Drumbeat: November 28, 2011

Sudan says halted South Sudan govt oil exports

KHARTOUM/JUBA (Reuters) - Sudan said on Monday it had halted landlocked South Sudan's oil exports until the two agree on a transit fee, stepping up a row between the two old civil war foes over how to untangle their once-integrated oil industries.

South Sudan seceded on July 9, taking about three-quarters of the formerly united country's roughly 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil production -- the lifeblood of both economies.

Growing doubts over Saudi Arabia’s supply stand-ins

Saudi Arabia does not plan to expand its oil production capacity beyond is target of 12.5m barrels a day, as Khalid al-Falih, chief executive of state-owned Saudi Aramco, says that other countries will meet rising demand over the next few years.

Can others really rise to the challenge and meet the expected rise in demand?

The International Energy Agency forecasts that four nations, on top of Saudi Arabia, would provide the bulk of new supply: Iraq, Brazil, Canada and Kazakhstan. Many have questioned already whether Iraq would deliver. Now, Brazil is also in doubt.

Daniel Yergin: Clock Ticking on Iran's Nuclear Program

In terms of world oil, what is particularly striking is the rebalancing of Western Hemisphere oil supplies. We’re likely to see a much more north-south axis in hemispheric oil trade, and declining imports from the Eastern Hemisphere.

Three big things are happening. Two of them were hardly even on the horizon a decade ago.

U.S. Shale Boom Reduces Russian Influence Over European Gas Market

The U.S. shale gas boom has not only virtually eliminated the need for U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports for at least two decades, but significantly reduced Russia’s influence over the European natural gas market and "diminished the petro-power" of major gas producers in the Middle East and Venezuela.

We will frack you

A PRAIRIE wind whips the flags that fly from a Chesapeake Energy rig near Kingfisher, Oklahoma, but the noise of the drill drowns out the weather. A clutch of roughnecks, smudged with dirt and tattoos, are coring the earth, bringing up a little slice from the shale formation below. If the tests prove promising, the well will be hydraulically fractured or “fracked”.

That process is transforming the natural-gas industry. Ten years ago virtually all of America’s natural-gas production came from traditional gas or oil wells reached by vertical drills. But companies were learning how to drill horizontal wells and how to use high-pressure water to break up the shale formations to release the gas inside.

Mexico Gulf oil exporting ports closed on weather

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's three main oil exporting ports remained closed on Monday morning after being shut on Sunday due to bad weather off the Gulf of Mexico, the transport ministry said.

Syria: Oil and gas thoroughfare plan now in jeopardy

Arab League sanctions on Syria threatens its drive to become a thoroughfare for Middle East oil and gas. As recently as July, Syrian officials signed an early-stage agreement with Iran and Iraq for a US$10 billion (Dh36.73bn) pipeline that would transport Iranian natural gas through both countries to Europe.

New Baltic Oil Terminal Likely Facing Delay

The opening of the Ust-Luga Baltic oil terminal has been postponed until next year, industry sources said Friday, days after Russia's safety watchdog said the port was so badly damaged by landslides that it risked a serious environmental accident.

Analysis: Iran adopts "wait and see" policy on Syria's crisis

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran, its crucial anti-Israel alliance with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at risk from an uprising against his rule, has chosen a "wait and see" policy driven in part by concern not to alienate anyone who might succeed him, analysts say.

Pakistan's prime minister warns United States

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Tensions among Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States jumped a notch Monday, with Pakistan's prime minister warning there would be "no more business as usual" with Washington after NATO aircraft killed two dozen Pakistan troops.

The Pakistani Taliban urged Pakistan to respond in kind to the airstrike, which NATO called a "tragic unintended" event.

Lust for fossil fuels brings the world to Canada’s oil sands

The helicopter swooping over once-pristine spruce forests provides a close-up view of why the province of Alberta in Canada is among the planet’s most coveted – and contested – petroleum hot spots.

North of Fort McMurray, a boomtown serving tens of thousands of migrant workers, Syncrude Canada’s oil sands operation stretches 192km².

CNOOC wraps up Opti deal to expand in oil sands

(Reuters) - CNOOC Ltd closed its C$2.1 billion ($2.04 billion) acquisition of Opti Canada Ltd on Monday, giving China's top offshore oil company its second stake in a Canadian oil sands property.

With the close, CNOOC gains a 35 percent stake in the troubled Long Lake oil sands project, which operates well below its 72,000 barrels per day capacity as operator Nexen Inc works to overcome problems with the C$6.1 billion project's reservoir.

Kurt Cobb: Why isn't the Keystone pipeline extension going to eastern Canada?

When Canada's oil riches are combined with its abundance of natural gas--it exports half its production to the United States--and its large deposits of uranium and coal, the country ought to be energy self-sufficient. So, why haven't Canadians pursued energy independence? One member of the Canadian parliament thought he had an answer all the way back in 1972. Don't worry too much if you can't follow his discussion of oil company takeovers at the time. His conclusion, however, is quite clear: The Canadian oil industry is largely foreign-owned and serves the needs of its corporate masters and not those of the Canadian people. Little has changed since then.

Ugandan kingdom demands 10 pct of oil revenues

KAMPALA (Reuters) - A traditional kingdom where most of Uganda's oil was discovered wants the central government to pay it 10 percent of revenues from the crude reserves once commercial production starts, its spokesman said on Monday.

India; Industry faces collapse as outages continue

COIMBATORE: A pall of gloom has descended over small and medium industrial units in Coimbatore ever since erratic power outages started affecting all activities in Western Tamil Nadu. The severe energy crisis has stalled manufacturing in most units. In the city alone, units suffer a loss of Rs 6 crore. Unit owners continue to pay wages as workers sit idle throughout the day. The threat of a hike in power tariff adds fuel to the fire.

Less state aid could mean more need in Sand Springs

Leaders of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which is administered by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, announced earlier this month that a funding gap will mean less assistance in the state.

The LIHEAP budget was cut by approximately two-thirds, leaving $16 million to fund winter heating, energy crisis assistance and summer cooling programs, according to data from LIHEAP.

Paul Udall - An undeniable alternative: the scope of the renewable energy market

Mounting pressure on natural resource reserves is opening up a host of opportunities for active investors looking to take advantage of global urbanization trends through the alternative energy sector.

Based on current consumption levels, the global oil supply is predicted to last for another 49 years – a worrying statistic, particularly as currently only 12 percent of the world’s population consume 75 percent of the global energy supply. If the developed markets maintain their insatiable appetite for power, and emerging markets begin to follow suit as they continue to expand, then the world faces a clear mismatch between future needs and current production levels. To counter this, a rebalancing of the energy mix is inevitable, increasing the use of renewable sources, with such a shake-up presenting a host of investment opportunities for those looking to take advantage of global urbanization trends.

England's wood fuel subsidy is 'threat' to Scots jobs

THOUSANDS of Scottish jobs are at risk because of Westminster Government plans to pay out vast subsidies to wood-burning power stations in England.

GM Volt owners can get loaner during fire probe

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- General Motors said Monday it will loan cars to any owner of its electric-powered Chevrolet Volt who is worried about the risk of a battery fire after a crash.

The automaker, which reasserted the overall safety of the car, had no estimates about how many loaners might be requested or how long the Volt owners will be able to use the loaner.

Western states report comeback of cattle rustling

SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - Cattle rustlers, casting aside saddle and spurs for modern horsepower, are roaming the West with four-wheel drive and GPS technology in a resurgence of livestock thievery considered a hanging offense on the old frontier.

State livestock officials said the increase in cattle crimes was linked to the slumping economy, soaring beef prices and the advent of handheld global positioning systems that allow rustlers to more easily navigate the wide-open range.

Waiting for midnight, hungry families on food stamps give Walmart 'enormous spike'

At the stroke of midnight, a growing number of Americans are lining up at Walmart not to cash in on a holiday sale, but because they’re hungry.

The increasing number of Americans relying on food stamps to survive the sluggish economic recovery has changed the way the largest retailer in the United States does business.

Carol Johnston, Walmart’s senior vice president of store development, said that store managers have seen an “enormous spike” in the number of consumers shopping at midnight on the first of the month. That’s typically when those receiving federal food assistance have their accounts refilled each month.

The New Story of Stuff: Can We Consume Less?

A new study finds that Britons are consuming less than they did a decade ago, with similar patterns being seen across Europe. Could this be the beginning of a trend in developed countries? Might we be reaching “peak stuff”?

Bold energy plan to end reliance on fossil fuels

An energy plan to end Denmark’s reliance on fossil fuels by 2050 and move energy production over to windmills and biomass was launched this Friday by the government.

But while the climate plan might bode well for Denmark’s green credentials and self-sufficient future, in the short term workplaces may be lost.

The plan is likely to be expensive for both tax-payers and businesses, and so to prevent companies from moving jobs to lower cost countries, a fund has been established to help subsidise the switchover.

Oil Climbs to Highest in More Than a Week on U.S. Sales, Syrian Sanctions

Oil rose above $100 a barrel in New York for the first time in more than a week on signs of economic recovery in the U.S., while sanctions on Syria stoked concern Middle East crude supplies may be threatened.

Futures advanced a second day, gaining as much as 4.1 percent. U.S. retail sales during Thanksgiving climbed 16 percent to a record. The Arab League imposed sanctions on Syria after the country refused to halt a crackdown on protesters. The country produced an average of 332,000 barrels of crude a day in August, according to the International Energy Agency.

Kuwaiti cabinet quits to resolve demands from protesters

The Kuwaiti government quit on Monday, parliamentary sources said, to resolve demands from protesters and opposition deputies that the prime minister step down over corruption allegations.

It was not immediately clear whether the cabinet's resignation had been accepted by the ruling emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah. If he does so, he may then also dissolve parliament before setting a date for new elections.

China aims to boost military links with Kuwait

Chinese warships started a five-day official visit to Kuwait on Sunday in a bit to increase military links between the two countries, according to a report.

Two warships docked at Kuwait's Shuwaikh port, the Chinese Xinhua News Agency said on Monday.

Raw Materials Topping Equities With Economic Expansion Intact

Commodities are beating equities for a fifth consecutive year, a sign that demand from developing economies is sustaining global growth that drove prices up almost fourfold in a decade.

Russia Transneft hikes fines for below par oil load

(Reuters) - Russia's oil pipeline operator Transneft will substantially increase fines for lower than agreed volumes loaded into its network, a company spokesman told Reuters on Monday.

Arab League Imposes Sanctions on Syria as Eight-Month Crackdown Persists

The Arab League imposed unprecedented sanctions on Syria, including a freeze on financial assets in Arab countries and a travel ban on senior officials, after it failed to stop its crackdown on protesters.

Iran oil targeted by Obama sanctions

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- President Obama last week ratcheted up the pressure on Iran's oil industry with fresh sanctions. The sanctions, which include much stricter provisions, are likely to put tremendous pressure on the Iranian government, but they may also cause a spike in oil prices.

Long Lines Form as Egypt Commences Historic Vote

Egyptians turned out in large numbers Monday for their first parliamentary vote since President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, even as military rulers said they would yield little authority to the new legislators.

In Fog of War, Rift Widens Between U.S. and Pakistan

After a NATO airstrike killed at least two dozen Pakistani soldiers, actions by the United States and Pakistan reflected a distrust that gets harder to repair with each clash.

Shell, Mitsubishi Sign $17 Billion Iraq Agreement to Develop Natural Gas

Iraq, seeking to boost power output after years of conflict and sanctions, completed the final accord for a $17 billion project with Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and Mitsubishi Corp. (8058) to capture natural gas from its oil fields.

Shell Chief Executive Officer Peter Voser, Mitsubishi Senior Vice President Tetsuro Kuwabara and Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Al-Luaibi signed the agreement to save and produce gas that is currently flared off in southern Iraq.

Libya's Waha Oil begins production at two fields-NOC

(Reuters) - Libya's Waha Oil, a joint venture with U.S. firms ConocoPhillips, Marathon and Amerada Hess, has begun crude oil prodution at the Dahra and Samah fields at a rate of 16,000 barrels per day, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Monday.

Statoil restarts 2 oil platforms after storm

(Reuters) - Two Statoil floating oil platforms came back online over the weekend after being shut Friday due to weather concerns but the status of a third facility was not yet clear.

Anadarko ups Mozambique gas reserves again

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. oil company Anadarko Petroleum said its major gas finds offshore Mozambique were actually twice as large as it earlier thought, adding support to hopes that East Africa will become another major gas production centre.

Anadarko said on Monday that the results of its Barquentine-3 appraisal well showed its fields had recoverable reserves of 15 to over 30 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas -- compared to total UK gas reserves of 9 Tcf, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

UK ‘backs Canada’ in EU oil sands row

The UK has given “secret support” at “the very highest level” to Canada’s efforts to thwart strict European rules on its potentially vast oil sands exports, a report claims.

Sarkozy Says 24 Reactor Halts Would Cost EU115 Bln in Turbines

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that a proposal by opposition political parties to shut 24 nuclear reactors would cost 115 billion euros in investment if they were replaced by wind turbines.

“Who would pay and where would we find them?” Sarkozy said of the 30,000 turbines that would be needed and would “disfigure” the countryside.

Spain’s Fersa May Miss Capacity, Sales Goals on European Crisis

Fersa Energias Renovables SA (FRS), the Spanish wind-energy developer whose stock has lost 46 percent since April, may miss its capacity and sales targets as Europe’s debt crisis dries up financing for projects.

Drivers still want electric cars, Nissan says

Demand for electric cars remains steady, even in the face of slightly lower gas prices.

That’s the view put forward by Nissan. The automaker says it is seeing unrelenting demand for its limited-production Leaf electric vehicle continuing for the foreseeable future, in spite of rumors that consumer fascination with battery-powered cars is waning.

Poor economy slows Hispanic birth rate

The number of babies born to Hispanics dropped below 1 million in 2010, a nearly 11% drop since 2007 that reflects the tough times.

Fewer people of all backgrounds are having babies because of economic concerns but the sharpest drop is among Hispanics, a booming population that contributes almost a quarter of all U.S. births and half of its population growth.

Climate talks open on ever-rising emissions

(AP) DURBAN, South Africa - Global warming already is causing suffering and conflict in Africa, from drought in Sudan and Somalia to flooding in South Africa, President Jacob Zuma said Monday, urging delegates at an international climate conference to look beyond national interests for solutions.

"For most people in the developing countries and Africa, climate change is a matter of life and death," said the South African leader as he formally opened a two-week conference with participants from 191 countries and the European Union.

China says "not optimistic" about climate talks

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's chief negotiator for climate change talks is "not very optimistic" about the results of global climate talks in Durban, state radio reported on Monday.

Countries will make a last ditch effort to save a dying Kyoto Protocol at global climate talks starting on Monday aimed at cutting the greenhouse gas emissions blamed by scientists for rising sea levels, intense storms and crop failures.

EU Demand for Climate Pledge From Japan, Russia Raises Hurdle at UN Talks

The European Union’s demand for a road map leading to the next legally-binding global warming treaty raises a hurdle that may snarl negotiations at the United Nations climate conference this week.

The 27-nation bloc said it accounts for about 11 percent of global emissions and that it can’t act alone on emissions blamed for damaging the environment. Limits under the Kyoto Protocol expire next year. Japan, Russia and Canada have ruled out more commitments under that pact.

After apartheid, Tutu aims at 'huge enemy' climate change

Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu on Sunday branded climate change a "huge, huge enemy" that threatened the common home of humanity, imperilling rich and poor alike.

Rice 2.0: Climate changes rice in Japan

Rice is responsible for feeding half the world, or more than 3.5 billion people. In other words, rice is important. A tweak to how the grain is grown, sold or eaten can send ripples through the world economy. Take Thailand, which supplies 30 percent of the world's rice. Government subsidies there threaten to raise the price of putting dinner on the table in Mexico. GlobalPost takes a closer look at a tiny grain with a giant footprint.

Land, water scarcity threaten food security: U.N.

MILAN (Reuters) - A rapidly growing population, climate change and degradation of land and water resources are likely to make the world more vulnerable to food insecurity and challenge the task of feeding its people by 2050, the United Nations' food agency said.

...Intensive farming of the past decades has helped to feed millions of hungry people but it has often led to degradation of land and water systems on which food production depends, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Monday.

Fukushima plant chief to go on sick leave

The head of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is stepping down for health reasons.

Masao Yoshida of Tokyo Electric Power Company has been in charge of dealing with the situation at the plant since the March earthquake and tsunami damaged the reactors.

The utility says Yoshida, who will be replaced on Thursday, is resigning in order to receive medical treatments at a hospital. The company says it cannot disclose his illness and level of radiation exposure as that is personal information.

...Yoshida spoke to reporters on November 12th when the damaged plant was opened to media for the first time since the accident. He said that he had expected to die several times during the first week of the crisis.

He added that when he saw the hydrogen explosions at the Number 1 and 3 reactors, and when his team was unable to pump water into the Number 2 reactor, he thought it was the end.

I can understand not being a happy man in that job. If he'd have been happy and not worried - he'd have not had a problem.


“The effects of radiation do not come to people that are happy and laughing. They come to people that are weak-spirited, that brood and fret.”

They guy will hear that for the rest of his life...

I have worked in a positive ventilation isolation suit on a few occasions-fortunately I had no real reason to worry, as I was well monitored and in a hot zone for only a few minutes total, helping with plugging some leaking steam generator tubes.

Now this guy who was the plant super-if he is an old school Japanese guy, then he was probably in the hot zone setting an example for the rest of his crew quite frequently.Apparently the entire neighborhood around the plant is a hot zone

My guess is that he is probably not long for this world.

he was probably in the hot zone setting an example for the rest of his crew

Taking responsibility for events? Far better than the firm he works for - TEPCO's dodge in court about how the radioactivity on other people's property is not TEPCO's problem as they didn't "own" the radioactive elements.

If the manager believes in an afterlife, may he find peace in that afterlife.

Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant operator 'ignored tsunami warning'

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant ignored warnings that the complex was at risk of damage from a tsunami of the size that hit north-east Japan in March, and dismissed the need for better protection against seawater flooding, according to reports.

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) officials rejected "unrealistic" estimates made in a 2008 internal report that the plant could be threatened by a tsunami of up to 10.2 metres, Kyodo news agency said.

I would not describe his actions-if my guess is correct-so much as taking responsibility for events but more as as simply doing his job, because he is not likely to have any authority other than that needed for the immediate job of running the plant.But I agree with your sentiments.

Re: UK ‘backs Canada’ in EU oil sands row

None of this matters. It will either flow to the world via a pipeline reversal, new Gulf route, or new construction to the west coast. It is a question of which will happen first. Regardless, if Europeans want to take a pass, many will purchase 'dirty oil' in any event and the world-wide pool is the same.

If the ban on oil sands oil make Europeans think they are cleaner and better than the rest of the world, well, 'whatever it takes to make it through the night'. If it only pushes a positon rather than doing something useful, most pragmatists will see oil sands oil as a necessary evil until something better comes along.

Of course, if something better was likely to be found and implemented, we could all push our nose in the air.

Politics and optics is the dirty fuel, methinks.

Cheers...off to work...Paulo

I am perplexed when I hear the Keystone XL pipeline (the US version of this controversy) discussed as a Climate Change issue, as if the pipeline itself will raise emissions. Certainly the tar sands process does generate a lot of CO2, but that's going to happen no matter where it's shipped.

Don't be silly. What is the purpose of that pipeline? Ofcourse it's not the pipeline itself that's the problem, it's the scientific fact that tar should stay in the sand if we don't want a high change of more then 2C warming which means we have only 500 Gt C left in the budget of which all the tarsands alone contain about 230 Gt.

So what to do? Well, we could build Keystone XL because the pipeline itself will not emit CO2. We could build Keystone XL because it's only 500.000 barrels a day, it doesn't matter much on the whole. The real question is: does an alcoholic put the bottle back in the closet after drinking only a little zip?

Edit: Your last sentence represents a classic prisoners dilemma: If I don't drink that bottle, the next alcoholic will. But the problem is: in order to prevent dangerous climate change we need to prevent the bottle going empty. The only solution is not to provide the bottle, but I'm aware, ofcourse, that Canada has no plans whatsoever to stop the exploration of tar sands. Indeed the Priest below seems quite satisfied with that.

Face it, the majority of CO2 emissions in the world come from three countries, the US, China, and India, and the majority of their emissions come from the burning of coal to generate electric power.

Emissions from the oil sands in Canada account for maybe 1/10 of 1 percent of global CO2 emissions. People seem to get obsessed about them because the oil sands plants are huge and unfamiliar technology, but in reality they make almost no difference to the global CO2 balance.

Emissions from the oil sands in Canada account for maybe 1/10 of 1 percent of global CO2 emissions.

Correction: Currently.

As I said: the tarsands represent the largest single source of carbon on the planet at approximately 230 Gt C and this doesn't include the additional carbon released from NG needed to produce the oil. It is a truly immense timebomb that we pass to the next generations.

We all know what's going to happen if we continue to ease extraction: we're going to use it all. We're FF alcoholics. The only way to prevent setting this timebomb off is to prevent starting the extraction (already too late) and ease of extraction via pipelines (maybe in time to stop this).

The only way to prevent setting this timebomb off is to prevent starting the extraction (already too late) and ease of extraction via pipelines (maybe in time to stop this).

I disagree.
Interdicting supply simply does not work with addicts. Especially addicts that control society.

The "only way" is to treat the addiction, which I am trying to do.

Best Hopes for Less Demand for FF,


Bummer. Ok, how about shock-treatment? :D

Best Hopes for Keeping Emissions Below 1000 Gt C

We need more hope...

Styno - I appreciate your point. But do you really believe the oil sands won't be produced whether the KS pipeline is built or not? In the last 20 years we seen 100's of $billiions spent on military efforts in the ME by the US alone. We've seen the Chinese spend 100's of $billion acquiring rights to FF around the globe. Just last year our "green" president granted a Clean Air permit for a coal-fired power plant in Texas. And a year earlier become a cheer leader for drilling in the DW GOM (although BP eventually messed up that photo op). And both France and Germany are giving serious consideration to backing away from nuclear...how do they replace that energy?

I'm no making a point for what is the right or wrong thing to do. My point is that TPTB and the public of many countries have been willing to sacrifice huge quantities of capital and human life for the sake of energy. And we haven't even come close to the worst of PO IMHO. And yet the world won't demand production of the oil sands which are economical today let alone what they'll be worth in the future???

But do you really believe the oil sands won't be produced whether the KS pipeline is built or not?

No, I think we (as in: humanity) are stupid enough to do it without much of a second thought. But the question is: should we (the public aware of it's dangers) just lay down and roll over and let the corporations and government have their way?

You ask good questions. E.g. how to replace fossil fuel? Well, this entire site is built around the idea that we need to find replacements, or at least try to move away from oil. Whether we develop the tar sand, the Arctic, the really really deep oils, methane hydrates or not: we're headed towards supply crunch anyway. Right? So you're not asking only the ones who oppose developing tar sands to come up with solutions, you're asking everyone to do so. Plenty of wedges have already been discussed here.

I also understand that, coming from the oil patch, you're not saying anything about tripling CO2 levels, what it does to climate, and if that obliges us morally to stop developing tar sands. I don't expect you to. Science has already done the job of providing the numbers and impacts (better to start stopping). The economists are increasingly clear about the long-term economics of our addiction (better to start stopping). It's up to the politicians and society to answer the moral questions.

It will take a long while to loosen the grip of established powers on politics and public opinion.

In the mean time: prepare for your afterlife, buy yourself a coffin that includes a sewage connection, 'cause our grandchildren will use our graves as toilets.

Styno - "I also understand that, coming from the oil patch" Obviously you haven't read many of my posts. You're confusing what I think should happen with what I think will happen. I understood the impact of AWG over 40 years ago before folks started using "AGW". Pretty basic historical geology.

Not only do I think the oil sands will be fully exploited I expect the world economies will become even more dependent on coal over the next 30 years or so. And although there will be much lip service nothing substantial will be done about AGW.

Yes: I have a different perspective than you by being in the oil patch. I can't be delusional about the impact of PO and how the world’s economies/govt’s will respond. I also fully understood PO over 35 years ago when almost no one outside the oil patch was aware of it. I also know what kind of world I want my 11 yo daughter to inherit. But I’m also an unapologetic realist. What you and I want doesn’t mean cr*p. The govt’s of the world will make that call. And those govt’s will follow the will of the people. And I have absolutely no doubt those folks will make decisions that you, me and much of TOD wouldn’t chose.

That’s the future IMHO. Folks can raise the fists in anger and curse the universe/govt/oil companies/pipelines/consumers/etc. And it won’t change a dang thing.

Rockman, you are obviously Canadian but thought something should be made clear to those who aren't.

Our PM is from Alberta (i.e. the tar sands province) and is obviously heavily backed by the oil patch including the tar sands. Harper also only received 39% of the vote so 61% of us don't want Harper and don't necessarily agree with his policies, ideology, etc which includes the tar sands. However, under our system, Harper has a majority and, therefore, is doing whatever he wants. He is representing his supporters and not the Canadian people as a whole. Not exactly the democracy we are supposed to have but there you have it.

The world's impression that what Harper does is what Canadians believe in and want is becoming a major source of irritation and embarrassment for many Canadians. Since this erroneous impression and the reality of Harpers rule is not mentioned in international circles very often and should be part of any tar sands/PO/AGW discussion, I thought that I would mention it. You never know, it might do some good if the rest of the world realized that a lot of Canadians also don't agree with what is happening.

Having said this, I do agree with you on pretty much every point and I also have no illusions of what all of it means or what will happen. Still, we can't just roll over. Canadians need to find our back bones again whether it is through Treks to Ottawa or other major protests including protests through purchasing power and lifestyle. For me, as a fellow parent, rolling over and accepting the stupidity isn't an option. If we do this, then we become culpable in what is occurring to our children’s future.

IIRC, Rockman is not Canadian, he's a Texan.

CRM, speaking as a Canadian, our system of government and representation (the Westminster model) has the advantage of providing both stability and legitimacy. True, Harper only received 39% of the popular vote. However, you overlooked one aspect of our constitutional code. There is not 1 election in this country; there is, instead, 311 elections where we send Members of Parliament to Ottawa. Like it or lump it, the Conservatives won a plurality of votes in a majority of ridings. Our model of democracy is based on the old English principle, "no taxation without representation" and that is exactly what it provides.

Harper didn't win a majority of votes. Neither did Chretien, Mulroney, Trudeau, Diefenbaker, Mackenzie King, or any government for the past century or so. But as prime minister, he has the right to speak on our behalf, regardless of whether we voted for him or not.

I look at places like Belgium, Ireland, and Israel where proportional representation holds sway and cringe. At least we don't have to wait for six months to find out who's governing us and decisions can be made, even tough ones, without additional layers of bargaining behind the scenes. One of the chief reasons why we are in reasonably good fiscal shape today.

You can quibble all you want about government policy. Dissent is welcomed in our process. In fact, that's precisely the role given to the leader of the loyal opposition. You have the right to petition and lawful assembly. Regardless, the government has the right and the duty to articulate policies on our behalf, even regarding energy and the oil patch.

Dissent is welcomed in our process. [..] Regardless, the government has the right and the duty to articulate policies on our behalf, even regarding energy and the oil patch.

And to silence the environmental dissent the government drastically cut back on the NRC, the Environmental Assessment Agency, Environment Canada and it appears that biodiversity and the chemical management plan are next. But it's great to hear that financially Canada is in good shape :-)

That's the role of the opposition to keep such matters in the limelight. More often than not, they do. This government has its priorities and it's known not to be green.

In all fairness, the Liberals ran on a green platform a few years back. They got trounced. The lesson was learned. Canadians may talk the talk but don't walk the walk. They'll vote for what they perceive as their economic interest. Paycheques trump all other concerns.

A few years ago I heard a pollster comment, what's the number one issue among Canadians? On a day by day basis, it is 'what to have for supper?' There's an element of truth in that. People view the world in tangible terms. The environment is so abstract it's a tough topic for people to get their heads around it. A bit like motherhood, they like it. But how many do you know vote for mothers?

Is this proper and good? Probably not. But politics is the art of the possible and Harper is an astute politician. Is he the best prime minister ever? Probably not, but he knows how to work parliament. The toughest job is not government. Any career parliamentarian will tell you, it's opposition. We as voters should never forget that both roles, when done well, are there to serve the greater good.

What you have to ask yourself right about now is whether a "democratic" system, whether it's the USA or CA, is in any way capable of grappling with problems that play out on a long term basis - like several election cycles long term. Especially given uneducated and uninformed (indeed, skillfully misinformed) voters who treat politics as though it were a team sport.

I am very worried about my country (USA).

...whether a "democratic" system, whether it's the USA or CA, is in any way capable of grappling with problems...

That's a question that we should worry about. All governments govern with the consent of the people. The genius of the English constitution was that it figured out a way to achieve that consent with a method other than brute force. In many ways the ballot box best taps into the Emperor Justinian's political axiom, "policy that affects all should consult all." But that implies an informed and engaged electorate.

I, too, am very worried. I'm concerned with the habitual use of 'closure' by my government to stymie debate in parliament. 'Closure' is a procedural instrument that was used only rarely but now has become commonplace. I'm also concerned about the precipitous drop in voter turnout in recent elections. When elections are being decided by half the public or less then there are a lot of voices no longer being heard. Many people are, for all intents and purposes, disenfranchised.

I'm also concerned about the dummying down of the citizenry. Civics was once the focus of the public education system, a system that prized intelligence and social involvement. Lately civics, indeed public education in general, seems to have taken a backseat to other distractions. This is a troubling trend considering the complexity of social, technological, economic, and ecological change, including resource depletion. Do we have the smarts to protect ourselves or act in our own long term interests? Too scary to think about so most people don't.

As Winston Churchill said, "democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried." It's been an experiment only three centuries in the making (if one marks Britain's Glorious Revolution in 1688 as the starting point). IMHO, it would be a shameful tragedy if it proves to be a failure.


What a rarity. Someone who actually understands how the Canadian government works as an institution and what the role of the Official Opposition is.

The funny thing is that the Republican Party in the U.S. is starting to act like the Official Opposition in Canada. Unfortunately, that just results in the chaos we now see in the U.S. Government. The U.S. system was not designed with a formal opposition role and a party acting in that role has paralyzed decision making.

Wet One, I would agree that the Republicans are acting as the formal opposition. But, as you imply, they are not the "loyal opposition." They can't afford to be. The presidential system is stacked against it. A loyal opposition makes sense where there is an impartial head of state who represents the country as a whole and who is above its politics. Obama is many things, and a man of many talents, but impartiality doesn't come with the job. And since the head of state cannot prorogue the legislature (like in the Westminster model) opposition tends to paralyze decision making. Non-confidence motions are futile. A prompt election can never be called to clear the air. One has to wait for the terms of offices to expire to reconfigure the political landscape. In the meantime, the opposition is out to thwart the reelection chances of the chief of state. That's an added ingredient to the gunpowder mix.

The benefit of the presidential system, when it works well, is that it gives rise to legislation that appeals to and appeases the greatest number of political actors. Therefore, it tends to be nuanced to everyone's best interest. The down side is that it stymies difficult decision making. Tough decisions leave either the executive or the legislature vulnerable. And the vulnerable are easy to pick off in an election cycle. Hence the on-going and never ending political wrangles of the beltway.

CRM – Not a Canadian but that would be my next choice after Texan (unless I could live/work in Jasper…then my first choice. LOL). Regardless of the political system many of us are often dragged along kicking and screaming down a road we’re very much opposed to. My personal edge is the US govt and citizens willing to swap blood for oil.

No offense to my Canadian cousins but I have little doubt the day will come when economic pressures will have a significant majority of the citizens not only supporting but demanding oil sand develop. Might be wrong but that’s MHO.

It’s not a question of rolling over IMHO. It’s a matter of understanding the inevitable path we’re on. A simplistic example: you can rail all you want against icy roads. But are you going to ignore the certainty of running on one during you winter? I see no more possibility of convincing the world’s economies to not do whatever they can to maintain BAU (or actually increase consumption like China) than convincing Mother Earth to not dump ice of the roadways.

BTW: it would be very beneficial to me and the rest of the US oil patch for the oil sands to be shut down tomorrow and never reopened.

Yes...I’m a dedicated pragmatic *ss. Just ask my wife.

CRM, you are confused about who is who on this site. Rockman is an oil man from Texas, and I am an oil man from Alberta. We are both from the oil patch, but they are different oil patches. They are somewhat similar in that both are running out of conventional oil (it is almost all gone), but different in that Canada has its oil sands and is putting it on production, while the US has its oil shales, and is doing more or less nothing with them.

When Rockman talks about coal, it is worthwhile to note that nearly 50% of US electricity production is from coal, while only 15% of Canadian production is. (Canada is 60% hydroelectric and 15% nuclear). The US is the world's second biggest greenhouse gas emitter after China, while Canada accounts for about 2% of global emissions, and oil sands are a tiny fraction of that 2%.

Explaining Canadian politics to Americans is mostly a waste of time because it's a minor part of the world to them. Suffice it to say that Canada is under the Parliamentary system, unlike the US which is under a Presidential system. Under the Parliamentary system, you don't have a President, you have a Prime Minister, and you don't vote for the Prime Minister, you vote for a Member of Parliament, and your Member of Parliament decides who is Prime Minister.

In the Canadian system, the Prime Minister is the Member of Parliament who can get the most votes of his fellow MP's. Since Canada has many more political parties than the US, the PM's party usually doesn't get a majority of the vote, but that doesn't matter. What does matter is that the PM can get legislation passed. If he can't pass legislation, it is considered a Vote of No Confidence, Parliament is dissolved, and an election is called. If the parties can't agree, they keep doing this over and over again until someone can pass legislation.

This makes it different from the American system in that, if the House and the Prime Minister disagree, it's election time, whereas in the US, it just results in a deadlock. The parties continue to disagree until the next election, and if they are still deadlocked, it lasts for another four years. This is what we are seeing now in the US - the parties disagree on basic economic policy and they can't agree on anything to resolve their rather serious financial problems. In Canada they were resolved years ago.

Isn't parliament dissolved only if the ruling party cannot get confidence and supply? I.E. The right to make taxes and confidence in their ability to rule by at least a majority if not half depending on the local rules?

Parliament is dissolved and an election is called if its term limit expires (5 years in Canada) or if the government is defeated in a vote of no confidence and a new government cannot be formed.

A motion of no confidence (alternatively vote of no confidence, censure motion, no-confidence motion, or (unsuccessful) confidence motion) is a parliamentary motion whose passing would demonstrate to the head of state that the elected parliament no longer has confidence in the appointed government.

Typically, when a parliament passes a vote of no confidence in an existing government, the head of state must respond in one of two ways:

1. Ask another individual, whom he or she believes will command the confidence of parliament, to try to form a government
2. Dissolve the elected parliament and call a general election to elect a new parliament

In determining whether another individual can command the confidence of parliament, the head of state examines whether that individual has the backing of a parliamentary party, a coalition of parties and MPs, or an agreement of support with enough parliamentary seats to withstand any confidence challenges against them. If this cannot be done, parliament is dissolved and a general election is called.

In the case of Britain, the head of state is the Queen. In the case of Canada, it is the Governor General. Unlike in the Presidential system, the Prime Minister is not the head of state but only the head of government.

In presidential systems, the legislature may occasionally pass motions of no confidence, as was done by the United States Congress to Secretary of State Dean Acheson in the 1950s [4] and was contemplated against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, but these motions are of symbolic effect only.

So, in a Presidential system a vote of no confidence is purely symbolic, whereas in the Parliamentary system it means the Prime Minister and his cabinet have been fired. Prime Ministers get fired much more often than Presidents get impeached.

Isn't parliament dissolved only if the ruling party cannot get confidence and supply?

The short answer, Squilliam, is yes. Budgets and supply bills always need approval from a majority of members. Defeat on these bills automatically triggers non-confidence.

Since money tends to be at heart of most legislation, this can cover quite a bit of territory. Particularly in minority situations, votes can result in quite the interpretive dance among the prime minster, the speaker of the house, the leader of the opposition, and the party whips.

In the worse case scenario, the crown could ultimately decide the question, but that is the last resort of last resorts. It's in everybody's interest to maintain the impartiality of the head of state.

Then that is pretty much the same as New Zealand. I guess Canada and New Zealand operate pretty similarly.

Yes, it is basically the same. The Westminster model of parliamentary government is, IMHO, Britain's most beneficial and durable export.

God save the Queen... and everything else that goes with it.


You cannot lump in Harper with the tar sands. I don't like Harper per se, but I see no alternative to tar sands development for now. I use a car. I use a chainsaw. I use gas. Would I like to see a different energy source than ff? Of course. However, right now there isn't one. I am prepared to cut my firewood with a hand crosscut saw, I have a full array of hand tools in case tshtf, but not until I am forced to do so. I think most Canadian's like the work ff do for us. In short, I am a good steward of my land and resources. I am honest in my appreciation of ff and the work it does. Therefore, I support tar sands development. I also submit I am as good of/as Canadian as anyone else and don't plan to march on Ottawa.....for now. No sarcasm implied or intended.


Rock, please accept my apologies if I misunderstood that sentence and misrepresented your position. I've read many of your posts as well as the posts of others, but I don't keep each and everyone's statements on file. I'll try not to read too much into what people write next time.

Perhaps we both share almost the same expectations about the future. Although I hope we will not eventually run out of oil, like we didn't run out of stones long time ago, but move to other more sustainable resources long before that. This transition might not be governed by reason and knowledge about AGW but because it becomes simply too expensive to use oil simply to oxidize it inefficiently in a car engine. Perhaps the recent Keystone-XL development setback by the civil protests are a glimpse in the future (hopefully).

Styno – No apologies required. I often confuse folks who think my pragmatic expectations also represent my preferences. My working in the oil patch can easily lead folks that way. But as far as protesters stopping the pipeline? Not IMHO: were it not an election year, the politicians not recovering from the BP fiasco and if gasoline were $5+/gallon not only would the pipeline construction be underway today, the US govt might have even offered some additional financial incentive to build it. Again, that’s the pragmatic side of me. And it obviously represents a very poor opinion of my fellow citizens.

But let me ask you: when was the last time you underestimated our society’s ability to do the right thing as opposed to take the self-serving route? A rather ugly question…but how pretty is your answer?

No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.
H. L. Mencken

Rock, I don't have a pleasant answer on offer. But neither does the drill-baby-drill gang imo.

Just looking at the economics of any answer is not going to shine a light at the best solution for inter-generational problems simply because modern economics don't span such a long time. Therefore only looking at economics will not provide any clues on how to move beyond peak-oil and prevent destructive climate change. Somewhere ethics and moral have to enter the equation.

The only thing that might make a difference is 3-4 more years of drought in Texas and Oklahoma. Along with similar events in India and China of course.

The forecast is about 9 more years of drought (with a possible wet year thrown in sometime) in Texas.


I sympathize with your position but there is always a larger envelope to consider.

I am torn, personally, between Greenish's position that a fast collapse would be very bad for humanity but very much better for the biosphere, and my personal pov that maybe we can skinny through the coming bottleneck without a huge dieoff at least in some places while preserving an industrial civilization and enough of the biosphere for life as we know it to continue.

As I see it, the only real hope for the both the biosphere and the human race is for the ff era to last long enough to allow the renewable industries to come to maturity both technologically and economically.

The only way I can see this happening is for the fossil fuels to last and be available in sufficient quantities for several more decades for bau to stagger on like a drunk old man headed home at closing time.This would mean that prices for ff would be high enough to make it perfectly obvious to everyone that renewables, along with efficiency and conservation, are our only real options, and too good a deal to pass up.

I read a heck of a lot of history.

Empires are realities, and wars are realities.

The pendulum of power is moving away from the west, for lots of reasons.

Speaking as a westerner, I want that pipeline built, because if it isn't, that oil will be bought up-contracted for-by the Chinese, and we will be at that much greater disadvantage later on, and at that much greater risk of going to war to secure our energy supplies.

It will be burnt in any case, and the co2 will be released in any case, and there are no boundary lines, fortified or otherwise, controlling the wind.

One thing that simply infuriates me is that so many intelligent people, including some personal friends, hold to a well meant but idealistic and short sighted pov such that they actually believe we can do without oil NOW or within the short time frame.Somehow they believe that they will have gasoline for THEIR Volvo, and fuel for THEIR vacation trip and THEIR air conditioning,that fruits and veggies will still be available and affordable in their neighborhoods.

The kindest word I can come up with to describe this pov is "naive".

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

We are already seeing obvious effects of energy stress on the economy, and the stress will only get worse. When it gets bad enough, all the programs so beloved of the liberal progressive heart (I love some of them and am heavily indebted to two of them myself-Medicare and Social Security in particular.My folks have made out like bandits on both of them) are going to be tossed aside like cargo from a sinking ship.

Environmental standards are for rich people.

An empty belly trumps all other cards.A pacifist will charge a machine gun when his own children are starving.

My greenest acquaintances will gladly see coal burnt in order to continue collecting their salaries or pensions and bennies when it comes to push and shove.

I believe it is possible that we are within a decade of the time when the various renewable technologies will actually be mature enough, technically, and deployed on a wide enough scale, in terms of manufacturing capacity, to begin shouldering the load in a meaningful way.By meaningful I mean that perhaps they can be brought online fast enough, in combination with equally strenuous efforts in the areas of efficiency and conservation, to mostly offset the worst effects of peak oil, peak coal , and peak natural gas.

As I see it, this long shot scenario- very fast growth in renewables plus a slow decline of fossil fuel supplies- represents the only real hope of all the little kids who are dear to me.

We are still rich enough that we could actually pull in our military horns by half or three quarters and return to a political stance similar to the one prevailing a century ago-North and South America could do just fine, if we are able to maintain a productive industrial economy long enough for the public to get solidly behind renewables and finance the build out of the industries.

(Most of Europe can do ok too, as their very low birthrates mean the Europeans have a slim but real shot at spending their capital on renewables plus efficiency and conservation and upgrades rather than more houses, shopping malls, highways, and so forth.)

Otherwise we must expect our grand children to live very hard lives-if they are among the survivors of the inevitable resource wars and the ALMOST inevitable collapse of bau due to energy and other resource restraints.

My greenest acquaintances will gladly see coal burnt in order to continue collecting their salaries or pensions and bennies when it comes to push and shove.

There's the rub. 'Our daily bread', today not tomorrow, is the bottom line.

Mac, thank you for trying to be nice to me but you seem to think that not developing tar sands is an end of the world scenario (grandchildren to live very hard lives). It isn't. But developing the tar sands entirely (alongside with coal, gas and hydrates) will bring very high chance of dangerous irreversible climate change which will be felt for hundreds if not thousands of years, not only by Americans but everyone. Quite a legacy to leave behind, don't you think?

I don't believe that the tar sands are the answer to US (or the worlds) energy problems, but I do believe that continuing on this path will make sure our kids have to deal with radical different climate. You as a farmer should know what difficulties a changing climate could pose. What's the use of drowning in oil when there is no crop to harvest?

I think your line of reasoning seems to be how every US president has acted since Ford recognized in 1965 what continuing FF emissions would amount to. They preach green, then continue to do the fossil fuel dance. US governments have spent roughly 40 billion $ on developing renewable technologies over the last 3 decades. For perspective: Keystone XL alone would have cost 1 billion and annual US GDP is 14 trillion.
The simple truth is: preparing for a post-ff future has amounted to near-zilch effort so far. If it weren't for the Danish, German and a few other governments renewables like wind, solar and biomass would still be in it's infancy now. I fail to see the solid US drive to a sustainable future that each new president has been talking about, so all this talk about the future of green tech and how it should gradually replace ff is purely greenwashing. There is zero evidence from past behavior that supports it. I'm sorry Mac, I don't buy that line of thought. Why should I think that future effort will be solid when we also merrily choose to continue developing even the dirtiest of the ff? Minus one plus perhaps one doesn't automatically equate to zero.

Another reason why I don't think that developing the tarsands isn't that important is that Europeans have remained prosperous while at the same time paying multiples for the same energy then what US citizens do. Over there gasoline costs $ 2,26 per liter and electricity is $ 0.30 per kWh, yet somehow kids aren't starving, civilization still exists and the biosphere isn't plundered. Indeed, I would argue that higher energy costs have been a major driver of conservation and development of alternatives. Perhaps the US could use some of these incentives to get the train going?

I agree with you about the military, it is largely a waste of money and resources. Do gargantuan military expenses provide better prosperity to US population now, and in the future, or is the money and resources much better spent on preparing a post-ff future? I don't think the answer is difficult.

Regarding your anger towards green idealism, you are ofcourse entitled to your pov, but idealism is an important part of why you and I live these prosperous lives. A bit of hypocrisy is not unknown to man, it certainly isn't limited to green idealists. With all that ethical oil talk... I also think that you are fighting a straw man. I don't, and think that few people do, claim that we need to stop using oil NOW. But we can and should set the bar for what is reasonable and wise to do for us and future generations, to force changes that otherwise will not happen through market forces alone. If that makes me naive then I'm proud to be called naive.

US governments have spent roughly 40 billion $ on developing renewable technologies over the last 3 decades. For perspective: Keystone XL alone would have cost 1 billion and annual US GDP is 14 trillion.

To add a little more perspective - US governments spent $40 billion on developing renewable technologies over the last 3 decades and got approximately nowhere - fossil fuel consumption is higher than ever. Canadian government spent $1 billion on oil sands research and as a result added 170 billion barrels to Canada's oil reserves worth about $17 trillion at current prices.

Europeans have remained prosperous while at the same time paying multiples for the same energy then what US citizens do.

Europeans are in real trouble at this point in time because of the financial problems in the PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain) and the likelihood that the Euro will collapse soon. UK and Norwegian oil production has peaked and is now in steep decline. The US is in somewhat less trouble, but its budget deficit is out of control and politicians are doing nothing about it. Canada is in relatively good shape and its banking system is arguable the strongest in the world, partially due to oil sands production.

This has been a reality check. We now return you to your regular programming.

A line in the sand must be drawn somewhere. If not now,when? If not here,where? The money spent on things like solar and wind continue to yield a downward cost curve. Fossil fuels have a limited and finite future. Capital is limited. Let us deploy it in those areas which show promise keeping in mind that the biggest bang for the buck continues to be conservation and efficiency.

There may be no way out of this mess,but what will you have left once you have depleted the tar sands? The fact that there are some hypocrites is no cause for inaction. Instead,we will piss away our heritage on dreams of never ending fossil fuels.

Tstreet and Styno,

I'm not really opposed to your guys positions.I understand the grave consequences of continued warming, and the overwhelming likelihood that is is here and going to get catastrophically worse depresses me no end.

You may have overlooked my line to the effect of "almost certain collapse" regardless of what we do or don't do.

We are deep into overshoot, and the very best we can hope for is a "good landing" where some significant portion of the human race walks away-this expression coming from the early days of flight, any landing that leaves you in one piece musty be considered fortunate.

I am not mad at the green movement;I chose my words poorly.

I am extremely frustrated with people in the movement not thinking things through, and taking economic, political, technical, biological, and evolutionary reality into due account.

Let's see what we agree on:

I think we agree about overshoot, catastrophic warming, ff depletion, and all the basic formidable problems besetting us.

Evidently I am actually worried about even more things than you guys are-the prospects of real honest to goodness drag down and knockout resource wars is as quite as real to me as my own fear of a heart attack or stroke or cancer-and I'm getting old and a candidate for all three.This fear is based on a lot of long pleasant evenings reading history and the assumption that human nature is basically fixed.

Now on a hopeful day, I think it is just barely possible that ( to make a poor analogy) the ship that is hauling the human race a safe port might make it;most days I am a pessimist , and believe the ship is going to run out of fuel , and that we are going to die as a result of starvation or storm or outbreak of disease on board.Take your pick.

The ship is industrial civilization;the fuel is fossil;and the journey is a long one-no port able to receive us exists as yet.But such a port, in the form of a truly viable renewables industry is under construction, and just might be able to allow us to to come to rest in sheltered waters , after a fashion, some time not too far into the future.

The catch is that the construction of the port depends on a continued supply of ff and business as usual for a good long while yet.

Warming is a given now, no matter what, if the science of warming is sound-and I for one believe it is sound.

As I see it, we humans can are going to burn the tar sands no matter what, unless we collapse first.

Being a true blue southern redneck lover of Uncle Sam, a Darwinist, and a person residing within his borders, I want us Yanks to have that oil.

As I see it, the concept of a world market in oil is going into the wastebasket of history before too long. ( I invite anyone who thinks oil can be transported across oceans given the modern state of offensive weaponry to Google "Javelin Missile video " and contemplate the fact that there are only a few hundred tankers in existence which move most of that oil.This missile is not even intended for naval use, it's an infantry man's defense against armor.Pipelines are easily repaired compared to the job of replacing sunken ships, and harder to hit, unless near shore with international waters nearby.)

We are at high risk of war, no matter what.

Warming, to an uncertain but possibly/probably catastrophic extent is a given, no matter what.

But we can make some things happen that improve OUR ( meaning the US and her allies) position somewhat, without suffering any harm that we will not suffer REGARDLESS of what we do.

Building that pipeline is one of those things.

It might enable us to avoid a bloody confrontation later on with China, and it might, just might, in combination with draconian efforts in the areas of efficiency and conservation, enable us to accomplish several things over the next couple of decades..

Among these things are a huge increase in deployed renewables, a giant increase in manufacturing capacity of the same renewables technologies, and huge reductions in the costs of the same..

It could really come to pass that the public will embrace renewables, if collapse of the ff supply comes about slowly enough;and if that happens, it would be politically possible to pull off the enormously hard job of cracking the renewables nut.

I don't know how long this might take-but I respect the belief Gingrich holds to about one thing at least-things can happen a lot faster than most of us would believe possible if we once focus our energies on making them happen.

We have nothing to gain by not building the pipeline, excepting a warm fuzzy good feeling that will turn into a leaden ball in our guts someday if we don't.

By building it, we improve our energy position for the forseeable future to a considerable extent, given due consideration to geopolitics and history.

The long run is of only academic interest if we don't survive the short to medium run.

We need all the advantages we can muster, and even then, it is not likely that we will be around as a society to worry about the long run.

I don't know Mac, I've now seen a few mentions about the new pipeline being critical and hell will descend to earth if we don't. Why? Can you substantiate that?

I've just looked at the US domestic production/imports chart and the production seems to decline currently with a million barrels per decade which means there needsto be one Keystone XL pipelines built every 5 years just to keep up with decline in production. This doesn't take into account the growth in domestic consumption. Ofcourse there is still some new conventional oil in the Atlantic/Pacific, the Arctic is also becoming accessible ironically. Perhaps the shale oil will postpone the inevitable a bit, but we all know what's coming.

I think we agree that what the US (and the world) really needs is a radical paradigm shift. And I agree this supertanker we're on has a rudder the size of a surfboard skeg. But you probably remember this line: History has shown that Americans are capable of doing the right thing, after they've explored every other option. It's probably true.

The local renewable energy company's business plan I'm cowriting (with a lot of others) depends somewhat on traditional energy becoming rapidly more expensive over time. Renewable energy like biomass, solar and wind is getting cheaper at the same time so these vectors cross nicely. But already high energy prices help move that crossing point closer. As things stand now, it looks like we can deliver at slightly above market price and expect to be price competitive in less then 5 years. But not everything is ready to go yet.

The pipeline is not critical, so long as current geopolitical conditions hold-meaning that oil is freely moving in world markets.Anybody who says otherwise is exaggerating for political reasons.

But if current geopolitical conditions change radically, oil won't be moving over the oceans very easily.A single air wing of obsolete fighters could wipe out all the tanker fleet within five hundred miles of pinch points in middle eastern waters in a few hours.

Any two bit dictator with a supply of good antiship missiles could do the same thing in an hour-not to mention controlling that water until we put boots on the ground there.I'm not sure we could stand the strain as we are stretched almost to the breaking point already..

Furthermore the Chinese are fast mastering a new form of colonialism-instead of invading , they are simply acquiring legal title to everything they can, cash on the barrel head in most cases.That oil will not be for sale at any price when the supply crashes, which it is certain imo to do within the easily foreseeable future.

It is much better for us Yanks to build on our a good relationship with Canada and have them (due to an existing pipeline system and a long standing friendly relationship) sell it preferentially to us.

We crack a lot of jokes here about invading Canada, but in the end, I think most of us realize that in a polarized and dangerous world, we are natural partners, and that if anybody seriously messes with Canada, they are messing with Uncle Sam, who just happens to be a paranoid superpower.

(I have great respect for our northern neighbors as soldiers and patriots, but they are not likely to ever build a military large enough to protect themselves if push comes to shove;we will have to pitch in and help, and of course we will.I used the term "slap silly" a few days back a little too figuratively for this literal minded forum, but I have no doubt that any military incursion of Canadian waters or attempt to take control of resources located in those waters would see American warships lined up along side the few such ships as the Canadians have of their own.)

Now as to hell descending on earth if the pipeline is not built-I have not personally said anything remotely that inflammatory, but I do recognize that others have, and often.

What I am saying is that much MORE reasonably SECURE SUPPLY will enable us to survive the coming shortages of importable oil much more easily;that this extra secure supply MIGHT be the difference, at some time, between really going to war, or not going to war; that this extra secure supply will contribute enormously, in the event of world wide energy turmoil-which I see as inevitable- to our ability to maintain some semblance of bau for a few more years than otherwise; next , that those extra years just might be enough time for the renewables to grow up enough to shoulder the load of declining oil supplies, in conjunction with conservation and efficiency measures, and in conjunction with a public finally hit hard enough, and often enough upside the head by shortages and high prices to take oil depletion seriously; this would be possible because it would then be feasible for whatever govt is in power to really bear down in war time fashion on the renewables gas pedal, and equally hard on the consumption brake pedal.

Now it seems as if you believe renewables can save us from collapse, and that you have hitched your wagon to the renewables horses. Good on you!

Personally, more for political than for technical reasons,I am not at all sure this is possible-but I am in favor of stacking the deck in any way possible to help it happen- and imo, the very best strategy for helping it happen is to is to buy as much time as possible.

In ten or fifteen years, instead of five, we will likely have three times as much deployed renewables tech, three times as many skilled workers in the field, pv panels that cost half as much,a substantial number of electric cars, etc.The odds of a successful transition away from oil will therefor be enormously improved- but imo, still a long shot.

That pipeline to me is like a lifeboat that serves a dual purpose as a ships launch-I hope we never need it for it's life boat function, but we would be idiots to turn it down, considering the totality of the big picture.

And of course ONE lifeboat is not likely going to be enough to save us- but that is no argument against having it, plus any others we can scrounge up.

From a realist's pov, it's an all upside bet to build the pipeline-this statement being based on the realist assumption that the Chinese will buy and burn that oil if we don't.

The co2 will circle the globe in a few months at the longest.

Warming is coming regardless.

War is highly probable if history is any guide .

I do my best to understand your position, it shows very bleak.

Strange that it had to come this far given that president Ford understood the problem, industry insiders knew it, the public knew it deep down and even Nixon did so. But noone acted and now we are here, dreaming of a tar sand pipeline that might save what is left. 40 years of chasing that wonderful oil dream.

So it's time to wake up, promote an aggressive campaign to move away from oil, by adopting different lifestyles, compact city planning, putting a rapidly growing tax on ff and spend the income on e.g. making cities liveable without cars. No more large shopping malls outside cities that everyone has to drive to, buy a bicycle (and use it!), etc. This is not the end of the world, it's smart, we're going to have to move away sometime anyhow and the longer we wait the worse it gets.

"We can no longer afford to consider air and water common property, free to be abused by anyone without regard to the consequences." --Richard Nixon, 1970

1970 for Ch*st sake!

Thank you for checking reality, 'preciate it.

So with domestic fossil fuel demand higher then ever and US production declining and China securing outside resources, the US is going to use all those trillions to finance the Canadians instead of building their own renewable industry? Sounds like a real good plan. Besides, the US needs to build one Keystone XL pipeline every 5 years just to keep up with domestic decline in oil production. Do you think that this is sustainable?

I've been trying to explain over the last couple of posts that there are other values then the value of oil, but here you are trying to tell me that the value of the tar sands is the only thing that counts? I think this is the central question. Please tell me: how do you value the death of the Inuit ice hunting culture? How do you value the life of a poor African living off marginal land in an increasingly warmer world? Are the US and Canada going to open it's borders to heartily accept climate refugees? What's it going to cost to move things like Manhattan to a higher place? How're Texas farmers doing lately? Biodiversity is only valuable for them treehuggin' idealists?

I think you, perhaps unknowingly, put the finger on the sore spot. We are entering a situation in which nearly only countries that have sufficient natural gas/oil/coal resources are going to do well and the ones that are dependent on imports are increasingly going to feel the strain on those resources. Do you think that exploiting the shale oils are really going to change that?

Thank you for watching.

So with domestic fossil fuel demand higher then ever and US production declining and China securing outside resources, the US is going to use all those trillions to finance the Canadians instead of building their own renewable industry?

Well, the Canadian economy cannot absorb trillions of dollars in energy investments - the low hundreds of billions is about the limit - so the US needs to find other ways to squander its money. So far, renewable energy investments have not worked all that well. And actually, most of the new investments in oil sands have come from China.

how do you value the death of the Inuit ice hunting culture?

It largely died years ago because it's not really a viable way to make a living in the modern world. Driving 400-tonne trucks in northern mines is a more reliable way for them to make a living. The Europeans who are boycotting the Canadian seal hunt need to keep in mind who is doing most of the seal hunting. The Inuit are not hunting seals so they can each have dozens of pairs of sealskin boots, they are hunting them so they can sell the furs to the white men.

Are the US and Canada going to open it's borders to heartily accept climate refugees?

Well, Canada is. They need about 130,000 skilled oil workers in the next decade or two. Many of the refugees may be coming from the US, though.

What's it going to cost to move things like Manhattan to a higher place?

It would be a lot cheaper to dyke the island. Ask the Dutch for details.

With our inherent cheapness, I'm not sure I trust the state of American infrastructure building enough to have millions of people living and working below sea level.

e.g. New Orleans/Katrina

The New York Times a couple of weeks ago had a very interesting
analysis of the European debt crisis. It turns out that except for
Greece the other countries in trouble like Spain, Portugal, Ireland
were not in trouble due to PUBLIC DEBT for improved public transit, green energy or green conservation efforts but for PRIVATE DEBT for
ironically the same exurban sprawl that led to the US subprime
meltdown. Roads to new exurban developments in Spanish or Irish
countrysides which were totally contrary to those country's own
long established traditions.
Some parts of Europe made the critical mistake of trying to emulate
US exurban auto-oriented sprawl McMansions.
Their natural tradition was totally different.
Having visited Spain numerous times since my brother lived there off and on for many years I noticed that unlike the US with isolated
farmhouses scattered across the countryside in Spain there would
be fields with maybe a few shelters but in the middle of the fields
would always be a town center on top of a hill (good for protection
I presume) where people actually lived.
And of course public transit in these places was superb compared to the US served by coordinated buses and trains and lately high-speed
rail between distant cities. Even in the outskirts where my brother
used to live by the Madrid airport which previously only had bus
service to the Metro there are now directly connecting trains.
It is critical to keep this in mind as the banksters from Goldman Sachs now appointed (NOT elected!) in charge of Greece, Italy and the ECB gut the public sector to preserve their incredibly stupid private investments in unsustainable sprawl.
It was PRIVATE DEBT which led to the European problems not government debt.
As usual where it was government debt as in the case of Greece once again the ugly specter of rampant military waste rears its ugly head.
Greece spends way more per capita for its military than France or Germany, something never noted in the Corporate Media of the 1%.

I am torn, personally, between Greenish's position that a fast collapse would be very bad for humanity but very much better for the biosphere, and my personal pov that maybe we can skinny through the coming bottleneck without a huge dieoff at least in some places while preserving an industrial civilization and enough of the biosphere for life as we know it to continue.

There are countries which are going to do a lot better than others in case of global problems. I think the factors include strong local energy and food production, stable climate and diversified economy. The current western population looks O.K by this metric but the developing and undeveloped world look like they're in a pretty poor position. I think for instance Europe's pledges towards climate are really enlightened self interest when they look towards their future energy/transport needs.

I believe it is possible that we are within a decade of the time when the various renewable technologies will actually be mature enough, technically, and deployed on a wide enough scale, in terms of manufacturing capacity, to begin shouldering the load in a meaningful way.By meaningful I mean that perhaps they can be brought online fast enough, in combination with equally strenuous efforts in the areas of efficiency and conservation, to mostly offset the worst effects of peak oil, peak coal , and peak natural gas.

The renewables are already mature enough to be deployed now, wind and solar I mean. They can be rolled out right now with a good return on investment and any country looking towards its longer term interests is going to be deploying as many as practical right now. The major problem is in places with a car dominated culture and infrastructure in that the electric car as it is conceived right now is a white elephant in terms of practical cost/benefit. If electric cars were built strictly in a city car configuration without as much attention to heavy safety or impractical aerodynamics their costs could be cut in half. If a car has a short range and mostly won't leave the city or suburbs why equip it to survive a 40MPH offset crash for instance?

I have to disagree with your characterization of electric cars.

I have a Nissan Leaf and love it. Net cost under $30K, which is an average price for new cars. It is VERY energy-efficient; I get 4.4 miles per KWH, mostly city driving but with big hills and plenty of air conditioning. That works out to 147 miles per gallon energy equivalent, 7 times as efficient as the average gasoline car.

The Leaf can be powered for 12,000 miles per year by 2 KW of solar panels, which you can now get for a bit more than the cost of one year's gasoline for an average car to go 12,000 miles.

That's great to hear.

Please drop in updates from time to time, let us know how it's going, if you care to. (Did you do this PV part as described, or just price it out as such so far?)


I have 12 KW of PV, installed over time.

The figures I presented are calculated. We drive only 8,000 miles per year on two cars combined, including 3,000 miles of summer vacation driving.

It is striking to me that the solar cost for an electric car is only a few years cost of gasoline for a conventional car; the solar panels are guaranteed for 25 years and will likely last longer.

All I was saying was that electric cars shouldn't be expected to be jack of all trades, infact cars shouldn't either. What is the point in a four seat car which only seats one or two people. Making an electric car lighter will make it much cheaper because not only are there savings on materials but there are also savings on the battery as well.

By the way the only way you're going to get 12,000 miles out of solar panels is if you only drive the car at night or you have needless duplication of battery capacity.

Driving at Night..

Squill, be flexible.. there are many shades of gray in this, many ways individual users will figure out how to make this work for them.

People on Grid Tie are offsetting their usage by sending their PV watts out to the grid during the day. Many people 'drive out' the watts pretty quickly, and are plugged in for greater portions of time. People with home businesses, Client driven services etc.. They aren't on the road all day, there's plenty of time for many EV owners to be charging off their arrays.. and by Techsan's figures, you'd have gotten most of your payback before year three.

Personally I am more interested in these:


Recumbent cycles with weather protection!!

I just think the obsession with expensive and complicated solutions leaves us begging the question about simple solutions. Fit an electric assist on that baby and 10 mile commutes will be a breeze. How many of these cycles could you buy for the cost of a Leaf like that with electric assist? Maybe 40?

I am not against the electric car, I dream of electric sheep afterall. However you're often looking at a payback time of a matter of months with added health benefits and likely lower health insurance payments (assuming here).

How about using the grid to supply your own PV electricity to the charging point at work? Takes a bit to work the books and a few new laws probably to allow it to happen, but self-delivery from e.g. a nearby windturbine that you co-own is actively being discussed politically here (Netherlands).

Certainly there are other approaches; electric bicycles and electric motorcycles (Google Zero and Brammo motorcycles). My electric bike gets over 1,000 miles per gallon in energy equivalent.

In addition to the solutions people have mentioned (I sell excess solar to the grid during the day and charge the car at 2 AM, which is best for west Texas wind and a time of low demand), a good approach is to put a solar roof over a parking spot at work. Google and other employers are already doing this.

Environmental standards are for rich people.

for rich people, and also for people who don't want to go extinct, although I agree with the gist of your post.

IMO greenies need to change the topic of discussion from save earth to save yourselves. Sort of like George Carlin's save the planet speech. The dialogue is too sugar coated right now, as if people have a choice.

Sure you will get ridiculed in the beginning but eventually the message will go through. Plus side is greenies can smirk later and say "I told you so"

George Carlin is full of BS and strawmen. It's funny though, but this should be, he's a comedian.

As I see it, this long shot scenario- very fast growth in renewables plus a slow decline of fossil fuel supplies- represents the only real hope of all the little kids who are dear to me.

oldfarmermac, I agree with you on this.

Canadians are use to smug snubs by Europeans. Seal skins were banned by the same leadership who turned a blind eye to fox hunting and bull fighting. The disappearance of white fur hats in northern Europe left both heads and Newfoundland fishermen out in the cold. Rather than a much publicized spring hunt on the ice flows, the Department of Oceans and Fisheries now culls the herds, quietly, outside the public gaze.

Good on the Europeans for not needing our 'dirty' fuel. Better, indeed, for them to settle for the 'clean' stuff that comes from Libya and Russia.

At least the Brits are interested buyers. Thankfully their animal activists are not part of this story line. Being that North Sea production has peaked, the good folks at Whitehall have a clearer sense of the need for secured supplies. The U.K. seems to be distancing itself from Europe with each passing day. Better for them to grab whatever lifeboats may be available to get away from the sinking ship.

Canucks will cry all the way to bank. In a world of tightening supplies, the pipelines will flow. Just as well. The Eurozone may be financially out in the cold anyway. Greece has already shown its willingness to boycott a boycott on Iran. The players on the international chessboard are in a state of flux. Much of the rhetoric is smoke and mirrors. Words minted for the ears of the hometown crowd.

The UK is probably secretly backing Canadian oil sands for a couple of reasons: First, there are two major British-oriented companies heavily involved in oil sands development - BP (aka British Petroleum) and Shell (which is 40% British, 60% Dutch). Second, British North Sea oil production is now in steep decline and the UK knows it will have to get its oil from somewhere else in future.

The UK is not part of NAFTA. What are they thinking. The Commonwealth is old news. Now it's NAFTA and other regional blocks. Maybe they can get the Norwegians to spare a cup of oil.

Norwegian oil production peaked in 2001 and is now in decline just like UK production. No, they can't spare a cup of oil, they're all sold out.

Norway Says Needs Urgent Measures as Oil Production Declines

Norway, whose crude production has dropped 50 percent in a decade, proposed measures to uphold its petroleum output, including enhancing recovery rates at aging fields, speeding up developments and bringing in more companies.


You never see that mentioned in mainstream media. What better case is there then Norway. Probably one of the most advanced countries on the planet and they can't halt their depletion...AK, UK, Mexico...the writing is on the wall...people just don't want to read it.

We're screwed.

Well, the Norwegians are not screwed because they have about $600 billion dollars in North Sea oil invested in other countries, which they will use to fund their national pension plan once the oil is gone. It is the countries who depend on the sweet, light North Sea oil they produce who will be screwed.

Having traveled there and understanding a little bit of Norwegian, I know that the Norwegians export 100% of their sweet, light oil for top dollar, and import heavy, sour oil for their own refineries because it is cheaper. They have astronomical gasoline and automobile taxes, and rely on their own cheap hydroelectricity and use trains and bicycles to the maximum extent possible.

The Norwegians know what is going to happen, but I think a lot of other people do not.

I envy them for their high level of rationality and foresight.

I hope they were also smart enough to invest that 600 billion in the actual ownership of hard physical resources in reasonably stable places rather than paper and electrons.

Sadly we where not smart enough.
60% is invested in stocks 35% is invested in fixed income securites aka stuff like the debt of the PIGS country's and up to 5% in property.
And at the same time our infrastructure is falling apart.
The last time we did any major buildout of our railnetwork here in Norway was in the 1960's And getting anything done here in Norway seems to take forever exept the airports. Our main airport just got the greenlight from the goverment to expand.
On another note, here in Oslo they are planning to use 5 years and 1 billion norwegian kroner to expand our subway system with 1.5km
And people here think Norway is preparing for peakoil? We are just lucky that we have some hydropower but other than that we are as ignorant and stupid as americans when it comes to peak oil.

To RockyMtnGuy: Compared to how much gasoline/diesel you get from median income we have some of the cheapest gasoline prices in Europe.

Some of the $600 billion has been invested in hydroelectric powerplants in places like Chile.

And I have noted in the past a series of rail tunnels built recently in Norway.

And surely some of the bicycle friendliness of Denmark and Sweden has crossed into Norge ?

Best Hopes for Norwegians,


And surely some of the bicycle friendliness of Denmark and Sweden has crossed into Norge ?

Probably but Norway has a serious shortage of flat landscape. ;-)

Norway are btw renewing most of their high tension lines and seems to be stepping up the pace. 300 kV is being replaced with 400 kV and thicker conductors in the old right of ways and they are buidling some new lines. Their grid has lots of bottlenecks since they have had so much excess hydropower that it more or less could be run as a set of electrical icelands, now has the power usage grown and electricity has become an export industry.

Ahem... that $600 billion might not be such a much if the countries (or banks) it is invested in implode... like Greece or CitiBank are in the process of doing.

Have you read how much money the FED was pumping into JPMorgan and Citi a couple years back?

Hint: way more than $600B.

New cars guzzle more gas than predicted
Government-backed fuel consumption data called inaccurate

Some new vehicle owners are complaining their cars consistently use much more gas than they were led to believe they would.

“I had done my whole budget based on what this car was supposed to get in fuel economy,” said Julie Fennell, of Langley, B.C.

“Now, it’s an extra 100 dollars in gas a month that I didn’t budget on. To me, that’s groceries for my kids.”

Fennell said she bought her 2011 Kia Rondo in March, specifically because Kia’s dealership and published figures promised it would get more than 500 kilometres per tank.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2011/11/25/bc-fuele...

Perhaps I should be more sympathetic, but I'm thinking more along the lines of suck it up, buttercup.


Fuel economy is as much to do with how one drives as what one drives. For example, flooring the accelerator uses more gas than a light foot on the pedal. Using the air conditioner burns more fuel. Stop-start driving burns more fuel.

Tests in a lab will never be the same as real-world conditions. My hybrid uses far more gas in winter than in summer, partly due to the fact that the auto-stop function (engine stops at traffic lights) doesn't kick in until the engine is warm.

I wonder, also, if people with fuel-economic cars just end up using them more, rather than less.

Fuel economy is as much to do with how one drives as what one drives.

Somewhere around 30% of the milage that you get out of a vehicle is caused by the driver. A hypermiler like me consistently get better milage than the advertized figures. By observing other drivers, it's easy to understand why they get such poor milage.

the styling and design of the vehicle is just as important and the mpg figures are done in test labs often on a stationary system..

The most important component of the fuel economy the IRF: Intelligent right foot.

My 2005 VW Jetta TDI gets me between 850 - 1000 km on 48 liter constantly ( 5.6l/100km - 4.8l/100km).

Just asking a little bit around would give you the infos you need to make the right decision which car to buy. But complaining afterward seems much more to norm.

People are so gullible that it is really amazing. There is no critical thinking on any issue anymore. This is why the world is in the state it is.


"Fuel economy is as much to do with how one drives as what one drives. / Tests in a lab will never be the same as real-world conditions."

There seem to be a billion reasons why the numbers wouldn't match up, but at some point there's just too big of a mismatch to call the methods used any good.

I drive a CRX Si 5 speed...the revised EPA figures for it are 33 Hwy/ 25 city. In normal commuting, 10 miles 75% highway each way after cold start, I'll get between 38 and 40 mpg. Extended highway trips I've seen as much as 43 mpg over the course of a tank and usually not below 40 mpg. If I've been flogging it on the back roads a lot the worst I've seen is 36 mpg from a tank. All of those are way over the EPA figures.

I occasionally drive a 2010 Chevy Malibu automatic (not mine)...EPA figures are 33 Hwy/ 22 city. This thing must have been engineered specifically for EPA's testing regime because on an 85% Hwy mix 10 mile back to back trip (no cool down really), I'll be damned if I can't squeeze more than 24 mpg out of the POS. I've even tried manually shifting with the little buttons (which gave me the best I got). One day I got stuck in a massive backup (which probably looks like everyday LA/NY traffic) and it gave me a whopping 18 mpg on that leg.

I'm used to being able to get over the EPA figures in cars, but I think new cars are engineered specifically to do their best on the EPA cycle and the only thing you can hope for now is to not do too much less. That Malibu will probably do 33 mpg...but only at 45 mph on a pancake flat road in 6th (not a typo) gear @ ~1,200 rpm

I had a '99 ZX2 with a 2 liter and a 5sp. I could get 43mpg on the highway. Manual transmissions I believe are necessary for get really good mileage. I was always the guy who was in 5th while going 25mph.

I wonder, also, if people with fuel-economic cars just end up using them more, rather than less.

Yes, S.T., they do. It is called "Jevon's Paradox." Stick around TOD and you will read much about the phenomena, mostly by way of unloving comments.



Well, no, they don't. Personally, I hate driving -- what a waste of time!

Do the math, and you'll find that you serve 5 years imprisoned in solitary confinement in a small box.

Jevon's paradox happens sometimes, but is not a law.

The article is rather confusing. There's no clear indication of the source of the fuel mileage data posted on the new vehicles. Are the Canadian car makers still displaying the old US EPA test, which had many similar complaints? Those old tests were used to calculate emissions and had a driving cycle with a highway speed section which averaged 49 mph, far below the speeds now driven on freeways after the repeal of the 55 mph limit. The tests were also run without running the air conditioning, which would lower the real mileage. As the article mentions, it would be best to use the newer EPA data, since the cars sold in Canada are almost identical to those sold in the US.

As for the lady's comments, she is driving a Kia Rondo, which appears to be a small "mini van" design with space for 7 passengers. The air drag on these is guaranteed to give lower mpg results in real world driving. She lives near Vancouver, so it's likely that she does freeway driving, resulting in high drag loads. The article didn't state whether she had the V6 engine or the 2.4L I4, the V6 would be expected give poorer mileage. EPA mileage for the I4 engine is: Hwy, 27 MPG, City, 20 MPG, Combined 22 MPG. The combined EPA mileage for the V6 is only 20. As noted, her choice may not have been wise...

E. Swanson

My father bought a Kia Ceed and the mpg was terrible. Nowhere near the mpg on their spec sheet. He sold it after a few months because it was costing a fortune to run. I have a suspicion that Kia cars are the problem.

I've noticed the only time I get the claimed MPG with my Focus is when I'm on the highway (55mph-60mph) or on the interstate (although speeds above 70mph start to drop it...especially when you get above 75mph).

Cold weather kills my MPG and so does a ton of quick trips (short commutes).

Externals are important; cold weather is indeed a mpg killer.
Also most conventional vehicles don't provide any instrumentation to let a driver know whether or not they are driving efficiently.
I see most people driving on my daily commute as if they genuinely don't give a damn. And most people view fuel economy as purely the responsibility of the auto company engineers; driver technique isn't part of the equation at all. In truth, driver technique is worth prolly a good 8 to, maybe, 20% of mpg.

One more thing. As a hypermiler myself, there are a number of things I do to improve the mpg of my Prius, but if I had to name just one thing that everyone could do to save a bit on gas in would probably be; stop maintaining speed up hills. Allow the vehicle to scrub off some speed going up hill and pick it up again on the "other side" (like tractor trailer drivers routinely do). Maintaining speed on hills gets my vote as my number one, avoidable, mpg killer.

The electricity to run a block heater in the car engine is much cheaper than the gasoline lost in starting and running a cold engine. The colder the engine, the more savings using the block heater.
With my pickup outside for a week in below freezing weather, I plug in the block heater the night before needing to go to town and the engine starts very easily and reaches operating temp by the time I am at the end of my driveway. Heat from the heater almost immediately after startup.
More comfort at less cost. (And less total pollution!)

Back when I lived in the climate, I tried to plug in whenever the low was going to be below zero F (-18C). But I'd only plug it in about 2hours before startup. I was mainly concerned about engine wear at startup, as the oil must be warm to flow. Below about -20F (-27C) ish, I'd add a half hour of trickle charge to the battery (maybe a half to one amp), which prewarms the battery, and makes starting a cinch. Only a couple of nights at roughly -30F did I plug in all night.

Oil companies also change gasoline formulation in winter by adding more butanol (I think that's it) to make for an easier start. But butanol has lower energy content than gasoline, hence lower mileage. The 10% ethanol in US gasoline also lowers mpg. The engine also runs more efficiently at warmer temps.

I used to get close to 70mpg in my 2001 Honda Insight. Now I get in middle 60s in summer and around 59-60 in winter. The dang ethanol has cost me a bunch of dollars.

It's butane that they add - too volatile for summer grade, but Ok for winter. Butanol is an alcohol made by very specific processes that you don't get in a normal refinery.

It is certainly less energy dense per litre than normal gasoline - but actually more energy dense per kg!

Butane, C 4 H 10, is a gas as far as I know and is not used as an additive in gasoline for obvious reasons.

While the density of Butanol is 0.810 g/ml or 810 grams per liter and therefore 1000 grams of Butanol has a volume of aproximately 1.23 liters, it's energy density is about 105000 Btu per US gallon. Since 1 US gallon = 3.78541178 liters, that works out to roughly 2800 Btu per liter. Regardless of whether you have 1000 ml of Butanol or 1230 ml, the energy density doesn't change.

Have I missed something?

Boiling point -0.5C


Yes, what you have missed is that butane (in small amounts) dissolves in gasoline and lowers its vaporization temperature so that it will vaporize and ignite at a lower temperatures.

Gasoline companies blend butane into gasoline in the winter so it will vaporize at a lower temperature and allow the engine to start more easily at low temperatures. However, if they do this in summer, the higher temperatures will cause the butane to come out of solution and form bubbles that will vapor-lock the fuel system.

So, companies blend more butane into the gasoline in winter, and less in summer. This is the fundamental reason behind having winter gas and summer gas, and one of the reasons for not storing gasoline too long.

Thanks NAOM and Rocky!

Should have done a better job at checking the facts myself before commenting!


stop maintaining speed up hills.

I agree 100% with this quote. I try to gradually increase the vehicle speed before the hill and then keep the accelerator pedal in a fixed position when on the hill, gearing down when necessary -- the vehicle naturally slows down on the hill. I see a lot of drivers doing the opposite, slowing down before the hill (even braking), then pressing the pedal the floor on the uphill, which is a horrific waste of energy.

If there's a downhill ahead, I place the vehicle in neutral well before the crest of the hill. I want the vehicle traveling as slow as possible at the crest, then I let the vehicle gravity feed itself in neutral down the hill. On long, steep hills, you can sometimes pick up a dangerous amount of speed, but this does wonders to the milage. Once the flats, I let the vehicle slow down to 80-90 km/h (50 - 55 mph) before pressing lighly on the accelerator to maintain this speed.

I try not to let corners affect the speed, which can at times lead to squealing tires.

Hypermiling is a magnitude easier when you're the only one on the road. As you can imagine, hypermiling is not for the faint of heart, especially because of the reaction from other drivers (even the cops) who have no idea what you're doing. They simply assume that you don't know how to drive, but the opposite is true. On the plus side, you hardly ever have to replace your brakes.

Hypermiling is not as dangerous as you might think -- I have an excellent driving record. You do need to be extremely alert at all times. Ability to anticipate what may lie ahead is critical. I suspect that 99% of drivers would fail a hypermiling test.

It should get easier over time, as the roads empty out and the gas guzzling racers become broke and stranded.

I've become a considerably slower and safer driver, and in the past I would have felt threatened and annoyed by the tailgaters and speedsters. Now I just feel pity for them. Let the dead bury their own dead.

It should get easier over time, as the roads empty out and the gas guzzling racers become broke and stranded.

I've been waiting and waiting and waiting for this scenario!

I turn my car off at times (don't recommend unless you know what will happen) when I'm coming up to a stop sign. I've literally coasted for probably a mile plus in traffic with the car off. The key is timing. Make sure you know you have enough momentum to make the stop sign/stoplight. I tell my wife i'm getting infinity to the gallon. The steering wheel will lock, so you need to turn the key back over (not all the way). Sometimes I forget to restart it :) I live in an area with not much heavy traffic, so i can get away with these tactics. I'm amazed at the people who will accelerate into a stoplight...

I do not reccommend turning off the ignition. You could lose the pressure in your brakes, which you might need if other traffic gets in the way. Also, a steering lock engages as soon as I turn my steering wheel, making avoiding manouvers impossible. Modern car fuel systems often cut fuel flow to zero during decceleration or braking. My car also engages the alternator to recharge the battery preferentially during braking. It also has automatic stop/start on the engine, so as soon as I idle in neutal (manual gear change) the engine cuts. Restarts as I touch the clutch pedal.

In this country (UK) you would get a ticket, naybe even a driving ban, if you were spotted by the police.

Frugal: "The steering wheel will lock, so you need to turn the key back over"

If your steering is locking then that is BAD. In my Honda the ignition has four positions: Off&Lock, Accessory, Ignition On, Starter. I can turn the engine off without having the steering lock for an instant. If you want to continue doing that and not kill yourself or others rig an ignition kill switch you can activate without touching the key. The problem is that one day you'll have it locked for that moment and something will happen - you'll try to turn the wheel but it won't go, the key won't move because the wheel is putting pressure on the lock mechanism, your brain will lock, and you'll go flying off the road or into someone. Feces occurs.

RalphW: "I do not reccommend turning off the ignition. You could lose the pressure in your brakes...

The vacuum brake booster, as long as it's working properly, will retain approximately one good hard stab on the brakes, or several smaller brake presses before the reservoir is depleted. After that, the brakes are unassisted - you can still stop the car, but it'll take a Herculean effort. I used to live in a different place and took a road where EOC made sense...I was able to engine off coast for over 2 miles of gentle downhill...if I had used the brakes for any reason I would put the car back into gear with the ignition still off and give it a few seconds of rotation to rebuild vacuum.


You need to turn the key back over in my car it the wheel will lock. Another annoying thing about my car is the headlights will turn off, even if they are on...must be a Ford thing.

I've been doing it for years...with all my vehicles. I don't live in a big city or even an area with much traffic. I don't even know if it saves any gas. In a manual transmission its easier then an auto. I use to shift my ZX2 without clutching...there is a "sweet spot" where you can shift right into gear with no grinding/etc. The clutch is still fine last I checked (the guy I sold it to)..its well over 100K miles.

It's pointless to turn off the ignition in a modern car as you decelerate because the fuel injection computer will shut off the fuel injectors anyway. It used to work in the old days of carburetors because they were simple, stupid devices which used to burn a lot of gas on deceleration and acceleration.

The best idea is to use restraint while accelerating, and keep your maximum speed down, in which case the computer will use its economy programming. Give the computer a chance to do its thing.

Huh? How does that work? That would mean the engine would shut off?

The only problem with what I'm doing is putting more strain on the starter.

My buddy just traded in a not even 3 year old Suburban (fully loaded/$40K+). It had just over 100K and it was already knocking like crazy. I guess when he was talking to the salesman, he made sure to talk really loud so the guy wouldn't hear the engine! They even put some very heavy weight oil in (bitumen? :)) to try to quiet it down, but it wasn't helping. I think cars today just aren't built as well as they were in the past.

When the fuel injection computer detects that throttle is closed, it just shuts off the engine fuel flow until the rpm reaches idle. There's no point in turning off the ignition because there's no fuel flow anyway. Just take your foot off the throttle.

It's very difficult to beat these new computerized systems. Even the modern dual-clutch automatic transmissions are impossible to beat with a manual because they can pick the shift points much better than you can and shift nearly instantaneously. Just pick the Economy mode for best fuel economy.

Of course, they have no torque converter and six, seven, or even eight speeds, which makes them far, far more efficient than the two-speed Powerglide slushboxes I grew up with.

When the fuel injection computer detects that throttle is closed, it just shuts off the engine fuel flow until the rpm reaches idle.

So I've been doing it all wrong? Instead of shifting my manual transmission into neutral, I should leave the vehicle in gear but with my foot off the gas. In neutral the motor is idling but in gear with my foot off the throttle, the fuel is completely shut off. Is this really true??

Yes, that's right. With the old carburetors shifting into neutral was worthwhile because they actually sucked quite a bit of fuel into the engine during deceleration, but the modern fuel injection systems just shut the fuel off completely during deceleration. There's really no point in shifting into neutral or shutting off the engine on deceleration.

And of course the hybrid systems recharge the battery during deceleration and then automatically shut the engine off at stoplights, which makes for even better fuel economy.

Maybe, maybe not - it's a bit of a balancing act and depends very much on the road, the car and probably very many other factors too.

Coast and burn is undoubtedly the most efficient way to drive (maybe not the most sociable though).

With foot-off-the-pedal and still in gear, the engine will be using no fuel but is providing a breaking force so you slow down quicker. In neutral, there is the minimal amount of fuel used, but far less resistance, so you coast far longer.

Your best bet is to keep a record of fuel usage and distance per fill-up and try small changes in driving style to see which works out best for your average drive and your specific car.

"Even the modern dual-clutch automatic transmissions are impossible to beat with a manual because they can pick the shift points much better than you can and shift nearly instantaneously."

On a flat, dry road. On ice, forget it. (Low torque on both wheels, let's upshift!, followed by the whoomph of hitting the ditch.) And I don't like the lack of engine braking either.

Starters have gotten so much better that I haven't had to bump-start a car in ages, and the 21 year old pickup is still on the original starter too. And with the fuel injection you have to have enough power to run the computer and fuel pump, so you can't bump-start a car with a completely flat battery anymore anyway.

But I'm glad to see someone else remember the dreaded Powerslide transmission.

I think that most or all of the dual-clutch automatics have a manual mode that you could use when driving on ice or want some engine braking.

You haven't been able to push-start most automatics for a long time. The designers have been leaving the extra hydraulic pump off the output side of the transmission that you need to get it to shift into gear when the engine isn't running, so they stay in neutral and the engine won't turn over if you push them.

The old two-speed Powerglides did have an extra pump on the output shaft, so that you could push start them if you had to - one of their few redeeming qualities.

And I don't like the lack of engine braking either.

An engine brake is not an anti-lock brake.

I'm thinking more along the lines, of "quit driving with your foot on the brake fool!". So many drivers have heavy feet, not only to they go too fast, but lack of planning means they are constantly using the brakes. I routinely do better than the EPA fuel economy estimates, its not the estimates its the stupid (speed)-greedy drivers.

A well tuned vehicle with the right tires at the right pressure and a light steady foot are the three keys to good fuel economy , everything else held equal.

A light foot equals a lower steadier speed and a lot less need for braking.All the other suggestions here are good ones too.

And sometimes vehicles that are supposed to be gas hogs aren't.

I recently drove six hundred miles from the western end of Va up I81, down I64, and up I95 to Ruther Glen in our elderly 91 Ranger pickup truck with two wheel drive five speed and four liter v6-it's a hot rod.

But it is also perfectly maintained, and has a very tall rear axle, so the engine turns over slow in fifth gear-only about twenty one or twenty two hundred rpm at sixty five mph.

I kept her either at the speed limit or ran with the traffic-over the limit-all the way.She got 27.9 mpg.Our last new truck before that-a 67 f100 full size with a 352(about six liters) and a three speed stick and a low ratio rear axle got a little better than 14 on the same trip.

Half our problems could be solved if everybody wouls just take a Scots Irish hillby farmer approach to our throwaway culture and throw it away.

I will most likely never own a newer truck -or even another truck, except for the ones we have now.They will last if you take care of them.

And if you leave them in the driveway except when you really need them, they burn surprisingly few gallons of gasoline.

Our Yaris model was also listed as not making the grade. Funny...with a built in tach we can commute at 110 km/h and not break 3,000 rpm with a red line of more than 6,000. It is an excellent and affordable commuter. If we slow it down 20% the efficiency is incredible and more than affordable. At around a $14,000.00 purchase price new, (with a few goodies) it makes buying a Prius crazy as the payback simply isn't there. I would buy another, tomorrow.

We should have spent more money and bought a Yaris. Can you fit 3 car seats in the back (you can in a Ford Focus)?

“Now, it’s an extra 100 dollars in gas a month that I didn’t budget on. To me, that’s groceries for my kids.”

I could be very wrong ofcourse, but I really have a hard time believing the second sentence. It sounds real heartbreaking, but because your car uses $100 more a month you cannot feed your kids well? I see two options:
1) it's a real poor family, but why on earth do you buy a new car in such case? And why such a big and powerfull one (smallest is 2.4L)?
2) they are middle classed, in which case this must be baloney. Ditch the newspaper, the gym, the gadgets, less new cloths, hair dye, no far-away trips, etc. But why the hell less food for the kids!?!

Btw, the car did 425 miles per tank instead of 500, she says, which cost her $100 per month. What the heck? How much does she drive? I smell exaggeration...

What the heck? How much does she drive? I smell exaggeration...

She lives in Langley, which is a far-flung, big-box, sub(ex)urb of Vancouver. I would say these Vancouver outer suburbs are indistinguishable from any other North American suburbs. Maybe she's not lying, just driving a hell of a lot?

suck it up, buttercup

Truer words were never spoken.

All the suggestions on how to change driving habits? Pah, it's all just "BAU+" thinking.

The _real_ solution is the car that burns no fuel at all, as you telecommute from home. *evil grin*

re: New cars guzzle more gas than predicted

She has a point. The Canadian government rates her car at 9.2 L/100 km combined, which works out to 25.6 miles per US gallon. The US EPA rates it at 22 mpg combined.

If you take the fuel tank size, 60 L, if it gets 9.2 L/100 km, it should go 652 km on a tank. If it gets US fuel economy, 60 L = 15.8 gallons, so it should go 348 miles or 561 kilometres on a tank. If you assume city driving, the EPA rating is 20 mpg, so it should go 316 miles or 508 km.

She's only getting 425 km on a tank, so her car is burning 14.3 L/100 km, which translates to about 16.4 mpg. That's truly dismal fuel economy for an imported 4-banger.

Now, for the Americans in the crowd, I'd like to point out that gasoline in Langley, which is a suburb of Vancouver, is currently selling for about $1.28 per litre, which works out to over $4.80 per US gallon. No wonder she's unhappy.

She needs to trade it in for a Kia Optima Hybrid for instance (37 mpg combined). Alternatively she can use the Metro Vancouver bus system. She can stop driving and the kids can continue to eat. (A choice that many people might have to make in the not-too-distant future.)

Langley Centre

Langley Centre is the major public transit exchange serving the City of Langley and the Township of Langley, British Columbia, Canada. It is home to Langley's bus routes and community shuttle routes; some of Langley's bus routes connect to the SkyTrain system at Surrey Central Station. Most of Langley's community shuttles originate from Langley Centre, except for the C70.

From the economic front...

Secret Fed Loans Gave Banks Undisclosed $13B

Saved by the bailout, bankers lobbied against government regulations, a job made easier by the Fed, which never disclosed the details of the rescue to lawmakers even as Congress doled out more money and debated new rules aimed at preventing the next collapse.

A fresh narrative of the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009 emerges from 29,000 pages of Fed documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and central bank records of more than 21,000 transactions. While Fed officials say that almost all of the loans were repaid and there have been no losses, details suggest taxpayers paid a price beyond dollars as the secret funding helped preserve a broken status quo and enabled the biggest banks to grow even bigger.

New Reports Warn of Escalating Dangers From Europe's Debt Crisis

PARIS — Warnings that the debt crisis in Europe could cause credit to dry up across the global banking system, endangering the world economy, multiplied on Monday despite fresh efforts by European leaders to prevent the euro monetary union from fracturing.

Retail sales break records, Cyber Monday up next

Retail sales broke records during the Thanksgiving weekend, giving a needed boost to a long-suffering economy and raising retailers' hopes for the best holiday shopping season ever.

I hate to be a party pooper but I suspect the 2011 Black Friday sales will prove to be a blip. Americans are somewhat isolated from the storm clouds forming elsewhere and are just too broke to care. Shopping is a national obsession and catharsis. The consumer mindset is too well tuned to be bothered by the real world. When the going gets tough, and if there is a residue of outstanding credit, buy!

Meanwhile, it will be a miracle if the global banking system lasts until Christmas. A report that the IMF is be willing to bailout Italy shows the depth of desperation to keep the behemoth slumbering along. That was unthinkable a few short months ago and a lively bone of contention at the last G20 meeting.

BAU is the non-negotiating point. It once was believed that BAU meant that "America's lifestyle is not negotiable." That's yesterday. BAU has been narrowly redefined lately to mean that the biggest banks must grow even bigger. Otherwise they won't lend to each other and there will be an immediate stop to worldwide transactions. That's the real fear. That's the real blackmail. Hence the Federal Reserve can loan banks an undisclosed $13 billion. Hence the International Monetary Fund can cough up $600 billion for Italy. Germany is having trouble selling its bonds. Who'll prime that pump? Who knows? Elsewhere the bonus cheques continue to be doled out to the money-changers. The smartest guys in the room (think Enron) are to be paid, no questions asked.

Americans are somewhat isolated from the storm clouds forming elsewhere and are just too broke to care. Shopping is a national obsession and catharsis. The consumer mindset is too well tuned to be bothered by the real world. When the going gets tough, and if there is a residue of outstanding credit, buy!

I don't think that's true. The savings rate increased in October.

Black Friday may prove to be a blip because people planned for it, not because Americans are spending fools. We'll see how the rest of the holiday season goes. In previous years, sales were good on Black Friday, but not as good as the holiday season wore on.

I hope you're right. It would be good news if the savings were sufficient to pull the US economy all the way through the Christmas season. Two or three years of putting extra aside and debt repayment can make a serious difference in people's spending abilities. Belt tightening does pay off.

What's happening in Europe is a big worry. The banks are well positioned to benefit from the fear of fiscal contagion and a credit freeze. The stakes are too high to allow it to go south. Hence governments have been very generous to the financial services sector in policy making. Likewise, it's in everybody's interest to keep the system rolling. There's too much connectivity - one piece goes down, it will all come down.

Therein lies the $64,000 questions. Will all the pieces stay together in the short run? Can it for the long term? Have we reached the limits of growth? What happens if it stops?

OECD Warns of Europe Contagion

PARIS—The global economic outlook has deteriorated significantly, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Monday

In its twice-yearly report on the global economic outlook, the OECD lowered its growth forecasts for the world's largest economies, and said the euro zone has fallen into recession. It also warned that the bloc's debt crisis, now affecting countries previously seen as safe havens, could "massively escalate economic disruption if not addressed."

The OECD warned that possible but unlikely outcomes, such as a disorderly default on government debt, or a break up of the currency area would have repercussions around the world.

"A large negative event would, however, most likely send the OECD area as a whole into recession, with marked declines in activity in the United States and Japan, and prolong and deepen the recession in the euro area," Mr. Padoan wrote. "The emerging market economies would not be immune, with global trade volumes falling strongly, and the value of their international asset holdings being hit by weaker financial asset prices."

Either way, it's important to keep in mind that savers of fiat money are being punished, as it's value is inflated away and you get an artificial 0% in the bank. Bernanke, and I suspect those who follow him, have all but promised to keep this state of affairs indefinitely.

Which means all incentives are to spend. So the question is what to spend the money on.

Yepp. I need advice. I don't have a house to invest in.

Broken link to Bloomberg?

Works for me.

No, Black Friday Sales Were Not Up 16% (not even 6%)

If its the Monday after Black Friday, then its national hype the fabricated data day!

Every year around this time, we get a series of loose reports coincident with Black Friday and the holiday weekend. Each year, they are wildly optimistic. And like clockwork, the media idiotically repeats these trade organizations spin like its gospel. When the data finally comes in, we learn that the early reports were pure hokum, put out by trade groups to create shopping hype. (Yes, the Media ALWAYS screws the pooch big time on this one, with the occasional exception).

Let’s start with this whopper from an utterly breathless press release from the National Retail Federation:

“U.S. retail sales during Thanksgiving weekend climbed 16 percent to a record as shoppers flocked to stores earlier and spent more, according to the National Retail Federation..."

No, retail sales did not climb 16%. Surveys where people forecast their own future spending are, as we have seen repeatedly in the past, pretty much worthless.

We actually have no idea just yet as to whether, and exactly how much, sales climbed. The data simply is not in yet.

The most you can accurately say is according to some foot traffic measurements, more people appeared to be in stores on Black Friday 2011 than in 2010.

Video: State of the Oceans 2011

Here’s Desdemona giving a presentation on the accelerating destruction of the oceans by various human activities. It’s basically Graph of the Day with narration.

Prices on gasoline are coming down just in time for Christmas shopping season. I wonder if they think it will keep getting cheaper in January, when the credit card bills show up? With this oil price holding just under $100, I think they are in for a surprise.

One barrel of oil is 42 gallons. After refining it, they sell:

19.3 gallons of gas (at about $3.30/gallon) for $63.69
9.83 gallons of Distillate Fuel Oil (Inc. Home Heating and Diesel Fuel) (at $4.00/gallon) for $39.32

and the rest is turned into small quantities of other products, such as Asphalt and Road Oil, which makes a little more money.

The first two, most important refined products, total up to $103.

That is not a lot of profit. I don't think this trend can continue much longer, and the people who are counting on it are in for a rude awakening.

EDIT: related, and informative chart. Looks like gas price has been following the Brent price moving average.

Don't forget that your price is close to the retail price at the pump, which includes what ever taxes the states and Feds apply. It would appear that there is even less profit in each barrel than you suggest...

E. Swanson

Plus a decent refinery gain makes 42 gallons into more like 47 and Jet A1 kerosene yield is 12%

from http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/gasoline/whats_in_barrel_oil.html

Product Percent of Total
Finished Motor Gasoline 51.4%
Distillate Fuel Oil 15.3%
Jet Fuel 12.3%

Still Gas 5.4%
Marketable Coke 5.0%
Residual Fuel Oil 3.3%
Liquefied Refinery Gas 2.8%
Asphalt and Road Oil 1.7%
Other Refined Products 1.5%
Lubricants 0.9%

USAID-Georgia Pipeline Project to Benefit Arab Royals

The U.S.-backed construction of a 47 kilometer natural-gas pipeline is being touted as a means of promoting "energy security" in the former Soviet republic of Georgia; the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), however, is not advertising the fact that a corollary beneficiary of this assistance package includes the Ras al-Khaimah (RAK) monarchy, rulers of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) principality that owns the Poti Free Industrial Zone (FIZ) in Western Georgia.

Who would begrudge the poor UAE monarchy a few $100 million for such a deserving project? Heaven forbid they spend their own money.

Scarcity and degradation of land and water: growing threat to food security

... At the same time, as natural resource bottlenecks are increasingly felt, competition for land and water will become “pervasive,” the report suggests. This includes competition between urban and industrial users as well as within the agricultural sector – between livestock, staple crops, non-food crop, and biofuel production.

And climate change is expected to alter the patterns of temperature, precipitation and river flows upon which the world’s food production systems depend.

... Overall, the report paints the picture of a world experiencing an increasing imbalance between availability and demand for land and water resources at the local and national levels. The number of areas reaching the limits of their production capacity is fast increasing, the report warns.

also UN warns 25 pct of world land highly degraded

Report: State of the World’s Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture

Hey, great article on Seeking Alpha today. Getting Ready For 'Peak Oil'

Although the details are still being argued over, a consensus conclusion, reinforced by the market, is being solidly formed: If peak oil has not already arrived and passed, its arrival is in the very near future. Like the Ghawar field, all the easy oil fields have been found, and have largely begun an inexorable decline in production.

There is something else you should know, if you don’t already, about peak oil.

Once the peak arrives a plateau will ensue while countries and oil companies frantically try to keep production matching demand, effectively accelerating the depletion. The result is not a plateau followed by a gradual decline while we comfortably replace our energy infrastructure; rather it is like falling off a cliff. The decline will be sharp and severe.

I have believed for some time now that the plateau we are seeing is the result of many national oil companies making heroic efforts to produce all the oil they can in order to take advantage of these very high prices. If that be the case then are we about to fall off a cliff as this article suggests?

Ron P.

A North Sea and global C+C "What If" scenario (North Sea in 1996 lined up with global data in 2005):


Ron, why, in such circumstances as the plateauing of oil production, wouldn't major producers begin to conserve their reserves, in order to sell them at even higher prices soon to come (as easy oil gets more and more scarce)?

This is a friendly question by a novice in oil production strategizing and marketing.


Why indeed? Were we a rational society, a virtue of which we have rarely been accused, we would husband our oil and gas resources. - M. King Hubbert

Most oil is produced by national governments, not oil companies. But it would make little difference either way. Oil companies must answer to stockholders who want the price of their stock to go up now, not in ten years. Likewise governments want to appease their populace and the people want a good life now no matter what it takes. Ten years down the road is forever in their eyes, they want it now, not in ten years.

Hubbert would find there are no rational societies anywhere else either.

Ron P.

So, holding onto your reserves in order to make an even bigger profit later (probably not too much later) doesn't make sense in capitalist society? "Give it to me now! I want it now!" really is the mantra? Not only in terms of our "commodity fetishism" but in terms of developing all the resources we can as soon as they can be made to yield a profit?

Yes indeed, this is NOT a rational strategy (especially with respect to the finite sources of energy which currently underlie the very workings of capitalist society). But, of course, try telling that to someone (like a mainstream economist) who doesn't grasp the finitude of our energy sources or thinks the market will somehow bring the alternatives into being as soon as it gets the right signals.

There's a real craziness about the responses of our society to what is happening to it. More than once in his OVERSHOOT, William Catton observes that, at every turn, we seem liable to take decisions that are calculated to make matters worse, not better. Catton is right.

But I'm not telling myself or seasoned TODers anything that hasn't been clear for quite some time. Just marveling at the irrationality of it all.

Just mumbling...

being - Mumbling allowed.

"...this is NOT a rational strategy...". So you do the rational thing and put your entire paycheck into savings every month? That would be "rational", right? Hmmm...but how would you pay your mortgage (most companies, especially public oils) have huge debt obligations. How would you feed your family (companies have staff salaries to pay)? How would you pay your utility bills (etc, etc)? How would you expand your small business with no capex available (if a public oil doesn't drill more wells and increase its reserve base y-o-y Wall Street will trash its stock).

You need to look back no further than the NG price collapse of ’08 to see these forces in place. Besides selling every mcf it could, Devon sold all of its high value undeveloped properties in order to just keep the doors open. They sold DW GOM oil discoveries and undrilled leases at bargain basement prices. That fire sale also included probably the last DW Brazil leases that will ever be owned by a non-Brazilian company. And Devon continues to sell every bit of production it has to fund their efforts in various fracture oil shale plays. Their stock fell from a high of $124 prior to the price collapse to $38 in early ’09. After liquidating much of its assets and jumping into new oil rich shale trends the stock has gotten back into the $70’s.

That’s the very simple reason few companies don’t hold back production: survival.

I think what some people fail to realize is that the most rational strategy is to produce as fast as possible. To give a crude example if you had an oil well which could produce 1/2/3 units but cost 1 unit to operate would you choose to produce 1 unit and break even, two units and have one unit as profit or three units and have two units of profit? Likewise with KSA seeking export revenue where every unit of production means an additional unit of export, why would they deliberately choose to produce at a significantly lower rate than possible? This is why I cannot really understand the idea of conspiracy in the oil patch.

Because the demand for oil is extremely inelastic, by controlling most of the export market OPEC has often been able to maximize revenue at less than full production.

Likewise with KSA seeking export revenue where every unit of production means an additional unit of export, why would they deliberately choose to produce at a significantly lower rate than possible?

Saudi Aramco's stated objective is to maximize hydrocarbon recovery, that generally won't be at the highest rate possible.

Fifty-Year Crude Oil Supply Scenarios:Saudi Aramco's Perspective


Sadad al-Husseini predicted in this sept 2009 video "shortage of capacity within 2 to 3 years", making it somewhere in 2012. That year is a month away. Is next year the year the graphs start going downhill? I have wondered for a few years about this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4d3kK4kgz5g (5:30)

End of the world watch...

[EDIT: Oops helps if I link to correct explosion - or not explosion]

Explosion near Iran nuclear facility in Isfahan reported

Several residents of Isfahan told the Guardian that they had heard a loud blast. One said that it rattled the windows of their home.

Isfahan is home to Iran's uranium conversion facility (UCF), which operates under IAEA surveillance. Iran's main uranium enrichment facilities are situated in the city of Natanz to the north-east of Isfahan, where many of the country's centrifuges are installed. In recent years, Iran's nuclear activities at Natanz have been at the centre of an international dispute.

No explosion in Isfahan: Iran official

A top Iranian official has rejected media reports about an explosion being heard in the central city of Isfahan.

Mohammad-Mehdi Ismaili, Isfahan governor's political and security deputy, said on Monday that report was completely baseless and fabricated, IRNA reported.

For 5+ years various TOD members has been watching the Iran/other parties dualing press releases and then placing verbal prognostications on what they mean/do not mean.

This is yet another round - no idea who's lying or who's truth telling in this story.

But if one is looking for a Middle East conflict - Syria with the US issuing statements for Americans to leave Syria and Russian/American naval ships arriving outside Syria may be one more element for people to be concerned over.

(Ponders a US Winter with the flow of oil cut off.)

It seems that Iran is under some kind of attack, but so stealthy that Iran cannot be sure itself if it is actually under attack. Or is that what we're supposed to think? Beats me, but the Russians seem to be getting hot under the collar, not to mention Turkey and Syria. Is Iran being provoked into some kind of retaliation? Bad time for the Chinese navy to be visiting Kuwait.

Whatever is going on, it seems the whole zone is a powder keg and someone is playing with the matches. Things could get outta control real fast. Before the first missile struck the central banks' printing presses would be revved up and QE3+WW3 unleashed on an unsuspecting world... but stealthy like so it doesn't upset the economy and Christmas shopping.

"It seems that Iran is under some kind of attack, but so stealthy that Iran cannot be sure itself if it is actually under attack."

Systematic sabotage is what I thought, even before I found this;


although I suppose it could be run of bad luck/neglected maintenance. A friend who who spent time in an Islamic country said "They don't believe in maintenance. Whether it breaks or not is the will of Allah, so maintenance is pointless."

That is one theory...that due to the sanctions, the Western companies that used to maintain the infrastructure aren't doing it any more, with predictable results.

"Whether it breaks or not is the will of Allah, so maintenance is pointless."

Thank God they don't want to start building nuclear power stations then.

Things are warming up

Students storm British Embassy in Iran and tear down Union Jack

Students chanted "Death to England" and tore down the Union Jack after storming the British Embassy in Iran today.

The mob also threw documents from windows in scenes reminiscent of the anger against Western powers after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The protesters broke into the diplomatic compound in Tehran after overcoming anti-riot police.

This could get very nasty, very fast. Other embassies are, no doubt, on high alert and should send home all but essential personnel.

"It seems that Iran is under some kind of attack, but so stealthy that Iran cannot be sure itself if it is actually under attack."

Who would know? Allegedly, the news media isn't as transparent as it was even in the age of Bush '43. U.S. foreign policy is flying under the radar.

The secrecy-loving mind of the U.S. journalist

To quote Roger Cohen of the New York Times,

The Obama administration has a doctrine. It’s called the doctrine of silence. A radical shift from President Bush’s war on terror, it has never been set out to the American people. There has seldom been so big a change in approach to U.S. strategic policy with so little explanation.

Cheney's walk on the dark side has mutated into “it is often best to keep the lights off.” If true, the general public is unaware (blissfully?) of U.S. involvement in the hotspots of the world. We know about the tensions over Iran and the deterioration of relations between Pakistan and America. What unpleasant surprises await the world once the other side of the story is told?

To quote a sage from long ago, "it's our secrets that destroy us."

Aurora Watch...

Latest update from NASA puts CME arrival back to 2348 UTC (+- 6 hrs) with estimated duration 8 hours.

Nothing showing yet on various monitors but proton levels still elevated after S1 storm.

EDIT: CME impacting now (2200 UTC / 5pm EST)

Real-time Magnetosphere Simulation at http://www2.nict.go.jp/y/y223/simulation/realtime/


Space Weather Message Code: ALTK04
Serial Number: 1551
Issue Time: 2011 Nov 28 2158 UTC

ALERT: Geomagnetic K-index of 4
Threshold Reached: 2011 Nov 28 2157 UTC
Synoptic Period: 2100-2400 UTC
Station: Boulder
Active Warning: Yes

Thanks Undertow. For those who are cloudy or too far south try this:



Not looking like we'll see much at mid-latitudes. However at slightly higher latitudes.

Got a link?


If you click the image it is linked to the live display at http://www.irf.se/allsky/rtascirf.php

Sorry it's a bit late now.

Thanks, got that. Oh, well, it may be late but it is still a nice one to add, I've never had a chance to see the lights so I'll see if I can catch them there.


First Sweden, now Switzerland ...

Swiss ski resorts still waiting for snow

Not a flake has fallen at Arosa, a family resort in the eastern Grisons area, which usually enjoys about 25 centimetres (10 inches) of snow on its slopes from mid-November.

The lack of snow is adding to an already difficult time for the country's tourist industry, battered by the high cost of the Swiss franc.

The Swiss tourist board has meanwhile spent four million francs promoting the country as a winter destination across the eurozone, Britain and Russia.

Having recently spent ten days in Switzerland, I can certainly confirm that it was quite expensive (even the very robust Aussie dollar is a squib compared to the strong CHF) ... but we did have quite a deal of snow, I have to say. I can see why they might have difficulty getting tourists to turn up there.

Well it looks like not much snow is there now. It is easy enough to check the webcams and all the lower elevation places are pretty clear of snow, like Verbier and Villars and Nendaz in the southwest
Higher elevation places like Zermatt have the snow.

"Hispanic birth rate down"

That is the way it works with all immigrate groups to the US. They get acculturated and start buying things they can not afford like houses, cars, college education and then they have no money for children. The solution is the one the owning class always uses more immigrates. Maybe from Egypt, Libya, Vietnam, and Nigeria this round. Bring them in, grind them down, repeat with new group.

I agree. However, those places are far and air travel in the future is not guaranteed.

I still think the U.S. is going to progressively become more Latin American, there are a ton of people in those countries and who knows what types of effects AGW is going to have on some regions.

UAE is building 5 GW of nuclear power, at 30 billion dollars, so they can free 33 million barrels per year of oil for export. The oil exports will pay for the project in 10 years time, if prices do not go up . At which point the oil customers will have nothing, except more debt, and the UAE will have power for the next 40 years.

And then what?

the UAE will have power for the next 40 years.

Reactors have a history of being bombed in that area of the planet - what makes one think the reactors will last 40 years? Mankind's excellent record of being nice to one another?

True, maybe they need nuclear weapons to keep themselves safe.

Parts of Washington, Idaho cool to childhood vaccines

"North Idaho and Eastern Washington share a medical distinction: Both have far higher rates of parents not immunizing their children against childhood disease than either Idaho or Washington as a whole.

As a result, health authorities say, youngsters in the region are at increased risk for illnesses like whooping cough and measles. In early November, nine North Idaho children were diagnosed with whooping cough, also called pertussis."

News reports discuss how a growing percentage of young parents are opting not to vaccinate against childhood diseases like whooping cough and measles.

I was doing some genealogical research the other day, and was observing the causes of death listed - things that, today, are totally preventable. Consumption, fever, cholera, amongst others. Measles was a frequent killer of children. People are generationally far removed from those days. Outbreaks are already starting to occur around the US.


"The largest U.S. outbreak of measles to occur in 15 years -- affecting 214 children so far -- is likely driven by travelers returning from abroad and by too many unvaccinated U.S. children, according to new research."

It's sad for the kids of course (who don't get a say), but perhaps Darwinian rules will apply, and over the next generation or so, the average intelligence in Spokane and Coeur d'Alene will steadily increase, as the immunised survive.

Once again, apparently, we enter the realm of "belief".

' “We are being told this by every government official, teacher, doctor that we need vaccines to keep us safe from these diseases. I simply don’t believe that to be true. I believe all the diseases in question were up to 90 percent in decline before mass vaccines ever were given,” said Sabrina Paulick of Ashland. She’s a part-time caregiver for elderly people and mother of a 4-year-old daughter.

“I don’t think vaccines are what saved the world from disease,” she added. “I think effective sewer systems, nutrition and hand-washing” are the reasons.'


Sadly, as infrastructure continues to crumble, sewer-systems, nutrition and hand-washing are all at risk...

' “Every time we give them evidence (that vaccines are safe), they come back with a new hypothesis” for why vaccines could be dangerous, said Kacey Ernst, another University of Arizona researcher.'

The belief is on the part of those who subscribe to the efficacy and safety of vaccines. Even a quick search will show that the vast majority of the reduction of deaths from these diseases occurred before the vaccines for them were introduced, yet the vaccines are given credit for the reduction anyway. Here's one with some nice graphs. Naturally we're assured by people with massive vested financial interests that there is no danger, and as Americans we should see no problem with that at all. Do a little searching on the correlation between the use of DDT and the occurrence rates of polio.

Correlation and causation are two different things entirely.

Polio is transmitted via infected fecal matter, entering food, particularly, or, less commonly, by droplets - nothing whatever to do with pesticides. I do agree that modern sanitation has assisted with control of fecal-borne pathogens, but DDT had nothing to do with it.

The problem you have with small children, though, is their compliance with things like hand-washing. Measles spreads ferociously though children in school. It is airborne via droplets. Coughing, sneezing, touching. It can spread easily from room to room. It only takes one child to infect an entire school.

Personally, I wouldn't be relying on the bathroom habits of small children, any more than I would rely on abstinence-only sex education - or the adequate sanitation in food preparation, based on the number of ecoli breakouts we've been observing - if there was a vaccine that was more than 95% effective in conferring immunity, I'd be happy to take it.

Correlation and causation are two different things

Bravo, one of the most oft repeated lines on TOD - and pretty often meaningless too. We were talking about what people believe about vaccinations - people who have no means to evaluate whether the correlation implies causation, nor any trust in those who tell them vaccines work and are perfectly safe (correctly so). You believe that because you've had vaccinations and have had no ill effects (yet, that you know of), that this can be extrapolated to the population as a whole. I'm a skinny guy who is not sensitive to poison ivy, so should I assume that no one has a weight problem nor gets poison ivy?

No one argues that there is no microorganism called polio. But in my opinion it is vastly unlikely that the correlation between DDT use and incidences of polio, the increases in polio in places where DDT has been reintroduced, as well as the similar nervous system damage that DDT does, would not be related.

Further, the time series plots show that vaccination is unnecessary. Additionally, a little time spent on planet earth should inform you that nothing is without negative consequences, and that human judgment is often flawed and suspect, especially when large sums of money are involved.

One additional correlation I know of is between vaccination and the damage I've seen done to many children, including one of my own. These are the things that inform my belief that vaccines are dangerous and unnecessary. I don't have to prove causation to believe something, especially when I know that doing so is outside my capabilities. I'm not a court of law or a peer reviewed journal, I'm just a person.

But I also can see blind belief in medical technology in your statements ridiculing those who don't share them.

While it is, of course, possible that "faulty" batches of vaccine could be produced, it does not invalidate the concept of what a vaccine is designed to do - which is to introduce a small amount of attenuated (either dead or weak, live) virus into a person in order to stimulate the body to produce antibodies to combat the disease - a process which started with smallpox vaccination in the late 1700's. Not exactly a recent discovery.

I was in the medical field between 1972 and 1994, and never saw a single permanent adverse effect from a vaccination - only transient side effects such as swelling at the injection site, fever and temporary stomach upset, all adequately treatable with over-the-counter medication.

If damage is being done to children, as you state, some other recent development must be occurring, which may or may not be related to the vaccination process.

In my mind that does not invalidate over 200 years of medical practice.


18th century

1796 First vaccine for smallpox (the first vaccine ever developed)

19th century

1879 First vaccine for cholera
1885 First vaccine for rabies by Louis Pasteur and Émile Roux
1890 First vaccine for tetanus
1896 First vaccine for typhoid fever
1897 First vaccine for bubonic plague


20th & 21st Century developments may be viewed at the link above.

Smallpox, vaccinated into the history books.

I think one problem with acceptance of vaccination is that the diseases have become rare enough that people do not appreciate just how bad they are and see the vaccine as worse. I had one jab, before a tropical trip, that left me dehydrated and shivering violently. I tried to drink some water but I just shook it all out of the glass before I could drink it. The only way I could drink, to assuage my thirst, was to wedge each elbow into a corner of the sink and use both hands to lower the glass under the tap and raise it to my mouth. The whole time a thought was going through my head 'If this is what the vaccine does what the HELL is the disease like?'.


People definitely don't appreciate how bad the diseases are.

Yes. See the measles outbreak in Dublin in 2000:


"This outbreak of measles posed a major challenge to the hospital and the community for the first half of 2000. The national MMR immunization rate before the outbreak was gravely suboptimal at 79%, whereas the rate in North Dublin, the catchment area of TCUH, was <70%. Three children died as a result of a vaccine-preventable illness."

I had already guessed you were in the medical field, as it came through loud and clear - you obviously "believe" in it. I'm well aware of the long history of vaccinations, it is documented in the link I provided, but that is no evidence of effectiveness or safety. That very history you cite is part of what I find damning, but it has been profitable for many.

There are many things our western society has accepted as basic truths that are being shown to be false - the concepts of infinite growth, the many things people have believed for the last 300 years that were in fact only illusions driven by fossil fuel energy.

You're incredulous that people could be so backwards and ignorant to doubt and reject what is to you an obvious good thing. I look at the vaccine experiment and see a obvious failure that's been perpetuated anyway, and at an accelerating rate (chicken pox vaccine - seriously?) as our industrial civilization peaks, and with it our industrial medical system.

I'm not trying change your mind, it's not important to me to convince you - just don't assume everyone shares the same "realm of beliefs" that you do.

All four of my grandparents caught measles as children. Both of my parents did, too. Obviously, none of them died as children, or I wouldn't exist.

But I never caught measles. Neither did my sisters. Neither did anyone we knew.

What happened? The measles vaccine was introduced in the late 1960s. I was born in 1978, and my sisters in 1980, 1990, and 1993. We received the measles vaccine, as did our friends. The interesting point is not that we didn't know anyone who died of measles - measles was rarely fatal - the interesting point is that we didn't know anyone who had ever caught measles.

Looking at a chart of deaths, you see a drop from ~400 deaths a year pre-vaccine to essentially 0 today. That probably doesn't impress you much. Looking at a chart of cases, though, and the number of measles cases drops about 85% in the three years after the introduction of the measles vaccine. More importantly, it never recovers.

The same thing happens time and time again: widespread immunization is introduced, and the number of cases of a disease plunges steeply and never recovers, whether or not the disease is usually fatal.


Kids don't need killer T cells...

ScienceDaily (Nov. 16, 2011) — Vaccinating children annually against influenza virus interferes with their development of cross-reactive killer T cells to flu viruses generally, according to a paper in the November Journal of Virology.
In unvaccinated children, the investigators found that the number of virus-specific T cells rises with age, while such an increase was absent in children vaccinated annually. In fact, vaccination appeared to interfere with induction of such killer T cells, says Bodewes.


I don't personally get flu vaccinations every year, since there is a case to be made for building resistance. I do think, however, that I would certainly opt to give the polio vaccination.


"Polio and its symptoms
Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus. It invades the nervous system, and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. The virus enters the body through the mouth and multiplies in the intestine. Initial symptoms are fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck and pain in the limbs. One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis (usually in the legs). Among those paralysed, 5% to 10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilized.

People most at risk
Polio mainly affects children under five years of age.

There is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented. Polio vaccine, given multiple times, can protect a child for life."

I might point out I have had all the childhood vaccinations twice - the second time when I applied for my Green Card - it is a requirement, and my childhood medical records were lost in the mists of time. I had 9 shots in one day. Anecdotally, the only side effect was a small rise in temperature, which lasted over a weekend.

I am considering the Herpes zoster vaccination - Shingles can be very unpleasant. I watched my grandmother suffer with it, and if it can be avoided or ameliorated, I'm for that.

Edit : flu viruses mutate very rapidly. Flu shots can only protect against known strains i.e. last year's flu strains, so if something new comes along, all bets are off that the shot will be effective.

Most other childhood diseases have been around for a very long time, and the organisms (thankfully) have not changed much.

Flu hits me hard so I get the jab every chance I get. We have the health ministry people setting up vaccination posts at the local supermarkets, clinics and, in some areas, door to door. Last year I got jabs for flu, tetanus and pneumonia and I am waiting for them to appear this time around, maybe after Christmas. The flu vaccine is not last year's, there is a lot of work done to forecast the danger for the coming season. They try and leave it as late as possible to get the best picture.


You misunderstand me - the vaccine itself may be made this year, but it can only be produced from strains of virus which currently exist.

If a new, previously unknown, strain goes around after production is completed, one may not be protected against that particular one.


Of course, they do work to incorporate the new strain as fast as possible, but that doesn't help if you already had your shot for the year.

Edit : Rubella is a disease to be feared in pregnant women, as it can cause birth defects in the child. I have heard of doctors recommending termiination of pregnancy in women who contract Rubella (German Measles). I don't really get why people refuse the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella). It's been in use for decades.

hey do work to incorporate the new strain as fast as possible

Once they decide on a new virus (last I heard they target three strains), they have to grow enough of it to supply the millions of doses. Remember that flu scare (started in Mexico) a couple of years back, they could only make the vaccine so fast, even though the whole world wanted shots, availability was such that only healthcare workers and highrisk people could get it.

My understanding is that this year's cocktail is the same as last year's, but that last year actually missed the mark. Not totally sure, but I am also led to believe that "they" don't actually worry about mutations of the viruses per se, but rather identify which strains are most likely to sweep the world and cook up what they believe to most likely be proper. There are a limited number of markers(?) that the viruses employ; those are already in the pharm toobox..

Climate Gate 2.0

Like the first "climategate" leak of 2009, the latest release shows top scientists in the field fudging data, conspiring to bully and silence opponents, and displaying far less certainty about the reliability of anthropogenic global warming theory in private than they ever admit in public...

This is the real significance of the climategate emails. They show that major scientists who inform the IPCC can't be trusted to stick to the science and avoid political activism.

This, in turn, has very worrying implications for the major international policy decisions adopted on the basis of their research.

Fool Me Once, Shame On You, Fool Me Twice, Shame on the Media

Fresh round of hacked climate science emails leaked online
A file containing 5,000 emails has been made available in an apparent attempt to repeat the impact of 2009′s similar release….

The "hop, skip, and skep-it-all" science doubters are at it again.

Pardon my "skeptacularly" staunch stance, but I'm more than a wee bit "skeptical" about the new skepticism.

Notice how the new batch was released just in time for a COP meeting, just like the old one. And these guys say it is the scientists who has an agenda...

Thanks for another rebuttal link jmygann.

Just an FYI, the "Fool Me Once... Shame on the media" link also rebuts the Climategate 2.0 article.

(what a second-hand rag the WSJ has become ...)

Speaking of "cherry picking", did you ever consider the paradox of the Cherry Tree Fable (George Washington saying: "Father I cannot tell a lie") where the whole Fable itself is a complete lie?

It's sort of like waking up on the airplane at the end of the Inception movie --we all forgot about the 5th level --we all got sucked into the deep down dreams

I haven't seen 'Inception.' I was going to look it up, but instead I'll try to remember to rent the movie. I need something to replace the Matrix stuff in the back of my mind ;)

'Inception' is interesting from a brain biology point of view

Even though you know it's just a movie and therefore not "real" at least for that reason

And even though you are repeatedly warned inside the movie that the characters are entering a next deeper dream level (which you therefore know it is not "real" at least for that reason as well)

Still, there is a richness of detail in each level that makes it feel real nonetheless (you repeatedly suspend disbelief)
And therefore you get suckered into accepting it as being plausibly real in each deeper level

I wonder what insights the movie gives us when we suspend disbelief and accept our modern monetary system as being "real"?

Well this time only the MSN catering to the conservative seem to be interested in the story. There are little to no 'damning' quotes going round too, perhaps that alone says enough.

Money: Too much of it / Too little of it : A Tale of Two City Banks

Does Kunstler nail it or what with today's observations?

Coming to the USA soon ???

UK wants pension cash to help ailing economy

Govt targets pension funds for spending boost...

"This could be a real win-win. The UK desperately needs to update its infrastructure, and pension funds are looking for inflation-linked, long-term investments," said Joanne Segars, chief executive of the National Association of Pension Funds.

"Pension funds hold over a trillion pounds in assets, but only around 2 percent of that is invested in infrastructure. There's the potential for that to be much higher."

I withdraw all the money from a retirement account I had and took a hit, and I consider that one of the best decisions I made. Now I can spend that money how I want to right now, and not try to "grow" it until I turn 65, assuming I live that long and the world's financial system survives intact.

And all those who think I'm being irresponsible can kiss my a--, I happen to be an almost pathological saver of money, and I'm getting 0% in the bank which has driven me to gold and silver.

My dad still has a steady pension but unfortunately he couldn't take a lump sum payment. I only pray the payments last.

I'm not a rocket scientist, but if they go after that UK pension hoard, then proceed to spend it on infrastructure, in a world where scarcity is becoming a problem (oil, metals, etc), won't that just drive the price even higher requiring even more pension money then first thought? More $$$ chasing fewer goods? I guess I think its getting late in the game to build up infrastructure to any extent...best to maintain what is already there/make reasonable upgrades.

UK wants pension cash to help ailing economy

The trouble with that kind of borrow from Peter to pay Paul tactics is it erodes safe havens for savings, and ignores the reasons why there isn't enough money for infrastructure in the first place. If every dollar, pound or whatever currency is tied up in risky investments, what is there to fall back on when there's a run on the banks? Nothing. What will the elderly do when their pension check isn't worth the paper it's printed on?

It's just another peak oil sign that BAU no longer works. All these fancy fiscal shell game efforts are last ditch attempts to keep the ship afloat. One more song from the band please while the rest of us sing along in denial from our deck chairs.

I admit though it's getting kind of painful, like being tortured to see all these signs of a sinking ship, yet society remains steadfast in their denial, rushing out to set a record for Black Friday in the ship's gift shop before the panic sets in.

Imagine an even worse scenario though. What if these various fiscal shell games do keep BAU going, stretching what can be conceivably done on paper right up to the edge of the ledger, just long enough to last until the descent of world oil production drops off a cliff, like 3% a year. A three % drop at that point would be like shooting a racehorse in a front leg at full gait.

When droids take your job

The stubbornly high unemployment rate has left policymakers wondering whether there's something more at work than just an unusually steep recession. Have the country, its businesses and its markets changed in some fundamental way, leaving millions of Americans with skills that are no longer needed?

Economists are sharply divided on that point, but two from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology make a compelling argument that the technology revolution is vaporizing careers faster than many Americans can embark on new ones

re: Kurt Cobb: Why isn't the Keystone pipeline extension going to eastern Canada?

This particular article has so much Eastern Canadian oil mythology in it that I thought I should comment on it. It's pretty much totally inaccurate, and most of the nonsense doesn't merit commenting on, but I thought I'd hit the high points:

1. Why isn't there any discussion of a new pipeline to eastern Canada where most of the oil consumed is imported?

See: Economic downturn shuts down Trailbreaker reversal (tar sands in Montreal)

Environmental activists are relieved by the indefinite shelving of an oil pipeline proposal that they say would make Ontario too dependent on "dirty oil" from Alberta and bring it to Quebec for the first time....

So they will go ahead Monday with the release of a joint report asserting the project would soon make Ontario totally dependent on Alberta's tarsands for energy security and would undermine the Ontario government's commitments to reduce carbon pollution.

So, there is such a proposal by the pipeline companies, but it is being opposed by environmentalists who apparently would prefer that Ontario and Quebec be totally dependent on imported oil. Most Canadian oil production these days is bitumen from oil sands.

2. bitumen (it's not really oil) from the Canadian tar sands

It is really oil, albeit a very heavy (semi-solid) grade of oil, which is why it is in demand. Conventional oil refineries can handle it with an upgrade to their front-end processes. Many American oil refineries have made such changes, but that is because much of the oil on the world market these days is of similarly low grade.

3. Canada imports 43 percent of the oil it consumes

That is somewhat misleading if you consider the following statistics.

Crude oil (millions of barrels per day)
Total Production 3.0
Domestic Use 1.0
Exports 2.0
Imports 0.7
Net Exports 1.3

Crude oil exports from Canada are almost three times as high as imports into Canada.

The Eastern provinces continue to import large amounts of light oil, which is their choice, but I wouldn't like to depend on the imports continuing indefinitely if I was them.

Renewable Power Trumps Fossils for First Time as UN Talks Stall

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


Apologies if already posted.

The article on driving habits of Leaf owners reinforces what transportation planners try to tell the general public: we are very predictable people. The average daily drive of 35 miles really does represent the typical driver. Range anxiety is far more perception than reality. Granted, I live near the Nissan plant being prepared for mass production of the Leaf, and we are being treated to many new recharging stations in the mid-South, but the charging infrastructure is being built just as the first "filling stations" were constructed in the early part of the 20th Century.

While I understand and appreciate the economic and energy source issues of electricity versus gasoline, I am intrigued as to the impact of the electric car on zoning decisions, land use patterns, and driving habits. If sales projections are actually met, the "early adapters" may have the same impact as the first cell phone users, the first home computer buyers, and even the first ITunes downloaders -- challenging and changing the way we think and act.

It beats what is coming out of Washington these days.

I could easily survive on a car with a 35 mile range. I would say 99% of our driving is below that. For the other 1% you could always borrow a gas car or rent one. Just wish they were cheaper.

I'm curious: Have you looked at long-term TCO for US citizens?

35 mile range is real short, you are an ideal EV candidate.

The upcoming Mitsubishi-i has an EPA rated range of 62 miles which I think is a little on the low side. But it is available for a LOW price .. . $29,125 which ends up as $21,625 after the tax-credit is taken into consideration. The average price paid for a car these days is around $29K. So for much less than the price of an average car, you can buy an EV. It is a pretty small, stripped down, and has a short range . . . but at least it shows that EVs are NOT just 'eco-bling' that is out of the range for normal people.

If we have a serious oil crunch in the next 3 to 5 years, I think the low-end EV market segment may take off.

Hey Daddy;
Here's my semi-regular link to some part of the EVNut page, where they have a bunch of RAV4 owners reporting in from their 100k mile marks, (on NIMH Battery Packs) and one who has now passed 200 Thousand.


My odometer rolled through 200,000 miles today, on the way to work.

150,000 of these were done on the original pack and 50,000 are on the replacement pack that was installed two years ago.

The car is performing great. It is a real work horse. I have not been to the dealer, or performed any service on it, since the battery pack was replaced.

Another Testimonial on the 100k page..

Just last week I took a trip 105 miles on a full-to-empty charge... it was net uphill, mostly freeway, starting at 95% soc, I even used the A/C. So in short, the car is working great and exceeding expectations. 10 years ago, no one expected these batteries and this electric car to make it this far, this well.

Well, they did.

September 2007 update: 105,000 miles

Many report getting 100 miles per charge. This is clearly a technology where we don't need to wait for 'maturity', as so many keep claiming.


Rob & Milli - Anguin, CA
License: WE [heart] R EV
Silver 2002. Purchased new. Lots of reflective informational stickers on the back. Powered from our roof-top 4.5kW solar PV system. We regularly see 150 miles of range. Our other car is a 2001 Prius. The good looking one in the picture is Milli.

400 mile per charge EV1-powered Insight

The focus of the Silver Streak project is simple. Take the 1st gen. Honda Insight to where we had all hoped it would go – a full electric version, and take an artifact from the glory days of the GM EV1, it’s 137 hp AC drive motor/transaxle, and drop it into the Insight.



The EV that would make sense for me is a 2 seat (think Honda Insight) EV with a limited range - 20 miles in the dark, cold (32 F) and wet would be more than enough for me. So only a very small battery pack would be required.

Lower cost even if built mainly out of Aluminum. Light weight - light body frame, small battery, small motor - and reasonable cost.

I do not see anyone building a car like that anytime soon.


Golf cart capital of the world.


I believe what many of you are asking for is being built, just not mass produced.

Can anybody identify the manufacturer of this street legal SEV?

Medvedev threatens criminal penalties for space officials

Russian President Dmitry Medevedev has suggested officials should be punished for recent failures in the country's space program.

Medvedev told reporters financial, disciplinary, or criminal charges could be used to punish those responsible for a series of rocket crashes and space blunders.

Speaking to Russian journalists Saturday, Medevedev said the failures have dealt a "serious blow to our competitiveness," according to a transcript of the question-and-answer session posted on the Kremlin's website.

Who hasn't wished they could throw an engineer or two into jail the gulag? ;-)

Wonder if this applies to economist, bankers, et.al.

Weren't they "responsible" for "crashes" and "blunders?" Didn't these "failures" cause a "serious blow to our competitiveness?"

Cuban drilling upsets U.S.:


An American nomad's boondocking excess:


UnDrivers License

Energy Bulletin has an interesting article today about a group in the Seattle area that issues “Undrivers Licenses” See www.undriving.org

I don't know why the super-rich think they have the right to speak for anyone else, or why they think they can know what is best for us. Actually, I don't think that's it at all, I think that they realize people are dumb enough to listen to them and nod their head and say, "Yes. Yes, Mr. Gingrich, you are so right. Thank you Mr. Businessman, for caring about me so much that you'll let me buy your product."


Here's an interesting article out this AM - http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9R9TV1O0.htm

'Gov't: US not responsible for Europe's debt woes'

President Barack Obama says the United States stands ready "to do our part" to help Europe solve its debt crisis, even as the White House rules out U.S. taxpayers as contributors.

How in the heck can he help to do our part if that does not include a handout? Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating us giving the EU money, far from it, however Obama seems to be talking out of both sides. Moral support at this stage won't do anything.

Experts say that without drastic action, the euro could be days away from collapsing, a scenario that could cause more financial damage to the American economy.

Sounds pretty desperate, especially with the EU here during a lame duck presidency deep in debt with no resolution on how to reduce deficits, asking for 'help'. What kind of help is there other than a loan?

This suckers' economy is going down hard. Sourced via TAE:

$707,568,901,000,000: How (And Why) Banks Increased Total Outstanding Derivatives By A Record $107 Trillion In 6 Months ...this, at a time when banks were reporting a reduction in their derivatives/CDS exposures :-0

Only one way out.. debt jubilee? "Radical" video: "It's the system that's failed, not the people in it..."

Keen: Government should print money to pay off our debts

Economist Steve Keen is one of the few economists to have predicted the global financial crisis and now he says we are already in a Great Depression. He says the way to escape it is to bankrupt the banks, nationalise the financial system and pay off people's debt.

He admits what he is advocating is radical but says it is time governments gave money to debtors to pay down debt instead of to creditors such as banks who have held onto it.

Predictions of an economic collapse in China are in vogue

The practice of short-selling — betting that a stock will fall in value — has become so pervasive among traders of Chinese equities that analysts at French banking firm Societe Generale deemed China the "world's most crowded short." For instance, nearly a third of the shares of China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd. were shorted in August and September, signaling doubts about the prospects of China's largest property developer.

"There's growing sentiment that the Chinese story doesn't make sense," ... China's housing bubble is deflating. Home prices reversed in October for the second consecutive month as cash-strapped developers became desperate to unload homes. An index of 35 major cities showed 29 had experienced a decline in sales from a year ago; sales plunged more than 50% in six of them, including Beijing.

He admits what he is advocating is radical but says it is time governments gave money to debtors to pay down debt instead of to creditors such as banks who have held onto it.

That is the only way out of this situation, but will it happen? Probably not even close.

When the mortgage meltdown was in its early stages all that was needed was some govt. money to back the banks resetting all those liar ARM loans to fixed loans at 5-6% and most people would have been able to keep their properties. The only one's not were those too far extended on 2nd & 3rd investment properties. But instead we took the hard route and will be waiting many years to come for values to start rising again, that is if peak oil doesn't nail us first, which is probably the case anyway.

While I have a lot of respect for Steve Keen and his thoughts,what surprises me is that no economist from any school has mentioned the connection between declining energy and the economic collapse.All talk is about getting back to BAU which is now impossible.When will they ever learn.

So,this is just a movie script, or in the immortal words of the great Clint Eastwood, “Nothin’ but a Flick”.

--The title is "WHEN WILL THEY EVER LEARN" Here’s the outline.

Our hero wakes up one Monday and is told that the gods of Olympus have decided to play a little game, and all those people whose job isn’t actually doing anybody any good has to not go to work any more, unless of course, they miss their buddies there. And whether or not they decide to go to work, they aren’t to actually do any of that job that doesn’t do anybody any good.

But nothing else changes a bit. Everybody gets paid their usual amount, everybody spends the same on all those nots, and everybody whose job actually does do people any good keeps doing it.

So, our hero, whose job is to write blurbs for soft drinks, does not have to go to work, And ditto with the stock broker and the designer of the attack submarine, all those others, are now doing nothing instead of whatever it was they had been doing, and getting paid for it same as always. So, the whole world is way better off, because so many people are now doing nothing instead of something bad, just as the gods had required.

Pretty soon there are clubs and bars and so on filled with the not-doing people, yakking it up and pretending to be busy doing their nothing. But this gets old real fast, and some of them start thinking “ I am not a stock broker, and making a lot of money at it, I could take that money and time and get to doing something useful with it-- but then I really don’t know what to --”. but the not-nuclear bomb designer chimes in and says “ well, I do know lots of good stuff to do, all of it real simple compared to hbombs, but I don’t know how to manage getting the people all together”. And then the not-ultra right political organizer says “well, I do- simple- you get a bunch of people with the whole spectrum of talents, give them a pep talk, and divvy them up properly among the jobs you want done and--”

And so pretty soon all the not-people have turned into real people again, and all that time, effort, inventiveness and so on which they had been using for doing bads is now doing all the goods that we all know should be done-like solar energy, transport and real education and all the rest, and doing them fast because they have so much of everything they need --talent, money, factories, everything that had previously been used doing things that were bad, and that is A LOT. So, the world is saved at last- people get done what should be done, and feel mighty good about doing it.

Scene switches back to the gods, being pleasantly entertained by this curious little drama.

One of the ruder, cruder, cynical gods, who had bet that the idea would flop and that humans would simply continue their headlong rush to suicide, says to Athena, the goddess of Wisdom, “Athena, I gotta hand it to you, that was really clever what you thought up there, but I am absolutely astounded that it actually worked- who woulda thought it!”.

Athena, smiling that lovely smile of compassion/condescension that only goddesses of the highest rank can pull off, replies sweetly “ Ah no, Hephaestus, it is good of you to say that, but, in the real world, (pointing down to messy humanity), you were in fact quite right after all. See, they are still running down the track to Hades as fast as they can go. After all, what you have just seen was (wistful sigh) Nothin’ but a Flick”.




So true,


Yes, wimbi, you've got quite the short story there. Well said.

One quibble -

they have so much of everything they need --talent, money, factories,

What about energy? That's the rub, isn't it? Take 4 endless supplies of: labor, money, material and energy. Without which one can any job still be done? The money of course. But w/out the energy, not so much.

they got the same energy that is going to all those bads right now. That's the point.

How many solar heliostats can you make with what goes into a new nuclear sub? Or all those mercedes?? etc etc etc etc.

But hey-- this is nothin but a flick- means- not worth any deep analysis. Would make a fun movie, tho. y'all deserve credit for thinking it up. Let me know when it it is released.

This suckers' economy is going down hard.

I concur Ghung.

Regarding We will Frack You above.

A growing concern on the part of some is “seismicity”. Several days before the governor’s conference Oklahoma experienced a 5.6-magnitude earthquake—its strongest in nearly 60 years. At present, Ms Fallin said, there was no scientific evidence linking it to drilling or fracking.

Explaining away earthquakes might be a bit of a challenge? Fracking a few wells may have not had much impact, but when you start fracking hundreds of horizontal wells there perhaps might be a cumulative seismic impact?

On that note, when geothermal projects cause earthquakes they get shut down. The level of tolerance for unexpected earthquakes may depend on the jurisdiction!

Saw it coming 170 years ago...
A Tocqueville for our time

French writer Alexis de Tocqueville remains one of the most influential of all commentators on American politics. Tocqueville’s two-volume masterwork, Democracy in America, published in 1835 and 1840, retains “the uncanny glamour of scripture, cited by all who wish to say something about democracy and its prospects or America and its destiny,” But was Tocqueville as sanguine about American democracy as the popular image of his work suggests?

...[Tocqueville's] apprehensions, in Kaledin’s view, largely focused on the problems a democratic culture might pose for democratic politics. For instance, Kaledin says, to an extent greater than is usually emphasized, Tocqueville thought “populism would gradually lead to an anti-intellectual culture and to mediocrity in political leadership.” Tocqueville was also, Kaledin says, uneasy with the extent to which American culture “heavily emphasized material values over all others.

Tocqueville was also keenly aware of the “hyperindividualism” of America, which, Kaledin says, “makes it difficult to achieve a feeling for the common good.” Or, as Tocqueville wrote, the United States offered the prospect of a land where people have “no traditions, or common habits to forge links between their minds, and they have neither power nor the wish nor the time to come to a common understanding.” In such a condition, he believed, the possibility of productive politics would diminish.

Re. Orlov's The Five Stages of Collapse

It looks like Stages 2-4 are overlapping and rapidly increasing in rate.

The latest news just adds another HUGE log to the fire for Stage 3: Political collapse ( political establishment loses legitimacy and relevance):

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Tipped Off Prominent Hedge Funds Regarding Fannie Mae While Telling the US Senate and General Public a Different Story

Now we know why US AG Eric Holder said the following:

“The threat has changed from simply worrying about foreigners coming here, to worrying about people in the United States, American citizens — raised here, born here, and who for whatever reason, have decided that they are going to become radicalized and take up arms against the nation in which they were born,” he said.


Coming soon to the USA -(substitute “Ordinary Americans” for “Iran Protesters” and “The White House, Congress, Fed, etc” for “UK embassy in Tehran.”)

Iran protesters storm UK embassy in Tehran

You dont rally to get support from and support your political institutions during crisis? That ought to be a bad trend, what do you do instead?

"...what do you do instead?"

...to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security...

I vote that Ghung's reply is the best response of this month!

Pretty radical revolutionary stuff there. No longer acceptable to say such things, it might give people ideas. Jefferson was just lucky, his side won the revolution, otherwise that would have been some damning evidence against him.

"..your political institutions.."

That would be the crux, right there. To the extent that they can somehow recover themselves and be 'ours' once more is the extent to which they will be supported and rallied with. They and the horses they ride in on today are quickly wearing out their welcome.

From Congressional Budget Office

Congressional Budget Office: Top 1% Income Rose 275% From 1979-2007

... As a result of uneven income growth, the distribution of after-tax household income in the United States was substantially more unequal in 2007 than in 1979: The share of income accruing to higher-income households increased, whereas the share accruing to other households declined. In fact, between 2005 and 2007, the after-tax income received by the 20 percent of the population with the highest income exceeded the aftertax income of the remaining 80 percent.

I'm on the far left, unless there is a lower column! Factor in my retirement (huh!?) and mortgage and I'm -$50,000+ in the hole (assets/debt)... yeehaw! bottom 1%... I also have children (little boat anchors).

And who was elected in 1980 ?

I think in this case, correlation is causation.

Best Hopes for the bottom 4 quintiles with Pres. Romney,


American Airlines Files for Bankruptcy Protection

American Airlines and its parent company filed for bankruptcy protection as they try to cut costs and unload massive debt built up by years of high fuel prices and labor struggles. There will be no impact on travelers for now.

Horton said, however, that as the company goes through a restructuring it will probably reduce the flight schedule "modestly," with corresponding cuts in jobs. ... "Labor is going to take a major hit," Jenkins said. "Their pensions are in danger."

... He said the company needed to cut costs in view of the weak global economy and high, volatile fuel prices. The average price of jet fuel has risen more than 50 percent in the past five years.

Please notice, Seraph, that:

There will be no impact on travelers for now.

Nothing to see here. Move along.


Didn't AA announce a few months ago that they had turned in a huge order for new Boeing jets? I think it was for over 200 billion $.

What were they thinking? Were they thinking?

All those new planes - half Boeing and half Airbus as I recall - (It was the largest order ever placed (?)). were to be on credit... like the ones that they would replace, I guess. Very capital intensive; very credit intensive. Truly an 'industry' for the times.


They're still not giving up on those new planes, either:


American Airlines Keeps Bets On New Jets Despite Bankruptcy

Furthering its ambition to build the youngest and most fuel-efficient fleet of aircraft in the U.S. over the next 5 years, American Airlines announced its plans earlier this year to make the largest aircraft order in history despite filing for bankruptcy. American Airlines will take order of 460 narrowbody jets comprising a mix of Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s. [1] Tom Horton, president of American Airlines and its parent, AMR Corp., said...

They are targeting labor costs for cuts.

An interview I just heard on NPR talked about more consolidation to come in the airline industry, a slow creep-up in fares, and a reduction in contribution to employee pension plans.

I ran across this site which shows the hourly rate for pilots on various airlines and various airplane classes. Seems like it pays to work at Fedex.


Southwest pays almost as much as Fedex.

Southwest is the most consistently profitable passenger airline. I think Fedex is consistently profitable as well.

Lower labor costs are not the key to profitability.


The guy that wrote a book about what happens as (he thinks) we head toward $20 per gallon gasoline predicted that there would be two surviving US airlines, Southwest, focused on domestic markets and Continental, focused on international markets.

Link to Amazon reviews: http://www.amazon.com/20-Gallon-Inevitable-Gasoline-Change/product-revie...

Alan, I worked for TWA for about 35 years and I used to prepare the annual pilot budgets. At the time Icahn came along, when TWA was on the verge of bankruptcy, we successfully reduced pay, benefits and work rule costs to the lowest in the industry. I frequently attended ATA meetings and got to know many of my counterparts from the other carriers. Always was amazed at the difference in work rules with TWA among the best, and AMR among the worst. Most people are not aware of impact of work rule costs on overall labor costs.

AMR never went through the bankruptcy process, but just about every other major carrier (with the exception of Southwest) went through that process and successfully modified labor costs as a result. I expect AMR to be back in business with substantially lower labor costs in the near future. They will achieve through the Courts what they were unable to achieve through negotiations.

It is my understanding that SW has exemplary labor relations. On 9/12/01 they announced that SW would sell aircraft before laying off the first employee.

A few years ago, SW management said they needed to reduce pilot costs by 3% and asked the union for suggestions. They came up with a program that saved 3%.

SW has half the number of ground staff (gate & ticket counter) as competitors, and far fewer complaints.

IMHO, exemplary management.


I always feel like a sardine in a can on SW airlines. There is no doubt part of their success and discomfort is their ability to stuff every seat full.

They also do a great job of adding flight destinations after you've boarded. "Oh by the way, we'll be making an unscheduled stop in Chicago - have a nice flight." They did that to us on a flight from Pittsburgh. We started the day early driving 200 miles to Pit, then the added flight to Chicago in which we had to change planes, then on to LA, CA, where our flight to Oakland was cancelled, we waited for 4 hours until 2 am for a flight in which they lost our luggage, but fortunately it was at lost and found. We drove 2 hours home ending a 30 hour day we thought would be only 22 hours, and collapsed in a heap!

Thanks SW!

Statistically, SW has the least lost luggage of any airline (I think they came in #2 a couple of years ago - but traditionally they have been #1). Never lost any myself and do not know anyone that has on SW.

SW coach seats (all they have) have more legroom than any other US airline. Basically, they give up one row of seats to allow more legroom.

Their capacity factor - % of full seats - is quite high. So "sardine can" feeling can come from that.

Unscheduled stops - after about 150 flights on SW (going back to their second year) - I have had one. Phoenix to New Orleans, full flight, 110 F on takeoff in old 737-200. Pilot told us that, due to heat, he was not allowed to take-off with a full fuel load. We stopped in Lubbock and refueled. Arrived in New Orleans @ 45 minutes late.

OTOH, USAir stranded me in Charlotte for an extra 5 hours till they could find another a/c and crew due to a scheduling mix-up on crew assignments.

Sharing economy sparked by internet technology (w/Video)

Each day, billions of pictures and videos are shared between strangers on websites like Facebook, Google+ and YouTube.

But individuals are now also sharing physical possessions through the web, as part of a movement called collaborative consumption.

"It's all driven by this desire to get more use out of the assets that we already have - to live more efficiently and more connected," says Micki Krimmel, founder of goods sharing website NeighborGoods.com.

From Russia ...

How much oil is in the Arctic?

Due to the fact that over the past 15-20 years no large onshore oil or gas deposits have been discovered on the territories of the world’s principle oil and gas producers, Russia included, 30% of oil and gas production has been aimed seawards. This will make the Arctic Region a global oil and gas hub in the near future.

Gazprom’s new Arctic oil rig arrived to Murmansk

This is the first oil rig to be built at the naval shipyard Zvezdochka [north of Finland].

The rig is designed for operations in Arctic waters and will be used primarily in the Pechora Sea. It has an 88 meter long and 66 meter wide platform and can house 90 workers. Maximum drilling depth is 6.500 meters.

S – “This will make the Arctic Region a global oil and gas hub in the near future.” Another amazing prediction… especially since no commercial oil production has been found there yet. But how can they miss? BTW the last DW well I worked on: the operator spent $35 million just to move the rig from Africa to Brazil and then spent $145 million drilling a dry hole. And this was in a trend with billions of bbls of proven oil and state of the art seismic date saturating the play. Too bad they didn’t get advice from the Arctic optimists as where to drill.

Another amazing prediction… especially since no commercial oil production has been found there yet.

True R, and I've been wondering for a while now if they ever will find sufficient quantities of oil in Artic waters to make it profitable. The reason why is because oil has its origins in parts of the world where the water is warm enough for algae to thrive, it builds up, sinks down, gets compressed under layers of sediment, and over time, etc. But just how much algae would have grown in the cold waters of the far north?

Or do they expect it to be there due to movement of techtonic plates over millions of years?


The Soviets did a bit of Arctic drilling with 3 ice class DP drill ships that they had made in Finland with American drilling equipment, Rockman remembers one very well lol. The two working out of Murmansk, found some very large gas fields but not much oil.


This ties in with what the Canadians found in the Arctic as well, lots of gas, not much oil, as stated by one of our Canadian oilmen. Someone must have come up with some different theories or much improved seismic interpretations to make it all worth while as these are not going to be cheap wells to drill.

We will just have to wait and see what they find when the holes are drilled and the money is spent.

To explain the pusher's chuckle: I worked on one the of those crappy Ruskie DS off Africa and was lucky to get off alive. But did have 3 bouts of food poisoning and two near misses.

Ahhh...the glamorous life of a well site geologist

Warning on Danube drought as shipping halted

SOFIA — A major drought along the lower Danube has highlighted the river's reduced ability to buffer extreme weather events and has hampered navigation, environmental group WWF said on Tuesday.

The Danube is currently seeing its lowest levels since 2003, with bigger ships often being blocked by multiple sand bars, according to Bulgaria's Danube exploration agency.

Traffic on the river was disrupted on Tuesday when water levels on a 40 kilometres (25 mile) stretch in Serbia were too low because of lack of rainfall, media said.

... "the feasibility of hydropower and navigation projects relies on predictable water levels while climate change is expected to lower predictability," another WWF expert, Irene Lucius, warned.

Any thinking, objective oil analyst can see that fundamentals drive oil prices. Why haven't speculators piled in and driven up the price of natural gas? Why is the price set in the spot markets?

Oil roars back to $100, but does anybody care?

While intelligent minds may differ as to why oil prices have risen as much as 630% over the past decade – speculation or fundamentals? – one fact is no longer up for debate: a shift seems to have taken place in oil-patch tectonics that's keeping prices propped up. And the cost of ignoring it does not bode well for consumers or our national security.

It is interesting (pathetic actually) to read the comments to this silly article. Almost without exception the commenters know what the problem is - just speculation. If the government would just stop speculation oil would be cheap again.

Ignorance is rampant.

And it appears to be concentrated in some parts of Texas.

If Texas would just produce enough oil to be self sufficient again, "Drill Baby Drill" in some of the best geology in the world ...


gog - You have to give the MSM credit for at least being consistant: "Oil roars back to $100". I haven't sold any of my oil for less than $100/bbl for 10 months. I didn't bother to read the article but I'm sure they are't even talking about actual oil sales but the futures prices.

And some folks wonder why the public is confused/ignorant.

Speaking of being confused/ignorant:


Brilliant. Right on the message with Obama's reelection poster, "Don't change the change."

"In the last election we asked voters to hope for change. In this election we are asking them to change for hope."

Really like the mockumentary, particularly all the people Obama has working for him from Wallstreet firms. Also laughed at the R candidates liking all of Bush's wars, but not the continuation of them by Obama.

Months after it was discussed in some detail here, the Wall Street Journal finally notes that US oil product exports have now exceeded product imports. This article follows shortly after the EIA released its monthly report for September (http://www.eia.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/petroleum_sup...).

The EIA is substantially upwardly revising its oil product export figures for September. Previously some here, myself included, had thought those figures from the EIA's original weekly report were underestimated. The upward revisions to export demand has contributed to the dramatic fall in oil and distillate inventories in the last few months.

NOVEMBER 30, 2011

U.S. Nears Milestone: Net Fuel Exporter

U.S. exports of gasoline, diesel and other oil-based fuels are soaring, putting the nation on track to be a net exporter of petroleum products in 2011 for the first time in 62 years.

A combination of booming demand from emerging markets and faltering domestic activity means the U.S. is exporting more fuel than it imports, upending the historical norm.

According to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Tuesday, the U.S. sent abroad 753.4 million barrels of everything from gasoline to jet fuel in the first nine months of this year, while it imported 689.4 million barrels.


This will, of course, be interpreted by some as: "The US is now a net exporter of oil", a handy tool for peak deniers.

The Mintz Group Launches “Where the Bribes Are” Interactive FCPA Map

The map is designed to provide users with information about FCPA violations, including the relative size of penalties levied, and the countries where questionable activity occurred, with a breakdown by industry sector. It also provides a visual way for companies to assess the risk of corruption in the countries where they operate or hope to operate.


The risk of corruption? Hmmm... or perhaps the opportunity?