Drumbeat: December 16, 2011

As Gas Drilling Spreads, Towns Stand Ground Over Control

SOUTH FAYETTE, Pa. — As energy companies move to drill in densely populated areas from Pennsylvania to Texas, battles are breaking out over who will have the final say in managing the shale gas boom.

The fight, which pits towns and cities against energy companies and states eager for growth, has raised a fundamental question about the role of local government: How much authority should communities have over the use of their land?

Oil above $94 on signs of improving US economy

SINGAPORE – Oil prices rose above $94 a barrel Friday in Asia amid signs the U.S. economy is slowly improving, which could boost demand for crude.

U.S. Consumer Prices May Show Inflation in Check

The cost of living in the U.S. was probably little changed in November as gasoline prices dropped, a sign inflation remains in check, economists said before a report today.

Heating Fuels to Miss Biting Cold of Past Two U.S. Winters

The biting cold of the past two winters in the U.S. may be delayed until January, if it comes at all, easing demand for heating fuels during their peak season.

Trailing Gas Demand Signals China Import Boom

China’s ranking as the biggest energy consumer and the least reliant on natural gas for power generation among the world’s leading economies is raising the prospect of an import boom as it seeks to cut pollution.

Peak Oil? Not According to This Chart

Near the height of the energy crisis in 2008, the Republicans popularized the slogan, “Drill, baby, drill!” But they should have been chanting, “Frac, baby, frac!”

Why? Because the largest gains in domestic oil production are coming from hydraulic fracturing. And this is most evident in North Dakota and Montana, which are home to the Bakken Shale.

A Simple National Energy Independence Strategy

The United States and Canada possess enormous conventional and unconventional oil and gas reserves that could not just make NAFTA energy independent, but also fundamentally change the global balance of power in oil and global geopolitics, breaking OPEC's control and ensuring developing nations that their energy sources are secure. All the U.S. government needs to do is two things: 1) open up these resources for development, and 2) put in a modicum of protection that will ensure that an OPEC price war does not (once again) crush North American production. This second point will also encourage the development of non-carbon-based technologies. Unfortunately, there are political forces in the U.S. that oppose any further development of carbon-based resources.

Energy: In search of the least evil

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. Things will only get serious when we hit the global peak in combined oil and gas production. After this the supply of hydrocarbons can no longer satisfy the demand, and the prices will skyrocket.

Kinder’s Major Bet on a Boom in Fracking

HOUSTON — The oil and gas business is full of gamblers who drill deep and often, praying for gushers but frequently ending up with dry holes.

Then there is Richard D. Kinder, chief executive of Kinder Morgan, who has personally made billions of dollars operating the industry’s equivalent of a toll road: pipelines.

Now, with Kinder Morgan’s $21 billion deal to buy a leading rival, the El Paso Corporation, he is doubling down.

Iraq oil security tested as U.S. forces withdraw

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A bombing of southern Iraqi crude pipelines despite a nationwide alert against a possible surge in insurgent attacks has heightened fears for the future security of Iraq's vital oil sector as American troops withdraw.

Clashes break out in west Kazakhstan oil town after months of protests, deaths reported

ALMATY, Kazakhstan — Violent clashes broke out Friday between police and demonstrators in an oil town in western Kazakhstan where workers have been protesting for higher wages.

One witness said police opened fire on demonstrators meeting in the center of Zhanaozen, killing at least five people and wounding dozens.

Kuwaiti police fire tear gas at stateless demo

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwaiti riot police used tear gas and water cannons on Friday to disperse hundreds of stateless protesters who were demanding citizenship and other basic rights.

ConocoPhillips Makes Highest Bid in Sale of Gulf Oil Leases

ConocoPhillips (COP) submitted the highest bid among $337.7 million in the first sale of leases for oil production in the Gulf of Mexico since BP Plc’s spill last year, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said.

BP to Get $250 Million in Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Settlement

LONDON — The British oil company BP said Friday that Cameron International, one of its contractors in the oil well that exploded last year in the Gulf of Mexico, has agreed to pay $250 million to settle claims related to the ensuing spill.

Final report finds several faults in Gulf oil spill

A mix of shoddy safety practices by the oil industry, a blowout preventer that was never adequately tested, and the failure of a concrete cap led to last year's historic Gulf of Mexico oil spill, an expert panel concluded Wednesday.

Chevron Oil Spill Spurs Lawsuit to Freeze 17% of Brazil's Rigs

A Brazilian lawsuit that seeks to halt Transocean Ltd. and Chevron Corp. operations after an oil spill would reduce the country’s offshore drilling at a time when it wants to double output in ten years.

Japan Traders Eye $200 Billion Power Market Post-Fukushima

Japan’s trading companies own enough electricity capacity to supply more than 40 percent of the country’s homes. Problem is, their generators aren’t in Japan.

Japan May Declare Control of Reactors, Over Serious Doubts

TOKYO — Nine months after the devastating earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, causing a meltdown at three units, the Tokyo government is expected to declare soon that it has finally regained control of the plant’s overheating reactors.

Toshiba Reactor Wins Majority Backing From Feuding U.S. Nuclear Commission

Toshiba Corp. (6502)’s Westinghouse Electric won majority support for the design of its AP1000 reactor from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, even as the members were feuding publicly over the panel’s leadership.

Leader of Nuclear Agency Hears Litany of Objections

WASHINGTON — In exchanges that ranged from merely testy to caustic, four members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission told a House committee on Wednesday that their chairman had withheld information from them, berated the agency’s professional staff, reduced female employees to tears with abusive comments and created a “chilled” atmosphere that was hurting the agency’s ability to function.

Iran Says It May Move Uranium Enrichment to ‘Safer Places’

Iran may relocate its uranium enrichment work to more secure locations, a senior Iranian defense official said Wednesday, an acknowledgment of increased concern that Iran’s suspected nuclear program could face a military attack from Israel or the United States.

FACTBOX-How do Asian buyers pay for Iran's oil?

(Reuters) - Plans for fresh U.S. sanctions to isolate Tehran have sent shudders among Asian governments who fear they will have no way to pay for Iranian crude imports and face rising costs to fuel the region's growing economies.

Hoping for a wider progressive trend

Nor do Democrats talk forcefully about energy. Engineers and utility executives, like the CEO of California’s NRG corporation, speak openly about how close we are to having solar power that can achieve “grid parity” with power generated by fossil-fuel-burning plants. Do Democrats have a position? Well, not really. Who is the senior Democratic leader, locally, statewide, or nationally, who is out there warning about peak oil, the coming oil crisis, or the urgency of green-powered public transport? Republicans, meanwhile, are forthright about their position on energy. They’ve been purchased outright by the fossil fuel industry, so they advocate for the fossil fuel industry, and impugn solar, wind, and other alternatives.

Nader Agha’s holdings span Monterey County, but he’s looking to conquer the world

These days, Agha’s seeing profit potential in green business, the sunny side of dire forecasts on peak oil and water wars. He says he’s assembled a 16-person board to advise a new solar farm business he hopes will go national. 

He also sees opportunity in the wreckage of Green Vehicles. The city of Salinas invested nearly $550,000 in the electric car company before it filed for Chapter 7 in August; Agha bought its remnants, a few bodies and transmissions, in November. He plans to make magnesium or lithium ion batteries, and make the entire venture domestic. “We need to bring our jobs back to this country from the Orient.”

Should we all look to change travel habits earlier rather than giving up driving when we get old?

A major report looking into the travel habits, needs and issues surrounding driving in old age has found that older people have a mixed range of views to changing their habits and or opting to use other modes of transport. The report reaches some predictable conclusions about loss of independence and worries about isolation if people live in remote areas. However it examines the potential of an about turn in travel habits earlier in life that could help people avoid some of the 'withdrawal' symptoms like depression and loneliness.

PG&E SmartMeter draws customer rebellion

Fed up with a company they say is bullying them, some SmartMeter critics have had the devices removed, and seen their power cut as a result. According to PG&E, fewer than 20 people have disconnected their SmartMeters.

PG&E maintains that disconnecting SmartMeters is dangerous, and the company doesn't want the idea to spread. Hence the decision to cut off power to people who do so.

Study: Hunger stalks US cities as poverty rises

WASHINGTON -- A growing number of families in the United States are struggling to put food on the table as poverty rises in major cities, a new survey showed on Thursday.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors' 2011 hunger and homelessness survey found all but four of the 29 cities surveyed reported an increase in requests for emergency food assistance during the period between September 2010 and August 2011.

Occupy This: The Crusade Against Holiday Shopping

Buy Nothing Christmas is on a mission to recast the holidays so that they're "richer in meaning, smaller in impact upon the earth and greater in giving to people less privileged," according to BuyNothingChristmas.org. It also aims to expose the downside of an economy largely reliant on consumer purchases.

Russia slams Kyoto Protocol

Russia supports Canada's decision to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol, says its foreign ministry, reaffirming Friday that Moscow will not take on new commitments.

Canada hits bottom with withdrawal from Kyoto

The costs of the government’s actions are likely to be high. Clearly the chances of any serious effort from the federal government to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions have become more remote than ever. The international reaction — Canada’s decision is being given much more prominent play in the international media than in Canada itself — has been overwhelmingly negative from both developed and developing countries. It certainly looks like the Harper government has made a serious miscalculation if it expected to have any company in its decision to formally withdraw from the protocol.

Jerry Brown criticizes 'political lemmings' of climate change

SAN FRANCISCO -- Gov. Jerry Brown railed this morning against politicians who doubt climate change, calling "political lemmings" the chief obstacle in combating global warming.

Re: Wallstreetdaily: Peak Oil? Not According to This Chart (Uptop)

Another Startling Oil Chart

If we couple the increased domestic production with decreased domestic consumption, guess what? The United States is actually now a net exporter of oil. For the first time since the 1940s.

I suspect that the person who wrote this was inspired by the recent WSJ article on the US becoming a net exporter of refined petroleum products. My analysis of said article:

De-constructing the WSJ's front page story, “U.S. nears milestone: net fuel exporter”

For 2011, it appears that the US is on track to be net exporter of refined petroleum products, on the order of about 0.2 mbpd. Although the WSJ reporters did note, several paragraphs into the story, that the US remains the world’s largest net oil importer, in both terms of crude oil and total petroleum liquids, I suspect that many casual readers will conclude that the US is now a net oil exporter.

Mark Twain:

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes”

In September, North Dakota pumped a record 464,129 barrels a day – a 439%

Worldwide existing fields are declining at about 4.5 million barrels per day, perhaps more. And in five ears North Dakota has increased its production by about .4 mb/d. And this disproves peak oil?

Also the article states: Finally! The U.S. is exporting more oil that it is importing. No it is not! The U.S. is exporting more refined products than it is importing. That lie is not even in disguise.

Jeff, Fixed your link. Great article, thanks:
De-constructing the WSJ's front page story, “U.S. nears milestone: net fuel exporter” by Jeffrey J. Brown

Ron P.

The United States is actually now a net exporter of oil. For the first time since the 1940s.

Obviously, the author has no idea what he is talking about. The reality is that the US remains the world's biggest importer of crude oil.

The minor technical detail that the mainstream media has become obsessed about is that the US is on the verge of becoming a net exporter of refined products. They gloss over the fact (or are ignorant of it) that the US is still importing the crude oil to make these refined products that it is exporting to other countries.

What has changed is that, while the US has not built a new oil refinery in over 30 years and has had a chronic shortage of refining capacity, domestic fuel consumption has fallen to the point where US refineries have surplus capacity. That is called "demand destruction" and it is caused by economic collapse.

In addition, Canadian oil sands production has been ramping up in recent years, and the Midwestern refineries have modified their front-ends to handle crude bitumen. They can now run crude bitumen straight through to refined products without having to buy expensive upgraded syncrude or expensive OPEC oil.

This gives them a huge cost advantage over refineries in the rest of the world since they can buy Western Canadian Select (a heavy oil/bitumen blend) for $80/barrel (current price) and sell the refined products in Europe for the same price as European refineries who have to buy Brent for $104/barrel (current price). The difference between the two ($104 - $80 = $24/barrel) mainly falls out on the bottom line as profit to the refinery.

This is a great deal for US refineries, less so for US consumers since they are stuck buying fuel at prices based on the Brent standard. The refineries are exporting all their surplus product to Europe, Asia, and South America rather than selling it domestically at a discount.

I left the following comment:

The article said: “The United States is actually now a net exporter of oil. ”

This is blatantly, patently false. The US exports slightly more REFINED oil products than it imports. The US still imports roughly half of the crude oil that it uses, about 9 million barrels a day net imports according to the EIA.

The moderator doesn't seem to be in a hurry to post it...Comments are open.

My comment has been "Awaiting Approval" for almost two hours.

Someone should post a bogus shill comment, agreeing with the article, to see if it gets posted.

Luv their motto:

"About Wall Street Daily- In a World of Liars, the Truth Starts Here…

Generally, when I meet someone, and they start off by telling me how honest they are, I usually reach for my wallet to make sure it is still there.

The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.

--Ralph Waldo Emerson

I almost choked on my granola bar. I had missed that. Thanks. LOL

Ghung - It occurs to me there's another way to spin this story back to the writer. See how he feels about this for his title: "U.S. consumers outbid by foreign buyers: America exporting our fuel to "them". Bad enough we're producing "our oil" from "their fields".

You could point out to him that, AFAIK, U.S. refiners could export all their products (excpet those produced from federal leases) if they are offered a higher price. Which, as the article points out, is happening right now except on a smaller scale.

Rockman: Isn't this exactly what we would expect from Peak Oil? A triage, by price, of oil and oil products.

Since the US is now a 'poorer' country, we cannot bid high enough to use our own refined products. Also, as time goes on we will not be able to compete with Chindia for crude oil. Whatever our limit is will be set by how much our consumers have available to spend, and the only people who seem to have any money is the 1%-ers (actually the 20%-ers, but the MSM is obssessed with 1%, so...), and they cannot buy enough to make the difference. What little we get will be consumed by the few while the many languish and wonder what happened to their jobs, their homes, their comfortable lives.

I really do not expect this will be a linear process. Like JMG I see a stairstep downward progression, marked by a few modest 'booms,' and more by times of steady non-growth, followed by sudden drops as each successive tipping point is reached.

Sort of like I see the climate reacting to disruptions. In some ways it will seem evolutionary rather than revolutionary.


Whatever our limit is will be set by how much our consumers have available to spend, and the only people who seem to have any money is the 1%-ers (actually the 20%-ers, but the MSM is obssessed with 1%, so...), and they cannot buy enough to make the difference. What little we get will be consumed by the few while the many languish and wonder what happened to their jobs, their homes, their comfortable lives.

Very aptly put Rockman. Particularly regarding the 20% that will continue to be able to afford higher prices, while the remaining 80% are becoming disenfranchised. IMHO that dynamic will only work for so long then at some threshold chaos will ensue. But we are still a long ways from that, or at least it seems far off at the moment.

It seems to be up there.


What's sad is that the majority of the public (including some very bright people that I work with) is so ill-informed that they don't know this sort of thing is incorrect.

some very bright people that I work with [are] so ill-informed that they don't know this sort of thing [(WSJ article)] is incorrect


This is not at all a critique of you but rather a deep drill into the subconscious logic that underlies the observation about our fellow man being "ill-informed".

Basically, the point about bright people being ill-informed is another way of saying "caveat emptor",
let the consumer of newspaper articles (i.e. WSJ articles) beware!

But is that fair?
(Rhymed question not originally intended)

I submit to you sir that it is not.

People buy the "news" for the purpose of learning something that is "new" to them, something that they did not know before. That is why it is called "news".

The journalist, in selling his wares (be it directly or through the umbrella organization of the WSJ) is making an implied warranty that he is providing as best as he can, correct information for consumption by the paper reading public because, after all, everyone agrees it is "new[s]" information in so far as the consuming public is concerned --and they were not expected to be well informed about it beforehand.

Here we have a case where the "new" information being spoon fed to the "news" consuming public appears to be false and misleading information.

Who is at fault?

Is it the very bright people who put their trust in an authoritative source such as the WSJ?

Is it the journalist who is probably even less informed and is simply finding a way to make a quick buck no matter how incorrect is the information that he is peddling?

Is it the system that allows this kind of thing to go on?

Is there any practical way to make it "fair" in the apparently intended sense of entitling "consumers" to believe uncritically anything they happen to read? Do we set up a Consumer Press-Fairness Regulatory Commission and require reporters to get their stories type-approved at, say, $50,000 a pop, by a CPFRC-certified testing lab? Even if we did, how many microseconds would it take for such a process to be co-opted?

As my seventh-grade social-studies teacher used to say, "life isn't fair". Deal with it.

Sorry. I too am guilty of not being bewared.
It was WSD, not WSJ.

And their tag line says it all: "In a world full of liars, ...(Pravda starts here)"

Mark Twain was so right.
The Arch Druid makes the observation in a recent report that the harder Peak Oil bites, the more shrill the denial is bound to get. He compares the current hype over the Bakken to the hype that accompanied the Baku/Caspian fields ten years ago.
Hope springs eternal.

Or Jack 2 just before another election.


jabby - In case folks missed it they should go back to the bottom of the last Oil Drum and see Ron's post about the huge gain in Venezuelan proven reserves that doesn't come close to matching their gain in production rate. I've been offline logging a well the last couple of days so got to the thread late. But I still got to beat my dead horse some more: reserves in the ground mean nothing re: PO...it's all about flow rates. But as you imply the MSM and many politicians can use true but misleading facts that confuse the public.

Just like Capt Smith on the HMS Titanic: at some point you have to look your charges in the eye and say: "The end is near...". Obviously we won't see many politicians coming forward with such a statement to the electorate.

I was wondering, is it really fair to call it a bumpy plateau, if the average annual price goes up? I mean, at the current price, it causes us to squeeze the 'frack' out of the rocks. Are people still going to think we are treading water when filling up the SUV costs $200 instead of $75?

I noticed a lot of gift cards being sold at the local "five and dime" store yesterday. Efficiency at work. One local shopping trip, and the postal charge is exponentially cheaper.


In September, North Dakota pumped a record 464,129 barrels a day – a 439% increase from a decade ago and right on par with Ecuador’s production. The gushing isn’t done yet, though.

Within five years, Rick Mueller, of ESAI Energy LLC, predicts that North Dakota could be producing anywhere from 700,000 barrels to one million barrels a day.

Doesn’t sound like a Peak Oil situation to me. Does it to you?

Only a tout would cherry pick the strong results out of North Dakota and ignore Alaska, Texas, Gulf Offshore, etc. And the juxtaposition of crude and refined products also feels willfully dishonest.

I think that the monthly, and better yet annual, EIA production data probably give us a more accurate indication of actual US production (having said that there are some significant discrepancies between the EIA and other data sources for Saudi Arabia and Texas 2010 annual data):

In any case, the average annual US crude oil (C+C) production rate for 2011, through September, was 5.6 mbpd, versus 5.4 mbpd in 2010, and versus the pre-hurricane level of 5.4 mbpd in 2004 (and versus 9.6 mbpd in 1970).

Also, note that the average per well production rate in Texas in 1970 was 19 bpd, versus 6 bpd in 2010 (RRC). As previously discussed many times, the net energy from 5 to 6 mbpd of US production, on the downslope (post-2000), is not nearly as impressive as the net energy of 5 to 6 mbpd, on the upslope (1940 to 1950).

And the US remains dependent on imports for about two out of every three barrels of crude oil that we process in US refineries.

Funny thing about the PO curve; it shows what happens with all of the wells. If Bakkan oil fields are shown as a group, with increasing production to 700KBD, and Texas/Alaska/GOM/California, etc., are each shown as separate aggregations, with each declining, a better overall picture of the state of affairs in the US would be seen as grim to dire. The rise at the end of your graph appears to be about 200KBD, whereas the rise of Bakkan was stated at 400KBD. So, unless Bakkan keeps increasing by at least 200KBD, we remain steady at best, and if it increases by < 200KBD, we resume the downward trend seen until 2007.

My comment to the R's: Dream, baby, dream!


And the juxtaposition of crude and refined products also feels willfully dishonest.

It's probably more a matter of lazy fact finding and the willingness to follow another article's failure to fact find. News stories use to be highly scrutinized by editors that demanded proof of facts prior to publication. I've also noticed in articles a process of piling on, in which one falsely supported article leads to another being even more false. When articles regarding Iraq's oil were coming out they started out claiming a potential of 6 mbd, and within two weeks reached a zenith of one artlicle claiming a potential of 14 mbd. Its just another sign human behavior is not consciously advanced enough to comprehend and intelligently respond to the idea of resource limits.

My two cents worth:

The idea of net fuel is not too different from net energy. Both are bogus.

To think clearly, things that are different can not be compared, added, subtracted etc.. If they are, the result is not valid and ends up only confusing the reader, which may be the object.

It is very important not to mix apples and oranges. When it is done the answer can only be fruit and that tells us less than we knew before. People who do this kind of stuff are either ignorant of the fundamental concepts of logic or intentionally trying to mislead.

Apples can only be compared with other apples. The purpose of comparison is to arrive at new insight about the subject. When two or more things that are not very similar are compared, we gain no insight. We only get more confused and have to talk in abstractions like fuel, energy, metal, grain etc..

Abstractions like these are ideas about a group of things. They do not exist in the concrete real world which is made of various items in the group. As a result net fuel or net energy are poorly defined and meaningless in the real world. The numbers attached to them make them look valid, but they are not.

An argument must be both mathematically valid and logically valid. If the logic is wrong, the statement is false even if the math is correct. IMO this is very important concept. And it is the fundamental reason EROEI is nonsense when the in/out forms of energy are different.

So when one form of fuel like refined fuel is compared to, added to, or subtracted from crude oil we are talking about something that is not done with any beneficial effect in the real world.

One then has to wonder why it is being done in the argument.


News flash: All thought and all language = abstractions.

I left a response before I even checked in here. I don't know if he will publish it, but here is what I wrote:

Wow, you really don't understand peak oil. Two things you should look it. First, look at a chart of oil production in the United States and then let's talk. Oil production has turned up several times as new areas have been developed, but the total has never come close to surpassing the 1970 peak.

Second, we are not exporting more oil than we are importing. You are looking at only finished products, which were produced largely by imported oil. People always seem to forget that pesky detail.

Comments being posted now...

2012 Alaska Oil Production down -4.7%, or -9.1%

In new projects go ahead, the Alaska State Revenue estimates 574,000 b/day in 2012 and 555,000 b/day in 2013. But lower if new projects do not go ahead.


BTW, North Dakota recently went over 500,000 b/day.


However, state Revenue Commissioner Byran Butcher warned that the production decline could be more severe, because the department assumes that some projects now being evaluated or planned will actually move to production.

All data in this article is all liquids because according to the EIA Alaska's average C+C production July 2010 - June 2011 was 580,000 barrels per day. Since then, July thru October, Alaska's average C+C production was 531,000 barrels per day.

Ron P.

BTW, North Dakota recently went over 500,000 b/day.

The last month reported was October which was 488,068 bopd.


Details, details.

Operators will report November production around the 1st. Operators report electronically, so the State doesn't know yet.

Production may well have gone over 500,000 by now, but not officially. For that matter, ND may never go over 500,000 bopd on a monthly basis(widespread sanity could break out). November has typically been a seasonal peak.

Unless something changes Alaska is going to drop to the #4 state in oil production before long. There have already been occasional months where they drop below California.

From the WSJ this morning:

Oil Sector Sets Sights High, Adds More Muscle

The article (behind a pay wall) claims that:

..developing Iraq's massive southern oil fields of Rumaila, West Qurna and Zubair within six years, (are expected to produce) a combined output of 6.8 million barrels a day...


...plans by Iraq's oil ministry to ramp up total Iraqi output to as much as 12 million barrels a day by 2017 from three million.

Provided, of course, the US (and Israel) don't get into another long war with Iran, which would likely put Iraq back in the crosshairs as well...

E. Swanson

Since hitting a post-invasion net export high of 1.82 mbpd in 2008, Iraq's net exports in 2009 and 2010 were 1.81 and 1.72 mbpd respectively (BP).

Whatever Iraq is doing to do, they sure are not doing it very fast.

Iraq Crude Only production in thousands of barrels today. The last data point is November 2011.


Ron P.

UPDATE: Iraq Plans To Export 2.75M B/D In 2012 Vs 2.2M B/D 2011-SOMO.

Exports this year have been 2.167 million barrels a day--less than the target of 2.2 million barrels a day. The main cause for not reaching the planned target was bottlenecks at export facilities in southern Iraq, Alamri said.

But he said that hurdle would be removed when a new floating terminal with a capacity of 900,000 barrels a day at the southern Basra terminal starts operation early next year. "Our export capacity from the south is currently at 1.75 million barrels a day and that will be increased to 2.6 early next year."


Remember that Iraqi domestic oil consumption is undoubtedly rising quickly as the overall level of violence abated and some "stimulus" funding for various public works, etc. hits the economy.


Revealed: bankers' secret meetings with ministers
Details of Treasury visits prompt fears Osborne will take soft line on banking reform


The only way to beat these bastards is for the sheeple to remove their money from the banksters grubby little hands en masse!

This "move your money" thing is a mere gesture. First of all, bankable money is overwhelmingly owned by the top 10 percent, and they aren't angry. Second, are you aware that most credit unions run credit checks on prospective new customers? How do you propose most people, who are struggling and have bad credit scores, get around that one?

We need to be talking about gaining power at the commanding heights, not striking mini-poses.

It may be a ridiculously small percentage of their money, but consumer deposits give the big banks legitimacy with legislators that just having bunches of money does not.

It may be a small thing, but so is a snowflake.

There are only so many hours in the day, and only so many ways we can ask people to make changes. I prefer saving precious energy and words to expending them on hopeless, misguided gestures that have no chance of ever happening on a truly effective scale in the first place.

What we need is public banks, like in North Dakota. Build those, and the money will move itself.

Again, IMHO, we need to be talking in terms of big decisions, new institutions, and changed infrastructures.

Credit Unions are enough better to count, yet people still go to big banks for some reason.

I propose that if you build it they will not come in droves, and even if they do we are still talking about the motion of snowflakes in the larger financial picture. It's those small decisions that actually count, and the issue is how to make those decisions possible and desirable.

When I was 19 years old, I opened an account at the Alabama Credit Union (3 digit # BTW :-). Back then, one needed a paycheck from the University of Alabama. I tutored football players (including all-time All-Pro John Hannah) and that got me a paycheck.

I have been there ever since. Usually my primary account (I have another at local credit union).

Never a problem, and often surprisingly good service (above & beyond - extra $3,000 credit line after Katrina just for asking, "fill out forms later").

Of course, when I call and they ask for my account #, sometimes there is a bit of surprise at the low #.

Best Hopes for GOOD Credit Unions,


I've done my banking at credit unions for 30 years now. Had to switch from one to another when I moved. But got a 4-digit number at the second one. Always great service. And they know my name when I call (before I say it).

I have done my primary banking at credit unions since I was 5 (I have accounts at two). I have one commercial account as well at (W @#$^ F) since they bought out the small local AZ bank where I opened an account at 18. Any time I have to deal with a bank other than my credit unions, I end up cussing. It's a night and day difference. Incidentally, thru my credit union I have access to the biggest free ATM network (CO-OP) in the U.S. (28,000 ATM's bigger than any of the big banks individually, with ATM's in 7-11, Walgreens, and Costco etc) and to nearly as many branches (4435) as any of the big banks (thru shared branching).

i moved my money out of boa and into my local credit union without any problem. my credit isn't good and i was unemployed (effectively) at the time. i'm not saying that a person with really bad credit wouldn't have problems moving their money into a credit union, but the bar isn't set that high apparently.

that said i think your overall point is absolutely correct. changing banks won't "beat these bastards". but that doesn't mean that dumping a bank that you're dissatisfied with is a futile gesture.

"bankable money is overwhelmingly owned by the top 10 percent, and they aren't angry."

Michael, that used to be the case but is now changing rapidly because of events like MF Global's co-mingling segregated accounts, and events like the Eurozone "haircuts" that do not trigger CDS insurance.

The "Top 10%" used to feel protected and safe - fat and happy.

Now... not so much ?

Er, I wasn't suggesting that people be forced to move their money from banks at gunpoint. Of course, it's up to any individual's calculation as to what is best and most appropriate for their own situation.

As to your suggestion that "gaining power at the commanding heights" should be the goal, I would agree with you.
But, that was the whole reason for my posting the article: short of armed insurrection, it's a seemingly impossible goal in such a rigged game.

I agree that individual deposits are a small item overall; they matter to the legislators, but why would the banks care. I mean, in the US they can get money for 0.25% at the window and loan it back to the same government they borrowed it from at about 2.25%, giving them their usual 2% profit.


((I know, it is more like infinte profite since they didn't use their own money - it is all an illusion performed every day by Ben and Tim and our friends at the Fed))

If the sheeple do that then the banks will ask for handouts that will eventually be taken from the pockets of the sheeple in taxes.


I agree but unfortunately I've been disappointed with one service from local banks/credit unions and that is wire transfers. I have a precious metals account where I can only wire funds in and out, so this is critical for me. Also, online banking is generally better with the big banks. Otherwise, bank-bank and bank-brokerage transfers are pretty straightforward these days.

Big banks definitely try to nickel and dime unsuspecting customers with all sorts of strange requirement gimmicks. Credit unions don't do this. However, there's alot of other nonsense going on. For example, the checking account at one of my local banks is free, but you have to make something like 15 debit card transactions to get their advertised interest rate!

I'm tired of the nonsensical BS at every turn, at the lack of straightforward options. Also, you get practically 0% in most checking and savings accounts, and next to nothing in CD's or short term bonds.

So sure, move your money, but the whole system is broken. Genuine resiliency involves hard assets and precious metals held outside of the banking system.

As TEPCO trumpets "Cold Shutdown" on a date they set months in advance, it seems even some mainstream media doesn't really buy it.

Fukushima Plant Should Be Nationalized, Former Premier Says

(Bloomberg) Many questions remain unanswered about the disaster nine months ago when an earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling and power at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear station, former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Tomoyuki Taira, a Japanese parliamentarian, wrote in a commentary in the journal Nature today. The two are members of a parliamentary committee probing the accident.

The legislators, both members of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, said it’s particularly important to establish whether self-sustaining reactions are continuing in the damaged cores and whether explosions that rocked the station in the days after March 11 were nuclear in origin.

“Our investigation has already shown that key pieces of evidence remain incomplete,” Hatoyama and Taira said. “We believe that independent scientists must be given access to the nuclear plant and that the plant should be brought into national ownership.”

And this from a former Japanese Nuclear Plant Safety Inspector.

Japanese Engineer: "There Was a Nuclear Explosion in Reactor 3 in Addition to a Hydrogen Explosion"

"The explosion in Reactor 3 at Fukushima I Nuke Plant on March 14 was nuclear!"

So says Mr. Setsuo Fujiwara, who worked at Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization (JNES) until the spring of 2010 as nuclear plant inspector. He is one of those experts who know the nuclear power plant facilities and operations in great details.

...Inside the SFP, it was like a nuclear reactor becoming critical, and the water boiled. Then there was a hydrogen explosion above the surface of the water in the SFP, and due to the pressure from the explosion, voids (steam bubbles) in the boiling water were compressed. The void coefficient was negative, so the reactivity of nuclear fission was suddenly heightened, resulting in a nuclear explosion from the prompt criticality. When you see the slow-motion video of Reactor 3's explosion, you hear three explosive sounds. It is the evidence that the nuclear explosion occurred after the hydrogen explosion."

Fukushima Dismantling to Start as Cold Shutdown Announced

It's an achievement to have restored cooling and gotten water temperatures to 100 degrees, said Arnie Gunderson, a Vermont-based nuclear engineer who has testified to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Fukushima, said in a phone interview.

“But I don't know why they choose to say cold shutdown because that's an affront to those in the industry who really know what the term means,” he said. “That nuclear core is still in a configuration where the center is extraordinarily hot.

...Gunderson said that declaring the cold shutdown at Fukushima risks further eroding people's faith in the government's ability to regulate the nuclear power industry.

“I actually think it's going to blow up in their face,” he said. “In the eyes of the Japanese public, the last thing they need to do is exaggerate. And this is an exaggeration.”

And the Nature editorial

Critical mass

More than nine months after the nuclear-reactor disaster at Fukushima, fundamental questions about what happened remain unanswered. Without answers to these questions, Japan, and the rest of the world, is in the dark on what went wrong, what must be done now, and how to avoid similar accidents in future.

A Comment in this week's issue summarizes these concerns (see page 313). For the Japanese public, one of the most troubling things about the article should be the identity of its authors: two ruling party politicians, including a former prime minister. Surely they should be able to get some answers?

Cold Shutdown:

1 core temperature falls below 95C
2 rods are scrammed
3 RPV intact
4 coolant system intact


It is a misuse of the term to describe a reactor after meltdown as 'in cold shutdown'. As the fuel assembly is destroyed no shutdown is possible. Fuel is melted together and impossible to control directly. Even if pressure and temperature are unalarming momentarily 'cold shutdown' implies complete control which is impossible after meltdown.


Re: Clashes break out in west Kazakhstan oil town after months of protests, deaths reported, up top:


Rapid rise in wildfires in large parts of Canada?

Large forest regions in Canada are apparently about to experience rapid change. Based on models, scientists can now show that there are threshold values for wildfires just like there are for epidemics. Large areas of Canada are apparently approaching this threshold value and may in future exceed it due to climate change. As a result both the area burnt down annually and the average size of the fires would increase ...

"It is likely that the Boreale Plains have in recent decades, particularly around 1980, experienced a change to a system characterised by wildfires. This has fundamental repercussions for the environment and the combating of wildfires. Small changes in the fire propagation parameters have a great impact on the size of the fires." Gradual changes, such as those which can be expected due to climate change, can therefore result in an abrupt and sharp increase in the size of the fires.

Report: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/662675

Problematic when a community as large as Slave Lake, Alberta gets hit as it did last summer. I used to do a lot of flying for forestry. Years ago they put out everything on fire. Now, they let the remote stuff burn. When infrastructure and communities are threatened, I assume the tankers and helicopter support will be marshaled as required.

In 81/82 I flew in Yukon and it was so smokey I don't think I saw the ground for 3 months. Some days the visibility was down to an 1/8 mile. The end of the decade was clear with few fires. While GW is fact, dry summers with lots of fires run in cycles. The danger will be the beetle kill lighting off.

Most of Alberta's forests burned down during the 1930's and 40's, but the trees have been growing back, and they are now to a size where we're due for another fire cycle. The evidence is that all of Alberta's forests burned down an average of once or twice per century under natural conditions. Fire is a natural part of the forest life cycle, in addition to which the Indians set fires every so often to improve grazing for the buffalo.

In this region (near and in Banff Park) they have been doing controlled burns to reduce the amount of potential fuel in the forests. In fact, they're burning brush on the hillside right below my house at the moment. They've marked the forest behind the house with flagging tape, so I suspect they're going to be burning back there, soon. There has been a lot of deadfall accumulating, and that is a serious fire hazard.

During the summer you sometimes can hardly see around here for the controlled burns. Actually, they call them "prescribed burns" since after they burned down the power line to Banff they didn't seem that controlled.

.....Now, they let the remote stuff burn. When infrastructure and communities are threatened, I assume the tankers and helicopter support will be marshaled as required.

That is pretty much the way things are handled in Alaska. Some years ago there was a bad fire season in the interior. A neighbor of mine went up to Fairbanks for a family event. One night the smoke alarm in their motel room went off due to ambient smoke. At that point they decided it was time to return to Anchorage, where the smoke was merely annoying.

.......While GW is fact, dry summers with lots of fires run in cycles. The danger will be the beetle kill lighting off.

I've heard it claimed that the apparent increase in beetle activity is itself a symptom of GW. Beetle kill is a very serious fire issue around here as well. A few years back, the Forest Service was doing a controlled burn of a beetle kill area down on the Kenai Penninsula. The weather changed and the "controlled" burn got away from them. For awhile it seriously threatened the tiny community of Moose Pass. They eventually got it under control, but it was not good PR for the USFS!

What is 'The danger will be the beetle kill lighting off.'?

What he means is that beetles can kill almost every mature tree in an area. After a few years, when the dead trees dry out, the forest becomes a tinderbox. All that dead wood is much more flamable than healthy living trees. A fire in a healthy forest will sometimes burn just the brush and dead stuff on the ground. In a beetle kill area, everything can burn, making an extremely intense fire.

And the reason for the beetle kill is global warming, so that the beetles can get two generations in a season, rather than one. Pines in Colorado are going fast. Used to be, the cold came and put a stop to things. No more...

A fire in a healthy forest will sometimes burn just the brush and dead stuff on the ground. In a beetle kill area, everything can burn, making an extremely intense fire.

Not just beetle kill -- a century of misguided fire suppression policy has resulted in grossly overgrown forest and enormous on-the-ground fuel loads. Up until 120 or so years ago, much of the Mountain West was covered in open forest, groves separated by extensive stretches of grass, at densities of perhaps 50 mature trees per acre. Today there are millions of acres with 700 or so scrawny trees per acre all jammed in against one another. Crown fires used to be extremely rare in most areas of the West. Today they are becoming the norm because of the overgrown forest and the enormous on-the-ground fuel loads that have built up instead of being allowed to burn off every few years.

The feds cleared a portion of the Pajarito Plateau in New Mexico to 40 stems per acre. The Cerro Grande fire burned across that area in 2000. In the thinned area, the fire behaved as a typical ground fire, burning off the brush and downed limbs but leaving the mature trees in good shape. In the surrounding unthinned areas, the fire was a catastrophic crown fire. Of course, the feds say it's too expensive to thin all of the overgrown areas, and it's becoming too expensive to attempt suppression of the big crown fires except where they threaten areas that have been developed.

That's true. I've seen crown fires from a safe distance, and they are truly spectacular. I remember going out into the woods before one of them went through, looking at all the highly flammable deadwood lying around, and thinking that if the forest ever caught fire, it would be a truly spectacular disaster. And of course later the same week it did and it was.

Under natural conditions, crown fires don't occur because small fires burn up the deadwood before the accumulation gets too serious. A century of fire suppression has allowed truly explosive amounts of kindling to build up.

Around here they are trying to mimic natural conditions by doing controlled burns and thinning the trees to more normal spacing. Hopefully it will work. If it doesn't, I have fire insurance on the house.

"ladder fuels" greatly assist fire moving into the crowns; in beetlekill areas in colorado the ladderfuels are present but the crowns are mostly gone, with the exception of the twigs. Dry, resin filled needles will practically explode in the intense heat of a "crowning" fire, so the missing needle filled crowns may be a good thing should a conflagration occur.

All of that highly flammable deadwood is potential fuelwood. I wish we'd pay the unemployed to harvest it in the U.S. instead of charging permit fees to access it and insisting on cutting only for personal use.

The Anchorage muni Fire Dept now has a forester on their staff. On the east side of town there are a many homes on the Chugach foothills (locally called "the Hillside") where there is a lot of beetle kill. The forester works with homeowners to convince them to clear the dead trees back from their homes. She also works with the firemen to plan for dealing with a big fire if/when it occurs.

Then there is always the old "when you get lemons, make lemonade" approach to beetle kill. Last summer, I talked to a guy who runs a water taxi at Homer, AK. He lives and owns property on an island, across Kachemak Bay from Homer. He cut down most of the the beetle kill on his property and built a bunch of log cabins, which he rents to tourists in the summer. This proactively protects his home, brings in rent from the cabins, and makes more business for his water taxi.

While these small scale efforts help locally, they don't address the issue on the larger scale.

Hello Alaska-geo,

I had no idea the beetles were up/west in Alaska. Our mythology in BC says due to GW and extreme fire suppression, and no logging breaks/openings in parks, the first real outbreak started in Tweedsmuir and then spread out through the Chilcotin. Hatches were then carried mostly east due to prevailing winds and topography. For awhile it was thought the Rockies would stop the march eastward, but obviously that isn't true. We get ambrosia beetles on the coast, and a pine disease, root rot, but no pine beetles because there is little pine. But you say it is over in Homer? I find that unbelieveable. I live right on the coast, mid Vancouver Island. While our weather has gotten weird and the seasons seem to have shifted on the calendar, we still seems to have a pretty mild swing of wet to three warmer months and back to grey and wet again. I know that doesn't improve up the coast. Is there kill in Kluane and west through the interior? or, has it always been there?

Maybe 10 years ago we drove #3 across southern BC and camped for awhile north of Cranbrook. The forests were brown. Red closer to the mark. Sad to see.


Colorado has a Beetle Kill Trade Association (BKTA) whose members produce a variety of products from beetle-killed trees. These range from the simple, such as pellets for stoves, to more complex, such as "blue pine" flooring and furniture that emphasizes the coloring from the blue stain fungus that the beetles introduce.

There are limits to what can be accomplished this way. Much of the beetle-kill is in areas that are inaccessible, because of the terrain and the distance from any place that can handle the wood.

spring_tides posted a link this morning in Wednesday's Drumbeat:


Having watched it, I felt it was important enough to bring forward. About an hour. Per s_t: 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."

Scary stuff. I hope Leanan can bend the rule about bringing stuff forward. Great explanations regarding how chelating compounds work and how they (and the GMO crops designed to be resistant) effect the nutrition value of the crops they are applied to. Plant uptake of nutrients such as iron, zinc, manganese, etc, is reduced by as much as 90%. We're basically growing empty calories. Many beneficial soil-born bacteria are virtually wiped out, allowing the diseases they control to proliferate.

These crops are basically good for producing bio-fuels, HFCS and vegetable oils - not much else.

We've definitely opened a Pandora's box. The endocrine disrupting aspects are significant. The reduced fertility aspect is a species killer.

From an energy standpoint, atmospheric nitrogen-fixing organisms are either eliminated or their ability to fix N is "turned off", meaning that nitrogen must be replaced with nitrogen derived mostly from natural gas; "clean and abundant".

Reefer madness redux.

Researchers assess effects of a world awash in nitrogen

Humans are having an effect on Earth's ecosystems but it's not just the depletion of resources and the warming of the planet we are causing. Now you can add an over-abundance of nitrogen as another "footprint" humans are leaving behind. The only question is how large of an impact will be felt.

In "A World Awash in Nitrogen," Elser, a limnologist, comments on a new study showing that disruption to Earth's nitrogen balance began at the dawn of the industrial era and was further amplified by the development of the Haber-Bosch process to produce nitrogen rich fertilizers.

One effect from the increased nitrogen inputs can be seen in our inland water features like lakes, reservoirs and rivers.

"Nitrogen deposition to lakes leads to phytoplankton (at the base of food chain) with low content of the important nutrient phosphorus," Elser said. "This is kind of like 'junk food,' for animals that eat the phytoplankton. Such effects are likely to ripple upward in the food chain."

Not just Nitrogen. Dr Huber mentions that, although lab testing shows other micronutrients to be present, the chelation by the pesticide prevents them from being bioavailable.

That means one is locked into adding micronutrients artificially, to compensate. One wonders how many agribusinesses are doing that.

In addition, we are feeding corn to livestock, ensuring that their nutrition is compromised also.

For anyone taking the time to watch the entire interview, part 1 and part 2, about two hours, it is well worth the time.

As an aside, on the topic of micronutrients, these foods should be added to the daily diet :-

Broccoli, onions, mushrooms, seeds, legumes, berries.

Thanks for re-posting. Forgot today was a new Drumbeat day.

I keep pondering the rise of things like autism spectrum and wonder if there is a link between this and environmental factors such as pesticide use. Pure speculation on my part.

Then, of course, I turned to the Google...



"Women who live near California farm fields sprayed with organochlorine pesticides may be more likely to give birth to children with autism, according to a study by state health officials to be published today."


"Research links soaring incidence of the mysterious neurological disorder to fetal and infant exposure to pesticides, viruses, household chemicals"

The collapse of honeybee populations is the canary in the coalmine.

EDIT : rise of autism is discussed in part 2 of the Huber interview.

Coal ash taints 20 U.S. sites: report

Toxic contamination from coal ash, a waste product of coal-fired power plants, has been detected in ground water and soil at 20 sites in 10 U.S. states, an environmental watchdog group reported on Tuesday.

These sites are the latest to contribute to a total of 157 identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the independent Environmental Integrity Project, which released the report.

"It is no solution for Congress to hand authority for addressing the problem permanently to states that have refused to enforce common-sense standards for the last 30 years and hope that the whole problem goes away."

also http://www.environmentalintegrity.org/12_13_2011.php

‘Fingerprinting’ method tracks mercury emissions from coal-fired power plant

For the first time, the chemical "fingerprints" of the element mercury have been used by University of Michigan researchers to directly link environmental pollution to a specific coal-burning power plant.

EPA Regulations May Increase Energy Cost

Latest News

The editorial "A scare campaign" (Oct. 19) dismissed the concerns of many Missouri businesses and families who will be saddled with higher energy prices because of new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations. On average, a third of business costs are spent on energy, and Missouri's electricity prices could rise by as much as 14 percent under these new regulations.

These projected increases in energy costs are based on analysis by National Economic Research Associates for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. To develop highly credible projections, NERA relied primarily on data from the EPA and the Department of Energy and used two widely respected models. Because of their credibility, the NERA projections have been quoted by members of Congress, attorneys general from 24 states, governors, public utility commissioners, at least one state environmental agency and many others.

In these tough economic times, Missouri businesses should not be forced to choose between keeping the lights on and handing out pink slips to hard working people trying to support their families. The increased costs, lost jobs and threats to electric reliability are real and will only get worse if the EPA implements its new regulations without taking the time to fix them.

One man's clean air and water = another man's pink slip :-0

ROCKMAN should love this, from your second link:

...results from the latest study by Sherman and her colleagues prove that mercury is deposited locally near coal-fired power plants and doesn't simply vanish into a global pool high in the sky. "It makes it hard to argue that there's no local deposition when we're seeing such unique signatures like this," Sherman said.

...time to move, Rock?

Ghung - Just one reason I relocated my daughter upwind of our coal/lignite plants. Years ago I saw a story about a kid contaminated with lead. Turns out it had nothing to do with kids eating lead paint chips. This fellow did a soil study across New England. Found a perfect correlation between lead concentrations and location: along all the old highways. The conclusion: all those billions of gallons of leaded fuel burned over the decades. Mercury, maybe like lead, isn't very mobile and doesn't just wash or float away. The one little girl they showed who had lead poisening got it from playing (inhaling) in the dirt at her apartment complex...located in Georgetown along an old highway just outside DC.

Rockman- Our local lead abatement people made the same point about urban lead levels from the burning of leaded gasoline and recommended that one be careful about bringing shoes that had been worn outside into the house because of the possibility of tracking in lead. They also made the observation that urban vegetable gardeners need to be careful about what they plant and where they plant. Some crops (I believe spinach and sunflowers) absorb more lead from the ground than others.

When my daughter was treated for Lead Toxicity at 9mos old (!!), we were also told that when gas went to 'unleaded', it really only reduced the actual amount of lead in gas by half. Does anyone know if that's true? Considering the amount of vehicles around us now, it seems we might be in the same boat now as then..



Only aviation fuel contains lead in the US.

when gas went to 'unleaded', it really only reduced the actual amount of lead in gas by half. Does anyone know if that's true?

Yes I do. It's complete BS. They removed lead completely from gasoline (except aviation gasoline, and not very people stand close enough to running light planes to breath the exhaust).

Even avgas is lower in lead. In fact 80/87 is now called low-lead 100 ...at least in BC. Lots of small owners burning marine in piston a/c. That has no lead. It is very hard on the engines but cheap enough to make it worthwhile.

Incidentally 100LL (low lead) has twice as much lead in it as the old 88 octane leaded mogas.

The FAA allows mogas (87 octane no-lead) to be LEGALLY burned instead of 100LL avgas (100 octane low lead) in some small planes which have been modifed (by placement of a sticker at the fuel cap) as a "supplemental type" using an FAA STC. Peterson Aviation charges $1.50 per horsepower for the sticker and the STC paperwork.

"Petersen Aviation has been doing research on the use of automotive fuel for aircraft since 1983. Forty-eight different engine types and more than 100 airframes have been approved since we began conducting our tests. Included in these approvals are nearly all 80/87 octane engines, and the vast majority of airplanes in which these engines were installed. Several high compression engines are approved for the use of 91 octane auto fuel including the 180 horsepower 0-360 and the 0-235-L2C. Our STC's are accepted world wide."


A doctor in the Hunter Valley of NSW has studied childhood asthma, lead poisoning and birth defects near coal mines and coal fired power stations

The website belongs to a group who intend to block property access to drilling crews looking for coal seam gas.

Mercury, like lead, is bio-accumulable (accumulates in individuals and in food chains.)
Mercury (mostly from coal, but a lot was used as a seed-dressing pesticide on wheat crops in many countries, and got in to soil. I remember a "bomb happy" storeman at a seed dressing factory).
Mercury environmental fate is interesting. Not so mobile but eventually gets into water courses and ends in anaerobic muds downriver. The bugs convert to gas compounds (very toxic) and these enter the atmosphere and in the N Hemisphere descend particularly to the northern oceans and are available for bio-accumulation. Fish oil and poor old Polar Bears. Some folk get the short straw.


Melting Polar ice cap promotes Arctic shelf exploration

... “It’s really simple to develop the Arctic shelf because its climatic characteristics are very similar to that of the North Sea shelf. The technology of oil and gas development in the Arctic is comparable to the one used in the North Sea. However, I do not think that all this is quite simple and we should wait until 2060 and then start investing money in the Arctic,” says Sergei Pikin [head of Russian Energy Development Fund].

... Experts insist that owing to permafrost melting a large area in northern Russia will turn into a marshy land. In these conditions, it will be very difficult for people to live there and carry out economic activity. In short, warming in the Arctic paves the way for spending less money to develop the Arctic shelf but more money will be needed for the rehabilitation of marshy lands in northern Russia.

NEB leaves same-season relief well policy in place for Arctic drilling

CALGARY - The future of offshore drilling in Canada's Arctic is back in the hands of oil and gas companies after the National Energy Board on Thursday announced tough filing requirements for future applications.

Over objections from oil and gas companies, the NEB maintained its requirement that explorers must be able to drill a relief well in the same short summer season that a well begins leaking uncontrollably to limit environmental damage.

To all:

This human peak energy predicament feels like going to someones house and watching as it falls down around you whilst the person with the capacity to make repairs talks about how much they love their house at the same time you're seeing it literally falling down around you and him. It seems as if most people never actually grow up and become adults, the people around me remind me of big children because the idealism of what constitutes an adult never seems to reflect the overall reality. It is funny that we tell children to think for themselves and ask them 'if everyone else jumped off a cliff would they do it too?' and yet we define adulthood as doing everything everyone else does and we call that maturity.

We're allowed by other people to think for ourselves up to a point. If you follow norms too closely you're stiff but acceptable, if you're just a little bit edgy you're cool and if you go all the way you're a radical. What gets me is that mundane solutions are considered radical by the average person. I can't even remember the last time I saw a bike with a basket on the front or back and it has been a long time since I saw something which didn't look like a mountain bike or racing bike and yet all I hear is that bikes can't carry the stuff people want so they are impractical and they are uncomfortable to ride. What happened to recumbent trikes and baskets? It seems people don't actually think for themselves, they just think alike with a smaller sub-group of people when they are supposedly thinking for themselves.

Other people not thinking the way you do is a recipe for frustration. I couldn't even build a house with fewer than three bedrooms and a two car garage because of covenants. I couldn't buy a recumbent tricycle with electric assist and a sunroof even if I wanted to. It is one thing to think peak oil thoughts and another to actually implement peak oil aware actions because you're so susceptible to the action or inaction of others and a huge stubborn inertia to change. Then if you actually do manage to implement appropriate changes in your life you're seen as a radical and hence not many people would care to listen to what you have to say.

I couldn't buy a recumbent tricycle with electric assist and a sunroof even if I wanted to.


...not sure about the sunroof.

I couldn't buy a recumbent tricycle with electric assist and a sunroof even if I wanted to.

Why the heck not?


There are few times when a designer has the opportunity to pull out the stops and create an advanced, race-winning design like the new Ground Hugger XR2 HP. This new HP (High Performance) machine leapfrogs ahead of anything available anywhere in the world to raise the bar on recumbent bicycle design and deliver an unparalleled sense of excitement and pleasure to your cycling experience. Its unique architecture provides for three versions from a single design:
Three Optional Versions

Electric/Human hybrid power with on-road or stationary solar charging, or rapid plug-inrecharging. (This is a refined version of the Solar XR2 that won the Australian WorldSolar Cycle Challenge.)XR2 Ground Hugger

Conventional e-bike power (wheel motor) and with rapid plug-in recharging, plus optional solar recharging.

Dedicated human powered version built on the most advanced technology available.

It is the village effect. I live in a country of 4 million people and there simply isn't a recumbent cycle for sale anywhere within 200 kilometers of my present location and there probably isn't more than a strict handful of electric assist recumbents in the entire country. A cycle isn't something you'd just import because fit and comfort are extremely important, more so than for a car.

Find something that can make you laugh, Will. This stuff might be the easy part.

I'm sorry it seems so hard to make any progress or find anyone who'll get what you're on about. For me, that's what this site is..

I did give my brother a Hot Air Collector (Mostly built) for his Birthday 1 week back, and am showing him some pretty low-cost ways to get a little bit of Solar and Storage up and running. Gave him a basic 12v 12ah battery last night (same tidbit that has been lighting my office and now my kitchen for the last several months), and a few things to get from the Auto Parts store. And I have one bud in town, one in the hills and one in NYC who'll get together with me to sketch out wild notions and try to put pieces in perspective.

The Permaculture group has been a good find. They get what's coming, but don't dwell on 'the horror'.. they build and grow stuff, and bring good food to their meetings. Keeping it simple and forward-moving at a steady walking gait.

Hang in there..

'Two Denialists walk into a bar, and standing between them and the bartender is a fully mature, African Elephant, who calmly asks them if either one knows what time it is...' (the rest of this joke is invisible..)

I am almost convinced that in order to foster change I'm going to have to open up my own little post peak shop, then I can sell cycles, guns, seeds, solar panels and freeze dried food all in the one convenient location. :-P I guess owning the only shop of its kind in the entire country would probably steer some like minded people my way.

It seems strange on the one extreme you have people completely ignorant of peak oil and on the other hand you have people whom are over-aware and make extremely dumb decisions as well because they're too obsessed. I remember reading on peakoilblues.org about a guy that didn't go to his families weddings in America because he was concerned about 'wasting energy'. What happens when you lose perspective on things is that you don't realise basic things like the fact that the plane was going to take the trip whether he was on it or not and most planes aren't even full, hence no 'wasted energy'. It is a fine line to walk between ignorance and obsession.

Might I enquire which country? I will not be offended if you do not wish to reply.


I live in tauranga, New Zealand.


That is my lovely oil soaked beach. Oil is a total PITA to get off your feet if you step in it.

Thank you. I totally agree that oil on beaches is a PITA, had enough of that when I was a child in South Wales. I've returned to bicycling and, yes, my MTB does have a basket and load carrying panniers though the panniers are at EOL especially after having a pit bull hanging off them. I am currently figuring the best way to replace them with 2 backpacks as panniers are not available around here. Oh, I now carry pepper spray for dogs and owners.


Sounds like we've stepped in it, eh?

"It seems as if most people never actually grow up and become adults, the people around me remind me of big children ..."

I know what you mean Squilliam - "adult-sized children" syndrome.

I think this is an unintended consequence of industrial civilization. It appears no culture is immune.

First, alot of people may not be healthy enough to really get around on bikes. Our society is getting older. Also, in most places it's not exactly safe to ride.

Whatever oil you don't burn by riding a bike will easily be burned by somebody else. Which means that most people will just keep on doing the gradual process of cutting back. Driving less, staying at home, spending less, switching to a more efficient vehicle, etc.

In fact, some here have theorized that people will give up their houses before giving up their cars, which is certainly possible.

And American political leaders would rather have ruinous, permanent war than enact policies taxing oil consumption.

Humanity. It's not very pretty, is it.

Well... A lot of people would be healthy enough to ride bikes if they rode bikes that aren't currently healthy enough to ride bikes, a real catch 22.

The reason why I said recumbent electrical assist with a sun roof is because you can't get rained on/burnt, you can ride fast enough to merge into city traffic and it is easier on peoples bodies as well as practically impossible to fall off and I shouldn't fail to mention it won't crush your family jewels.

One thing which is important to note is that whilst reducing your individual consumption won't stave off peak oil it will help reduce an individual countries oil use and therefore improve the current account situation at the same time as giving more discretionary spending for local goods and services. You could say that riding a bike is patriotic and driving an SUV is unpatriotic in an American sense.

Malawi fuel shortage People's stories

... "The hunt for fuel has made my life very difficult. I do supply food products to shops and because of lack of fuel, I haven't been able to do business."

..."My family relies solely on transport business for a living. My two trucks are stuck for two weeks, failing to carry cement from Karonga. I have a contract to transport sugar from Dwangwa but I can't. How do we survive?"

... "I cannot explain what is going on but what is making things worse is corruption that has become rampant at filling stations. I have spent one one week on the line but some people are just coming and you see them going away with a full jerry can within 30 minutes. You tend to wonder why things are happening all like this."

related Fuel scarcity forces court adjourn treason case

Will we be so patient when 'Our Time' comes?

Bid to keep fuel pumps flowing

Some Western Cape filling stations hit by a petrol shortage have been thrown a lifeline after a consignment of fuel was sent from Durban.

Last week the Fuel Retailers’ Association confirmed that there was a shortage in the Western Cape and Gauteng.

LNG Carrier Rates Rise to Record $150,000 a Day as Vessel Shortage Worsens

Rents for ships hauling liquefied natural gas reached a record as winter fuel demand runs up against few available vessels, investment bank Pareto Securities AS said.

The cost of hiring an LNG carrier for a year rose to $150,000 a day, 11 percent higher than last week, the Oslo-based bank said today in an e-mailed note, citing brokers’ estimates. One-time cargoes cost $145,000 a day, up 16 percent from the week before.

Does this indicate rising world demand in a way that would increase US exports and, thus, methane prices in the US?

Exxon Mobil spent $3.2M on 3Q lobbying

Exxon Mobil Corp. spent $3.21 million in the third quarter to lobby the federal government on offshore oil drilling and other issues, according to a disclosure report.

That's down from the $4.12 million that the world's largest publicly traded oil and company spent in the year-ago period, and less than the $3.81 million it spent in the second quarter of 2011. Exxon also lobbied the federal government on legislation involving oil pipelines, hydraulic fracturing, security provisions for chemical facilities, consumer product safety, toxic substance rules, air quality standards, ...

Oil prices have jumped about 27 percent since the beginning of October, and the government expects benchmark crude prices to rise in 2012.

Rant against the Machine

U.S. Corporate Executives Received a Pay Raise of 27-40% Last Year

Chief executive pay has roared back after two years of stagnation and decline. America’s top bosses enjoyed pay hikes of between 27 and 40% last year, according to the largest survey of US CEO pay. The dramatic bounceback comes as the latest government figures show wages for the majority of Americans are failing to keep up with inflation.

America’s highest paid executive took home more than $145.2m, and as stock prices recovered across the board, the median value of bosses’ profits on stock options rose 70% in 2010, from $950,400 to $1.3m.

Who, Specifically, Blocked Millionaire Surtax?

The public overwhelmingly wants taxes on the 1% increased to help pay for things that help the 99% and our economy. But the Senate was prevented from even voting on this.

This was a filibuster. A minority that represents the 1% was able to block something demanded by the 99%. It wasn't "rejected by the Senate." It wasn't "The Senate." It wasn't "both sides." Specific senators voted to block the Senate from even voting on a millionaire surtax. Here are their names. ...

FBI Contacted Phone Monitoring Firm About Software

WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior executive at a technology company that makes monitoring software secretly installed on 141 million cellphones said Thursday that the FBI approached the company about using its technology but was rebuffed. The disclosure came one day after FBI Director Robert Mueller assured Congress that agents "neither sought nor obtained any information" from the company, Carrier IQ.

The company's statement will likely inflame suspicion about the monitoring tool and its usefulness to the U.S. government.

Amazon Location Tracking and Future Destination Prediction Patent

This patent was submitted by Amazon on December 6, 2011. It describes a method of tracking individuals through mobile phone GPS location data and then using the information to predict future shopping destinations to present more specifically targeted advertising.

After Durban: We must pull the emergency brake before the 1 per cent drive us off the cliff

... Walter Benjamin once wrote: "Perhaps revolutions are not the train ride, but the human race grabbing for the emergency brake." Pulling that emergency brake today will require a global movement like we have never seen before.

We are going to need a revolution. An energy revolution. A social revolution. And a revolution in international relations -- waging war on climate change, instead of war on countries with the misfortunate of sitting on top of oil and other coveted resources.

US charges ex-Fannie, Freddie CEOs with fraud

... According to the lawsuit, Fannie told investors in 2007 that it had roughly $4.8b worth of subprime loans on its books, or just 0.2 per cent of its portfolio.

The SEC says that Fannie actually had about $43b worth of products targeted to borrowers with weak credit, or 11 per cent of its holdings.

So far, the companies have cost taxpayers almost $150b, the largest bailout of the financial crisis. They could cost up to $259b, according to its government regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Administration.

End Rant

Every Republican senator except Susan Collins of Maine voted to block voting on raising taxes on those earning more than $1M/yr to pay to reduce payroll taxes. Every Democratic senator voted to allow the vote except Jon Tester of Montana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia (both running for re-election in states that did not vote for Obama). The two independents split. Joe Lieberman voted to allow a vote, Bernie Sanders of Vermont voted not to do so (on grounds that a payroll tax cut delegitimizes the funding source of Social Security). The move to end cloture failed by 9 votes. Tester voted to end cloture on an alternative version of the bill which failed by 10 votes although everyone else voted the same (two other Democrats (Herb Kohl and John Kerry) missed the vote).

Uninformed 'vital for democracy'

Uninformed individuals are vital for achieving a democratic consensus, according to a study in the journal Science.

The researchers say that they dilute the influence of minority factions who would otherwise dominate everyone else.

... But the effect has its limits. The team found that if the number of uninformed becomes too high, a group ceases to function coherently, with neither the majority nor the minority taking the lead.

"Eventually, noise dominates because there just aren't enough informed individuals to guide the group," said Dr Couzin. ... the arc from minority domination to pluralism to the potential degeneration into "noise," could be seen in the US electoral system.

The findings challenge the commonly held idea that an outspoken minority can manipulate uncommitted voters.

What a crock of unscientific bovine boulderdrop!

Opinionated but opposed sides of a debate convince the undecided middle exactly by means of manipulative words and not by numerical superiority.

That is logically so because the uninformed and undecided middle do not know who (which opinionated side) is in the numerical majority.

I suspect that the "scientists" behind this study are in the minority and therefore we should reach a consensus that we need to ignore them.

Atlantic storm slams France, Europe; beaches cargo ship

Only a week after a fierce storm struck northern Britain, another powerful low pressure system is trekking across western and central Europe today, bringing hurricane-force winds, heavy rain, and high-elevation snow to parts of France, Germany, and several other countries.

High winds knock out power to thousands in Metro Detroit

1,500 accidents and incidents on UK wind farms

1,500 accidents and incidents on UK wind farms over the past five years.

No sensationalizing allowed :)

We didn't want no stink'n Kyoto anyway....

Oilsands' carbon emissions rising

The intensity of oilsands carbon emissions — the amount of greenhouse gases created per every barrel of oil produced — increased by two per cent between 2009 and 2010, according to an industry report.

The 2010 Responsible Canadian Energy progress report by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) also found that overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the oilsands rose 14 per cent in the same time period as the number of oilsands operations expanded.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2011/12/16/pol-capp-oil-industry...

Now resuming my fetal position.


I have been near some open pit coal mining operations in Illinois, and expect that the oil sands have a similar problem, namely that as the coal/oil is disturbed it exposes more to the air. This in turn results in greater emissions of co2. You can notice the smell...

I happen to have hunted in the area of the coal mining years earlier. There was no odor that I can remember (except a few farms nearby contributed their indiviudal rich aroma). Game was reasonably abundant - not many deer, but quite a few quail and rabbits. Pheasants I don't count (though I eat them after shooting them) because they are an introduced and unnatural component.

Today you can hunt that particular region b/c the coal played out and they filled in the cut. Still a bit of an odor; haven't been hunting there recently though. I'll have to remedy that omission soon.

Hear that somewhere near there they had located the last stand of American Elm trees. Hope the Elms were not in the way of the mining ops.


Coal itself doesn't smell, but Illinois coal is generally very high in sulfur. What you are smelling is the sulfur in the coal seams, or more accurately, the waste products produced by the sulfur-eating bacteria that get at the sulfur when the seams are exposed. Probably the worst of these is hydrogen sulfide, which smells like pure unadulterated essence of rotten eggs.

Here in Alberta, the coal mines don't usually smell because there's almost no sulfur in the coal. Similarly the oil sands mines don't particularly smell, except of oil.

Coal does have an odor... as does oil. They are called aromatic hydrocarbons, I suppose for that reason. One of my earliest recollections of minor misdeeds was when a friend and I stopped at the coal yards half mile or so from my home. There were maybe 8 or 10 or so large excavations, lined with concrete, and each with its inviting pile of coal. The sulpher smell I do remember, but more from when the trains went by. The ones with the darkest smoke had the richest sulpher smell. Reminded me of gun powder in a way.

Maybe I am just sensitive, but like I said I can still smell the coal where it was open pit mined. Maybe they left a lot of it near or on the surface? It wasn't like that before, I can tell you that.

And, the size of the equipment was mind bogglingly huge. After the mining stopped, and the fill was done, there was still a noticeable valley there. I have always wondered, but never been there to see, whether it collects water or floods during heavy rainfall.

The mess they make in the mountains is worse, from what I have heard. Again, I cannot speak from personal knowledge there, but what we read is frightening. Cut off mountain tops and fill in valleys. There is no way the ecological balance is being restored, even if the plant grass or trees on top of it afterwards. I wonder if the resulting land is easier to farm, and whether it is productive. Does anyone know of any studies of those problems?


Coal doesn't necessarily contain sulfur, nor does it necessarily contain aromatic hydrocarbons. The footings of my house are sitting on what is purported to be the largest deposit of anthracite coal west of Pennsylvania, and the stuff doesn't smell at all. It's totally odorless. Of course, it's almost pure carbon. I had heaps of coal sitting around after the backhoe excavated the basement (they put it back in when they backfilled it), and I didn't notice any smell at all.

And as for steam trains - I remember steam trains too, and there was no smell, just a little fly ash from the smokestacks. Of course you have to realize that our trains were burning OUR coal, and your trains were burning YOUR coal.

Mountaintop removal seems to be a peculiarly American thing. We don't do it here.

Here, the coal mines just kind of disappear after they are shut down and reclaimed. I can point to any number of old coal mines that have more or less vanished. They tend to turn the old mine sites into parks because the soil quality isn't really up to farming standards, but you can grow grass and trees and put in park benches and pathways and everything. It's particularly good for walking dogs, which is what we have been doing lately since we are looking after somebody's dog. The local dog-walking park is an old coal mine site.

Have to go. We just had a flock of cedar waxwings come by and one ran into the front window. It's sitting on the front lawn looking like it needs a little help.

You are probably right about the anthrocite coal. We (at that time) tended to see bitumenous coal (we called it soft coal). Some of it was absolutely brown colored as I recall. That was the stuff we smelled as the freight traffic transited Aurora. There was a large repair facility there, and so we saw everything from the oldest coal burners, oil burners and of course the modern diesel electrics. The sounds, as well as the smells, of the steam railroad were haunting on foggy nights, what with the doppler effect as the departed or arrived.

Memories of youth, eh Rocky?


However, note the following which was also in the report:

The industry takes pride in the fact that GHGs per barrel have dropped over time. It has been quick to trumpet the fact that between 1990 and 2009, the intensity in a barrel of oilsands bitumen declined by 29 per cent.

The 2010 two per cent increase marks a small chink in that record.

As far as I know, the GHG emissions from Alberta's oil sands plants are still lower than those from Ontario's coal-burning power plants. If that has changed, somebody let me know.

The interesting thing about that is that Ontario doesn't have any coal of its own. It has to import the (high sulfur) coal for its (highly polluting) power plants and steel mills from the United States.

Alberta has much lower sulfur coal than the stuff Ontario imports from the US, but Ontario doesn't want to pay the price to transport low sulfur Alberta coal to Ontario.

Alberta has much lower sulfur coal than the stuff Ontario imports from the US, but Ontario doesn't want to pay the price to transport low sulfur Alberta coal to Ontario.

The Usibelli mine near Healy (Alaska's only currently active coal mine) exports low sulfur coal. It is taken by rail to the port of Seward, then loaded on ships and transported to Korea and Chile. Apparently the Koreans and Chileans feel the low sulfur value of the coal makes it worthwhile to pay the shipping costs.

There's an awful lot of new coal mining activity going on the Canadian Rockies south of me, too. Most of it is going to Japan, Korea, and China. One of the attractions is the low sulfur content, however the biggest attraction is that it is high quality metallurgical-grade coal.

Canada is the world's fourth largest exporter of coal, after Australia, the US and South Africa. It exports 50% of its coal production. Western Canada has 97% of the country's coal reserves, and Western Canadian coal is generally high-quality and low in sulfur. Most of Canada's coal exports are from British Columbia. Alberta has more coal than BC, but most of Alberta's coal production is used locally in power plants because it is farther from ports.

Unfortunately, Canada is also a major importer of coal because most of the country's heavy industry is located in a small area of southern Ontario and southern Quebec, and those areas have no coal of their own. Equally unfortunately, the adjacent US states produce large amounts of high-sulfur coal.

As far as I know, the GHG emissions from Alberta's oil sands plants are still lower than those from Ontario's coal-burning power plants. If that has changed, somebody let me know.


A couple news items of interest....

Two More Coal-Fired Generation Units Closed

Ontario is shutting down two more coal-burning units at the Nanticoke Generating Station, the provincial government announced last week.

The move is part of the province’s initiative to replace all coal-fired generation with sustainable alternatives such as wind, solar, and bioenergy by 2014.


The OGP has a mandate to ensure that the 2011 emissions are two-thirds less than 2003 levels.

See: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/canada/two-more-coal-fired-generation-un...


Oil sands expected to undo carbon cuts

The development of Canada’s oil sands will single-handedly undo greenhouse gas gains made by weaning the country’s electrical supply off coal, a government study predicts.

The Environment Canada forecast of Canada’s carbon output over the next decade casts in stark terms the challenge facing the country as it pursues major energy development at a time of continued global efforts to bat down emissions.

The report, called Canada’s Emissions Trends, was released quietly in July. It tracks changes in greenhouse gas output for a number of sectors between 2005 and 2020.

Over that period, it projects that electricity generators will see their emissions fall by 31 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, largely as a result of coal-fired plants giving way to natural gas-fired power.

But that figure is far eclipsed by the oil sands, which will see carbon output rise by 62 megatonnes, tripling its 2005 levels.

See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/oil-sands-expected-to-...

Your thoughts?


Yes, but,

Ontario taxpayers shell out almost $1B to keep Nanticoke ready

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is shutting down two coal-burning electrical generating units at its Nanticoke plant two years ahead of schedule, at a cost of $32 million.

But that’s a speck of coal dust compared to the $929 million it’s cost Ontario so far to guarantee coal generating capacity is available in an emergency, even though the power is rarely — if ever — needed.

... besides ensuring the units are available, the contingency support dollars compensate OPG for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, which the government has capped.

“It’s not in lieu of burning coal – there are staff and maintenance costs associated with keeping a unit in operation,” Gruetzner said in an e-mail.

“Normally you’d recover those costs by running the units. But the caps on emissions meant we couldn’t run them often enough to recoup all the costs – but there was still a desire to keep the units ready in case they were needed in the lead up to 2014. So your fixed costs remain the same and the contingency makes up the difference.”

Ontario watchdog warns on green energy costs

The high cost of Ontario's green energy plan may drive up electricity bills significantly in the province in the future, the government's auditor general said in his annual report on Monday.

He also said wind and solar projects launched under the province's green energy plan had been fast-tracked without the usual oversight.

"There has been a lack analysis that you'd normally find when you're investing billions of dollars," Ontario Auditor General Jim McCarter said.

He added it is critical that the government do more analysis so that it can strike a balance between promoting renewable energy through the provision of financial incentives and managing the impact of those incentives on the energy bills of homeowners and businesses.

The bottom line is that Ontario has made a lot of promises and spent a lot of money, but there's no real evidence that it will do anything to address the province's electricity supply problems.

Sorry, I'm not sure I follow you. Are you saying that Ontario has spent a lot of money and made a lot of promises but made no material cuts to their CO2 emissions? Secondly, do you still maintain that OPG's emissions exceed those of the Alberta's oil sands?


Nanticoke GS decreased its GHG emissions from 17.9 Mt to 6.0 Mt CO2 eq between 2007 and 2009 according to Environment Canada. So, I assume OPG is burning less coal than they were a few years ago...

Hi Claude,

Correct. OPG's CO2 emissions for 2010 totalled 12.7 megatonnes (and falling) whereas the Alberta oil sands clocked in at 46.2 megatonnes (and growing).


Yes, that was the question I posed: Are Ontario's power plant GHG emissions still higher than Alberta's oil sands plants? It wasn't a rhetorical question.

The answer apparently is no, they have reduced them to much less. This is significant because for a while, Ontario was burning coal like there was no tomorrow because of the unreliability of its nuclear plants. Burning coal is probably the worst possible energy solution from an environmental perspective, particularly if you burn high sulfur coal and don't put pollution controls on the power plants, which was the case in Ontario.

The rest of my prior post was directed at a related problem: Ontario has committed about $8 billion to "green" energy solutions without doing any kind of analysis on whether it is going to work or not - which is what the Auditor General flagged. So far, it's not working. It's starting to look like money down the drain with no discernible results except much higher electricity costs.

Ontario has also been put on credit watch by some of the credit rating agencies because of its indiscriminate spending habits. It's starting to look as bad as some US states.

So, as a quick recap, the 2010 CO2 emissions of Alberta's oil sands are three and a half times higher than those of OPG and we can presumably expect that gap to grow increasingly wider for the foreseeable future.

And I might add that Ontario's electricity supply seems downright squeaky clean compared to that of Alberta. I believe TransAlta supplies roughly half of the electricity consumed in your province and according to their 2010 Sustainability Report their SO2 and NOx emissions are 4.0 kg and 1.6 kg per MWh respectively. That's almost TEN times higher than OPG at 0.43 kg and 0.18 kg per MWh respectively.


Slightly OT:

What's the best peak oil / peak stuff movie you know?

I'm asking because I'd like to spend the last hour before christmas with my students watching a movie instead of normal teaching; so I'm looking for a - if possible - 1 hour long introduction to peak oil on a suitable level (first semester university). any suggestions?

thanks in advance!

A Crude Awakening-The Oil Crash 90 minutes :-/

Chris Martenson's Crash Course especially chapter 17, parts A, B, and C. Not really a movie, but certain chapters could be combined to depress and scare the crap out of your students ;-)

What A Way To Go.. Heinberg, Catton, more.. I haven't seen this one but it's supposed to be good. Available free online (see link). Maybe I'll watch it tonight.

I've watched at least 8 of them, and all of them disappointed me somehow.

The best one still seems to be End Of Suburbia, even though it is both dated and too long. It also is too oil-oriented, and does not get into the peak-everything issue enough.

Most of the others are too long too. Most filmmakers seem to try and cram EVERYTHING into one movie. It's too much for the viewer IMO, especially the uninitiated. Some try and be funny, but I thought that did not work very well.

Recently saw "Growthbusters", perhaps the latest addition to the genre. It's good, but too long, rather hectic, and is rather weak on the "oil" issue as it's mostly about the futility of chasing "economic growth".

I don't know what can be done in this regard. One movie cannot explain it all, it would take a whole semester! I've thought of editing one (or more) of the standard films down to a managable length, but that's a lot of work.

One recommendation: Robert Newman's History of Oil. 45 minutes. Humorous. And touches (lightly) on several aspects of The Problem, including oil, oil geopolitics (starting with WW1), the US$ as global reserve currency (not forever), and more. It's online:
Works for me, but it's British humor so not sure how it would work for the average, e.g., American student.

I've just watched the first two parts of 'What A Way To Go..', darkly poetic and brutally honest so far. Definitely peak everything and an attention grabber. Worth considering, and if it's too long the chapters are available online, for extra credit assignments ;-) Donations accepted...

It starts ok, but then goes on too long IMO, and puts too much emphasis on one person's "walkabout". Not sure if there's a good stopping point if you want to shorten it?

It starts ok, but then goes on too long IMO...

Right... wouldn't want to challenge their 21st century attention spans :-/ Peak everything in a soundbite nutshell, that'll do it. Getting bored with TEOTWAWKI, our biggest concern...

I'm certainly not a fan of the attention spans of younger generations (and their false belief that they can multitask). But we're talking here about which film might be effective to introduce students to the issues you and I care about, and hitting them with the full weight of WAWTG may only clam them up.

I don't think you can wrap it all up in a soundbite, but the solution is NOT to wrap it all up. Give them an opening, limited to a few of the topics.

E.g., in the PO talk I've given to students a number of times, I used to mention natural gas issues. Eventually I took it out. Limited it to oil per se, the concept of EROI, the basic character of exponential growth, and a brief mention of money-as-debt. Even that's too much.

I understand, peaknik, just not sure I agree at this point. This isn't some hypothetical future shock scenario, at least not to me. It's ongoing and affects every decision these kids will make. Some freshman who plans to major in investment banking may want to rethink that, and it's possible it'll be a survival issue for many. I understand the 'break'em in slow' theory, though I think we're past that point.

I remember the first day of boot camp like it was yesterday: "If you don't do every thing I say, everything I teach you, listen to every word coming from my foul, f'ing mouth, MANY OF YOU WILL DIE!" ... Many did, and that was a sound bite I'll never forget. This ain't no party...we're talking about the entire planet here.

Sugar coat it if you will. IMO, every captive student should watch WAWTG at least through the section on climate change. 1500 word essay due Monday.

BTW, also available on youtube.

You might try an appetizer course using Rob Newman's History of Oil, as well. It's a few years out, but he points to the geopolitics of resource wars in a very colorful way..


personally, I come at the message with more of a nuanced approach, and would try 'Local Hero', albeit this is now 30 years old!


Fierz and others,

yesterday was my last day before Christmas break and I showed "The Garbage Warrior"...about Mike Reynolds. (Bookwork doesn't cut it before Christmas). He does mention GW and PO, but it is about his alternate housing designs. This is an excellent doc and is very well done. You could have heard a pin drop in my last two blocks and I had very few students away on Friday. The film can be seen on youtube and is full length at approx 88 minutes. So, I broke it up into two blocks with a little discussion each day.

As a carpenter who has just completed an addition on my house in an area that does not require the intense scrutiny and inspection regimes of other areas, I was able to portray the permit grabs and nonsense of the more organized/complex areas. A colleague, also a carpenter, coincidentally is finishing off an addition and we compare our work. Both built to code....plus. No fees and inspections on mine. Engineering sign-offs and 5 inspections with his. Locally cut lumber in mine of higher quality (fir), but ungraded....his crap beetle-kill wood but 'stamped'. I do my own wiring and plumbing, he contracts out. Last weekend finished off electrical and insulated to r 50 in attic. Students remarked on their parents complaints on property taxes....(curbs and gutters!), by-law inspections, etc. very good end to the year.

The theme I present: "I admire the man's energy and convictions" + "there are other ways to live than finishing school and jumping on the treadmill until retirement". The high school students loved the characters and the swearing. It is just a damn good doc. I have seen it a few times before and I could watch it many more times. The quality is far superior to anything out there about PO, and I have watched them all.


Two thumbs up! My dream house -- especially living in Tornado Alley :)

The dark side of Dubai

Dubai was meant to be a Middle-Eastern Shangri-La, a glittering monument to Arab enterprise and western capitalism. But as hard times arrive in the city state that rose from the desert sands, an uglier story is emerging. Johann Hari reports .

"When I see Western journalists criticise us – don't you realise you're shooting yourself in the foot? The Middle East will be far more dangerous if Dubai fails. Our export isn't oil, it's hope. Poor Egyptians or Libyans or Iranians grow up saying – I want to go to Dubai. We're very important to the region. We are showing how to be a modern Muslim country. We don't have any fundamentalists here. Europeans shouldn't gloat at our demise. You should be very worried.... Do you know what will happen if this model fails? Dubai will go down the Iranian path, the Islamist path."

Sultan sits back. My arguments have clearly disturbed him; he says in a softer, conciliatory tone, almost pleading: "Listen. My mother used to go to the well and get a bucket of water every morning. On her wedding day, she was given an orange as a gift because she had never eaten one. Two of my brothers died when they were babies because the healthcare system hadn't developed yet. Don't judge us." He says it again, his eyes filled with intensity: "Don't judge us."

Thanks, Priest. That is a thorough article. I have had it floating around my brain to read some on Dubai for a year or so but never got around to it. Dubai just disappeared from the news after spooking the markets for awhile. I had a feeling things weren't turning out too well over there.

Don't judge us." He says it again, his eyes filled with intensity: "Don't judge us."

Not to worry! The actions of your short sighted and greedy leaders have already condemned you beyond any need for judgment by others. Oh, my bad, I guess I can't really help myself from being a bit judgmental. Case in point:

Night Peak

"This isn't [an adult Disney Land] city. It's a con-job. They lure you in telling you it's one thing – a modern kind of place – but beneath the surface it's a medieval dictatorship. ... I assumed if all these big companies come here, it must be pretty like Canada's or any other liberal democracy" --source

It's not just the desert that is filled with mirages.
It's the edifices of our whole modern world.
Money, modernity, mankind reaching for the Technocratic Singularity ... all mirages.

edit: an older story about the Dubai mirage here

Your link summed it up nicely,

Robert Lee, managing director of investment projects for Nakheel, says the rise and fall of Dubai’s real estate fortunes is merely a function of what truly is a capitalist city-state.

“You know there’s always a market that says a part of it will go up and a part of it will go down,” Lee says. “It’s the old classic bull and bear contrasts, and it’s a good thing because that’s the purse sense of capitalist theory. … Real estate is about cycles. At the same time, I can tell you the old adage: real estate is one industry that might get sick, but it never dies.”

A type of near sightedness that turns Weekend at Bernie's into a morality tale. "Doesn't anyone realize he's dead?"

Greeks fearing collapse of eurozone bailout pulled record sums from bank
Bank of Greece reveals that investors fearful of political instability and economic collapse pulled €12.3bn from local banks as Papandreou referendum threatened debt deal

Greeks bearing sacks of dosh...

U.S. to leave Iraqi airspace clear for strategic Israeli route to Iran

Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, the top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, said the Iraqi military will maintain radars to monitor the country’s airspace, but it has not taken possession of American F-16s to guard that space.

“The country has a capable and improving capability to see the airspace, a viable system to provide command and control, but no system to defeat incoming air threats until it gets either the F-16s or ground-based systems or, optimally, some of both,” Gen. Buchanan told The Washington Times.

Iraq made the first payment in September for 18 F-16s that will not arrive until next fall at the earliest. This means Israel would have a theoretical window of about 12 months if it wants to fly over Iraq unimpeded by the Iraqi air force.

My bold.

The U.S. Air Force has just taken delivery of the first GBU-57A/B (Massive Ordnance Penetrator). It weighs 30,000 lb and will penetrate 200 ft of hardened concrete BEFORE it goes off. If you are reading this from an underground nuclear facility in Iran or North Korea, might we suggest some extended sick leave is (or soon will be) in order.


Oh sure, but what if you put your bunker under 500 feet of plain ordinary dirt and rocks, with a few random doglegs in the access tunnel so that nobody, including you, knows exactly where it is?

It would take a while to build, but you have lots of guys with picks and shovels and nothing better to do. And realistically, you wouldn't build a bunker, you would put your command center underneath an elementary school or hospital in the middle of a major city. Or right next to the Russian, Chinese, or French embassy.

The name of the game is asymmetrical warfare. If your opponent has high-tech weapons, you go low, low tech.

I was worried that something like that might happen. Without the US Iraqi airspace is essentially uncontrolled. And if it is known when the window is going to close, that puts a lot of pressure to stage an attack before the window closes.

This is a bit of a red herring - the Israelis could have taken advantage of Iraqi airspace to attack Iran, as they had repeatedly threatened to do from the mid-1990's onwards, until the US invasion of 2003; they didn't, largely because they didn't have the capacity, let alone anything remotely resembling a coherent plan.

Whilst the UN mandate and, subsequently, the 2008 SOFA effectively ruled out Iraqi airspace as a conduit for Israeli planes, the rather awkward problem the Israelis have is that the Iranians need at best a 30-minute warning to make any assault untenable for a small country like Israel; there's nothing like major failure, captured pilots and the blowing of mystique for the entire echelon of Israel's pol-mil-security establishment to be confronted with career suicide - the 2006 war should give one a small flavour of that.

The Iranians have no shortage of air defence assets and the Israelis still have the problem that their airforce cannot reach targets in Iran without extensive aerial refuelling - up to 4-6 times for some aircraft. It's not as if the Iraqis don't already have hot-lines to Teheran to let them know that a bunch of planes just turned up and are headed in your direction - remember, the frequent flyer destination of choice for Iraqi pols is Teheran, not Washington, not Tel Aviv.

Without the US Iraqi airspace is essentially uncontrolled.

The agreement to leave Iraq before the end of 2011 was a decision made during the Bush era. The US and Iraq had enough time, should they have had the foresight, to come up with some kind of air defense deal before the prearranged pull out.

This sloppy piece of foreign policy oversight, I suspect, is no accident. A year-long compromised air defense command over Iraq would be welcomed news by many in the US state department. Gives Israel what it wants: a free hand to tackle Iran. Meanwhile, it's a nice little "up yours" gesture to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government for insisting the US live up to its end of the bargain and withdraw.

One man's trash...

Creating a friendlier environment

Earlier this week, the Fredericton Region Solid Waste Commission announced it had reached a 20-year deal with NB Power to use its methane gas collection system to generate electricity to the utility's power grid.

Powered by the landfill's methane gas, two large generators will run simultaneously with the energy produced being turned into electricity.

The deal is expected to net the commission more than $20 million in profit.


According to the organization's 2010 annual report, its landfill gas management system, the first of its kind in New Brunswick, removed approximately 45,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent from the atmosphere last year.

That's a significant figure and one that should increase when the new generation system comes online.

Once the generators are in place in about a year's time, the landfill's methane will have the ability to produce 2.1 megawatts of electricity - the equivalent of lighting and heating more than 2,000 homes or, as Mr. Wilson said during the announcement, "a portion of Oromocto."

See: http://dailygleaner.canadaeast.com/opinion/article/1463972


A tip of the hat to Mr. King...

Stephen King’s radio station raises extra $100,000 in home heating funds, shattering goal

BANGOR, Maine — An anonymous Californian has donated $50,000 to help heat the homes of Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program participants, with the condition that author Stephen King do the same.

King agreed, pushing his radio station’s fundraising goal for the program more than $100,000 over its goal, according to The Pulse “Morning Show” host Pat LaMarche.

Zone Radio, owned by Stephen and Tabitha King, has raised $241,820 for the Help Keep ME Warm This Winter campaign, shattering the original goal of $140,000.

See: http://bangordailynews.com/2011/12/15/energy/stephen-kings-radio-station...


'Living in hopelessness': Tri-county agencies trying to comfort cold neighbours

LEWISTON — Mike Burke hears the stories of old folks dragging their mattresses into the kitchen to conserve heat in a single room and of whole families sleeping together under stacks of blankets in cold houses.

"There's hundreds and hundreds of stories out there," said Burke, chief executive officer of Community Concepts.

The need is bigger than his agency's wallet.


"We're getting 200 to 300 calls a day from people looking for fuel assistance," Burke said. Of those, about 200 each week are categorized as emergencies, with little or no oil left. People are being asked to move in with friends and spend days in a warming shelter.

See: http://www.sunjournal.com/news/city/2011/12/15/living-hopelessness-tri-c...


But subsidizing heating oil for poor people does not address the fact that they are still not ready for Peak Oil. Peak Oil may already be behind us (we won't know for sure for a decade or more) and the situation is not going to get better in the long term.

In other words, they should have been subsidized to get off oil heating long ago. If they were using natural gas they would be taking advantage of the currently depressed prices and paying a fraction of the amount they are now paying to heat their houses.

I see your comments on switching to natural gas all the time, it is just not available in most of Maine, it's a non-starter, just easy to say.

Don in Maine

Not only that...who's to say natural gas is going to stay cheap? Will it stay cheap long enough to repay the conversion costs (if it's even possible to switch, and in many places, it is not). Or the conversion costs back, if natural gas spikes again? In the end, oil is more fungible than natural gas. Do you really want to depend on natural gas in a shortage situation? Especially if you're at the end of the pipeline?

The problem is that this (fund raisng drive) is simply a temporary band - aid - it does nothing to solve the problem of heating oil being a very expensive fuel that the people can;t afford, and won't be able to next year, or the year after...

If they were asking for gasoline to put in their Hummer, how much charity would they get - everyone would say switch to a more efficient vehicle.

So too it is here - they should be using this money for installing electric ductless mini-split heat pumps - the type that Paul in Halifax talks about.

These units, at 15 amps, are almost certainly within the electric capacity of most of these houses, (and their local distribution lines) and can then take probably 80% of the heating load off oil.

And they will do that next year, and the year after, and so on.

We Americans tend to think of high oil prices as well as poverty as being temporary situations. Hence the band-aid approach.

Though the Obama administration did have an idea about helping people insulate their homes. As a jobs program as much as anything. This kind of thing can't be targeted at the poor, because so many of the poor don't own their own homes. Their landlords have to get on board with it.

Here in Vermont they've been raiding the low-income home-insulation assistance fund to help pay for heating fuel assistance. Talk about self-defeating.

I agree that we need to push insulation instead, and more: some houses should be abandoned. Sad to say it, sounds harsh, but that'll sink in sooner or later. At least abandoned seasonally. And some houses should be either partially closed off for the winter (heating only a portion of the house), or have more people move in and share the heating bill.

Since the heating assistance usually only covers a minority of the cost, people still have an incentive to modify their housing situation, although they usually have insufficient access to financing for insulation.

A couple of years ago a proposal was floating around here to "cap" the electric bill of low-income people. I wrote "my" legislators against that: partial assistance maybe, a lower per-KWH price maybe, but one should not de-link consumption from cost.

Even with no help with the electric bill, the costs of propane and heating oil are again close to the cost of electricity for the same amount of heat (and that's with resistance heat!), and a switch to electric heat by too many people will leave everybody freezing in the dark when the regional grid goes down. Just ask the folks in Pakistan, for one example.

Hi Paul,

I agree; we need to shift our focus from temporary "fixes" to more sustainable, long-term solutions and I think ductless heat pumps are one option (proper insulation and air sealing being the first order of business and only then any of these other alternatives). Maine has some of the highest residential electricity rates in the United States (the state average comes in at 15.71-cents). Even so, in southern and coastal Maine, a high efficiency ductless heat pump such as the Fujitsu 12RLS with a seasonal COP of 3.5 can provide space heat at an average cost of just 4.5-cents per kWh(e) -- the equivalent of oil heat at just under $1.50 per gallon @ 82% AFUE. In northern Maine (e.g., Fort Kent), I'm guessing the seasonal COP for this particular unit would be closer to 2.25 or 2.5 which, if true, would put the equivalent cost in this part of the state in the range of $2.10 to $2.30 a gallon. Heating oil in Maine currently sells for $3.63 per gallon, so the potential cost savings are anywhere from 40 to 60 per cent -- more in the case of older, less efficient heating systems.

So far this season, our two ductless units have consumed a combined total of 751.7 kWh -- with a total expenditure to date of $93.43, our operating costs are comparable to an oil-heated home consuming an average of 1.05 litres/0.28 gallons of fuel oil per day.

In terms of power draw, with the outdoor temperature holding steady at -1°C and an indoor set temperature of 20°C, the upper unit is pulling 374-watts and the lower unit 417, or a little less than 800-watts altogether... a couple hundred watts shy of a 2-slice pop-up toaster to heat a 43-year old, 2,500 sq. ft. Cape Cod. Would I heat any other way? Pffft, not a chance.


As Permafrost Thaws, Scientists Study the Risks

For now, scientists have many more questions than answers. Preliminary computer analyses, made only recently, suggest that the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions could eventually become an annual source of carbon equal to 15 percent or so of today’s yearly emissions from human activities.

But those calculations were deliberately cautious. A recent survey drew on the expertise of 41 permafrost scientists to offer more informal projections. They estimated that if human fossil-fuel burning remained high and the planet warmed sharply, the gases from permafrost could eventually equal 35 percent of today’s annual human emissions.

The experts also said that if humanity began getting its own emissions under control soon, the greenhouse gases emerging from permafrost could be kept to a much lower level, perhaps equivalent to 10 percent of today’s human emissions.

Peak oil in the National Energy Strategy of Hungary - 2030

I think wasn't in the Drumbeat yet - correct me if I'm wrong.
The National Energy Strategy has been approved by the Hungarian Parliament in September. In the Chapter 3.1 ("Global Perspectives") the strategy discusses peak oil on half a page - in a quite enlightened manner. For Fred Magyar and other readers who can speak Hungarian I quote the original text:

"A Földön kitermelhető fosszilis energiaforrások közül a kőolaj az első, melynél valószínűleg hamarosan elérjük vagy már el is értük az évente felszínre hozható legnagyobb mennyiséget. Ez a gyakorlatban azt jelenti, hogy kitermeltük az összes ismert rendelkezésre álló olajmennyiség felét. Az árnövekedés és a beszerzési nehézségek forrása az, hogy a nehezebben és drágábban kitermelhető fél fog a rendelkezésünkre állni a jövőben. A helyzetet az is bonyolítja, hogy a perspektivikus lelőhelyek 70–80%-a diktatórikus államberendezkedésű országokban, politikailag instabil környezetben található. Az olajkitermelés hozamcsúcsát követheti majd, a nem konvencionális források kitermelésével 100–120 éven belül a földgáz, 150 év elteltével pedig a szénkitermelés hozamcsúcsa. A hozamcsúcsok elérésének ideje nem elsősorban a készletek nagyságának, hanem a lehetséges kitermelési ütemüknek a függvénye, azaz az igények növekedésének a következménye, ami által a kereslet-kínálat egyensúlyi helyzetből való kibillenését okozza. A bekövetkezésük ideje ezért nagyban függ a világ kormányai által meghatározott energiapolitikai irányoktól, és csak kisebb mértékben a rendelkezésre álló készletek nagyságától, mivel azok kitermelésének gazdaságossága kérdéses."

The main message: in case of oil the peak of production has already been or will be soon reached and the prices of oil will be increased.

I'm not aware any other country has such an energy strategy that explicitely discusses peak oil. (That is an other issue, that the government uses the issue of peak oil as an argument for increasing the use of biomass and promoting new nuclear reaktors in Paks...)

The strategy says peak natural gas will be in 100-150 year, peak coal will be in 150 years - too optimistic IMHO -, but doesn't mention (intentionally?) peak uranium.

EDIT: Later on they say there is plenty of uranium -- at least for 100-120 years (in case the use will stay in the recent level) and after promoting 4th generation breeder reactors they say peak uranium-238 will be in 10.000-60.000 years. Hm...

Thanks fidusz,

While the certainly the promotion of biomass and new nuclear reactors is a bit too optimistic for my personal taste, credit is due, for the mere fact that Hungary has at least seemed to have gotten past the denial stage with regards the acknowledgement of Peak Oil!


Remember back in the 1970s when Nixon decided the right thing to do was to force the price of gasoline to be low via regulation and supply dried up as producers didn't want to eat the cost? Too bad China didn't remember that when the price of oil is high you cannot expect refineries to sell diesel for less than what it costs to make.

Diesel runs dry in southern China gas stations - report
Reuters / December 15, 2011

Widespread diesel shortages are hitting southern China, with many filling stations posting "no diesel" signs ahead of high seasonal demand, the China Review News reported on its website. ... Sporadic diesel shortages spread after the government reduced gasoline and diesel prices on Oct. 9. ... The government's tight grip on domestic fuel prices distorts demand and often leads energy companies to reduce supplies to limit their losses.

There was a time when China's domestic coal supply could satisfy its growing demands. Back then the price of coal was completely under China's control as they can regulate the price of domestic coal but they cannot regulate the price the world markets charge. This is changing China's economy. On the cutting edge of the price problem is the fact that China can and does regulate the price of electricity produced by burning coal. With high coal prices and low electricity price producers of electricity are losing money too and limit electricity production to cut loses.

International demand drives rise in coal prices
BRUCE SIWY / Daily American / December 16, 2011

... According to Ellis, nations in the Pacific Rim were normally fed by South Africa. But suppliers in that region simply can't keep up anymore. ... "It's very robust right now. We're ratcheting up to fill the demand," he said.

China's increasing demand for coal cannot be fed forever. I am watching them hit the wall as they outgrow world coal production rates.

I hope posting two articles about this isn't viewed as some offensive excess but they are both good and this one mentions the Amish having to compete with China for coal. Almost no one notices that.

Home users may be out of luck: The coal is being shipped out to meet rising demand.
DAN KELLY / Reading Eagle / December 1, 2011

"In the late 1990s almost all of the coke used in U.S. steel production came from China," Blaschak said. "Then China started its engine and stopped exporting coke. That created a new demand for local coal products." ... The dearest commodity is rice coal, a finer, gravel-like anthracite coal product used in the newer, more-efficient home stoves and furnaces that are used as supplemental heat sources in many homes. The shortage has been harder on the Amish because many use coal as their main source of heat and energy, Brown said. ...

Regarding the Keystone XL pipeline:
This project should be militarized and made a Defense Department asset to insure priority delivery of vessel and aircraft fuel to the Navy's fleet and Army and Air Force fuel storage facilities, with commercial use allowed only under DOD review and approval.
The precedent of developing a transcontinental transportation system for national defense is the Interstate Highway System launched by the Eisenhower administration, which was designed for the quick transport of armored vehicles and other equipment in times of national emergency. There's also the tradition of Naval Oil Reserves of the 1920s -- Teapot Dome (before the bribery scandal).
By making the proposed pipeline a national military asset, there would be time for a thorough review of technical aspects of the physical pipeline to insure it meets military specifications to insure reliability and environmental safety standards.
Politically, a military pipeline would avoid the sticky legal precedents of federal takings of private property to benefit private interests in a purely commercial project. It would also insure public review of all aspects of the project by the citizenry along the right of way to insure safe construction and operational standards. It would also insure the jobs created by the pipeline would go to American citizens in need of work, and counter the purely political tactics being practiced by current advocates of a private pipeline.
The proposed military pipeline would be financed by user fees charged to commercial customers, which would also allow some U.S. control to prevent price gouging on Alberta oil. Commercial customers could also be required to contract with the U.S. government for helping to fill and maintain the Strategic Petroleum Reserve at cost in the national interest, and the reserve could be dramatically expanded as a national security asset.

Tried to reply to the comment about an article suggesting giving "poor landless families" access to "eroded degraded land" so as to grow "biomass" in multistory manner.

But that thread seems to have vanished?!

That proposal seems to rely on two myths that are prevalent and hard to kill:

* that some "biomass" and other crops (switchgrass, even hemp) can supposedly grow with little to no inputs of water and fertilizer. Somehow they are exempt from the natural laws that govern all other plant growth.

* that "vertical farming" can somehow bypass the need to get plenty of sunshine to the plants, as if plants grow on water and CO2 alone.

Anyway, besides the biological absurdities of that suggestion, it also reminded me of something I read about Japan in the later stages of WW2 when they were losing the war because they were starved of fuel. They urged the citizens at home to go out to the forests and hand-harvest resin-rich pine needles, or was it bark, and carry them to collection centers, etc - all that effort resulted in a tiny amount of synthetic fuel to run their last "kamikaze" flights.

I just ran across a reference from Forbes , which is doubtlessly accurate, detailing Hansen's use of the term "game over " if the Keystone pipeline is built.

It is unfortunate that such an otherwise capable and influential man should not be better acquainted with the ground rules of political communication.

The exact context doesn't matter.

Such pronouncements are exaggerations, in any impartial observer's judgement, because stopping the pipeline will not stop the tar sands from being developed;the Canadians are just as hooked on money as anybody else, and they will simply build a pipeline to the Pacific coast and sent it to Asia.

I have already had a couple of hard core conservative acquaintances inform me that in their opinion Hansen may know some science but that he is politically as naive as a preschooler.They are happy about the likelihood of the pipeline being built of course, and about the obvious fact that O Bama is irritating his big labor base to appease his green base.

The republicans have gotten a lot of political mileage out of this controversy and stand to get more.

Now I personally am a a believer in the tenets of true enlightened conservatism, and hope to see the pipeline built even though I do thoroughly understand -and believe in -climate change theory.

But there is a larger envelope-there is always a larger envelope until one has backed off all the way to Greenish's alien biologists perspective.

As any thinking person who has even a modest layman's acquaintance with geopolitics must understand, there is no "end of history" and there will never be such an end, until the last person who can scratch a mark on a stone is dead.

It is one thing to sit in a comfortable house, with a comfortably full belly, surrounded by the marvels brought to us by technology married to fossil fuels, and talk bullshit about getting off oil as iof this is something that could be accomplished if only we would put our minds to it.

It is another thing altogether to contemplate the economic chaos headed our way (even faster than climate change )due to an impending oil supply crisis, and the consequences of that chaos, which will without a doubt include abandonment of any sort of environmental standards beyond the bare minimum necessary to prevent epidemic diseases and may vey well range all the way up to a nuclear or biological WWIII.

Only a fool or a person totally unacquainted with the reality of bau and human nature could fail to understand that our ONLY HOPE of surviving bau is , paradoxically, the continuation of bau , for as long as possible, so that the environmental movement can win over more people-which is happening faster than most of us might think.Youngsters these days are far more environmentally aware than their elders.

The key to the paradox is that if bau survives long enough, so that living standards remain high enough that we can continue to support energy research, and support the build out of renewables, we have a slight chance of actually turning the fossil fuel corner before our society collapses into utter ruin.

Every year of bau is precious.

Speaking as a Yankee, I want to know that since that oil is going to be burned anyway, we have secure access to it.Our very survival could turn on the oil that can come down that pipeline preferentially to us rather than to our potential enemies and cutthroat competitors.

Conservatives who think understand this argument as gospel-regardless of what they believe in respect to global warming.

I've got to run, so please excuse any grammatical errors-duty calls.

Back for the flame war later this afternoon, with my own flamethrower fully loaded with thoughts worth pondering.

No flamethrowers here, please. Thanks.

He's just expecting disagreement. I for one disagree (with no flames). Every additional year of BAU is another year of nothing being done to re-arrange our lives for what's coming. And another year of drawdown of non-renewable resources. "Access" to Canadian tar sands will not change the price people in the US pay, as it's a global market. Those people who worry about "national security" should be the ones pushing for rationing and public investment in mass transit, etc. The US could live on its own oil, but not in the current lifestyle.

Leanan, of course I agree wholeheartedly.I'm sorry I forgot to append a winky face or a sarc tag.

Only a fool or a person totally unacquainted with the reality of bau and human nature could fail to understand that our ONLY HOPE of surviving bau is , paradoxically, the continuation of bau , for as long as possible, so that the environmental movement can win over more people-which is happening faster than most of us might think. Youngsters these days are far more environmentally aware than their elders.

Unfortunately at the same time, every year that we manage to extend BAU with whatever tricks we perform, we also appear to prove that "the predictions of doom were wrong, there's nothing to worry about."

I think we have a real race between the winning over to the environmental movement side and the BAU forever boosters. Is BAU going to end itself before we realize we need to transition to something else or not?

Yes-Every year, "the predictions of doom" are"Proven " wrong.

But the "enemy" camp cannot grow stronger, for the "enemy" already possesses not only the minds of nearly all the people but also control of the media and the power structure.

Remember Pogo? " We have met the enemy, and they is us."

If one person out of twenty (a very optimistic assumption!!!!) is on Our side, the ratio of "enemy to us" is nineteen to one.

Hopeless, politically.

But if we can convert just one person each, the new ratio is nine to one.If each of "us" can then convert one more "enemy", then the ratio is reduced to four to one.Wars have been won by armies outnumbered four to one.

A strategy similar to what is termed asymmetrical warfare is the only hope we have of upsetting the bau applecart;but WE MUST NOT UPSET THAT APPLE CART until such a time as we are in a better political position, and time enough has passed to allow SOME hope of renewables being able to shoulder the load well enough to prevent an outright collapse.

Five more years of bau may give us solar and wind power cheap enough , in comparison to oil and coal, that the bau world embraces wind and solar with the same fervor as it currently embraces automobiles.Capitalists may indeed be pigs, but I have known a bunch of pigs rather well(truly!) and I'm telling you that a pig is always quick to recognize an opportunity to hog any chow(profits) to be found.

Pigs and capitalists aren't picky eaters.

Let's face up to reality folks, at all levels.The science is one thing-I agree with the green movement IN PRINCIPLE.


The people who seem to believe we can in effect just switch off the oil spigot and convince the public-Joe and Suzy Sixpack, and their upwardly mobile children the redneck silk suited republican lawyer and the pretty American princess away at college learning how to REALLY consume conspicuously- to go along with what they see as hare brained commie enviro socialism -well people who believe that are simply too naive-in respect to political reality- to talk to in an adult fashion.

Greenish -who is the most brilliant individual I have ever had the privilege to know, and the only person I know of possessed of a true god's eye view of reality -once asked us what Gandhi and Hitler had in common.

The answer of course is that both of them had a truly deep and incredibly nuanced understanding of human nature and the political process.I am not that smart myself-smart enough to have figured out these things on my own, as both Hitler and Gandhi did- but being an introspective bookworm, I have mastered the basic principles involved, and I have no doubt that I am as right as a gentle spring rain.

A frontal assault on bau is a fool's game.

Things can change in both fast and unexpected ways-witness for example the recent dramatic decline in the birth rate in Brazil.Television and a bit of prosperity trumped the Pope.

The odds against us avoiding a very hard crash are long indeed, but they are not utterly hopeless.

The environmental movement , if it is to have any hope of success, has to learn the art of propaganda, and quickly.

It must stop sticking it's chin out (game over!) giving the bau bouncers a free chance to break it's jaw.

You are right on! Just as one example, I wish there was some way to make Al Gore shut up, every time he opens his trap he sets things back years. He's got to be one of the environmental movement's worst enemies! I cringe every time I see him in the news again. And he's a hypocrite to boot!