goes for the tittillating over the informative. Its bread and circusues.

E.U. Poised to Overtake U.S. as Biggest Oil Importer

LONDON — The European Union is expected to overtake the United States as the world’s biggest oil importer in 2015, the International Energy Agency said Wednesday in its annual report.

Oil imports to the United States are expected to decline significantly over the coming years because of new efficiency standards for cars and trucks and an increase in domestic oil and natural gas production, said Fatih Birol, chief economist of the agency.

By 2020, China should overtake the European Union to become the world’s biggest importer of oil, according to the Paris-based agency, which acts as a policy adviser to governments.

“The U.S. would be less and less vulnerable to oil price shocks,” Mr. Birol said at a news conference in London. “But increasing reliance on oil imports elsewhere heightens concerns about the cost of imports and supply security.”

This brings up the issue of the strategic importance of the Keystone pipeline to US oil supply. It is supposed to bring Canadian oil to the major oil refineries on the US Gulf Coast, where half of US refining capacity is located. However, protests about "dirty" oil sands and continued foot-dragging on pipeline approvals in the US probably mean the oil will go to China instead.

Meanwhile the European Union is placing a higher carbon-emissions value on bitumen-derived fuel than conventional oil because of its perceived "dirty" nature. This has little effect because Canada does not export oil to the EU. Canada currently imports oil from the EU rather than exporting it, so it will probably reverse its Eastern pipelines, back out European oil as North Sea oil production declines, and replace it with Canadian oil.

The Chinese are quite aware they will have an oil supply problem in a few years, and they are also aware that Canada is one of the few countries capable of increasing its oil production, so they are methodically buying up large shares of the Canadian oil sands. By the time Americans and Europeans wake up to the fact that they have an oil supply problem, the Chinese will probably have control of much of the production.

"...so they are methodically buying up large shares of the Canadian oil sands..."

...and Venezuela? Brazil? Iraq? Russia? ...looks to get ugly for the West.

Ghung - Within the last several years China cut a deal with Vz: China would build ships and refineries in China specially designed to handle the Vz heavy. In return China got an escalating right to Vz production. I think the current volume is 450,000 bopd. A year or so ago China gave Brazil a loan of over $100 billion (I think). No details but it wouldn't be surprised if repayment was somehow tied to Bz oil production. And let's not forget China has a direct ownership of some Angolan offshore oil.

In the authoritative work on the Chinese oil sector, 《中国石油工业控制力和国际竞争力》, the authors write that Venezuela plan to export fully 45% of its oil (crude+products) to China in 2012.
Note also, that one of the two Chinese policy banks - the Chinese Development Bank - has recently established a development fund of 4 billion$, financing a wide range of Venezuelan development projects.

The Party is no slouch and quick out of the gates in the race to secure oil supplies for the immediate future.

Tue - Mucho thanks. Typically all we get to see is press releases with very little detain. Can you mine that report and add a bit more color to the picture?

Rockman - I'd be glad to fill in some detail. I don't, however, have my notes with me at present, but will have access to them sometime next week, so we can perhaps take it from there.

The Chinese oil sector is a bit of a strange beast. There is an unresolved tension between the role that the powerful "state-owned" companies play as champions of the Chinese State on the one hand, and as companies driven by profits and private interests on the other. The 3 big state owned oil companies, CNPC, Sinopec and CNOOC, have traditionally had quite a lot of headroom when making their business decisions(former and current heads of CNPC and Sinopec are from the very top of the central nomenklatura).
On the one hand, these companies are fully backed by the Chinese state and its financial capabilities, e.g. they work closely together with the policy banks to negotiate international oil/gas for loan projects, infrastructure projects etc, in order to secure a steady flow of fossil fuels. On the other hand, they are increasingly being driven by purely capitalistic, profit-oriented motives, which isn't strange at all of course, because these companies have to be able to compete with the savvy international players. Periodically, the conflict between state interests and private interests gets pushed to the front stage, as the companies refuse to sell refined products at government mandated prices, because it hurts their competitive power. All the while, the Chinese truckers, taxi-drivers, and whoever is affected by rising oil prices, vent their frustration at what they perceive as greedy corporate behaviour.

Interesting times for sure.

Speaking of 2020 . . .

If we extrapolate the 2005 to 2010 rates of change in Top 33 Net Oil Exporter production (negligible decline of 0.1%/year), in Top 33 consumption (+2.7%/year) and in Chindia's net imports (+7.5%/year), Available Net Exports* (ANE) would fall from about 40 mbpd in 2005 to about 21 mbpd in 2020. Keep in mind this is with virtually no decline in production.

If we assume a 1%/year Top 33 production decline, and the other rates of change stay the same, ANE would fall from about 40 mbpd in 2005 to about 15 mbpd in 2020.

Incidentally, there have been some recent signs that China's production may be hitting a plateau or declining. Note that US net oil imports increased at 11%/year from 1948 to 1970 (doubling about every six years or so). After we peaked, our net imports increased at 15%/year, until 1977, when Alaskan production kicked in and as our consumption started to decline (EIA).

IMO, from a Canadian point of view the most sensible approach for Canada is to build an interconnected east-west transcontinental pipeline to markets on both coasts and/or to domestic markets, as needed.

*Global Net Exports (Top 33 net oil exporters, BP + Minor EIA data) less Chindia's combined net imports

Canada is building an interconnected east-west pipeline system to both coasts, but it's an ad-hoc process involving the reversal of import pipelines. It's really American refineries driving the process rather than Canadian ones.

Enbridge Talking With Valero on East Coast Pipeline Reversal

Enbridge Inc. (ENB), Canada’s largest pipeline owner, is in talks with Valero Energy Corp. (VLO) and other refiners about reversing the flow of a pipeline to ship Canadian crude to the U.S. East Coast, said Chief Executive Officer Patrick Daniel.

Enbridge is talking to “all” refiners on the East Coast and in the Maritime provinces in eastern Canada about the possibility for the company’s Line 9, Daniel said in an interview at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. The reversal of the line, which currently transports crude from Quebec to Ontario, might happen as early as 2014, he said.

The environmental movement is having conniption fits over it because they are afraid it will take oil sands production everywhere.

Enbridge pipeline plan sparks opposition

In letters to the National Energy Board (NEB), groups from Ontario, Quebec and Maine argue that Enbridge must face greater scrutiny for plans that could eventually involve bringing oil sands crude to Atlantic ports for export.

The rising criticism comes amid a continent-wide battle between industry and environmental groups, which have sought to halt attempts to expand the system of pipelines that bring northeastern Alberta crude to markets.

However, from the American perspective, it could also take new North Dakota production to refineries on the US East Coast, where they are suffering very badly from having to pay Brent prices for oil. If they don't get access to cheaper oil, refineries who pay WTI prices are going to drive them out of business.

Refiners along the Atlantic coast have lost money because they pay more than other U.S. competitors for the crude they process, much of which comes from the North Sea. The spread between the price for imported Brent oil tied to the U.K.’s North Sea production and U.S. crude prices reached a high of almost $27 Sept. 6, according to Bloomberg data. “That’s been killing the East Coast refiners right now,”

Most people just don't realize that there is a serious global oil supply problem developing and they are rapidly running out of options.

In letters to the National Energy Board (NEB), groups from Ontario, Quebec and Maine argue that Enbridge must face greater scrutiny for plans that could eventually involve bringing oil sands crude to Atlantic ports for export.

It always amazes me when I hear things like this from eastern Canada. Do they not know that (almost) all of the oil they use is imported from overseas? Do they really want to use MENA oil instead of Canadian?

Quebec seems quite happy to take federal money - through equalisation - that is largely derived from western energy revenues. Perhaps the oil revenues should only bi distributed to those places that use the oil. Those that choose to import from elsewhere, forgo that benefit.

Well this Ontarioan certainly feels vulnerable depending on overseas oil. I'm just amazed that the pipeline that was originally built to deliver Western Canadian crude to Montreal was later reversed to send imported oil from Montreal to Sarnia!

Hi, JS

I'm near Kingston... where are you?
I share your concerns. Line 9 was quietly reversed in 1999 (I believe) but I don't recall hearing anything about it, nor do I know anyone who recalls any discussion, debate or public concern at that time.
It's hard to believe that people could have been so inattentive or unconcerned over something as fundamental as our oil supply, but it seems that this was the case, you & I included.


Looks like final decision on Keystone is delayed until after the November, 2012 election:


Just read that:

(Reuters) - The Obama administration plans to announce on Thursday it will explore a new route for a Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline, delaying a final approval beyond the 2012 U.S. election, sources briefed on the matter said.

Oil getting sent to China instead?

I think it's highly likely the oil will go to China instead of the US. The Harper Administration in Canada is very, very annoyed with the Obama Administration in the US. The Chinese, on the other hand, are talking money, which is a language the Harper government understands. (Particularly money to pay for universal medical care).

WTI-Brent Spread Costing Canadian Producers Over $1 Billion a Month

Without pipeline access to the Gulf, or to the Pacific to supply Chinese customers, Canadian oil producers get what Mid-west refineries will give them. And that’s a huge discount to what the rest of the world will pay, including U.S. refineries along the Pacific, Atlantic or Gulf coasts.

It doesn’t make sense for Canadian oil to flow to the market that values it the least.  If Canadian oil exporters can’t get to world prices through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to the Gulf of Mexico, they must find another route for their oil to flow.

Westexas whilst I generally agree with your comments and analysis. With regard to the Keystone Pipeline, I find it perplexing that intelligent people, who have access to scientific Data that supports the reduction of fossil fuels, continue to debate the pros and cons of pipelines to here or there. Unless of course the lobbying is so great that it overwhelms logic and reason so much that one is blinded to the realities of what is happening to our little planet.

It seems to me that we continue to pursue policies and behaviors which are self destructive.

We are told by well educated scientist that we need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels in order to reduce the possibility of serious problems with our ability live on this planet when the planting cycles of food are disrupted by floods, droughts, frosts, and a myriad of other related signals.

Why are we continually discussing how to process more of this stuff (fossil Fuels) surely the prudent soul would think twice about ******* in his own food.

Forgive me for being so blunt, But I live across the lake from where TransAlta continues to burn vast amounts of coal in coal fired electricity plants spewing vast amounts of Co2 into the atmosphere.

If the XL pipeline is built it will certainly provide jobs to those companies that are making or who have already made the pipe in anticipation of the pipeline going ahead, it will also spur further development of the already devastating destruction of the Boreal Forest.

I have visited the TAR SANDS and I live not 400 miles away from them. I think that as a species on this planet we need to STOP and give our place some pause, and reflect on the wise choices that humanity has taken over the last few centuries, and reject the bad ones. It seems to me that if we see our world as a garage, and we park inside it with the car running HOW LONG DO YOU HAVE, before it is too late to get out?

Respectfully Michael

Well, the reality of the situation is that the US (and Canada) will be using oil for quite some time yet. Even if the US were to HALVE its oil use - a noble goal - it would still need to import oil.

Better then to import it from Canada than from Saudi, Venez etc...

The fact is, whether the pipeline goes ahead or not will make no material difference to US oil consumption. It is already decreasing, and will continue to do so. Having access to more continental oil means the US can reduce its military adventures overseas sooner.
That, in itself, is a win for the planet.

As for the boreal forest, as RMG has pointed out numerous times, the Ft Mac area is hardly national park stuff, and is all going to be logged anyway.

It is a drop in the bucket of the Cdn boreal forest, and if you are really concerned about it, then you should direct your attention to the logging companies, who do far more damage to it than the oilsands ever will.

I suspect it will make a bit more than a wit of difference. The pipeline will (if completed) prolong the period and size of the WTI discount. That means oil products are slightly cheaper in some parts of America (and excess profits for some US refineries). All of which or the margin increases the US ability to consume (pay for) the oil.

Actually, if the pipeline is completed it will diminish, or eliminate the WTI/Brent-Louisiana spread. Currently, all the Cdn and N.Dakota oil going into the midwest can;t get out to the east and gulf coast, so that's why the WTI price is depressed. Once the producers have access to the coast refiners paying world prices, they won;t be too keen to sell at WTI pricers, and the gap will close to whatever the pipeline toll rate is.

The US imports just slightly less than 50% of all liquid fuels, and that percentage is continuing to fall.

I have a hard time getting enthusiastic about switching from more distant imports to nearer imports: they both cause the same economic damage to the importer.

Michael, Transalta is in the process of demolishing its coal-burning power plants as they reach the end of their lives, and building new wind-powered facilities. In the current political environment, new coal-burning units aren't really viable.

TransAlta issues notice of termination for Sundance 1 and 2 Power Purchase Arrangement

CALGARY, Alberta (February 8, 2011) – TransAlta Corporation (TSX: TA; NYSE: TAC) today issued notice of termination for destruction on its Sundance 1 and 2 coal-fired generation units ...

Sundance 1 and 2 comprised 560 megawatts (MW) of the 2,126 MW Sundance power plant, which has six individual units and serves as a baseload facility for the Alberta electricity system. Sundance is located about 70 kilometres west of Edmonton and is the largest power plant in Alberta, and the largest coal plant in Western Canada.

The main constraint on new wind power facilities is the lack of transmission lines to take the power to North and Central Alberta (where the population is) from Southern Alberta (where the wind blows hardest) and to balance the grid. The NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard) and BANANAs (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody) are doing a pretty good job of obstructing new power lines. They seem to believe that electricity will magically appear at the plug in their wall without anybody having to build anything.

The top five emitters of CO2 in Canada are all electric utilities, with Ontario Power at the top of the list. The oil sands producers Suncor and Syncrude are sixth and seventh.

Canada accounts for less than 2% of the world's CO2 emissions anyway. Three countries - China, the US, and India - account for about half of it, and in each case the main culprit is coal-burning power plants and other coal-burning industries. Last year, China and the US accounted for half the record increase in global CO2 emissions.

"Transalta is in the process of demolishing its coal-burning power plants as they reach the end of their lives, and building new wind-powered facilities. In the current political environment, new coal-burning units aren't really viable."

While they may have made that anouncement they installed just last year the second largest dragline in the world http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNH4diWpExg

It will be a long time before TransAlta give up coal pointing fingers at other countries is an easy way out. shifting the blame to logging is also an easy way out.

I think both points avoid the issue that business as usual will prevail until it is too late. When do we stop?


Indian oil imports cannot continue to grow for long. Indian oil companies are almost out of money. The government is going broke subsidizing diesel, kerosene and cooking gas (LPG). They run out of money next month unless they allow the price to rise substantially.


The airlines in India are going bankrupt and some of them are canceling several flights every day because they can no longer afford jet fuel.


There is a shortage of coal, frequent blackouts and imported coal is no longer affordable. Electricity rates are going up:


A little context from the Energy Export Databrowser showing how Indian consumption of all fuels, but most especially coal, has risen in recent years:

We have entered a period where economies must figure out how to use energy more efficiently or they will begin to crumble. As pointed out above, the kind of growth rates we see in India are straining their national systems to the breaking point.

A well written story that is superficially about sports, but it's really about protecting the status quo (and the boss), and the consequences of not protecting the status quo. As an aside, you really have to wonder what kind of person would--by his own account--witness an ongoing assault on a child and not intervene. And of course, none of the higher ups apparently reported the alleged assault to police. And then, to put the finishing touch on the whole sorry episode, when the higher ups are fired, Penn State students riot.

Mac Engel: Baylor, Penn State scandals carry message on protecting the boss

Twelve months. Two programs. Two young coaches trying desperately to break into their profession and stay there. Two decisions. Two radically different outcomes. Multiple tragedies.

In the late summer of 2003 brand new Baylor men's basketball assistant Abar Rouse turned in his boss, Dave Bliss, because Rouse would not participate in a cover-up that would eventually ruin the program. Rouse has been blackballed ever since.

Sometime in 2002, Penn State football graduate assistant coach Mike McQueary walked into his team's locker room and allegedly saw his team's former defensive coordinator sexually assaulting a young boy. McQueary was a former Penn State quarterback who had a tryout with the Oakland Raiders, and certainly was big enough to physically challenge a man well over 50 as he sexually assaulted a kid. McQueary left, called his dad, told his boss, and went back to work. McQueary has been promoted ever since.

Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/11/09/3514061/baylor-penn-state-scanda...

Penn State should be proud of their students.

Instead of the "Nittany Lions" maybe call them the "Lone Mountain Buggers."

What should we call "Paternoville," the student's campsite outside Beaver Stadium ?

It may get worse:


If true, this would explain a lot about school officials' failure to turn the guy in.

I feel sorry for anyone normal who ever had anything to do with Penn State.

They should bring in the Oakland Police for the next "Legalize Coach-Child Sodomy" riot.

Better than firing projectiles at peaceful protesters.


There is a rumor going around in Central PA...talked to my Mother and Bother who live close by State College...


Gricar [Centre Country DA]was reported missing to authorities after failing to return home from a road trip. His car was found in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania with his cell phone inside, and his laptop computer was found in the adjacent Susquehanna River; other than that, very little trace of Gricar has been found. After being missing for over six years with no race of his whereabouts, Centre County authorities declared Gricar legally dead on July 25, 2011.

Centre County is where State College is...

The rumor I was just told seems to be that Gricar had information on Sandusky and his 'Second Mile' foundation on his laptop hard drive...that he was gathering evidence against Gricar or something like that...then he disappeared. Was he thrown in the Susquehanna with cement shoes? Did he stage his own disappearance and is now living in Argentina with DB Cooper?

His hard drive was missing from his laptop. Apparently a hard drive was found later in the vicinity but it was wiped rock-solid clean.

'Happy Valley' no longer.

...although Central PA is a very 'family'-oriented place, if ya know hat I'm saying...

I graduated from PSU in '87...came to realize as I matured that we worship pro and college sports and that this is a sickness of sorts with some folks who live vicariously through sports teams and personalities...and their children in Little League, soccer, YAFL, etc.

The PSU horrible shame resembles that of the children molested in the Catholic Church...folks who have huge status, respect, and power using it nefariously, then their power structure sweeps the issue under the rug and does not interface with the police.

Seems to me to be a symptom of institutions that start to believe they are more important than the people who comprise them, the people they serve, and society as a whole...too big to fail and above the law.

I find that difficult to believe. Gricar did have a connection; he declined to pursue charges against Sandusky in the case of the victim he admitted to hugging in the shower. (The one where PSU cops eavesdropped on the conversation with the boy's mother.)

But all evidence suggests that Gricar was trying to erase his own hard drive. He was retiring in a few months, and would have to return his county-provided laptop to the county. He was obviously worried about what they might find on it. He asked several people how to erase a hard drive so the data was permanently gone. He made many Google searches about it. He bought software that was supposed to do it.

His missing hard drive was found, but it wasn't wiped clean. Rather, it had been thrown in the river, and had been there so long the data on it was not recoverable. All things considered, he likely did that himself.

I don't read mystery novels, but ...

If he was planning to "retire"
and he was worried about what might happen to him after retirement

then logic would indicate he was planning to continue living in the community after retirement.

Somebody or something (animal?) had other plans for him.


Are you a Pennsylvanian?

I claim no knowledge, just repeating rumors from my family who got them from the other locals.

Do you think he committed suicide?

Seems that there are three broad possibilities to explain his disappearance:

1. he was murdered.

2. He manged to move away and change his identity.

3. He killed himself. In case of suicide, it would seem a difficult chore to do that and eliminate all traces of one's body.

Whenever there is big bucks involved (and College Football is big bucks), and there is a skeleton in the closet like Sandusky, and a County DA who was investigating the situation who disappears...something smells there.

I'm not a Pennsylvanian, but I've been following this case for years. It's just so mysterious. There has been a lot of coverage of it on the "true crime" channels.

I honestly don't know what happened to him. It's curious that his disappearance so closely mirrored his brother's suicide. OTOH, the cigarettes in the ashtray in his car don't match the suicide scenario. Unless he picked up some floozy as a last fling before killing himself? (I'd like to see DNA tests on those.) Perhaps he did engineer his own disappearance, but he seems to have left all of his considerable wealth behind. People usually don't do that.

Maybe he drove there to dispose of his hard drive and was attacked. (Bodies sometimes aren't found when thrown in the river.) Maybe he had some kind of mental breakdown?

"I graduated from PSU in '87...came to realize as I matured that we worship pro and college sports and that this is a sickness of sorts with some folks who live vicariously through sports teams and personalities"

Nicely put. This case, and the student riot in SUPPORT of those who covered it up, shines a huge spotlight on the deep sickness and im-/a-morality of that culture.

The amounts of money in college football are absolutely staggering, and that is a huge part of the desire of TPTB to cover up or hide problems. And for that matter there is a culture of coverups in most of these programs (for admittedly far more minor offenses - recruiting violations, cheating on tests to maintain eligibility, underage drinking, and the like).

If it had been the head of the English department who had been molesting children, you can bet that he would have been turned over to the police without a second thought.

What amazes me are the fans who are upset that the measures that they have taken are unfair - it is almost as if far too much of their identity is tied up in whether their team wins or loses. So they demand special treatment for the star athletes when they do get caught.

it's really about protecting the status quo (and the boss), and the consequences of not protecting the status quo.

Excellent insight, westexas, I hadn't thought of that analogy with peak oil before!

Bering Sea storm is as powerful as Category 3 hurricane

The monster storm hurtling across western Alaska is the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane in more tropical climes, authorities said Wednesday as surging seas flooded low-lying parts of Nome and left remote communities to the north bracing for high water.

"It's on the line of a pretty destructive hurricane, and we know from experience what a Category 3 would do in the Lower 48 in terms of damage. This is something that would be on a par with that," National Weather Service warning coordinator Jeff Osiensky told reporters Wednesday.

And we want to put drilling rigs here?

Of course we want to put drilling rigs there, We have safety measure in place nothing to worry about, "these are not the storms you are looking for" move along!


And we want to put drilling rigs here?

I thought the proposed rigs are in the Chuckchi(spelling?) Sea, not the Bering. This was a Bering Sea storm, not an arctic basin storm. In fact it was more of a east siberian storm than an Alaskan storm. Of course we may be seeing climate change at work here. We've seen an unusually intense Noreaster in the Altantic, and now a Bering sea superstorm. If you look at sea ice coverage, the Bering sea has been notable for how ice free its been the past couple of years. I bet (relatively) warm water was a key factor in this latest storm.

Demographics Loom Large in State Failure

Failing states are now a prominent feature of the international political landscape.

The most systematic ongoing effort to analyze countries’ vulnerability to failure is one undertaken by the Fund for Peace and published in each July/August issue of Foreign Policy. ... Comparing the weakest states and strongest states reveals that rankings on the Failed States Index are closely linked with demographic indicators.

Get ready for mass migrations from the left side of that chart to the right.

Anyone but me suspect that the troublesome "percent of population age 0-29" is restless/angry young men?

Rare earth metal shortages could hamper deployment of low-carbon energy technologies

Following the release of a Commission report on critical raw materials in 2010, scientists at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) highlighted in a new report "Assessing Rare Metals as Supply-Chain Bottlenecks in Low-Carbon Energy Technologies" that five metals, essential for manufacturing low-carbon technologies, show a high risk of shortage.

Reasons for this lie in Europe's dependency on imports, increasing global demand, supply concentration and geopolitical issues. The report recommends actions to prevent shortages and thus allow a smooth implementation of the Commission's Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan, aimed at accelerating the development and deployment of low carbon technologies.

and http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/raw-materials/critical/index_en.htm

also possible substitute for Indium Tin Oxide (ITO)

Patent application for innovative film - possible Indium Tin Oxide replacement

Iroh filed a provisional patent application with the U.S. Patent Office for a polymer-based film with remarkable properties. The film is highly transparent and electrically conductive. It has potential uses in energy, including applications in solar and fuel cell technology. It is economical, easily processed, durable, flexible, and heat resistant.

More importantly, Iroh's innovative film has the potential to replace a substance known as ITO...Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) is behind most touch-screen devices like smart phones and video kiosks. It appears in flat panel displays, electronic inks, and organic light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

ITO is expensive and rare. It is fragile, lacks flexibility, and it is requires complicated processes to apply. All the major sources of Indium lie outside the United States, lending a strategic value to a suitable replacement for ITO.

Sun sets on oil wells

Currently, U.S. laws allow for only gasoline and bioethanol to be used in fuels in internal combustion engines. But methanol may become an alternative if the Open Fuel Standard Act of 2011 is passed by the Senate and House of Representative mandating that by 2017 automakers no longer be allowed to make cars that run only on gasoline. The bill calls for alternative fuels such as methanol and fueling stations.

“The methanol economy is past the research stage and is in the process of being put into commercial and practical use,” Olah said. “Unfortunately for the time being, not in the United States, but in countries like China and Iceland.”

S - Has anyone mentioned what it will cost the domestic auto industry to retool to build such engines? I don't know such things so it may be a big expense or maybe not.

"Methanol can be made solely with water and carbon dioxide — available everywhere on Earth — and any energy source such as solar, wind, geothermal or safe nuclear energy." That's nice but does anyone know how much energy it takes to make methanol? Given we have a fair idea of what energy from the various alts cost today it should give us a handle on what running a car on meth. will cost.

Again, it may be the greatest devlopment since sliced bread. But until someone shows what it wil cost the industry (and ultimately the consumer) to buy these new cars and how much it wil cost to run them on meth. There isn't much to base an expectaion upon. Given what it cost to ship a gallon of gasoline to Iceland I can see why they might start there. Maybe they're also have a kicker from the geothermal sources.

For gasoline cars to convert to methanol, there are just a few things generally needed to be optimized.

1. Fuel system, as regular plastics and seals used for gasoline may need to be changed for methanol (it's the reason there is only 10% or so max of ethanol allowed as a gasoline engine not designed for alcohols, if I am remembering correctly). Starting from a Flex Fuel design probably has the least to be changed for this.

2. Compression ratio - alcohol fueled engines can use a higher compression ratio than a gasoline engine, for best power and fuel efficiency

3. Spark timing - alcohols have a different burn rate, so different timing is needed.

Caveat: Not a good fuel for cold weather use. In very cold weather, the alcohol/methanol may not vaporize like gasoline does, making cold starts a big deal.

I might be missing little details, but I think the ones I listed are the main things.

So, I think the overall car production cost shouldn't change much. Retooling can be firmware updates for engine management (for spark and compression on turbo cars), and a change of piston head design to give higher compression, then the fuel system upgrades to materials that are alcohol/methanol resistant, for those parts that currently may not be.


Thanks Flash. Doesn't sound like it wil be a big expense to modify construction here. I wonder if imports will have to meet the same standards. That might get nasty with some of our trading partners.

I guess the big remaining question is what a realistic US production costs for a gallon of methanol will be.

IIRC the device works like a methanol fuel cell in reverse, I think Olah helped develop the methanol fuel cell.

So, I guess for a baseline guess hardware costs would be similar to the methanol fuel cell. Then there is the operational inputs (going from memory here), you put in 1 kwh of electricity, get back 0.35 kwh of methanol.

Ford developed methanol flex fuel vehicles back in the '90's, and methanol fuel was on sale in California for a few years.
The modern Flex-Fuel vehicles can probably handle methanol, at worst it might be changing some of the rubber materials in the fuel system. I recall someone from GM saying the cost to make a FF v a non FF was in the order of two hundred dollars, so i don;t think mandating this capability is really that big an expense, and would get cheaper still if all cars are doing it.

As for the cost of methanol, the place to start is the ,a href="http://www.methanex.com/products/documents/MxAvgPrice_Oct282011.pdf">North American Reference Price published by Methanex.

Currently $1.38/gal and has fluctuated in recent years from $0.60 to $2.50. It generally tracks the NG price, but not always. methanol has half the energy of gasoline, so this is the equivalent of a wholesale price of $2.76

An important distinction that I'm sure you, and anyone else who understands petroleum refining can get - this price is for pure, chemical grade methanol. It is the equivalent of using pure, chemical grade octane, or any other single hydrocarbon - as fuel. You would never do that as it is too expensive, and the other components make good fuel anyway. So too with methanol, the production process (steam reforming NG into syngas, then catalytic synthesis) produces minor amounts of ethanol, propanol and other alcohols up to about C8. You can immediately see these higher alcohols have a greater heat value, and that stripping them out makes the fuel more expensive for less energy!

If we are to have a real methanol fuel industry, then these components can be be left in, and the fuel is cheaper per gallon and has more energy per gallon.
Methanol - A Versatile Fuel Ready for Immediate Use (1974)

Better still, if we are running on pure alcohol - not mixed with gasoline - we can leave the water in the methanol from the production process. This is also an additional expense to separate, and when used as fuel, water in methanol (or ethanol) actually IMPROVES engine performance.

Methanol (or ethanol) as a fuel can get better than diesel efficiency, in a modified diesel engine, and said engine can still retain the ability to run on diesel!

What won;t happen, anytime soon, if ever, is the idea of reversing combustion, especially in home size units, to make methanol.
methanol is a great fuel, but, like most industrial processes, there are great economies (and safeties) of scale.

"In very cold weather, the alcohol/methanol may not vaporize like gasoline does, making cold starts a big deal."

With fuel injection, that should be less of a problem too. Gas tractors were used in Wisconsin for a long time after most other places went to diesel because you couldn't start the diesels in the winter. Now they apparently do start in the winter.

All this talk of the details of fuel composition mean little to those who have no access or are not interested in fuel (Amish) of course I could be mistaken. I realize that this website is all about oil and its place in modern society and the continued exploitation of it(oil) but if it ultimately leads to a dead end, why continue to pursue it?


I realize that this website is all about oil and its place in modern society and the continued exploitation of it(oil) but if it ultimately leads to a dead end, why continue to pursue it?

Your logic is by virtue of being knowlegable about a topic, infers pursuit of its end result. Not sure how you came to that, however let's look at it from a different perspective.

Suppose no one is bright enough or courageous enough to broach the topic. Wouldn't we humans be like yeast feasting without any thought as to what will happen when the food source is gone? We have a neocortex that provides a rich brain layer in which to understand the situation as it is, and extrapolate a future based on extraction rates of a finite resource. What we are saying is, change course or go down with a sinking ship.

We have a neocortex ....

Now if only we could figure out how to use the darn thing!

(Where's that user's manual?)

Well.. I'm usually hesitant to take on the YEAST discussion, but I do think that this site itself is a clear enough proof to me that we are not yeast, and that we have the capacity to pose existential questions and actually turn down some of that sugar and look for other foods.. while the conservative essence of all habituated life forms still has us looking back at that sugar again and again.. just in case it's 'food'..

Those who are willing to push out at the boundaries of our group behavior will, of course, be but a fraction of the whole, while most are mired elsewhere in the middle of the throng.. but we do think, and here and there we make changes that infect the overall group.. such is evolution.

'They say there's a demon that lives in the Sky.. or maybe in the ground....

Chuck Yeager: Monkeys? You think a monkey knows he's sittin' on top of a rocket that might explode? These astronaut boys they know that, see? Well, I'll tell you something, it takes a special kind of man to volunteer for a suicide mission, especially one that's on TV. Ol' Gus, he did all right.

Deke Slayton: What Gus is saying is that we're missing the point. What Gus is saying is that we all heard the rumors that they want to send a monkey up first. Well, none of us wants to think that they're gonna send a monkey up to do a man's work. But what Gus is saying is that what they're trying to do to us is send a man up to do a monkey's work. Us, a bunch of college-trained chimpanzees!

Gus Grissom: F--in' A, bubba.

Deke Slayton: Alright, so what Gus is saying is that we've got to change things around here. He's saying that we are pilots. And we know more about what we need to fly this thing than anybody else. So what we have to do is to alter the experiment. And what that comes down to is who is gonna control this thing from here on out.

- The Right Stuff Tom Wolfe/Philip Kaufman

It gets better (or worse)/sarc. From the article...

The abundance of shale gas in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world has given the methanol economy a huge boost, ...“The newest discoveries of shale gas are a bonanza for the U.S.,” Prakash said. “America need not worry about energy this century. The beauty of it is you can take shale gas and convert it to methanol with simple chemistry. We can substitute gasoline, diesel and all of these fuels with methanol-based fuels.

Let see:

1 therm NG = 100,000 Btu
1 gallon gasoline = 125,000 Btu
1 gallon methanol = 64,600 Btu
Shale gas @ $7-8/therm
Conversion to methanol @ 20% efficiency = $35-40

All in probably $50/gal - Hope his economy doesn't need to move too fast.

National differences in reporting of climate scepticism

An Oxford University study of climate change coverage in six countries suggests that newspapers in the UK and the US have given far more column space to the voices of climate sceptics than the press in Brazil, France, India and China. More than 80 per cent of the times that sceptical voices were included, they were in pieces in the UK and US press, according to the research.

The study, Poles Apart – The International Reporting of Climate Scepticism, shows that 44 per cent of all the articles in which sceptical voices were included were in the opinion pages and editorials, as compared with the news pages. It also finds that in the UK and the US the ‘right-leaning’ press carried significantly more climate sceptical opinion pieces than the ‘left-leaning’ newspapers.

Although the researchers discovered a link between the amount of coverage given to climate sceptics and the political viewpoint of newspaper titles in the UK and the US, this link did not appear in the other study countries – Brazil, France and India.

I am just reading the book "Fools Rule" by William Marsden "inside the failed politics of CLIMATE CHANGE" this is a very enlightening book about what really happened in Copenhagen.

It seem to me that the "corporate agenda" triumphs again to all our peril.


When public opinion on the big social and political issues changes, the trends tend to be relatively gradual. Abrupt shifts, when they come, are usually precipitated by dramatic events. Which is why pollsters are so surprised by what has happened to perceptions about climate change over a span of just four years. A 2007 Harris poll found that 71 percent of Americans believed that the continued burning of fossil fuels would cause the climate to change. By 2009 the figure had dropped to 51 percent. In June 2011 the number of Americans who agreed was down to 44 percent—well under half the population. According to Scott Keeter, director of survey research at the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, this is “among the largest shifts over a short period of time seen in recent public opinion history.”

Even more striking, this shift has occurred almost entirely at one end of the political spectrum. As recently as 2008 (the year Newt Gingrich did a climate change TV spot with Nancy Pelosi) the issue still had a veneer of bipartisan support in the United States. Those days are decidedly over. Today, 70–75 percent of self-identified Democrats and liberals believe humans are changing the climate—a level that has remained stable or risen slightly over the past decade. In sharp contrast, Republicans, particularly Tea Party members, have overwhelmingly chosen to reject the scientific consensus. In some regions, only about 20 percent of self-identified Republicans accept the science.

Equally significant has been a shift in emotional intensity. Climate change used to be something most everyone said they cared about—just not all that much. When Americans were asked to rank their political concerns in order of priority, climate change would reliably come in last.

But now there is a significant cohort of Republicans who care passionately, even obsessively, about climate change—though what they care about is exposing it as a “hoax” being perpetrated by liberals to force them to change their light bulbs, live in Soviet-style tenements and surrender their SUVs. For these right-wingers, opposition to climate change has become as central to their worldview as low taxes, gun ownership and opposition to abortion. Many climate scientists report receiving death threats, as do authors of articles on subjects as seemingly innocuous as energy conservation. (As one letter writer put it to Stan Cox, author of a book critical of air-conditioning, “You can pry my thermostat out of my cold dead hands.”)

Naomi Klein on climate science and partisan loyalty in US politics

Scientists receiving death threats... who knew being a nerd was gonna be so exciting. One day you're running yet another iteration of your massive climate simulation and worrying about the output, the next there's a horse's head down by your feet when you wake up...

The deniers did not decide that climate change is a left-wing conspiracy by uncovering some covert socialist plot. They arrived at this analysis by taking a hard look at what it would take to lower global emissions as drastically and as rapidly as climate science demands. They have concluded that this can be done only by radically reordering our economic and political systems in ways antithetical to their “free market” belief system. As British blogger and Heartland regular James Delingpole has pointed out, “Modern environmentalism successfully advances many of the causes dear to the left: redistribution of wealth, higher taxes, greater government intervention, regulation.” Heartland’s Bast puts it even more bluntly: For the left, “Climate change is the perfect thing…. It’s the reason why we should do everything [the left] wanted to do anyway.”

Here’s my inconvenient truth: they aren’t wrong. Before I go any further, let me be absolutely clear: as 97 percent of the world’s climate scientists attest, the Heartlanders are completely wrong about the science. The heat-trapping gases released into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels are already causing temperatures to increase. If we are not on a radically different energy path by the end of this decade, we are in for a world of pain.

But when it comes to the real-world consequences of those scientific findings, specifically the kind of deep changes required not just to our energy consumption but to the underlying logic of our economic system, the crowd gathered at the Marriott Hotel may be in considerably less denial than a lot of professional environmentalists, the ones who paint a picture of global warming Armageddon, then assure us that we can avert catastrophe by buying “green” products and creating clever markets in pollution.

Sorry for the lengthy excerpt. Whole article probably worth a read...

That's completely wrong and unrealistic. It's playing right into the tactics of the deniers.

The reality: elimination of fossil fuels is being blocked by FF industries and their allies (Fox, etc) purely because of the economic pain that this would cause to investors and employees of those industries.

We don't need to ditch free markets and go to a command economy. Cap n Trade was promoted because it's ineffective, not because it's market based.

All we need to do is tax carbon and other GHGs. That's easy. We know how to do it in 5 minutes, and it would be 100% compatible with free markets. The only barrier: the Koch brothers and their allies.

All we need to do is tax carbon and other GHGs.

Well, I would add to that "at a sufficiently high rate"

Here in BC we have a carbon tax (but not a GHG one) and it is at a rate that is low enough to "not cause pain" which also means, a rate low enough to not actually change anything.

To be effective, it has to be at a high enough rate to cause change, and change is what the legacy industries fear, as they know the change won't be in their favour. So they use the "pain" of the tax to convince the people that it is a Bad Thing.

It's not a bad thing, of course, but the problem is that we don't have a single country/state anywhere in the world that has adopted a sufficiently high carbon tax to effect a meaningful change (i.e. replacement of not just coal but also oil).

Who goes first wins?

Here in BC we have a carbon tax (but not a GHG one) and it is at a rate that is low enough to "not cause pain"

This is exactly where we should start! If we could get an agreement on such a tax on the next climate summit (national taxes with a global agreed upon floor) with a really puny and ineffective rate, then we're home free. Next summit, raise the floor, it'll be relatively easy. Politicians will have seen that it provides revenue and doesn't hurt much. Next summit, raise it again. And the next. And the next.

The current idea of agreed caps is probably chosen precisely because it won't fly since it is socialist and guarantees conflicts of interests. Whatever caps you set for different nations, some or most will feel they are becoming worse off and losing competitiveness and growth prospects. Practical implementations essentially incorporates huge amounts of foreign aid. It is simply stupid. National taxes with a global floor would be so much easier.

we don't have a single country/state anywhere in the world that has adopted a sufficiently high carbon tax to effect a meaningful change (i.e. replacement of not just coal but also oil).

It's worth noting that European fuel taxes have helped keep fuel consumption for personal transportation at 18% of US levels.

I'm not sure what the European tax is for industrial/commercial diesel consumption - I suspect it's far lower.

All we need to do is tax carbon and other GHGs. That's easy. We know how to do it in 5 minutes, and it would be 100% compatible with free markets.

Meanwhile, in the real world, the US tax on gasoline has not increased since 1993 and there is little to no political incentive or will to raise any taxes. Especially those that are seen as having a negative effect on economic growth. Saying that a carbon tax is simple is like saying, "It would be easy to reduce expensive medical costs in the US, simply get people to quit smoking, eat less and exercise more." Voila!

Robert Rapier has a simple and elegant way to implement a carbon tax. Make it revenue neutral by replacing the current income tax. Basically a tax on what people consume, vs the current tax on what they earn. Makes the greens happy by reducing consumption and waste, makes the righties happy because you no longer tax people for working.

When I hear a major political candidate propose such a change to the tax code, I'll think that maybe we are a tiny step closer. Until then, that clanking sound you hear in background is the can continuing to be kicked down the road.

A foretaste of how the economy will unwind ...

Lehman ends mortgage case for 0.5 cents on dollar

This payout represents about one-half of 1 cent on the dollar of the alleged damages suffered by two investor groups that bought $20 billion of residential mortgage-backed securities packaged and sold by Lehman, once Wall Street's fourth-largest investment bank.

According to court papers, one of the settling groups bought $12 billion of securities issued between 2005 and 2007 by Lehman's Structured Asset Securities Corp affiliate. This group is led by a pension fund for a Washington state unit of the International Union of Operating Engineers.

The other group bought $8 billion of other mortgage securities, and is led by the Public Employees' Retirement System of Mississippi, the papers show.

A $500 lump-sum payout on a $100,000 pension. Subtract administrative costs and you have enough for a cup of coffee. Looks alot like a 'Greek haircut'.

The settlement covers part of a slew of litigation accusing Lehman of misleading investors about the safety of tens of billions of dollars of securities backed by subprime and other risky residential mortgages.

Lehman was accused of ignoring underwriting guidelines, not reviewing the quality of the loans, and running an "assembly line" to bundle the loans into securities and maximize profit.

And the number of criminal convictions... zero.

How many dogs, cats, presidents and congress persons does the average banker CEO own ? Anyone have any idea?

Also, which is cheaper to feed, but harder to potty train - a Nancy Pelosi or a Great Dane?

Another group of pensioners that are not going to see their money

Action to Fund Illinois Pension System Remains Uncertain

... By not contributing adequately to its pension systems for decades, Illinois has racked up an estimated $139 billion in obligations, $85 billion it cannot pay. Resources that have been set aside meet only about 38 percent of pension liabilities, according to the nonpartisan Commission on Government Forecasting & Accountability.

And the sale of $17.2 billion in pension bonds in recent years has helped raise the state’s indebtedness and brought Illinois’s credit rating to the brink of junk status.

Spiraling Down To Nuclear War, And What To Do About It

"..the evidence points to a new era of global nuclear force modernization and growth." -- The report of the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) in "Trends in the Other (non British) Nuclear Armed States" - Prepared for the British Trident Commission.

This new report provides a nation by nation survey of the rapidly growing nuclear weapons investment and developments in the 'other' eight nuclear armed states.

In the report, after listing the nations and their new weapons efforts, the Executive Summary concludes, "Nuclear weapons are present today in some of the most unstable and violence prone regions of the world, and in North East Asia, the Middle East and South Asia, there are serious conflict and proliferation concerns that suggest an increased potential for nuclear weapons use."

... long-term nuclear force modernization or upgrade programs are underway in all nuclear armed states.... there is little sign in any of these nuclear armed states that a future without nuclear weapons is seriously being contemplated."

Nobody wants to drive a 1950s car, or use a 1950s computer. Modernizing 1950s nuclear weapons to current day standards seems like a thing that could improve safety.

Good point ed.

We should modernize our biological and chemical weapons to current day standards too. Improve safety.

Hey, this is the War Room! No fighting here! ;-)

Kind of reminds me of the flap on the news tonight about the mishandled remains of soldiers.. (recovered Battlefield parts too small to be identified)..

It seemed kind of like closing the barn door after the hoss escaped, to be making quite so much about the proper treatment of these remains, when sending them in to a couple of very questionable wars was the real mistreatment.

'So sorry, son. We couldn't be bothered to avert the war, but we'll do the best we can with what's left of you..'

"Kind of reminds me of the flap on the news tonight about the mishandled remains of soldiers.. "

This kind of news is meant to arouse patriotism, and outrage of the current administration ( I am outside of the US and not American)just an observer

If you go about pointing sticks at folk expect to be disliked by those who are left to pick up the pieces.


a thing that could improve safety.

For the right definition of safety! I.E. our new bomb is less likely to go off when not intended to by the operator. As opposed to to, what happens after anyone decides to intentionally use the sucker.....

Energy Innovation Hub Report Shows Philadelphia-area Building Retrofits Could Support 23,500 Jobs

Energy efficiency retrofits in Philadelphia could spur $618 million in local spending and support 23,500 area jobs according to a recently released report conducted by Philadelphia-based Econsult Corporation and commissioned by the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster (GPIC) for Energy-Efficient Buildings.

The report, “The Market for Commercial Property Energy Retrofits in the Philadelphia Region,” estimates that nearly half of the commercial buildings in the Greater Philadelphia region – more than 4,000 buildings with a combined 154 million square feet of space – could be good candidates for energy saving retrofits.

Energy-efficient retrofits have considerable value for building owners and tenants in Philadelphia. The area’s average energy expenditure is the fourth highest in the nation, nearly 30 percent higher than the national average. According to the report, Philadelphia’s average annual energy expenditure for commercial property is $2.84 per square foot. The national average is $2.21 per square foot.

Coming tomorrow 11-11-11 ... we are saved

THRIVE offers real solutions, empowering us with unprecedented and bold strategies for reclaiming our lives and our future.


Panel: Not Enough Work being done to Trim Footprint of Natural Gas Drilling

The Energy Department’s shale gas advisory committee offered the dour analysis in a draft of its final report on the issue today. The panel of engineers, industry experts and scientists concluded that 20 recommendations it unveiled in August are getting short shrift.

The group recommended that shale gas production companies and regulators immediately expand their work to reduce air emissions and do a better job tracking them. It also urged:

•companies stop using diesel as part of their fracturing fluids.
•new studies to examine how methane might be migrating from some shale gas wells to water reservoirs.
•federal regulators to adopt best practices in well development and construction, especially for casing, cementing and pressure management.
•requirements for new background water quality measurements.

U.S. Wind Market May ‘Fall Off a Cliff’ in 2013, Vestas CEO Says

U.S. wind turbine sales may “fall off a cliff” unless lawmakers extend tax credits supporting the market beyond 2012, said Ditlev Engel, chief executive officer of Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the biggest maker of the machines.

The so-called production tax credit gives an incentive of 2.2 cents a kilowatt-hour of wind power on payments by turbine operators. Markets have disappeared in the past when such relief is removed

... Sinovel Wind Group Co., based in Beijing, was the second- biggest wind-turbine maker by market share after Vestas in 2010, according to BTM Consult ApS, a researcher based in Denmark

I'm only adding this link here because it tells us something about the way North American life is lived. I think that one can reasonably extrapolate a whole lot about energy problems and the way we North Americans (Canada & the U.S.) live from this one picture alone. It's frankly astonishing:


This is a map of every McDonald's restaurant in the lower 48 states of the U.S.

I found it mindblowing.

Read more here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/09/map-every-mcdonalds-us_n_108404...

ahhhhh, yes.... Bush 41's vision of America - a thousand points of light.

Large-Scale Cash Smuggling Drives Billions of Dollars Out of Syria

Money has been streaming out of Syria as fears for the unstable economy lead Syrians to seek a safer place for their assets, according to members of the country’s business community.

Samir Seifan, a Dubai-based Syrian economist, estimated Syria’s middle and upper classes had moved between three and five billion dollars out of the country since unrest broke out in March, alarmed by pressures on the currency and the dearth of investment opportunities.

Public finances are in deep trouble. The president has raised government salaries and various subsidies to appease the populace. He cannot afford to do this. The government will probably print the money to meet its promises, so runaway inflation is likely, further fuelling popular anger as cash deposits become worthless.

Economic implosion by next spring? Didn't Greece just do this?

I find it interesting that CIA factbook lists USA as producing 9.68 mb/d of oil - not all liquids, but oil..


And their graph shows increasing production the past 5 years...

I had an entirely other view of this...


according to this:
we're looking at 5.5 mbd thereabouts

My guess is there aren't too many complaints streaming to correct the CIA factbook on this.


My daughter is 20 today. I wonder what the world will look like when she's 40. Not good I fear.

Look back to look forward. Every time (including this one) has good and bad about it.

So though we can see some of the bad stuff coming, don't forget that there is likely to be good stuff riding right alongside. Some of the good will even be dependent upon the bad.

It is the curse of humanity to be continually trying to make the world perfect, and forever failing.

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