Drumbeat: December 14, 2011

High oil prices threaten global economy, IEA warns

High oil prices threaten to worsen a global economic slowdown and crude producers should consider boosting output, the chief economist for the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

"The current high oil prices have the potential to strangle the economic recovery in many countries," Fatih Birol said in a speech in Singapore. "I hope that high oil prices don't slow down Chinese economic growth and the negative effect that would have on the global recovery."

Oil Falls From One-Week High as OPEC Ministers Raise Crude Output Ceiling

Futures declined as much as 1.8 percent, after surging 2.4 percent yesterday in the biggest gain in almost four weeks. OPEC agreed to a production limit of 30 million barrels a day, Venezuela’s Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said at the group’s meeting in Vienna today. U.S. crude supplies rose last week and gasoline consumption decreased, the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute said yesterday. Crude extended its declines as equities fell and the euro reached its weakest level against the dollar since January.

“The production cap seems quite neutral, since demand is likely to be held back by weaker growth in the first half of next year,” said Filip Petersson, commodity strategist at SEB AB in Stockholm. “Bullishness from yesterday is dissipating.”

OPEC Agrees to 30 Million Barrel Output Limit

OPEC decided to increase its production ceiling to 30 million barrels a day, the first change in three years, moving the group’s supply target nearer to current output.

“We have an agreement to maintain the market in balance and we’re going to adjust the level of production of each country to open space for Libyan production,” Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting ended today in Vienna.

Iran: Saudis not compensating If Tehran sanctioned

VIENNA -- Iran's oil minister said Wednesday that his Saudi counterpart had agreed not to up crude production to replace Iranian oil in case an international embargo on Iranian oil impacts Tehran's ability to sell its petroleum.

Aramco, Sinopec, CNOOC pursue Frac Tech stake-sources

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Saudi Aramco, China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) and CNOOC Ltd are each in talks to buy up to a 30 percent stake U.S. oil and gas services company Frac Tech International two sources with knowledge of the matter said.

The oil companies' discussions over a deal worth about $2.2 billion underline the growing interest in fracking, a controversial mining technique which has opened up huge reserves of previously untapped oil and gas but has attracted criticism from environmentalists.

Oil’s getting harder and harder to come by

Are oil companies are finding it increasingly difficult to find new oil? It can certainly seem that way. Most of the older, easier-to-drill oil fields appear to be running near full capacity, while newer supplies often prove costly and difficult to drill — think of deepwater extraction off the Gulf of Mexico or shale production in North Dakota, which isn’t economical unless crude prices rise higher than $60 per barrel.

But here’s another way to look at it. As a chart from ExxonMobil’s new 2012 Outlook for Energy (via Gregor McDonald) shows, the vast bulk of our oil comes from those older, easier-to-drill fields, with more recently discovered supplies playing a smaller and smaller role.

The Long-Term Trend for Oil Is Always Up

The era of easy-to-drill oil is ending, and as production costs steadily increse, prices will rise too, says Elliott Gue of The Energy Strategist, who recommends a handful of plays in the sector.

Oil Pricing And Valuation Solved - A Required Yield Theory Mechanism

Oil valuation, like that of stocks and gold, is driven by a principles which theoretically and empirically account for the vast majority of price and price volatility; leaving little room for bit character roles for emotions, hedging, speculation or “manipulation.”

Current valuation of oil contains a sizable premium for supply disruption i.e. U.S./EU-Iran tensions. Absent further escalation, it is very vulnerable to downward world growth estimate revisions and somewhat less so supported by the lower real fiat asset yields that would come with lower expected growth. Lower growth projections, if forthcoming as this author expects, would be very negative for oil and for the economies and stock markets of oil producers such as Russia, UAE and parts of Latin America and Canada.

Asia ‘Golden Age of Gas’ May Spur Singapore Hub, IEA Chief Says

A boom in liquefied natural gas exports and growing demand in Asia may pave the way for a trading hub in Singapore and a benchmark price for the fuel, according to the International Energy Agency.

Kazakhstan Gains 10% in BG, Eni-led Karachaganak Oil Venture

Kazakhstan agreed to acquire 10 percent of the country’s second-biggest producing oil field, operated by BG Group Plc and Eni SpA, ending a more than two- year dispute.

Iraq asks oil firms to trim crude output after bombing-source

(Reuters) - Iraq has asked international oil companies working in its southern oilfields to reduce production after a bomb attack on Tuesday night on an oil pipeline network, an industry source said on Wednesday.

Three bombs hit an oil pipeline operation that transports crude from southern Iraqi oilfields to storage tanks around the oil hub of Basra, causing a fire that raged all night and was put out only on Wednesday morning.

Without our troops, can Iraq's fragile peace hold?

Five years ago Anbar's provincial capital of Ramadi was a war zone as U.S. Marines fought through rubble-strewn neighborhoods against a dug-in insurgency. Large sections were under the thumb of al-Qaeda, the terrorist group that had declared Ramadi its Iraqi capital. But the crushing of the insurgency here and in most other parts of Iraq following more than eight years of war has improved security and given rise to a rudimentary democracy and improving standard of living for many Iraqis.

What worries most Iraqis now is whether this transformation will survive the departure of the Americans. The gains that cost more than 4,000 American lives can be reversed in a country where old sectarian grudges simmer, Iran is aiding radical militias, al-Qaeda is still mounting attacks and the U.S. troops that helped keep a lid on it all will have left.

Nine years on, Iraq's economic potential still untapped

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Four years ago, Iraq's oil minister Hussain al-Shahristani confronted a stark choice: should he risk opening Iraq's ailing oil industry to foreign companies?

Enoc plans oil drilling debut

Enoc, Dubai's petrol retailer, hopes to produce oil for the first time in the emirate and is seeking foreign partners for the task.

Petrochemical firms urged to boost their home markets

Domestic demand will shield the Gulf's pet-chem producers from increasing competition in the export markets.

Keystone pipeline: How many jobs it would really create

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The Keystone pipeline project is back in play as part of the payroll-tax cut debate, and Congressional Republicans say it would create jobs.

But there's a wide range of estimates, with one forecast that Keystone could actually cost jobs.

The questionable economics of shale gas

Shale gas is being sold to the American public as a miracle, arriving just in time to save us from peak oil. It’s an abundant new fuel supply that will be a “game-changer,” we’re told. We’ll soon be a major exporter of gas to the rest of the world. The economics of fossil fuels have been changed forever, along with our balance of trade.

But what if the business isn’t actually profitable? What if it’s really based on accounting trickery and overstated claims?

Add Quakes to Rumblings Over Gas Rush

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Until this year, this Rust Belt city and surrounding Mahoning County had been about as dead, seismically, as a place can be, without even a hint of an earthquake since Scots-Irish settlers arrived in the 18th century.

But on March 17, two minor quakes briefly shook the city. And in the following eight months there have been seven more — like the first two, too weak to cause damage or even be felt by many people, but strong enough to rattle some nerves.

Cameron Appeals BP Gulf Spill Trial Plan, Wants Case Before Jury

Cameron International Corp. (CAM) told a federal appeals court its right to a jury trial would be infringed under a plan to have a judge determine which companies should be blamed for the 2010 BP Plc oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

First Gulf of Mexico offshore bids to be opened since Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster

NEW ORLEANS — The federal government is holding the first auction of offshore petroleum leases in the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster last year, despite a lawsuit challenging the sale.

Oil drilling and the Inupiat people of Point Hope - in pictures

Royal Dutch Shell has been granted preliminary permits to drill off Alaska's Arctic coast in 2012. The decision could pave the way for the drilling of huge reserves, but plans have been put on hold by legal challenges from the tribal government of Point Hope and a group of 12 environmental organisations. The fear of an oil spill has split the community, which must decide between economic benefits and protecting the marine environment on which it has depended for thousands of years

China May Approve Nuclear Projects on Revised Safety Rules

China, the world’s biggest energy user, may resume approving new nuclear projects after the cabinet endorses draft safety rules prepared by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and a bunch of nuclear power equipment makers are set to benefit from such a move.

Japan's nuke meltdown shouldn't close U.S. plants

For all its drawbacks, nuclear power remains an indispensable part of the U.S. energy mix, reliably providing about 20% of the nation's electricity with little to none of the greenhouse gas emissions generated by competitors such as coal, oil and natural gas. At a time when wind, solar and other renewable forms of energy are still a long way from being able to carry the 24/7 load for a nation increasingly reliant on computers and appliances, nuclear power makes sense — as long as Americans are confident it's as safe as possible, which is where the lessons from Japan come in.

Greenpeace: Phase out nuclear reactors

Even before the three nuclear meltdowns in Japan placed the name Fukushima atop the list of other nuclear disasters such as Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, the nuclear industry was in serious trouble. Nuclear power isn't just an enormous risk to communities and the environment; it also presents enormous risks to any investor foolish enough to believe the hype. That's why the nuclear industry always has its hands in taxpayers' pockets.

MPs debate Island’s future energy strategy

Shadow Environment Minister Cole Simons said the strategic objectives of the policy were worthy of support but more information could have been provided on the “underlying assumptions of the Government used to develop its energy strategies for the next decade” and “more on current and future challenges faced by Bermuda when it comes to energy security, supply distribution and storage”.

“With a small population, limited land space and surface water, the options available for renewable sources of energy are limited compared to the larger industrial nations,” he said.

Oil’s cheerleaders missing the point

It was perhaps inevitable that during a week of rock-bottom expectations for the UN climate talks in Durban, the oil business, meeting for its showcase World Petroleum Congress (WPC) in Doha, Qatar, would not miss the opportunity to remind the renewables industry of its lowly position in the world’s energy rankings.

Inevitable, or in Limbo? A Dam for the Mekong

“Many villages don’t even know they need to be resettled, and people living downstream don’t know what’s happening.”

Hot trend: Demand for designer firewood heats up

This year, even the old yule log is getting a makeover. Ordinary Americans can't get access to a sheik's palace or a movie star's mansion, but they can score the firewood of the rich and famous this holiday season, courtesy of firewood farms in Minnesota that ship display-worthy logs to elite addresses from New York to Saudi Arabia.

Economic growth: it’s not dead yet

Green thinkers are plain wrong to claim there are natural limits to how much we can expand our economies.

Megacities: Scars On The Earth, Or Keys To Growth?

As Earth's population surpasses seven billion, cities are going to continue to grow whether we like it or not, and you may be surprised to hear more and more experts use words like vibrant, cheap, prosperous and green.

Disasters doom Texas oyster crop

A monstrous bloom of toxic algae looming across the Texas coast has shut down oyster season. Fueled by Texas' ongoing drought, the algae — known as Karenia brevis — thrives in warm, salty water and has spread through the bays and islands along Texas' 350-mile coast, says Meridith Byrd, a marine biologist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The algae could cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea in humans and is harmful to fish but not fatal to people, she says.

Commando stabbed to death by Chinese fishermen

The coastguard managed to take control of one of the boats, but the other boat suddenly rammed the seized vessel, prompting nine fishermen on board to start attacking officers.

According to reports, two officers were then stabbed by the captain of the fishing boat who smashed a window and used the broken glass as a weapon.

South Korea Furious Over Illegal Chinese Boats

SEOUL, South Korea - Public anger in South Korea has escalated a day after a Chinese boat captain stabbed a South Korean coast guardsman to death and seriously injured another with a knife. The captain is charged with murder while resisting arrest by coastal police patrolling illegal Chinese fishing boats at the West Sea’s exclusive economic zone.

In one indication of South Korean rage, a 34-year-old man smashed his SUV three times into a police bus guarding the Chinese Embassy in Seoul. And South Korean headlines today strongly criticized the increasing number Chinese fishermen and their growing violence in recent years.

Canada Announces Exit From Kyoto Climate Treaty

In announcing the decision, government officials indicated that the possibility of huge fines for Canada’s failure to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets had played a role.

Canada, out of Kyoto, must still cut emissions: U.N.

(Reuters) - Canada still has a legal obligation under U.N. rules to cut its emissions despite the country's pullout from the Kyoto Protocol, the U.N. climate chief said Tuesday.

Christiana Figueres also said the timing of Canada's move, a day after a deal to extend it was clinched at a U.N. summit in South Africa, was both regrettable and surprising.

Bienvenue au Canada: Welcome to Your Friendly Neighborhood Petro-State

Any illusion that Canada remains a much more liberal place than the U.S. on the environment at least was shattered yesterday when Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent, just returned from the U.N. climate summit in the South African city of Durban, announced that the country would be formally withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol, becoming the first nation to do so.

Canada's Kyoto withdrawal shameful

I’m ashamed to be Canadian right now.

Hours after returning from the climate change conference in Durban, South Africa, where Canada’s behaviour can only be described as, yet again, disgraceful, Environment Minister Peter Kent announced we are withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol.

A good time to walk away

The federal government is entirely correct to withdraw Canada from the Kyoto Protocol.

If the international climate treaty was ever about saving the planet from global warming, that ceased to be its goal long ago. As demonstrated by the final agreement signed over the weekend at the United Nations climate summit in Durban, South Africa, Kyoto is now mostly about punishing rich countries for being rich and forcing them to pay vast sums - up to $1.6trillion a year - to the UN for redistribution to poorer nations (after, of course, the UN has taken a healthy cut off the top to support its own wasteful bureaucracy, nepotism, cronyism, incompetence and corruption).

Climate change is a universal problem

Q: You believe there is a connection between financial crisis and environmental problems. Can you explain?

A: The links are many. Climate change and water availability affects food production. Competing demands for land (for example, for food and biofuels) have increased prices. Oil and energy prices themselves underpin food and other commodities. And the consumption of such fossil fuels contributes to climate change.


The U.S. oil geologist Marion King Hubbert predicted, already in 1956, that the global production of oil will reach its all-time high roughly when we have used one half of the world’s oil reserves. This is because geologists tend to find the biggest fields first, and because oil wells become tired during the production phase. The more is taken out, the more difficult it gets to bring the remaining oil to the surface. The world’s production of crude oil may have peaked in July 2008, at 74,666 barrels per day. In other words we may already have passed the feared Peak Oil, without almost anybody noticing the event. This is because the production of natural gas is still increasing, and growing amounts of gas have been converted to various oil-replacing products, writes Risto Isomaki, an environmental activist and awarded Finnish writer whose novels have been translated into several languages.

Does anyone know where this figure of 74,666 bp/d comes from? (Obviously this figure is thousand of barrels per day or 74.666 mb/d. Just a typo.) Anyway it is not from either the EIA or JODI. I suppose it is from BP.

Ron P.

Hard to say, since that's only a brief excerpt of the article. I haven't been able to find the rest of it.

Does the number represent only conventional crude oil?

Ron P./Darwinian
Note: "writes Risto Isomaki, an environmental activist and awarded Finnish writer"
Europeans use a comma where Americans use a period for a decimal "point". Same number.
See: http://mathworld.wolfram.com/DecimalComma.html

Thanks David, I am familiar with the European method. However the article says: at 74,666 barrels per day... If we make the comma a decimal point it is still wrong, even more so. Obviously he meant 74,666 million barrels per day. (European version) However it is nothing more than a typo, nothing to nitpick about. That is why I said it was a typo, to keep folks from pointing out that this was not very much oil.

Ron P.

When they do those polls about favorability, you know like when congress is at 9% or whatever, they should also ask about diplomacy/diplomats/U.N.

In the U.S. diplomacy is often demonized. I see from all the Kyoto/Canada headlines that one editorial took a strong whack at diplomacy too.

Imagine the wars (or whatever you call them) in our future when the climate/oil/resource tipping point really hits. Diplomacy won't stand a chance. And I bet 'ya $10,000 of Mitt's money we'll find enough energy to fight for more. Talk about insanity.

... one editorial took a strong whack at diplomacy too.

Noble, please correct me if I'm wrong, but were you referring to the National Post article, A good time to walk away? The National Post, for what it's worth, is a pro-business cheer-leading organ for the Conservative Party of Canada. Like in other places, Canada has its fair share of politically oriented medias. If Environment Minister Peter Kent says Kyoto deserves to die, then according to the conservative press, world diplomats who disagree are to be whacked.

Canadian opinion on the government's decision is all over the map. Another article above, Canada's Kyoto withdrawal shameful opens with the line, "I’m ashamed to be Canadian right now" and ends with "What’s wrong with us?"

The rhetoric in Canada will only intensify in the days ahead as the political fallout continues. 'Same bat time, same bat channel.'

Unlike south of the border, public opinion polls repeatedly show that Canadians have bought into the global warming argument. If scientists say climate change is happening, then the general opinion in the Great White North is that it is happening. The deep rooted skepticism evident in the American mainstream is a marginal factor.

The argument among politicians in Ottawa is far more pragmatic. It's more a question about what constitutes a level playing field and who gets hurt on the bumps. It was clear in 2005 (when the Liberals who signed the deal were still in power) that Canada was not going to meet its targets. That situation hasn't improved since the Conservatives took over in 2006. Now penalties are set to be imposed on those who are in violation of their commitments signed in 1997. The two biggest emitters of green house gases, China and the United States, are not covered by Kyoto. What's more, most of the developing world is exempt from the penalties. As the environment minister says, the Kyoto protocols cover less than 13% of the global emitters. Now Canada is expected to pay $13.6 billion in fines, when the most of the world can sit on its high horse, criticize, and be expected to pay nothing. For what's its worth, I think even a latter day Liberal government would have found an excuse for bowing out - but since that is hypothetical, it's not provable.

I can understand your exasperation at the process, however, I would argue what you are seeing is diplomacy at its finest. Diplomacy is the art of negotiation and manipulation for the purpose of international advantage. Like regular politics, it is the art of the possible. The environment minister waited until he was on home ground before dropping the bombshell. Safer in Ottawa than in Durban. What the press does with it is one thing. What happens next in world capitals will follow very ancient and time honoured rules and niceties that have been in place since time immemorial.

Kyoto was fatally flawed from the start because it didn't place limits on where the serious growth in Co2 was going to come from. I am a firmer believer in climate change - but Kyoto made the problem worse not better. Gail's article a few days ago about GDP and Co2 highlighted that one of the unintended consequences of Kyoto was to move production from an efficient developed world to an inefficient developing world. But even worse by giving the developing world a pass it actually hindered the development of alternative non CO2 energy sources plus it provided the false promise of preventing climate change.

Once we recognize that the developing countries will not accept lower development goals in order to cap Co2 emissions then it will be crystal clear to everybody that we have only two choices- (a) invest in adaption to climate change or (b) have a plan to get off fossil fuels completely.

Kyoto R. I. P - you should died a long time ago.

Yes. I wasn't suprized about Canada pulling out.

I guess I should have made my point more clear.

I think the very process of diplomacy as it pertains to energy, other natural resources and AGW has been so demonized, especially in the US and other developed countries, that we can't "go back from the brink."

I fear that as the problems of energy, other natural resources and AGW become more complex and dangerous that warfare (in all forms) will be the first solution rather than the last.

I do appreciate insight you shared.

It was clear in 2005 (when the Liberals who signed the deal were still in power) that Canada was not going to meet its targets.

I gave a talk in Canada a little over a year ago and predicted Canada would pull out. There was no way they could meet the targets and develop the oil sands, and I was certain they would continue to develop the oil sands.

They wouldn't have met the targets even without the oil sands. Oil sands account for only 6.5% of Canadian CO2 emissions, and Canada is 30% over its Kyoto targets. The biggest culprits, as in the US, are coal-burning power plants and heavy industry.

Unlike in the US, power plants in Canada are controlled and/or owned by the provincial governments, and the provinces were never consulted about Kyoto, nor did they sign it. If the federal government tried to tell them to shut down their coal plants, the provinces would simply refuse to comply and would instead launch a legal and political battle of epic proportions. There is also an issue with heavy industry, like steel mills, which is disproportionately concentrated in areas that vote Liberal.

The Liberal government that signed Kyoto obviously did not do a feasibility study beforehand and made no apparent attempt to do anything to implement it. The members of the current Conservative government were not onside to begin with and are not keen on being stuck with problems the Liberals created.

One of the other reasons for Canadian inaction is that the US congress refused to ratify Kyoto, and Canadian industry is in direct competition with US industry. Canada couldn't afford to render its heavy industries non-competitive with the US by imposing restrictions and taxes on them.

I think the Congressional approval rating is highly misleading. We have a highly polarized electorate. My guess is that both sides of the political spectrum think the other party controls Congress -irrespective who is actually in the majority. Under those circumstances it is actually surprising that Congress' approval rating is as high as 9%- and perhaps OWS has it wrong - its not about the 1% vs 99% more likely the 9% (those who approve of congress) versus the rest.

yeah. really weird.

also, people seem to like THEIR representative or senator but they CAN'T STAND yours!

we have some fixin' to do, as they say.

I guess I'm different; I don't like mine or yours. :-P

I don't have one to dislike :/

Video: Dec. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Bloomberg's Scarlet Fu reports on U.S. trade in refined oil products.

It's unbelievable how breathless she is to tell us the good news that we are actually an exporter now. Not much description of the fact that we only export the REFINED products because our LOCAL economy can't afford it anymore. The attempt is made to fool some people into thinking that overall oil problems are solved.

After being educated by TOD, the daily news has a certain smell to it, you know?

Oh well, back to growth as usual.

Exactly right. Imagine if somebody wrote the following:

"Lake Chad is awash in perch! The people of Chad, Niger, and Cameroon who live around Lake Chad have so much of the bountiful fish, they are selling perch fillets to Europe. Moreover, these hardy folk have become so efficient they have no trouble subsisting on the tail, head, and residual meat left over after the perch have been filleted and shipped abroad. Clearly, the 'peak perch' crowd have, once again, gotten it wrong."

Doesn't pass the smell test, does it?

I'm interested in the report of a raised OPEC quota. Given that most of OPEC are ignoring quotas and pumping flat out anyway, I don't expect much to change. I'm not sure what total OPEC output is, but I thought it was more than 30Mbpd. So is the announcement totally political, and why make it now? Oil price is stalled at around $110 for Brent and given the economic woes does not look likely to rise in the short term.

Could it be that OPEC expects output to fall from say, Iran for above ground factors, or do they see a looming winter shortage of diesel and heating oil, and plan to stifle a price spike?

Or is this just internal OPEC politics, or random diplomatic noise ?

I'm very curious as to where heating oil and diesel prices would currently be had the N.Eastern U.S. not been experiencing such balmy Autumn temperatures.

Hard to say, but I'm guessing it's their way of trying to placate everyone. You have the IEA saying high prices will strangle the economy, and the US doubtless pushing Saudi to make up for boycotted Iran oil. Iran doesn't want anyone making up for their production, and there's also concern that Libya will come back online. So setting a new, higher quota (that's the same as what they are actually pumping) is a compromise.

OPEC's Monthly Oil Market Report with production figures for November was just published yesterday. OPEC crude only in November was 30,367,000 barrels per day. (Click on "Oil Market Report" to download the PDF file.)

OPEC Crude Only in thousands of barrels per day. The last data point is November 2011.
OPEC Crude Only

Libyan C+C production was up to 570,000 barrels per day in November. Below is Libyan output in thousands of barrels per day.

Aug.   7
Sep.  86
Oct. 348
Nov. 570

Ron P.

That looks pretty much like the "bumpy plateau" we were promised way back in 2004 or before -- I'm not quite sure who first used that term.
Clearly, the oil industry and its advisers are not clueless, and they have known what is going on for a very long time.

I also think they have been very clever in announcing that the sky is falling without appearing foolish like Chicken Little.

Almost everyone is now conditioned to the belief that the economy is permanently contracting and that warfare (for "freedom", or resources, or whatever) is a constant-- and yet there is no panic and no outrage.

Apathy rules the day -- the Occupy and Arab Spring movements notwithstanding.

At least, that's what I see from where I stand.


the frog is getting cooked slowly.



I guess if it is slow enough the frog is none the wiser, and the cook has something good to eat!

Sucks to be the frog! But who is the cook?


the frog never meets him, but, just before the black falls in front of his exhausted eyes, the frog catches a glimpse of the cook's leering face - by accident or on purpose, he can't be sure: how could he mistake those beady black eyes and that soft pink snout - yes, the cook was the pig of course, he should have known, and it was she who planned it all from the very beginning

So according to the graph, basically OPEC's saying that it is capping it's production to below that of it's peak in July 08(and below Nov 11's output) and everybody is happy about it.

Well yes. You must remember that OPEC never sticks to its quotas. OPEC production will likely settle out at about 30.5 mb/d or perhaps a little higher after Libya comes on completely back on line.

Ron P.

Some Global Net Export (GNE) and Available Net Export (ANE) estimates for 2011, based on just extrapolating the 2005 to 2010 rates of change. Here is what I came up with:

2010 Numbers (BP + Minor EIA data, Total Petroleum Liquids):

GNE = Top 33 Net Oil Exporters, mbpd (& five year rates of change):

Production: 61.9 (-0.1%/year)
Consumption: 19.2 (+2.7%/year)
Net Exports: 42.7

China & India Net Imports (mbpd & five year rates of change):

China: 5.0 (+8.3%/year)
India: 2.5 (+6.6%/year
Chindia: 7.5 (+7.7%year)

2010 ANE = GNE - Chindia’s net imports = 35.2 (Five year rate of change of -2.8%/year)

If we extrapolate the 2005 to 2010 rates of change for production & consumption for top 33, we get the following estimates for 2011:

Production: 61.8
Consumption: 19.7
Net Exports: 42.1

If we extrapolate the 2005 to 2010 rates of change in China & India net imports, we get the following estimates for 2011:

China: 5.4
India: 2.7
Chindia: 8.1

Est. 2011 ANE = 42.1 - 8.1 = 34 (which would be a year over year rate of change of -3.5%/year)

This would be an annual year over year decline of about 1.2 mbpd in ANE, versus the volumetric average rate of decline in ANE of about one mbpd per year for 2005 to 2010 (approximately 40 mbpd to 35 mbpd). I suspect that the ongoing decline in ANE is why Brent is going to average around $111 for 2011, versus $97 for 2008.

Note that Chindia's combined net imports, as a percentage of GNE, rose from 11.0% in 2005 to 17.8% in 2010. The above estimates would put the 2011 ratio at about 19.2%, which would imply that ANE, as a percentage of GNE, fell from 89% in 2005 to about 81% in 2011.

2002 to 2010 "Yergin Gap" ANE chart:


Re: Aramco, Sinopec, CNOOC pursue Frac Tech stake-sources, up top:

The videos on Frack Tech's site are better than the You Tube videos IMO:



Vlogging the frack job:



Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending December 9, 2011

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged about 14.7 million barrels per day during the week ending December 9, 590 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 85.1 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging 9.5 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging just under 5.0 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.3 million barrels per day last week, down by 1.1 million barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged nearly 8.8 million barrels per day, 232 thousand barrels per day above the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 776 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 118 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 1.9 million barrels from the previous week. At 334.2 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 3.8 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 0.5 million barrels last week and are in the lower limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 0.5 million barrels last week and are in the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 2.0 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged 18.3 million barrels per day, down by 5.6 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged about 8.7 million barrels per day, down by 4.5 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged nearly 3.8 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 1.8 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 2.5 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

‘Concrete’ steps taken to reduce demand for ‘Other Oils’

No, I am not talking figuratively. Yes, I am really talking about that hard stuff – concrete.

While it is hard to mentally place it in the category of ‘alternative energy’, concrete is now a cost effective replacement for asphalt. Asphalt is part of the category the EIA calls in its weekly report “Other Oils”. Here is how the EIA defines Other Oils:

Includes aviation gasoline, kerosene, natural gas plant liquids and LRGs (except propane/propylene), unfinished oils, other hydrocarbons and oxygenates (except fuel ethanol), aviation gasoline blending components, naphtha and other oils for petrochemical feedstock use, special naphthas, lube oils, waxes, coke, asphalt, road oil, and miscellaneous oils. Includes naphtha-type jet fuel beginning in 2004. Propane/propylene was included with other oils prior to 2004. Ethanol was included with other oils prior to June 4, 2010. Other oils stocks includes unfinished oils beginning on June 4, 2010.

The drop in ‘products supplied’ from US refineries is chiefly due to the drop in demand for ‘other oils’ – and also due to falling gasoline demand - which has been weak and still falling (more on that later).

Concrete now costs about the same as asphalt, but lasts much longer. A continuing downturn in the building construction industry also has sent concrete suppliers searching for new customers

Stack said the city used asphalt at the intersection when it worked on it in 1999 because it was cheaper. However, prices of asphalt and concrete now are similar.

"It (asphalt) made good sense 10 years ago," Stack said. "Concrete makes better sense now."

He said asphalt lasts about 10 years, but concrete lasts about 30 years.


Concrete mixing companies, as well as contractors who pour concrete, have seen up to a 75 percent decrease in business since the 2005-06 peak of the housing industry, which had collapsed by 2008. The construction shutdown has battered contractors, hauling companies and building supply dealers, who had grown used to rapid growth.

Smaller contractors, as well as ready-mix plants, are working to find new markets. Builders now focus on smaller jobs and refurbishing existing homes, while the concrete industry works to encourage governments and paving companies to use concrete instead of imported asphalt.


Many pluses an minuses, but it seems concrete has an advantage. Nothing is simple. Damned if you do – damned if you don’t.

Concrete vs. Asphalt

Concrete vs. Asphalt
- Life cycle analysis on concrete and asphalt roadways. Compared embodied energy and global warming potential for construction and maintenance over a 50-year life cycle. For a high volume highway
- Asphalt pavement required 3 times more energy than concrete pavement
- Asphalt generated global warming potential of 738 t/km of CO2 equivalents compared to 674 t/km for concrete

How Does Concrete Stack Up Against Other Building Materials?
Asphalt vs. Concrete

The concrete production releases 1 ton of CO2/ton concrete. One research study estimates that between 33% and 57% of the CO2 emitted from calcinations will be reabsorbed through carbonation of concrete surfaces over a 100-year life cycle.
The study concludes that the energy required to produce one metric ton of reinforced concrete was 2.5 GJ/t (2.2 million BTU/ton) compared to 30 GJ/t (25.8 million BTU/ton) for steel and 2.0 GJ/t (1.7million BTU/ton) for wood.
Concrete avoids the heat island effect of asphalt

The Environmental Footprint of Bitumen – Shell Bitumen

slide 3 - “Easy” oil and gas cannot keep up with demand - Demand is increasing as conventional fields go into decline
Slide 13 - Estimations suggest that refinery bitumen production will generate 0.13 ton CO2 / ton bitumen
Slide 14 - Typically a heavy fuel oil produces 3.1 ton of CO2 for every ton of fuel fired; Therefore when a decision is made to manufacture 1000 kt of bitumen instead of a heavy fuel oil this results in 3.1 million ton of CO2 being sequestered. Bitumen is reported as embodying 43.2 GJ of energy per ton of material

There are also new types of cement, I believe being transitioned to production levels, that create far less Carbon Dioxide. I don't know what the current progress on these is.


I had seen claims for a concrete type with a negative carbon footprint, i.e. it would absorb more CO2 during its lifetime then was released in production. But that was a couple of years back, I don't know if it still on ongoing concern.

Light pollution? Sure you could use less light to see by. If all the light were directed downward the asphalt refelects very little, and the concrete some. Concrete is still dark enough to contribute to the heat island effect. A small amount of white latex paint could reverse that, but that isn't currently being done.

There was hype. I've been following the progress of cement produced using CO2. They forgot to mention it takes lots of extra energy to provide the 'strong base' that catalyzes the reaction. With cheap energy....

See: http://www.calera.com/

There was a nasty verbal fight when folks objected to a display by Calera at the SF Academy of Sciences touting it as green. You can Google that.

I think it's great! I'm an energy provider...

It is my understanding that you are stuck with certain heavy distillates without very expensive cracking facilities- in other words if you are going to use gasoline you are going to have to use asphalt. So a comparison of asphalt versus concrete has no real value except at the very margin.

Also, the carbon content of the asphalt is kept out of the atmosphere, for as long as it is road material rather than burnt.

Best hopes for fewer new roads anyway.

Good point, but it’s not entirely clear to me how refiners have managed to turn down the output of ‘other oils’ as a group in recent weeks, while more or less retaining the same level of output for transportation and heating fuels.

Meanwhile gasoline demand continues weakening, according to MasterCard, which is perhaps a more accurate reading of domestic demand than EIA figures (which also include exported gasoline).

U.S. Gasoline Demand Slides 3.4 Percent, MasterCard Says
December 13, 2011, 2:22 PM EST

Fuel use fell below a year earlier for the 15th consecutive time last week, slipping 4.6 percent from 2010 levels. Fuel demand over the previous four weeks was 4.2 percent below a year earlier, the 38th consecutive decline in that measure.

“We continue to observe consistent year-over-year declines in demand despite prices at the pump dropping nearly 20 cents in the past two months,” John Gamel, a gasoline analyst and director of economic analysis for SpendingPulse, said in the report.


The fall in gasoline demand cannot be fully explained by a stagnant economy (using only official statistics) – although it may be giving us a warning that the US economy is headed into some type of consumer downturn. The decline in domestic gasoline demand may also reflect something of a recession in the underground economy of undocumented workers.

DECEMBER 13, 2011
Far Fewer Enter U.S. Illegally From Mexico

Some demographers say more undocumented Mexicans may be leaving the U.S. than arriving as a downturn in construction, hospitality and other industries makes low-skill jobs scarce. Thousands of illegal immigrants have lost their jobs after the U.S. has audited company payrolls to find undocumented workers..


Although gasoline demand is weak, diesel demand has remained strong – despite fairly mild seasonal weather. After witnessing diesel shortages in the shale oil region of the upper Midwest last month, Midwest refiners ran up production to the highest utilization levels ever two weeks ago, and last week were still operating at a very high utilization rate (97.4% to 94.9%)

In sum, the drop in US oil imports has lately more or less been balanced out by the decline in gasoline demand and the drop in output of ‘other oils’, which is a change from the situation that existed from late May to late November – which resulted in a large reduction in overall oil and product inventories.

I wonder why would diesel demand remain strong, while some traditional big uses of diesel are weak, e.g., home construction and shipping of consumer goods.

One possibility that comes to mind is that this is a symptom of declining EROI: a lot of diesel may be used for the purpose of obtaining energy. This can include:

* more train cars hauling more coal of lower energy density

* endless tanker trucks hauling water for fracking

* ethanol production (growing, transporting and processing corn) and distribution (by truck and rail)

* excavating a big hole in the ground in Alberta

And perhaps others?

Good points. Previously I also put forth the idea that diesel use also has some correlation to industrial production (especially of the goods you mentioned), and to a lesser extent, gross imports.

Industrial production was doing fairly well until last month; production of transportation goods (such as trains) had substantial growth:


The output of durable goods slipped 0.1 percent in November but was 7.1 percent above the level from 12 months ago. Decreases of more than 1.5 percent in November occurred for wood products; electrical equipment, appliances, and components; and motor vehicles and parts. Gains of more than 1.5 percent were recorded for primary metals and for aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment.

One possibility that comes to mind is that this is a symptom of declining EROI: a lot of diesel may be used for the purpose of obtaining energy.

This definitely seems to be the case in the recent diesel shortages in the upper Midwest, where a lot of it is being burned up by rigs and equipment in the Bakken. I'm not sure whether this came up in the discussion about the post from a few days ago, but the amount of fuel being used and the lack of infrastructure in place in this and other remote drilling locales really ought to give the optimists pause when they evangelize these "vast resources" and potential contribution to "energy independence."

It's been having a huge negative impact on farmers up there in particular, from what I gather. I guess ethanol isn't the only way our demand for energy is driving up the price of food these days.

Interesting. This ties in well with Greer's latest post about energy projects being some of the few things still capable of generating a return on investment. So an increasing share of our money and our energy is going to produce more energy. Right on schedule it would seem.

I've read lately that the savings rate is up. It takes a very short time for people to realize the easiest way to start saving is to not drive somewhere to go buy stuff--that would likely qualify as the consumer downturn. That change away from driving to spend behavior (at least away from the not so distant past's near maniacal pace of the same) also is a good fit with product category trends in the consumer spending chart Gail posted recently. No doubt the aging baby boomer bulge has its fingerprints on the reduced auto fuel useage as well, we've prints on about everything else that's happened since we were the first born in the glare of the television's eye.

A bright note might also include that maybe higher mileage rigs are picking up a bigger share of the domestic driving load

It may just be me, but in between all of the obvious cornucopia articles trying to convince us that oil supply in basically infinite I am starting to see more and more journalists writing articles like two of the ones above:

"Oil’s getting harder and harder to come by"

"The Long-Term Trend for Oil Is Always Up"

in which the writer clearly does not understand peak oil but is starting to say things like "the cheap oil is gone" or "the big discoveries are behind us" or "we are increasingly going after more difficult oil". I think TOD and ASPO are starting to make inroads into people's minds.

WSJ: Explaining High Oil Prices

"The U.S. is no longer in the driver's seat as far as oil prices," says James D. Hamilton, an economics professor at the University of California, San Diego, who has researched the relationship between energy prices and the economy.

Growth in demand in emerging markets as a whole is expected to slow from the torrid pace seen in recent years. But forecasts say it will still outpace demand in the U.S. and Europe and will still be strong enough to push oil prices higher. In the major emerging markets that oil investors focus on, such as China, India and Brazil, demand is still expected to grow 4.6% this year and 4.4% in 2012, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

"Emerging markets will probably continue to grow faster than advanced economies," José Sérgio Gabrielli de Azevedo, chief executive of Brazilian oil giant Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, said earlier this month at the Platts Global Energy Outlook Forum in New York. "The growth pattern of those economies is more energy-intensive than [first-world] growth." He added: "The era of cheap oil is over."

Exactly what I was thinking. From the same WSJ article:

The U.S. economy is limping along, unemployment is still high, and gasoline demand for this time of year is at its lowest since the 1990s. So why does a barrel of domestic crude cost around $100?

He doesn't answer the question, but at least he's asking it.

Then there are the partners fleeing Goldman Sachs and brief articles like this that make me think the smartest folks might be hanging up the jock strap while they still have a hook:


I gather that the 100th Monkey Effect is partially discredited, but I wonder if that's not happening right now in regards to PO, or at least the symptoms of PO in the form of economic contraction.

I have a request for all those here who are knowledgeable about peak oil - would you please take a moment to help clean up the peak oil wikipedia entry? It's in terrible shape, as are related peak oil pages, and it's likely the first place people go when looking for information. You don't have to edit the whole thing yourself - just take a section here or there and clean it up, add references / links / content / graphs, etc.

Some here have tried, but Wikipedia is extremely restrictive. They don't accept web sites or blogs as references, and many here don't use anything else.

Hi. I'm a fellow wikipedian, I could help to deal with the bureaucracy.

It's true that blogs and simple websites are not accepted there, but they have a strong reason for that - there's no way to check reliability of such sources. For example, there are lots of blogs that do not acknowledge PO. If such references were allowed, then several denialists could effectively shut off any attempts to present PO in a way that doesn't contradict reality.

In any case, I don't believe there would be problems to find references. Most of the references that are used here (except the blogs) are OK there too. I mean the news sites, the production data, etc. etc.

So it would be really great if someone knowledgeable in the subject could contribute to the article. I would make sure no other input is needed (eg. arguing with a denialist).

Matthew Simmons book can be used as a reference, lots of data there.

I understand, but I think it'd be worth another shot. Discussing things on this blog doesn't help disseminate information about peak oil all that well relative to doing so via wikipedia. When I search for peak oil, the wikipedia entry is the first thing that comes up. You can be a lot of other folks are looking for information that way, and it doesn't look good to have it be "out of date" or disorganized and confusing.

If it's about citing "better" sources, there's always the new books by Deffeyes, Heinberg, Hirsch, several ASPO articles written by Jeffrey Brown, articles in a newspaper by Tom Whipple, etc.

I would do it myself but I don't know enough.

I would do it myself but I don't know enough.

Does anybody?

Seriously though I would like to see the article acknowledge the peak of 2005. Since there is no way to prove that is the final peak, it shouldn't be stated as such.

As an alternative, a section 3.1 could be created describing several historic peaks, along with their cause and reason they were later eclipsed.

This way a person reading the article would be informed that we are currently 7 years past the latest peak. And be able to put in context of how long previous peaks lasted.

Wow big moves in Gold and Crude today, 3% drop in Brent already. Still it's at $105 though, nowhere near the comfort level of $80-$90. And Gold is below $1600, time to stock up a little maybe.

It seems to be the EUR-USD thing. It's taking much less U.S. dollars to buy one Euro worth of oil today :^)

What a Christmas gift! I'm buying more myself.

Gold can drop further than this, but I'm taking the long term view. Central banks are keeping rates low and engineering inflation to ruin savers and bail out their buddies.

I'm fighting back, I'm buying physical gold and keeping it away from the banking system.

In the sixties we were considered fair minded peacekeepers.

A few years ago there was a locally famous Beer ad that proclaimed "I am Canadian"

I would now like to remove my 'Maple Leaf' patch from my backpack and crawl under a rock.

Please forgive me for having politicians that are even more moronic than the average planetary quality.

This pretty much sums it up - I like the part where Harper gives the world the finger.

Oh, and there's this little tidbit that isn't particularly newsworthy:


So, are you finally ready to throw in the towel and just join the United States. I love Canada -- Vancouver is my favorite place to vacation -- but I can't see a lot of difference between US and Canada any more. If anything, Canada is more corporatized than US, and even the health system seems to be undergoing significant private corporate takeover.

We could even develop a united currency -- we could call it the "Amero", after the striking success of the "Euro".

Wait -- I think that has already been proposed. I think it is in the conspirosphere.

I would welcome the USA as the 4th territory of Canada, as long as you promise to keep to yourselves. You can even use our Duck Bucks. After a few years we might reconsider Provincial status for you.


I think you underestimate the issues of undesirable immigration once there are no more borders. Including 300+ million unregistered firearms - as well as their owners.

And you will inherit a *LOT* of military gear - most of it in working order. What to do with it ?


Canadians already own a lot of guns. We just refrain from shooting each other with them.

We could use some good military gear. Ours is mostly old.

As for immigration, we already take pretty much anyone with a pulse. A few who speak English would be a nice change. You might advise them to bring warm clothes, though.

Wait, who gets to play the part of Germany? And, who plays the part of Greece?

Illinois is a good bet for Greece. Don't know which State would assume Germany's role, though. Maybe California? Texas? No? Don't know!


I think California has to be Italy. You don't have a Germany anymore, it was outsourced to China.

Link up top "MP's debate island's future energy strategy"

This quote sums up how they (the politicians of Bermuda) are missing the point;

“With a small population, limited land space and surface water, the options available for renewable sources of energy are limited compared to the larger industrial nations,” he said.

The fact that they have a small population (about 65k) and a small (but linear) island system actually means their options are very good, if they chose to take a close look at them.

The islands are about 30km long, running SW to NE - that means they intersect a LOT of westerly winds. The Wiki site even says their winters are "windy" - and yet they can;t see a renewable energy option there?
It is also a fairly sunny place, especially in the less windy summer - what option might that create?

Also, their electricity is currently 100% generated fro fuel oil - diesel engines and gas turbines .
While this is a high reliance on an expensive fuel, it also means they have complete control of how much they produce, and can easily ramp up or down to cope with variable inputs from wind and solar. Also, with the high cost of imported fuel, the payback on wind and solar is excellent.
With their peak electrical demand at 122MW, it would not be hard to service most of this with well sited wind and solar.

And, given the small size of the islands, it would be easy to convert en masse to ev's, since range is not really a concern. In fact, neither is speed, and they could use the Low Speed Vehicle type of ev's for most of the islands transport.

The linear nature of the islands also means a bus service on the main road can service almost everyone, and be run at high frequency.

Now, the real problem for Bermuda is that they are hopelessly dependent on air travel - there is not much they can do about that.

I think the bigger problem is that the two main pillars of their economy - offshore finance and tourism - are both shrinking "industries" - and there is little they can do to replace them. As these industries decline, so too will their population, making it even easier to sustain those that are left.

This is truly an example of why they should be doing the build out now, while they can afford it, as in an economically depressed future, they may not be able to as they still be spending all their money on oil.

Cruise ships from, say, New York City will take two days & one night minimum to get to Bermuda. OK for annual two week vacation. Not OK for cruise ship profits (works if alternative is scrapping ship).

Best long term "market" could be "snow birds" from US Northeast & Canada in the winter, and people escaping heat from the Southeast in the summer.

And fishing ? Hard to believe that sustainable fishing has been overlooked. But maybe.

A single track rail line (bi-directional with passing sections at stops), perhaps running in the middle of the road (cars can drive on tracks) with narrow streetcars (and bike hangers) on the "busy" main line and buses elsewhere.

I would think Bermuda would be ideal for bicycle, tricycle and e-Bike & e-Trike transport for most daily trips. Just make it safe and convenient.

I suspect that Bermuda fears losing some of it's charm with wind turbines, and even solar roofs. Groundless IMHO.

Best Hopes for Seeing the possible,


Cruise ships from, say, New York City will take two days & one night minimum to get to Bermuda. OK for annual two week vacation. Not OK for cruise ship profits (works if alternative is scrapping ship).

I dont see where the economical problem is with such a crusie type ferry.

yep, Bermuda seems to be about as good a place as you could get to do a renewable economy.

The rail line would be god if whoever does it doesn't charge the earth. It may be cheaper just to do overhead electrified buses, like Vancouver does. In any case, they can do something.

The climate and geography is very bike friendly, and for the same reasons is very EV friendly - not to hilly, no fast freeways, not too cold or hot to need to use battery power for heat or a/c.

I would agree with the charm part for wind turbines, but they have many places to put them. There would certainly be charm to becoming an ICE free place!

Also agree about the ships - it just becomes part of the whole experience. Bigger problem is that less people will have money for holidays to Bermuda - it is not nearly as cheap as Mexico, though much nicer and safer.

Many possibilities indeed...

Yergin's articles: Peak oil? No, it's peak demand. Problem solved!

America's New Energy Security
What's happening? Part of the answer is demand. U.S. oil consumption reached what might be called "peak demand" in 2005 and has since declined. The country has become more efficient in its use of petroleum, and that will continue as vehicle fuel economy goes up. The economic slump has also muffled demand.

And isn't this contradictory (a 20 yr+ plateau is still at the peak of the curve ; oh can we be so lucky):

There Will Be Oil
Things don't stand still in the energy industry. With the passage of time, unconventional sources of oil, in all their variety, become a familiar part of the world's petroleum supply. They help to explain why the plateau continues to recede into the horizon—and why, on a global view, Hubbert's Peak is still not in sight.

You have to decode what they are saying (and express their predictions as rate of change predictions), but CERA & Yergin hit Peak Optimism in 2005:

Daniel Yergin Massively Reduced His Energy Estimates

If one can’t rely on Daniel Yergin for soothing reassurances about the state of the global oil market, who you gonna call? . . . it appears that Mr. Yergin--probably without realizing it--is effectively predicting a continued decline in Global Net Exports.

West I'm addressing this comment to you only because I've seen a post or two of yours suggest you've some of a handle on basic algebra.

A couple weeks back David Murphy included the below on his post on EROI

To understand how EROI influences the flow of net energy, we must first look at the equation for both net energy and EROI, which are:

Net Energy = Eout – Ein
EROI = Eout/Ein

If we solve the EROI equation for Ein and substitute it into the Net Energy equation, we get:

Net Energy = Eout*((EROI-1)/EROI)

From this equation Mearns (2008) created the “Net Energy Cliff” graph

Try as I might when I solve for Ein in the EROI equation I get


which gives me the equation

Net Energy=Eout-(Eout/EROI)

when I substitute that definition of Ein into the Net Energy equation. Further substitutions in the EROI equation gives me such truism as Ein=Ein.

Now my math skills once took me into the world of differential calculus, but I haven't visited that realm since acing a final exam a year or two after Nixon became president. In a pinch I can still manage to solve quadratic equations by factoring though I haven't done that since my son was in HS and he has lived closing in on half his life since that time. I really would appreciate if you or someone else would fill me in on the necessary steps that take the two equations in the first blockquote above to the equation in the second blockquote

Net Energy = Eout*((EROI-1)/EROI)

I remain stuck as ever at Net Energy=Eout-(Eout/EROI)

I didn't have time to give the David Murphy article a careful read until comments were closed, that's why I'm throwing this out now.

Rearrange: (2) EROI = Eout/Ein so it reads Ein = Eout/EROI, call this (3)

Substitute (3) into (1): NE = Eout - Eout/EROI call this (4)

Multiply (4) by EROI/EROI = 1: NE = Eout(EROI/EROI) - Eout(EROI/EROI^2) call this (5)

Simplify (5): NE = Eout(EROI - 1)/EROI

Thanks Jeff I didn't see your reply when I replied to the other Vermonter. I'm good all the way up to the last step,

simplify (5)

Maybe if I keep hammering at it the light will come on. I do recall I initially had to fight through that step in HS, eventually it came quite easily but not anymore.

I've expanded to


and then end up simplifying to


I'll keep trying but it may be hopeless

Starting from Jeff's (4)
NE = Eout(EROI/EROI) - Eout(EROI/EROI^2)
Simplify by factoring out Eout:
Now cancel out one EROI on right side in parentheses:
Now you have a common denominator in the parentheses:
NE = Eout*((EROI-1)/EROI)

In regards to your previous question, the "*" is simply for multiplication; it's redundant with the parentheses, but commonly used just to make clear each operation.

Thanks a big bunch everyone, it does help when someone (or in this case several someones) reminds you of exactly what you are trying to do.

Obviously though not totally mathematically disabled my circuits are weak with a lot of bleed out. Lots of hand holding walked me down a very short path, but I am curious and I can't find any error in the process that gave me the simplified result


This would of course give you a maximum value for net energy of approaching 1 as EROI approached infinity. Net energy would be 0 when EROI was 1 and would be negative when EROI was less than 1. Everything seems cool about the relationships, the maximum net energy approaching 1 can be considered the same as approaching 100%.

So my question: what is the relationship between the graph the above equation generates and the one for NE = Eout*((EROI-1)/EROI)? The latter equation gets very naughty when EROI is 1 as zero is not divisible. Are the graphs for the two equations very similar-its obvious from the hand holding it took to get me this far I won't be doing the charting, but my curiosity is piqued.

Net Energy = Eout-(Eout/EROI) =

= Eout * (1 - 1/EROI) =

= Eout * (EROI/EROI - 1/EROI) =

= Eout * (EROI - 1) / EROI

I hate that "EROI cliff" graph though, as the labeling of the horizontal axis is impossible to interpret, especially near the cliff. Perhaps somebody will re-design that graph some day...

[edit]thanks for the replies, and for all the help from everyone. You all got me there. The path finally looked a bit more familiar by the time we got to the goal but it's much overgrown and may take more than a sharp machete or two to get me down it much further ?- )

Use an easier notation.

P = X - Y
Q = X/Y i.e. Y = X/Q

subst: P = X - X/Q = X( 1 - 1/Q) = X((Q - 1)/Q)

replace terms: Net Energy = Eout((EROI - 1)/EROI)

Thanks, I did all that but decided to leave all the acronym variables in when I posted things. It's just you can't imagine how long its been since I've looked for the the most useful equivalents of 1 like x/x or whatever to multiply both sides of the equation by to make things work out. Then I just wasn't looking to factor the (Eout) out when it got to that point-I forgot that process would put the minus sign inside the brackets-that part almost looked hocus pocus to very narrow straight line reasoning mode I was stuck in. It's all very clear now but like I said in an earlier reply I believe

Net Energy = Eout((EROI - 1)/EROI)

is actually unnecessarily complex itself

when I expanded Jeff's NE = Eout(EROI/EROI) - Eout(EROI/EROI^2) line to


and then end up simplifying to


I ended up with a cleaner equation. One that didn't give the ugly results when EROI=1

Net Energy = Eout((EROI - 1)/EROI)

however my expansion/simplification above

which is exactly the net energy you get when EROI=1

I did take the trouble to graph
long hand-no EXCEL on this machine-and the resulting graph is identical to the energy cliff except it doesn't go haywire when EROI=1 so
is a better equation than Net Energy = Eout((EROI - 1)/EROI) and it makes calculations are quite a bit simpler to do long hand as well.

I very much appreciated all the help everyone gave me, I had truly forgotten how to do the very simple steps. I thank Leanan for letting the process unwind, possibly a couple other folks with extremely atrophied math skills gained a little as well.

I like that term. Peak Optimism. LOL. Let me add one more. Peak Blindness

Peak Hubris = the point in time when we realize that we,
and the rest of the human race,
are a lot less clever than we recently imagined we were.

(Hint: the capacity of the human mind does not extend to infinity and beyond.)

Gotta pick a nit, here, Step Back. Just like PO, Peak Hubris would be the point at which our belief in our unique cleverness would be at its maximum. Then that belief would shrink a little each year until we reach the point you describe - that we are a lot less clever than we thought...

What I wonder is how closely Peak Hubris will align with Peak Oil. Peak Madness certainly seems to be coming just after PO as we speak.

You're right.

I was overly hubristic (as usual).
Realizing that we are not that clever probably comes long after the peak hubris moment,
long after the Peak Oil moment,
long after the we-are-the-greatest-nation-on-Earth and in the Universe moment.

As many have mentioned here, we don't see it until that mountain peak is in the background scenery of our rear view mirror.

edit: another lookback at Mount Hubris

What I wonder is how closely Peak Hubris will align with Peak Oil. Peak Madness certainly seems to be coming just after PO as we speak.

Away In A Madhouse


All I Want For Solstice Is My Sanity



Thanks, Fred. But it's not the institutionalized 'mad' that I'm concerned about. It's the nutters out there on the loose, running corporations, running governments, running amok...

It's the nutters out there on the loose, [whom I'm concerned about]

Forgive them, for they know not that they are nutters.

As far as they're concerned, we're the nutters with our whacky Peak Oilist "theory".

Next thing they know, we'll be telling them the Earth goes around the Sun despite the plain eyed truth everyone sees for themselves, namely, that the Sun rises in the Eastern part of our sky and sets in the West.

I know, clifman, I know! It's just that I happen to find H.P. Lovecraft themed versions of Christmas songs to be an appropriate antidote to both the holiday season and the general madness that seems to afflict so many of our fellow planetary denizens. I'm particularly fond of 'It's beginning to look a lot like fishmen'


Ya. I think we need to throw some advanced mathematics at it. ~:} sorry I could not resist.

The biggest news in the world is that methane is now escaping from the Arctic at 100 times the rate previously recorded, this according to a preliminary report from Semiletov who headed up the international scientists who rushed up to the Arctic to study the reported 'dramatic' increase in methane release last fall.


The scale and volume of the methane release has astonished the head of the Russian research team who has been surveying the seabed of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf off northern Russia for nearly 20 years.

In an exclusive interview with The Independent, Igor Semiletov, of the Far Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that he has never before witnessed the scale and force of the methane being released from beneath the Arctic seabed.

This is now confirmed by dramatic increases in atmospheric methane levels recorded at the monitoring station at Barrow, Alaska:


That ESRL methane data is preliminary and will be revised. It will be turned into a green plus since it is erroneous.

I saw nothing in the article that suggested it was preliminary. And just how do you know it is erroneous?

Ron P.

Perhaps he meant 'anomalous'?

The ESRL link was separate from the article and the methane spikes are preliminary in that dataset. It is common to have errors in the preliminary data and they will revise it. As far as the article goes, it is not science but somebody's anecdotal observations.

How do you know for sure that they are errors?

See my post below for why they probably are not.

Maybe, but note that there are similar, though less dramatic, increases in CO2 at the same station and at Cold Bay. Methane immediately starts to oxidize into CO2 on contact with the atmosphere in the presence of light, so an increase in CO2 as the same time as and increase in CH4 would be entirely expected.

As far as I know, they have to have a reason to change the data points to green pluses, either evidence of instrument failure, or some very local phenomena that skewed the data.

Given the correlation with these other graphs, I don't see how either of those could be the cause.

Are you saying that no matter what the source of the methane, they will throw out data points that don't fit their expectations of what the graph should look like? That doesn't sound much like science to me.

Methane immediately starts to oxidize into CO2 on contact with the atmosphere in the presence of light,

I did not know this but then there is a lot I don't know about the atmosphere. Anyway I googled it and came up with this:

Globe-Warming Methane Is Gushing From a Russian Ice Shelf

What they can say for sure is that the methane levels there are extremely high. Most undersea methane oxidizes into CO2 as it enters the atmosphere, but Shakhova says the East Siberian Ice Shelf methane is too close to the surface for that to happen. As a result, she said, atmospheric levels of methane over the Arctic are 1.85 parts per million, almost three times as high as the global average of 0.6 or 0.7 parts per million. Concentrations over the shelf are 2 parts per million or higher [The New York Times].

Incidentally the date of this article is March 2010 so this is not something they just found out about last week.

Ron P.

Most undersea methane oxidizes into CO2 as it enters the atmosphere

I think they misstated this. Most marine methane oxidies in the water column. The lifetime of atmospheric methane is roughly 10-12 years.

Also, if methane is entering the atmosphere that rapidly, the curve should be rising a lot faster than that. It turned up after 2005, but not nearly enough to make me think those two most recent data points are real.

Please also look at the data for CO2 at Barrow and at Cold Bay.

The increases in CO2 at both places are consistent with larger increases in methane.

All these data point would have to be wrong from the same technical glitch happening at the same time in the same direction for this to be mechanical error. This seems highly unlikely to me. And of course it corresponds exactly to what the top researcher in the world is saying is happening on the ground (or at sea, in this case). At some point, you have to either accept what all the data and science is saying, or claim a vast conspiracy or some other denialist position.

What are the direct methane readings in the Arctic ?

Methane has a half-life (memory) of about 7 years. So increased CO2 is not a sign of nearby methane releases.


We obviously need an atmospheric chemist on board here at TOD, because I'm going by memory too. But, iirc, the seven year figure does not mean that no methane has changed over to CO2 till then, but that about half of it has by that time.

So (again, iirc) methane starts to decay (really oxidize) immediately into CO2 under the right conditions (presence of OH, light, right temp...iirc).

But we are both likely talking out of our league here. I'll try to get some clarity from the good folks at RealClimate.

We obviously need an atmospheric chemist on board here at TOD

Would be good for other reasons as well, like counterbalancing the viewpoint of some of the oil patch folks on certain matters. Not that I don't appreciate having them around for looking at the technical issues related to supply, but sometimes some of the viewpoints on things ecological seem to be a little...shall we say, skewed...

I haven't researched this yet but there may be a connection between the recent (post 2007) releases of arctic methane and the increase in ozone depletion over the Arctic the last few years.

Methane is a significant ozone depleting chemical

Just a guess. Arctic methane pulse occurs Jul-Oct. Methane rises to stratosphere Oct-Mar. Sunlight initiates ozone catalysis Mar-May


Also, yesterday LarryCurlyMoe posted an abstract 'Siberian shelf methane emissions not tied to modern warming' which raised some relavent points, however, the author based the computer modeling of sub-sea permafrost as a monolithic plate; while in reality Shakova, N. and Semiletov, I. have identified 'taliks', crack, chimneys, and significant seismic fracturing of the sub-sea permafrost lid from prior expeditions.

In addition, isotopic carbon signatures of dissolved organic carbon from both Arctic Russian river systems and shelf seawater indicate mobilization of up to 42,000 year old carbon from melting permafrost.

(p.s. I'm lazy today so the links to these abstracts will have to wait)

"I haven't researched this yet but there may be a connection between the recent (post 2007) releases of arctic methane and the increase in ozone depletion over the Arctic the last few years."

I've suspected the same thing.

But the official explanation is increased circulation of air currents around the Arctic holding in more ozone depleting chemicals. The cause of the increase in current speed is what is considered the mystery.

IIRC, Shakhova said she could rule out a continental source for the increase in methane emissions she was measuring last year. I can't recall if that was because of isotope number or something else.

The abstract you cited just points out that the methane has been on a gradual melting track for a long time. As I understand it, this has been known for a long time. It does not, however, explain that the recent acceleration in clathrate melt corresponds to a large increase in Arctic temperatures. And they can't have been aware of the findings of the recent expedition before this was published.

It is probably impossible to know, but the thawing of the clathrates may have been slow enough that a new ice age would have put an end to them before they triggered runaway global warming themselves. In any case, very slow release of methane is not as big a threat since most of it decays into the less powerful ghg CO2 within a decade.

It is is the fast and massive releases that could be the game changer, and this is exactly what we seem to be seeing now.

A bit offtopic question from a layman:

How long does it take for the methane in the arctic air masses to mix with those of the rest of the world? Does it really take so much time that localized warming due to methane is felt?

How long does it take for the methane in the arctic air masses to mix with those of the rest of the world?

I don't have a definitive answer, but I'd say not long. Maybe a month to spread over the hemisphere of origin (north or south). Transfer across the equator is slower, and it probably takes several years.

This depends on may factors.

If there is sudden massive release, the gas acts like a separate 'fluid' and, since it is lighter, most of it rises into the stratosphere. There it destroys ozone. This is what Seraph and I are wondering about, since the ozone hole expanded dramatically over the north this year.

If it leaks through the ice in winter it is likely to stay pressed close to the sea/ice by the cold air, where, according to a recent study, much of it may react to Cl in the new ice.

These two mechanisms may help explain why we have not yet seen a large increase in methane concentrations at monitors around the world (although there was a sharp rise at the Azores station, and recently at Barrow, Alaska).

I have gotten widely divergent views from people when I have asked your very good question. Archer at RealClimate said it would take ten years for a large methane release to be detected by a monitor 1000 miles away. I still have to think that he misunderstood the question somehow, since that seems far too slow, but there it is.

These answers at RealClimate would be interesting to me. Could you post a link to them. Tried to search, couldn't find unfortunately. Apparently I'm not yet accustomed to their discussion system.

Here's a link to the most recent flurry of discussion at RC:


And here's an earlier thread with many more comments:


I got from some credible source wich ino longer remember that it takes 2 years for a full mix of the global atmosphere. Also it takes like 2 months for the air in some place to move one full round around the planet and come back to the same place.

So I guess a bunch of months for equalization with the northern hemisphere, and 2 years for a global equalization.

I would guess that this is not too far off, though the direction of prevailing wind and other local conditions could alter things a bit.

In any case, the measurements from the ship in the area of the release were mostly in October and our monitoring data from hundreds of miles away was not much later--beginning of November.

I don't know how often the data is updated--apparently about once a month, so we should have a new update from the monitoring stations in the next couple weeks--something to watch for.

TOD Moderator asked me to place this comment I made in the Solar vs Wind thread over here in the Drumbeat thread so I'm placing it here.

In an exclusive interview with The Independent, Igor Semiletov, of the Far Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that he has never before witnessed the scale and force of the methane being released from beneath the Arctic seabed.

"Earlier we found torch-like structures like this but they were only tens of metres in diameter. This is the first time that we've found continuous, powerful and impressive seeping structures, more than 1,000 metres in diameter. It's amazing," Dr Semiletov said. "I was most impressed by the sheer scale and high density of the plumes. Over a relatively small area we found more than 100, but over a wider area there should be thousands of them."

[3.14 x (500m^2] x (1000 x N) = Z

Even if N is only equal to a few dozen, It sure sounds like Z game over to me.

And this is what game over looks like...

Huge theme park in China lies in ruins
The haunting unfinished castles of "Wonderland" are a monument to wasted resources. Striking images

I get the first part, pi r^2, but what does the 1000 represent? Are you double counting?

1000 = WAG at how many plumes there are ??

n= plumes ??

volume = ??

A couple of things to point our about you calculation:
1. Just so other people realize, it appears as though you're calculating the volume of cylinders of methane escaping from the seafloor, with 500=R and 1000=H.
2. We don't know the depth to the seafloor, so 1000=H might not be correct (as dohboi notes).
3. The cylinders (aka: torches, columns, etc.) are not pure methane, but some mixture of methane and water, so you'd need to incorporate a concentration or volume fraction term.
4. The methane is gas rising through a variable pressure field, so its volume changes as a function of depth.
5. A better way to do the calculation is as a molar flux through the ocean surface to get an idea of the rate at which methane is entering the atmosphere, rather than estimating a pseudo-volume of gas in the torches.

Sorry to be picky, but getting the science right is important since their are many people who would invalidate the conclusion that these methane releases are potentially massive if the methodology is not correct.

On the other hand, if the calculation was supposed to capture the volume of one of these plumes at a single moment, we have to remember that these plumes were going on 24/7 (if not quite 365d/yr).

So besides average density of the column, we need velocity of the methane.

One can start to see why you might need a boat load of scientists to figure out exactly what is happening and what the proper measurements are.

That is why I get a bit miffed when they discard the findings or even impressions of the most qualified scientists in the world to actually judge this kind of thing who are actually on the spot doing the observations and measurements.

The methane do not have "a velocity". As it float upwards, preasure decreaes and the gas expands, thus getting more floating power, and gaining speed.

Didn't they do that with the initial satellite data for ozone over Antarctica. The satellite was programmed to ignore data below a certain value - consider it erroneous. Only when ground data became overwhelming did they go back and look at the 'erroneous' satellite data. Tuns out it agreed with ground data exactly.

Without it there would not have been a "Montreal Agreement'

I agree dohboi, and I still can't find anything but the Independent touching it, save others writing off the Independent's story.

Still searching for answers to questions I posed yesterday--why did Semiletov give the Independent a sole source, what about the American side of the investigation, why is it ignored by the MSM.

Been forwarding the story trying to get an answer, alerting some who were at the San Francisco meeting, but as yet nothing.

Methane levels at Barrow in your link are almost off the chart, even though they are preliminary. Any word on where the boils or torch-like plumes of Semiletov are located?

"Any word on where the boils or torch-like plumes of Semiletov are located?"

If I recall correctly from earlier interviews, mostly in the Laptev Sea and over the East Siberian Arctic Shelf.

Here's another UK source.


I've asked at realclimate, under the name wili, for anyone who was at the session where this was presented to comment on it.

Let me know if you come up with anything.

Thanks, Seraph (as always). That was the map I was thinking of, but was too lazy to track down and post.

Thanks Seraph. I believe it was you who first noticed the investigation last fall.

The map appears to be the one posted in the Independent article, and as such, I believe references earlier work of high dissolved methane, not the location of the boils described in the article. IIRC, the alert was first sounded last August from ship's captains noticing the boils. Perhaps that is the location of their reports.

From the Independent

"Over a relatively small area we found more than 100, but over a wider area there should be thousands of them."

I agree dohboi, and I still can't find anything but the Independent touching it, save others writing off the Independent's story.

Really? I googled it and got dozens of hits including the almost two year old article I mentioned above. But there seems to be a plethora of articles in the last few days.

Google hits on "methane into the atmosphere from Russian ice shelf"

And here are a couple of them but there are really dozens.

Rapid rise in Arctic methane shocks scientists

'Fountains' of methane 1,000m across erupt from Arctic ice - a greenhouse gas 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide

Ron P.

Thanks for the links, Ron.

Note that, according to Schindell et al. (2006), on a decadal scale methane has 105 times the global warming potential of CO2.

Thanks, I followed your links, they also seem a rehash of the Independent's story-same phrases quoted. Or they voice old fears of the potential for damage. Following the links and their source is a time consuming process on my computer, but here's a source that was linked, back to 2010 Reuters, of which I hope will soon pick up this new story.


Grist has some analysis, including a hedge on the importance of this specific methane source:

Was this what you meant as the "hedge":

"But it’s not like we know everything there is to know about Arctic methane."?

That can cut either way, of course. It could be much worse or less bad than our current understanding indicates.

The article cited just said that the thawing of sea bed methane has been going on a long time so its causation may not have to do with GW. Of course, this came out before the presentation by Semiletov on the dramatic increase in methane.

Now, it could be that even this dramatic increase was not caused by GW, which would be good news in a way, because it would suggest that it may not yet be part of a runaway feedback scenario.

But there is no question that any new methane introduced into the atmosphere becomes part of global warming.

The NY Times:

Methane Time Bomb in Arctic Seas – Apocalypse Not

If you read the Independent of Britain, you’d certainly be thinking the worst. The newspaper has led the charge in fomenting worry over the gas emissions, with portentous, and remarkably similar, stories in 2008 and this week.

If you read geophysical journals and survey scientists tracking past and future methane emissions, you get an entirely different picture:

Well, that's Andy Revkin for ya. There isn't a GW story that he hasn't skewed to make it seem like not such a big deal. He never comes right out and says he's a denialist, just constantly spins every story to dismiss or poopoo strong claims that GW is a real and imminent threat.

Start with the first sentence of the second paragraph. On decadal scales, methane is 105 times more powerful as a ghg than CO2. Even on century scales, it is 35 times more powerful, acc. to Schindel et al. 2006.

So even before he gets to the overt downplaying of the threat, he is using outdated, low-ball figures.

The study he cites actually came out in October, but in any case, the research was done long before the latest developments. It has long been established that a very slow destabilization of methane hydrates has been going on for millennia, so that paper doesn't really add anything to our knowledge. Very slow, small release of methane is not a big problem, since at those rates, it becomes the much weaker CO2 before it can accumulate greatly in the atmosphere.

The fact is that methane plumes are now expanding and intensifying dramatically. They probably have not reached the large, deep pools of free methane, but when they do, the real fireworks will begin, so to speak.

A poster at RealClimate, Nigel Williams, pointed out that the rising bubbles cause a reverse flow of relatively warm surface water to the ocean floor, which melts more clathrate, which causes more bubbles, which cause more surface water to move to the floor, which melts more...

You get the idea, a classic positive, reinforcing feedback.

As for methane monitors, note that, since methane decays/oxidizes by half in about seven years, even maintaining the historically very high levels of atmospheric concentration we have requires very large quantities coming into the atmosphere. The concentrations are the highest in the Arctic regions. This argues for a very powerful, constant source of methane in Arctic regions.

Furthermore, as noted above, the stations closest to (though still very far away from) the areas of reported bubbling are in fact showing sharp increases in methane and less sharp ones in CO2, a signature which is exactly what one would expect from a large and sudden methane release.

I don't know if this is apocalyptic--there is much that we don't know, and we can all hope and pray that this is some kind of cyclical or one off event the causes of which we don't yet understand.

But large methane release from this source is exactly what many climatologists, from David Archer to Peter Ward and many others, have warned could be the game-over event that our mad un-sequestering of fossil carbon would lead to. It is definitely worth watching.

It is definitely worth watching.

Not to for panic mode. So far it is anecdotal reprts by one man Semeli.. and some methane spikes at Barrow. The later readings haven't been corrected yet, and may not represent real conditions. So we have some scary, but unverified observations, and some speculation. Unfortunately it sounds like it may be months before we get more definitive results.....

Wellllll, keep in mind that Semiletov was the head of a large international team of scientists. I assume that if he is saying anything wildly off from what the others saw and measured, they would be speaking up and correcting him. And note that they went up there in the first place 'on short notice' because many ships traversing the area were reporting 'seas bubbling as if they were boiling.'

So I count many eye-witnesses, many of whom are the most qualified people on earth to determine exactly what it was they were seeing and how to interpret it, along side multiple readings from multiple monitoring stations all pointing in the same direction.

I hope and pray that they are all wrong, but it becomes rather a stretch to try to concoct a situation where all these sources are wrong about exactly the same thing in exactly the same way at exactly the same time.

You bring up one my most nagging thoughts-the reports of last summer from multiple ships of boiling seas. And the short lead time of the investigation.

Right now global CH4 atmospheric concentrations are not showing any indications of a calthrate gun hypothesis, we'll have to wait for a few years to see this in action, from the data you can draw two conclusions, either the gun has already gone off in past 100 years or has not gone off at all. It's quite clear that there has been no major changes in the last decade in the rate at which CH4 is rising.

See this link
See section 2.3.2 Pg 140

There are a few more conclusions which you can draw from current data

1. Humans have caused CH4 to rise in a big way, either through the permafrost melting or industrialization or both, either way CH4 concentrations are the highest they have ever been in last 650,000 years

2. Loss of ice causes CH4 concentrations to rise, there is a wide variability in atmospheric CH4 concentrations between glacial and non-glacial periods.

All in all, we'll have to wait and see, if indeed there are reports of 1000m wide plumes, something is up and should show up in the data in a few years. I know most of the people here (including me) believe in the calthrate gun hypothesis, but let's not feed confirmation bias.

Some good insights. But keep in mind that:

1. The 'clathrate gun' doesn't go off all at one instant, in any scenario. The question is whether this dramatic acceleration of methane release is the beginning of an exponential increase that will take us fairly rapidly to the 'gun' situation.

2. Even very large emissions of methane are not going to immediately show up everywhere at once. The closest monitoring stations are over 1000 miles away from where the highest levels of release are being reported. If predominant winds were blowing the wrong way, they wouldn't even show up there for quite a while. But in fact the closest station IS showing a very large and sudden increase in methane concentrations, just as one would expect. And, also just as we would expect, CO2 levels are also showing a sharp increase, both at the closest and next closest. Maybe that's just some weird coincidence and all the instruments are malfunctioning in the same direction that the leading scientist in the field are also pointing toward--but such a claim feels more and more like grasping at straws to me.

We will indeed have to wait and see, but one wonders if, even after all the stations are showing off the chart increases in methane, some people will still be grasping at ever thinner straws, denying the obvious, hoping for a survivable future. Who can blame them?

Well, that's Andy Revkin for ya.

Never underestimate the impact of advertising on the nature of media coverage. Take it from someone who works in media...How long has it been since the last full-page ad from Exxon or BP in the Times, anyway? Not long enough.

Thanks. The story is slowly making the rounds in the MSM, but it all appears off the Semiletov's original Independent story. Hopefully, additional material, and further interviews will come to light

This morning this was one the most popular on Yahoo.



The NYT piece may obliquely answer 2 of my questions--why the sole source interview, and lack of MSM coverage. A sole source interview is often a red flag for me. Not that I agree with NYT author, or disagree. But where I concede the findings may not be as alarmist as they seem, I think the area of boils Semiletov describes-it sounds like very specific plumes- demands immediate further study along with further queries to Semiletov and the entire research team.

Oops, We're Doomed!

... Hansen's warning is brought to life by the methane gas event starting in the Arctic. We are in the danger zone. By the time we know it's too late, it won't matter. Without prompt, concerted action through readily available technologies and programs, we face increasing calamities through midcentury. After that, the displacement, destruction, and death assume unthinkable proportions.

As these evidence-based warnings were issued, the military effort to seize effective control of oil and natural gas regions of the Middle East and Central Asia continued unabated. Ironically, as our rulers engage in endless military conflicts to secure access to oil, they are delivering a weapon of mass destruction, an oil-based economy that will create massive disasters and dislocations that plunge the world into chaos.

Domestic policies have the same anti life outcome. The Keystone XL pipeline to accommodate tar sands oil production ensures continued CO2 pollution resulting in a collapsing world social and economic structure.

From your link:

We are in the danger zone. By the time we know it's too late, it won't matter.

It's too late, it don't matter.

Ron P.

The issue I use to bring up in this type of discussions are the lagging effect of water.

Basicly it takes time to heat up water, and water is much more dense than air, and also have a much higher thermal capacity per Kg than air. And there are lots of water out there, 3 Km deep ocean covering the entire planet, if we shoveled the surface of the earth flat.

All this together makes for, according to the literal references I've seen, 30 years of lag. Meaing that if we cease to emit today, all emissions off, we still have warming to expect until 2040. (In practical terms it would slow down and take like 1000 years to play out, but the end result is the same as 30 years of linear CC).

And in those 30 years, we will have time to melt loads of permafrost and emit uncalculatable amunts of methane. Wich will spinn on the process another round. And on and on. Without the laging effect we would still have a chance, but with it, we are to late.

But to make it totally sure we wearly are toasted, we keepemitting GHGs like crazy.

It was a poster at AGU. Shakhova1, Semiletov et, al, Ebullition-driven fluxes of methane from shallow hot spots suggest significant under-estimation of annual emission from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf

The abstract (GC41B-0794) was posted by Artful Dodger in comments at Neven's blog - which is first rate on these topics.


This poster updated previous papers and presentations by members of the same team. The article was just an interview following up these results.

Thanks for the link. The abstract doesn't seem to shed much light on the finding of the team that went up there, though.

Saudis not compensating if Tehran oil is sanctioned


Saudi Arabia can no longer increase oil production substantially for prolonged periods

They were unable to increase exports to compensate for the loss of Libyan oil exports.

The Saudis are *NOT* friends of Iran. This reluctance is due to physical limits, not political choices, IMO.


I agree emphatically. My immediate reaction to that article was the same for the same reasons. But most particularly because they are not friends of Iran, it goes to reason the Saudi's would (if they had the spare capacity) fill the gap to hurt Iran.

TOD regulars suspected Saudi's did not have claimed spare capacity, and since then they failed to make up for Libya reduction and now they affirm that position by pre-empting any idea they could fill in for Iran shortfall.

End of story for Saudi spare capacity. That really puts world oil production in a precarious position with Brent over a hundred, any kind of major geo-political uprising in an OPEC country or sudden descent of production by Russia or other OECD suppliers and oil price will spike into the super recessionarysphere.

Henceforward the price of oil will be what the marginal consumer can afford to pay.

This can go down as well as up.

Re: Oil drilling and the Inupiat people of Point Hope - in pictures, up top:



Society may get stuck with the bill for expensive higher education

The rising cost of a college education and limited access to financial aid may create a less productive workforce and steeper wealth inequity, according to a study by North American economists.

... According to Monge-Naranjo, constraints on financial aid could have far-reaching economic impacts. When poor but intelligent workers are unable to earn a college degree, their career choices are restricted, Monge-Naranjo said. That could mean less qualified and less productive workers will attain those positions.

"It's a matter of economic efficiency," said Monge-Naranjo. "Are we choosing the best individuals for the job, or just the individual whose parents are wealthy?"

Isn't the real question whether a college educated workforce is in fact a more productive work force?

If in fact we are putting college graduates into positions that don't in fact require a college education making college less accessible with less funding may in fact be a good thing for the economy. Not so good for the college Professors who come up with these studies.

It possible that both you, and the professors, are right.

And, in the end, productivity may not be the only goal - if you have 7 (going on 9) billion people to keep occupied.

Depends what they are educated in, and what the support structures for exploiting that knowledge is - prompted by bankers and politicians.

No good having lots of grads if they are in 'interpretive dance' and the CEOs have outsourced all the high tech to china.

If the CEOs outsource all the high tech jobs, maybe an interpretive dance degree will be worth more than a chem engineering degree?

It probably already is. Have you been to a strip joint? $1 bills don't go very far anymore.

Mercury releases into the atmosphere from ancient to modern times

In pursuit of riches and energy over the last 5,000 years, humans have released into the environment 385,000 tons of mercury, the source of numerous health concerns, according to a new study that challenges the idea that releases of the metal are on the decline. The report appears in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology.

It has long struck me that some time in the last two hundred years society went essentially crazy.

Perhaps this chart explains it.

We did.

Mercury famously makes people crazy, and crazy people make crazy decisions:

to put profit above everything;

to rip the earth open in every larger gashes to suck out the blood and marrow of the earth;

to engage in multiple global wars with ever-more deadly weapons; to build weapons that can wipe out most life on the planet;

to build and explode globally a society founded on the insane notion of limitless growth on a finite planet

to keep growing that mad industrial society even while it became clear that it is destroying life on earth, directly, and through the side effect of GW...

Perhaps, then it all boils down to chemistry--we poisoned ourselves with Hg and that has caused us to further poison the planet.

IIRC, one result of exposure to such toxins is to not be able to see the larger picture, to become narrowly focused on linear goals (a similar result is seen in kids exposed to physical abuse.) This seems to be pretty much what we are doing as a society--focus narrowly on linear goals like GDP even while the larger picture--the living planet, is being destroyed by our actions.

Difficult to say, isn't it? Hardly the sort of thing that lends itself to an experiment. I personally think it's merely changes in language, culture, and the impacts these have on our brains. And I don't think it affects the entire world in the same way.

Watching American news networks, it's clear that only two possibilities exist: either these people are crazy or they are bought off. They don't seem to cogitate and talk and interact like humans beings would with each other. Everything is artificial, rushed, frantic, menacing. Some, like Fox News and CNBC, are worse than others. Even exposing yourself for a few minutes to the drivel can damage your brain cells.

Watch BBC or Russia Today or Al Jazeera sometime and notice the difference. Although, to be fair, the disease has spread far and wide.

That's making the huge assumption that people act crazier now than they ever have.

This assumption is usually cured by a re-read of the Greek classical mythology.

We are merely more capable now, just as crazy as we ever have been.

Ummmm, Greek mythology is...mythology.

But you are right, that the madness inherent in humans is put on steroids when supplied with vast power, whether from ff, nukes or anything else.

That's why we have psychoactive pharmaceuticals in the water now, to offset the mercury crazy. We also have exploding water if the meds aren't kicking in right. Nature's delicate balance.

China has less than decade to remake economy: US

China has less than a decade to overhaul its economy and safeguard long-term growth that goes beyond a boom based on cheap labor, a top US Treasury official warned Wednesday.

"Increasingly they are facing what a lot of countries have encountered: the middle-income trap... No more cheap labor."

China's economy 'will grow' despite 'grim' 2012 outlook

China's economic policymakers have pledged to guarantee growth in 2012, despite an "extremely grim" global outlook for the year ahead.

In another announcement, China's Commerce Ministry said it would put a tax on imports of small US cars.

"There will be growth."

The Party estimates that a good, stable growth-rate for 2012 would be around 9%, but in their prognoses they get rates of about 7-8%. There's long been a realization that the country needs to shift its focus from being an export-driven economy to becoming a more self-contained economy, where value is increasingly generated by China's own tertiary sector. Therefore stimulating internal demand in China is a priority goal for 2012 and we'll likely see repercussions on the global markets because of this.
This trend (banking on the tertiary sector and nurturing internal demand) will have dramatic long term effects, which Westexas has detailed quite nicely in several of his posts.

Anyone involved in small scale commercial Aquaculture? The subject has piqued my interest and I'm going to look into it further. Any recommendations for websites, books, benefits, pitfalls, etc. on Aquaculture? The internet is awash with information, but its hard to tell what is good and what is bad out there.

It depends on how you define small and commercial. I've had 4 setups over the last 30 yrs, my current one produces about 1000 lbs trout/year.

The biggest pitfall is selling, and it only gets more restrictive. Small growers usually can not afford the required USDA certification for commercial butcher and subsequent sales. To justify that sort of expenditure, your operation leaves the small category. If you should get it, grocers are usually attached to their fish buyers, and can't let you in. Where I've found exceptions, their required liability insurance levels can prohibit the sale. Not long ago, growers could sell fresh product to individual restaurants. They need USDA certification now. Long before you decide how and what you will grow, have your market picked. Not ideas, but firm commitments.

How about selling the animals live to the butcher?

Difficult at best with an aquatic animal. It must be a short distance from you, and be prepared/able to do it. One of your attributes will be fresh product, easily lost in this link. The ones I've found that fit this bill have asked more than 2x my production cost just for slaughter. Doesn't leave much for retail spread. Then also, it will be your responsibility to finish the sale-get the product to the buyer in a timely fashion.

If you are close enough to a fishing port, you may be able to utilize the off boat buyers. I've never had this available.

Most need to be large enough to interest a commercial buyer, or invest in the plant and probably extra labor to butcher, or find an outside the box route. Make sure it's firm before growing your product.

In the past, I used to follow the mediterranean aquaculture (sea bass and seabreeze)market, it might be different from the Atlantic because those two fish are fed grains instead of young fish that are commonly fed to salmon). The wholesale price of fish varies wildly. those that have no financing issues do not sell in the depressed market, those who are desperate sell their fish before they reach full size when they in distress. Labor cost is relatively low (20% of the total as far as I remember back in 2006). My information is pedestrian and I have no biological knowledge whatsoever.

There's an incubator site called "The Plant" in Chicago which has turned an old warehouse building into a aquaponics/alternative energy/business incubator/urban agriculture location.

It's still very much a work in progress, and I haven't found the time to go visit yet, but the concept is interesting.


"Plant Chicago: Farming for the Future

Plant Chicago is a nonprofit dedicated to promoting sustainable food production, entrepreneurship, and building reuse through education, research and development. To this end, Plant Chicago is repurposing a 93,500 sq. ft. retired meatpacking facility, The Plant, into a net- zero energy vertical farm. A complex and highly interrelated system, one-third of The Plant will hold aquaponic growing systems and the other two-thirds will incubate sustainable food businesses by offering low rent, low energy costs, and a licensed shared kitchen. The Plant will create 125 jobs in Chicago’s economically distressed Back of the Yards neighborhood – but, remarkably, these jobs will require no fossil fuel use. Instead, The Plant will eventually divert over 10,000 tons of food waste from landfills each year to meet all of its heat and power needs."

I will give the operators of this thing a week to draw a crowd and kiss their collective backsides on the front steps if it ever comes within fifty percent of breakeven in dollars and cents-no funky "the subsidies don't count bookkeeping" allowed in determining what break even actually is.

But such endeavors are useful as research projects-we might learn a few things helpful in recycling garbage, etc, before it shuts down.

I think the plan is to rent out space to businesses. If they are able to do that, it will contribute to revenue without needing subsidy. There are a few businesses already in residence - one being a brewery.

Thanks for the posts guys. I found this which is of interest:

Growing Power

The urban farm currently includes:

six traditional greenhouses growing over 15,000 pots of herbs, salad mix, beet greens, arugula, mustards, seedlings, sunflower and radish sprouts. These greenhouses also host production of six hydroponic systems growing Tilapia, Perch, and a variety of herb and salad greens, and over 50 bins of red wriggler worms;
two aquaponics hoop houses with two independent fish runs and growing beds for additional salad mix and seedlings;
seven hoop houses growing a mixture of salad greens and mushrooms;
a worm depository hoop house;
an apiary with 14 beehives;
three poultry hoop houses with laying hens and ducks;
outdoor pens for livestock including goats and turkeys;
a large plot of land on which the first stage of the organization’s sophisticated composting operation is located including 30 pallet compost systems;
an anerobic digester to produce energy from the farm's food waste;
a rain water catchment system; and
a retail store to sell produce, meat, worm castings, and compost to the community.

Video of the farm

They appear to have a working farm with aquaponics and if the info on the video is correct they are producing substantial amounts of food from 2 to 3 acres.

I've visited Growing Power with my wife.

They've done a lot, and I think you could do far worse than to get your info from them.. they are training and are the inspiration for similar groups around the country. (Tho' I'd also pay close heed to Doug Fir's caution about finding buyers/swappers?. Even Renewable Electricity can be tough to apply well, until you have the Output as well set up as the Input.)

Harnessing the Sun's Energy for Water and Space Heating

China had an estimated 168 million square meters (1.8 billion square feet) of rooftop solar thermal collectors installed by the end of 2010—nearly two thirds of the world total. This is equivalent to 118,000 thermal megawatts of capacity, enough to supply 112 million Chinese households with hot water.

With some 5,000 Chinese companies manufacturing these devices, this relatively simple low-cost technology has leapfrogged into villages that do not yet have electricity. For as little as $200, villagers can install a rooftop solar collector and take their first hot shower. This technology is sweeping China like wildfire, already approaching market saturation in some communities.

Despite the recent growth in U.S. installations, the country ranks 36th in installed capacity relative to its population, with just 0.01 square meters installed per person. Cyprus, on the other hand, currently leads the world in solar water heater area on a per capita basis, with 0.79 square meters per person.

Well, I can buy setups for around 10,000 - 12,000 pesos but I have been trying to build one which should be less than 1/4 of that. Looked for weeks for the, supposedly common, pipe I wanted, no luck. Found someone to order some, have been waiting weeks. With temperatures dropping it is now back to gas for showers and, at this rate, I'm going to be in the summer before I get this going, when I hardly need it :(


Given that installing a rooftop solar DHW system, with all the attendant plumbing changes, by a contractor, can cost over $5k here, it should be no surprise that it is not as popular as where the same thing can be had for $200.

We do like to make things overly complicated and expensive, don't we? But it is possible to find solar water heaters for less, like the ProgressivTube which can be had for around $2k, and is simple enough to install yourself, or Gary Reysa's DIY system for under $1K.

Replay of comment made a couple of times already.

I was totally satisfied with the summer performance of my $ 500 solar heater (approx, of course, & i was the free labor)

A swimming pool heater -rubber mat with water tubes and headers
Some garden hose to connect it to the standard gas water heater inside
A small weak water pump with solar panel and temp trigger

The rubber mat was wrapped in bubble-wrap ( packing material) and laid on the ground, nothing else. The water was domestic water supply

Could do two hot showers and a laundry on a sunny day.

On not sunny days, had a parallel wood fired heater made of junk. One load of any kind of wood did the same job.

BTW. We all know the Chinese use SWH by the multiple millions. WRWU?

U.S. Gulf Oil Premiums Strengthen as WTI-Brent Spread Widens

U.S. Gulf oil premiums strengthened as the difference between West Texas Intermediate and Brent widened.

The gap between the two benchmark crude futures for January delivery increased 61 cents to $9.97 a barrel. The spread has narrowed 64 percent since reaching a record of $27.88 a barrel Oct. 14.

NASA - Climate Change May Bring Big Ecosystem Changes

PASADENA, Calif. – By 2100, global climate change will modify plant communities covering almost half of Earth's land surface and will drive the conversion of nearly 40 percent of land-based ecosystems from one major ecological community type – such as forest, grassland or tundra – toward another, according to a new NASA and university computer modeling study.

[Western Canada] Diesel fuel supplies returning to normal

"We just managed to build our inventories back up to a point where we feel comfortable that supply will be consistent," said Vic Huard, vice-president of corporate affairs with Federated Co-operative Ltd.

The supply shortage was caused in part by reduced production at the Consumers Co-operative Refineries Ltd. refinery in Regina after an explosion and fire on Oct. 6 and production slowdowns at Suncor and Shell refineries in Edmonton, Huard said.

"The shortage has basically been alleviated but the price has remained the same," Richards said.

Norway runs out of butter

also Sweden safe while butter shortage hits Norway

... Norway is reeling from a severe butter shortage, causing some to try to smuggle the stuff in across the border and others make a killing on the black market, ...

"reeling", "black market" butter???? Might be over hyped?

Eating From Dumpsters During The Holidays

... a comment from Poland

That's possible only in America!
In Polish dumpsters we have only stinky dump, and i mean it, just dump.
What you have here it's not dumpster as i know it, just place when people leave useful stuff.
I think i'll just move to America and live from Dumpster diving, it would higher standard of live than i have right now. :P

SEE: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/EF35BD26A80D6CE3852579600065C94E

for a link to the document being so "dissed" by ENCANA.

DRAFT, Dec. 8, 2011
45-days for public comment
and independent review (probably to include independent data verification?)

It has already been peer reviewed by EPA, apparently.

Is there a groundwater chemist out there in TODland who can take a look at the QA data and see if there is any real problem suggested in the QA analyses of the blanks that would indicate that analytical data of samples are NOT sound data?

If, for instance, if cross contamination occurred in the transport cooler, then should not the sampling have been done over again?

I want to know if there is evidence that ENCANA "scientists" and the API are attempting to make an "end run" around the normal comment process for propaganda purposes. Nothing illegal about their publishing their criticisms I guess, but it is sort of a "dirty trick." I'd like to know just how "dirty" it is.

Big problems with "media wars" is that the media is either lazy or ignorant -- or both. To much of just printing press releases w/o investigating and making the "story" their own. Oh, well.... We are already down the rabbit hole, methinks. Let'a see, which pill to I want?


[Talkaboutchrdirtyhippies! :)]

Hope all TODers have happy holidays and a good 2012. Don' Worry, Be Happy!

Best wishes for all of us. Lizzie

Analysis: China's $300 billion fund a wake-up call to U.S.

(Reuters) - China's plan for a new $300 billion sovereign wealth fund is as much a warning to Washington as it is a body blow to Brussels. It's the clearest sign yet of Beijing's waning faith in bonds issued by Europe and the United States. Europe's festering debt debacle, record low yields on U.S. Treasuries and a depreciating dollar all add weight to the view in China that the time is ripe to change investment tack.

"China has decided that real assets are better than broken debt fix promises and low interest rates," says Paul Markowski, president of MES Advisers and a long-time external adviser to China's monetary policymakers on global financial markets.

Regarding real assets . . .

A Bubble Down on the Farm?

The big question mark hanging over the farm economy is whether a bubble is building in Midwest cropland. Prices have doubled over the past five years in states such as Nebraska and Indiana. Iowa State University reported Wednesday that the average price of an acre of farmland in Iowa, the nation's biggest producer of corn and soybeans, reached $6,708 this year, up 32.5% from 2010 for the biggest annual increase in the history of the 70-year-old survey.

U.S. Shoppers Foot Bill for Soaring Pay in China

One of the things that's showing up in Christmas stockings this year: higher prices, courtesy of China.

After decades as America's go-to destination for low-cost consumer goods, China is undergoing a profound shift. Rapid economic development and a smaller supply of young migrant workers are pushing up labor costs. Tack on rising raw-materials prices, driven largely by Chinese demand, and a strengthening currency, and China-made goods aren't the bargains they used to be.

The next chapter in the biofuels bandwagon story

Yesterday’s local newspaper had an article about another nearby biofuels project, this time a new boiler at a privately owned textile plant. See http://www.onlinesentinel.com/news/biomass-boiler-at-textile-center-repr...

According to this article, “The $1.6 million price tag to convert would have been prohibitive without roughly $800,000 in grants from the state-run Efficiency Maine and a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant the company got in collaboration with the town of Monmouth.”

When we do the math, we find that government agencies provided two thirds of the capital required for the project, all in the form of grants, and none in the form of loans. In other words, government provided two thirds of the capital, but the private company will keep all of the savings. We also find that despite the simple payback for this project being only three years, the company considered this to be prohibitive for private investment.

This opens up another issue. Many right wing politicians, including Maine’s governor, like to think that growth of private industry is the only possible option for job creation, and that government jobs are not really jobs at all, merely welfare in disguise. But, if private initiative is supposed to be so wonderful, and government so awful, then why couldn’t this private corporation do this very cost effective project without government support? Isn’t this a clear example of government providing corporate welfare for a private company that would not go ahead with a energy savings project with three years simple payback., i.e., over thirty three percent annual return on investment?

No matter what right wing politicians say, what nearly all of them really promote is this type of corporate welfare. That's why it's called crony capitalism.

Hi dohboi,

Although we may occasionally disagree on particular points of politics or human nature and the hows and whys of our lives, I want to say that I am in 100% percent agreement with you in this case .

There are for practical purposes no real conservatives left in our government-the most basic principle of true conservatism being that government should be kept as small as possible while still being large enough able to take care of the sort of problems only government can handle.

We wouldn't be giving money to companies and individuals in no need of it if it were not made possible by bloated government.

This is most emphatically not an argument against having powerful laws to protect the environment or that sort of thing-there is no way I could prevent somebody upstream from me from polluting my water supply otherwise, except possibly going up stream and reading them the law at the law while holding my shotgun on them.I might manage to shoot a few security guards but I would never be able to get at the owners or board members of a multinational bank or Ford Motor Company or a coal mining conglomerate - my own family night be holders of stock in such a business. So am I supposed to shoot my sister because she owns stock in a mining company.

Times change, and the necessary functions of government change with them-but principles are forever.

Only an idiot for instance could believe that we have a domestic drug war for any serious reason involving our own safety and security- but so many government employees embedded in our body politic like ticks on a hound make cushy livings out of the drug war that we have no hope of putting a stop to it.

Unfortunately because most people are weak in maths they can't comprehend a simple relationship- the larger government gets the more dishonest it becomes.
This is not a moral statement but a mathematical one. Liberals view of government is based on it being staffed with honest people. I would make the additional point - honesty is not binary we all have a price. I have no doubt that if one of my children were starving and I couldn't afford to feed them I would steal. But that doesn't mean that I would shop lift. There just aren't enough people at honesty level necessary to run the kind of government liberals want. Sort of like the Peak Oil argument.

It is why I am such a stronger believer in "States Rights" believer- plenty of behavioral studies have shown that peoples honesty level depends on whether they think they are being observed. Decentralization makes people feel observed and therefore expands the pool of honest people.

But the same doesn't correspond to corporations for some reason?

As to 'States Rights,' its current proponents have the disadvantage that historically this has been associated that wanted their states to have the 'right' to allow ownership of slaves.

I think that is the reasons liberal have a knee jerk reaction to "states rights" they hear it as code word for racism. I think they need to get over that - a realize that the Federal Government is no longer the institution that it was 60's year. I would submit that it has become a institution of oppression and wholly owned subsidiary of special interests. Recently, in Vermont a law that would prevent pharmacies from selling customer information was struck down by SCOTUS as violation of free speech!

The state's rights push is still in part a move to put regulatory control into an economic body that is small enough for corps to be able to influence the laws, where they haven't had luck doing so at the Federal level.

I believe States should have a great deal of autonomy, but not when it has become just another euphemism for ' easy pushover'.

Just who on the Supreme Court was voting for that VT ruling, and why? It's the same forces, driving in wedges at every level.

Yep, the right hollers "states rights" when it suits them, but when the Supreme Court illegally jumped in to decide the 2000 election in favor of Bush, rather than letting the people of Florida really have all their votes count, the right was mysteriously mum.

The SCOTUS supported Big Pharma's "right" to data on doctor's prescription patterns, while Vermont state law was trying to prohibit that (unless the doctor opted in).

Vermont is also now in the midst of a court fight against Entergy, the (Louisiana-based) corporation that owns the nuclear plant in VT. VT wants to shut it down by not extending its state license, Entergy claims the state has no jurisdiction.

Hi dohboi,

Although we may occasionally disagree on particular points of politics or human nature and the hows and whys of our lives, I want to say that I am in 100% percent agreement with you in this case .

There are for practical purposes no real conservatives left in our government-the most basic principle of true conservatism being that government should be kept as small as possible while still being large enough able to take care of the sort of problems only government can handle.

We wouldn't be giving money to companies and individuals in no need of it if it were not made possible by bloated government.

This is most emphatically not an argument against having powerful laws to protect the environment or that sort of thing-there is no way I could prevent somebody upstream from me from polluting my water supply otherwise, except possibly going up stream and reading them the law at the law while holding my shotgun on them.I might manage to shoot a few security guards but I would never be able to get at the owners or board members of a multinational bank or Ford Motor Company or a coal mining conglomerate - my own family night be holders of stock in such a business.

So am I supposed to shoot my sister because she owns stock in a mining company?

Times change, and the necessary functions of government change with them-but principles are forever.

Only an idiot for instance could believe that we have a domestic drug war for any serious reason involving our own safety and security- but so many government employees embedded in our body politic like ticks on a hound make cushy livings out of the drug war that we have no hope of putting a stop to it.

Watch out, OFM, you may be becoming a socialist '-) or at least a sociologist--

As you suggest, the problem is at least as much with systems as with individual people.

It may be a good idea for your sister to divest herself of her mining stock (if only to avoid having her head shot off by her hot-headed aged agrarian mcbrother!).

But ultimately this will be futile unless she joins up with lots of other people with the same idea. Or perhaps holds on to her stocks and uses it as a ticket to the stockholder meeting where she and others can challenge the companies policies. But even an individual company changing its ways will not alter the basic fact that companies pursue profits above anything else, including your or her health. Getting a movement going that is large enough, strong enough, and smart enough to challenge that level of systemic dysfunction is the real challenge. We have yet to see if the OWS movement can become that.

(I must now put on my schoolmarm hat and ask that you restrict your use of single hyphens to indicating compound words; for a dash you may use the proper double hyphen (--) or the less-proper-but-still-widely-accepted hyphen between two spaces, as you did after "conglomerate" above. Presumably you do not intend "them-but" in your penultimate sentence to be a compound, but that is what your punctuation indicates you intend.[/schoolmarm lecture])

Census shows 1 in 2 people are poor or low-income

WASHINGTON (AP) – Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans, almost 1 in 2, have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.

The latest census data depict a middle class that is shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government's safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families.

In a related issue, who will repay America’s enormous pubic debt?

It won’t be the bottom ninety percent, the growing number of Americans in poverty or near poverty, because they typically pay little or no income tax.

It won’t be the wealthy, the top one percent, because they have sufficient control of congress to insure that they will never lose their tax cuts and loopholes.

And it won’t be the “middle class”, currently the other nine percent, simply because the middle class is shrinking far too fast.

So the obvious answer is that it will never be repaid. It will simply be postponed as long as new debt can be sold at low enough interest rates, and then eventually it will be shrunk down to nothing by printing as much new money as required to inflate this enormous debt out of existence, all with no risk of “default”.

So who keeps buying all those new bonds anyhow?

Checkout the China story up the thread. As a well written article earlier this year put it, "The only choice is default or inflation on a global scale."


Since my family likely falls (statistically) into this category, yet is coping/adapting, one wonders how many folks classified as "in poverty" are discovering that 'poverty' can have an upside. From Greer this week:

One of the core themes I’ve been discussing here for some time now, the need to move at least one family member out of employment into the household economy, is in part a response to that situation; what you produce yourself for your own consumption doesn’t pay a share of the costs of the economic superstructure. Beyond that, the deterioration of the official economy is accompanied, as pretty much always happens, by the growth of alternative economic networks that allow goods and services to be exchanged outside normal channels; ...

My wife and I took about an 80% cut in pay in 2008, both losing our full time jobs in a matter of weeks (jobs never to return). Our area was slammed by unemployment, and any new or remaining jobs have been lower pay, mostly part time. Moving was not an option. While she eventually found a fairly secure job at lower pay and nearly full time (seasonal overtime), I've dedicated myself (mostly) to eliminating bills and expenses, and producing much of what we need locally and eliminating waste, outside of the formal economy. Of course, the formal economy loses the tax revenues and other inputs that would result from my having a 'real' job while consuming more.

I wonder how many folks are discovering that they can do without most of the stuff inherent in being part of the rat race. As with oil consumption in the US, I expect that demand destruction is occurring on many levels as our industrial economy slowly spirals down. Of course, this will result in more GDP-enhancing jobs being lost, more folks counted among the poverty stricken.

I think the best thing that can happen to somebody is to loose a well paying job for a short while (I emphasize short while) - and learn to manage on less. When they return to a well paying job they will discover a strength that they previously didn't have and will live a much happier life because they will know that they can survive on less.

As Thomas Jefferson wrote- (or words to that effect) If your happiness dependent on something that somebody can take away you are never really happy. I read that many years ago and as lover of red meat decided to voluntarily give it up for a year- which I did. Discovered that life didn't end and at the end of the period went back to eating it with great joy knowing that if I was ever forced to give it up it wouldn't be the end of the world.

Of course, the formal economy loses the tax revenues and other inputs that would result from my having a 'real' job while consuming more.

I wonder if governments aren't starting to give this some thought. A couple of years ago my beady-eyed accountant added a new question to the list that he asks every year at tax time: "Did you barter anything last year?" At first I was like "Huh?" Turns out that this had come up with some other client, and yes, the (USA) fed gov is interested in whether or not you have done any bartering.

Bartering on a commercial basis is indeed taxable. The value of the exchange is reportable by both parties. On the other hand, if I help a neighbor insulate his house, and in return he helps me hang some drywall in mine, this isn't a commercial exchange and there really is no contract, written or implied; I'm not in the insulation business and he isn't in the drywall business. We're just neighbors helping each other out. He's within his rights to not help me hang my drywall.

Then again, if I trade my TV to someone for a laptop that is worth more, we are both supposed to report the difference; income on my part, loss on his. Sure.

If I had to issue a 1099 for every time I helped a friend out, or report a deer kill and firewood as income...

I can just so see the IRS accepting a leg of venison as tax ;)


specifically, from the article

About 97.3 million Americans fall into a low-income category, commonly defined as those earning between 100 and 199 percent of the poverty level, based on a new supplemental measure by the Census Bureau that is designed to provide a fuller picture of poverty. Together with the 49.1 million who fall below the poverty line and are counted as poor, they number 146.4 million, or 48 percent of the U.S. population. That is up by 4 million from 2009, the earliest numbers for the newly developed poverty measure.

Baker Hughes shows that natural gas rig count has dropped from 934 at the end of October to 820 as of 12/9. That's huge -- 12% in a little over a month. Could we be looking at the beginning of a crash in the nat gas drilling sector? The current glut of NG could be explained by Wall Street's foolish infatuation with fracked gas. Perhaps we are on the verge of the recognition of that foolishness which could be followed by a shunning of the industry -- Wall Street often runs hot and cold, and they've been running hot on NG for quite awhile.

Man I can't believe you all dropped the ball on the Iraq story when Reuters handed you the candy in a follow up article.

UPDATE 2-Bombs halve Iraq's Rumaila output; exports OK-officials
By Aref Mohammed / Reuters / December 14, 2011

... "We have enough storage until we repair these pipelines. We will bypass the oil pumping operations through another pipeline network until repairs are done," spokesman Asim Jihad said.

It will take no more than a week to repair the damage done to the pipelines, he said.

On Wednesday, export flow was at normal rates of 1.68 million bpd from Basra, a shipping source told Reuters. An oil official said Iraq had enough crude stored to keep exports at same levels for two-three days. ...

Did he flunk math or what? A week is longer than two-three days. The oil in storage will run out before the pipeline is repaired according to that statement.

The statement that storage can keep exports at the normal rate for 2-3 days doesn't state the starting time. The earliest day exports will start to feel this is Thr Dec 15 (two days after the incident started on Tuesday) and the latest Sun Dec 18 (three days after the report on Wed stated there might be 3 days of oil in storage.)

According to the Iraq Oil Report production is back to normal levels already. Does seem suspiciously fast though.

Rumaila bounces back after bombing

Iraq's largest oil field has recovered from a Tuesday pipeline bombing that took half of its production off line.

Production at the Rumaila oil field was cut by 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) after Tuesday's attack forced the shut-down of pipelines running from South Rumaila to the Zubair 1 storage facility, according to Salah Abdul Karim Mohammed, the general manager of the Rumaila Operating Organization (ROO).

By noon on Thursday, production was "back to normal," Mohammed said.

Nobody else seems to be reporting this resumption yet and most of the linked report is behind a paywall.

The doomer conundrum

As described by Wikipedia, which does the best job of wrapping it up in one sentence, a "doomer" is “one who believes that Peak Oil will cause the collapse of industrial civilization.” Basically, although we will never “run out” of oil, the increased supply required to fuel current population growth and the sort of economic “good times” (aka “growth”) oil barons helped bankers manipulate over the last 110 years — which kept all of us, to quote Henry Kissinger, “useless eaters” happy — just isn’t going to seep out of the ground like it used to.

This article by one Jeffrey S. Spofford talks about Nicole Foss aka “Stoneleigh” and a talk she gave in Portland, Maine awhile back. I believe I read a Drumbeat article on that a day or so ago posted by someone else who was there. Anyway it is a pretty good article.

But I could not figure out exactly what the "conundrum" (riddle or puzzle) actually was? I did figure out what the doomer "predicament" was, or at least what the author thought it was. I think that would have been a better word than "conundrum".

Ron P.

Seems to me the only "conundrum" was whether to go listen to Ms Foss or Mr Chomsky, scheduled to talk on the same evening in different locations.

I might have opted for Mr Chomsky - I have heard Ms Foss speak, and while fascinating, and very "doomerish", her talk is somewhat limited to the financial arena, and what individuals can do to protect themselves and their "assets". For anyone looking for community-based solutions, you will leave feeling frustrated.

She seemed to put a greater focus on community options this time, S-T. (Not that I know what went before, apart from your comment)

A number of questions to her from the group went towards Local Currencies and other Neighborhood Efforts (Time-banking also..). I think the fact that she is making a concerted effort to visit and speak to communities directly is part and parcel of this, and she said as much.. in that all these 'virtual communities' online are paper-thin and can and will vanish with the flip of any of a number of switches, and it's critical to develop ties that have more lasting substance to them. (IE, Local and Face-to-face connections)

'Resilience' was a key word in the talk.

Perhaps there has been some modification of the talk, then. If so, I'm glad to hear it.

Personally, having lived in both the "First World" and the "Third World", I know plenty of people whose last worry on earth is where to stash the cash they do not possess. They are more concerned with putting food on the "table" (often the floor of a mud hut).

I find the discussions of where to stash the gold coins leave me feeling hollow and empty. I do understand that they are, of course, material concerns for a lot of people. I don't think, though, that they are going to end up being primary concerns.

If we truly are going to actively try to design a new future, perhaps we would do well not to place so much emphasis on money for its own sake.

Sure enough.

She was very clear that saving Gold was 'maybe right for particular folks in certain circumstances', but that regular cash liquidity was (to her) key, and even that would be largely as a stepping stone towards having some form of 'liquidity' in useful hard assets and skills.

Thanks for the link, Ron.

I don't think the author meant much more than the conundrum of choosing between Chomsky and Foss, though he did paint up a few of the ironies involved in living in a plush world that has turned up the volume to keep the Iceberg Scratching noises along the Gunnels from interrupting the Concert..

I did see Stoneleigh the other night, and thought she made the case extremely well.. while it was to a permaculture group which is unlikely to be expressing their despair.. as much as getting out and building more raised beds, pretty much what Nicole was suggesting.

Here are a couple comments from other attendees.. courageous and realistic folk.

MEETUP ORGANIZER- "I was pretty enthralled by Nicole's talk. Intelligent, rational, thorough and accessible; her points seem quite unassailable. And even if her conclusions don't come to fruition, there is no downside in following her recommendations." (ie, 'what if it's all a big hoax and we make a better world for NOTHING!? )

"Sobering. Very well presented and Nicole Foss does it in a way that is accessible and plainly. did I mention that it was sobering? "

"Scary but great! Nicole was a great communicator and explained things in a very real way. I really enjoyed her talk and learned A TON. It's time for a change! "

New thread over at Karl Denninger's Market Ticker Forums....


Its an "energy plan" idea.

Im interested in folks take on it here. Im not 100% up to speed on coal, but I like his idea. Besides the obvious hurdles of politics, money, and the backward momentum for nuclear, what are folks thoughts on this? What is the picture for coal production given what would likely be significant increases in our usage of that resource.

The first entity to deliver 1 Gigawatt-year to the electrical grid, breed 1 metric ton of U-233 from thorium and produce commercially-viable amounts of gasoline and/or diesel from the plant's Fischer-Tropsch conversion system wins $10 billion.

So they have to make enough U-233 for considerably more than 100 atomic bombs to win? It's easier to build a simple bomb with U-233 than Pu-239.

U-232 and the Proliferation- Resistance of U-233 in Spent Fuel (PDF)

On the other hand, because of its low rate of spontaneous-neutron emission,
U-233 can, unlike plutonium, be used in simple “gun-type” fission-weapon
designs without significant danger of the yield being reduced by premature
initiation of the fission chain reaction.

Let's enact legislation offering an "X Prize" of sorts for development of old -- but new -- nuclear technology.


The award shall be open to any firm that has a corporate charter in the United States. The device shall fit three definitions:

A molten salt nuclear fission reactor (fuel suspended in liquid fluoride salts, operating at atmospheric pressure)


A direct-conversion Fischer-Tropsch plant associated with #1 (conversion of carbon input sources of the designer's choice to liquid hydrocarbons using direct process heat from the above.)


The plant shall also generate electricity.

The government passing a "law" to fund an X-prize seems antithetical to "free market" competition, but whatever...

Neither Price-Anderson indemnity or any other legal theory barring civil or criminal liability for accidents and incidents apply (if you blow it, you eat it in full, irrespective of how and why)

The first entity to deliver 1 Gigawatt-year to the electrical grid, breed 1 metric ton of U-233 from thorium and produce commercially-viable amounts of gasoline and/or diesel from the plant's Fischer-Tropsch conversion system wins $10 billion. The second place entity wins $5 billion. Third place entity wins $2 billion. No entity may claim more than one of the above prizes.

No federal or state contracts, loan guarantees, public-private partnerships or subsidies will be offered or permitted.

Isn't the reason that the feds insure nuclear power plants because no one wants to take on the risk at a cost which would make nuclear power economically viable? If this is the case, what is the likelihood that investors will want to support a project on an experimental reactor design, in which they have to find a way to insure it themselves?

They form a corporation. If the plant blows the corporation is sued and goes bankrupt but the investors are safe with zero liability. That is the whole point of a corporation from the investors viewpoint. They do not even need to waste money buying insurance.

How do you operate an experimental nuclear power plant without insurance? I can't even drive my car legally without insurance?

Denninger proposes in the comments to the article that laws be passed to remove the proposed project from NRC legal oversight and authorisation and anything else that might get in the way presumably including insurance.

I had to laugh at one comment which said "Nor is the U-233 much of an issue because it is so difficult to make into a nuclear weapon (due to the presence of U-232, which is extremely dangerous). ", "Extremely dangerous" -- it's an atomic bomb for goodness sake. Multiple studies show that U-232 presence is not a major barrier to building a bomb - it's a nuisance nothing more - especially if you want to build a quick and dirty bomb with few worries about radiation exposure during its construction.

India's much talked of thorium reactor project is rumoured to have something explosive hidden inside it.

"What is the picture for coal production...?"

Well, here's a start for you.


Be sure to read the introductory paragraph. And thanks for asking.


Roubini: 50/50 Chance of US Recession

And things aren't looking good for Europe or China, either.

Flaws in China’s growth model are becoming obvious. Falling property prices are starting a chain reaction that will have a negative effect on developers, investment and government revenue, and this is happening as net exports become a drag on growth: China’s trading partners in developed markets (DMs) are either at stall speed (the U.S.) or in recession (the EZ). Having aimed to cool the property market to rope in runaway prices, Chinese leaders will be hard put to restart growth. We consequently expect growth of [well below 8% in 2012 and 2013 - specific numbers reserved for RGE clients] —well below consensus—and see risks to the downside.

Not sure I see a 50/50 chance of recession in US, that is until something changes. Right now country and politicians are content with failure to address deficit spending, borrowing against the future - once that must be faced, austerity meaures could have recessionary effect. Also, price at pump has steadily dropped to help a slight uptick in disposable income for holiday shopping. EU could still break up causing stock market dump, but for now the Dow keeps fluctuating around 12k, oil price remains steady - steady as she goes seems to be the current status.

It's interesting Earl, that you are willing to accept the numbers (GDP, unemployment, etc.) coming from the government and PTB. Still looks and feels like a recession (depression?) to many.

No country's economy immune from rising risks

IMF head Christine Lagarde has said the world economic outlook is "gloomy" and no country is immune from rising risks.

She said all nations, starting with Europe, needed to head off a crisis with risks of a global depression.

"There is no economy in the world immune from the crisis that we not only see unfolding but escalating," she said.

... Lagarde said that if countries don’t work together, the world will face a situation similar to the 1930s, before the world slid into World War II.

also http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-15/imf-s-lagarde-says-escalating-e...

Accept govt. numbers - no. My response to the post was regarding 50/50 chance of recession. Things for now seem on an even keel. I'm sure we are on the long descent, but even during that there will be times that are steps (as in currently) rather than obvious, deep recessionary step downs.

Patiently impatient - Belief in the potential of the sun

It is not a matter of physical resources. Nor is it a matter of technology. At a reasonable cost, 10 billion people could live on our level. The problem lies in the readjustment to a new, sustainable energy system. Can we bring this about sufficiently quickly?

"Living in a small, tranquil country where nothing much happens, we might feel that in the short term society is stable. But the picture changes if we extend the time horizon. Viewed in the long term, we find ourselves in quite a dramatic situation."

There are now seven billion people living on Earth and we are using 50 times more energy than we did 200 years ago. There is a thrilling, head-to-head race going on between our growing demands and the development and application of new knowledge.

... "No policy is technology neutral. Ultimately, technology-specific support is always granted and the only question is who will receive it. In the end, it is the one that shouts loudest or the one who happens to be most popular at the time. Established technologies are always favoured at the expense of those that are in the process of developing."

IMPATIENT? GODDAM FURIOUS. Are we a bunch of idiots blindly stumbling toward suicide? Yes, apparently so. Now what?


Way more solar than we will ever need- all spread out all over the place, rich and poor.

We know how to get it and make it do what we need done- and even what we want done. And we are getting better at getting it, and will keep getting better at it.

Can’t afford it? Absolute nonsense! Proof- name something re solar that you say we can’t afford- fab, space, glass, storage, etc etc. I will EASILY counter with something that we are doing RIGHT NOW that costs MORE and is either frivolous or useless or flat out bad, and we could quit doing and use that resource to do that what you say we can’t afford. I toss in an example intended to bring forth shouts of outrage- manufacture of ANY private vehicle for the next decade.

Intermittent? So what. Lots of things are intermittent, like for example, thinking. And with HVDC and hydro storage, any real problem goes away ( can’t afford it?-- see above).

Politically impossible? A feeble excuse indeed; ludicrous, in fact, given the alternative. Impossible applies-almost- to situations in physics, not in politics. Just think of all the things that were politically impossible that happened anyhow.
Women’s vote
smoking ban in public spaces
semi-black guy elected president of USA, including the South.
name your favorite.

OK, wimbi, turn off the rant and go to bed. Calmdown--think of that neat little problem on that biomass burner that just ain’t working like it should- what to do?

Thanks Wimbi!

I really like the "Intermittent Thinking" part. Time to turn off my TOD brain and get down to the shop and work on my Niece's '4-color Rubber Stamp' device I'm cadging together for the Holidays.

We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost---how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky's dome.

This world is wild as an old wife's tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.

GK Chesterton 'Christmas Poem' exerpt http://www.gkc.org.uk/gkc/books/christmas-poem.html


From GAO Drug Shortages

In brief, we found that the number of drug shortages has grown substantially in recent years, and FDA is constrained in its ability to protect the public health from the impact of these shortages.

1 - The number of drug shortages has grown substantially since 2006, and many shortages involved generic injectable drugs. In total, 1,190 shortages were reported from January 1, 2001, through June 20, 2011, according to UUDIS data. From 2006 through 2010, the number of drug shortages increased each year and grew by more than 200 percent over this period.

A record number of shortages (196) were reported in 2010, and 2011 is on pace to surpass 2010’s record, with 146 shortages reported through June 20, 2011.

Venezuela's Orinoco tar deposits are not turning out to be the bonanza expected:

Russia-Venezuela Oil Venture Said Set to Miss 2012 Output Target

The OAO Gazprom Neft-led group may produce no more than 10,000 barrels a day next year, about 20 percent of the planned level, said the people, who work at different companies and who declined to be identified because the matter is sensitive. State-run OAO Rosneft, OAO Lukoil, TNK-BP and OAO Surgutneftegas are partners.

But here is the part of the story that I find rather funny:

Oil output in Venezuela, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, slumped 24 percent to 2.47 million barrels a day in 2010 compared with 2000, according to BP Plc data. At the same time, the Orinoco has helped swell the country’s oil reserves to 296.5 billion barrels, surpassing Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest, according to OPEC.

Venezuela has the largest proven reserves in the world, even larger than Saudi Arabia's, but their production numbers have fallen 24 percent since 2000. And even with Russia's help these huge new reserves have only contributed a drop in the bucket to their overall production.

Ron P.

Thanks for the numbers Ron. Just one more proof that debating how much or how few reserves are left in the ground is wasted breath when discussing PO. Unfortunately as long as the MSM and some politicians beat this dead horse the public will remain unprepared for the inevitable future.

There oughta be a law, eh? LOL.

It just occurred to me that maybe some folks don't understand how the oil patch views proven in-ground reserves. I've done A&D evaluations of producing oil/NG fields for over 30 years. Somewhere over 100. And in all that analysis not once did I or anyone else involved care what the proven reserve number was. When you're buying/selling a field the valaution is based entirely on the cash flow. One field may have 2X as much proven oil reserves as another yet sell for less. I've probably done over 1,000 valuations of individual reservoirs and not once did I use "proven reserves" as a metric. Thus, in a similar way, PO and the patch A&D share a similar basis. For us it's all about cash flow. For the world it's about flow rates. Essentially the same metric.

"Weather bomb" causes chaos, destruction across New Zealand

WELLINGTON (Xinhua) -- Parts of New Zealand were bracing for further chaos Thursday after what the government called a "weather bomb" caused destruction across the north of the South Island.

The statement said the Nelson Region had been "heavily hit by a weather bomb with rainfall of up to 320mm [12.6 in.] in a 24 hour period".

More 54 slips [mudslides] have occurred, dozens of roads have been closed, 150 people have reportedly been evacuated, and a State of Civil Emergency was declared late Wednesday by both Nelson and the neighboring Tasman Councils. Many homes had been deluged with mud and debris, forcing their occupants to flee.

also http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/6148718/Evacuations-continue-in-wake-...

It has been pretty epic recently with all the rain. It seemed to rain and rain and rain at some obscene rate so I was a little concerned for a while that my lawn would die simply from being flooded with too much water!

All trains at halt in Pakistan due to fuel shortage

Pakistan Railways (PR) has been hit by a new crisis as there is no more diesel available for the trains to continue service. According to Pakistan Railway, all trains are at halt due to non-availability of fuel and the service would remain suspended until fuel would be supplied.

Other fuel shortage

Copec Says Jet-Fuel Shortage Will Be Resolved in 10 Days

Empresas Copec SA, Chile’s largest fuel distributor, said a jet-fuel shortage that forced Lan Airlines SA to refuel international flights in the Atacama Desert today will be resolved in 10 days.

Copec’s fuel shortage is the result of stronger-than- expected seasonal air travel and higher demand for jet fuel in Europe that reduced availability from U.S. refineries, it said in an e-mailed statement today.

This is what PO looks like.

The diesel shortage in Pakistan has been gradually getting worse over the last few weeks or so, with local press previously suggesting it was a temporary and local problem.

It's interesting, from afar that is, just how fast complex systems can break down under stress.

The link provided also has another link stating the Saudi Arabia is back to providing free oil to Yemen, like they did last summer.

Perhaps that is where KSA's extra 'output' that didn't show up as exports (per Oil Movements - see my post) is going.

Crop insurance rates skyrocket after summer floods

Midwestern farmers who saw their land swamped by summer flooding may be socked again with steep increases in their crop insurance premiums, the expensive result of the failure to fix broken levees before the winter snow and next spring's rains.

... The amount is nearly five times what they paid a year ago because the U.S. Department of Agriculture now considers the land high risk and increased coverage because of the risk.

Swiss Re Estimates 2011 Economic Cat Loss at $350 Bn; Insured Loss $108 Bn

Swiss Re describes 2011 as the “year with the highest catastrophe-related economic losses in history, at $350 billion.” It could have been the most costly year ever for the insurance industry, if Japan had been more fully insured.

The figures were compiled by Swiss Re’s sigma team, which estimated that “total insured losses for the global insurance industry from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters reached $108 billion in 2011″ – more than twice the $48 billion in 2010. “Claims from natural catastrophes alone reached $103 billion in 2011, compared to only $43 billion last year,” said the report.

Committee on Climate Change (CCC: Independent advisors to the UK Government on tackling and preparing for climate change, has published its first comprehensive analysis of the impact of meeting carbon budgets on household energy bills.

Household energy bills

There is currently much debate on rising household energy bills, and the extent to which this is or will be due to costs of financing low-carbon investments. This note sets out our analysis of energy bill impacts from meeting carbon budgets to date and over the next decade.

It includes assessments of price impacts from wholesale gas prices, financing low-carbon investments and energy efficiency measures, together with scope for reductions in energy demand and bills through energy efficiency improvement. We focus on historic and future energy bill impacts for the typical household

GOP seeks to strip EPA offshore drilling oversight

House Republicans are trying to sideline the role of the Environmental Protection Agency in overseeing offshore oil drilling, after Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA, RDSA.LN) complained about the amount of time it is taking the company to secure air-quality permits for drilling in the Arctic Ocean.

In an important piece of spending legislation Thursday, Republicans included a measure that strips the EPA's authority to issue air-quality permits in the Arctic and shifts it to the Interior Department.

The measure was included in a spending bill that would fund the U.S. government through the remainder of fiscal 2012.

Give it to someone who is already 'bought off'; hold the 'operating budget' hostage unless you get your way.

Congress Authorizes Pentagon to Wage Internet War

The House and Senate agreed to give the U.S. military the power to conduct “offensive” strikes online — including clandestine attacks, via a little-noticed provision in the military’s 2012 funding bill.

The power, which was included in the House version but not the Senate version, was included in the final “reconciled” bill that is all but guaranteed to pass into law.

US House passes 'indefinite detention' bill

The US House of Representatives has voted in favour of controversial proposed legislation that would deny terror suspects, including US citizens, the right to trial and permit authorities to detain them indefinitely.

The proposed changes were included in a $662bn defence bill passed on Wednesday by the Republican-controlled House after White House officials withdrew a threat to block the bill over concerns it would undermine the US president's authority over counterterrorism activities.

... Kansas America, is goin' bye-bye

Former Bush Attorneys General Call Gingrich Position on Courts 'Dangerous'

In a 28-page position paper entitled, "Bringing the Courts Back Under the Constitution," Gingrich argues that when the Supreme Court gets it wrong constitutionally, the president and Congress have the power to check the court, including, in some cases, the power to simply ignore a Supreme Court decision

Mukasey and Alberto Gonzales, in exclusive interviews with Fox News' Megyn Kelly, said they are particularly alarmed by provisions such as allowing Congress to subpoena judges after controversial rulings to "explain their constitutional reasoning" to the politicians who passed the laws.

They were additionally very skeptical of Gingrich's suggestion that we should just "do away with" the Ninth Circuit because of some of the left-leaning decisions from that group of jurists.

See the 2nd part there - Obama caved, again! And this time it means anyone of us can be thrown in the clinker permanently without any proof. Under these rules we no longer have the right to a fair and timely trial. We are no longer innocent until proven guilty. Hello fascism. Someone give the Prez a back brace.

Bahrain forces clash with protesters

Hundreds are dispersed using tear gas and stun grenades near Diraz town west of capital Manama.

Riot police were seen chasing protesters away from entrances to the key highway and back into the largely Shia communities that line the road.

The clashes follow 10 months of unrest between Bahrain's Sunni monarchy and an opposition movement led by the country's majority Shia.

Oil Falls to Five-Week Low as U.S. Industrial Production Drops

Oil fell to the lowest level in more than five weeks as U.S. industrial production declined for the first time in seven months, indicating a pause in manufacturing in the world’s largest oil-consuming country.

Heating Oil Gains After Jobless Claims Drop to Three-Year Low

Heating oil and gasoline rose on indications the U.S. economy is strengthening after jobless claims slid last week to a three-year low and New York regional manufacturing expanded to the highest level in seven months.

Crude Oil-Tanker Rents Fall as Ship Supply Exceeds Cargo Demand

Returns for the largest oil tankers hauling 2 million-barrel crude shipments on the industry’s benchmark route fell for a third day, to the lowest level in a month, as the supply of vessels exceeded cargo demand.

Deloitte: Most Americans say shale development rewards outweigh the risks

A majority of Americans polled believe developing natural gas by tapping shale formations offers greater rewards than it does risks, including risks possibly associated with hydraulic fracturing, said a survey conducted by the Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions.

Specifically, 83% of respondents agree that gas development can stimulate US job growth, and 79% believe the gas development can help revitalize the economies of the states and communities.

... there we have it; most Americans live at least two hills away from a fracking_field!

‘Oil Movements’ see OPEC exports level off after November mini-surge

While it is not specifically stated in the article below, this week’s report from OPEC tanker tracker, Oil Movements, is statistically unchanged from the week before.

The leveling off of OPEC exports may confirm that OPEC is indeed ratifying the agreement reached at its recent meeting – which essentially validates the total amount of output at current levels.

It is not clear how OPEC will adjust if, as it is likely, Libya further increases its exports.

The report also - in part - confirms an increase in 'output' of Saudi Arabia in recent weeks, although when adding up the numbers, the increase in ‘output’ was not fully reflected as an increase in ‘exports’. Therefore one can only conclude that either Saudi Arabia used more oil for internal purposes and/or storage – or they are exaggerating their actual November production level.

Even with the increase in Saudi ‘output’ and a large increase in Libya’s exports, OPEC is still exporting 400,000 bpd less than at the start of February 2011. Libya itself is exporting about 600,000 bpd less than that date, with the Saudis apparently account for a marginal 200,000 bpd export increase.

OPEC Raises Crude Exports on Libyan Supply, Oil Movements Says
By Rachel Graham - Dec 15, 2011 11:30 AM ET

OPEC will pump 23.65 million barrels a day in the four weeks to Dec. 31, up from the 23.51 million barrels shipped daily in the month to Dec. 3, the Halifax, England-based researcher said today in an e-mailed report. The figures exclude Ecuador and Angola.

“The great surge in Middle East exports in November has definitely finished,” Roy Mason, founder of Oil Movements, said by phone. “It’s down to Libya now.


Industrial 'inertia to change' is delaying development of zero carbon homes, report finds

Dr Jo Williams, principal investigator of the Zero Carbon Homes Project from the UCL Bartlett School of Planning said: "Since 2007 very little has happened in the UK, at least in part due to the economic crisis and subsequent housing slump. However there are other factors at play here not least a lack of political support and significant institutional inertia to change." The findings of the project are published today in the book Zero Carbon Homes - A Road Map.

Housing currently generates 7% of global CO2 emissions, according to 2009 International Energy Agency Statistics. In Europe this figure rises to 10%, with CO2 emissions in the US even higher at 20%. However, currently the largest regional increase in CO2 emissions for residential buildings is in developing Asia (accounting for 42%) and the Middle East/North Africa (accounting for 42%), providing a real challenge to the mitigation of climate change.

More news on Canada's "Solar City"...

Solar industry warms to HRM pilot project

Business will be heating up for Nova Scotia’s solar industry, now that the Halifax Regional Municipality is seeking vendors for a $5-million pilot project.

Halifax regional council gave staff the go-ahead Tuesday to issue a request for proposals for equipment supply and installation, as well as consulting services, for the municipality’s Solar City project.


Solar hot-water panels will be installed in 1,000 homes starting next spring as part of the project. About 1,600 householders have applied, although not all homes will meet the criteria.


Solar panels will cost about $5,000 installed, after various rebates. Homeowners would pay the municipality back through an addition to their property tax bill.


“This program is equivalent to all the residential solar installed in Canada in 2009, I believe,” said the chief operating officer of Doctor Solar and Scotian WindFields.

See: http://thechronicleherald.ca/business/42808-solar-industry-warms-hrm-pil...

I hate to be a wet blanket but Halifax isn't exactly Canada's solar hot spot given that we experience an average of one hundred and twenty-two days of fog each year. Also, the estimated savings of $250.00 to $700.00 a year strikes me as overly optimistic. At $250.00, that's a savings of, on average, 5.5 kWh per day -- $700.00, 15.4 kWh/day. By comparison, the DHW consumption of our two-person household comes in at just under 3.5 kWh a day and we both shower daily and wash all laundry in hot water.

Homeowners could save more money and lower their CO2 emissions to a greater extent by replacing their electric water heaters with a heat pump water heater at one-quarter the initial cost. In fact, since many Haligonians operate basement dehumidifiers six months a year (the relative humidity as I type this is 97 per cent), a HPWH could provide all of the hot water that we require during this portion of year at effectively no cost and without any additional energy input, i.e., a HPWH can provide both services for the price of one.


Solar panels will cost about $5,000 installed, after various rebates.

Cough, splutter, choke! 40 - 50 year payback? What is the projected life of one of these systems, a lot less I would have thought.


Solar DHW makes a lot of sense, but it's not a one-size-fits-all solution and I think most forum members recognize this... whether HRM staff do is another matter. If you're going to spend millions of dollars of taxpayer money to ostensibly make our communities more energy efficient and to reduce our collective carbon footprint, at least target the measures that provide the greatest return for each dollar spent.


If you're going to spend millions of dollars of taxpayer money to ostensibly make our communities more energy efficient and to reduce our collective carbon footprint, at least target the measures that provide the greatest return for each dollar spent.



There has clearly been some "lobbying" from the local solar companies, probably complaining about their lack of subsidies, rather than recognising a lack of sunshine is their biggest problem. Maybe they should take a holiday to Arizona and contemplate that.

$5k *after* subsidies is ridiculous - these companies are gouging.

And, of course, you are spot on about the heat pump water heaters.

If we are to make a serious difference to resource consumption, climate change, local economies, we need to be pragmatic - this is clearly an exercise in grandstanding, and appealing to a narrow interest group.

I suspect it may also have something to do with the fact that shiny tubes on a roof make a much better photo op for politicians than does a water heater in a basement!

Has anyone here ever been accused of being an Anarchist while discussing resilience and self-sufficiency options for the community. I got a rude shock from my colleague today when I was talking about this with him. He's got two small kids and a wife. Mid 30's, so it wasn't unexpected but shocked me nonetheless.

I've learned to temper when expressing views to those with a young family.More along the lines of ways to protect one-self and family if these trends come to pass.Maybe enough to get them thinking about it I've had people totally tune out or even turn their back.Even those at the higher income levels which higher fuel cost are just a small fraction of their income see no problem.They even think their home values will continue because of their zip code.But being in the trades forever those homeownersip cost are going to soar while the price contiues to slide.I was at an estate sale last week when someone made a comment about what was the asking price of the house and 3 acres.An old man piped up and said we can't sell anything out here because it cost to much to live here with transportation cost.

Interesting response.. it sounds a little like any inclination towards 'Self-Reliance' (a revered idea in New England Transcendentalist thought.. http://www.emersoncentral.com/selfreliance.htm ) is taken by your associate as some kind of rude disobedience to ones Revered Leaders.

I saw a sight in NYC once that would befit a simple T-shirt drawing, but to me is a serious philosophical point.. it was a Man with a Dog, and since dogs are required to be 'on-leash' on the streets of NY, the Pup had his leash, but held the other end himself in his mouth, and they walked along happily!

To me, this is where the Societal need for Law meets the Personal need for Self-discipline and self-awareness.

Are you in India? Does 'Anarchy' carry any particular hidden or historic implications in your country?


"To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius." Ralph W Emerson

I am. I used the corresponding English word, the word Anarchy as understood in western philosophy doesn't have any meaning here, here it's more like revolutionary/mad-hatter and a mix of other different terms.

Of course. Anarchy and self-sufficiency are the same thing looked at from different directions. Why the shock?

That accusation has been made here more than once.

Hi wiseindian, I've been a long time proponent of non ideological anarchy myself. I find that most people have no clue what the word really means and just have a knee jerk reaction to it. To me it would be high praise and a badge of honor to be called an anarchist!

Anarchy (from Greek: ἀναρχίᾱ anarchíā), has more than one colloquial definition. In the United States, the term "anarchy" typically is meant to refer to a society which lacks publicly recognized government or violently enforced political authority.[1][2] When used in this sense, anarchy may[3] or may not[4] be intended to imply political disorder or lawlessness within a society.

Outside of the US, and by most individuals that self-identify as anarchists, it implies a system of governance, mostly theoretical at a nation state level although there are a few successful historical examples[5], that goes to lengths to avoid the use of coercion, violence, force and authority, while still producing a productive and desirable society.[6]

I'm of the 'Outside the US' school of anarchy >;^)

Yes you are right that there are different meanings, but in principle anarchists are against the existence of state. I understand the benefits that a state provides so I don't oppose that idea. Just that I'd like it's absolute powers to be scaled down a little. (you could interpret that as some form as anarchy as well but you get the idea)

And that term 'Anarchist' carries a stigma on it worse than terms such as 'mad' , 'conspiracy nut' etc. I daresay that you will find yourself on some government agency's watch list with that tag as bureaucrats don't bother to understand the nuances behind a name.

FM - Heck, in Texas we know what an "anarchist" is: a long-haired hippie Democrat with a stick in his hand. LOL.

On a serious note though: "...a society which lacks publicly recognized government...". That caught my attention. Perhaps that helps explain the current state of political affairs in this country. "Publicly recognized" by who...or more specifically by how many? If half the country doesn't recognize the validity of one party would they be considered anarchists? And if the other half held the same view? Perhaps both sides would develop an attitude that any "anarchist-type" response is justified. Perhaps the Tea Party and Occupy groups are just more visible aspects of that growing rift. Remember: one man's freedom fighter is just another man's long-haired hippie Democrat.

Interestingly enough, the current Republican arguments towards "small government" are more anarchistic than I've heard in a long time.

Especially since by "small government" they are frequently talking about "no government", wiping out vast swaths of current federal agencies (but strangely not the FBI that I've heard).

I find that most people have no clue what the word really means and just have a knee jerk reaction to it.

Fred, I don't see it that way at all. I find that most educated people know exactly what the word means and they all know that the word has primarily two different meanings and a couple of variations from those two. From Dictionary.com

Anarchy [an-er-kee]   an·ar·chy [an-er-kee] noun
1. a state of society without government or law.
2. political and social disorder due to the absence of governmental control: The death of the king was followed by a year of anarchy.
3. a theory that regards the absence of all direct or coercive government as a political ideal and that proposes the cooperative and voluntary association of individuals and groups as the principal mode of organized society.
4. confusion; chaos; disorder: Intellectual and moral anarchy followed his loss of faith.

When people use the word they know which of the above meanings they intend the word to imply. I know, many purest would like the word to have only one meaning, #3 above. But with the English language that is seldom, if ever, the way it is. Robert Kaplan knew which meaning he intended the word to imply in the essay linked below. And it was not #3.

The Coming Anarchy

Ron P.

Horror-fest submission of the day :-

In an interview with Dr. Mercola, Dr. Don Huber discusses the impacts of Glyphosate on soil bacteria and the development of resistant organisms. He has requested a moratorium on Roundup-ready crops, until research can be done.


Truth really is stranger than fiction.