Drumbeat: November 25, 2011

Renewable Power Trumps Fossils for First Time as UN Talks Stall

Renewable energy is surpassing fossil fuels for the first time in new power-plant investments, shaking off setbacks from the financial crisis and an impasse at the United Nations global warming talks.

Electricity from the wind, sun, waves and biomass attracted $187 billion last year compared with $157 billion for natural gas, oil and coal, according to calculations by Bloomberg New Energy Finance using the most recent data. Accelerating installations of solar and wind power led to lower equipment prices, making clean energy more competitive with coal.

“The progress of renewables has been nothing short of remarkable,” United Nations Environment Program Executive Secretary Achim Steiner said in an interview. “You have record investment in the midst of an economic and financial crisis.”

Crude Futures Head for Second Weekly Loss on Europe; Mirae Sees Iran Risk

Crude headed for a second weekly loss in New York as concern that Europe’s worsening debt crisis will trigger a recession outweighed political tensions in oil- producing Middle East nations.

Futures have lost 2.3 percent this week as Portugal and Hungary’s credit ratings were cut and Germany again ruled out joint euro-area borrowing and an expanded role for the European Central Bank in fighting the turmoil. Prices may jump amid France’s call for an embargo on crude exports from Iran, according to Mirae Asset Securities Ltd. Four people died in clashes this week between Shiite Muslims and Saudi security forces in the oil-rich Eastern Province.

Rupee Drop Sends Hindustan Petroleum Yield to One-Year High

Borrowing costs for India’s biggest state refiners have surged to the most in more than a year as the rupee’s plunge to a record low and a cut in local gasoline prices widen their losses.

...Indian refiners cut gasoline prices for the first time in three years on Nov. 16 as inflation sparked protests in a country where more than 75 percent of people live on less than $2 a day. The rupee’s 14.3 percent tumble this year, the biggest in the region, and oil’s 13 percent gain in London have raised import costs for the world’s fourth-largest oil consumer.

“India’s refiners are in a negative spiral,” Atul Gharde, a Hong Kong-based credit analyst at SJS Markets Ltd., said in an interview on Nov. 22. “They have to pay for oil with the rupee, which is essentially in a free fall. They also can’t raise prices because that will stoke inflation.”

Saudi Arabia Says Four Killed in Unrest in Oil-Rich East

Four people were killed and nine wounded in clashes between Shiite Muslims and Saudi Arabian security forces in the oil-rich Eastern Province, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

Mysterious explosions pose dilemma for Iranian leaders

TEHRAN — A massive blast at a missile base operated by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps nearly two weeks ago was the latest in a series of mysterious incidents involving explosions at natural gas transport facilities, oil refineries and military bases — blasts that have caused dozens of deaths and damage to key infrastructure in the past two years.

World can't do without Iran oil: Tehran official

TEHRAN: Iran's oil and gas reserves are so vast they cannot be excluded from the world market as France is urging the West to do, Mehr news agency Friday quoted the National Iranian Oil Company head as saying.

"Iran possesses massive oil and gas reserves... Thus ignoring Iran in oil and gas exchange will not be acceptable (by the international community)," said Ahmad Qalebani, who is also a deputy oil minister.

...Despite the official denial of foreign involvement in the latest blast, suspicions have been raised in Iran by what industry experts say is a fivefold increase in explosions at refineries and gas pipelines since 2010.

Iran says has no oil export to France

TEHRAN - Iran said on Friday it had no crude exports to France which could be subjected to sanctions over the state’s disputed nuclear programme, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

Italy looks to persuade its firms to drop Iran oil

(Reuters) - Italy believes sanctions should be tightened against Iran, and is seeking to persuade its companies to stop buying Iranian oil, the spokesman for Italy's Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

Italy relies on Iran for around 13 percent of its crude oil needs, equivalent to over 10 million tonnes per year (around 200,000 barrels per day).

Iran denies purchasing Syrian crude: report

TEHRAN: Iran denied on Friday reports that the Islamic state had purchased crude from sanctions-hit ally Syria, the semi-official Mehr news agency quoted a senior oil official as saying.

Sanctions aimed at crude oil exports have warded off buyers of Syrian crude, which mainly flowed to Europe, causing storage tanks to brim and forcing cuts.

Gazprom Neft to begin oil output in Iraq in 2013

(Reuters) - Russia's Gazprom Neft , expects to start commercial production of 15,000 barrels per day of oil at Iraqi Badra gas field in August 2013, the company said on Friday.

Bank Commodity Staff Turnover Seen Gaining

The world’s biggest investment banks have greater staff turnover in commodities than in fixed-income and currencies because of tightening regulations on trading, according to Coalition, a London-based research company.

Russia woos Belarus with gas price cut, $10 bln loan

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will slash gas prices for Belarus and lend Minsk $10 billion to build a nuclear plant, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Friday, as he offered an "integration discount" to push his agenda of building his vision of a Eurasian Union.

Petrobras Oct Brazil oil output stable at 2 mln bpd

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobras said on Friday its average October domestic crude output remained stable versus September at 2.00 million barrels per day.

Statoil dials back production off Norway as storm rolls in

(Reuters) - Norwegian oil producer Statoil said it has begun reducing output at some installations off central Norway as a big winter storm blows across the Norwegian Sea.

"We have decided to reduce production on a few installations in the Norwegian Sea," Statoil spokesman Ola Anders Skauby said on Friday.

Californians not getting their Thanksgiving crabs

Dungeness crab have traditionally been served on Northern California tables along with the turkey and trimmings for Thanksgiving. This year, however, a price dispute between crab fishermen and processors has left market shelves and restaurant menus bereft of the crustaceans, according to media reports from the Bay Area.

...Fishermen were paid $1.75 a pound last year, according to the Chronicle, but say they need $2.50 this year due to rising costs for fuel, traps and bait.

Taxes hit Lukoil profits

Russia's second-largest oil producer Lukoil reported a 20% drop in its third-quarter net profit to $2.24 billion, missing analysts' forecast of $3.07 billion, due to higher taxes.

Somaliland Expects Agreement With Ophir Energy ‘Within Weeks’

Somaliland, the semi-autonomous region in northern Somalia, expects to conclude a project- sharing agreement with Ophir Energy Plc, amid efforts to develop the territory’s potential oil deposits, an official said.

Technocrat "oil man" takes charge of Libya lifeline

(Reuters) - Libya's new oil minister is seen as the right kind of technocrat, deeply experienced yet not too closely tied to the former regime of Muammar Gaddafi, to help restore the OPEC member's economic lifeline after eight months of war.

Libya's ex-oil minister criticizes new leaders

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — A senior figure in Libya's outgoing transitional government has blasted the country's new leadership as an unrepresentative "elite" supported by outside powers.

Outgoing oil and finance minister Ali Tarhouni also suggested in a press conference late Thursday that at least one of those foreign powers is trying to meddle excessively in Libya's internal affairs — an apparent reference to Qatar.

Factbox: Who's in charge of Libya's oil industry?

The Libyan revolt that ousted Muammar Gaddafi has led to a shake-up of the OPEC member's main industry oil, ushering in a new set of faces, led by newly-appointed oil minister Abdulrahman Ben Yazza.

After eight months of war, they will have to sustain the revival of the oil industry, which is returning to the international market faster than expected.

Ganzouri regains PM job as Egypt braces for 'last chance' protests

Cairo (CNN) -- Kamal Ganzouri, who served as prime minister under President Hosni Mubarak, regained the post Friday as Egypt braced for more protests and was asked to form a government of "national salvation," state-run Nile TV reported.

The development came days after former Prime Minister Essam Sharaf and his government quit en masse, and days before Monday's scheduled parliamentary elections that Egypt's military rulers vowed Thursday would go on despite unrest.

Thousands show up for Egypt pro-military rally

CAIRO — Thousands of supporters of Egypt’s ruling military council turned up for a rally in Cairo’s Abassiya neighbourhood on Friday, just miles from a mass protest in Tahrir Square calling for the end of military rule.

“The military, the police and the people are one,” the protesters chanted according to the MENA news agency.

Yemen clashes rage on after president quits

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- At least five people were killed in Yemen when pro-government gunmen shot at anti-government protesters in the capital, medics in Sanaa's Change Square told CNN Thursday.

The violence came a day after President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to step down from power after months of protests against his 33-year rule. He became the fourth leader to leave office as a result of the Arab Spring unrest that has roiled much of the Middle East and North Africa this year.

Syria slams Arab League sanctions threat

BEIRUT — Syrian has slammed the Arab League’s ultimatum to agree by Friday to allow an observer mission into the country or face sanctions.

Syria’s state-run SANA news agency said on Friday that the Arab League “has become a tool for foreign interference.” It also said the 22-nation group is serving a Western agenda to stir up trouble in the region.

Morocco holds first parliamentary elections since protests

(CNN) -- Moroccans head to the polls Friday in the country's first parliamentary elections since adopting a new constitution following mass protests over unemployment and corruption.

Chevron Is Blocked From Oil Drilling in Brazil After Spill, Regulator Says

Chevron Corp., the U.S. oil producer operating the $3.6 billion Frade oilfield off the coast of Brazil, was blocked from drilling in the South American country while the government probes a recent spill.

The company needs to pay more attention to safety after its “negligence” contributed to the accident, Brazil’s oil regulator, the Agencia Nacional do Petroleo, said yesterday. The ban will remain in place until the regulator identifies the causes and considers it safe to resume drilling, ANP said.

Smokin' Southwest: Take an aerial tour of fossil-fuel country

FARMINGTON, N.M.--Viewing the San Juan basin by air is one of the most dramatic ways to see where your energy comes from.

I got a chance to tour a portion of the basin on a small plane run by EcoFlight two weeks ago as part of a fellowship organized by the Institutes of Journalism & Natural Resources (IJNR). While most people have a vague idea of how energy is produced, the quick trip brought to life the footprint of large-scale energy production.

Energy Transitions – Are We In One Now? Part One

The world has seen a number of major energy transitions: from human and animal labor to burning wood, to burning coal, and then oil. Are we about to see another major change, or will the current renewables enthusiasm turn out to be just a blip on the screen? In this four-part series, I look at what historians and engineers can tell us about past and probable future energy sources. This first article examines the history of energy transitions and suggests lessons for the future. The second piece will focus on the current situation followed by ones on energy financing/investments and global warming.

Energy Transitions - Are We In One Now? Part Two

In the first article in this four-part series, I asked what lessons can be drawn from history about how the world moves from one type of energy era to another. In this piece, I look at the current situation and use the historical lessons to draw conclusions on what will happen next.

FutureMoneyTrends.com Forecasts 2012 Energy Oil Shock in New Micro-Documentary

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- http://www.FutureMoneyTrends.com has just released the most important Micro-Documentary you will ever see! "Energy Shock: How Peak Oil Will Change Your Life" is the most in depth research video ever made on the subject of peak oil production.

Issue of National Significance:New Zealand's Energy Security

New Zealand’s energy security is an issue the public have the right to hear debated in the run up to the election. It reveals how vulnerable we are because of our dependency on oil and how this current National Government is withholding crucial information so they may continue their unsustainable approach to New Zealand's transport infrastructure. How is this honest or transparent?

Cycling in Sydney

Around Surry Hills there's a separated network that looks pretty but from a safety point of view rather dubious, given the number of intersections that punctuate it.

Motorists can have trouble seeing cyclists anyway, so this design was not greeted with enthusiasm by Sydney’s cyclists, who have a curious aversion to getting up close and personal with the road.

Will automakers latch on to loopholes and undercut new emissions rules?

After accepting $80 billion in bailouts and demanding wide flexibility in the new environmental standards, will the carmakers act responsibly and embrace them as an opportunity for bold transformation? Or will they latch onto the loopholes they won, undercutting the rules' benefits by building even more gas guzzlers and pushing a "bigger is better" line?

Sunnier time forecast for solar power but outlook still cloudy for UAE

Solar will become cost-competitive with conventional power generation in some countries within five years, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says.

But the technology will remain uncompetitive in the UAE as cheap natural gas and subsidised electricity undermines the business case for deploying solar, experts say.

Delayed Indian Solar Projects May Lose Contracts, Official Says

Two of India’s first solar projects under a state program offering favorable tariffs to build 20,000 megawatts of capacity suffered delays, a ministry official said, adding developers may lose contracts if deadlines are missed.

UK launches green heating scheme after two-month delay

(Reuters) - Britain will on Monday open the world's first subsidy scheme designed to support the use of renewable energy sources for heating, two months later than its initial start date after the European Commission requested a rate change.

Report: 1 in 5 U.S. children at risk of hunger

The nonprofit Feeding America, a network of more than 200 food banks around the United States, reports one in five children are at risk of hunger. For children in African-American or Latino households, it's closer to one in three.

They're likely to have trouble focusing in school. They might experience illness or poor health as a result. They're also likely to struggle with stress at home or in class. While many are eligible for free or reduced-price food at school, those programs don't provide food at night, on weekends or during breaks from school.

Circular systems can help secure food supplies, address climate change – IIED

Authors of the book who call for circular systems that mimic natural cycles to produce food, energy, materials and clean water, state that the global food system’s dependence on fossil fuels that contribute to local pollution and global warming is just one example of an unsustainable system.

The book also shows how the linear systems that shape the world are flawed, as they assume a limitless supply of resources and a limitless capacity for the environment to absorb waste and pollution.

Kyoto Pollution Curbs May Lapse on UN Deadlock

Pollution limits in the only treaty curbing greenhouse gases may lapse at the end of next year because of a rift between richer countries and developing ones over how to combat global warming.

In climate talks West would redefine rich and poor

As delegates gather in South Africa to plot the next big push against climate change, Western governments are saying it's time to move beyond traditional distinctions between industrial and developing countries and get China and other growing economies to accept legally binding curbs on greenhouse gases.

Saudis Seek to Ensure Climate Talks Won’t Hurt OPEC Oil Income

Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest crude producer, will seek to ensure climate talks starting next week in Durban, South Africa, won’t unfairly limit the exporter group’s income, the kingdom’s envoy to the negotiations said.

Looking Way Back at the Rate of Arctic Melting

OTTAWA — The current rate of sea ice loss in the Arctic is a change without precedent for 1,450 years, a paper published on Thursday by Nature concludes.

New global warming estimate

Rapidly escalating levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide may produce a slower rate of global warming than some scientists have feared, according to a new study in the prestigious journal Science.

Re: New global warming estimate

The report is a pre-publication release on SCIENCE Express:

Andreas Schmittner, N. M. Urban, J. D. Shakun, N. M. Mahowald, P. U. Clark, P. J. Bartlein, A. C. Mix, A. Rosell-Melé, Climate Sensitivity Estimated from Temperature Reconstructions of the Last Glacial Maximum, DOI: 10.1126/science.1203513


Assessing impacts of future anthropogenic carbon emissions is currently impeded by uncertainties in our knowledge of equilibrium climate sensitivity to atmospheric carbon dioxide doubling. Previous studies suggest 3 K as best estimate, 2 to 4.5 K as the 66% probability range, and nonzero probabilities for much higher values, the latter implying a small but significant chance of high-impact climate changes that would be difficult to avoid. Here, combining extensive sea and land surface temperature reconstructions from the Last Glacial Maximum with climate model simulations, we estimate a lower median (2.3 K) and reduced uncertainty (1.7 to 2.6 K 66% probability). Assuming paleoclimatic constraints apply to the future as predicted by our model, these results imply lower probability of imminent extreme climatic change than previously thought.

EDIT: A quick read shows that this report describes work done using a rather simple model (Weaver, 2001). There were 47 runs, each extending over 2000 years, each run varying a different parameter, the results then being statistically analyzed. The amount of computer time for running such a study with an accurate model would be staggering. If the model isn't very good, the results may be far off. Sadly, I think this report will be like throwing red meat to the dogs, with the denialist camp jumping on it in a feeding frenzy.

E. Swanson

If I remember right, that's one of the very first questions people investigating climate change asked. What would a doubling of CO2 levels do to mean global temperature? I think pre-industrial CO2 was around 280ppm, double that would be 560ppm. So lets note that we are currently charging towards 400ppm, and already the arctic icecap is shrinking faster than anyone predicted. We also have no reason to believe that global temperatures are actually at equilibrium with current CO2 - because we are emitting so much so fast, and because warming processes happen on a timescale of at least centuries, there is probably significant lag. So, in conclusion, I believe that Schmittner et al can stick their 2.3 K in a personal location of zero solar flux, but I'm not a climatologist so no one need take my opinions seriously.

You might be right. Other research this year tried to pinpoint the transient climate sensitivity (i.e. the sensitivity at decadal scale instead of centennial scale) and they found:

For uncertainty assumptions best supported by global surface temperature data up to the present time, this paper finds a most likely present-day estimate of the transient climate sensitivity to be 1.6 K, with 90% confidence the response will fall between 1.3 and 2.6 K

Given the enormous inertia of the oceans and the fact that the big icesheets have barely begun to respond, I assume that climate sensitivity is quite a bit higher then 1.6K and that the 2.3K suggested by Schmittner et al. is therefore too low.

It's made front page on Slashdot which has a decent sized denialist population..

Slashdot has a decent sized population in support of either side of almost anything (proud owner of user id 66650).

I used to be a skeptic-and for what I still consider to be good reasons.

But I have been a warming believer for some time now, as the weight of evidence in favor continues to grow.

The scary thing is that if you look at this evidence in a truly impartial fashion, and visualize a simple model based on positive feedback loops and exponential growth of the amount of energy being retained in the oceans , land and atmosphere-even if the exponent is only a "hair" greater than one.....

It becomes obvious that the worst results being PUBLICLY predicted by anyone who is part of the the scientific establishment may very well turn out to be ridiculously conservative.

If I live to be really old, I may see palm trees growing in my neighborhood, and the youngsters of today in the family may be raising oranges rather than apples.

Landscapers are planting them already only a hundred miles to the south-and they seem to be doing well.

We are currently enjoying southern California weather at 3000 feet in southwest Virginia.

One of our free ranging hens just hatched a nice brood of chicks.

Our root cellar storage usually keeps our personal supply of apples in good condition until January at least , and usually later than that-we have traditionally cooled the fruit simply by opening the doors and windows on cold nights.

We haven't yet had any satisfactorily cold nights this autumn.

If I live to be really old, I may see palm trees growing in my neighborhood, and the youngsters of today in the family may be raising oranges rather than apples.

Hmm, I was up in Virginia the end of last month visiting family and took the opportunity to visit Jefferson's residence at Monticello. In the enclosure surrounding his grave there was some kind of orange tree and it was bearing fruit.
Being a Florida resident, I have to admit I was more than mildly shocked to see this among the brightly colored fall foliage.

I have tried in vain to get more information on this citrus tree, someone suggested it might be what is know as sour orange. Anyone out there have any idea what it might be and how it survives the winter?

It could be a Trifoliate orange (Poncirus trifoliata, syn. Citrus trifoliata) they are very hardy to zone 5. They are also a very sour fruit.
Recipe for poncirus-aide - Take a barrel of water, a barrel of sugar and add one sour fruit.

These trees are fairly rare in Va to my knowledge, but I have seen a few even up here in the mountains, in sheltered spots, and more in central Va.They are covered with nasty thorns and grow incredibly dense-I have no doubt they would make excellent hedges capable of holding livestock-maybe even bison.

You can make a tolerable lemonade like drink from the fruit on some of these trees;these particular ones may be grafts.The only place you find these trees is around old home places.

I don't know much about them because nobody in my family ever planted them.

There is one nearby that has fruit that is not downy, but almost all seeds.

I bring a half dozen or so into the house sometimes as a floral bouquet;the ripe fruits give off a heavenly citrusy aroma.

There are several Citrus that are relatively cold hardy. Examples from ...

McKenzie Citrus Farm

Owari Satsuma Tangerines are sweet, seedless and zipper skinned. Trees are very cold hardy down to around 12 F.

Citrus Yuzu is a cold hardy citrus from the highlands of Japan. Yuzu has been reported to survive temperatures into the low teens. Fruit has a complex flavor of lemon/lime/grapefruit and is useful as an ingredient in seafood, sherbets, cosmetics and more.

The kimbrough satsuma has its origins in Louisiana. It was discovered after a killer freeze that destroyed much of Louisianas satsuma crop back in the early 1900's. The kimbrough is believed to be slightly more cold hardy than other satsuma varieties. The tree in this picture has survived single digits for brief periods of time. Hardy to around 12 F

Changsha Mandarin Plant (extra hardiness) come from the foothills of China and are very cold hardy once they have grown to maturity. Fruits are small, bright orange and somewhat seedy. The flavor is very sweet and is very good as a juicer. Hardy to around 10 F

Nippon Orangequat: Nippon orangequat is a hybrid of the satsuma mandarin orange and kumquat. Trees are very cold hardy and are prolific bearers. The fruits have a sweet orange taste and ripen in late fall. Hardy to around 10 F

I think we sometimes forget the other things that will start growing and cause ongoing havoc long before we see simply a northward march of edibles from warmer zones.

Maine has been getting record numbers of Ticks and with it, Lyme Disease, and there's the whitenose fungus that has been slaughtering our bat populations.. Of course, I'm also really sad to see that the Sugar Maple is a lot less able to handle our warmer forests now.. but even if I can get a Mango to hold on in my 'Dream Arboretum' someday, I don't think my anxiety levels will be going down much, regardless. Ay, Caramba!

It becomes obvious that the worst results being PUBLICLY predicted by anyone who is part of the the scientific establishment may very well turn out to be ridiculously conservative.

That is my fear too. I am beginning to think that the climate scientists are having such a hard time getting the message through that they are afraid of painting too dire a picture lest it be ridiculed and are trying to stick to a level they think will get listened to... eventually.


When I read a book (the back cover actually) based on the 1997 IPCC report I said to my self that this was far below the target. CC will be muc worse, I pondered. What I thought of as "bad" by then is what I now wish for.

Ever since I have always argued that climate change of the realworldwill be worse than that the scientist say. I still say it will be worse than the latest estimates. I have not been wrong yet.

And my current nightmare is that it is now to late to stop runaway global warming....

And my current nightmare is that it is now to late to stop runaway global warming....

Unfortunately you may be right.


It becomes obvious that the worst results being PUBLICLY predicted by anyone who is part of the the scientific establishment may very well turn out to be ridiculously conservative.

I think you are right. Science in general (and scientific consensus in particular) is conservative in nature. That is why you see scientists publish a conservative number in a journal and talk openly about much bigger numbers in public. NASA Goddard Institute's James Hansen is one such scientist. His book "storms of my grandchildren" provides a bleak picture into the future that not yet (as such) is witnessed in his scientific papers (though the papers are becoming more concerning year by year).

Hearing a former skeptic (well, one should always be skeptic, but you know what I mean: rejectionist) is always special, they have a slighly different angle then others who rolled smoothly into accepting, like I have. Admiral Titley, the Navy's oceanographer, is also a former skeptic. He has a powerfull message.

Titley about climate skepticism: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSc5YImpUkQ
Titley about climate change effects: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBBEyJVj5MY

"Sadly, I think this report will be like throwing red meat to the dogs, with the denialist camp jumping on it in a feeding frenzy."
Sadly it already is.

But actually, as usual, the red meat seems pretty rotten if you look at it closely (as you did). Their most likely sensitivity still lies well within the bandwidth as given by the IPCC in their 2007 report. So it's again a case of 'nothing to see here, move along'.

Alright.. from the 'And now for something completely contrary..' department...
I need help with this one..


From the comments, it sounds like a blatant misreading of their analysis.. but has this story been taken up here?

I'm going to start seeing if we can get Mayors and Governors who will ratify Durban, seeing how the President and his Backers are so disinterested in any of this..

(I don't know this source.. and a brief scan offered suspiciously little detail about who 'The State Column' actually is. Anybody know?)

Your link refers to the same report in SCIENCE that started of the thread. The comments appear to be more of the usual denial which is now firmly planted in the public mind. After all the fun in Texas this summer or the fires in Russia, the melting of the sea-ice over the Arctic this summer, etc, you would think some of these ditto heads would get a clue...

EDIT: This evening, your link goes so something different??

E. Swanson

You're probably seeing things. Peak Oil has finally gotten to you.. medic!

The link didn't change, afaik, but maybe you read it and they simply referred to the same report?

I did see a similar review at the Russia Times link..
"Climate Change Scare; Hot-hype exposed"

(has one decent rebuttal in the 3 comments..)

The issue is the fact that a little over 5000 years ago, something changed in the earth's climate so that places like Greenland showed huge fluctuations in the temperature record. But over the last 5000 years, the temperature record has been much more stable and occupies the upper warm side.
This figure is an ice core proxy which is proportional to temperature

Notice the striking change in recent temperature variations on the left side of the chart.

So the authors I think are saying that since we are not in as metastable a state as before and actually sit at a warm extent of the temperature profile, there is not as much dynamic range going warmer. The logarithmic sensitivity of temperature to CO2 concentration is thus making the upper asymptote stiffer. If we were cooler as in 10's of thousands of years ago, then the CO2 would cause really wild fluctuations (we would also be in an glaciated ice-age environment making the argument somewhat moot).

BTW, I kind of transitioned from working on oil depletion analysis in my spare time to working the climate science angle. Lots more interesting physics in that science so it is a nice change of pace. In any case, my spin-off blog is http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com, and my old one is "shut-in" for the time being. The new one has better math markup besides, and I am going intense on the ice core data.
The global warming skeptics are also the nastiest bunch of people I have ever seen, making the oil cornucopians look like pussycats. Every chance I get, I try to say that "green" energy technologies are at least partly driven by peak oil concerns but they will have nothing to do with that angle. They all think that all of our ills are caused by evil climate scientists pushing the AGW agenda. Quite bizarre, and I take a pounding at a place like Climate Etc., but the skeptics are so ignorant about the combo of PO+AGW, it is fun to toy with them.

Where are we on that graph? It shows an x-axis of between 0 and 110 (Kyr - hullo?), but what does that mean? Where are we on it?

Cargill, it's the 2nd order climatic response run through a weighted multi run average computer model of the next 110 Kyr for the spcific oxygen isotope in ice content. So 0 is present and 110Kyr would be 110,000 years in the future.



That's the PAST 110 Thousand years up to the present, no?

The axis is 'age' so I would interpret it as the LHS, being 0, is 0 years old i.e. the present then 10 being 10 thousand years old i.e. 10,000 years before present etc.. RHS being 110,000 years ago.


Web, the Greenland ice core data you are looking at only tells part of the story. The glacier ice reached maximum at the Last Glacial Maximum some 18-20k years BP. The melting which began soon after was well underway by 16k years BP, as evidenced by the data for sea level, which began to rise at about that time. Notice the warming spike around 12 kyr BP, which ended abruptly with a return to colder conditions during the Younger Dryas. The Younger Dryas also ended abruptly about a thousand years later, with a return to the previous warming trend. The climate has been relatively warm since, with a few exceptions, such as the short cool down at around 8200 yr BP, and the present period of relative warmth is the reason the geological period has a name, the Holocene. The YD and the 8200 yr event are both thought to be related to changes in the thermohaline circulation (THC), caused by massive pulses of fresh water released as glacier melt water lakes drained into the North Atlantic.

This latest paper presents much more than just a bunch of computer model runs. There is also a new analysis of paleo data from the LGM, which is said to show much less cooling at LGM (compared to recent times) than that found by other researchers. It's this difference, when used to tweek their model, which is said to indicate a lower CO2 sensitivity. If their LGM temperature re-construction is too high, then their model results would be wrong as well, IMHO. That should give you something to chew on...

E. Swanson

Thanks for explaining the Holocene context.

We need to invest more in solar,wind power and other items.I have flown into Alaska many times and have seen the huge change.The ice shelf has moved over the past 10 years.Polar bears have been drowning because of this.This is a true concern.

Lee Bergeron


The simple truth of the matter, from James Lovelock,

We're not really guilty. We didn't deliberately set out to heat the world...

... trying to save the planet which is just a lot of nonsense... because we can't do it... we're full of hubris and think we can do these kinds of things, ... we're not clever enough to (save the planet)...

The sensible thing to do is enjoy life while you can.

The simple truth I understand is that nothing is that simple. Lee didn't say we need to Save the Planet, first of all..

The way I enjoy life is to make an effort to understand the world and help do what's possible to help my neigbors and all our kids continue to have a chance to enjoy life.

We ARE clever enough to improve many of the ways we've been trashing the place and living at the end of unsupportable tethers.. I don't see the advantage in sending out a message that says "It's arrogant to try to improve anything (couched in the overbroad "Save the Whole Planet?!" meme) .. you can't, so don't."

Jo, you are correct, Lee didn't say "save the planet" and his first line could apply to us as individuals, in our individual efforts.

I took it to mean "we = collectively" to combat climate change, hence the "simple truth" from Lovelock.

"I don't see the advantage in sending out a message that says..."

I don't think Lovelock was looking for an "advantage" to send/sell a message in that interview. I think he gave his honest opinion of the matter - without anger/depression/frustration etc,: as clever as we are, we can no longer alter what is happening, it is now out of our hands.

I think he was, as you say, "mak(ing) an effort to understand the world and help do what's possible to help (his) neigbors and all our kids continue to have a chance to enjoy life."

Link up top: Renewable Power Trumps Fossil Fuels...

Electricity from the wind, sun, waves and biomass attracted $187 billion last year compared with $157 billion for natural gas, oil and coal, according to calculations by Bloomberg New Energy Finance using the most recent data. Accelerating installations of solar and wind power led to lower equipment prices, making clean energy more competitive with coal.

While this is good news, there is a catch:

The renewables boom, spurred by about $66 billion of subsidies last year,

I'm fairly sure you could create a boom in any industry, if you subsidise 1/3 of its cost.

The challenge now, as debt ridden governments cut back or eliminate the subsidies, is for the renewables sector to stand alone. I suspect that if the subsidies go away, so shall much of the investment, but at least that will mean an end to "subsidy farming" - placing turbines where there is no wind, or solar panels where there is little sun, just to collect the subsidies.

Time for this industry to grow up - I think it is ready

The PV shakeout is in full swing; a few clips from googling "pv market downturn"


"Accumulation of silicon PV materials market downturn continue trying to do" {translation needs work, but you can get the drift}


"PV Equipment Spending of $15.2 Billion in 2011 at Risk from Market Downturn"


"the PV industry is looking at a supply-driven price crash "


"As a result of this decision, around 700 people are expected to lose their jobs."

Paul - The other side of the stat may be less desire to construct ff new plants. Have you seen a trendline for ff plant construction for the last 20 years or so? Given the instability of the ff market/prices investors may have doubts about the long term financials of such projects.

I also have some doubts about the stat anyway. For instance, do we really have a good handle on China's expansion of coal-fired plants?

Re investors having doubt about the long term financials of new fossil fuel projects.

This is one of late Hermann Scheer's warning points when he talked about e.g. PV and the future energy market. Large new investments in nuclear or fossil fuel risk not being able to pay off their debts because mass produced technologies like PV tends to get cheaper while large -pretty much unique- industrial sized projects get ever more expensive. In the case of FF doubts about future fuel price development in a heavily diversified market also play a large role as does the large lead-time and rising costs for new nuclear.

Could it be that we are entering an era in which only existing, largely payd-off, traditional powerplants are able to compete with the new technologies?

Via Joe Romm:
Rising costs of new nuclear in France:

Lowering costs of new PV:

New solar vs new nuclear (don't know if this is really true, does anyone have a good handle?)

New solar vs new coal:

PS. I know this says nothing about maintaining a stable grid, that is not the topic of this post.

At the end of a week of non-stop rain I'd rather be drawing power from a 1GW coal or nuclear plant than a 1 GW solar plant. If solar is so great they should give up subsidies and mandates.

On subsidies for fossil fuels there seems to be some vagueness in the calculations. For example the estimated cost of CO2 pollution or amortised capital assistance for building plant. However to my knowledge they don't get a cash subsidy for every single kilowatt hour of ongoing production nor are they protected by a guaranteed market share.

Sure, Boof. Keep burning that coal and uranium.. there'll be lots more rain coming with it.. but it may not be drinkable.

Solar IS great, and it deserves active community and national support, no less than Public Education or a Publicly supported Police Force. We invest in things that are essential for helping to hold our community/society together.

Thanks jokuhl, the excuses and short-sightedness always amaze me.

Right, solar is great and the fact that the sun does not shine on rainy or cloudy days, or at night, can be ignored. We are going to build some giant batteries, or pump water up hill, or something.

What solar would do is save on fuel when the sun is shining. But we would still the same number of coal or nuclear power plants, the same grid structure, especially during those very cold and long winter nights.

Bad mouthing people who simply point out this very simple fact helps no one.

Ron P.

What solar would do is save on fuel when the sun is shining. But we would still the same number of coal or nuclear power plants, the same grid structure, especially during those very cold and long winter nights.

Ron, you seem to be making a number of unsubstantiated assumptions based on a maintenance of our current BAU scenario.
I think I can come up with quite a few alternative scenarios where non of the things you say would be necessary.

For starters I have personally spent some very cold nights (sub zero temperatures) without any access to a nuclear or coal powered grid and managed to survive quite comfortably.

I think we should all take a bit more to heart, Nate Hagen's point about reassessing our so called 'Longage of Expectations'...



Jeeeezsus Fred, I have never said anything about doing without. In fact I think that is exactly what we will do when the fossil fuels are gone... without. But let me remind you that doing without is not business as usual.

My point is that renewables will never replace fossil fuel. Solar and wind are both periodic and very unpredictable. Except that during winter in most of the Northern Hemisphere we can predict that there will be days on end when the sun never peeks out. That leaves biofuels.

Biofuels can replace but a very tiny proportion of the liquid fuel we use. Unless of course we cut down all the forest and turn it into cropland. Then we are saying that only humans matter. We are conceding that all wild megafauna will go extinct. And a lot of very poor people will not count either because the food crops that would feed them will now go to feeding the transportation fleet of the world.

Ron P.

'Badmouth'? How did I badmouth Boof? By disagreeing with his;
"I'd rather be drawing power from a 1GW coal or nuclear plant.." ??

.. or was it badmouthing to dare to suggest "..helping to hold our community/society together." ?? Was that too much like advocating BAU and perpetual growth?

Do you want me to cheer on his boostering for Coal, really? and I don't know how YOU think nuclear will fare under Climate Change.. I don't think it will stand a chance, and we'll be seeing more and more cooling pools have closer and closer calls as their pumps go silent for longer stretches, as their relicensed and uprated plants get older and embrittled, as the rivers they depend on start to YoYo in the growing chaos, as the economics of selling electricity force them to cut corners that they clearly won't be telling anyone about.

It's not about 'Replacing FF' as in 'ALL FOSSIL FUELS'.. It's about keeping your house from freezing, helping your neighbors do the same, getting through it at all.

I'll take weeks of clouds and calm in a Frigid Maine Winter ANYTIME over that scenario. I know how to build for it, and how to live with it. You gonna teach me in Maine about that from down there in Florida?

and Nobody knows how to clean up the Mess we've created with Coal or Nuclear.

(Actually, one of the tricks is that the REALLY cold weather is Clear, not Cloudy, which generally coincides with bright, Sunny days. The days with the highest thermal conversion efficiency, and often the best PV performance as well. A bit of appropriate glazing and you've got a good start.)

Why on earth do we need to use inefficient batteries or pumped storage to store heat for those very cold and long winter nights when we have very simple, cheap and efficient storage heaters available? Rinse repeat and apply to a host of other applications. Why are we stuck with thinking that we need to store a storage mechanism instead of the end product. A simple example: why use batteries to store electricity to pump water up to a tank 24/7 when you can just pump while the sun shines and use the tank for storage, maybe you need a bigger or second tank but that is better than chargers/batteries/inverters etc.


I'm with you on this - it is far easier to store the work done by electricity, than to try to store the electricity itself.

Doing work with electricity in the off peak periods, and using it in the on ones, actually relives grid bottlenecks. Having utility scale pumped storage and the like exacerbates them.

But, the attitude of most people is that they shouldn't have to take such measures, "the grid" should be doing that for them. And the elec utilities, in turn, generally maintain the stance that they can meet all the needs - until they can;t, of course.

The elec utils don;t want lots of end-user storage and/or regeneration because they can't control it (or make any money off it), but that is actually the best solution here.

High priced peak power will help this, but still most people/businesses think someone else should be taking care of this stuff.

Move to Texas, they don't have any of that pesky rain to cloud your solar.

I am wondering how many of the comparisons between solar or wind vs fossil fuels that knock the competitiveness of solar/wind are just using today's (or the price a few years ago) of fossil fuel to compare over a 10, 20 or 30 year span and not looking at how much the FF price will rise over that time.


Well, looking at the world-nuclear.org site it occurs to me that there is no shortage of selectively choosing the numbers that fit your target audience best.

FWIW, I don't know if Romm' figures are that good, but I think the trend is most important. Heavy industries: up, mass-produced high competition PV: down. Any way you look at it, be it now or a few years, the trend lines will cross. I bet potential nuclear investors are worried sick.

When you do the math on the amount of energy produced by the renewables, it does not look any where near as good as the dollars spent would indicate. At $3/w fully installed and grid connected, the renewables at 30% capacity factor will produce ~163Twh of power/yr. This is only 5% of the GROWTH in world energy consumption per year. It replace none of the existing FF use.

The spend of $157b, if all on NG, at a cost of $1.2/w and a capacity factor of 60%, gives over 687Twh of electrical production.

Despite all the talk of climate change, all the subsidies for renewables, all the talk of solar and wind providing the electricity for Electric Vehicles, the bottom line is that we are nowhere near close to producing the renewable power we need to, with the future looking grim for investments as we are decended upon by resource and debt constraints.

That graphic that shows time to permit and build 1Gw Solar as one year, I would question greatly. Considering that the Moree plant in Australia, that is 150Mw has already been in planning for several years and will not be completed until 2015-16 (a 4 year+ build), it is hard to take the other figures presented as accurate.
There are no 1 Gw solar power plants anywhere in the world, nor do I know of any planned, so how can there be an assumption of only a year for permitting and building??

do we really have a good handle on China's expansion of coal-fired plants?

Since it is a UN effort, I would assume they made a good faith guess-timate. The real key is not which side, fossil or renewables got the largest investment last year, the real story is that they are now roughly the same. And wind and sun are growing raidly, so within a few years would seem to start getting the lions share of the investment. Of course even if renewables got 100% of new energy construction, we still have a lot of old infrastructure spewing out emissions. So renewable buildout rate equals fossil fuel buildout rate is only the first of several milestones that need to be passed before we get where we need to be.

There is certainly less desire to construct any ff plants other than NG turbines. The permitting process for any new coal or nuke plant is so long, and fraught with environmental opposition, that most companies just aren;t going there - (except in Texas, of course). We will, and are, seeing them do any retrofits possible to keep existing sites going.

Now, some renewable plants run into opposition too, though of a different kind. Here in BC, the power workers union is quietly backing any and all efforts to stir up opposition to (privately owned) wind and small hydro projects - they only want gov owned large power projects - staffed by their members, of course...

I really don;t know about the accuracy of Chinese stats, but I think we can all agree that they are continuing to increase their usage of coal. But what gets forgotten is that they are increasing their usage of any and all energy sources they can get their hands on. They are building wind farms, nuke plants, doing coal to methanol plants and they even have several oil shale operations happening - though relatively small.

For China, it is simply a case of whatever works, regardless of how clean it is or isn't. I hope we don't end up in that situation, though it is certainly possible.

The two big growth markets for PV demand are now North America, and China. PV installation doubled in the US last year, and China is starting a big push. Europe used to be the big PV market, but major cutbacks on feed in tarrifs, has brought European demand way down, which has lead to serious overupply issues.

yes, cutbacks to feed in tariffs have brought demand down.

So what will happen in the US where most places don;t have the FIT's in the first place?

Despite my preferred option of a carbon tax, I can;t see it happening, so solar will have to do it old school - by out competing coal, etc. but, as the charts above show, that can be done, eventually.

I'm fairly sure you could create a boom in any industry, if you subsidise 1/3 of its cost.

If that is the case then oil production should be rising and Peak Oil is wrong. Oil is heavily subsidized, perhaps not at a 1/3 rate but still.

Renewables can not compete with subsidized oil without subsidies of their own. This should be obvious. Calls for renewables to stand alone on market forces seem never to apply to oil.

The tax code is full of oil subsidies and we have been fighting wars for oil security which have cost trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives over the last 20 years. Other subsidies are the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and drilling on publicly owned land and offshore.

Other countries do not look at subsidizing renewables as anything unusual. They understand the costs of not subsidizing them:


Oil has been "subsidy farming" since the formation of the Texas Railroad Commission decades ago.

An interesting thing I've read is that the oil industry is not subsidised, but the oil consumers are actually receiving the subsidy. The difference is that the energy source is actually mature and dosen't need any support. However, the consumer cannot afford the oil, or is paying it at a reduced price, hence the consumer's subsidies.

In Venezuela, they are paying 2 cents per litre (8 cents/gallon). It obviously distorts the market badly and is counted as a subsidy, but here this as nothing to do with the viability of oil industries:

Venezuela's petrol subsidy makes it probably the world's cheapest (Turkmenistan vies for the honour). But the policy is insane. The government covers 90% of the cost, an estimated annual bill of $9bn (£5.6bn). Include the opportunity cost of what it could gain by selling the gasoline abroad and the overall fiscal cost, according to some analysts, is closer to $21bn. More than enough to double the education and health budgets.

The difference is that the industry is already competitive in the marketplace, but consumer who dosen't have enough money are given some to reach the market. This is not the same as an uncompetitive form of energy, which is brought to market by subsidies.

How about the billions in tax credit for US oil and gas companies? The oil industry really is subsidised, at least when you consider tax-reductions a form of subsidy.

Of course its a subsidy, but I can't say it is a form of support toward "non-competitive" forms of energy. There is a tax credit on foreign projects, which is, in my view, quite reasonable for any international business.

You are taxed for any revenu you make in the US, but what if you drill on Russians shores and are already subject to russian taxes? Now, because your company is based in the US, you should pay an extra tax for russian projects?

I can easily see how that would seriously hamper US based oil companies and to my view you can't compare that to the support which is given to non-competitive forms of energy.

I feel the oil and gas industry is quite profitable and well though of. Now, I don't have any promises for the future, obviously, but I'm not sure the subsidy here is a proof of the inability to provide energy or fuel at a reasonable price.

I'm interested to know where my money goes, but also what the result of that is. That means, it is helping locals to get a better access to an already successful energy source or it is to bring an uncompetitive energy source to market?

The proper comparison, IMO, is to compare the industries in their infancies. Oil and gas, and nuclear, got a lot of government support in the early days...much more than renewables.

I would tend to agree, but I don't want to compare all support as equal.

Namely, oil was a fairly new energy source back then, along with nuclear. Who could have though atoms could be split? All that stuff was a great investment because of its very "unconventional" nature and so the possibilities.

I can't say all the technology out here offer us the same breakthrough as we had back then. Oil wasn't just an energy source, but also a substance with unique properties which brough us things like plastics and cars.

Looking back, I feel we knew little of oil. Therefore, I can understand why we spend a lot, because it helped us to understand more of it. We didn't spend money on something we already knew or already tried before.

Oil was an investment from which we learned a lot because we didn't knew much initially.

of course, I neglected to mention that you can create a boom in any industry, like ethanol, if you just mandate that people *have* to use it. The subsidies then become irrelevant.

For the record, I would say that the oil industry is in a boom right now. that doesn't mean that production has to be rising, it just means it has to be making lots of money. Kinda like the corn industry, production hasn't risen that much, but prices sure have - that is certainly a boom - at taxpayer expense, of course...

Electricity from the wind, sun, waves and biomass attracted $187 billion last year compared with $157 billion for natural gas, oil and coal, according to calculations by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Not only did the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reach a new high in 2010 since pre-industrial time but also the rate of increase has accelerated.


The idea that renewables will ever make a difference is a joke considering what we have done to this planet:


Sorry, Paul. I disagree. I'd say the Subsidies are a Feature, not a Bug.

Really, they are simply the way that the country overall is also investing in this generating option. Ultimately, it is because the country sees a benefit in having Renewables better represented in the overall energy portfolio for reasons of Civic Security, Economic Stability, Boosting a sector with jobs and MFG potential etc..

As PV Guy says, this is today simply helping Renewables get a slightly more level playing field against the somewhat less-acknowledged help that the luscious and powerful Fossil Fuels already enjoy, both in their century-old head-start, their enviable (but irreplacable) energy density, and various bits of Military and Land-access assistance that they wouldn't want to shoulder all on their own..

I'm not at all opposed to everyone growing up properly, of course.. except for me. I have no plans to grow up yet.

Hi Bob,

Well, I think that a carbon tax on fossil fuels is the better way to go than renewable subsidies, for several reasons.

It can "level the playing field" just as well as subsidies do. But, by fully pricing in the external costs - particularly of coal - it makes energy more realistically priced, which enables efficiency measures.

A 20% rise in the general cost of electricity (and retail NG) makes all sorts of efficiency measures, from lighting retrofits to heat pumps etc.

We can make renewables a larger proportion of the pie sooner, if the pie is shrinking by eliminating waste. Subsidising energy use takes it in the other direction, and rewards wasters at the expense of those (like you and me and Paul in Halifax) trying to do efficiency projects.

Here in BC we have a (modest) carbon tax - it has not been the end of the world, or industry etc - not enough to make a real difference in anything yet, but it is a start. We also have an outright ban on coal fired power - unless it includes full carbon capture and storage.

BC still has plenty more to do, but I thunk that approach is much better than paying subsidies, especially outrageous stuff like the Ontario 80c/kWh solar feed in tariff - which results in panels being put in far less than optimal locations, simply to get the subsidy. It, and subsides in general, create a different kind of waste and I don;t think we can afford any.

Definitely agree about the outsized FITs, and I also support Carbon-taxes..

I think a FIT can be a good idea, but would need to be just above the going rates.. 'Complementary Butter on the Toast, not Whipped Cream'

Well, I think that a carbon tax on fossil fuels is the better way to go than renewable subsidies, for several reasons.

When the programs are 70% ineffective
why should support be given?

Those programs are carbon *offsets* - they are not the same thing as a carbon tax. Carbon offsets, and credit trading, invites gaming of the system, dubious offset schemes and overhead from traders. It is no surprise that these schemes are ineffective.

However, a fully fledged carbon tax at a real price - as in equivalent to a ton of coal - has yet to be implemented. Where it is, I am sure we will see quite some effectiveness.

I think that a carbon tax on fossil fuels is the better way to go than renewable subsidies, for several reasons.

Technically, it is a better solution. Politically it has been made impossible (at least in the US), even if the tax revenues are used to offset some other tax. So we are stuck with less than optimal solutions because we are ideologically constrained.

Hi Paul,

Wanna know what makes this tired old lad as giddy as a school girl? Our crews started yanking out 6-lamp T12 troffers that are rated at a whopping 276-watts! With heavy gauge steel construction and three magnetic core ballasts these things weigh as much as a '57 Buick.

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/6LT12.jpg

And then putting back a fixture that draws just 43-watts. So how much light would a 43-watt fixture provide you ask?

Take a look for yourself: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_0736.jpg

I've also started to replace the 60-watt halogen-IR PAR38s in our home with Philips 12-watt EnduraLED PAR30s (eighteen down and about another forty or so to go). The quality of the light is amazing and going with a PAR30 as opposed to a PAR38 allows the lamp to be recessed further back in the housing so that it's properly shielded and not so in-your-face.

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_0739.jpg

Oh yeah, one other thing... there are thirty or so walkway fixtures at this facility each fitted with three 60-watt incandescents. We replaced those with Philips 12.5-watt EnduraLED A19s, thus cutting fixture load from 180-watts to 38. Lamp life increases from 2,500 to 25,000 hours which is a huge win for the maintenance staff who were constantly up on ladders replacing these lamps under all kinds of weather. And unlike their CFL brethren, these Enduras are more than happy to spark up when it's -25°C and the winds are howling at 70 and 80 clicks.

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_0737.jpg


Thanks Paul,

That old six tube fixture is something else!

What is the (normal) cost of those Par 30's? - my ski resort client could use a few hundred of those..
58 of them in your house? that is a lot of light!

I know exactly what your are talking about with the outdoor CFL's - tried those a few years ago at a mtn lodge - dismal failure in the cold.. They had to leave them on 24hrs as they would't start, and then guests asked why they were wasting energy from their diesel generator! Went back to incandescents, but the LED's would be the shot now.

I can think of quite a few mtn lodges in these parts that could use those...

Hi Paul,

We have a special pricing arrangement through Philips which is really quite good, but I'm guessing that the street price is around the $60.00 mark. Not cheap, but the quality of the light is phenomenal.

Fixture spacing in some areas is a bit tight because I use them to graze the walls:

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_0742.jpg

In addition to the PAR38s, I have twelve recessed PAR20s because there are other areas where I wanted something a little more discrete in appearance. These are fitted with 7-watt Philips EnduraLEDs.

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_0743.jpg

And then we have the MR16 LEDs....

My mother went blind and there's a pretty good chance that I will too due to genetic inheritance. Higher light levels helped her cope with the her sight loss during the initial stages and so there's a method to the madness if you like.


Re subsidies. The Netherlands government pays every year for the CO2 emissions from fossil fuel powerplants. I bet this is not the only country... In 2010, 6 European countries subsidised coal mining to a total of 3.2 billion Euro. In 2007 the US subsidised the nuclear industry with 199 billion Dollar. External environmental costs of fossil fuel power generation is about 1% GDP (Krewitt et al 1999). The list goes on an on.

The point is: the energy market is by no means a level playing field. Everyone gets heavily subsidised and external costs are not accounted for in the price of electricity. Don't blame renewables for needing subsidies, blame governments from letting the established powers of fossil fuel interests have their way.

I'm fairly sure you could create a boom in any industry, if you subsidise 1/3 of its cost...

...Time for this industry to grow up - I think it is ready

You are going to just as vehemently insist on cutting the subsidies to the fossil fuel industry as well, right?
Because that industry is not only ready, It's done! time to put a fork in it.


Hi Fred,

I am no fan of subsidies to the FF industry, though many of them are fairly structural and hard to remove (e.g. the Interstate Hwy system)

That is why I favour an across the board carbon tax at a high rate - levied at the point of ground extraction or import. simple, effective, and virtually impossible to avoid/game.

A tax at say $100/ton C would make all the subsidies irrelevant, and could displace a lot of sales/income taxes along the way.

The Saudi Oil Confession

We already know that an overwhelming amount of the Saudis' oil production — more than 90% — stems from about seven giant oil fields. Here are a few of those heavy producers:

Abqaiq field

Safaniya-Khafji field

Berri field

Ghawar field

If you want an even better idea of how dependent they are on these fields, just remember that the Ghawar field accounts for more than 60% of all Saudi oil produced during the last sixty-three years.

Now tack on a conservative 6.7% decline rate (some, like the Ghawar field, are declining at a rate of 8% per year), and we're looking at a lot of new oil that must be found each year just to keep up with demand.

I have no idea where this guy gets his information that Ghawar is declining at 8% a year, but I sure would like to know. However Saudi has admitted in the past that all their giant fields are declining at a rate of 5 to 12 percent but in 2006 they claimed they had gotten that decline rate down to just over 2% by new infield drilling.

Ron P.

I reads linked articles such as this one from Energy and Capital, but I am no expert and have no money to invest, so I put little time into such reading.

But it seems to me that virtually none of the people who write them are truly well informed and objective;the goal seems to be to just put out enough (likely)true information and plausible conjecture to entice the reader to buy a paid subscription, or just click on the sites advertisements.

This guy for instance claims or at least implies that there are no current satisfactory workable technologies available to produce deep oil and tar sands.

But even a reasonably well informed layman such as yours truly knows better than that-a months casual reading of the business and energy articles of any major newspaper or business publication is enough to run across the sagd process for instance.

I'm sure I would have to search the world just about forever before I could hope to find a truly honest salesman.

I'm sure I would have to search the world just about forever before I could hope to find a truly honest salesman.

At this point it might not matter all that much! I found this unscientific poll on CNN to be rather intriguing.
Seems that despite all the media hype about this Black Friday being a record breaker for the retailers, their sales people whether honest or not might not be getting a chance to sell much of anything this year!

When do you start your holiday shopping?
This is not a scientific poll
Not shopping 54% 47828
Not sure 37% 33199
Friday 6% 5758
Thursday 3% 2436
Total votes: 89221

BTW I'm included in the not shopping! Only my son is getting a present from me this year and it will be cash for future school books. Everyone else will get my home made Xmas cards such as this one... >;^)


I thought the water-cut was increasingly being tracked as well as the heavy sour component increasing?

I have long thought about such a system, and wondered why it hasn't been implemented long ago.

The concept of running the alternator during braking an not during acceleration is fairly simple. I am guessing that up until now that ability of the battery to accept that charge has been the limiting factor, though the spiracell types could probably do so no problem.

I think BMW/Mini has some similar system that disconnects the alternator under acceleration .

My own version of this (jn summer) is to turn the a/c off when going up hills and on when going down - I would guess it is a similar load difference as the alternator at full current - I can certainly notice the difference in engine revs/sound when turning the a/c off and on.

Mazda;s system is only a small improvement in fuel economy, but it is a good one, probably not that expensive once the system is set up

As long as we are still driving ICE's we should be implementing things like this - and diesel engines while we're at it.

Here's a contest for you literary-scientist or poet-engineer types: 2012 Artsmith Literary Award - theme TEOTWAWKI - 30 December deadline.


I am supporting today as "Buy Nothing Day". Black Friday embarrasses me as an American. This year my family is buying more things we need than want for Xmas and I will wait until late in the season for the best deals...and believe me...there will be some huge markdowns as retailers try to save themselves from bankruptcy by the end of this year. Enjoy this holiday season, everyone. I think next year's holidays may look much different...and much less enjoyable.

This has been the most spectacular video so far :-

"Black Friday 2011: Waffle Maker Riot Caught On Tape"


"And now, crazed shoppers reportedly got in a fight over $2 waffle makers at a Wal-Mart near Little Rock, Arkansas WBTV reports."

Ya...then there's the shopper pepper-spraying other customers and some shootings. Jeez...the things us Americans will fight for is truly screwed up.

We are the 99%!

And in the Global Pie the 99% probably equals the wealthy 5% of the global population.

This is so sad.. Waffles are supposed to be Peace-loving!

Here's the comment from HuffPo that I had to bring over..
"Ever get the feeling folks would fight harder for a $2 waffle iron than democracy?"

..I guess that depends on which people.. although, as if in answer , they played a great panel discussion on Democracy Now! today hosted by The Nation, with Naomi Klein, Michael Moore, etc. If you're feeling a bit despondent, this might cheer you up a little.


I didn't manage to buy nothing.. but I think my purchases were all necessary and normal daily stuff. Insulation Foam, Oatmeal, NIMH AA's at half off..

Great panel. Thanks for the link!

I bought a couple of miscellaneous kitchen items, along with my monthly groceries.

Today I only bought lunch and a tank of gas, driving home from my daughter's house.

My daughters and I have agreed to only give hand made gifts this year. They are making some picture frames for me and I am making a headboard for one daughter and a ukulele for the other.

I truly hate the entire concept of Christmas as a gift giving frenzy and approve of the rising outrage at gift-buying intruding on Thanksgiving.

This is so sad.. Waffles are supposed to be Peace-loving!

well most of the time.. http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff2100/fv02028.htm :P just a little humor to lighten up the 'black' day. *runs after making that pun*

First time posting something to Drumbeat, so I might not be following proper protocol:
I see in Wall Street Journal today (11/25/11) in the Money$Investing section an article entitled "Farmer Says: Hitch Your Wagons to Some 'Guar' ". I think it is behind a pay wall so I'll only post short quotes:

"... A single shale well can require hundreds of acres of guar production. And with thousands of wells drilled each year, the oil patch's appetite for guar has helped boost global demand 200% in the past year. ...
This year, the oil-field-services sector is on track to use as much as a billion pounds of guar powder, which is the yield from three billion pounds of seed and quadruple what the sector required in 2006, according to David Adams, vice president of production enhancement at Haliburton Co. ... "

The article contains the standard brave talk about finding substitutes. Perhaps, but I am reminded of the brave talk about finding substitutes for oil, which is running into difficulties.

The article goes on to discuss attempts to grow guar in west Texas, but those seem to be in trouble because of the extended drought there. I have no feeling for how serious this is in larger scheme of things. Is there likely to be a guar shortage that impacts the current boom in fracking shale? Please respond if you know more about this.

On a related issue, I have seen recently reports of fracking shale for oil in deep wells (~12000ft) I think it is pretty hot down there. Guar gum is a natural organic. I wonder how well it survives down there. Seems to me that there might be a limit to the depth of wells that can be fracked if it is a necessary ingredient of the fracking fluid. Comments?

geek - Guar gum has been used for decades as an additive to drilling, completion and frac fluids. Compared to most other components it really is dirt cheap. Not only high temp unstable but not very stable at low temp: will actually ferment if you let it sit too long...very nasty. No idea about demand increases so I'll take your word about it. BTW: the oil window on most of the fractured shale oil plays typically isn't that deep/hot. As long as the public companies keep throwing money at the shale plays demand for all the fluids additives will remain. Given that I think were close to topping out on the number of drill rigs I wouldn't bet too much on a lot more expansion.

Besides, I don't have any $'s to invest in guar plantations. Right now all my money is tied up in a tapioca mine in Costa Rico.

Now I'm picturing the next hurricane hitting, followed by a tapioca volcano erupting after the water seeps underground and gets absorbed...

RE: Circular systems can help secure food supplies up top.

I'll have to read the book, but it amazes me how many times the same idea has to be reinvented with a new name: ecological agriculture (Pimentel after H.T. Odum), biodynamics, permaculture (also after Odum), etc.

The idea of applying systems science and systems ecology in particular to agricultural processes re-emerges from time to time but never seems to get much traction. I think the reason may be that the scale of the problem relative to what a permaculture (to name one) approach can deliver. Modern industrial agriculture is based on the demand side with a system in which less than 10% (in the USA) of the population are directly involved with food production (exclusive of processing and delivery). There are simply too many more mouths to feed in the world today than could be accommodated by these "natural" systems. It is also, unfortunately, the case that even if a much larger proportion of the population were to attempt to return to agriculture the soils available have been so severely degraded that manual labor will not produce the desired result. (see: Could we solve two problems at once for a possible plan for remediation of soils while there are still relatively cheap fossil fuels.)

Yet, exploring these approaches (which are really just one basic approach) is essential because the day is coming when the relocalization of food production by natural recycling systems will be the only way to support the population that will be sustainable in the not-too-distant future. Once the cost of transportation and fertilizer exceed some threshold this will be the only resort. Readers can draw their own conclusions about the fate of those who sit in the difference between a sustainable population and what we have now.

Question Everything

On a Black Friday with people pepper spraying others 'to get the upper hand while shopping' are you wondering how low one fellow Man can treat another?

I present TEPCO and the attempt to dodge responsibility!


During court proceedings concerning a radioactive golf course, Tokyo Electric Power Co. stunned lawyers by saying the utility was not responsible for decontamination because it no longer "owned" the radioactive substances.

“Radioactive materials (such as cesium) that scattered and fell from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant belong to individual landowners there, not TEPCO,” the utility said.

(I look forward to the pro-nuke crowd defending TEPCO's position.)

IIRC, that was the same defense he had used in High School for writing his name on a Snow-sculpture with Pee.

Swiss nuclear shutdown to cost $22.5bn: study

Shutting down Switzerland's five nuclear power stations will cost about 20.7 billion Swiss francs (16.8 billion euros, $22.5 billion) and take about 20 years, Swiss authorities said on Thursday.

A study published by the Federal Office of Energy said that the cost had risen by 10.0 percent compared with a 2006 estimate.

The most expensive part of the process will be the long-term management of radioactive waste, it said.

Developing economies see no escape from coal

South Africa plans to double its energy supply over the next 20 years, but despite ambitious proposals for renewable and nuclear power production coal will still make up 65 percent of the mix.

China has not revealed the cost or extent of its power expansion but plans to bring coal down to 63 percent of its energy mix by 2015.

India, on the other hand, expects coal to grow to 65 percent of its supply by 2030. It has built 55 coal-fired plants since 2007, and plans another 100 over the next decade, the coal ministry says.

Nice to know you, polar bears.

Don't worry, their closely related cousins, the Grizzlies, will be chomping down on a few more campers out in what is left of our parks...

Researchers develop a how-to guide to slashing California's greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

How to get from here to there: Seven measures reduce California's emissions from 875 million metric tons of CO2 in the 2050 baseline case to 85 million metric tons of CO2 emissions in the mitigation case.

Biofuel policy needs rethink, says UN expert

The UN special rapporteur on the right to food urged the EU for a rethink on biofuels Friday, saying huge errors had been committed in the initial enthusiasm for an alternative to harmful fossil fuels.

As the European Commission prepares to release a report on the question early next year, the UN expert admitted it would be difficult to turn back given the huge investments made by farmers attracted by pledges of a booming biofuel market.

With the European Union committed to producing 10 percent of its energy in renewables by 2020, massive investments have also been made in buying land in Africa to produce sugar or sweet potatoes for biofuels.

"We may have to fundamentally rethink this policy," he said at a Brussels press conference

Wind power to make up half of Danish energy use in 2020

Denmark aims to have wind power supply half of the country's electricity needs in 2020, under a new programme presented by Climate and Energy Minister Martin Lidegaard on Friday.

And from the 'What's new with our mechanical overloads?' dept. ...

Robot guards to patrol South Korean prisons

Robot guards with sensors to detect abnormal behaviour will soon begin patrolling South Korean prisons to ease the burden on their human counterparts, researchers said Thursday.

The robots' sensors will enable them to detect abnormalities such as suicidal behaviour and violence and report it to officers in charge, the statement said.

What could possibly go wrong?!

This must be what Arnold meant by 'I'll be back..'

Belgium’s Credit Rating Cut to AA by S&P

Belgium’s credit rating was cut one step to AA by Standard & Poor’s, which said bank guarantees, lack of policy consensus and slowing growth will make it difficult to reduce the euro region’s fifth-highest debt load.

The rating was lowered from AA+, with a negative outlook, London-based S&P said today in a statement. The action by S&P is the first downgrade for Belgium in almost 13 years and puts its credit ranking on a par with the S&P local-currency ratings of the Czech Republic, Kuwait and Chile.

Bailing out banks is like grasping for a lead life preserver

Banks Build Contingency For Breakup Of the Euro

On Friday, Standard & Poor’s downgraded Belgium’s credit standing to AA from AA+, saying it might not be able to cut its towering debt load any time soon. Ratings agencies this week cautioned that France could lose its AAA rating if the crisis grew. On Thursday, agencies lowered the ratings of Portugal and Hungary to junk.

Banks including Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital and Nomura issued a cascade of reports this week examining the likelihood of a breakup of the euro zone. “The euro zone financial crisis has entered a far more dangerous phase,” analysts at Nomura wrote on Friday. Unless the European Central Bank steps in to help where politicians have failed, “a euro breakup now appears probable rather than possible,” the bank said.

Major British financial institutions, like the Royal Bank of Scotland, are drawing up contingency plans in case the unthinkable veers toward reality, bank supervisors said Thursday.

No that's a real DRY ski slope: No snow in Sweden where start of winter has been delayed by a month

This year Scandinavia is not its frozen self, with unusually warm weather delaying the onset of winter in northern areas normally decked in white.

In the Finnish town of Sodankyla, north of the Arctic Circle, snow cover started November 17, the latest date in 100 years, said Pauli Jokinen, spokesman at the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

According to Sweden's meteorological office SMHI, the average temperature measured for November so far is 12.6 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius) above average.

Sucks to be the Swedes, I guess.

Here is what was happening just up the road from me, at Whistler, BC, (1600 miles *south* of the Arctic circle) two days ago;

I'm strapping on the snowboard on sunday - gotta get the most runs in before global warming spoils the party!

(I am also working on building an on mountain hydro system at another resort, so I hope to have a positive EROEI eventually)

yeah, and just read Mt Washington on the Island is opening a week early with a base as of yesterday of 100cm plus....It should pick up another 50cm this weekend. As an aside, on my daily commute I have small incline of maybe 200 metres (menzies) and have hit snow every day this past week...even during the 60 kt day...and that was both ways (6:00 am and 4:30). Winter has come early this year to the coast. Tractor is readyyyy.

Yep. Now snow in sight.We have the latest first-snow date in record, nation-wide. Right now my windows are vibrating in the gust of wind in a storm (the Berith) going across the south part of the country. PErsonally I am glad it is warm. Freezing my but of when biking to work ain't no fun. Let's see if I can bike to work tomorrow of if the wind is still blowing.

My money is on frreezing cold in late february. Any bets?

We have had a very hot summer. Things are more or less normal now but I am expecting a very cold winter. We shall see.


Mexico's Pemex Readies Second Tender For Mature Oil Fields

MEXICO CITY (Dow Jones)--Mexico's state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, said Friday that it will soon publish the rules for its second tender for mature fields using integrated contracts that allow private companies to run their own operations and receive a flat fee for each barrel of oil produced, along with incentives for higher levels of production.

Pemex said its next tender under the incentive-based contracts will be for 22 fields in its northern production zone, which are grouped into six areas: Altamira, Arenque, Atun, Panuco, San Andre and Tierra Blanca. Pemex said two of the areas, Arenque and Atun, are expected to draw particular interest because they are offshore. Most of Mexico's oil is produced offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.

The oil monopoly said that it expects oil production at the six areas to rise to 70,000 barrels a day under the contracts from the current level of 12,000 barrels a day.

Russia oil terminal Ust-Luga badly damaged

(Reuters) - Russian safety watchdog Rostekhnadzor said the Baltic oil terminal Ust-Luga, due to be launched later this year, has sustained heavy damage from landslides that could cause a serious accident.

Earlier this week Rostekhnadzor's head Nikolai Kutyin told Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin in a letter, seen by Reuters, that as of November 16 the port's quayside had been mauled by three big landslides of the shore into the sea.

... the terminal was expected to ship 20 million tonnes of crude in 2012, while last month a company spokesman said the shipments could total as little as 10 million tonnes.

Trade and industry sources have already said possible infrastructure problems at Ust-Luga could delay its first crude loading, previously scheduled for November 30, for an undetermined period

UPDATE 1-US natgas rig count at 22-month low - Baker Hughes

Despite the recent drop in drilling, the gas rig count remains well above the 800 level that some analysts say is needed to cut production and tighten supplies.