Drumbeat: December 21, 2011

365 days: Nature's 10 - Ten people who mattered this year

Yet the underlying population story is not that there are now 7 billion people, nor that humanity's numbers will rise to somewhere around 10 billion by 2050. It is the dramatic slowing of population growth. The raw data reveal that the number of annual births, which had been growing for centuries, peaked around 1990 at roughly 135 million, and has declined since then. “The world reached peak child before peak oil,” says Hans Rosling, an epidemiologist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. That is mostly because family size in the majority of poorer nations has been shrinking for decades, thanks to economic growth, improved family planning and decreased child mortality. Much of the developing world is closing in on the population-replacement fertility rate, about two children per woman.

USA sees 'flattest' growth in population since 1940s

The recession may be officially over, but its impact continues to reverberate as the nation experiences its most sluggish population growth since the 1940s.

The U.S. population grew 0.7% to 311.6 million in the year that ended July 1, even slower than at the height of the recession when the population grew 0.9%, according to new Census estimates.

Crude Futures Rise for Third Day as Inventories Decline Most in a Decade

Oil rose for a third day as U.S. inventories declined the most in a decade.

Crude gained 1.5 percent after the Energy Department reported supplies fell 10.6 million barrels to 323.6 million. It was the largest decline since Feb. 16, 2001, and almost five times the 2.13 million-barrel drop that was the median of 12 analyst estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Oil also advanced as imports slipped to a three-year low.

China’s Net Diesel Imports Fall as Domestic Shortage Eases

(Bloomberg) -- China’s net diesel imports fell 65 percent in November from a month earlier after state oil refineries maximized production to alleviate a supply shortfall.

Why Oil Prices Are Killing the Economy

Although they won’t admit to it, many economists and older energy analysts have been simply blown away by the persistence of oil prices, especially in the weak economic environment post the 2008 crisis and financial market crash. How did oil prices manage to recover to $80 (let alone to $40 or $60), and make their way back all the way to $100? (And this is just a chart of WTIC oil. Brent oil has been even stronger the past year). Why, for example, has a 12% reduction in US demand and weak economies elsewhere in the OECD not translated to much cheaper oil prices? Why did oil not simply flatten out in price, post 2008? After all, many claimed oil was nothing but another in a series of 'Made in America' financial bubbles. With “no shortage of global supply” (as many said), and with a market “awash in oil” (as others said), why didn't oil prices simply go to sleep at, say, $50 per barrel?

YOU ARE HERE: The Oil Journey Presentation

Thanks to your support, we have just completed "You Are Here: The Oil Journey." This is a customizable presentation *you* can use to tell your own journey and to invite new people to join the larger conversation. This animated slide show delivers PCI's core message honestly, but in a compassionate way that...well, just watch it and see for yourself.

Saudi oil weakens Iran's hand in China

Saudi crude exports to China have surged, strengthening the Asian country's hand in a price dispute with Iran.

Last month's exports of Saudi crude to China rose by 32 per cent over the same period last year to 4.81 million barrels per day (bpd), almost half of the kingdom's current production, Chinese customs data released yesterday showed.

Will anti-Iranian sanctions policy undermine the U.S. oil supply?

The upside of this approach to geopolitical persuasion as far as the U.S. is concerned is that it rarely affects Americans themselves. But I wonder if that will continue to be the case.

White House Faces Tough Choice On Iran Sanctions

Let Iran off the hook or undermine the global economy? Slap sanctions on an Iranian energy company or provide Europe with an alternative to Russian gas? Washington policymaking is especially difficult when the aims conflict, and few cases illustrate that principle more clearly than the challenge of finding a way to punish Iran without hurting someone else.

The Arab Spring, One Year On: Winners and Losers (Part I)

A year ago, the unrest that came to be known as the Arab Spring had yet to be sprung. The anniversary most point to in retrospect – the self-immolation of a jobless Tunisian, Mohamed Bouazizi, to protest his treatment at the hands of a dictator’s police, took place on December 17, 2010. Within a month, the unrest that began with Bouazizi’s suicide ultimately toppled that dictator.

A year later, the people of Tunisia stand almost alone as outright winners in the wave of protest that began in their jasmine-scented land and spread across the Middle East, into Asia and Europe, and, depending on how you stretch the point, even to Wall Street.

In the street and the palace, the Arab Spring strikes the former Soviet Union

Alberta diesel shortage continues

Alberta truckers are still lining up for fuel despite a diesel production shortage that ended a month ago.

A slowdown at Suncor's Petro-Canada refinery near Edmonton and an explosion at a Regina refinery in the fall created a prairie-wide shortage.

Pemex to Spend $24 Million to Repair Pipeline Damaged in Blast

MEXICO CITY – State-owned oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, said it planned to spend 329.8 million pesos (about $24 million) to repair a pipeline damaged in an explosion last year that killed 30 people in Puebla state.

Gas shortage a blessing in disguise for oil industry

Karachi—The shortage of gas causing a great nuisance to the transport and power consumers, it looks as a blessing in disguise for the oil industry due to growing oil consumption. Sources however said that heavy reliance on oil for power generation, and weekly shut down of CNG stations positively bound to trigger oil import bill which is currently projected at $14 billion in financial year 2011-12.

‘Equal distribution could ease gas loadshedding’

LAHORE: Equal distribution of gas among all users could reduce gas loadshedding to two days and no province will have to face the gas shortage issue. The cut in gas supply to Faisalabad was causing one billion rupees loss daily to the economy and $3 billion annual loss to exporting sector.

Fuel crisis looms as vandals cut off power to pipeline

An interruption of power supply attributed to vandalism has halted pumping of fuel by the Kenya Pipeline Company city depot, forcing oil marketers to transport the products from Mombasa to Nairobi by road.

The slower mode of transport could see inland markets, especially those in western Kenya, experience shortages during the Christmas break when demand for petrol and diesel increases by 25 per cent.

Govt to roll back dual pricing on fuel in 2 days

KATHMANDU: The government is revoking dual pricing for diesel and kerosene and also raise petroleum prices within a couple of days, Minister for Commerce and Supplies (MoCS) Lekhraj Bhatta said on Wednesday.

Food, Fuel, and the Fed

I’m not a believer in the end of crude oil. I’m not a believer that we’re anywhere close…

To peak oil.

To peak oil. But nonetheless, there are problems in the crude oil market, and if you’re going to be bullish, it’s interesting to see what’s happening in the relationship between Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate, which has really gotten to be extended.

Innovative Ideas to Watch in 2012

Vibrant innovation worldwide in natural gas and petrochemical technologies has come to rival — both in perception and reality — innovation associated by Greentech. Certainly, the global oil industry seems more excited by its most recent advances than the "green VCs" see in theirs. Instead of being technologically moribund and creatively dull, an established industry has challenged the eco-myth of "Peak Oil." Conversely, the green promises of eco-tech are taking longer and costing more than many of its champions promised.

Oil guru: smart grid hoopla outpaced reality

What impact does Yergin see a smarter grid having on investment and consumption patterns? Rosenberg asked.

"The whole notion of integrating the homeowner with the utility has proved to be more difficult than anticipated," Yergin responded. "Nevertheless, a lot of information technology capacity increasingly will be integrated into running the whole electric power system, from smart meters back to generation. But the hoopla got ahead of the rollout."

Oil guru: 'smart' hoopla outpaced reality, Part II

Yergin and Rosenberg touched on the issues surrounding the power industry's fuel mix of coal, nuclear, natural gas and renewable energy. Yergin placed into context the power industry's current fascination with natural gas—touted by some as solving the power industry's concerns with both cost and lower air quality impacts—when he characterized the relationship over time as "turbulent and tempestuous." Natural gas' history of price spikes has repeatedly "burned" the power industry, he said. Natural gas advocates' enthusiasm aside, that history makes some utility executives uneasy.

First Movers in Eco-Drilling: Greener Results to be Clicks Away

At the clickety-click of a mouse, stakeholders in the Eagle Ford and other shale areas will be able to discern the impact that different aspects of natural gas shale development have on the environment and collaborate on the best ways to prevent damage.

Solutions To Jordan’s Energy Crisis Must Be Sustainable

Jordan may be dealing with an energy crisis exacerbated by attacks on the Sinai Peninsula gas pipeline – but now is not the time for rash decisions.

Seattle-based icebreaker on mission to help Nome, Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska -- The Coast Guard is enlisting its only functioning ice breaker to help with the delivery of fuel to Nome.

The city on Alaska's western coastline is iced-in and facing a winter fuel shortage because a massive storm prevented a fuel delivery by barge this fall.

Arunachal stares at food & fuel crisis

ITANAGAR: Food and fuel crisis looms large over three Arunachal districts following a road blockade launched by anti-dam activists in Assam's Lakhimpur district in protest against the Lower Subansiri hydroelectric project.

EPA rules target mercury pollution, toxics from power plants

The Environmental Protection Agency released far-reaching air pollution regulations Wednesday, 21 years after they were first mandated by Congress and six days after they were signed by the agency.

NY company to audit handling of billions of dollars in Gulf oil spill claims; due by March

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The U.S. Justice Department has tapped New York-based BDO Consulting to audit the handling of billions of dollars in damage claims that arose from the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Chevron calls for investigation of Ecuador plaintiffs, judge in ruling against company

QUITO, Ecuador — Chevron Corp. is urging Ecuador’s authorities to investigate the conduct of plaintiffs’ lawyers and a judge who handed down an $18 billion decision in an oil pollution case.

Japan Says Decommissioning Damaged Reactors Could Take 40 Years

TOKYO — Decommissioning the wrecked reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will take 40 years and require the use of robots to remove melted fuel that appears to be stuck to the bottom of the reactors’ containment vessels, the Japanese government said on Wednesday.

Corn Crop Heads for Sixth Record Year to Feed 1 Billion Cows

Farmers will reap a record corn crop for a sixth consecutive season in 2012, slowing a slump in stockpiles of livestock feed as global meat demand approaches a quarter of a billion metric tons.

How much dam energy can we get?

Having now sorted solar, wind, and tidal power into three “boxes,” let’s keep going and investigate another source of non-fossil energy and put it in a box. Today we’ll look at hydroelectricity. As one of the earliest renewable energy resources to be exploited, hydroelectricity is the low-hanging fruit of the renewable world. It’s steady, self-storing, highly efficient, cost-effective, low-carbon, low-tech, and offers a serious boon to water skiers. I’m sold! Let’s have more of that! How much might we expect to get from hydro, and how important will its role be compared to other renewable resources?

BP Exiting The Solar Panel Business: Report

NEW YORK – BP PLC will exit the solar panel business in a move that will affect about 100 employees, according to reports on Wednesday. BP said global economic challenges have impacted the solar industry, making it difficult to sustain long term returns, according to an internal BP email cited by Reuters and the Financial Times.

Real wealth: Howard T. Odum’s energy economics

In the 1970s, Howard T. Odum explained human economics using ecology and energy fundamentals. His work remains essential for ecologists, who imagine achieving “sustainability.” His 1974 “Energy, Ecology, & Economics” provides a good summary of his concerns for our future, and helps explain why consumption and expanding technologies have limits. A Prosperous Way Down, (2001, with his wife Elisabeth), provides realistic solutions.

The infinite-planet approach won’t solve the European debt crisis

If more investors were like Jeremy Grantham, who’s got a clear view of the origin of the financial crisis, the two would line up a lot better. But most investors, like all of the policy makers who met in Brussels, are working out of an old-fashioned and mistaken economic model. Restoring confidence in a system built on that model isn’t going to fix what’s wrong.

What, exactly, is wrong? The New York Times articulated the conventional thinking when it opined, a few days before the all-nighter in Brussels, that the root of the debt crisis is “lack of growth.” The first step toward success in solving any problem is to define it accurately, and the conventional diagnosis gets it wrong because it looks at just half the problem. A more complete diagnosis: Some of the European economies haven’t been able to grow fast enough to pay back the burden of debt that has been wagered on them.

The Decline and Fall of the Oil Age

The decline and fall of the Oil Age is upon us. Its faint outlines are becoming clear as the reality of sustained high oil prices sets in and new technologies appear at an increasingly rapid rate. The new generation of electric vehicles is particularly promising and may lead to a massive transformation in coming decades in how we move people and goods.

Demanding less: why we need a new politics of energy (report excerpt)

For generations, human development has been fuelled by ever greater amounts of energy. The discovery of fire by our earliest ancestors allowed them to harness the energy stored in plants to keep warm and to cook. Agriculture is essentially a means of diverting sunlight into crops to provide easily accessible food. Farming liberated people from the daily hunt for sustenance, and allowed populations to grow. Exploitation of coal fuelled the industrial revolution and the development of urban societies. Oil for transport, and the development of electricity systems enabled modern society, with its ever increasing consumption and mobility. Energy use and social progress have been inextricably linked. Until now. Now, it makes sense to use less energy, not more.

Can we manage without growth? An interview with Peter Victor. Part One

One of the ideas that I found really surprising from the book was that the whole idea of growth and that economies should grow on a continuous basis is actually a relatively new idea. I wonder if you could give us a quick potted history of where the idea of economic growth came from?

The idea of economic growth per se could probably be dated back at least as far as Adam Smith who was interested in the wealth of nations. What I think is new, and I think what you’re referring to, is the idea that governments should take responsibility for trying to ensure that economies achieve a certain rate of economic growth. That is relatively new, and only really came to be around about the 1950s / 1960s.

Can we manage without growth? An interview with Peter Victor. Part Two

Surely in our present and unfolding predicament, to recalibrate our economy as a Steady State economy requires an enormous amount of infrastructure, investment and maybe we don’t have that kind of resource any more. Might the kind of more localised world that Transition is talking about be what we get by default rather than by design?

There are many possible futures out there. I think that what I see is a huge amount of resources in our economy, both in terms of capital equipment, intellectual effort, finance, being directed towards the growth agenda. A different agenda, a different ambition for our society and our economy away from the pursuit of growth, would automatically free up, at least in principle, a lot of these resources.

The Peak Oil Crisis: 2012 – Apocalypse Now?

Whether the global civilization, or significant parts thereof, comes unstuck sooner or later is obviously a judgment call, but a case can be made that some very bad things might be coming in the next year or so. There would seem to be two fundamental problems behind the coming upheavals. One is that we are running into constraints on resources and the other is that the OECD nations have simply accumulated so much debt that it is unlikely to ever be repaid. No one ever thinks of the atmosphere's ability to absorb and carry off carbon emissions as a resource, but as the world's climate changes for the worse, that is exactly what it is. It could easily turn out over the course of the next 10 decades, that the atmosphere's ability to absorb greenhouse gases turns out to be far more important than reserves of fossil fuels.

Oil Climbs a Third Day on U.S. Economy, Shrinking Supplies, Iran Sanctions

Oil rose a third day in New York on signs that the U.S. economy will be spared a recession and amid growing pressure on Iran to curtail its nuclear program.

Futures advanced as much as 1.3 percent after data from the American Petroleum Institute showed crude inventories dropped to the lowest in almost two years. Analysts in a Bloomberg News survey predicted the Energy Department will say today supplies fell 2.13 million barrels. The February contract surged 3.4 percent yesterday on U.S. housing data that beat estimates, unexpected growth in German business confidence and concern that shipments from Iran may be curbed.

At gas pump, 2011 was the year of the big squeeze

NEW YORK — It's been 30 years since gasoline took such a big bite out of the family budget.

When the gifts from Grandma are unloaded and holiday travel is over, the typical American household will have spent $4,155 filling up this year, a record. That is 8.4 percent of what the median family takes in, the highest share since 1981.

Gas averaged more than $3.50 a gallon this year, another unfortunate record. And next year isn't likely to bring relief.

Commodity index returns reconsidered

For most of the last six years, from 2005 to 2011, index investors have made money from rising spot prices, only to lose it on rolling their positions forward each month. Rolling long futures and options positions in contango markets has cost a staggering amount of money, wiping out everything index investors have made from rising spot prices since September 2003.

Losses became eye-watering when the recession caused a huge build-up of stocks in 2008-2010 and swung the oil market in particular into a persistent super-contango. Investors paid an average of 2.4 percent each month in 2009 to roll long positions in the basic GSCI forward, and another 0.8 percent every month in 2010.

Aramco ups rig numbers

Saudi Aramco plans to raise the number of drilling rigs it operates to pre-crisis levels of at least 130 by the second quarter of 2012 as it strives to maintain production capacity levels, Reuters reported.

Oil Ministry makes Rs 43,000-cr subsidy demand

The subsidy is used to partially compensate public sector oil marketing companies for selling petroleum products at controlled rates. Mr Chaturvedi said: "The subsidy demand for the first and second quarter was around Rs 43,000 crore and we expect it to be around the same for the third and fourth quarter as well."

Ohio set to see oil boom thanks to fracking

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Ohio hasn't been an oil powerhouse for nearly 100 years.

But thanks to controversial new drilling technology, the state that once produced a third of the nation's crude and was the birthplace of John D. Rockefeller's mighty Standard Oil could once again be a significant source of domestic supply.

UK gas falls as Norway supply returns, demand drops

LONDON (Reuters) - British prompt gas prices fell on Wednesday, trading about 7 percent below highs seen on Tuesday, as imports from Norway rose following production problems earlier in the week and milder weather reduced gas demand for heating.

Shell's huge Ormen Lange offshore gas field, which feeds the Langeled pipeline from Norway, was ramping up production again on Tuesday, the operator said, after output problems late on Monday.

Taqa lines up customers for Netherlands gas storage site

Taqa has secured the first customers for a gas storage site in the Netherlands that it hopes will be Europe's largest, even as it awaits court approval to drill.

Ukraine seeks three-party gas transit consortium - Yanukovych

Ukraine still wants to create a trilateral gas consortium with the EU and Russia to manage its gas transportation system, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said on Wednesday.

Court 'rejects' TNK-BP appeal

A Siberian arbitration court has rejected an appeal by minority shareholders in BP’s TNK-BP Holding in a $2.8 billion lawsuit, marking a small victory for the UK supermajor, according to a report.

Iraq’s prime minister says ExxonMobil promised to reconsider controversial oil deal with Kurds

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s prime minister says the U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil Corp. has promised to reconsider its controversial deal with the northern self-ruled Kurdish region.

In October, the Texas-based company became the first oil major to sign a deal in the Kurdish region to search for oil in defiance of the central government’s wishes.

U.S. Joins EU Pressing to Cut Iran Oil Sales Over Nuclear Effort

(Bloomberg) -- The Obama administration and European governments are seeking help from Arab and Asian allies to reduce Iran’s oil revenues in the dispute over its nuclear program, while trying to avoid causing a surge in prices that may threaten the global economic recovery.

Turkey's Tupras renews annual Iran crude oil deal

(Reuters) - Turkey's biggest crude oil importer Tupras has renewed its annual deal to buy crude oil from Iran for 2012, at almost the same volumes as this year, industry sources familiar with the matter said.

They said Tupras had no plans for now to purchase extra amounts from the Islamic Republic.

Libya awards oil supply in 2012 to major traders

LONDON (Reuters) - Libya has agreed to supply four major European trading houses with crude oil in 2012, a senior National Oil Corporation (NOC) source told Reuters on Wednesday, appearing to break from a policy of restricting sales to end-users.

Glencore was awarded the largest share among Europe's trading majors, and will lift three cargoes of Libya's prized sweet oil per month.

Workers return to Kazakh oilfield under armed guard

ALMATY (Reuters) - KazMunaiGas Exploration Production said on Wednesday it expects to meet its reduced oil production target for the year after police deployed armed security around the oilfield closest to the scene of Kazakhstan's deadliest riots in decades.

Activists say at least 100 killed in Syrian town

BEIRUT (AP) – Syrian troops assaulting a northwest town with machine gun fire and shelling have killed at least 100 people in one of the deadliest episodes of the 9-month-old uprising against President Bashar Assad's regime, activists said Wednesday.

Shell shuts down Nigeria deep-water field over oil spill that leaked into the sea

LAGOS, Nigeria — Royal Dutch Shell PLC says it has shut down a deep-water oil field that was leaking oil into the sea off Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta.

Japan to shape post-Fukushima energy options by spring

(Reuters) - Japan plans to come up with options by next spring for its new energy policy, which will aim to manage the risks of nuclear power, select energy sources to reduce reliance on nuclear and help head off climate change, the government said on Wednesday.

The Fukushima atomic crisis, triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, has prompted Japan's government to review its previous energy policy from scratch.

Tepco Shares Decline After Report Company May Be Nationalized

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501) shares fell to the lowest in more than two months after the Yomiuri newspaper said the utility may be nationalized to avert collapse as it faces billions of dollars in costs to decommission the wrecked Fukushima nuclear station.

The government may acquire more than two-thirds of the company’s shares through its Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund, the Yomiuri said. The fund may invest 1 trillion yen ($12.8 billion) to acquire stock while banks may be asked to lend the same amount, the newspaper reported, citing an unidentified person familiar with the plan.

Iran’s Busher to enter full operation in March 2012 – agency

Iran’s first nuclear power plant, Bushehr, will reach its nominal generating capacity in March 2012, Iran’s news agency ISNA said on Wednesday referring to Energy Minister Majid Namjou.

Profit from Peak Oil: Bob Moriarty

The Energy Report: Peak oil has returned as a popular topic of conversation, and you've been talking about it for some time. Are we really in the era of peak oil, with oil production diminishing? Or do we just lack cheap oil?

Bob Moriarty: It's both. We've reached the peak of oil production, which doesn't mean we're going to run out of oil, but we've run out of cheap oil. When the Saudi oil fields opened in the 1940s and 1950s, their return on investment was $350 per barrel. When OPEC formed in 1959, they were profitable selling Saudi oil at $0.10 a barrel. The cheap, high-grade, high-quality oil is all gone now, and the days of finding giant oil fields with high-grade oil that was relatively inexpensive —such as Ghawar in Saudi Arabia and the Cantarell off Mexico—are gone. They're history.

Looking to the future: A response to Jeremy Rifkin

The Shell Scenarios team looks at alternative views of the energy future. Martin Haigh is a Senior Energy Adviser in the team, responsible for energy modelling, and here he provides his take on the challenges we face and how we might meet those challenges responsibly.

Are electric cars losing their spark?

Rather than electrifying auto buyers, the plug-in car revolution is feeling more like a fizzle.

A year after the first two plug-in electric cars from major makers went on sale, buyers appear put off by high sticker prices — even with federal subsidies — and, for the moment, by more-stable gasoline prices.

How Not to Market Electric Cars

How much will you be paying for gasoline if you buy a Toyota Prius? Let's say you drive an American-average of 12,000 miles per year at the Prius efficiency of 50 MPG. Then you will consume 240 gallon per year. At $4 per gallon for gasoline, that's $960 per year.

In other words, when buying an electric car (including an extended-range electric car such as the Chevrolet Volt), the maximum you will save on an annual basis is $960. That is if you get all of your electricity for free, such as from the numerous free public charging stations or from your employer's facility, where you might be parking while you're on your job.

New York Plans Greener Zoning Rules

Next month community boards around New York City will ring in the year by holding hearings on a proposal that city officials say will give buildings more freedom to increase their energy efficiency and produce their own power.

North Dakota Thrives as Nevada Suffers in Divergent U.S. Recovery: Economy

The U.S. economic expansion that began in June 2009 shows a dichotomy at the state level, with Nevada, California and Florida labor markets still languishing from the real estate collapse at the same time domestic energy production drives employment in North Dakota and Alaska.

By the first quarter of 2012, oil and gas-rich Texas will gain back all of the jobs it lost during the last recession, the third state to do so after North Dakota and Alaska, according to a forecast released today by IHS Global Insight Inc. Nevada and Michigan won’t get there until 2017 or after.

Farmers markets go year-round as eat-local trend grows

As Americans show greater interest in eating locally grown food, more farmers markets are selling year-round.

Living down the Rann approach to city planning

In a national study commissioned by the Planning Institute of Australia last year, it was concluded that, with peak oil and the doubling of petrol prices, many people living in the outlying suburbs of our cities would not be able to meet the costs of fuel and essentially not be able to afford to live in these areas.

In this scenario, the demand for living in fringe areas would be considerably dampened. But this problem is not addressed in the current directions of the Government's 30-Year plan, nor the future plans of the development industry.

2011: The Last (Debt-Consumerist) Christmas in America

That dream seemed at hand in 1970. Now, after "the limits to growth" were mocked by those expecting ever larger oil fields to provide endless abundant cheap oil, we find that Peak Oil was merely put off a generation; there have been no new discoveries of super-massive oil fields since the early 1970s, and the supposedly abundant alternative petroleum sources like shale oil are horrendously costly to exploit, for they require vast quantities of energy (mostly natural gas at the moment) to be consumed to extract the oil.

Is narcissism killing innovation in America?

With jobs scarce and wages stagnant for many, innovation is now especially crucial. Unfortunately, signs suggest that in recent decades, the pace of progress in many fields has declined.

There's even political consensus on the topic. In an October article for National Review titled, "The End of the Future," libertarian entrepreneur Peter Thiel conceded that comparing rates of progress over the years is virtually unachievable. Nonetheless, Thiel observed that "when tracked against the admittedly lofty hopes of the 1950s and 1960s, technological progress has fallen short in many domains." Earlier this year, liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman cited a comment he had made in 1996 that "by any reasonable standard, the change in how America lived between 1918 and 1957 was immensely greater than the change between 1957 and the present."

After Superscience We Get Superfinance

Superfinance is already with us, since at latest 2008, but we can expect that so-called « Superscience » will be edging back to join it after its most recent place in the media limelight during the 1995-2000 period: Superscience was turfed out by climate change, peak oil, green energy and sustainability all of which are now themselves struggling to stay on the radar screen. Unlike Superfinance and the Big New Things of the past 5 years however, Superscience goes back a long way, in fact to the Great Exhibitions around Europe in the 19th century. At the time the populace was told to think railways, iron ships, electric lamps and machine guns would give them total power and make all the world their own. Like they say: Guns, germs and steel. Coming next, we have a big new slot for Superfinance operated just like the Superscience theme.

Peak oil predictions elevate dubious prophet

When people make predictions, they need to be held accountable when such predictions fail. Foss predicted in no uncertain terms that the stock market would top out at 10,000 points in the Fall of 2009 and then decline precipitously. Her comrade-in-alarm, known on the Internet only as “ilargi,” predicted that as a result of this “Depression” oil prices would “crash” into the thirties.

They are now off by 2,000 points, two years, and seventy dollars, respectively. And yet Foss continues to pack auditoriums preaching an “overall message” that remain[s] unchanged,” according to Spofford.

In spite of Foss's failures — along with the failed predictions of every public peak oil alarmist including the late Maine resident Matthew Simmons — Spofford uses terms such as “truthful picture” and “realistic view” to describe Foss's persistent forecasting follies.

(The author of this letter to the editor posts here as "MikeB")

Seattle Bans Plastic Bags, and Sets a Charge for Paper

SEATTLE — The City Council here voted unanimously on Monday to ban plastic grocery bags and charge a 5-cent fee on paper bags — and this time city leaders hope the ban actually takes effect.

Three years ago, Seattle city officials became the first in the nation to approve a fee on paper and plastic bags, instituting a charge of 20 cents for each bag provided by many retail stores. The idea was to create a financial incentive to reduce pollution: the fee was supposed to prompt people to bring reusable bags with them to shop.

Oh Danny Boy, the Pipes, the Pipes Are Failing

A new report by the American Society of Civil Engineers takes a dim view of the state of the country’s 54,000 community-based drinking-water systems and its 15,000 public wastewater treatment facilities. The systems are rusty, aging and seriously inadequate for meeting future needs, the study warns.

The drinking-water systems, just under half of which are publicly owned, supply 264 million people. The wastewater treatment facilities supply about 225 million people, but they are so prone to failure that 900 billion gallons of untreated sewage are discharged each year, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated in 2004.

Texas: Drought Took Toll on Trees

Researchers have determined that 100 million to 500 million trees, or from 2 to 10 percent of all trees, have been lost.

What to Do About Asian Carp? Great Lakes States Can’t Agree

The states have split. Some, led by water-ringed Michigan, have filed legal actions aimed at ending access from the nearby tributaries of the Mississippi River, where Asian carp already are flourishing, to the Great Lakes. Others, including Illinois, have objected, saying any such closing would interfere with Chicago’s ability to control flooding as well as with the commercial barges that haul sand, coal, cement and salt through the waterway.

Airlines Lose Fight Against EU Carbon Caps

International airlines lost a challenge to the European Union’s planned expansion of its carbon cap-and-trade system, the region’s highest court said.

The EU Court of Justice “confirms the validity of the directive that includes aviation” in the emissions-trading program, the Luxembourg court ruled today.

Arctic Methane: Is Catastrophe Imminent?

The basic worry is that as the climate changes, the ocean temperature could rise enough to destabilize many of these offshore methane deposits, sending them into the atmosphere. If you go beyond the Arctic and count deposits that exist off the margins of all the continents, there’s probably enough methane that a rapid release could turn the earth into a hothouse.

But senior scientists I spoke with told me they considered any such rapid release to be highly unlikely, at least for the deeper deposits. A United States government report came to basically the same conclusion a few years ago.

Fracking, on Minnesota Public Radio's Midmorning program, 9:00 AM CST. Listen online.

As we debate the future of personal transportation.....

10 cars that are naughty, not nice

Sure, their ride may be rough, their fuel economy laughable, and their insurance bills astronomical -- not to mention the premium price you paid for admission. But for the moment, let's not even think about issues of social responsibility or income equality. 2011 was tough enough. It's time to have some fun.

Our local dealers are really pushing these beasts, and many folks seem to be indulging their denial. Peak nuthin'.....

It's "Morning in America", again.

So December is the month to think like teenagers, eh? Find yourself a set of wheels that can help you get lucky.. (ahem!). It seems some forms of 'Lucky' might be more uncomfortable than these shoppers are ready for, but oh well, maybe it'll remind them of some part High School after all!

This culture is so funny with that 'Naughty' thing.. it's like all those nasty Halloween Costumes for Girls and Women, which seem more like Fantasy Wear for some dingy Gentlemen's Club and their extensive VHS library. Naughty, like our baccanalian insistence on not having any of our fervent addictions removed until they have to be sawed out of our cold, dead fingers. Well, it must be thus, I guess, since we've molded our market economy to be as addicted to our addictions as we are!

Teenage Thinking, indeed. Where "sobriety" is so despised, it rates as TWO four-letter words!

"This culture is so funny with that 'Naughty' thing.. it's like all those nasty Halloween Costumes for Girls and Women..."

Sometimes not so funny. I walked in on my wife watching Toddlers & Tiaras, an oh-so-freaking-wrong show with three year old girls wearing fake boobs and dressed as prostitutes; "naughty" is in vogue for baby girls, it seems. At first she thought it was funny, until I reminded her of her former neighbor, JonBenét Ramsey whose involvement in these freak shows likely made her a target. How far we've fallen...

Yes. Watta mess!

You understand no doubt, that I used 'funny' sort of like I had used 'Lucky' higher in the post. We're working to help my daughter be ready to understand how these sad attitudes work, so that she can hopefully keep it all in decent perspective.

Unlike my wife and myself, she at least is growing up without daily television. But we can't be in a bubble, so she has to be told about all this Sexual Distress and Confusion that we are surrounded by, and helped to recognize where people and a whole culture are playing out this great deception on themselves.

I don't know how far the vernacular has spread, so for those from cultures who may not know what getting lucky means, it refers to getting sex, as in I had a date, and we went to bed.....

I disagree. IMHO America does a lot more talking about naughtiness than actually doing it.

It's sorta like racism. The USA makes a big deal out of fighting its internal racism issues. We get a rep for racism because of it. Meanwhile there are other cultures out there with MUCH more severe racism. But they don't talk half as much about it, and thus aren't known for racism like we are.

Well we're probably closer on this than you think.. I didn't mean that we are BEING naughty, but that we seem to be hung up on this odd desire for it, like it's part of our 'rebel' standing.. and at some level, it's not a bad thing, and maybe it DOES point to a bit of an inherent NON-conformity that still lives in the soul of this culture..(one can only hope!)

"When I'm good, I'm VERY good, and when I'm bad, I'm Better!" - Mae West(?)

But I also see it as the mechanism that people use to cling onto their addictions and even be proud of them, defensive, smokers or TV Couch Potatoes,or Damned, Gooey, Frosted Brownie Junkies!.. and an industry that is only too happy to help exaggerate and maximize this behavior. .. Which I think is Naughty and Nasty.

*(I have to wonder how much racism you've actually experienced, following the second point. There's a fat trail of blood and death back there that you're playing down.. and it's hardly gone, even if we do talk about it more than in the Stoic olden days..)

Re: Oil Climbs a Third Day on U.S. Economy, Shrinking Supplies, Iran Sanctions, up top:

The Obama administration and European governments are seeking help from Arab and Asian allies to reduce Iran’s oil revenues in the dispute over its nuclear program, while trying to avoid causing a surge in prices that may threaten the global economic recovery.


It's not going to work. Reducing supplies in the current oil market means rising prices. Rising prices mean increased per barrel revenue for Iran. Iran's main customers are China and Japan both of whom can afford to pay high crude prices.

This is the same kind of nonsense we saw in the lead up to the Iraq war.

Why is Obama doing this? The only answer I figure out is that he wants higher oil prices and he wants to appear tough before the election which is now only 10 months away.

It looks like he wants to beat back XL pipeline opponents with another oil scare. He wants higher gas prices so that ethanol remains viable before the election even though subsidies expire at the end of 2011.


The only answer I figure out is that he wants higher oil prices and...

He wants higher gas prices so that ethanol remains viable before the election even though subsidies expire at the end of 2011.

A nice piece of speculation X, but it is way off base. No way does Obama want higher oil prices because he knows that higher oil prices are one of the things that is blocking the recovery. And ethanol is just not that big an issue in this election. To compare high oil and gasoline to keeping ethanol viable is no comparison at all. High oil prices is just way, way more important.

He might want to keep ethanol viable and have low oil prices also but if he can't have both then the latter outweighs the former by several magnitudes.

Ron P.

Of course high gasoline prices are more important economically. But ethanol's survival before the election may be more important politically. Several ethanol producing states could go Republican and defeat Obama.

Look at what has happened to Perry in Iowa. The leading Republican candidates Gingrich and Romney have both made statements supporting ethanol whereas Perry has been a perpetual pest to ethanol. To my mind, the Midwest has prospered under Obama like never before. It would be nuts to vote against him. But people do crazy things.

Texas is the largest oil producing state. It will go Republican as will most of the South. The West except for the coastal states is also Republican. So victory for Obama is likely to consist of the West Coast, the North East and the Midwest with the Midwest being the decision area. As strong as the Midwest is at the moment, Obama should win easy.

But Obama is a cautious guy to a fault. That is why his actions re Iran make no sense. Where is the gain? Does he really believe that Iran can be persuaded by rhetoric and threats? Perhaps he does.

In any case, does the Obama Administration really believe that reducing Iranian oil income by restricting its oil sales will not lead to higher oil and gasoline prices? They must know that if their talk and actions are successful gasoline prices will rise, perhaps dramatically.

As you point out that is bad for the economy, but great for ethanol. I can only conclude that ethanol is more important to Obama than the economy because close to half of the votes will go against him anyway.

He is a calculating politician first. He has always taken his base for granted since they have no choice, but the Midwest is more up for grabs IMO.

He is a calculating politician first. He has always taken his base for granted since they have no choice, but the Midwest is more up for grabs IMO.

High gas prices affect every voter in America. If you think Obama actually wants high gas prices just to stress the importance of ethanol and thinks that is a good political strategy then...

I will not even bother arguing such a roundabout and silly political theory.

Ron P.

To my mind, the Midwest has prospered under Obama like never before. It would be nuts to vote against him

I'm sure I speak for many Europeans when I express my amazement that working-class US voters (and I mean working-class in the European sense) are willing to vote for:
- No socialised health care
- Tax-cuts for the very rich - sorry, "wealth-creators"
- Further ratcheting-up of attacks on worker's rights, benefits, etc

These measures are very clearly - without doubt, and backed up by the numbers - detrimental to the interests of those ordinary working people - and yet a large percentage of the working class persistently vote for them.....

.....and now (I'm not trying to give the USA a hard time here) I see the same phenomenon developing in the UK and Europe. Jeez, it's really shocking and depressing.

"Workers of the world, unite - we have nothing to lose but our chains!" - er..... who was it that said that?

And Fox News / The Sun - gotta hand it to you - respect.....

Regards Chris

Americans (REALLY) like to side with the winning team, even when failing to notice that they're not allowed to be ON the team they are boosting.

Everything is buyable in an ownership society, which confuses some people when offered the chance for their 'Own Goal'.. (That's the football term for scoring points for the other side, right?)

Everything is buyable in an ownership society

Especially the truth as percieved by the plurality of the citizenry. Political opportunity flows from public perception. It matters not whether the perception is correct or misguided. Thusly the shaping of public perception becomes a huge profit opportunity.

Like Michael Moore said...we don't want to tax the rich, because we all believe that one day, we will be the rich.

x,The oil companies for the most part a right leaning if gas prices stay high and we have record exports of refined products instead of keeping it in US for lower prices consumers I doubt will be blaming Obama.

Ethanol demand is sustained by the RFS mandate requirements not the subsidy. The subsidy allowed the US to put in tariff against Brazilian ethanol thereby protecting US producers. The elimination of the VETC will make sustaining the tariff much harder. However, in the short term that shouldn't be a problem since Brazil doesn't appear capable of producing sufficient ethanol for its own use much less for exports. But a bumper sugar cane crop in Brazil and other sugar producing areas and everything could change.

Re: Ohio set to see oil boom thanks to fracking, up top:


Nissan Leaf: Too subtle, too limited

Door to door, my drive to The Globe and Mail’s head office in downtown Toronto is about 35 kilometres each way, which should be fine for the Leaf. Still, I charged it from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. to ease any anxiety. When I left for work, the display in the dashboard reads 185 km of battery power. Confidence set in and I cranked up the heat and radio. But after only 10 kilometres on the highway, the battery capacity dropped to 100 km.

Anxiety set in. I turned off the heat and radio for the rest of the drive. I reached work with 85 km remaining – plenty of juice to get home. But the problem is there’s no place to recharge at work. And the battery range varies depending on the driving conditions, speed, weather, and temperature.

So, after a nine-hour work day with the Leaf sitting in the cold, I returned for the drive home. This time, I played it safe from the get-go – no radio, no seat warmers, no heat – only the wipers working intermittently as it rained. Eyes glued to the dash, the numbers dropped steadily. Relieved, I made it home with 23 km to spare. I was in the red zone, which means recharge as soon as possible. I breathed a sigh of relief and plugged it in immediately. Since the battery was almost fully drained, the display indicated that there was an estimated 21 hours to a 100 per cent charge.

Bottom line: Not enough range for commuting in major Canadian cities - this writer had only a 35 km (22 mile) commute, which is rather modest by Toronto standards, and he barely made it back. And, who in their right mind wants to commute in Canada in winter with the heater, seat warmers, and radio turned off?

I have a Nissan Leaf and my commute is 24 miles each way. Granted it doesn't get as cold here (North Carloina) as it does in Canada but some of the statements are BS. It takes only 6 hours to charge the thing up from a 90% depleted battery and it has a pre-heat function to heat the cabin while it is plugged in, not using the battery. It takes 18 hours if you use the trickle charger, which is not recommend as a primary means of charging but rather a portable charging method for 'plugging in anywhere'. Home charging should be done using the 240v 6 hour charger, termed the "Standard Charger". Also some confusion on chargers, L1= trickle charger(18 hours), L2=standard charger (6 hours), L3=quick charger (30mins). L3 chargers are not common and not something someone would have at home.

On a cold day when the temperature is around the freezing mark (yes I know, a cold day in Canada would be a bit colder)I pre-heat the car, leave the heat on around 60F and set the seat heater to low. It even has a steering wheel heater which I love. Drive an average of 65mph to work and back and have PLENTY of capacity in the battery when I get home.

That being said, I can see issues with this car in very cold climates. One scenario that would be an issue is driving to work and leaving it parked all day on a bitter cold day. The cabin would be ice cold and you may have to rely on seat and steering wheel heaters due to the massive amount of power it would take to heat the cabin. I don't care about this at all and find the seat/wheel heat plenty to keep me warm, but I rarely encounter conditions below freezing and don't think it would be as acceptable in near 0F conditions.

And to be clear, the seat heater, steering wheel heater, radio, wipers, etc take very little power and have very little impact on range. The cabin heater takes a massive amount of power to heat a very cold cabin and has a very large impact on range.

The last bit about being in the "red zone" is really no big deal. Having 23km to spare means that the car would go another 23km and then start getting really upset at you. Even after hitting 0, I've read you can still drive the car another 10 miles with restrictions on speed, though I have never gotten to this point. Even then, the car will shut itself off completely with 10% battery capacity still available to ensure the battery is not damaged.

Your "L1= trickle charger(18 hours)" matches his 21 hour estimate pretty well, I doubt he has the L-2 charger installed for test trial.

And I don't think the battery range will hold up powering through slush and snow, or for that matter at 0 F. But still it's good enough for a lot of driving duty. Even if I parked it over the winter and drove the pickup my total gas consumption for the year would go down.

For a first try it's pretty good. Replace the back seats with a second battery and it would work for me even with a 30 mile commute with an optional side trip for errands and the way home.

Those batteries are $18,000. So that not only rules out carrying more than one passenger, but also takes the price to $50,000 and further raises the charging time.

Automobiles are going away as everyday possessions. One way or another.

In Toronto, there a lot of alternatives to the passenger car. According to the Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto has:

  • 1,811 buses on 141 bus routes
  • 247 steetcars on 11 streetcar routes
  • 676 subway/rapid transit cars on 4 subway/rapid transit routes

And the Government of Ontario operates the GO Transit commuter rail system which has 57 trains with 495 double-decker passenger cars which can carry 162 passengers per car, or about 1600 passengers per 10-car train.

95% of people in Toronto are within a 10 minute walk of a transit stop, so in the event of a gasoline shortage, I think most of them would pass on the electric car option and take the bus or train instead.

"I think most of them would pass on the electric car option and take the bus or train instead."

Except that even in metro Toronto, transit riders are in the minority - could the buses and trains suddenly carry everyone?

Majority of Toronto commuters still get in cars to get to work: census

In 2006, there were 2.4 million commuters in the census metropolitan area of Toronto, and 71.1 per cent of them used a car to get to work, either by driving or as a passenger.

Only 22.2 per cent of commuters used public transit to get to work, Statistics Canada said Tuesday, releasing data on where Canadians work, how they get there and travel times.

A total of 4.8 per cent walked to work, while only one per cent biked.

I think that they will have to change that modal split so that the majority are travelling by transit, and in the process the buses, streetcars, and subway cars will be extremely crowded until they can buy new rolling stock.

If I were still young , I would invest part of my money in real estate such as residences and small commercial properties very close to existing street car or subway lines.Bus lines might be a little trickier, because it is very easy to reroute a bus.But it seems obvious that such properties will fetch handsome rent premiums within the foreseeable future.

The flip side of this investment coin, which is hardly ever mentioned, is that property well off the lines will be worth a lot less.Owners and landlords are all to well aware of this, and therefore are often opposed to expanding transit systems due to fear of being put at a disadvantage if the lines don't pass by their property.

I think of Toronto's geography as being what you would get if you placed 20% of Manhattan in the middle of 30% of Los Angeles: a transit-supplied core surrounded by the busiest superhighways imaginable and the suburban-style infrastructure that those highways support. Those of us in the transit-supplied core (I live 50 feet from a streetcar stop and a short walk to a subway) are fighting what is currently a losing battle for rational transit planning: the Mayor and the right wing of city council are trying to cut funding, raise rates, and reduce service levels, and are still pushing ill-considered privately-financed subways (luckily, the private sector seems to be shying away) and buried streetcar lines at the expense of surface transit.

My guess is that perhaps another 20% of commuters could use the current lines to get to work, assuming vastly increased service levels (lines are already crowded at peak hours.) The subways would be the biggest hinderance: I don't think that doubling the TTC's ridership could be done without an additional subway line, and that additional line would have to be the crosstown relief line, which is not even on the drawing board at the moment (the subway the mayor is pushing is a route that runs through a low-rise zone that doesn't even have the ridership to justify the streetcar line that was previously planned for the area.)

While it is possible to get anywhere in the GTA by transit, it is not necessarily practical: multi-mode trips from, say, Oakville to the outskirts of Whitby can take 3 to 4 hours by transit and cab (less if you use GO Transit, but you get the idea.) To get transit to the levels we enjoy in the core would require changing the built environment of the areas supplied by those superhighways, a problem no different from the ones PaulS continually complains about for US cities. My house is on a lot 16' wide. You get that close to your neighbors, and transit becomes possible and practital. Once you're in Scarborough, East York, and Etobicoke, you don't find those levels of density. Toronto is essentially two cities, and there are more of them than us at the moment. I see our problems as a city getting worse for the forseeable future.


Well, the current mayor of Toronto does seem to have a fixation on cars and on stopping what he refers to as the "war against the car". I don't think this is going to serve Toronto very well in the post-peak-oil era. The previous administrations seemed to be planning for coping with the post peak oil, the current one seems to want to experience an head-on car crash into it.

The outlying suburbs are probably going to do very badly when fuel prices get too high, while the denser inner city area will suffer less badly (except from transit crowding).

Ontario in general seems to be heading into a brick wall with the scattered state of provincial energy planning and will probably end up in a crash when things get very bad. The electricity system planning looks particularly nonviable. I'm just glad I don't live there.

Interesting - I didn't realize that the "war on the car" slogan had spread outside the UK...

“War On Cars”: A History

The phrase “war on cars” has been around for a while... During the aughts, the phrase was trotted out periodically in objection to congestion pricing, particularly in London.)

But a review of Google’s news archives shows that, until 2009, the phrase was used infrequently. And even today, the phrase is seldom used outside of just two locations: Toronto and Seattle.

In the spring of 2009, a few months after officials in Toronto rolled out “The Big Move“—a 25-year, multi-billion dollar transportation plan that aimed at reducing per capita driving, reducing congestion, and increasing transit use – when the meme rocketed into prominence. On May 17, 2009, the Toronto Sun, a populist conservative tabloid-style paper, fired what appears to have been the opening salvo with a lengthy article called “Toronto’s War On Cars.” Five days later, the staid Toronto Star, Canada’s highest-circulation daily newspaper, ran an editorial by Denzil Minnan-Wong, a city councilor with a decidedly pro-car perspective, who wrote: “The city’s undeclared but very active war on cars is really a war on people…”

The phrase ricocheted around the Toronto media through most of the rest of the year, with conservative media outlets leading the charge and local officials denying that any such war even existed.

But by the spring of 2010, with Toronto’s mayoral election was on the horizon, the phrase began to re-emerge. For example, on April 15, Bob Hepburn’s editorial for the Star kicked off with, “Bikes, cars and people—the war heats up in Toronto.” And on June 8, mayoral candidate Giorgio Mammoliti was quoted in the Star using the phrase.

Soon afterward, the ”war on cars” language really caught fire, thanks in part to the right-wing Heritage Foundation. On June 17, writing for Heritage, Wendell Cox criticized Transportation Secretary Roy LaHood in an article called “Washington’s War On Cars and the Suburbs,” which circulated widely.

in August, car blogger Ronnie Schreiber (who boasts affiliations with right-wing media productions like Pajamas Media) began a popular series called “The War On Cars” at the automotive site Left Lane, in which he attacked LaHood, Seattle, and Toronto—in that order.

By the next month, September, Toronto’s front-running mayoral candidate Rob Ford had made “ending the war on cars” a centerpiece of his campaign when he released a YouTube version of his transportation plan. The “war on cars” phrase was repeated prominently in coverage by CBC and the Star, while the Sun‘s reporting was headlined, “Ford Declares War On The Streetcar” and the National Post trumpeted “Ford’s Plan Aims To Stop ‘War On Cars.’” (Ford went on to win Toronto’s mayoral election.)

Unfortunately, on being elected Ford killed Toronto's transit program, which involved building a relatively inexpensive light rail system, and which was already under construction with mostly provincial government funding. He went to the province to demand more money for a completely grade-separated subway system (subways typically cost 4-8 times as much as surface LRT systems), but the province basically told him to get lost, that was all the money he was going to get.

Now his administration is facing $64 million in cancellation charges for the light rail system, and has far too little funding to build subways since Ford also cut taxes as one of his first moves in office.

I suspect that Ford is going to go down in flames in the next election, but he's going to take a lot of taxpayer dollars down with him. Not a good way to run a civic administration.

n the spring of 2009, a few months after officials in Toronto rolled out “The Big Move“—a 25-year, multi-billion dollar transportation plan that aimed at reducing per capita driving, reducing congestion, and increasing transit use – when the meme rocketed into prominence. On May 17, 2009, the Toronto Sun, a populist conservative tabloid-style paper, fired what appears to have been the opening salvo with a lengthy article called “Toronto’s War On Cars.”

Democratic society? All people equal? The people with money spent money to campaign against the local government and won.

Hi Rocky,

How much does it cost a typical Toronto suburbanite to heat his house for a year?

How far do you guesstimate he NEEDS to drive in a year?

I am on board with the arguments for suburban distress, and it is fairly obvious that it takes only a few empty houses in a declining market to start a race to a price bottom.

But as I see it, there are at least two major factors working in favor of the 'burbs.

The bigger one is that there simply isn't much in the line of quality empty housing downtown or close in to any city I know of;where are these people abandoning their houses supposed to move to?

As a matter of fact , it seems to me the that the money supposedly saved by urbanites who use mass transportation exclusively is quite often simply handed over to their landlords in the form of premium rents if they are prosperous enough to live in a decent neighborhood.

The second one is a two part argument;given the choice of an apartment that costs from maybe seven hundred to fifteen hundred a month, and owning or even renting a suburban house with a similar payment,many people will opt for the extra space, storage shed , and back yard, especially if they have kids.

I have lived in the middle of a city, in both upscale and skid row apartments, as have many of my friends from my younger days. I would drive ANY kind of car , so long as it has a windshield and a roof on it, for an hour each way to work to avoid that fate again, although the Fan District in Richmond has it's attractions-if you are young!

But to me, the bottom line is that two hours in a Geo Metro or equivalent car is a bargain in exchange for a backyard, an extra bedroom,and so forth.

My guess is that, in the short and medium term ,rather than give up the mini castle the typical owner will opt for a car that gets REALLY good mileage and may even crawl into the gutter with the poor people and car pool.This presuming of course that he still has a job to commute to!

Well, I've never lived in Toronto, but I would guess that it would cost a typical suburban homeowner $400-$500 a year to heat his house with natural gas, probably twice that for electric heat or propane.

He wouldn't necessarily HAVE to drive at all, since the suburbs have transit service, too. Access to the GO Transit commuter trains would help a lot, if it was available.

Nothing precludes someone from having a back yard or storage shed in the Toronto inner city area - there are single family houses there which are available for sale. I don't know what the relative prices for the inner city of Toronto versus the suburbs, but odds are prices are higher in the inner city area because of the convenience to downtown offices. Toronto is a major head office and financial center.

My experience is with Calgary, which has about 1 million people - about 1/5 the size of Toronto. I had a 100 year-old Victorian-style three bedroom house on a 25x95 foot lot, with garage, storage shed and garden, six blocks from a light-rail station. It was a 10 minute walk plus a 15 minute train ride to downtown. Shopping was a 15 minute walk away.

It was relatively cheap when I moved there, but mine was one of only two 2-story Victorian houses on the block. The rest were mostly tiny little 1-story houses occupied by retired couples. The neighborhood went seriously upscale while I was there. When I left, it was mostly 3-story yuppie mansions with underdrive parking. They needed to put the parking underground to retain the landscaped back yard, which in fact was mandatory under zoning rules. Still single family houses, but mostly executives, doctors, and lawyers.

This is quite a bit different than the US experience, but I think it would be quite typical of inner-city Toronto as well. Prices would be higher, of course, because Toronto does have five times as many people as Calgary.

I know of no-one who has put more thought into the logistics of keeping people and goods moving during an oil supply emergency than Kathy Leotta in Washington State.
Her detailed study warns that although citizens believe that mass transit is a ready fall-back for them should their cars prove to be unaffordable to operate, in reality most mass transit systems have little spare capacity (indeed, many are in decline from under-use) and would face a shortage of both licensed drivers and certified vehicles relative to the sudden surge in demand:

All the more reason why planning for fuel emergencies needs to be flagged as a priority issue, which it's not. There is little appreciation of the potential scale and increasing likelihood of such a situation (despite the various Oil Shockwave appeals).

Speaking of the likelihood of a near-term oil supply crunch, here is the latest warning:


Olivier Rech was with the IEA and was involved with its landmark 2008 WEO, I believe.
One does not have to be fluent in French to figure out the final question and Rech's reply ("Insufficient, yes").

I grew up in Toronto and now live in no. California. Can't imagine living somewhere that cold again. What drew so many people to that City?

Automobiles are going away as everyday possessions. One way or another.

And what happens to the political support for the road system at that point?

Of course I know nothing about batteries beyond what any other layman knows, but it seems to me that it should be possible to insulate them easily enough so that they would function properly in cold weather, and make the insulation easily removable or just movable to allow cooling air full access when hot weather arrives.Considering the already sky high current prices of such batteries, a few hundred dollars more shouldn't matter much.

They are compact and have a lot of mass, and likely high specific heat .Furthermore, they release excess heat when being charged and discharged if I understand the technology-so a fairly moderate layer of high performance insulation should do the trick for 24 hours or so. An insulated battery could be heated up to near it's maximum operating temperature while on charge with a very light auxiliary heater if needed if the local electrical rates are low enough;and nighttime off peak wind promises lots of cheap charging juice in the near future .

Back when I lived in cold climates, I used to used charging as a battery warming technique. On mornings in the minus twenties (or when I didn't trust the car battery), in addition to using the block heater, so the engine block, and especially the oil wouldn't be too cold at start, I'd put the battery on trickle charge about a half hour before starting. Then the battery would crank almost as wellas during warm weather.
Some types of advanced batteries need hugh temps (a couple hundred, or even a few hundred C) to operate, and must be kept warm -but these are mainly for large stationary batteries.
The computer software that controls the Prius battery, considers battery charge, battery and catalytic converter temps, as well as driver input (throttle position) in determing whether to use EV assist (or alone). I do suspect the Leaf batteries would become warm after a few minutes of use -if not before.

brings back memories of Saskatoon winters in collage, rarely had to plug in my little GLC. I swear 2 D-cells would turn that thing over at -40C. I loved that car.

It has been my observation that in a parking lot with no plug-ins at -40° (C or F), almost all of the Japanese cars will start and almost none of the American ones will. I don't know why that is.

Maybe the Japanese actually test the cold-starting capabilities of their cars at -40 because they realize that parts of North America get much colder than Japan, whereas American car makers assume that if cars start in 90% of the US, that's good enough. Of course, the other 10% includes Alaska and the northern tier states, and Canada gets as cold as or colder than Alaska.

Maybe it's just different cultural attitudes about "mythical typical" electronic or mechanical devices, with the Japanese being a bit more careful to allow for outliers, and the Americans tacitly assuming everything will turn out to be "typical" or better.

Right, 'cause one should always go for the stereotype, rather than noting that American vehicles generally have (had) bigger multi-cylinder engines with lots more drag when filled with thick oil.

In my experience, the American engines crank with no problem, but the fuel-injection systems don't seem to know how much fuel to inject at cold temperatures. They seen to be easily confused. They don't know how to handle it.

I would credit it to the greater Japanese expertise in electronics, and of course their obsession with quality control - building cars that run well, rather than just looking like they might run well if they hadn't screwed up the design details.

Import Fighters? No, Just Punchlines

In 1968, the domestic automakers sold nine out of 10 new cars in America. But import sales were expected to top a million in 1969 — a number even Detroit couldn’t ignore.

But in answering that challenge, American automakers were by the end of 1970 producing three of the most notoriously awful cars ever built — the American Motors Gremlin, Chevrolet Vega and Ford Pinto — and opening the door for the Japanese onslaught of the 1970s and 1980s.

Well, speaking as an Electrical Engineer who designs hardware and has been involved in manufacturing for a long time, as well as a reformed motorhead who's done a lot of work on cars, I disagree. When emissions rules first came into effect the US manufacturers responded with the typical incompetence and arrogance (bordering on defiance) - they spent as little as possible and made junk. Eventually though, they got into engine control systems that really worked. The quality and sophistication of US automotive electronics and engine control systems was so far above anything the Asians or Europeans were producing it was almost laughable. You see this in connector systems, circuit board quality, sealing and coating, etc. Pretty much everyone has caught up now, and I realize it doesn't match the myths, but that's the reality I saw. Particularly Ford electronics starting in the late 1980's was first class.

Yeah, but why didn't American cars start when it was -40? They would crank but they wouldn't fire. The Japanese cars started, notwithstanding any American technological superiority.

Perhaps it is similar to when Americans developed pens to work weightless environments in space at huge cost while the Russians decided to use pencils... KISS!

Pencils create a small amount of loose graphite dust when used.

Graphite dust is conductive.

My guess is the Russians were only planning for "short" trips.


KISS is sometimes stupid and too simple minded.
It's a complicated world after all.

(A grease pencil wouldn't conduct though. However, its particles could gum up something else. Zero G is more of a headache that one would first guess.)

almost all of the Japanese cars will start and almost none of the American ones will.

I've all Japanese cars, except for one full size Chevy Pickup. The later was the best cold weather vehicle I ever owned. It helped that I made the right cold weather preparations, block heaters, readily avilable radiator cover, 5-30 oil for the cold season etc. I can recall a day with a high of -19F, when my truck was the only vehicle on the road.
My observation was that 99% of locals didn't want to think about the fact that cold days happen. And making preparations would be an admission and reminder. So they studiuosly avoided being ready. This also applied to the area of clothing. So mostly on days when exposed flesh will freeze in sixty seconds, they'd run to their cars without wearing gloves of adaquate cots etc. Then they'd bitch like hell about how miserable the weather was. There momma never told them the Siberian saying "there is no such thing as awful weather, there is only being awfully dressed for the weather".

In the winter months, people should be dressing for outside conditions and not being overly dependent on having heat in the car. The primary need for heat is to keep the windows defrosted. The Volkswagen Beetle is an example of an ICE vehicle that due to having an air cooled engine did not naturally come with a powerful heating system. I understand that the Beetle could be equipped with a gas fueled heater, but most were not. There was one time I went cross country sking with a friend who had a Beetle. It did not have a heater, only a plastic hose that brought a small amount of heat from the engine compartment. It was dark and bitterly cold, at least -25C, and the heat we did have kept only a tiny portion of the windshield clear. Frost was forming on the inside of the car from our breath so I diligently scraped the frost off the inside of the windshield while my friend drove!

Anyone who has tried using their rear window defroster when it is -20C or colder will know that it is practically useless under those conditions -- and this is something that is drawing a considerable amount of current, probably 30 amps. Of course the worse case scenario is freezing rain where even the powerful heater in an ICE powered vehicle can have trouble keeping the windshield clear.

Electric vehicles are not going to be capable of doing everything that ICE vehicles can do and we are simply going to have to lower our expectations.

The old air-cooled VW Beetle with the optional gas heater was a good illustration of how much energy is required to heat a car under Canadian winter conditions - when it was very cold the gas heater used to use as much gas as the engine did.

Note that in Canada, if it was freezing outside, that would be considered a "warm" winter day. When the salt stops melting the ice on the streets, that's a "cold" winter day. When the mercury in the thermometer freezes solid, that's a "very cold" winter day.

Mercury freezes at -40°C (-40°F) and that's why we don't use mercury thermometers here in Alberta. The coldest temperature ever record in Alberta was -61°C (-78°F), although I personally have never had to start a car at anything under -48°C (-55°F).

The advantage the liquid-cooled IC engine has is that you are using waste heat from the engine cooling system to heat the interior of the car. ICE engines are not very efficient, so you get this heat more or less "for free" since it would otherwise be rejected into the passing air. At -40, though, you might be driving along steering with one hand and scraping the frost off the inside of the windshield with the other. There are limits to how much free heat you get.

With an electric car, which will inevitably be constrained by battery capacity, the heat for the cabin interior is not at all free - it is very expensive.

With an electric car, which will inevitably be constrained by battery capacity,

And that capacity goes down with temperature, so that -40C weather can lead to actual battery damage, depending on the chemistry.

What is the lowest temperature at which you have been able to start a car without some sort of engine heater?

I have managed it at fifteen below F but I doubt if any thing I own could be started at 25 below;it doesn't get that cold around here, and I have never been very far north in the dead of winter.

We normally leave one vehicle equipped with a manual shift parked on a steep grade and "can roll it off" in the event of zero weather, although I could start it in the usual way.I suppose our truck would start a forty below if it would roll fast enough, which it probably would, given that we live at the top of a fairly steep hill..

I start our diesel Oliver tractor under such conditions by towing it with the 4x4 truck-it will BARELY roll down the steep hill at zero F due to the heavy lubricants in the drive line.In the event the truck won't go or is unavailable or I don't have a helper, I put a kerosene heater under the oil pan and cover the engine, batteries, and heater with a tarp-very carefully.After about two hours, she starts before you can release the starter key.

Our Ferguson diesel starts easily down to ten degrees and a neighbor has a diesel Case that fires right up at zero.A whiff of ether will light off the Ferguson easily at zero F.The Oliver is obsolete and parts are hard to find so I never abuse the starter motor by using it in extreme cold unless the engine is already warm.

I am pretty sure I forgot to plug a vehicle in here and there at Minot AFB, ND overnight on occasions when it was significantly below zero.

Unfortunately I didn't keep records...but I agree that 25 below is pushing it.

Coldest I saw there was ~ -32 (ambient).

Depends on the car and how good of a battery...I had a couple-year old Honda Odyssey that started up great in the bitter cold, even on occasions when I forgot to plug it in.

I probably started a couple of times in low minus twenties. Of course in Wisconsin everyone knows to switch to 5-30 weight oil for the winter. The real worry is engine damage. Thats why its best to be religiouly obsessive about using block heaters. I knew someone who ruined his Mazda Van engine forcing it to start (high power battery charger) at -30F. The manufacturer admitted their design was faulty, but he still had to pay for a new engine. In really cold climates, old timers would block off the radiator opening, because at say (-25F or below) the cold air being sucked through the radiator can remove heat faster than the engine provides it.

I also remember the fun of trying to get to second gear in my Landcruiser on those cold mornings. The trannie oil was so viscous, it usually took two or three attempts before I could get the gear to shift before the vehicle lost momentum. Then after running maybe another minute warms the trannie fluid some more, you could shoot for third gear.....

Diesels were problematic, because the cyllinders had to be electrically preheated before you turn the crank. Non diesel savy people would run out their battery charge trying to just turn the crank, but the proper technique was to let the glow plug preheat the cyllinders, until the vehicle indicated it was ready, then you crank it. The problem was if it was really cold, by the time the cyllinders were warm enough, the battery didn't have enough oumph left. I avoided situations where I might have to start my cold diesel in below zero (F) temps without being able to use the bloack heater first.

I also remember the accellerator peddle sticking to the floor once. I turned the engine off, then was able to smack it loose with my foot. You gotta keep your cool in such conditions.

Oh, and once, snow had melted and turned the gascap lock into a solid block of ice. Fortunately I tried to refuel only a few blocks from home and was able to get a hairdryer, to meltout the gas cap. If I had been away from home I might have been stuck without being able to refuel!

I grew up in Minnesota. When it got down to around 40 below, thats when it really starts getting tough. In the morning it is a lottery as to who's cars start. The cars that do start are then used to provide jumps to the others.

In my native Adirondacks of northern NY, during my senior year of HS, winter of '79, we had a stretch of two weeks where the temp stayed below zero. The three coldest nights during the core of it were 38, 38 & 39 below. I drove a Chevy Vega. Used to draw some good-natured ribbing from the guys who drove Jeeps, Camaros, etc. Until those three mornings, when my Vega (with no block heater) was the only car parked on student row. Even the Swedish Saabs & Volvos didn't start on those mornings.

As an aside, those not from northern climes might be surprised to hear that the largest single snowstorm we experienced produced 44". But since it started snowing on Fri eve and ended in the wee hours of Mon a.m., school was not closed for that storm...

I've never owned a car that wouldn't start at -40° (C or F), even if they weren't plugged in. However, I am more enthusiastic about engine maintenance than to most people. It is a lot easier on the engine if you leave the block heater plugged in for a few hours before starting it, because at -40 it takes a long time before the oil warms up to the point where you get adequate lubrication.

In Northern Canada and Siberia, they don't shut diesel trucks off in the winter. They leave them running all night because they are just too hard to start in in the morning. In Siberia they don't even put anti-freeze in the cooling systems because they never shut the engines off except to change the oil.

There are some hilarious videos on Youtube of railroads trying to cold-start diesel locomotives. They crank them and crank them and crank them until the big V12 or V16 diesel starts to fire on one cylinder, and then two cylinders, and gradually works its way up to all 12 or 16 cylinders. Meanwhile the air is filling with clouds of white smoke from unburned diesel and black smoke from partially-burned diesel. Historically, railroads never shut diesel locomotives off and just left them idling all the time, but nowadays with the high price of fuel, I think they do shut them down if it's not too cold.

We installed an in-line heater on the side of our Ford 5000 diesel tractor (made in UK, 1968). That heater has been trouble-free for at least 20 years and certainly does the trick. One or two hours of being plugged in allows the tractor to fire up quite readily at any temperature (we are in eastern Ontario).

EVs will not be as easy to use in cold climates. However, as long as you keep them plugged in overnight and they have battery thermal system, they should be able to work. They'll draw power off the line to keep the batteries warm so they warm and ready to go in the morning. During the day, the temps don't drop as much. But you certainly will have significantly reduce range if the EV is not plugged in and periodically activates the heating system to keep the batteries warm.

I think liquid fuel heating systems may be a good idea for EVs in very cold climates. Volvo is putting a kerosene heater into an EV they are working on.

The cold weather aspect of EV's may eventually determine the battery chemistry that will dominate. Most of the cold weather problems would be taken care of by using the Sodium Sulfur technology of Sumitomo Electric where the battery's operating temperature is about 57 degrees C.


Can't find it, but I believe Volvo had a test EV on Lithium batts being used in Northern Norway or Sweden, transporting crew into a climate testing area, which was essential as the emissions of any other vehicle would skew the testing, and they found the batts were proving highly tolerant to the cold temps.

Sorry for no link.

Yair...That's surprising. My first new car was known over here a "nineteen sixty two and a half" model VW and, being air cooled the beetles were one of the few cars that actually had a heater...I always assumed they just split off a bit of the cooling air into the cabin.

However they did it it worked well under our conditions.


That being said, I can see issues with this car in very cold climates. One scenario that would be an issue is driving to work and leaving it parked all day on a bitter cold day. The cabin would be ice cold and you may have to rely on seat and steering wheel heaters due to the massive amount of power it would take to heat the cabin. I don't care about this at all and find the seat/wheel heat plenty to keep me warm, but I rarely encounter conditions below freezing and don't think it would be as acceptable in near 0F conditions.

Good luck with that if you hit freezing rain. Powerful heat is not just a matter of comfort then, it's required to keep driving at all. But yes, if you dress appropriately (which you should as you never know when your car might leave you stranded in the cold), seat and steering wheel heating can be enough most of the time. It also has the benefit of warming up much more quickly.

Built-in electric defrost for the windshield and front side windows would help a lot there but I have a feeling our market is too small for it to happen at this stage.

Basic physics and chemistry say that EV's with conventional battery technology will be poorly suited to northern climates.

As the temperature drops, the storage capacity of chemical batteries drops and the loads increase due increased viscosity of lubricants in the cold, heating needs for the safety of the operator and passengers, and road conditions that increase rolling resistance just to name a few that come to my mind immediately.

Funny thing is, people who live up north have known about these weaknesses for as long as there have been cars with batteries.

Ladies and gentlemen, what I have here is a Hotmomma. Charge it up at home with whatever heat source you may prefer, like a wood stove, it stores many people worth of heat in its phase change insides, and when you have it in the passenger seat as take off in your EV in that icy morning, it can exude as much cosyness as anyone would want. And over here we have a little accessory, which is a Hotmomma IV which allows you to exchange bodily fluids, or at least a substitute for them into and out of this nice little vest, so you are as warm as a beach in bermuda during your commute. not to mention ditto with the windshield, if you want to keep seeing out on that frosty morn. Cheap! convenient! Nice complexion!

I strongly feel there is a need for range extending aftermarket products: small ICE trailer supplemental power. Something to give any pure EV a "Volt-ish" range extension.

It could be a very small displacement diesel,gasoline, or propane motor driving a 2to5kw generator. The system could be on a tiny trailer, or small platform connected to a trailer hitch, so as not to have to have to change the car, other than to run a power cord to connect.

2kw is only about 2.5hp of electrical power
5kw is only about 6.5hp of electrical power

So the system would not be expected to be able to range-extend indefinitely, as I am sure even a LEAF uses more than 7hp of electrical power to cruise at speed.

But such a system would work for the story mentioned, or stop-and-go traffic, providing that 'bit more' to have gotten home more comfortably.

The Volt makes way more sense to me here in Wisconsin. In warm months you can make almost any local trip on battery alone and during the cold times the gasoline motor will fire up for heat. Sure you pay a penalty for the weight of the gas motor being hauled around all summer, but what other option do you have? Removable motor?

Maybe a future Volt could have a smaller gasoline motor and a slightly larger battery? The current model has a 1.4L 83hp gasoline engine.

Removable motor?

Yes. In fact, car designs that are a simple frame one adds onto that frame the features they want would allow for not only customisation of the outer "skin" but far simpler repair.

But, build your own auto's would not be able to be crash safety optimized.

Or just buy a Volt already :) Seriously, as much as I hate GM for the crappy cars they've produced in the past, they got the right idea this time around (even though it's an old idea). There's little sense in going all-electric at this point except for marketing reasons.

Both PHEVs and pure EVs make sense, it just depends on your personal usage needs. If you need to drive long distances, the PHEV is the way to go. If you only drive short distances then a pure electric is better since you get rid of the cost, weight, and mechanical complexity of the ICE drive train.

As a second car I imagine a pure EV might make some sense. But again, with batteries being so expensive, it seems like you might get better overall value from a smaller battery coupled to a generator. It need not add that much cost and weight and no complexity at all to the drive train (it could be coupled electrically only and significantly less powerful than the Volt's ICE).

I guess my view is that the "extra battery" that you need to make the pure EV work for enough people is a worse deal than a small generator to cover the occasional need for more range. Or to put it another way: a pure EV will inevitably have more unused battery capacity than a PHEV. Unlike extra fuel in the tank, that extra battery capacity is both expensive to buy and heavy to haul around.

it seems like you might get better overall value from a smaller battery coupled to a generator

Well . . . the Volt has a 16KWH battery & ICE and costs $40K. The Leaf has a 24KWH battery and costs $35K (both before tax-credit). So the PHEV design is more expensive . . . but as which is the better 'value' is a subjective decision. But then again, maybe GM didn't do a good job and others will come out with much less expensive PHEVs. (Actually, that is probably true.)

I think both models are great and it just depends on your specific needs, climate, driving pattern, etc. Both GM & Nissan agree . . . GM has announced the pure EV Spark model and Nissan has announced that they are coming out with PHEVs.

Sounds like a collision, of someone who knows basically nothing about energy (otherwise he'd know the radio consumes only a watt or two), and a machine that doesn't have unlimited capabilities to waste. So he consumed a whole bunch of electrons trying to make the cabin 75F, when a better strategy -even with ICE vehicles is to dress for the weather, and use the heater to avoid window condensation.

I have a Nissan Leaf, and I love it.

I get 4.4 miles per kwh (147 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent), more mileage than advertised. That's over 100 miles range.

In Texas, we don't have the extreme cold of Canada, but we do have plenty of heat: last summer, over 105 F (40 C) every day in Austin. Those figures include plenty of air conditioning, and yes, the Leaf A/C handles the Texas heat very well.

If you have charging at work, almost anybody's commute is in range. And really, it is not wise to live far from work. I figure everyone should live within bicycling distance of work. Bicycling to work is one of the best things you can do for your health.

why do we keep getting that weird price spike in the oil price chart on the Yahoo feed?

Peak oil predictions elevate dubious prophet
I read this on one of the post above. The attack on Foss by this author does not seem to be fair. If the economy was on the mend and there was tons of oil on the market and no climate change on the horizon and no massive amounts of debt by countries that will never be able to pay back...then I would say the author is justified in villifying her and her partner. But the system is by no means stable and could fall at any given day. I don't know why the markets are still up...they should not be but I believe that the game has changed and there is no rhyme or reason to it anymore. I wish things were much better and I know that it is important to be optimistic but alas I am a realist and have not found the cool aide that everyone else is drinking. I believe people like Mike B are doing a disservice to the peak oil argument by saying you said the sky was falling but here we are so you are wrong. It is interesting to study the psychology behind this type of thinking- making predictions about the future will always make critics who say where is it? People want to know the exact time and date of when things are going to happen and it just doesn't work that way.

The banks are up for a day or two, on half a trillion dollars of free money. They are not looking at a ten year growth market in consumer land now days. This new game they are playing requires ever more central bank printing to excite them, for ever shorter periods of time. I smell the end of the plateau coming soon.

Remember: By the very definition of the "oil production/world economy plateau" you would expect more down side risk than upside potential. Therefore, everyone who understands this will not put their chips on the table for very long.

The Trillion Euro Gamble

That’s one trillion, with a ‘T’. Yes, despite repeated denials by the ECB that they won’t ‘print money’ to resolve the region’s debt problems, they have in fact ‘printed’ up close to 1 trillion new euros since the end of June. Adding up the net effect of a complicated series of financial transactions the last few days, the ECB lent out about 340 billion in new euros. However before this week, almost unnoticed by the MSM, as well as many financial professionals, the ECB expanded its balance sheet by 540 euros – plus about 90 billion dollars (the later lent by the US Federal Reserve to the ECB for re-lending by the ECB).

The ECB’s monetary experiment, when combined with the aggressive money ‘printing’ by the US Fed, the Bank of Japan, China, and provisional plans by the IMF to issue new SDRs, signifies we have already entered a new financial era – just that most don’t know it.

Quite likely, the great inflation-deflation debate that has raged in forums such as this for years, will get some clarity in 2012. But perhaps not – in a financial panic almost anything can happen. It is not impossible to have either $30 or $300 oil in chaotic financial market conditions.

"I don't know why the markets are still up...they should not be but I believe that the game has changed and there is no rhyme or reason to it anymore."

IIRC CNBC announced yesterday the ECB was going to "loan money" to the EU banks for three years (Trillions). This effectively makes the ECB the "lender of last resort", as is the Federal Reserve. Whether this "flies" is the question!

Germany may have major objections!!


I believe people like Mike B are doing a disservice to the peak oil argument by saying you said the sky was falling but here we are so you are wrong.

I don't think that's true. He raises a good point - one that many other people are doubtless thinking, too. How are we different from Harold Camping, in the eyes of Joe Public? We aren't. Well, except that Camping admitted he was wrong and apologized.

Mike is not a peak oil denier. I think he criticizes because he does believes peak oil is a serious problem, and cares about how the message is presented.

TAE's focus has been primarily on finance/credit/debt, and Mike ignores the fact that Ilargi and Foss have been more often right than wrong in this respect:

While in continental Europe home prices have held up better, it’s getting increasingly clear that is merely the result of a time lag. The financial mayhem sweeping through the old continent is so severe that many parts of it will be hit much harder still than the US. The more leverage you have, the further and faster you will end up falling.

That was October, 2008 Mike. Where's Europe now? Perhaps you should pay more attention to overall accuracy than cherry picking to make your point; spend less time making the perfect the enemy of the good. Analysis is a tough business these days. Many of us have been proven wrong regarding some of our predictions, especially the timing. This doesn't make us failed "prophets".

I think the only reason he picked on Nicole was that his local paper printed an article about her. His beef is with the way peak oilers in general have presented the issue, not with Nicole or TAE in particular.

His beef is with the way peak oilers in general have presented the issue, not with Nicole or TAE in particular.

The second paragraph of Mike's letter:

The real conundrum is why messages like Foss's persist even after they have been so thoroughly descredited.

To be fair to Mike, the bulk of the letter is in regard to how the original artcle validates Nicole's message as "truth", but he certainly picks a "beef" from the start. I've seen nothing that "thoroughly discredits" Foss' message, though I've called TAE on some blunders in the past, especially Ilargi and his timing predictions. Fairness would dictate an acknowledgement that the TAE crew have often been spot-on, especially regarding Europe and the overall effects that high oil prices have had on economies.

I meant that he has a beef with peak oilers in general, not just TAE. Almost a year ago, he wrote this article, which sparked some interesting discussion. I don't think he mentions TAE, but he does light into Simmons, Savinar, Ruppert, Orlov, Kunstler, Hirsch etc.

The End of The End: How the Peak Oil Movement Failed

"Failed" depends on what one's expectations of the "movement" are. In the sense that thousands, perhaps millions of people have been swayed to change their lifestyles, are as we speak spreading the word, preparing for the inevitable changes coming to our industrial society, I submit that the peak oil movement has been reasonably successful. Any expectations of "changing the world" or causing an about face in how humans exploit the planet, considering the magnitude and momentum of forces opposed to change, are pipe dreams; doomed to failure. It's like expecting that one's choice for President or Prime Minister is going to keep all of his/her campaign promises, no matter how committed they are.

Most of the authors mentioned in the article are concerned with letting folks know what to expect and how to respond, not with saving the world, but like a presidential campaigner, one rarely gets results from "maybes" or "I'll-trys" or "this-may-happens". The level of certainty (projected about one's message) required to be affective always seems to open one's message to an equal level of criticism. Go out on a limb and someone is bound to try and saw it off. If you believe you're right then it's best to hang in there. Nobody listens to a fence sitter or waffler for long.

TAE crew have often been spot-on, especially regarding Europe and the overall effects that high oil prices have had on economies.

*clap* *clap*

At the time the predictions were made, I felt the still-on-TOD predictions of the TAE staff were wrong. Yet - they did get it closer-to-right than I.

The world Americans see around them was built on sub $10 a barrel oil. Unless magik happens to create clean, safe, to cheap to meter energy - the old economic assumptions are in the past. Adjusting to the new reality needs to happen.

His beef is with the way peak oilers in general have presented the issue, not with Nicole or TAE in particular.

I understand his frustration, because I have felt it too. The game of making dire predictions will certainly come back to haunt you if they don't come true, and it might discredit a lot of people in the process. Do that often enough, and opponents need merely to point at the track record to cast doubt on the warnings we are trying to make.

Having said that, it did seem unnecessarily harsh toward Nicole.

opponents need merely to point at the track record to cast doubt

Why hasn't this worked to discredit Yergin right off the airwaves and op-ed pages?

To answer my own question - because the MSM is going to tout whatever they want, regardless of what 'the peak oil movement' says. We are naught but a sideshow, if that, even. So whatever MikeB might have to say about Nicole Foss matters little. No one's listening to the exchange.

(sorry, feeling cynical today...)

But I think you make the right comparison, as well.

Some folks DON'T get taken to task for promising "It's Morning in America".. even decades after their catastrophes have been their legacy.

Why hasn't this worked to discredit Yergin right off the airwaves and op-ed pages?

Because people afford Yergin credibility due to his critically acclaimed book, The Prize. Since he wrote that, people assume he knows what he is talking about. To me, it's like a celebrity endorsement. I couldn't care less which toothpaste a celebrity uses, but it apparently sways many people to buy products associated with people they admire. Yergin has had no accountability from the media as far as I can see due to his bad predictions, and I think that's all about him getting the benefit of the doubt over The Prize.

Yes, thanks. I agree. I have had exactly that exchange with a fellow I know. He's mildly PO aware, but still gives Yergin credence because he read The Prize, and regards it highly. No amount of my pointing out Yergin's poor predictions sways his opinion.

i agree. it's not just the game of making dire predictions, it's the whole malaise of doomerism: a PO view that is more than happy to expound on the inevitability of imminent collapse, but scoffs at the naive fools who suggest we do something practical about it.

True, the frustration of individuals is truly understandable - but it doesn't help advocate for resource realism to stand on a pedestal and declare us all dead. that's just self aggrandizement: "We're doomed, I said it first".

Do you have any idea how people respond when you even suggest alternative modes of living? With a fury, that's how. Try it. Suggest to as many people as possible that they should take up gardening and use a bicycle to get around. See how far you get. Or try convincing Republicans to vote for Democrats, or Democrats to vote for Republicans. Or try convincing suburban people to move to the city, or city people to move to the boondocks.

People don't want to hear it! "Don't tell me what to do" "You're a snob" "I've got a job to get to" "I like my SUV and like taking trips to Florida every year" are the typical responses and attitudes.

There's the rub. My doomerism is not animated merely by knowledge of peak net energy and the population bubble. It's also animated by human psychology, inertia of sociopolitical structures, examples of civilizational collapse throughout history, etc.

Anybody who considers it deeply, even for a few minutes, will conclude that we're screwed, and the best response is preparation. They will not attempt to convince anybody of anything, but they will be more than willing to share with people who are interested, and to seek solace amongst those who get it. That's simply the best we can do.

Anybody who considers it deeply, even for a few minutes, will conclude that we're screwed, and the best response is preparation. They will not attempt to convince anybody of anything, but they will be more than willing to share with people who are interested, and to seek solace amongst those who get it. That's simply the best we can do.

That's a wrap - that's it in a nutshell, in a bottle, wrapped up with ribbons and bows. That is exactly the place I am in, we're screwed, in the process of preparing, not trying to convince others, but there for those that get it.

You can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink, anymore than you can take a rattle away from a baby and expect it not to cry, or take a Range Rover away from a suburbanite readying for a trip to wherever. Once that person has gotten use to certain luxuries, do not even broach the topic of them some day not having those luxuries. Human consciousness is not even close to being ready to make adjustments on the downward leg. It's obvious those adjustments will have to be forced upon the populace in a harsh manner.

Can you imagine though just how tough it will be for those use to a littany of luxuries, a lineage of generations experiencing ever softer and pampered living conditions to suddenly be thrown out into the tough existence of subsistence living? Incremental changes are one thing, but a sudden major drop in living conditions will be wrought with masses of people that are in the worst mood imaginable. Tread softly as you pass them for if you jar them out of their solemn stupor, you may find it a truly unpleasant experience.

You don't have to convince anybody. You convince yourself and make the changes in your life. That's motivation. I've found people to be overwhelmingly positive when I talk about changes I've made with respect to lowering my energy requirements and I've had more than a few productive conversations that created another couple of gardeners (and one biker). But you can't convince anybody until you are convinced yourself. You become proof that the changes can be made and they can positively impact your life.

Everybody seems to worry about "how do we "convince" the masses?" Be convinced and the masses will follow. Its a better life. I have around $300 a month extra discretionary income from minimizing driving, easy benefit to talk about. I eat organic vegetables almost year round for nothin' (gardening inputs, a little upfront, a lot on the backend) and my skin and hair look great. I lost a ton of weight from biking. I meet awesome women who are in to environmental issues through local food coops and farmers markets. I work remotely and live simply. Its great and the response to my lifestyle choices generally resembles envy initially.

Do I feel some sense of moral purity or somesuch, sometimes, but thats not the selling point. The selling point is a minimal impact life leads to a materially better and more resilient life.

Good for you brizzadizza for setting a good example. My wife and I went vegan about a year ago, but kick ourselves for not figuring out much earlier the health benefits, like you say of better skin tone and hair, not to mention better blood flow and other health benefits. Have fun chasing them foxes!

i understand.

knock knock
who's there?
Peak Oil
Peak oil who?
exactly, now go about your business

ok, that's not good, but just sayin', where are all the PO jokes around here?

A Peak Oiler and a Doomer walk into a bar.
The Peak Oiler orders a shot of ethanol, straight up.
The Doomer asks for methanol.

Query: Who made the better choice?

Well ethanol has more energy content per volume and drinking methanol would not be very healthy, however...

Though there are some Peak Oilers who are not Doomers, basically they are one and the same thing.

Ron P.

His beef .... not with Nicole or TAE in particular.

No, it seems to be personal for some reason.

"Peak Oil" is subject to a broad definition space. Could the executive staff of TOD come to an agreement on what "Peak Oil" means? How about the top 100 posters on TOD?

Come on eric. You've been around here long enough to know the answer. Literally speaking, Peak Oil is the highest momentary volume of oil (crude + condensate) production in aggregate for a given region. We have a well documented model in the case of the ~1971 US peak and subsequent decline. The big one now is the world. The arguments around here are mostly regarding sources and validity of production data, choice of time frames and methodologies of averaging to plot the curve, etc. Generally understood that we won't really know when it was until we "see it in the rearview mirror". Also I think generally accepted that we are around there now and that from a distance it looks like an "undulating plateau" phase that we entered around 2005.

Literally speaking, Peak Oil is the highest momentary volume of oil (crude + condensate) production in aggregate for a given region.

But that avoids the whole issue of money tied to a production peak.

And, like it or not, the TAE folks were making that connection for quite some time.

Many of us have been proven wrong regarding some of our predictions, especially the timing. This doesn't make us failed "prophets".

Every day I look at the stock market and wonder is it going to collapse today. We have be teetering on the edge of a complete financial collapse for a few years now. I wonder if there will come a day when I think "Whew! We made it past that" or "Aha! I see how the system works and I think the central banks can muddle through anything." If so, then I will firmly be in Leanan/Greer's camp in regards to the future.

"Aha! I see how the system works and I think the central banks can muddle through anything."

Physical limits to growth will will require 'robbing Peter to pay Paul', which is exactly what we've been seeing, especially in the US and Europe; "muddling through", if that's what you want to call it. This strategy (tragedy?) may work for a while longer, though I'm convinced that it won't result in anything most of us will recognize as a "recovery". Too many humans, not enough real stuff.

As for Greer vs. Foss, while their opinions regarding how thing will play out may differ somewhat, their advice is quite similar: Change your expectations, reduce your exposure to the global money machine, keep things local, invest in 'real' goods, avoid debt, nurture appropriate skills and social connections, do these things NOW. Foss, expecting deflation, goes on to recommend holding cash. This body of advice, IMO is valid regardless of whether the collapse is gradual or sudden; plan for the worst. They certainly don't disagree that massive, fundamental change is occuring. "Wait and see" is a fool's plan at this point. Trying to 'time the market' to maximize returns is a pure gamble, especially these days. How these peak everything pundits choose to motivate their audience is an artifact of their personalities. Shattering cognitive dissonance is their common goal.

Leanan and Mike seemed to be more concerned about stampeding the herd or turning folks off to the message, concerned about "damaging the reputation of the movement", when the vast majority of people aren't paying attention and never will. Hoping to create massive social and political change at this point is naive at best, IMO. Save the ones you can. Diverting 7 billion humans from their current self-destructive path ain't gonna happen :-/

I think that's a decent summary. The best way to help others and to promote change is to change yourself, and be the change you wish to see. I had the word "simply" wedged in that sentence, but it is only simple in concept.

Prudence would seem to dictate that we prepare for the cliff and hope for the staircase descent. But then prudence would seem to dictate that we not risk continuing to pump co2 into the atmosphere and find an alternative way.

All things considered, I would say lack of prudence is evident here. Considering the stakes it is alarming.

"Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst."
English Proverb

Best hope for hoping.


I don't think I'm really in any camp, though it's looking more and more to me like "the Greater Depression" is the most likely scenario. I still think there's a chance for the Mad Max and technocopia extremes, though smaller than I used to think.

But I do wonder...how long does BAU (more or less) continue before we start accepting that maybe, we're wrong? Eventually, we have to re-think our positions in the face of reality...don't we? What would it take? Some here have been waiting for the collapse since the last energy crisis, 30 years ago. What if in another 30 years, we're still waiting?

As a confirmed "doomer", I doubt that BAU will continue for 30 more years, but so what if it does? If my family continues its current preparatory path to maximum self-sufficiency, the worst that can happen is that we will be consuming food and other resources we produce for ourselves. Even considering the hard work involved, would that be so terrible?

On the other hand, if we assume BAU for three more decades and do not prepare, we risk losing everything, including our lives, should economic collapse come early. It is better for everyone to prepare thirty years too early than one day too late.

I wasn't talking about practicalities, so much as the intellectual angle. People like to call peak oil a cult, with a belief in collapse no different from the way others believe in The Rapture. Why is peak oil not a religion? Because if we get different information, we change our minds. Or so I would hope. So what data would it take to change your mind?

Saying there's no harm in continuing to believe is ducking the issue, IMO. Like those who say you should believe in god...just in case. Since there's no harm if it turns out there is no god.

Unfortunately you would have to show that infinite growth was possible, that oil is an everlastingly cheap resource and doesn't hurt the environment when burnt and that consumerism and crippling debt is good for you.

What's truly amazing is that i'm being deeply sarcastic, yet all these things have been pushed through the MSM as true. And that's the thing. You won't change my mind because to do so i would have to swallow hook line and sinker that "other information" which has already been shown to be patently, demonstrably false.

But isn't that a different position than what is being discussed? You can accept all of the above without necessarily accepting its the end of civilization and TSWSHTF (WS=Will Soon). The question to the doomer becomes; "What would convince you that the world is not about to come to a screeching halt?" If nothing will convince the doomer of at least the possibility of a different outcome, than the belief is of a religious nature. That's not necessarily bad, but call a spade a spade and realize its not a necessarily rational scientific belief (though it could absolutely still be correct.)

Then, my country following a plan that has some chance of working. If you ain't got a plan that doesn't involve miracles. You ain't got a plan.

...and no. Kicking a can is not a plan.

So what data would it take to change your mind?

The same kind of data that convinced me in the first place. I wasn't looking for peak oil, I was doing market research. But the data grabbed my attention. If something changes to significantly move those supply/demand graphs, I'd revise my estimates. But we're talking mega scale, and a matter of months at this point. Even if the majority of folks were aware and concerned it would be like trying to turn a glacier.

I suppose it's possible that massive new elephant fields could be discovered, or perhaps scads of big-enough fields. I give that low odds. We probably turn the corner within the next 24 months. By far the bigger uncertanties come from the worlds of finance, politics, and an emotionally reacting population. I'm no expert in those subjects but I think it's safe to predict destructive volatility, an outraged populace, and stupid political extremism. I'm trying to do a whole lot better than that by studying up and drawing some boundaries around it, with much excellent input from TOD. I have no illusions about my crystal ball but it's sho nuff looking like fustercluck city from here.

The next step up in uncertainty is what to do about it. Of course that depends on your expectations. For that I am developing a variety of scenarios ranging from muddling through to really bad. I'm sifting through judging the most likely scenarios and will plan for those, with some hedge for less likely events. Looking around the world in places like Pakistan and Iraq we can see that cities and states can hang together under extreme pressures. Mad Max is low odds. But there's a whole lot of gritty getting by short of that.

Then you go to a party and chat with your neighbors and it just sounds nuts, doesn't it. The US hasn't screwed up that bad in living memory. It's natural to want a sanity check from the crowd. But consider history. What did the headlines look like leading up to previous crashes? I've seen the study right here on TOD; same as always but with steadily increasing volatility. All the true causes were clearly outlined in numerous news articles of the day. They were just buried in the eternal landslide of other noise, is all. And a crash is by definition a shock to most folks. So you can't rely on the herd or the news to sound the alarm.

What else is there? The data. With many well vetted supply curves nosing over, and equally authoritative demand curves headed upward, it doesn't take an MBA to see we're not going to have an economic recovery. Not when available oil imports will be dropping by 5% or more per year, and not at $100/barrel.

A true survey of doubts requires one more stop. Am I just enjoying being a doomer? That one's tough. I have made great efforts to purge my mind of all zombie apocolypse movies or any kind of satisfaction from being right. I also strive to make myself look for more positive forecasts just to see if maybe I'm missing something. But so far nothing has panned out to change the big picture. And really just this once I'd love to be flat wrong.

At some point you've got to trust the numbers on your calculator or just give up trying to think about the future at all. Easy enough to say, but of course I still take a big gulp when I have to lay down real money on it. Going forward it's important to keep your head up and keep planning. Your plans are a tool that needs sharpening once in awhile.

If someone built a fusion reactor or found out an easy way to extract Hydrogen from water. I'd go to the other side immediately

If someone built a fusion reactor or found out an easy way to extract Hydrogen from water. I'd go to the other side immediately

Gotta be careful with our language. Someone will demonstrate a fusion reactor. But a practical fusion reactor is a much much more difficult target. Its easy to extract hydrogen from water, I played with electrolysis in my basement as a teenager. Doing it both energy and economically efficiently is a different matter.

Perhaps it would be better to be living, rather than waiting. There will be plenty of events, but mostly collapse is going to be journey, longer than our lives. Lots of change, but without beginning or end.

I wonder how long it will continue to play out on a more or less individual basis, that is, end of BAU for those who have lost good jobs and can't find new ones vs. BAU continues for those still employed? This effect is somewhat muted due to the more or less perpetual unemployment benefits available now as well as other "safety net" factors still in effect. On a deeper level though it just seems like whatever "recovery" we supposedly have had since 2008 has been bought and paid for on credit, with massive debt added into the system since the original financial convulsion.

But I do wonder...how long does BAU (more or less) continue before we start accepting that maybe, we're wrong?

The answer is really quite simple. When crude oil production starts heading up and up as predicted by the cornucopians, we will just have to admit we were wrong. But if it starts heading down and down like we predicted then we will know we were right. As long as it stays on this plateau... we will just wait.

But I think the chances that peak net exports is in the past is pretty convincing. And as far as the West is concerned, that is peak oil.

Also, what we have been experiencing since 2008 in no way can be considered business as usual. Like Greer said, what does peak oil look like? Well, just take a look around you.

Ron P.

What we have now is 96% business as usual (the 4% is for the "extra" unemployed). Yes, this is what peak oil looks like, but not like what will happen on the down-slope. Our Wylie moment is nigh; we are past the edge of the cliff, our legs are pumping without any forward progress, but we haven't started to fall yet. Most folks don't even know to look down.

When crude oil production starts heading up and up as predicted by the cornucopians, we will just have to admit we were wrong.

I think that's a red herring. There's little dispute that peak oil will happen eventually. Having oil production increase would not disprove peak oil - it would just mean the peak is not here yet.

No, the point of dispute - what separates the peak oilers from the rest - is what we expect to be the effects of peak oil. It's the gas stations dry, store shelves empty, Mad Max predictions that I'm talking about.

And I think what we've seen so far is very much BAU. Several years ago, a test of BAU emerged from discussions here: are people more concerned about peak oil or the Super Bowl? If the latter, it's still BAU.

Of course Leanan, peak oil will eventually come, that's just common sense and was not my point. Is peak oil immanent, in the next few years, that was the time frame I had in mind.

No, the point of dispute - what separates the peak oilers from the rest - is what we expect to be the effects of peak oil. It's the gas stations dry, store shelves empty, Mad Max predictions that I'm talking about.

No, I totally disagree with that. Peak oil deniers don't believe that peak oil will be here in this century. They believe peak oil will not happen in their lifetime. Even though most deniers would not deny that peak oil will eventually arrive. They believe, as Mike Lynch put it, there is no peak in sight.

What you describe is the debate among peak oilers. There are peak oil doomers, like myself, and peak oilers who believe we will actually do okay with the aid of electricity, like Alan.

Ron P.

Peak oil deniers don't believe that peak oil will be here in this century. They believe peak oil will not happen in their lifetime.

The latter might be true, for older people anyway. But many "deniers" do expect peak oil within this century (2040 is a number often bandied about), or even think it's in the rear-view mirror. They just don't think it will be a problem. The stone age didn't end because we ran out of stones.

What you describe is the debate among peak oilers.

I disagree. Yes, there's a debate among peak oilers, but that's not what I'm talking about.

It's pretty much mainstream, the idea that we will have to leave fossil fuels eventually. That's the reason for the interest in mileage taxes, for example. How do we continue to pay for roads if cars are no longer consuming fuel and paying fuel taxes?

I would say that's too much BAU even for optimistic types. Alan wants to replace personal cars with public transportation, not find new ways to fund more highways. Even those who think we will all be happily driving solar-powered cars in 2040 are concerned that the transition might be difficult or disruptive, or they wouldn't bother hanging out here.

I think the whole issue is worth a separate thread, or a series of them.

Now that we are firmly past peak light sweet crude, at least, what have we gotten wrong and what have we gotten right.

One thing most of us got wrong was thinking the price would continue to climb. Here the economists were right in their dismal way--prices crashed because of 'demand destruction' which meant that a whole lot of people became unemployed so they either didn't need as much gas, or couldn't afford it. A better prediction would have been (and still is) that gasoline will become unaffordable to more and more people. But that holds more for the US and some other 'developed' countries. In developing countries, people are getting a lot of utility out of a little bit of even expensive oil--delivering you goods by moped can more than double your distribution range over delivery by bike, and many more times than by foot. So it becomes economical to make that jump. In developed countries, on the other hand, we are dealing with diminishing returns on marginal improvements.

Another thing we got wrong and the economists had (kind of) right, was the issue of substitutability--the heavier and sourer grades took up much of the slack as light sweet peaked, and now muck like tar sands is starting to fill in as the heavy sour stuff flattens and declines. In our defense, few on any front thought that prices would get and stay this high, so it didn't seem reasonable to think they would be economical to exploit. And the EROEI looked so bad that it didn't seem logical to develop it. But, as rock repeatedly reminds us, such logical factors as EROEI play essentially no role in decisions of resource extraction.

But look, while it's not quite mad max, the post peak world is not particularly pretty for a large and growing segment of the population, especially in the US. It recently came out that half of Americans are poor or low income. I can't imagine that any American who took our advice to get out of debt, gain skills, grow at least some of your own food...is regretting it if they are now among the less well off--or even if they have not yet been dramatically impacted.

And a good argument can be made that the political convulsions in the Middle East, particularly in Egypt, are due to the brutal logic of the Export Land Model. Of course, over-population (itself fostered by oil revenues) played a role, as did the probably-AGW-influenced drought in Russia that kept wheat from that major source from getting to Egyptian markets at any price, Egypt being the largest importer of wheat. But it is likely no coincidence that these disruptions occurred just as Egypt was losing its income from oil due to the confluence of falling production and rising domestic use so well laid out in ELM. I see now that KSA is throwing free oil at Yemen in a desperate attempt to keep the same from happening there.

Anyway, as this over-long post shows, there is more to be discussed on this important topic than random entries in a drumbeat can cover, imvho. Does one have to formally present a main post to get a thread devoted to a topic like this?

One thing most of us got wrong was thinking the price would continue to climb.

*clap* *clap*

Show of hands who didn't get this "right"?

But many "deniers" do expect peak oil within this century (2040 is a number often bandied about), or even think it's in the rear-view mirror. They just don't think it will be a problem. The stone age didn't end because we ran out of stones.

I think that's it exactly. People will tell me "Of course oil production will peak, but it's not going to be a big deal because we are going to become more and more efficient and we are developing all of these alternatives."

yes i have heard this argument before as well...that and the U.S is a net exporter of oil

not going to be a big deal because we are going to become more and more efficient and we are developing all of these alternatives.

With simple minded non math logic, that can't be denied, since we are becoming more efficient, and developing alternatives. Its just that rates of change matter. The rates of oil depletion, and of technological change determine whether the transition will be a piece of cake, or be a catastrophe. But most people hated math -especially calculus which is about "rates of change", so the simple presence is sufficient to convince them. And my biased view, is that if we were making a determined effort those rates of change would be great enough. Its just that we are only making quarter hearted efforts at them.

No, the point of dispute - what separates the peak oilers from the rest - is what we expect to be the effects of peak oil. It's the gas stations dry, store shelves empty, Mad Max predictions that I'm talking about.

I think "Peak Oiler" beliefs form a spectrum, or curve, and do not fit nicely into two or three boxes (non-doomer, doomer, etc).

The "effects" are very bad now on the peak - let's see what the effects are like as production declines.

And I think what we've seen so far is very much BAU...

I think we have seen a Grossly Modified Form of BAU.

Look at all of the contortions going on in the financial system - suspension of accounting rules, CDS Frauds that is used to hide liabilities and never expected to pay off, "threats" of going back to the "16th century" from financial leaders if we fail certain bailouts... half the population "poor," extremely volatile markets moved by rumors of defaults or rescues... etc, etc

WTHeck kind of BAU is that ???

The slowly boiled frogs said what ???

(edited to tone down frustration)

My thirty-something children live in cities on the mainland. They are both engineers with good jobs. My son and I were talking about how we will know when BAU is finished, at least for him, and that he should bring his family back "home" to rural Hawaii for good.

I suggested that either of two events would be good markers: 1) He loses his job and cannot find any other no matter how long and hard he looks; 2)There enough civil unrest so that it dangerous to leave home to go shopping.

One can imagine numerous other markers to match individual circumstances, but I think the most definitive society-wide marker will be the population decline that occurs when the death rate exceeds the birth rate.


I think it was Gen. Colin Powell who said, "sometimes you have to make decisions with only 60% of the information you think you need - if you wait for 100% conformation, you're usually too late." (paraphrase)

For some reason, in the back of my mind, I always hear anne frank's diary, "why didn't you get us out of here when we still had time!!!" (another paraphrase).

This frog feels toasty enough already ;)

edit - another quote comes to mind,

"It takes at least 10 years to learn how to live (a very different lifestyle...)"

Paraphrase Kogan Murata

Aloha Snarlin,

Regarding your excellent point about making a decision before it's too late... My son told me, "Yeah Dad, but if things are really falling apart, how do I get to Hawaii?" I told him I thought we could tell enough in advance whether airplane transportation would end soon. I hope I was right.

Some very hard, decisive and dramatic decisions will be imposed on most of us sooner than we'd like. I wonder how many people will have the courage to make them.

The evidence from other crises is mixed. Some people are able to walk away from their old lives with nothing but the clothes on their backs and jump into a new life with remarkable success. Some don't really have a chance. But for those that do, most just wait a little too long. If Mr. Frog jumps out of the pot he may or may not land in the fire, but if he stays....

"If Mr. Frog jumps out of the pot he may or may not land in the fire, but if he stays...."

Yes, as my older brother used to say, "Feel froggy? - leap!" and then he would punch me either way ;)

I think those who have simple needs and no wants will have a better time of it than the rest of us.

If it's that bad, he might be better off not going home.

No transportation to Hawaii would be devastating. The population is several times what it was when they were up against Malthusian limits when Capt. Cook "discovered" the islands. Even the Big Island, among the least populated areas, has double the population it had when resource limits drove Kamehameha to conquer the other islands.

If you can't get there, you can't get away, either.

Indeed snarlin, there is a different kind of BAU.
And last Friday the IMF chief warned over 1930s-style threats.


Top stories

Financial Times: The managing director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, has warned that the global economy faces the prospect of “economic retraction, rising protectionism, isolation and . . . what happened in the 30s [Depression]”, as European tensions again flared over suggestions in Paris that the UK’s credit rating should be downgraded before France’s.

Financial Times: Large European lenders are unlikely to buy more sovereign debt using the three-year loans on offer from the European Central Bank from next week, say bankers...

Financial Times: A draft prospectus prepared for the latest eurozone bail-out instruments includes explicit warnings to investors that the euro could break apart or even cease to be a “lawful currency” entirely; the European Financial Stability Facility is debating whether the “risk factors” should be included in the final version.

Hmmmm BAU ???

Looking at a small segment of a society, like the construction industry in Japan, we can see how BAU is being transformed by peak oil. For a long time, from the end of WWII until the 1980s, the construction industry in Japan pretty much expanded "naturally" as the growth of the economy allowed expansion.
Then the bubble popped (the credit bubble) and then the government took over to allocate a lot (not all) of the financial resources and make decisions and fund the construction industry. OK, the government funded lots of projects, the highways to nowhere, and so forth, to keep BAU going. Pumping money into the companies, they could support employment, etc.

What doesn't get seen is that the government itself is using its powers to make sure that it gets its allocation of food, money, resources even while others (unsuccessful ones in private industry, people restructured, etc.) go without. The government becomes the "go to" man for help in the context of crisis, such as occured with the bubble bursting (the bubble was itself another response to crisis, also caused by oil diminishing).

So BAU keeps changing, slowly, bit by bit, but the government keeps using its powers to make sure that BAU doesn't change too fast...and in the meantime the government makes sure that it itself gets an allocation of food and money.

So we can expect more of this, I think, with BAU changing slowly while the government says "look how we are helping YOU!"---of course, they are helping....but they are also making sure that they themselves will stay in place and get fed. I am not anti-government, by the way...I think it's pretty much the way things function...

So if there are few cars around one day, we can expect that they will belong to the government. The government will have food and cars....they will use it to help us ordinary folks, while, of course, they get their margin so that they can function, eat, etc.

To me, Pi, that really does sum up The Conspiracy in a nutshell.

But I do not think it goes so smoothly from here on out.


"And I think what we've seen so far is very much BAU."


I'm as surprised as most hard core doomers are at the ability of the system to kick the can down the road. But I don't think that constitutes any evidence that we are in for a slow collapse. I think this is just the calm before the storm.

I think this is just the calm before the storm.

That's a reasonable view. My question is, how long does the calm last before you give up on the storm? If the calm is still ongoing 50 years from now, do you start considering that maybe there will be no storm?


No "Children of Men" for you? I'm leaning more for something like "The Road"...

Really...I think its hyped (doom and gloom) too much on these forums. I still remember over on the other PO forum about some dude who was running into the tropical rainforest to hide (this was like 6 years ago). I wonder if he ever came out?
As long as we can keep a police force, food supply intact (it really doesn't require that much oil...the US does pump 5+ million barrels, has coal, has natural gas, has nuclear, has wind turbines, etc). Things will get bad, no doubt about it. Being "poor" is going to be very common (no vacations, no trips, no extras, no 5 LED Plasma 3D tv;s, no new cars every 8 months, no prostitutes, etc. Commuting has to be reigned in (probably through massive job losses). Welfare will be the norm (it already is). Maybe we'll start making shoes again in this country?

Odd! Surely you folks know that global warming ain't waiting? It's speeding up. Oil up, oil down, chinese buying, not buying, big discoveries of this and that- that CO2 just keeps billowing up and up and up. And its consequences, faster and faster. Who is wrong?

A few years ago, someone posted a "Goodbye, forum" message at PeakOil.com. They had decided that climate change was a far larger and more immediate danger than peak oil, and wanted to spend their time on climate change-related sites instead.

At the time, I thought that was silly. Peak oil was surely going to be a more disruptive and immediate problem than climate change.

Now, I'm not so sure.

There is quite a menu to choose among:
Pervasive economic collapse
Wide-spread states of war
A loss of agricultural productivity
Spontaneous or engineered plagues
Further adventures in irrationality, like Mao
Big Surprise (Asteroid, Hawking's aliens, Cthulhu)
...may happen well before peak oil.

There are positives, too:
Slowly creeping green energy development
Continuing trickles of oil discovery
Economic decline causing less oil demand
The kids step away from consumption economics
Sudden rationality

I still like this image:

North Korean Heavenly Leader needs only energy, finance, the military, and those industries supporting the military. This is the end-game of the concentration of wealth and of fascism. Look how wealth and good fortune trickles down to the little people.

Synergy may be defined as two or more things functioning together to produce a result not independently obtainable. Synergy works both ways; negative synergy has been referred to as dysynergy, where the total of the negative effects is greater than the sum of the individual negatives, often seen in individuals with multiple medical maladies. A person with a heart condition may be treatable. Toss in diabetes, perhaps a bit of cancer, maybe a mental condition (depression perhaps), the whole becomes effectively untreatable. The best one can do is treat the symptoms, numb the pain. Poor circulation and chemical imbalances work together to inhibit the body's defenses, allowing the cancer (and/or depression, or heart condition, etc.) to progress. Feedback loops and cascade failure.

Considering peak oil (energy) and other resources, climate change, hyper complexity in human systems (political, financial, social, infrastructure), ecological degradation in virtually all planetary systems, political instability and ineptness, high levels of denial, low levels of awareness and an inability to change en mass (social/cultural inertia) in an exponentially expanding population ... I could go on,, the potential for collapse is high, virtually unavoidable, IMO. Perhaps I underestimate human resourcefulness, but only inertia, resourcefulness and an amazing resilience has brought us this far. This too has limits.

Maybe we'll all decide to just get along and cooperate, though it's clear to me we're just treating symptoms, with mostly negative effects. The disease will run its course. Nature rules.

How long do I have Doc?

Nice summation.

How long do I have Doc?

- How long do I have Doc?
- Ten.
- Ten what? Weeks, years??
- Three... two... one...

I think, if you by any chance do underestimate human resourcefulness, then it's only human resourcefulness of doing mischief. Cuz I don't think there is a limit to that. :P

But seriously, till now we had [always more and more] energy available for resourcefulness to run rampant. We could invent new things and even build them, as we had means to do so. But how will this work, if there's less and less energy..? Can some bright engineer make me a solar panel from two wooden sticks 10 inches long? Or a jet airliner? Using just a dull knife, pleeeease..? *innocent puppy eyes*

I think the problem is with the meaning of word "resourcefulness" and what we imagine when we hear it. We probably associate it with building bigger plasma TVs, faster computers, hypercars, bigger tablets that will consume fraction of energy they do today and be 100-times more powerful at the same time. Well, this kind of resourcefulness might very well come to an end, but resourcefulness how to survive, how to produce your own food might have its renaissance. :)

Resume: I agree with you, Ghung. I'm not sure either, whether we'll decide to just get along and cooperate, but after the disease ran it's course some of us will [probably] find the resourcefulness to survive. Where and how many...? Well, that's a whole 'nother story. And not the pretty one I suppose... :-S

There is this familiar assumption in our Energy Spoiled culture that 'Luxury is the Mother of Invention', and that the coming 'Necessity' will deprive us of that critical ingredient in order to come up with new tools and approaches.

How it can work, with less and less energy, but with a Nation full of Mid to High Energy Junk, and a lot of people desperate to solve these problems, is that the tinkerers will have lots of material to work from. A bright engineer can make a solar panel from scraps of wood and old storm windows. I know you meant the 'other' kind of solar panel, but that's where we need to be more flexible with our expectations.. (because if EROEI means something to you, think of the potential Net Energy coming from 'Low Grade' solar heating equipment made from pre-owned source materials, as well as the sheer volume of such material around this country that could be applied to this direction)

Mirrors, similarly, might regain their status of imbuing 7 years (is that an EROEI reference??) of bad luck when broken, since their ability to multiply sunlight into multiples of it's nominal concentration is a HIGHLY valuable opportunity, and it is available to anyone who would bother to scoop up a bunch of cast off chipped and cornered mirrors, while they are still showing up on Garbage days...

Of course, the considerable challenge of user-level 'DIY' PV is exactly why I am such an advocate of getting what we can manufactured and set up in PV while we still have a robust industrial system to provide it. Getting my own Water Heating, Space Heating, Insulation, even Wind and Hydro Power are things I can make considerable progress on right at home, with little more than a good solid-waste stream, and a little shop space. PV, and the extraordinarily flexible value of a bit of electric power, particularly in the highly transportable (and stashable) form of Photovoltaics is one of the 'Table Scraps' of the industrial age that carries a utility value and a durability that is hard to appreciate from this side of the 'Oil Veil' .. (Of course, if you have access to a bunch of E-waste, you can make a Poor-man's PV out of Green LEDs.. so I hear.)


Something Greer mentioned this morning ("Tweedledoom and Tweedledee" - cute) reminded me that, as we discuss whether a collapse will be swift or protracted, we in the west especially, have been blowing this all inclusive bubble (growing these tumors) for decades (centuries?). Like slowly growing tumors, it hasn't been noticed for most of this time. When the small aches and pains began to manifest themselves we humans treated the pain in many ways, masking it and distracting ourselves via technological substance abuse, diverting our attention with meaningless trivialities. The mass has been rendered comfortably numb. Once these minor growths began to combine, affecting critical systems and becoming quite evident, the physician can no longer heal itself, realizing that this condition is beyond benign. Denial can no longer mask that systems are failing. While this process has been slow and insidious, realization is relatively swift.

Of course, this analogy has a flaw. Unlike the human body, our society is a collective of semi-autonomous individuals and groups. Those who heeded the warnings may have an opportunity to limit the damage, empowering themselves and others to survive what is likely a hopeless condition for most. Many "physicians" these days are offering up prescriptions for this process, no two exactly the same, so it is important for each group and individual to adopt the course of treatment best suited to their condition. Avoid quacks, snake oil salesmen and faith-based healers. You'll likely only have one shot at this...

Best hopes for a partial recovery.

"how long does BAU (more or less) continue"

The "more or less" is the key point. BAU shifts steadily in any case. Even without peak anything, BAU would keep moving around. Wikipedia killed Britannica just as one recent example. Have you been down to the record store to buy an LP lately? (As I'm listening to Brenda Lee on iTunes, no less). Remember cassette tapes? And broadcast TV here ended in 2004. The digital stations can't reach as far, and no one put up new translators, as the EM spectrum the translators used to use was sold for another purpose. BAU changed again, literally with the flipping of a switch.

BAU is more flexible than it gets credit for. The catch is it changes slowly, a step at a time. It is not resilient to sudden shocks. So an oil embargo mangled half of the 1970's economy, as did a price spike to 5 times the previous price in 2008. Given 4 years to adapt, now $100 oil is sustainable at least in terms of maintaining GDP.

Collapse could happen, but it's not likely. Windmills are roughly competitive with new coal plants, Solar PV is not far behind, and we have functional electric cars appearing already. BAU in energy in 2030 will look much different than today.

Right. That's all just fine. As a born gadget maker, I am solidly behind human flexibility as a real force in the world, But once again, that CO2 just keeps a-going, faster and faster-one way- up. Human discomfort at higher cost of oil is NOTHING in comparison to the threat to the entire biosphere from warming.

Only way out, from my view, is about 3 million heat deaths over a week end in the USA southwest from some confluence of balefulness. This might wake us up to do what we need to do--maybe.

MikeB wrote:

Foss predicted in no uncertain terms that the stock market would top out at 10,000 points in the Fall of 2009 and then decline precipitously.

I read TAE regularly and I don't believe Nicole ever said this. What she said is to expect a rally off the March 09 lows that will last about six months. The rally ended up lasting 2 1/2 years before it ended this past fall. Since then the Dow has been bouncing around between 10,600 and just over 12,000 but haven't reached the recent highs of this past July. Investor psychology is hard to predict. People seize on any piece of "good" news to stage a small rally like yesterday but then it falls back as reality sinks in like today. We are just waiting now for some really bad news like collapse of the EU or attack on Iran for the long anticipated market collapse to occur.

It seems to be human nature for us to want to discredit the doomsayers but its pretty obvious that they are going to be right in the end.


Two things about Mike B.:

1. He does not want to believe there will be catastrophic consequences (e.g. "hardcore doom").
2. He is very frustrated with the uncertainty of our situation.

"Predictions," are based on "hypotheses," (models) and usually come with certain assumptions and probabilities.

If the prediction is wrong, it does not mean the entire hypothesis is wrong.

Mike seems to believe the whole hypothesis (Nicole's "overall message") is "discredited" because a specific prediction based on that hypothesis was wrong. But that is not how it works.

A few weeks ago when the Higgs particle did not show up in the highest probability (expected/predicted) energy ranges did science say, "No Higgs!" ??? No, they continue to explore the model, and refine their "predictions."

Is Nicole's model of the financial system accurate? How would you modify it?

This was my comment over at the site.. (just to have the conversation here, if possible..)

Bob Fiske's picture

Jeez, Mike. I think sensible people do know that predictions are inherently guesses, and people do their best. You might have been able to say she and Ilargi were 'Thoroughly Discredited' if we were in some kind of flush or even stable Global Economic shape today, or were headed for the same, but it's pretty clear that there is just some Fantastic Debt and Energy Turmoil going on all over the Globe, with some of this activity clearly starting at the '08 price run-up in Crude. Getting the DJI or the Crude Barrel Price wrong is mistaking some of the symptoms, but not the core disease or the seriousness of it, IMO. As so much is breaking on Europe's shores while we speak, I think it is you who are being a bit ambitious with your admonishments.

I was there. Nicole gave a very reasonable presentation, while sure, her predictions would fairly be classed as a 'Worst Case' run on the numbers.. but if the climate developments are any indicator in how we make plans around massive global issues, where these Sea Ice numbers are declining in acceleration beyond many of the 'worst case' models, it's not really irresponsible to look at how any number of serious tipping points might seriously upset our Apple-carts.. while her real conclusion and advice was 'set yourself up with a good local apple network (not the computer..), and make sure you have Apple-carts that don't all need Imported Crude to run'. That's hardly extreme advice, and I haven't heard anyone debunk it in any way that convinces me.



I think the "doom" part comes when the declines in world oil production begin.

A Monster from the Deep

“With relatively little fanfare on the international stage, Lundin Petroleum and Statoil … jointly discovered one of the largest oil fields ever found in the North Sea…

(author -euan - in comments:)

…With global liquids “production” running at 88 mmbpd, and assuming 5% declines (of the world’s oil production), we need to add 4.4 mmbpd new capacity every year to stand still.

So you are right, this one field will offset about 10% of global declines for 1 year. We need to discover about 10 of these every year. In the North Sea, we are (finding) about 1 every 10 years (the last was Buzzard back in 1999 (?)) … ”

The only thing on the horizon that can do any damage is Iraq.
Sectarian tensions boiling into somekind of conflict.

Kazakhstan will likely double their exports to 3.5 mb/d in 2015.
Iraq, under optimal circumstances, could perhaps get to 6 or 7 mb/d in 2020.

And so on.
Peak Oil has been predicted for a long time.
Some say it's here, some say it isn't. But if it's here, how come world supply keeps rising(albeit slowly?).

It's a muddy, messy process. But I think we can conclude that the Apocalypse Now scenarios are out of the window. We'll see something of a long, steady decline.
Something like Europe is now experiencing but on a more global scale. It will keep demand depressed as production can be ramped up.

Peak Oil might actually end up as a precursor to climate change taking off.
Unless nanotechnology gets off the ground, and given the exponential rate of the dropping of prices and processor capacity, I wouldn't rule anything out.

The only thing on the horizon that can do any damage is Iraq . . . But if it's here (Peak Oil), how come world supply keeps rising (albeit slowly?).

The EIA shows that annual global total liquids production, inclusive of low net energy biofuels, increased at 0.5%/year from 2005 to 2010, but global crude oil and total petroleum liquids production have been virtually flat, with a measurable decline in global net oil exports* (GNE decline rate of 1.3%/year from 2005 to to 2010). A link to Saudi numbers, and several "Gap charts" along with some net export projections:


The supply of global net oil exports available to importers other than China & India (ANE) fell at 2.8%/year from 2005 to 2010, versus a 0.5%/year rate of increase in Total Liquids production over the same time frame. I estimate that the 2010 to 2020 rate of decline in ANE will be between 5%/year and 8%/year.

*Top 33 net oil exporters in 2005, BP + Minor EIA data

My complaint about citations of increases in "total liquids" production is that there is a lot of double counting going on. If you take X units of oil-based energy and produce X units of "new" biofuel energy, you should not be allowed to claim that you have produced 2X units of energy. The whole biofuel charade is just an exercise in energy conversion not new energy production. The energy accountants who tabulate "total liquids" statistics should have entries with negative signs that acknowledge "production" which is never available to society because it has been captured by the agro-lobby. Otherwise we will continue to make bad policy as a result of misleading statistics.

That is an interesting observation-however for ethanol most of the energy input is in the form of natural gas much like the tar sands. ( there is a small amount of energy used for the production and transportation of corn). Is there a significant amount of oil used to produce oil/

A little internet research reveals that: tilling, planting, harvesting, transportation of corn requires 12.6 gallons of diesel per acre. This compares with ethanol yield: 372 gallons/acre (2.7 gallons/bushel, 138 bushels/acre). So the direct input of liquid fuel appears to be small. But what about all of the indirect input? For example seed production and delivery, fertilizer production and delivery, herbicide/pesticide production and delivery, employee transportation for all such activities, and on and on. These would be harder to quantify but my conjecture is that when you add up all direct and indirect liquid fuel inputs, it becomes a substantial fraction of the output. And this, of course, does not consider the natural gas input.

Don't get me wrong- I think your observation is very interesting - it may in fact be more valid than EROEI because it will be comparing like with like - how much crude oil do we produce net of the crude oil that was used to produce it. EROEI has a major flaw - if I use natural gas that was going to be flared to produce syn fuel what difference does the EROEI make.

So 372 to 12.6 yields a liquid fuel out to liquid fuel in ratio of 29.5 (ignoring the nat. gas inputs as you point out). BUT, on an energy content basis, ethanol has only 59% the energy content of diesel (see here), so the liquid energy out to liquid energy in ratio is 17.4. Just pointing out that volumetric comparisons miss the significant difference in energy density between different fuels.

There is also a substantial amount of high protein livestock feed left over from the manufacture of corn ethanol.So long as we continue to eat meat, this must be considered in any calculations involving energy losses and gains.

It would probably be very easy to use the distillers leftovers as a primary ingredient in processed food, and some of it may already be used for this purpose.I don't know, as I have never thought to ask until now.

X probably knows.

How about it, X?

Why turn to X when you have David Blume

The average figure I remember, was 10 calories of fossil input per 1 calorie of "food" produced, on average for modern industrial farming...

t's a muddy, messy process. But I think we can conclude that the Apocalypse Now scenarios are out of the window. We'll see something of a long, steady decline.
Something like Europe is now experiencing but on a more global scale. It will keep demand depressed as production can be ramped up.

Really, would you be willing to bet on it? By sinking tons of money into the stock market? It is easy to play poker when you don't have any money on the line but when you realize that we all have money on the line it is scary. I can't put my hope on the people in power that they know what is going on and have solutions to the coming problems. I have met some of these people and know others that have met them and they are not that smart. Hank Paulsen? Larry Summers? Austin Goolsbe? I don't want people to whip silly in fear but come on- there are lots of clouds on the horizon to fear.

But I think we can conclude that the Apocalypse Now scenarios are out of the window.

Come now - plenty of ways to get "Apocalypse Now scenarios".

Nuke escalation of present wars. The long predicted pandemic. Solar mass ejection. Calthrate run-away global warming. (on and on)

Or someone blowing up Ras Tanura. Speculate about the consequences for a while.

Kazakhstan will likely double their exports to 3.5 mb/d in 2015.

I don't think that is likely at all, and it is half a million bp/d more than Kazakhstan says they expect to export in 2015. And you can bet that their expectations are way on the optimistic side.

The last export data the EIA has for Kazakhstan is 2009 when they exported 1.078 mb/d That year they produced 1,455,000 barrels per day. So far this year they have averaged 1,566,000 bp/d or an increase of 111,000 barrels over 2009. So at most they should be exporting about 1.19 mb/d. Double that would put them at about 2.4 mb/d.

However Wikipedia says "Kazakhstan is planning to increase its oil production up to 3.5 million barrels (560,000 m3) of oil a day, of which 3 million will go to export." I think that is extremely unlikely because Kazakhstan is not increasing production all that fast and they don't have that many new projects before 2015.

Ron P.

Oil workers are actually striking (they began in july 2011) in Kazakhstan and 70 are already being killed by police forces with new uniforms with "english words upon" and probably the national oil company used private police and paid "hooligans" to generate the deadly clash.

The workers in Zhanaozen appear to have grown angry when officials began installing holiday decorations for a government-sponsored children’s party, which they felt was a ruse to remove them from the square, witnesses said. Officials said the police were forced to open fire after they came under attack by “hooligans,” some armed with stones and gasoline bombs.

Peak oil means that even if oil is recoverable, men and humanity could be not. Kazakhstan will be maybe never uprise that much his production and exports.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Kazakhstan_clashes
  • http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/russia/111219/kaz...

  • Actually I misread the Wiki article.

    Wikipedia says According to the president Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan is planning to increase its oil production up to 3.5 million barrels (560,000 m3) of oil a day, of which 3 million will go to export. This will lift Kazakhstan into the ranks of the world's top 10 oil-producing nations.[1] According to the former Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Baktykozha Izmukhametov Kazakhstan plans to increase the petroleum output to 150 million tons by 2015.

    150 million tons per year comes to 2.96 mb/d. Round that off to 3 mb/d. The 3.5 mb/d and 3 mb/d of exports is what they expect to produce and export after Kashagan Phase 2 comes on line. The project is scheduled to start in 2016.

    Ron P.

    Unless nanotechnology gets off the ground, and given the exponential rate of the dropping of prices and processor capacity, I wouldn't rule anything out.

    About the dropping of prices and processor capacity, I can say something since I work in the electronics industry. Current manufacturing techniques are at 22nm. At 10nm you start hitting the atomic limit, it's no longer electronics, it's quantum physics. It is worthy to note that Intel recently doubled the transistor count by going 3D i.e going up as they couldn't pack any more transistors on the chip.

    Moore's law isn't dead yet but the lowest hanging fruits have been picked clean. Don't expect a quantum jump every two years in electronics anymore. I'll even go and make a statement that we may be witnessing peak innovation in computing, the curve will bend down from here onwards. For the next decade or so you will still keep seeing more power efficient chips and faster smartphones but that's the result of innovations already in the pipeline, moreover for the sake of improving power they are increasing the complexity on the chips tenfold which adds to software costs down the line. For every Moore's law there's a Wirth's law.

    You have a few areas like AI and a few others that are still unexplored but gains in that will come at the cost of people employed in service sector.

    the 10nm atomic limit is for current silicon CMOS stuff right? actually I thought 7nm was possible. Anyway, this isn't a hard limit to scaling computer components, correct? We can go smaller, just not with this technique or material?

    What about things like memristors and new materials like graphene? Obviously a crash of the economy is going to halt research by and large, so the prediction about peak innovation could be correct - but there's potential, at least theoretically, for computers to be orders of magnitude more powerful still, am I right?

    I don't want to incur the anti-techo-cornucopian wrath - not suggesting better electronics can do anything to save civilization - just curious about the current reality of fabrication and tech.

    Lots and lots of things start biting at small feature size. The number of atoms in a circuit feature may vary from chip to chip. Then especially if then material is doped, and has a tiny fraction of certain trace elements to provide its property, the variation per component of the number of these guys gets significant. Also are signals are subject to thermal noise, so the designed has to guard against the computer reading a bit wrongly because of noise... Then you can add in quantum effects.

    What amazed me, the industry met serious resistence transitioning from 180nm to 130nm (about a decade back), but has been making great progess since then. so the feature size wall a decade back turned out not to be fundamental.

    What amazed me, the industry met serious resistence transitioning from 180nm to 130nm (about a decade back), but has been making great progess since then. so the feature size wall a decade back turned out not to be fundamental.

    Isn't that about the point where they had to change over to low-k materials and copper interconnects? Which, IIRC, required that they make some substantial changes in the processing steps. I believe that they're now getting down to a scale where copper has problems, and researchers are looking at more exotic stuff, and there will probably be another "hesitation" while they settle on materials and the necessary equipment for using it gets built.

    What amazes me is that any of the companies can afford to build a new state-of-the-art fab. I believe the price tag for one of those is now up in the $8B range. At some point, I expect a next-gen fab to be priced beyond what private companies can afford.

    Well yes. Prior to the 130nm node, they didn't worry much about power dissipation. Yes, they had to do things to reduce leakage current (which scaled the wrong way with smaller feature sizes). But CPU clock rates have been roughly the same during that entire period (2-4GHz). So the faster and faster switching and clock rate part of Moore's law (what the general public thought was the law), stopped. But they've been able to continue adding more and more transistors. CPU's used to be maybe a million transistors, now they are more like a 100 million. All the extra trannies allow more parallelism (more than one thing happening at a time in the CPU), but you don't get 100x the performance from a 100M trannie CPU as from a 1M trannie CPU. Thats especially true if your software doesn't take max advantage of the low level parallelism of the CPU). So now chips can have as many as 12cores. But the chips with more cores have (somewhat) slower clock rates, because the overall power consumption of the chip must be kept within bounds.

    We have stereo sound, super realistic graphics are coming. 3D is here and the next gen resolutions are better than the human eye can handle. Only thing left is total VR and AI and we are seriously making headway there too.

    That's the thing, we are reaching peak "human ability to notice any damn difference". The games industry fuels this industry and has pushed it hard... but that will drain away eventually.

    Transistor size may not be the final nail in the coffin.

    There's plenty of room for growth in the Screenwriting department, so I don't think we've run out of road yet. I wonder what kind of 'Humanities' training the new breeds of AI will be getting? Will that constitute The Blind Leading the Blind in 3d-HD ??

    Funny, I would have put screenwriting as one of the most filled in areas in film, tv and games. Don't forget that the same effect applies. You can only have so many stories with shoe horned love interest and fallen hero before people get bored. Chasing down those single digit "soon to be classics" through knee high sludge is hard work already.

    The AI will be told to appeal to humans, which will mean writing about humans doing human things (probably heroically). If it doesn't, no one will watch.

    Although at least the result will probably better written and have less jarringly obvious plot holes.

    Those sludge-trudgers are exactly why I said it, of course.

    It's not a numbers game, when it comes to Human Storytelling. We need more story, not more pages. Plenty of room for growth where we really need it.

    Following the formula isn't really the problem, the classic story forms and '37 plots' etc.. are simply the genetic code of storytelling, and the individual efforts can still be great if they can be truly themselves.. Story is where we pass on experience, knowledge of character and humanity. I hope you all don't let TV and Hollywood confuse this issue for you.. while even in the belly of that beast, there are people who are putting in good and wise efforts, and sometimes it shines out from between the commercials in full glory. They're not Angels, and not Devils.. just like any of us. Trying to get more of the good stuff out, and scrape off as much BS as possible.

    One example.. I'm eager to see Wall-E again, as well as Ratatouille. Very commercial, but with many good points in them, and a lot of heart and pretty mature perspectives.

    The thing that I keep an eye on is the ubiquity of ULSI (or denser) circuits in all of the things around us. The TV system is now entirely dependent on them. Cell phone networks; the signal processing done in my low-end phone, measured just in instructions per second, runs rings around the multi-million dollar mainframe I learned to program on (in the days when a million dollars was a lot of money). Cars contain 10-20 separate processors; the transmissions in most hybrid cars aren't possible without software control. Modern jetliners have on the order of 100, excluding the entertainment systems. Modern fighter jets are designed to be inherently unstable; the computer flies them and inputs from the pilot are "suggestions" only. Enormous portions of modern medicine. Cameras. Thermostats. Most wristwatches. Scoring boxes for epee matches.

    Heck, even as a hobbyist, my first reaction to most little projects is to "reach" for a microcontroller and add some buttons, lights, and relays.

    As one who designs products using such technology, I see that ubiquity as a vulnerability. Some of it will work for a while, but it will fail, and the vastly complex supply chain that is required to manufacture such things will fail too. And while I design such things into the products my company makes, in my personal life I look for things that do not use or require them. To be sure I have lots of it, but I look for other ways to do things, older technologies, things that can be maintained and repaired, so that I am not dependent on it. To be sure, we do not really need a lot of the functions these systems perform at all.

    I would also caution that modern lead-free soldering technology has lots of problems, and in fact has not really withstood the test of time. There are many failure modes, some of which are only beginning to be understood. It's especially bad in combination with lowest cost manufacturing in consumer products.

    After fossil fuel energy, this predilection with technology, and dependence upon it, is the greatest vulnerability of the US and the whole of the western industrial empire. I expect it will be the weak point of the military as well.

    Yeah. And how about those short lifetime capacitors?

    I was shocked, shocked (not literally) the first time one of my motherboards fried due to cheap 2 cent capacitors.

    There is a hard limit but off the top of my head I cannot recall what it is but it is pretty independent of techniques and materials. There is a point where the atoms just will not stay where you leave them and things start moving around on their own. We seem to be getting close to that.


    sounds like you're thinking of silicon CMOS, but it changes with material and process.

    Not really, just drill 2 small holes (small on chip lithography scales) close together and the 2 holes will migrate and merge into 1. Sorry but I can't remember the details but it is a problem in any tech when you get close to atomic scale stuff.


    Yair...I can't see the point in the continual reduction in size of some consumer items...phones for instance.

    I went shopping for a three handset walkabout set with BIG buttons that I can see the numbers with out putting on glasses...they are out there but pretty hard to find.


    you would be able to if they could plug it into your cerebral cortex :)

    We can go smaller, just not with this technique or material?

    Such a position ignores dopant migration. A far bigger issue with smaller geometries,

    I have Pentium II machines deployed running NT for an IVR - these machines keep working with only power supply changes.

    "Newer" machines just don't last - some due to capacitor problems, but most due to "random errors" - I can replace the CPU with one that has less total on time and the "random errors" stop being a problem. (I can also make a virtual machine of the system and the "problems" "go away".)

    Bohr Radius varies with temp, materials etc So not an absolute constant but it is an indicative number, at those levels it's impossible to predict electron flow accurately. There is a hard number though, I'll let you know after asking my seniors. And besides that going down in size means higher dynamic power dissipation vs static power dissipation so the whole point of going low does not make sense after some time as dynamic power overwhelms static power.

    With memristors, which will mainly be used in memory, as I said before you will keep seeing lower and lower power for at least the next decade, even longer maybe, but complexity keeps going up too.

    Edit : As far as the theoretical constraints go, there are limits but they are so far in the future we can't even talk about it yet. There's quantum computing and all that fancy stuff which promises limitless computing and impossible to crack encryption, 3D holography, bio-displays, nano robots , brain computer interface and what not. We might even get a truth detector someday...the end of crime etc etc. But let's keep our feet on the ground right now.

    The thing you must remember is that Jevon's paradox will ensure that total power consumption will never come down, even if you do manage to scale down size and power consumption even more, people will just end up using it more ubiquitously.

    The greatest gains will not come from technology but by changing human behavior.

    What you just told us,is to me the most amazing piece of information I have ever come through. I had no clue that manufacturing techniques are so close to the atomic limit. A million thanks from me.

    22nm! The light you are reading this by is centered at 550 nanometers: green/yellow. So, 100 of these features could be stacked within the span of one wavelength of visible light. There is no way to see such a structure with even the very best optical microscope. It is like trying to look at a virus. The T4 bacteriophage is about 200nm tall, as shown in this electron microscope photograph of a dried one:

    The legs, or tail fibers, hydrated, are 28nm or so thick: comparable to 22nm.

    Here is a video featuring Mark Bohr of Intel getting to scale and introducing 3D transistors constructed with 22nm feature sizes:

    They plan to be at 10nm in 2015:

    "Trillion frame per second" camera shows traveling pulse of light in very slow motion:


    The video of the light pulse is fascinating. But the camera is not truly operating at a trillion frames per second. The movie was built up out of many stills.

    As far as I know they still don't have a camera capable of recording a pane of glass breaking.

    Yes. That's why I put "Trillion frame per second" in quotes. It is actually a sampling system building up an image of a repetitive event: in this case, a series of light pulses. The data acquisition time is on the order of an hour and a half for the bottle movie. Here is an example of a similar idea, the sampling oscilloscope. This is the Hewlett Packard HP185. It had knobs. I... I remember knobs:


    I think the meteoric rise in Proc Speed, Video Capability and Memory Storage actually left a lot of unexplored territory 'along the mountainside', if you will, while we were racing up to those particular heights.

    I'm still fascinated by the innovation that is going on around low-speed and low-memory Microprocessors.. as the 'Kits' area of Radio Shack now has little $30 boards for your Stamp Projects that give you Altimetry, Motion-sensing, Compass Orientation and various sensor tools, etc.. where 20 years back, it was 'Light-beam door Alarms' and such.

    I think low-power, low-key technology is still very much under-explored, and that room is just waiting for a bunch more people to wander into it. I'm still looking for decent Battery MGMT circuits for Low Volt Applications.. ( 2 to 6 volts )

    Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending December 16, 2011

    U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.6 million barrels per day during the week ending December 16, 53 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 84.9 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging nearly 9.4 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 5.0 million barrels per day.

    U.S. crude oil imports averaged nearly 7.6 million barrels per day last week, down by 741 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 8.6 million barrels per day, 117 thousand barrels per day above the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 601 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 128 thousand barrels per day last week.

    U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 10.6 million barrels from the previous week. At 323.6 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 0.4 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories increased while blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 2.4 million barrels last week and are in the lower limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 2.3 million barrels last week and are in the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 18.2 million barrels last week.

    Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged nearly 18.5 million barrels per day, down by 5.8 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged 8.7 million barrels per day, down by 4.7 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged nearly 3.9 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 2.4 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 0.5 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

    With numbers like that...it is getting tougher and tougher to keep prices down. What I'm seeing now are crude prices trying to rise against the background of a market that wants to fall. Crude prices only drop when someone needs to cash out for quick money to cover their a$$es on something. 2012 will be interesting (as if the previous 6 years have not been...).

    Take care all...enjoy what's left of 2011. Live each day as if it is your last...hope for optimistic things, but plan for pessimistic things...all that and yada, yada, yada.

    You make an interesting point regarding the markets. What a lot of people fail to appreciate is the size of the energy complex on the S&P 500. My expectation is that the rising price of oil will, for a time, drag the market higher. Many companies benefit from an increasing oil price (oil service companies, producers, pipeline operators, solar companies, etc). Today felt like that kind of day. Market started weak until the oil inventory numbers came out. Slowly the producers, the service companies and the pipelines reversed course and finished higher.

    Obviously, this has to end badly at some point in time. But for now I would expect energy companies to mint money and that will have a positive effect on the S&P 500.

    On the flip side, energy company costs increase as energy prices increase. They have came out ahead so far but at some point the cost to produce from some unconventional sources should exceed the price most of the consumers can withstand. Maybe it won't and most everybody will be employed in the energy sector in thirty years.

    Capital costs and operating costs post largest gains since recession

    The indexes are proprietary measures of cost changes similar in concept to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and draw upon proprietary IHS tools to provide a benchmark for comparing costs around the world. Values are indexed to the year 2000, meaning that capital costs of $1 billion in 2000 would now be $2.18 billion. Likewise, the annual operating costs of a field would now be up from $100 million in 2000 to $178 million.

    Crude Futures Extend Gains After Inventories Decline Most in a Decade

    Futures gained as much as 2.1 percent after the Energy Department reported supplies fell 10.6 million barrels to 323.6 million last week. It was the largest decline in barrels since Feb. 16, 2001, and almost five times the size of the 2.13 million-barrel drop predicted by the median of 12 analysts in a Bloomberg News survey.

    Rebounding oil product demand and ship channel closures result in oil supply plunge

    Granted about half of the plunge in oil inventories were due to delays in off-loading oil tankers. Fog and a collision in the Houston Ship Channel about a week ago lead to a large backlog of tankers waiting in line in the very important Houston refining region. Total US imports dropped about 700,000 bpd, per the EIA weekly report, almost all of which were in the Gulf of Mexico region (where the Houston ship channel is located).

    However the other half of the story is a sharp rebound in US oil product demand, and some revision to prior weeks’ oil inventories. The drop in demand in the December 14 EIA report appeared to be a bit unusual, and it also included unexplained additions to crude oil inventories. This week’s report appears to be more representative of actual demand, and it reverses some over-estimates of existing inventories.

    The drop in imports also apparently resulted in lower refinery utilization in most locations, but a sharp rebound in the West region, kept nationwide utilization from falling much - from 85.1% to 84.9%. Earlier this month, product demand was slackening – possibly due to warmer than average temperatures and lackluster retail sales. But last week, Christmas sales related activity may have improved, and colder weather hit many parts of the US.

    Oil product imports also fell about 600,000 bpd, compounding oil supply problems. However the imports drop was also directly attributable to the Houston Ship Channel problem.

    Fog Halts 92 Ships at Houston, Sabine Ship Channels in Texas

    By Jim Polson and Aaron Clark - Dec 15, 2011 1:15 PM ET


    A Bicycle Built for You

    Recent graduates of the UA McGuire Entrepreneurship Program have launched Velocis, a company that promotes environmental sustainability and healthful living through use of custom-designed electric bicycles.

    Since Bantock and Hedberg launched Velocis in August, they've seen a few unusual orders. "We've seen everything from customers wanting a recumbent trike that's electric to cargo bikes and road bikes," said Bantock. "Everyone's unique, and everyone's going to be using their bicycle for something different."

    "Recently we've started doing utility bicycles that can take a lot of cargo," said Hedberg. "Essentially it's like a limousine bicycle with lots of big bags so you can load up a couple hundred pounds of gear, such as groceries. That's where the fact that the bike is electric really comes into play because you can still haul 100 pounds of gear around without feeling it up the hills."

    As a long time cycling enthusiast, I can look at the Velocis website and see that they are not really "manufacturing" anything. They are taking off the shelf standard bikes and attaching a Bion-x or other electric bike kit. Nothing wrong with that, I guess. The idea of putting an electric hub motor on a cargo bike is a good one, so good that Trek is already doing it. In fact, Trek now has an entire line of electric bikes:


    There are over 100 million(!) electric bikes in China now, so many that they are driving up the price of lead!


    Eventually electric bikes will become more popular in the US, but not until people lose their fear of bicycles in general. Right about the time gasoline hits $12/gallon.


    This seems to be the new American business model for "making" things - you buy the (imported) parts and assemble them, put your label on them, and mark it up big time, with the "brand" adding the "value" without actually adding cost.

    The problem is, eventually, the generic versions of the same will be available (and e-bike components already are) so sooner or later there will be lots of competition And unlike the auto industry, where there are a plethora of rules and regs to keep out upstart competition, with bikes, anyone can do it - as these guys are demonstrating.

    It won;t take others, maybe even a Wal Mart, to get on the game, as it takes off.

    would be nice to see the stuff made here though...

    When I look at the Trek website, I see a four hundred dollar bicycle-maybe a five hundred dollar bicycle- and a twenty five hundred plus or minus price tag.

    Somehow I find it very hard to believe that a hub motor and a battery are really worth two grand.

    There are no performance figures of any sort there, unless they are well hidden.

    I would appreciate any comment from anyone with expertise in manufacturing or a related field in respect to what electric bikes will cost in ten years , in constant dollars.

    I am also interested in learning how much battery capacity is needed to provide auxiliary heat for an older person outside on a bicycle in very cold weather;many people are going to need to use bikes who are too feeble for one reason or another such as arthritis or heart trouble to do much pedaling.

    My guess is that if the rider dresses in an insulated wind resistant coverall, it might be possible to mooch some heat from the bike battery for short trips-a mile or two.Longer rides would require a separate battery-the question is how large would it need to be.

    I once habitually rode a motorcycle for trips up to an hour in the dead of Virginia winters wearing a supposedly windproof insulated zip suit -a bikers winter suit.

    At twenty to twenty five mph, I was pretty comfortable, but at fifty plus I was NUMB within an hour.At zero I would break into a sweat wearing it within a quarter mile at a normal walking speed.

    My guess is that somebody someplace right now is drawing up patent applications related to electrically warmed clothing;the idea is not new of course, but it will probably be possible to patent several various features of the process of manufacture.

    This would appear to be a tremendous opportunity for somebody to get rich, considering the money to be saved by lowering thermostats a few degrees in northern winters.If anybody here has the resources to pursue this possibility, I would like to get on board as the janitor and gofer - but with stock options! ;-)

    Let us suppose for instance that there is a possible way to economically manufacture rechargeable thin flat flexible rechargeable batteries that can be easily incorporated into a suit jacket on an assembly line in a textile mill.

    Shoulder pads could take on a whole new meaning.So could padded bras!

    It might be possible to fit such batteries into the bottoms of elevator shoes, or into winter hats.

    I can see it becoming the height of fashion to have a snazzy battery pack sling over ones shoulder;headsets and earbuds for music have already set the pace in this fashion trend.

    I hear here that some people up north spend upwards of five figure money to heat their houses every year.Clothing of this type would pay for itself within a year in fuel savings.

    As someone mentioned earlier, rechargeable phase change packs may be a better option than electric batteries (it was suggested for electric cars). These things are already available, some need to be boiled in water, some can be charged in the microwave. It may be possible to create plug-in versions, charge them at home or at your destination. The caveat is that, once activated, they can't be controlled or turned off. I have hand and foot warmers that last for hours; recharge in hot water. They are activated by clicking a small metal strip inside. They've been used hundreds of times with no apparent loss of effectiveness. They cost me about $2 each.

    Then again, healthy bodies, given plenty of calories, have their own built-in heater.

    Gotta great idea- change my monicker to "somebody" That gets me credit for lots of what I have said, as well as lots somebody has said. On second thought, maybe might get even huge amounts more credit by changing to "nobody", as in -"Nobody has solved the global warming problem".

    but then on third thought---ATHWI--- happy holidays, gotta go fix that water pump.

    Yeah, wimb, I finally ferreted out your Hotmomma comment. Great minds think alike ;-) I'll bet someone has already patented this idea in some form; install a secondary phase-change heater core, though space/weight would be an issue. It would be interesting to compare the energy density of these materials to batteries. I can fully recharge one of my large handwarmers in a fraction of the time it would take to fully recharge a similar sized battery; just boil it for a few minutes.

    Hey Mac;
    Well, there's a reason that Amundsen made it and Scott didn't. (Polar Explorers) Cross-country skiers, like Cyclists combine decent forward speeds with an energy profile that generates a lot of heat. Having vehicles that combine a variable proportion of Pedaling and Electric can allow the Rider to take care of their heating needs in much of the US, and through most of the year.(IMO) In fact, in most cases, I would expect that excess heat would continue to be as much of a problem as the opposite.

    When XC Skiing, one has to have an outfit that can quickly be shifted from WORK to REST mode, as your Exothermal Rate is massive when you are Working, but then you cool off FAST when you stop.

    As for Heated Gear, Motorized Bikers already have a range of supplies for this, tho' they would be a heavy load, and probably as I suggest above, redundant for Pedallers.

    http://cozywinters.com/heated-clothing/?source=go&gclid=CKDv1aD8la0CFYPc... .. these options will undoubtedly be valuable to a growing range of people as Cheap Heating gets more dear.

    (Look down the Right Side Bar at the 'Dry Guy Gear Tree', which has pipes that blow warm air into each of the suspended articles of clothing after a drenching ride.. this is a great idea that I see Ski Resorts use for returned ski boots, and would be a fun rig to set up, fed by a woodstove or solar hot air heater, I think !!)

    Finally, having a Faired Bike or Trike, ie, built into a Wind-shell.. commonly called a 'Velomobile' can get the rider out of the Wind and into a more aerodynamic form, improving speed, range and ability to deal with a range of weather conditions.. I think with all these options, even many geezers can keep mobile!

    .. and it's hauntingly warm in Maine today, 3 days before Santa. 'God Help us, Every one!' - Tiny Tim

    A bike battery won't go far if you don't pedal. Too hot pedal less, too cold, pedal more. Too hard, change gear.

    There are also plenty of fabrics for blocking the wind and keeping you at a nice temperature. Bamboo clothing is the in thing at the moment. Frankly I always worried more about too much heat, rather than not enough.

    Almost sixty here, and we have left crates of apples sitting outside since harvest.None have frozen yet.It has been so warn that the handful of locals who still raise beef and pork for the family table have not been able to butcher, and we haven't been deer hunting yet , even though the season is more than half over, for fear of the meat spoiling before we can get it into a refrigerator.

    Of course I know that an unusually warm winter in any given locality doesn't prove anything, but we have had so many of them over the last couple of decades... it's scary.

    So many people here paint these great little pictures of their lives.. I like trying to envision all of you in your corners of the world. Maybe it's a little too 'aww shucks', but I'd love to have a gallery page here where posters could put up a picture of Them, or just their 'view out the kitchen window'. I kind of want the 'wide shot', and see OFM and a panorama of his (your) Farm, see what Squilliam's NZ is like, or Wisdom from Pak, all you Brits..

    It's just sort of enticing.

    (I look down over the Casco Bay Bridge in Portland Maine, where Oil Tankers lumber in to offload at the South Portland Tank Farms.. They and the DrawBridge fill up the Picture Window, in full HD!)

    Probably best to create an album in photobucket and let folks visit. You first Bob...........................................

    OK, I'll go first: GHung's Digs

    Where is that? So what country/area do you live?

    Western North Carolina, US. No oil, no coal, no copper, no gold, thank God.

    Really Beautiful

    Thanks GH and Squill; (Lot of Road, Squ. I mouse clicked down it a ways.. no wonder your neighbors don't want to hear about it..)

    Here's my photobucket gallery.. I should give it some attention soon.. meantime, I'm making another 3 or 4 Holiday Gifts, so that'll have to wait. (This is me hoisting a Solar Hot Air collector up to my roof with an improvised davit setup.. gotta love those improvised Davits! http://s831.photobucket.com/albums/zz240/Ingto83/?action=view&current=Im... )

    I'll have to see if I have a good Tanker pic. somewhere.

    Hope you're well insured Bob ;-) Looks like fun!

    I'd give you some pictures if you'd like. :-)


    That is the closest street view of our 'main street' to where I live.

    Lived here for a while. Pretty much the view out the back door, which is a roll-up:


    At 9000 feet in the Rockies. In the cold, thin air of winter, a dog pushed slowly across the bed would have an electric purple glow around it where fur and sheet meet. Whipping the sheets off the bed would draw six inch sparks and was to be avoided. In the very cold, the ice sings and pings all night long. There are little frogs there that sound like tiny bells. The snow-filled high mountain valley, lit by moonlight, is beautiful.

    My little home:

    I like the idea too; a pity to just do it on a "drumbeat" though. I suppose people could put a link to photos in the information for their screen name... but really, it'd have more of a "community" feel if it was more stand-alone. Perhaps one of the "regulars" would like to put up a dedicated website or something. Kinda makes the virtual community a bit more "real".

    Saving on energy bills: Meeting families in the middle

    A study released today by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) identifies steps that energy efficiency program managers can take to deliver significant savings on home energy bills to middle-income households.

    “Because comprehensive home energy improvements often cost $5,000 to $15,000 per home, higher income households are simply better positioned financially to take advantage of those programs,” says Merrian Borgeson, co-author and researcher in EETD. “Persuading middle-income households to undertake these whole home energy improvements has proven challenging, and with declines in median income and home equity–coupled with rising energy costs–that challenge has become more acute.”

    • Download the report here.

    Researchers develop new method of cleaning toxins from the oilsands

    Alberta's oilsands have water challenges. Oilsands development uses a vast amount of water and even though it's recycled multiple times, the recycling concentrates the toxins and metals leftover from extracting and upgrading the bitumen, resulting in tailings ponds that are both a lightening rod for controversy and a significant risk to the environment. A research project underway between biologists at the University of Calgary and engineers at the University of Alberta to help resolve the water issue is making rapid progress toward that goal.

    From several months back, researchers at Penn State have discovered/engineered ionic liquids that appear to do an amazing job of separating the oil from everything else.

    Iraq’s Oil Production Capacity Is Forecast to Increase Sharply over Next Five Years

    Crude oil production capacity in Iraq is set to increase by 1.87 million barrels per day (mb/d) between 2010 and 2016, according to the International Energy Agency’s latest Oil Market Report (OMR). This will increase production in the country to 4.36 mb/d by 2016.

    This revised forecast means that Iraq is expected to account for 80% of the increase in OPEC’s crude oil production capacity in the six-year period. Overall production capacity in OPEC is now forecast to increase by 2.33 mb/d, to 38.1 mb/d by 2016. (That is 37.5% of the global liquids production capacity in 2016).

    Meanwhile, their net oil exports have declined for the past two years.

    I think the time for pronouncements regarding how much oil they think can come out of Iraq needs to stop, and be replaced with actual production numbers. In other words, stop telling us what you think can happen and just let the actual production numbers speak for themselves.

    Earl - Wiser words never spoken. I've often negotiated a producing property acquisition when the ower said he had X amount of reserves behind the casing in a number of their non-producing wells. I always ask the same question: why haven't you completed those wells since there's so much potential? Typically get a lot of BS answers. And then I'll usually offer 1/3 or less than their asking price. More often than not they accepted the offer. Words are cheap...usually worth at least 1/3 less. LOL

    Gingrich Leads Revolt Against Judges by Vowing to Ignore Court

    Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Newt Gingrich, who says as president he would ignore U.S. Supreme Court rulings he dislikes, has plenty of company among Republican candidates in vowing to blow up long-held premises of constitutional law.

    Rick Perry is calling for judicial term limits. Michele Bachmann says she would invite a confrontation with the court over abortion. Ron Paul would bar federal judges from hearing many cases involving abortion, same-sex marriage and religion.

    Gingrich says judges who issue “anti-American” decisions should have to defend themselves before Congress -- or face arrest if they fail to appear to do so. He says he would impeach those judges and potentially abolish their courts.

    ... Reining in the judiciary is not an issue that tops voters’ concerns in public opinion polls.

    ... kinda sounds alot like this ...

    The People's Court (German: Volksgerichtshof) was a court established in 1934 by German Chancellor Adolf Hitler, who had been dissatisfied with the outcome of the Reichstag Fire Trial (all but one of the accused were acquitted). The "People's Court" was set up outside the operations of the constitutional frame of law.

    The court had jurisdiction over a rather broad array of "political offenses," which included crimes like black marketeering, work slowdowns, defeatism and treason against the Third Reich. These crimes were viewed by the court as Wehrkraftzersetzung ("disintegration of defensive capability") and were accordingly punished severely.

    The death penalty was meted out in numerous cases in this court.


    Yes, Gingrinch certainly is revolting.

    This is the route that America will take as we enter energy descent. No doubt about it.

    This is a real shocker ... not

    State Finds 'Probable Financial Stress' in Detroit

    State officials said Wednesday that they've found "probable financial stress" in Detroit, moving the state's largest city one step closer to the possible appointment of an emergency manager.

    State Treasurer Andy Dillon sent a letter to Gov. Rick Snyder Wednesday alerting him to the finding. Dillon recommended the appointment of a full financial review team, the next step in the process.

    One wonders how much it cost to figure this out.

    Internet lets US export consumer lifestyle

    As gift-buying frenzy mounts in the days before Christmas, US retailers are exporting the country's shopping culture along with once hard-to-get goods to locales around the world.

    The international share of the Cyber Monday shopping tally climbed to nearly seven percent, the industry tracker reported.

    Since Gilt launched four years ago, it has been flooded with email requests to ship items to Russia, China, South America and elsewhere …

    I wonder how much stuff imported from China gets shipped back to China.

    In my office, we had a group of people visit us from the China office (native Chinese) for a few weeks. On their weekend off, they headed straight to an outlet mall and stocked up on a lot of stuff that was - made in China! I asked them if they did not consider this a little absurd. They replied that quality of the Chinese made goods sold in the US is much better than the local stuff.

    Also, each one took a couple of unlocked iPhone 4s to resell in the local grey market. Until the iPhone went on sale officially in China, there was a lot of this kind of under-hand exports that were being done.

    I spent the recent Thanksgiving Holiday in Victoria BC. While we were there, lots of Canadians were heading down to Seattle for the Black Friday sales. Also, many of the local Victoria shops were advertising their own Black Friday specials.

    Producers need to watch margins during economic uncertainty

    Farmers will need to manage margins closely in 2012 as commodity prices fluctuate with U.S. and European economic developments, according to a Texas AgriLife Extension Service economist

    Johnson said U.S. corn stocks are the tightest since 1996
    During 2011, Johnson said, the December corn futures contract price fluctuated from approximately $4 per bushel to above $7 per bushel.
    “Managing that variability becomes the challenge,” he said.

    “Managing input prices is so important since fertilizer prices have tripled over the last 10 years,” Johnson said. Rising input costs can eat away any expected profits if equal attention is not paid to controlling them.”

    Johnson also focused on the outlook for energy heading into 2012. He said West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices are projected at $98 per barrel and natural gas prices are forecast to increase by 3 percent.

    Johnson said the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank conducts a survey of agricultural lenders. Recent data indicated Texas cropland increased by 5.3 percent over the previous year “in terms of value,” he said.

    There is lots of investment going into crop real estate,” he said. “Hedge funds are putting money into this because of increasing commodity prices and diversification away from other asset classes like bonds, stocks and precious metals."

    Invisible fungi crucial for rainforest diversity

    A complex network of fungi in the lower canopy could be one reason tropical rainforests are home to so many different types of insects, spiders and centipedes, say scientists.

    The fungi branch through the lower canopy extending from the forest floor up to around 30 metres high, catching falling leaves wherever their strands go.

    "These fungi are everywhere, and form a messy tangle in the forest understory. You can't really see it until you look for it. You're always looking past it, moving it out of the way as you walk through the forest," explains Dr. Jake Snaddon from the University of Oxford, lead author of the study.

    This could be why, up until now, its importance was almost entirely overlooked.

    Home sales during housing bust worse than thought

    Existing home sales during the housing bust were actually 14.3% worse than previously reported, a revision to Realtors' group numbers shows.

    In 2007, there were actually just 5.04 million existing home sales, 11% less than the 5.65 million originally reported. Even worse were 2008 and 2009, when there were 16% fewer sales than originally reported. Sales in 2010 were 15% lower.

    … but you can trust us now …

    Existing home sales jump in November

    Tritium detected in groundwater at Sequoyah Nuclear Plant

    TVA's nuclear troubles seem to be mounting.

    The utility now has active safety concern flags from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission raised at all three of its operating nuclear plants.

    Additionally, Tennessee Valley Authority officials acknowledged on Tuesday they have found elevated levels of tritium in a groundwater sample taken from a monitoring well at the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant.

    NRC gave Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant a "red," or highest safety concern flag, last summer after TVA and inspectors discovered one of the reactors had been operating for as much as 18 months with a dysfunctional cooling valve.

    Is it too extreme to say we will 'run out of oil'? The president of Nigeria doesn't think so, and suggests its citizens take up farming:

    Nigerian president says oil reserves may dry up in 35 years: report

    Lagos (Platts)--21Dec2011/616 am EST/1116 GMT

    Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said the country's oil reserves may dry up in the next 35 years, based on the current rate of depletion, local media reported Wednesday.

    "We must move away from crude oil because experts have predicted that in 35 years from now, our oil reserves will dry up. If that is true, it spells economic doom for our future generation," the Thisday newspaper quoted Jonathan as saying in the southwest town of Abeokuta.


    The President had also warned that unless the economy was diversified and aggressive agriculture and industrialisation pursued, the oil reserve of the country might be depleted within the next 35 to 40 years, which would mean enslaving the future generations.

    He asked what life would be like without oil if the country that had oil still borrowed to fund its operations.

    "Government must look for ways to expand the economy. We must look for other ways of earning money. We must go back to farming and not just subsistence farming that we know but really taking farming as a business. We must create wealth through farming.


    The Disease of the Nuclear Age: Is Cancer Epidemic in America?

    ... It feels like an epidemic, but of course, the epidemiologists who work for the state or the federal government would undoubtedly tell us they can’t discern anything “statistically significant” (they love that phrase!) from our “data” — it’s just a few random points, it doesn’t show a trend. That’s true of course — but we’re talking about real lives of our friends and families, not raw, impersonal numbers. We’re looking for answers.

    The epidemiologist will also point out that cancer will strike about one in two Americans at some point in their lives, and will be the underlying cause of death for somewhere between one in four, and one in three of us. So they’re not really looking for an epidemic. They’re looking for a worsening trend within an ONGOING epidemic.

    Cancer is what gets you if nothing else does so first. It has viral, chemical, and radiological causes.

    A simplistic view: "It feels like an epidemic, but of course, the epidemiologists who work for the state or the federal government would undoubtedly tell us they can’t discern anything “statistically significant” (they love that phrase!) from our “data” — it’s just a few random points, it doesn’t show a trend."

    People who do not understand statistics are doomed to be manipulated by their emotions.

    ..While people who understand their emotions are less likely to be manipulated by statistics..

    Cancer is getting a lot of kids these days.. how does that square with your first statement? This isn't a 'wait long enough and eventually you'll have cancer' situation.. it is the leading disease cause of death among children today. They're getting better at treating it, but I'm not seeing much in the lit that I looked up for what the suspected causes are, I'm fairly sure complex chemical exposure will be a significant contributor.. but we sure did a lot of Atmospheric Bomb-testing over the last few decades as well..

    Is it really? Only instances of childhood cancer I know were with Chinese adoptees. And well, gestation and early infancy in a toxic miasma will do that to you. Do you have any references to any increasing incidence of cancer at an early age?

    Is Childhood Cancer Increasing?

    Whether childhood cancer is becoming more common is a controversial question among scientists.

    Data from the cancer tracking systems in the US suggest that childhood cancer is increasing. The tracking systems record new cases of cancer in some areas of the US. The largest tracking system is called SEER and is funded and overseen by agencies in the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

    The National Cancer Institute and other agencies use the tracking information from SEER to try to determine whether childhood cancer is increasing.

    In 1996, the National Cancer Institute reported that the frequency (incidence rate) for cancer of all types in children increased 10% between 1973 and 1991. This means that 10% more new cases of cancers per million children were found in 1991 than in 1973. During this period, brain cancer and soft tissue sarcoma each increased more than 25% (1).

    In 1999, the National Cancer Institute reported that this increase in childhood cancer appeared to have leveled off after 1990 (2).

    Is Childhood Cancer Becoming More Common?

    “While mortality from childhood cancer has gone sharply down, incidence rates are increasing. There has been a 55% increase from 1975 to 2005 in the incidence of leukemia in 0 to 14-year-olds and an 81% increase for acute lymphocytic leukemia—the most common type of leukemia. …The explanation for this increase may be due in part to better diagnostics, but this alone does not account for the continued inexorable rise. Serious consideration must be given to the possibility that environmental factors are involved.”

    There is a lot of disagreement on the subject.

    IIRC chances of childhood leukaemia increase measurably with proximity to a roadway carrying 20K vehicle trips per annum or higher -- something like that. So that's a lot of exposure in the car-centred cultures.

    Sorry I didn't link it, but it was at a Nat'l Cancer Inst. site when I was on before.

    This one is a little more directly pointing to the question above.. while only the abstract to the research..

    Childhood thyroid cancer in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine after Chernobyl and at present.
    Demidchik YE, Saenko VA, Yamashita S.

    Thyroid cancer in children is usually rare, but in the individuals exposed to radiation risk of disease increases considerably. After the Chernobyl accident in 1986, an over 10-fold maximal elevation in the incidence of thyroid cancer was registered about a decade later, cumulatively resulting in more than a thousand of newly diagnosed cases in children who lived in the territories of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine affected by radioactive fallouts. Experience from the epidemic substantially promoted knowledge in clinical pediatric oncology, pathology and basic sciences. This article overviews epidemiology, clinical features, results of treatment and follow-up of childhood patients with radiation-induced Chernobyl thyroid cancer in comparison to sporadic cases diagnosed at present. In addition, we discuss general issues of pathology and molecular findings in childhood thyroid carcinomas.

    and a review referencing that study posted this in their abstract..

    Radiation-induced thyroid cancer: what we have learned from chernobyl.
    Nikiforov YE.

    An increased incidence of thyroid cancer in the exposed children remains the most well-documented long-term effect of radioactive contamination after the Chernobyl nuclear accident in April, 1986. Multiple studies on approx 4000 children and adolescents with thyroid cancer have provided important new information about the epidemiological, clinical, pathological, and molecular aspects of radiation-induced carcinogenesis in the thyroid gland. They revealed that environmental exposure to 131I during childhood carries an increased risk of thyroid cancer and the risk is radiation dose dependent. The youngest children are most sensitive to radiation-induced carcinogenesis, and the minimal latent period for thyroid cancer development after exposure is as short as 4 yr. The vast majority of these cancers are papillary carcinomas, many of which have characteristic solid or solid-follicular microscopic appearance.

    Here is one NCI link.. in a FAQ


    How many children are diagnosed with cancer in the United States annually?

    In the United States in 2007, approximately 10,400 children under age 15 were diagnosed with cancer and about 1,545 children will die from the disease (1). Although this makes cancer the leading cause of death by disease among U.S. children 1 to 14 years of age, cancer is still relatively rare in this age group.

    Another senseless interpretation of data. If radiation were that dangerous people would have all cancer in Denver. Off course, this is natural radiation which is safe unlike artificial one. It always amaze me to see people scare like hell by radiation, magnetic field, radio-wave but react aggressively when you explain to them that light is known to be a promoter of cancer, with very good epidemiological data, that the biochemical mechanism is known and tested in vivo unlike all the suspected cancer sources that they are scared of.

    I suppose that by light, you mean the UV part of the spectrum. Even more irrational is that many of these people will dismiss the contribution of smoking or of atmopheric pollution which are a way bigger source of cancer.

    Frankly, we've done SO MANY things to spoil our Air Water and Food supplies, that it's far too much to ask people to remain on High Alert (as with the earlier convo's about proximity to dams, etc) about all the insults that their immune systems have been subjected to.

    It's easy to say the people are too dumb, but with the hundreds of thousands of untested compounds we have released into the world, it's not these folks' irrationality that needs to be addressed and corrected. Go to the source.

    Also, let's not forget poor nutrition and lack of exercise. Sorry, but leaping from cancer risk to radiation is killing us all is too much exercise for me this early in the morning.

    Kim Jong-Il's death adds to uncertainty over Russia-Korea gas pipeline

    The death of North Korea's Kim Jong-Il over the weekend, and the uncertainty surrounding the transition of power to his youngest son, Kim Jong-Un, has raised new questions about a project to pipe natural gas from Russia across the secretive state to its southern neighbor.

    Russian gas giant Gazprom and South Korea's Kogas first agreed to a 30-year supply of up to 10 billion cubic meters/year of Russian gas in 2008, with the startup of supplies marked for 2015.

    Talks intensified earlier this year when Kim Jong-Il visited Russia in August to meet President Dmitry Medvedev. Following the meeting, Medvedev said Pyongyang was interested in the project, with North Korea expected to receive about $100 million/year in transit fees from the pipeline.

    China and India Stock Up on Oil

    China and India are making a push to stock up on emergency supplies of oil, an effort that could put upward pressure on oil prices.

    India's government on Wednesday said it plans to more than triple the size of its planned strategic petroleum reserve over the next decade, expanding it to 132 million barrels by 2020 from current construction of a 39-million-barrel stockpile.

    Also on Wednesday, customs data showed that China's daily crude imports from Saudi Arabia in November were at the highest levels of the year, which analysts and traders say was partly due to stockpiling for its strategic reserves. China recorded crude imports of almost 1.18 million barrels a day from Saudi Arabia in November, up 32.3% from year-earlier levels.

    The diesel shortages that we saw in China in late October and early November have returned, forcing China to make so-far rare diesel import purchases again.

    Diesel runs dry in southern China gas stations - report
    Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:50am GMT

    Dec 15 (Reuters) - 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.

    The newspaper reported long queues at filling stations along the expressway linking Beijing and Hong Kong, while in the southeastern province of Zhejiang, a line of trucks awaiting fuel at a gas station stretched for 2 km.

    Supplies of diesel, the country's main transportation fuel, have been tight in some regions for several months as refiners throttled back output in the face of refining losses and because of maintenance. Sporadic diesel shortages spread after the government reduced gasoline and diesel prices on Oct. 9.


    Asia Distillates-Gasoil cracks rebound on demand
    Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:56am GMT

    Recent spot requirements by Indian Oil Corp for 60,000 tonnes of low sulphur gasoil and signs of diesel shortages in south China are supporting Asian diesel prices, traders said.

    China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), the country's third-largest oil company, has bought small volumes of diesel for delivery in late December for domestic use to help ease shortages.

    China imported 202,091 tonnes, or 1.51 million barrels, of diesel in November, up 37.7 percent from the same period last year, official customs figures showed on Wednesday.


    New federal rules for gas lines adopted

    New federal regulations are expected to open the floodgates for construction of interstate natural gas transmission lines.

    Hundreds of Marcellus Shale wells have been drilled but capped, awaiting construction of the pipelines to take the energy to marketplace.

    also Gas pipeline would run through region

    The Atlantic Access Project, a proposed 258-mile pipeline using 36-inch pipe, would move fuel from the rich Marcellus gas fields of western Pennsylvania and the panhandle of West Virginia to eastern gas-hungry markets.

    I have posted these thoughts before, as recently as the last Drumbeat, but haven't gotten much in the way of responses.I look forward to any serious refutation rather than obfuscation.

    The Keystone should be built for real world practical reasons, some of which I lay out here.

    And while there are some good reasons why it should not be built, as I see it, none of them hold water in the nitty gritty real world which we live in.I shall likewise lay out some of my thoughts as to why this is so.

    The fastest way to do both will be to mix the arguments.

    My first point is that it is that barring collapse, OR a techno miracle somewhere over the horizon, ALL readily accessible oil, including the tar sands of Canada, WILL be burnt.Stopping the pipeline will NOT prevent the oil from going to market. Maybe I'm wrong but I believe it is utterly naive to believe otherwise.Carbon dioxide and the wind recognize no borders.

    (A carbon tax would be a VERY GOOD THING and it MIGHT be possible to get one passed if it is marketed properly to the public on populist grounds.There are many, many millions of people who do not drive or fly who would be pleased to have such a tax placed on those who would use lots of oil if the the proceeds are earmarked for medical care or heating assistance, etc, but I digress.)

    We are engaged in a "poker game" known as reality, and we have NO CHOICE but to play the cards IN OUR HAND.

    Redeals are not allowed in reality poker.

    ALL of our "money" is effectively on the table, and we CAN'T walk away from oil the way an alcoholic can walk away from his booze , considering that oil is the lifeblood of our economy.

    Soul searching and agonizing over past decisions is of the utmost value in preventing future strategic mistakes, and formulating long term strategy, but thses pastimes are irrelevant to making short term tactical decisions.The Captain of the Titanic should have vetoed the owner's intent of setting a record on the fatal trip, and he should have slowed down, and he would have slowed down , had he exercised good professional judgement.But once the ship hit the iceberg, all such considerations became academic questions and distractions.

    I am not holding that we have actually hit a metaphorical iceberg, but I do strongly hold that we are in effect sailing blind in a sea chock full of them in respect to peak oil and Available Net Imports.

    Any failure to do the prudent thing and secure "first dibs" on the oil in question will be looked back upon by future historians, if there are any, as an incredible blunder if we have to or choose to go to war.

    I hold these arguments to be self evident truths.

    If we are willing to deem these arguments true for the purposes of further discussion, then it is time to proceed to practical geopolitical considerations.

    The kumbaya faction seems to believes it is possible to "yak yak" and thus avoid "fight fight" under any circumstances.I am in favor so long as yak yak works but there is no such thing as "the end of history" and thousands of years of history indicate that the more things change in respect to our behavior, the more they stay the same.

    There is a VERY real possibility that we and perhaps the most of the rest of the world will be involved in hot resource wars within the foreseeable future.It is arguably true that we are CURRENTLY engaged in such wars (temporarily at a low ebb) at this very minute.It has not escaped MY attention that we Yankees have the worlds most powerful and expensive combined army deployed in sand country because to paraphrase Willie Sutton that's where the oil(and a lot of other mineral treasure) is.

    Any two bit tin hat military commander in charge of a few ground based antiship missiles or fighter aircraft with such missiles with his assets located near any of the key choke points along the sea routes could bring the blue water shipping oil oil to a screeching halt in an hour.

    Any country possessed of a few modern submarines could either sink every tanker afloat or drive them all into port for the duration if it wished to do so in a matter of days.

    An actual hot war between major powers would mean that oil tanker sailings would be curtailed indefinitely or at least until a convoy system could be organized, which could take months .

    The likely result would be an immediate economic collapse of this country and the implementation of martial law.Remember what Tod, a respected old timer here, had to say about this a couple of days back.

    Pipelines located well away from international waters in North America cannot be taken out by conventional military means; a long range cruise missile might hit a pumping station, but emergency crews working under wartime rules could temporarily patch such damage in very short order.

    Oil will not be available too much longer in anything like a free market in any case if the scenarios outlined here (which are inescapable in my opinion ) by every body from Hubbert to Simmons to Westexas are correct.

    Such oil as the Chinese manage to buy up will go straight to China once thshf in terms of available exports, and countries that have oil to sell are going to forge VERY tight economic and military ties with their customers.

    Perhaps anyone who thinks otherwise should reflect upon the fact that the House of Saud is still in possession of Saudia Arabia-the worlds greatest prize in terms of energy resources-for no other discernible reason than that Uncle Sam likes it that way.

    It behooves us to maintain the tightest possible ties with Canada, for what should be obvious reasons, and some that are perhaps not so obvious, such as the fact that in the event of hostilities, we will be protecting her to a considerable extent;Canada does not possess a standing navy, air force, or army adequate to the task should a hostile super power arise across the water, and she is very unlikely to even attempt to build up such incredibly expensive forces.

    Looking at the short term, since a pipeline WILL BE built, to the Pacific if not to the American heartland, it behooves us to keep the terminal end of this enormous investment of steel , concrete, diesel fuel, and skilled labor within our borders.

    Some would argue that the pipeline will not deliver enough oil to save our butts, but I will argue that the difference made by a million or so extra barrels a day of secure supply may very well be THE DIFFERENCE between scraping by under emergency rationing measures and an outright Mad Max scenario here in the states if and /or when tshtf.

    Perhaps SOMEBODY on Obama's staff has heard of Reagen Democrats. I hope so for his sake. The pipeline is not yet really in play as a partisan political issue;only a few ranging shots have been fired thus far.The opposition will not overlook the fact that far , far more people are going to want this pipeline built than otherwise by election time if they use it as an election issue-and they will.

    Going back to the big picture again-making a decision as to what is and is not good long term strategy- a truly wide awake environmentalist must recognize that not all fights can be won, and that some fights, which might be won with luck, are Pyrrhic victories. This is one of that kind-it might be possible to stop the pipeline from being built, but the general public, Joe and Suzy Sixpack, their son the redneck lawyer, their daughter away at school learning the real art of conspicuous consumption, and all their relatives, by blood or by cultural association, are going to blame the coming crash on environmentalists.

    It would be a far better strategy for the Democrats to cooperate on the building of the pipeline while recovering some of the political capital thereby expended by extracting some meaningful concessions from the opposition, such as money to buy and set aside more park lands or to support more renewables research and development.

    Of course it has also occurred to me that this this strategy has been seriously discussed within the smokier of the smoke filled rooms occupied by Team Obama and the Democratic congressional leadership.

    I make a distinction between those who object because they have a physical stake in this issue (eminent domain forcing a pipeline over their land and aquifers), and those who object for other reasons. While I may reluctantly support it's construction for practical reasons, I'm sure I would view it differently if it was coming through our lands and crossing our creeks and rivers. We've been fighting a proposed interstate (I-3) through our area for years, while many who wouldn't be affected by its construction think it's a great idea. Just sayin'. Who am I to support forcing this thing on strangers just to kick the oil can down the road a few more years. No easy answers... but it's not my call.

    Know this: The oil companies, et al, don't want to build this thing to "save America", as much as they would want folks to believe that.

    I agree with you about property rights, and about the motives of oil companies.
    I have had family kicked off of land within a mile to make room for highways and parks myself.

    So far as I am concerned, the Blue Ridge Parkway and I77 are the two worst disasters to ever befall my my community, as they are largely responsible for destroying our cherished way local way of life.

    I have to pick and choose a path thru the woods these days in order to take an extended walk without formally trespassing on posted property, and the influx of speculators and outsiders with more money than locals ever dreamed of having has resulted in our having all sorts of government services we never wanted billed to us thru our skyrocketing property taxes.

    I have been cussed (-for only a minute before I set her straight the easy way- for blowing my horn at a bunch of kids blocking a state maintained public highway with four wheelers) for a hick hayseed and threatened with HER having ME arrested for harassing and nearly running over her kids, because she is the sort who thinks money buys the road as well as the farm.

    So I simply pulled out my cell phone and called the sheriffs office and reported a bunch of unlicensed vehicles being driven on the street by a bunch of children.I wasn't actually talking to the sheriff but rather to a friend who is familiar with this game.It solves a lot of problems with drunks and other obnoxious people who find their way into the local backwoods when you tell them that they have about fifteen minutes to get lost before deputies will arrive with the breathalyzer, handcuffs, and tow truck..

    She changed her tune quickly but she wasn't very nice about it.I have had my revenge without even having to work at it-she bought at the peak and has lost her fat butt in a declining market.The new owners are much nicer people.

    I really love the Parkway but I heartily wish it were someplace else. ;-(

    But kicking that can down the road by five years-a simply out of my hat number-means we have five more years worth of falling prices for pv and five more years of build out in wind and other renewables.That five years can and will also see a goodly number of my kind-boomers-replaced with a good number of recent college graduates who hopefully will understand environmental issues better.

    If the rights of way requirements included more than the oil pipeline, including an RE/grid provision for HVDC lines to transmit wind and solar energy through the heartland, and perhaps a massive water distribution system to mitigate aquifer depletion, it might sweeten the deal for those opposed and generate funds for land owners and states, much the way the oil trust in Alaska was set up. Let the pipeline pay for more sustainable and sensible uses of this corridor. Think long term benefits over short term profits.

    Making the right of way multiple purpose with an emphasis on renewables would be an excellent strategy and a very good move for the Democrats-they should be able to mollify the hard green faction to some extent by following this strategy, and it should be possible to demand and get these "extras" during the backroom negotiations.

    An established right away should go a long long way toward making a reality out of the wind power potential of the upper mid west.A mechanism to allow localities and property owners along the way to collect windfall sounds good to me too.

    I once lived on a farm near Charlottesville that is crossed by the colonial pipeline.It was not a truly serious disruption of the utility or beauty of the farm-the pipeline to the eyeball is just a long straight wide strip of grass running from horizon to horizon , or in that area, from hill top to hill top, insofar as seeing it goes.

    But I am not too sure about the water you mention ;where would you get it from, and where would you deliver it to?

    In terms of the overall environmental impact, it should certainly be possible to extract enough money from the corporations involved to purchase and set aside enough sensitve land to more than cover any overall environmental degradation.

    My first point is that it is that barring collapse, OR a techno miracle somewhere over the horizon, ALL readily accessible oil, including the tar sands of Canada, WILL be burnt.

    OFM If everything you say depends on "barring collapse" then I agree EVERYTHING will be burnt. Most energy projects (most especially) the tar sands require and I mean require BAU. Put collapse on the table and the outlook changes dramatically.

    Everything the developed and developing world is doing now revolves around preventing collapse and facilitating BAU.
    The measures include electric and hybrid vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels, electrification and expansion of rail, governments subsidies and continued exploration for exploitable FF reserves.

    Nothing is being done to actually prevent the buring of FF's. It's simply about trying to make them last longer, which of course means destroying the ecology of the planet. Is it good that we are seemingly smarter than the reindeer of St Mathews Island, that we see that there is limit to FF's but not a limit to growth. There must be a some sort of feeling that we can peak the worlds population and transition to a steady state of bliss and harmony.

    I'm afraid that power down is no longer an option. It's power off, collapse and hope for the best. Some could recover from collapse but not BAU. Of course we won't power off, we won't even power down we'll frack the crap out of everything we can get our hands on and burn the lot including ourselves in the end.

    I missed your earlier post on this, so (since you asked for it) I will respond here.

    First, I agree with you on the necessity of the carbon tax, but since you are willing to call opponents to this pipeline naive, I will say it is naive to think that this will happen any time soon, given current US politics.

    Saying that something is going to happen anyway, so we might as well do it, is about the lowest level of moral argument there is. Would you accept it in any other area of life? Is it alright to say, "You are going to die anyway some day, so I might as well just go ahead and kill you." In fact, that argument is even stronger, since the initial premise is rock solid, while no one knows what will happen with the future of the Keystone pipeline.

    If it is completely true, as you say in caps, that we have no choice, well then there is no choice and no purpose for discussion. But of course we do have a choice.

    The choice is this--damn our progeny to total certainty of the absolute worst, horrific future that GW has to offer so we could drive our SUV's a bit longer, or start on a path to slight sanity and minimal morality of not maximizing the levels of poisons we are dosing our kids with.

    It is actually an existential question.

    "ALL of our "money" is effectively on the table, and we CAN'T walk away from oil the way an alcoholic can walk away from his booze , considering that oil is the lifeblood of our economy."

    But this is exactly what we have to do, and I have never known an alcoholic when he wants a drink not to speak of alcohol in exactly these terms--it's his lifeblood; he's GOT to have it; he CAN'T walk away from it....

    In any case, the oil isn't primarily intended for the US. It is being piped to a major port where it will be sold to the highest bidder, probably China.

    Again, if your 'truths' are completely 'self evident' then there is no use discussing them.

    "Any two bit tin hat military commander in charge of a few ground based antiship missiles or fighter aircraft with such missiles with his assets located near any of the key choke points along the sea routes could bring the blue water shipping oil oil to a screeching halt in an hour.

    Any country possessed of a few modern submarines could either sink every tanker afloat or drive them all into port for the duration if it wished to do so in a matter of days.

    An actual hot war between major powers would mean that oil tanker sailings would be curtailed indefinitely or at least until a convoy system could be organized, which could take months."

    There are places where military disruptions could dramatically decrease oil supply--an Arab Spring in KSA would be one such. But outside of such civil war action, any move on major move on international waters or across borders would be met not only be US military action (and recall that we have a larger military than the next 50 some countries COMBINED), but likely by an international force.

    Perhaps you have not read or fully understood the consequences for GW from this thing. Do a bit of research. Support for this pipeline is support for a world that will be impossible to live in for most of our children and grandchildren.

    Nice legacy to leave.

    Hi dohboi,

    It was not and is not my intention to call you or anybody else naive for opposing the pipeline being built;and I HAVE not claimed categorically that it WILL be built .

    What is said is that is is naive to believe the oil won't be burnt,SOMEWHERE, barring either a techno miracle over the horizon someplace which would free us from our dependency of fossil fuels, or outright collapse, which i view as a serious possibility.

    I did not say we have no choice about building the pipeline.What I said was that we have no choice but to stay at the table and play cards in our hands in the poker game called reality.This game involves our being hooked on oil.Maybe you could walk away from an oil based economy, and maybe I could, although it would be VERY VERY HARD. It IS naive to expect us naked apes Yankees and Rebs to do so collectively;down that road lies nothing less than collapse of the economy and martial law-and that is if we are lucky, and martial law holds.

    I do agree that we do have to free ourselves of our oil addiction if for no other reason than that the hard facts of geology will free us if we don't take care of the problem ourselves.

    But we can't go cold turkey, and it is the worst sort of political naivete to believe that the American public can be sold on any sort of austerity program to that effect.If some political faction were to get into power and actually propose such a program, it would be laughed out of office and half the office holders impeached in nothing flat.The only result of any consequence of any sort of program to that effect would be to create an all consuming backlash against the environmental movement.

    You don't actually think that oil is going to stay in the ground , regardless of what we here in the states do or don't do, do you?Or what any group of people anywhere, working collectively, can do?

    Please tell me that I have not misjudged your political sophistication so badly!The only way we could prevent it being burned would be to invade Canada and - oh well, if we were to do such a foolish thing, it would be to with the object of TAKING THE OIL.

    I am certain that you understand that the wind respects no borders , and that global warming is not going to be affected in any respect by such oil being burned in Asia or Europe rather than here.

    I do not contend that the oil will be earmarked for the US simply because the pipeline would bring it here, rather than to a the northwest Pacific coast.I fully recognize that a lot of it, maybe most of it, would be exported for now and for some time to come-perhaps for many decades- for so long as a free market of sort continues to operate.

    You may have failed to notice that I did point out that that after some period of time, oil would move again, under convoy, after a possible full blown effort by some tin hat dictator to bring on WWIII.Given the way we responded to 9/11, and the current precarious situation in respect to our privacy and civil liberties, just how badly do YOU think Uncle Sam would overreact to a six million barrel a day shortfall in oil imports lasting ninety days or more?

    I pointed out MYSELF that we have DEPLOYED the most powerful and the most expensive combined army in history to protect our current oil supply;that army has been continuously engaged more or less for the last two decades , sometimes engaging in some very hot fighting, and remains engaged even today, albeit at low intensity. Any general or prime minister or party leader worthy of his title would far rather bear the "for sure" costs of having the pipeline than the potential catastrophic costs of not having it.

    Suppose we just stop to consider the thought that if a real hot war gets started, we won't need to deploy even more men and treasure to Angola or some such other godforsaken pesthole to the extent that we have a secure Canadian supply.

    In the event that we do go to war, either by choice or because we are forced to, with a major power, we can count on Canada to backstop us, as they are for all intents and purposes unable to defend themselves, and have been shielded under our military umbrella at least since 1939.This is not to knock Canadian military prowess, it is simply to point out that they DON'T have a large standing army or navy, and that they have no intention of acquiring one of either.

    I am very well informed, about as well informed as a layman can be, as to the implications of global warming, and scared as hell for the future.As evidence, I refer you to my many , many comments to that effect here in this forum. over the last two or three years.

    But this pipeline is not going to change global warming one whit, in either a positive or negative fashion, whether it is built or not.It will leave no gw legacy.

    You are worrying about a a very real bridge that we must cross or crash, but I'm telling you that the pipeline is insurance against a potentially fatal economic accident leading to war that might happen long before we reach the gw bridge, unless we have already crossed it unawares, which I consider entirely possible.

    You should have masonry firewalls, or at least a full inch of sheetrock and good fire blocking otherwise, in the event that you have a fire in one of your rental units.Doubtless you also have fire insurance.Try to think of this pipeline from my pov for a minute-I fervently hope that neither of us has a fire, and also that we don't have a resource war anytime soon-well at least ANOTHER one in addition to the one we are already in today.

    That pipeline is an insurance policy that hopefully we will not have to draw on, but I maintain that given historical precedent, we would be making a grave strategic mistake if we don't build it.

    The environmental movement and the democrats may be making a potentially catastrophic tactical mistake-from their pov- if the next election cycle turns out to be a close one, and a few races turn on the pipeline, thereby putting the republicans in control of Washington.(Remember that I am one of a very rare sort of political animal, a philosophical/libertarian conservative, and NOT a republican.)

    I believe in clean air and clean water laws, etc.

    Existential arguments are for armchairs with a glass-this argument is more about doing whatever we can to ensure that we avoid sailing the American ship of state onto an energy rock.No one thing can guarantee our security, but every little bit helps in a crisis-and a million barrels of oil a day is more than a little bit.

    Ps Sometime soon I an going to get somebody to show me how to copy comments to the reply window.I would like to underline or use italics rather than caps, but while I can do that in Word, I haven't figured out how to do it here.

    It depends on a time line.
    The EROEI on the Canadian tarsands is not worth the effort without abundant water and natural gas.
    We get below 5 to 1 (which the tarsands is already), it probably will not be worth it.

    With Enron Bookkeeping, it seems ok now, especially if they can get it to the Gulf and convert it into diesel.

    Canada has abundant water and natural gas in the oil sands regions. The main constraint is labor. There are not a lot of people living there.

    An EROEI of 5 to 1 is not too bad when compared to fuel ethanol (something like 1 to 1) or coal-to-liquids (about 1 to 0.6).

    There is an oil sands plant under construction in Alberta designed to convert bitumen from the oil sands direct to diesel fuel, with a 50% diesel fuel cut (the other 50% will be sold to oil refineries for further processing into, e.g., gasoline). This will go a long way toward solving Alberta's diesel fuel supply problems, although I don't know if it will do much for anybody else.

    Cane ethanol has an EROEI of about 9.

    Yes, but the largest producer of cane ethanol, Brazil, is importing ethanol from the US because it has a shortage of ethanol. If the US is going to subsidize the production, the Brazilians are happy to buy it because they can't produce enough ethanol of their own.

    The main constraining factor in ethanol production is the sheer amount of agricultural land required for it. Brazil has an area the size of Portugal dedicated to producing cane ethanol. There is a fundamental conflict between production for fuel and production for food, and at this point in time the price of sugar is high, so they are using their sugar cane to make sugar instead of ethanol.

    The US is now devoting 40% of its corn crop to ethanol production, and this is resulting in high grain prices worldwide.

    I agree that U.S. ethanol policy is suboptimal, and that biofuels are limited by availability of arable land to significantly less production than current world liquid fuel consumption (not a silver bullet for peak oil). That is different than saying that biofuels have an EROEI of ~1 and are pointless.

    Incidentally, Brazil has a lot more land that could be put under cane cultivation. They have enough suitable land (not the type used for corn/soy) to produce about 6mbpd of ethanol with cane without reducing sugar production.


    The oil sands are a long-term enterprise, and there is evidence that water may indeed be a limiting factor in the long run, both in terms of volumes available to industry and in terms of quality/pollutants.
    Please note slide 7:

    Also, the glacier which starts the Athabasca River is in significant decline so water supply may be an increasing concern in the decades ahead for the Ft. McMurray region.

    Rick - "... the glacier which starts the Athabasca River is in significant decline..." If I recall the geography correctly you're referring to the Columbia Ice Field. I've been lucky to scamper across it 3X in my life. It has acually been receeding since the 1800's. If it continues to have a net melt (or actually increases its melt) it will continue to supply water. Thus gains in GHG may actually provide more water for oil sand recovery. Ironic, eh? The problem for the oil sands could be a significant drop in temps on the CIF that would reduce the melt.

    Just a rough guess but the CIF at it's current decline wold probably supply enough water for many hundreds of years...long after the last bbl of oil sand is produced.

    Rockman, your geography is almost as good as your geology!

    RickM makes the mistake of thinking that since glacier is at the head of the river, that it contributes a significant proportion of the river's flow.

    In the case of the Athabasca, it just ain't so. The "river" that drains out of the moraine of Columbia Glacier is just a dirty creek. By the time it gets to Jasper, some 100km away, it has significantly increased in size , and by the time it is at Fort Mc, it is huge. I would put the contribution of the glacier as being less than 1% of the flow at Ft Mc.

    So even if the glacier dissappeared, the river would still flow.

    Now, if the precipitation on the eastern side of the rockies went to zero, then so would the river, but as long as it rains/snows, there will be water flowing, but the seasonal patterns can/will change.

    Paul & Rock,

    I agree that the initial flow from the glacier is a minute fraction of the flow that comes through Ft. Mac.
    But the same factors which are shrinking the glacier (presumably warmer and/or drier weather) may also reduce the flow of the Athabasca's tributaries. Rock's point that increased glacial melting would increase, not decrease the volume, at least in the short & medium term is correct, but the increased volume is a mere fraction in any case.

    My central point is that given the volumes of water required and the evidence that water volumes can drop significantly during the winter months, plus the water quality concerns downstream, maybe we should not be too self-assured regarding long-term water supply for oil sands operations.

    Unless my memory is failing me, I'd be reluctant to call the Athabasca River "huge" at Ft. Mac.
    I was there in 74 & 75 and have not been back (though I'd love to see how much the place has changed) but my memory is of river which was certainly significant, but was not on the scale of (say) the Ottawa River.
    This Wiki link says that the minimum flow for the Athabasca below Ft, Mac can be as low as 75 cubic metres/second (which is one-tenth of the cited minimum flow of the Ottawa):

    The Athabasca is a significant river, true, but then so are the demands upon it.

    Less than 5% of the flow of the Athabasca River is allocated for any purpose. Oil sands plants use about 2% of the flow of it. The rest goes to irrigation, pulp mills, and other industrial purposes. By contrast most of the rivers in Southern Alberta are about 70% allocated, and some of them are over 100% committed to irrigation and industry.

    Certainly, the Athabasca is only 1/3 the size of the Ottawa River, but the Ottawa is a HUGE river - it's as big as the Rhine River in Europe. The Athabasca River is smaller but it is 10 times the size of the Thames River in London, England, and is bigger than the Seine River in Paris.

    The Athabasca is the second-biggest river in Alberta and is somewhat bigger than the Colorado River in the US. It's not big by Eastern Canadian standards I realize, but by most countries' standards its pretty big. Canada has about 20% of the world's fresh water, so it has bigger rivers than most other countries.

    The flow of the Athabasca peaks in the spring rainfall season and falls quite a bit in the winter. It is one of the longest rivers in North American with no dams on it, but they could always build some storage dams on it if low flow was a problem.


    "I would like to underline or use italics rather than caps, but while I can do that in Word, I haven't figured out how to do it here."


    ...and basic html tutorial here

    I was not using 'existential' in the philosophical sense. An existential threat or risk is one that threatens the existence of civilization.


    Having to carpool rather than drive your SUV by yourself is not an existential threat.

    That is what we are talking about with limits to oil.

    Not having an environment that has ever existed since humans existed on the planet is an existential threat.

    The latter is probably already baked in, so, as much that we discuss here, our arguments on these issues are largely academic.

    But, on the off chance that there is some unknown unknown that can save our sorry butts in spite of ourselves--unless we go absolutely hog wild crazy and burn up every last speck of absolutely filthy ultra low EROEI source of fossil fuel--it would be wise to oppose anything that would make it likely that we will absolutely damn all posterity with our greed.

    But, as you say or imply, wisdom is in short supply and greed is rampant, so it may well be true that we will burn every last speck of anything remotely resembling oil. I had hoped that you would be an advocate of wisdom over greed. Perhaps I was mistaken in my impression.

    If you have not viewed it yet, here is the one of the best updates on what GW science is telling us now, versus what the policy makers and politicians think:


    Thank you dohboi for a courteous and gentlemanly reply.

    My heart is with you.

    If I could roll the clock back five hundred years and be born a Cherokee in these hills I would jump at the chance no questions asked.

    But my personal wants and desires and values are not relevant to my purpose in starting this thread;what I am trying to do is clarify this unfortunate situation by outlining what I think is politically possible and most likely to actually come to pass.

    My goal is to encourage people to think in terms of what can actually be accomplished in the trenches of American politics by starting a dialogue based on physical and political reality.

    It causes me to feel like I have a big old leaden ball in the center of my soul when I think about what is happening to our pretty blue marble, and to be truthful, I believe we have already passed the point of no return and that collapse due to overshoot is a certainty.

    But I will put my two cents worth in where ever I can in a feeble attempt to postpone the inevitable and thereby allow renewables to mature technically and grow up physically in terms of actual deployments.

    I don't think that collapse necessarily means the end of civilization, or even the end of industrial civilization , but it is going to be very very bad, with billions of people dying early deaths.

    Of course there is no way to know for sure, but my guess is that economic and ecological collapse due to resource depletion and resource war is the more immediate threat of the two most likely doomer scenarios.

    There is somewhat of a silver lining in the black collapse cloud;it seems likely to me that collapse will result in a huge huge reduction of the burning of such fossil fuels as are left for a century or two at least, and that we will never again be so numerous as we are now, barring that techno miracle I mentioned earlier.

    This just might be enough of a reduction for long enough that there would be no runaway greenhouse.

    I have studied Greenish's thoughts in respect to collapse and I find that I must agree with him in believing that the best thing for the biosphere would be an early and extraordinarily hard collapse, which would wipe us out so fast we wouldn't have much opportunity to muck things up even more than we have already.

    The only fault I can see with this reasoning is that the risk of a flat out nuclear war would be pretty high under such circumstances; but the risk of war is ever present anyway.

    My ape brain insists that the happiness of my nephew's little girl, who came for a visit today and sat in my lap and gave me and her great grand father each a hug and a kiss , is more important than all the starving people in Asia and Africa, and more important than what happens a hundred or a thousand years from now, even if it wipes out the world.

    But if the world goes to hell in a handbasket within the foreseeable future... Well, the whole ball of wax is so depressing it makes me sick to think about it .I'm afraid there are no workable solutions to either overshoot or runaway warming .

    Throughout the ages, doom is the common prediction.
    This is because there is no way to predict game-changing developments.

    "It causes me to feel like I have a big old leaden ball in the center of my soul when I think about what is happening to our pretty blue marble"

    Nicely put.

    On the other points, I think many are starting to see things in Greenish's way. My take is that the hope of at least some among the anti-pipeline folks is that we can delay major extraction of oil from tar sands long enough that the crash will make it impossible to proceed, so in the mean time we will have saved the future one more major source of ghgs spewed into the atmosphere.

    We can be very happy on much less oil, but we can't exist (other than perhaps in the kind of domed cities the Russians are planning) on a super heated planet.

    I don't know if you missed this little tidbit from last year:


    Global Warming: Future Temperatures Could Exceed Livable Limits, Researchers Find

    Can you find your location on that world map? How livable will your area be with this level of warming?

    Since this was published, the science and on-the-ground data has gotten much worse--we are now much more likely to get to this level of GW. Birol claims that just factoring in what will happen when all the investments now made in ff developments come to completion, we have doomed ourselves and our future to at least 6 degrees C warming. Recall that the political (not scientific) consensus was that two degrees warming was the danger point for continued global civilization. This obviously goes far beyond that.

    Anyway, I hope I obliged by responding to your posts so you weren't just posting into the wind. Have good holidays and many more moments of grandkids and grand nieces dandling on your knees.

    we can count on Canada to backstop us, as they are for all intents and purposes unable to defend themselves, and have been shielded under our military umbrella at least since 1939.This is not to knock Canadian military prowess, it is simply to point out that they DON'T have a large standing army or navy, and that they have no intention of acquiring one of either.

    I see this sentiment frequently online, but it's always presented as a given, rather than backed up with any analysis.

    Excepting its NATO allies, there are no land invasion routes to Canada, no effective nearby staging areas, and nowhere near enough carrier-based air power to compete with Canada's force of ~100 fighter jets. The result is that any conventional invasion would need to cross large distances of open ocean in the face of overwhelming air superiority; this would be militarily akin to being on the wrong side of a game of Whack-A-Mole.

    When you look at the facts of the matter, there are no plausible conventional military threats to Canada, and "we're protecting them" is nothing more than a story Americans tell themselves to get a little jolt of nationalistic pride. It's a feel-good fable.

    That's the thing that has always bothered me about the American, "Without us you'd be defenseless" claim. There are no land invasion routes, except through the US, there are no nearby staging areas, except in the US, and the only country with a big enough carrier fleet to take on the Canadian air force is the US.

    Canada is a G8 country, one of the eight most powerful countries in the world, and 6 of the other 7 members are not in a strategic position to invade us. So why would we worry about being invaded by any country except the US?

    Personally, I don't think access to that oil would continue once steep decline post-peak issues arrive (why would Canada keep sending it down here then?), but I do agree the pipeline should be built, for the other reasons you list. In fact, I'd wager it will be approved a month or two after Obama wins re-election. Obama just needs to keep the McKibbenites happy for 11 more months.

    McKibben's decision to focus on the pipeline was quixotic at best. That oil is absolutely getting burnt, pipeline or not. It's hard to believe McKibben doesn't know that, which makes it hard to fathom what game he thinks he's playing, building a movement on sand.

    Old MacGyver farmer -

    Soul searching and agonizing over past decisions is of the utmost value in preventing future strategic mistakes, and formulating long term strategy, but thses pastimes are irrelevant to making short term tactical decisions.The Captain of the Titanic should have vetoed the owner's intent of setting a record on the fatal trip, and he should have slowed down, and he would have slowed down , had he exercised good professional judgement.But once the ship hit the iceberg, all such considerations became academic questions and distractions.

    The biggest issue with that record setting attempt is that the captain had his blinders on because he was looking at the one issue, speed over the Atlantic without considering other possibilities. If you focus just on oil then you still have your blinders on for the other issues which might cause the ship to sink.

    The reason why someone like Rockman doesn't use EROEI as a basis for well viability is because it doesn't tell the whole story, money itself is a great simplification on overall human effort required to perform a task between paying for peoples time and training and the materials used or borrowed to extract the resources. Money itself can be described as Return on Human Investment, R.O.H.I. This is a major simplification whilst taking into consideration the wider issues around supporting an industry for oil drilling and not just a particular wells profitability.

    Unless something happens which enables one side to have a massive advantage over the other, discussing a hot war between any of the major powers is equivalent to both sides jumping off a cliff and hoping when they land they'll get away with fewer injuries than the other guy. Regardless of how strong you are, a hard landing is still a hard landing.

    It doesn't really matter where that pipeline ends up. The terminal point on the Pacific is still within Uncle Sam's sphere of influence and if words don't work then a mild push to secure that oil and tanker it down the coast wouldn't be too hard to accomplish. It still won't break MADOR doctrine here on TOD even if the Keystone pipeline never gets built.

    I think people here get a bit too tied up over the peak oil issue and they don't necessarily consider the wider reality. The major problem is that increasing energy is needed to be extracted from finite resources with finite production rates to maintain homeostasis of human systems whilst at the same time increasing energy is required to maintain that homeostasis, let alone actually produce economic growth. Westexas has posted hundreds of times and yet people simply are not getting that the pressing issue is not peak oil, it's peak exports. It doesn't matter if oil returns to a period of growth again if exports continue to fall as consumption in producing countries continues to rise!

    As all systems are tied together it doesn't really mean much to point at one particular resource and say that a limitation of that resource caused global problems. Too many people need too much stuff which produces too much pollution in the process. The game in the long run is fixed to fail and up until now as a global community all we've managed to do is kick the snowball further up the hill so when we can't push it any longer it's going to get that much bigger when it finally rolls back down. The Keystone is red-herring, when people finally wake up to the idea that there are too many people using too much stuff we can finally solve the problem. At the present time all the current system is gaining us is more inequality and more kids whom the best they can look forward to is maybe a job at Starbucks because at least it's a little cooler than McDonalds and permament residence in mums basement.

    Hi Squilliam and Micheal,

    I basically agree with what you have to say, with a couple of caveats;wars can get started even when just about everybody in a position of power is doing their own dead level personal best to prevent that very thing;witness WWI.

    If you have any interest in such things, I highly recommend SLA Marshall's book on WWI-he does a superb job of explaining how it got started.I had never been able to make anysense out of it until I read him.

    And let me clue you-if a script writer took what actually happened in manuscript form to a producer of comedies, he would be told to try to make it a lot more realistic so the audience could get into it.

    And in a tense situation, any move by our navy to interdict oil moving from the Pacific coast towards Asia might be the very straw that breaks the camel's back.

    If the pipeline runs to the gulf coast, and there is no pipeline to the Pacific, our tactical and strategic situation will be optimized.

    I'm glad that you guys recognize that the oil is going to be burnt, regardless.I really have a hard time seeing how anybody could believe otherwise, unless they are only poorly acquainted with history and politics and modern society.

    A significant reason for WW1 which applies today is the inability of TPTB to accept a change in the status quo. Had Britain for instance accepted that Germany was always fated to pass them as a world power they wouldn't have played their part in setting up Europe for war. It isn't a coincidence that coal production peaked in 1913 and war started in 1914.

    ..and as I understand it, Churchill had just gotten the R,Oil Navy to switch from Coal to Oil in their ships. The first salvoes of the great war were to happen in the Shatt-al-Arab and on Abadan island, near Basra.. with 'Expeditionary force D', as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (one day to become BP) sought to secure the refineries and pipelines heading into their shiny new Oilfields..

    from 'The Road to Basra' - Christopher Trevelyan

    (interesting read..)

    I wondered why there is such a drive for this pipeline. Now, I hear that Grover Norquist is the lobbyist for the pipeline. Norquist, who the politicians pledge to over their pledge to country. I wondered what this king looked like. Here is a picture of the king:


    The oil will flow past the impoverished populace to be refined and shipped overseas. Similar refined products, that the locals can't afford to pay as much for anymore, is being shipped overseas right now. The refining makes pollution. The oil spills. Just like in Nigeria, the pipes will bypass the people. China may well be a target market.

    The mainstream media has no word on this. I will look again tomorrow.

    My rain gauges just hit 48 inches for the year. This may seem like a lot to some of you, but our average annual rainfall is 66 inches, and we received just under 73 inches in 2010. We seem to be in a cycle of one wet year and two drought years. This has been the pattern for around 12 years now, the new normal it seems. While our forests seem to be coping fairly well, some of the shallower rooted tree species are having a tough go of it. It also makes growing crops harder; too wet or too dry. A few years of near normal rainfall and temperatures would be welcome. No such luck expected going forward. I fear for our cherished temperate rain forest.

    Our annual average is 60 inches of water, but we're at 34.09. If we get more than 3.9 inches over the next week and a half, 2011 will probably be in the top five driest years ever recorded, otherwise, 2011 will be second only to 1954.

    Makes me jealous. Where I live 13.25 inches is the normal. And yes any area that isn't artificially waters looks like a desert. This should be the green season around here, but the hills are still brown.

    Hmm, well we've had about 5 metres over the last year, your welcome to come and collect some of it when it rains ;)


    Yes, 48 inches of rain does seem like a lot of rainfall. Where I live we get 19 inches of precipitation per year, of which 11 inches falls as rain and 8 inches as snow (reduced to a water equivalent). And we though it rained too much here (we could use more snow, though).

    This is in the Canadian Rockies, where we get more rain than on the Canadian Prairies, and the Canadian Prairies are a major agricultural area. It doesn't require much rainfall to grow wheat.

    A lot depends on the annual average temperature. In California 13 inches isn't much, although the central valley is a top agricultural area, very little could be grwon without irrigation. Where I lived in New Mexicon at 2000meters, 18inches was enough to allow for gorgeous tree cover. So where you live evaporation is low enough that nineteen inches is plenty.

    Albuquerque, NM

    Jan 2011 - Nov 2011 precipitation


    -4.72" from the Norm

    Numbers as of right now will be somewhat higher...we had some Dec rain/snow...


    Your situations is kinda like California. Your water doesn't come from where you live. In CA, the southern part of the state (think LA & San Diego), gets a lot of water from the far northern part of the state. The water for SF comes from much further south than much of the water for LA! This year LA is getting lots of rain, but not points to the north (opposite of normal), so they probably think it will be a bumper year. Boy, will they be in for a surprise if this pattern doesn't change!

    An update on Central Texas.

    We are still in a terrific drought - by any way you measure it. The variable level lakes are all very low - and many trees are in distress.

    However we have had nothing but rain for the last 6 weeks. It is a very slow steady rain - the kind the Navaho call a female rain (slow and sensuous). At our place we have had 4.6 inches in December so far. It is actually getting kind of miserable - has stopped all outside activity - tracking mud into the house has been a mess. But my landscape loves it.

    It will take months of this to recover. What we really need is multiple Texas male rains - the kind that is accompanied by thunder, lightening, and 3 inches per hour.

    Interesting. I believe the Brits call it "Lady Rain." The official explanations I have heard is that they are merciful like "Our Lady" Mother Mary. But I'm betting the term goes farther back than that.

    Last I heard, half a million trees have died so far. On another blog, a poster from Texas said poignantly, "The land is dying."

    Further update - it is raining steadily right now and the evening weatherman just told us we will get another 0.7 inches overnight. The average rainfall for our area for December is 2.1 inches so we are smashing the norms.

    But Texas is a big state (really big) so I am sure there are others getting very little.

    The updated drought monitor is out:


    All of TX seems to still be in drought (with maybe a tiny spot of mere 'abnormally dry conditions'), but it is not the near-solid deepest red it used to be. It looks like some areas are getting a bit of relief while others, not so much. It looks like the central area, which has had the longest period of drought, is getting the most relief.

    They also seem to have gotten enough rain (and snow!?) along the Kansas-Nebraska border that we no longer have continuous drought/abnormally dry conditions from the southern to the northern border. We haven't gotten much relief up here in MN from our very dry fall and winter.

    Good link - thanks.

    The Shocking Truth of the Pending EU Collapse!

    A youtube video that questions whether the proposed treaty changes to the European Union will place high finance beyond the restraint of sovereign legislative, executive or judicial authority.

    If the treaty is really this bad, if the paranoia is this justifiable, where are the constitutional lawyers in the process? Where are the opposition politicians? Surely somebody - other than the Brits (for reasons of their own) - would have figured out that this would be a one way invitation to a regulatory straightjacket? No statesman, no government, I would think, would consciously hogtie their country's future without an escape clause? And no respectable political party would not slam one of their opponents (for political advantage) if they dared be stupid enough to surrender sovereignty to an autonomous and unscrutinized central banking bureaucracy.

    The Eurozone, as ever, is mystifying to us who live outside its borders. Mind you, the same thing can be said about the Federal Reserve.

    Zadok, it tells you just how deep in the anal solids the E.U. is nobody will lend them money so what they are doing to get round this is to implement a system of forced loans with no restrictions on what the do with it. That tells you all you want to know. They will most likely get it but it will only delay the end.
    The axis of evil the E.U. commissioners know the end is nigh and this is the last desperate attempt to shore up the edifice. None have read any history because if they had they would have realised that all multicultural empires when there financial and industrial base is eroded to such an extent they break apart very very quickly. The Austrian Hungarian empire after the first war is a very good example.The British Empire after the second world war is another good example later examples are the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Unfortunately I live here in the heart of the beast and unfortunately will have a ring side seat.

    I just found a .50 Euro coin walking back from my kid's school this morning.. in the gutter next to an empty Bud-Light bottle. Does this mean something?

    At least the 5 cent bottle-return I can use right away. The other one is just a cute keepsake for now.. maybe I'll hang it on the Tree.

    the E.U. commissioners know the end is nigh and this is the last desperate attempt to shore up the edifice.

    Looks like the guv of the Bank of England agrees. Eurozone crisis live

    4:28 pm: A grim warning from Sir Mervyn King, Bank of England governor -- "the warning lights are flashing red" across the Eurozone.

    In his role as the head of the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), King said that the situation in Europe has worsened in the last three months (no argument there), with the real economy now suffering.

    Speaking after the ESRB held its quarterly meeting in Frankfurt, King said:

    The overal situation has worsened as a result of the intensification and negative interlinkages between the sovereign risks and uncertainty about the resilience of the financial system and on the account of deteriorating growth prospects.

    European bond markets continue to be impaired.

    Yorkshire I don't envy your ring side seat. Bob (alias jokuhl) I would hang that half euro on the tree and put it away after the holidays with the other decorations. It may be a relic of a bygone era in a year or two, ranked right up there with rubble from the Berlin Wall.

    Hey Yorskhire, i'll make popcorn. Looks like we got good seats after all. Lucky us!

    The Yuk-fest persists!

    I just heard the NPR replay of Reagan in Berlin saying 'Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!' .. so your "Rubble" was read as "Ruble" ... and from ashes to ashes and dust to dust, eh? sigh!

    Unless it's time for some Sean Connery/Red-Oktober Quotes..

    Putin: (reading, in Russian) "Behold, I am coming as a thief... and he gathered them all together in a place called Armageddon... (English) and the Seventh Angel poured forth his bowl into the air, and a voice cried out from Heaven, saying, "It is done!" A man of your responsibilities reading about the end of the world? And what's this? "I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."

    Ramius: It is an ancient Hindu text, quoted by an American.

    Putin: An American?

    Ramius: Mmm. He invented the atomic bomb. He was later accused of being a communist.


    How's that for History 'Rhyming'? .. ahh, Mr. Twain, we owe you so much!

    (alright, maybe it's Life imitating art instead, but as with Rubles and Rubble, or Pigs and Men, I can't easily tell them apart any more.)

    That video IS shocking. I had no idea the EMS treaty was so anti-democratic. It's hard to imagine this turning out anything but bad.

    The narrator asks some stark questions:

    Europe's national budgets in the hands of one, single, unelected, intergovernmental organization.

    Is that the future of Europe?

    Is that the new EU?

    A Europe devoid of sovereign democracies?

    Is that what you want?

    All bureaucracies are, to some degree, self-aggrandizing and self-serving. The EU may be on the cusp of taking this axiom to its ultimate end.

    From an article above:

    The Obama administration and European governments are seeking help from Arab and Asian allies to reduce Iran’s oil revenues in the dispute over its nuclear program, while trying to avoid causing a surge in prices that may threaten the global economic recovery.

    Sounds like an awful tiny needle to thread. But Obama has spent his firt (and maybe only term) grasping for that razor thin edge of pandering appeasement, so maybe it is possible.

    French train company SNCF is going to pay a record dividend to the governement.
    The 230 million Euro dividend is about 30% of total benefit, another portion will be given as bonus to the employees and the rest invested in improvement of the railways and trains stations.

    This shows that a public company, and public transportation at that, can make money even in bureaucratic France.

    Yes the SNCF makes profit but there is a catch. High speed line have been paid be the Réseau Ferré de France (RFF). RFF is loosing money big time. This is why it plan to increase the charge to SNCF by 30%, which would hurt the bottom line. There is a discussion about merging both of the organizations.

    Behind a paywall, but you can get in through Google.

    India Unveils Strategic Oil Stockpile Plans

    NEW DELHI -- India is planning to create an emergency oil stockpile more than twice the size of previously announced reserves, and could use it to cushion the country against both supply disruptions and price fluctuations, a senior oil ministry official said Wednesday.

    ...This may cause problems with the U.S. and the International Energy Agency, who have a longstanding policy that strategic oil reserves should only be drawn on in times of physical shortage, and not be used as a hedge against price moves.

    This may cause problems with the U.S. and the International Energy Agency, who have a longstanding policy that strategic oil reserves should only be drawn on in times of physical shortage, and not be used as a hedge against price moves.

    With the exception of Japan (due to the nuclear disaster), in mid-2011 the EIA disregarded its 'policy' and released oil after the price (of Brent) had risen about 50% in about 5 months.

    Granted the price was moving up in anticipation of physical shortages (excepting Japan again which faced a real emergency), but those shortages had yet to occur at the time of oil release.

    I expect that the IEA will over look this policy again on the next up price spike.

    Yeah, it's sort of like Americans telling others they can't have nuclear weapons.

    Death for damaging pipeline


    New Delhi : Wilfully damaging an oil pipeline can now result in death sentence. The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Amendment Bill, 2010, which provides for a jail term of not less than 10 years for willful destruction of oil pipelines. The punishment “may extend to life imprisonment or death”. The Lok Sabha has already passed the Bill.

    It's pointless though, the insurgents who target pipelines are already on the death list of paramilitary forces.

    Nawaralsaadi posted this on the previous Drumbeat. I found watching it fascinating. Who knew what you could accomplish with a front loader, an angle grinder, some generators and pumps, and of course tanker trucks to make off with the ill gotten booty!

    Theft of Iraqi oil in plain daylight:



    You know lawlessness prevails when grand theft becomes a social event. In Iraq it can involve many men, many trucks, and lots of crude.

    I was thinking...

    Tanker Truck Rental $699/day (x50)
    Front Loader Rental $899/day
    Angle Grinder $299
    Portable Generator $499
    Pumps and Hoses $999
    Giant Steel Rod FREE (salvaged!)
    Bribes for Security Forces $3999

    Being able to post a video on YouTube of you and your buddies sticking it to the man...PRICELESS!

    Fifty trucks times ten thousand gallons each times a buck a gallon ( fenced prices are usually half or less market prices) is not a bad return, all things considered.


    Thanks for your definition of technocorpian!

    Editors reviewed your entry and have decided to publish it on urbandictionary.com.

    It should appear on this page in the next few days:

    Urban Dictionary



    Someone that believes technology will be invented, or existing technology will assist, to create solutions towards a utopia.

    That guy always states that once we have fusion power, there will be no peak oil crisis. What a technocorpian.

    I mush prefer Kunstler's definition Techno narcissism

    Too bad they spelled it wrong (dictionaries shouldn't do that :-))

    It's "technocopian", as in "cornucopia".


    Urbandictionary didn't spell it wrong, I spelled it wrong (darn it).

    Since I was the submitter, I will ask them to correct my spelling mistake, but keep the definition the same.

    Also since I submitted the idea 1/2 year ago, I had actually forgotten all about it, until I got the confirmation email from them just recently.

    Good luck with that expected increase in oil supply from Iraq............

    Baghdad bomb attacks leave scores dead and hundreds injured
    At least 60 dead after series of coordinated attacks rock the city days after US forces leave the country

    Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

    ..and of course, as much as our 'departure' has a certain, illusory nature to it.. with 15k souls remaining in the Bagdad Uber-Embassy, there is also the issue that Colin Powell warned about, having to do with Bulls in China Shops, and whether the charges end up on Bush's Card or on Obamas? The heavy costs of departing have been in the cards since day one.

    whether the charges end up on Bush's Card or on Obamas?

    Most likely they will simply be swept under the rug. We are after all a nation most skilled at creative accounting.

    Most likely they will simply be swept under the rug.

    Agreed. There seems to be a history of new US presidents pardoning previous ones.

    Or in the present case, simply refusing to consider to go there, "hear no evil see no evil". This is simple timidity. Acussing a member of the opposite party of a serious crime will bring down the wrath of the right. So the "safe" play, is to pretend it never happened. Thats even more damaging in my opinion then proving in court that a crime was committed, but pardoning the perp. I could live with that (even if I wouldn't celebrate it). But, this turning the other cheek, means most of country can go on believing everything is OK. Thats a slippery slope towards repeat offenses in my book. At this point the most likely place for a repeat is Iran.

    It is due to a blockade imposed by those agitating against a dam. Nothing to do with peak oil.

    Peak Oil Is Here, Energy Stocks Will Soar In 2012

    With the current tumultuous events in the Middle East bringing attention to the mounting energy requirements of the emerging economies, in addition to the burgeoning necessities of the recovering developed economies, the fact that demand is outstripping supply appears to be blatantly obvious. All the easy oil and gas has been discovered, recovered, depleted and expended. We are now left with on shore 'fracking' and deep sea drilling which are much more expensive endeavors, ultimately driving the price of a barrel of oil sky-high sooner rather than later. Wake up! Peak Oil is here and oil & gas stocks will soar in 2012.

    Seeking Alpha tells it like it is, even if they are a commercial site. It is important to remember that they are not selling stock themselves but selling advertising on their site, just like any TV station or newspaper.

    Anyway this is an extremely interesting article, one of the best. They stress unrest in the Middle East and other parts of the world as one of the things that will bring peak oil to the forefront very soon.

    Ron P.

    I think this kind of analysis support Greer's "What does Peak Oil look like?" question. It looks like what we are seeing now...lots of grass roots unrest bubbling up due to simple things like expensive food, basic needs not being met, governments showing lack of empathy for the masses.

    Yes, many good points. But since, as you say, it is primarily a financial advice column, the takeaway message is: So throw all your money at Halliburton or one of its ilk. Not something I can get too excited about.

    Dohboi, the Seeking Alpha does not get part of the action. They are not selling financial advice, they sell advertising. Halliburton, or any other oil or oil service company does not advertise on the site. They do give advice on which stocks they think will do well and which stocks might collapse. If they thought Halliburton might go bankrupt in the next year or so, they would inform you of their opinion. That is exactly what The Wall Street Journal does.

    If Seeking Alpha, or any other financial advice column paper or TV station, says in bold headlines; Peak Oil is Here, I think we should cheer that that announcement not criticize it. Your cynicism is misplaced.

    Ron P.

    And their other oil headline, same day issue:

    U.S. Poised To Retake Status As Net Oil Exporter

    Like the rest, they're looking first for hype. They may clear it up later. I take 'em all with a block of salt.

    Anyone know the Average BOP/day per crude well for the lower 48? I think WT or someone mentioned it a while back.

    timber - Last time I saw the number the average US oil well was doing a little less than 10 bopd.

    Re: USA sees 'flattest' growth in population since 1940s, up top:


    Re: Seattle-based icebreaker on mission to help Nome, Alaska, up top:


    The last article posted by leanan has not garnered any comment that I can see, so I thought I'd give it a go:


    This article is much better than the Revkin article that preceded it, but the most of the responses to both are better than the articles.

    What people always seem to leave out is that the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is very vast and very shallow, so it does not take much to start a cycle that would eventually melt all of the large amounts of methane hydrate at the seabed, with eventual release of the further large volumes of free methane beneath. If this process has started, even if it is in early stages, it is very worrying indeed, to put it mildly.

    We have testimony of experienced scientists in the field that this is what is going on. What we don't have yet is robust data from monitoring stations showing large increases in atmospheric methane concentrations. There is a worrying jump in methane levels from preliminary data at the Barrow station, and some smaller possibly-related increases in CO2 there and in Cold Bay, but nothing else yet.

    It has been estimated that there is something on the order of a trillion tons of methane in ESAS alone. On decadal time frames, methane has 105 times the global warming potential of CO2. Current annual release of CO2 from all human sources in something a bit over 30 billion tons per year.

    Do the math.

    A sudden release of even a tiny fraction of this methane would be a game changer, or rather a game ender.

    I think most of us respond to articles about issues we feel we have some hope of coping with. I can attempt to deal with an energy crisis, food crisis, some level of AGW, times of social and political turmoil. Runaway greenhouse effects, catastrophic global warming, Venus syndrome? Not much point. It's not denial, just avoiding cognitive dissonance... all one can do is wait and pray.

    Of course, this is surely how a lot of folks feel about many of the scenarios we discuss.

    Actually, I've recently been exploring one possibility of "doing something" about global warming. That is to do the research to find a geographical location that will still be comfortable in, say, 30 years, and try to convince my grown children to move there while my grandchildren are still small.

    I really think that British Columbia, Alaska, or Sweden could still be quite pleasant until maybe 2100, at which point my oldest grandchild could still be alive at age 91.

    My own area (Sierra Foothills in Calif.), by the same time, might be about what the Mojave Desert is like now!

    Russia Moves into Arctic Oil Frontier With A Lax Safety Culture?

    ... After six months that brought us the sinking of a decrepit cruise ship drowning dozens of women and children, and the crashing of an aging airplane killing an entire hockey team, now we have an oil drilling platform sinking as it transports 67 men through icy waters — well past the close of the shipping season.

    In these three cases, the three companies blame the captain or the pilot, who is, conveniently, dead.

    But there is a little snag with Sunday’s sinking of the Kolskaya, an oil rig in the Sea of Okhotsk. The captain was so opposed to moving the 26-year-old drilling rig that he resigned. The rig owner, Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka (AMNGR), refused to his accept his resignation, essentially forcing him to gamble on the passage.

    re: 365 days: Nature's 10 - Ten people who mattered this year

    There is a lot of good stuff in this article, but one item in particular is something the Doomsters should think about (I mean other than trying to refute it):

    ... the number of annual births, which had been growing for centuries, peaked around 1990 at roughly 135 million, and has declined since then. "The world reached peak child before peak oil" ...

    So, we're already two decades past peak children, and it is only a few more decades until we reach peak people. (There is a certain amount of lag in the process because you have to wait for the peak children to get old and start dying before the total population peaks and starts to decline.)

    Most people in the world are not completely stupid and stopped having too many children decades ago. Education is key to that, and the process of educating people about birth control is ongoing. There are exceptions to accepting the solution, of course, but the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse will deal with their children as has historically happened.

    Peak oil is the more immediate problem, and it is not as easily solvable.

    Most people in the world are not completely stupid and stopped having too many children decades ago. Education is key to that, and the process of educating people about birth control is ongoing. There are exceptions to accepting the solution, of course, but the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse will deal with their children as has historically happened.

    Yes true, maybe we are not the same as yeast after all, with enough education we do not breed like the yeast, but there's something more important here, a billion middle class people in the emerging countries now want the same lifestyle that western countries enjoyed for over fifty years, IMO that is the same as having more children, probably worse.

    Start giving away brand new cars for any male that gets a vasectomy. A new Ipad in exchange for an IUD (last 10 years). Pulling grandma off life support? All expenses paid for vacation to Mexico. I'm being sarcastic here, so don't read into it much. My point is we could get people to fewer kids by just dangling a carrot out there. The system in place right now seems to reward having more children.

    Excellent points. And note that the end of the article is not quite as upbeat as the portion quoted above:

    Even if the population problem is abating, the sheer number poses challenges for humanity and the planet. The remedies needed in the next decades are much the same as those needed today: reduce poverty to tackle the root cause of hunger and to accelerate the fall in population growth; develop sustainable agricultural practices that increase food production without gobbling up extra land, water and other resources; develop renewable energy sources and boost energy efficiency to deliver the power that the world will need while avoiding more global warming.

    We may have defused the population bomb, but 1 billion people remain hungry and the planet's resources are stretched thin.

    I don't see the defusing of the pop bomb. We are entering an era when the two major reasons for large families, high childhood mortality and insurance for old age care, will again rate high.

    I see today's drop in birthrates in the developing world as more a response to media portraying the "good life" in every nook and cranny of the world. People are opting not to have children so they may personally have the money to consume more and neater stuff. As the old horsemen return, I think the pattern of high birthrates will return, in spite of any education.

    That is my concern as well.

    I don't think consumerism plays that big a role. At least, it's not the only reason. I think the major factors are: availability of birth control, healthcare/sanitation (meaning children are more likely to survive), urbanization (kids are necessary free labor on the farm, but not in a small city apartment), and education/empowerment of women (even wealthy families have fewer kids now - because the wife feels she has to the right to say, "Sorry, we have enough buns, oven's shut down").

    All of these things might well unwind in the post-carbon age.

    I think consumerism predicates the adoption of birth control. That appears the case esp in Brazil. In any event, the availability of these control methods and shutting down the oven will decline precipitously in the future.

    I have done a little reading on this and the idea that large families were common in pre-industrial times does not appear to be so. It seems that the average family size was 4-5 children which was sufficient to hold the population stable with a slight increase. The mortality rate was considerably higher than today, but not vastly higher.

    Societies do seem to evolve traditions which stabilize populations, but they need stability from generation to generation. With life expectancies, resources, technology in constant state of change traditions cannot keep up and the result is the population explosion.

    Even if the population problem is abating

    I don't think it is abating. If every year is a net increase of x tens of millions of people, then how is that considered abating? Sure, maybe the increase is slowing, but addition is still addition. Look at China - in spite of a one child law, their pop. is now 1.3 billion. That's a huge increase adding only one child per couple! Look at India on a map and then realise they have a pop of 1.1 billion. How do 1.1 billion people live in that relatively small area, particularly when much of its mountainous region must be subtracted from that area for living.

    Human beings are yeast from the standpoint that in every area of consumption or multiplication, we always exceed carrying capacity. We must hit walls so to speak to get enough feedback to slow down, but that rate of increase exceeds what the planet can handle on a long term basis.

    Re: Corn Crop Heads for Sixth Record Year to Feed 1 Billion Cows, up top:

    Please note how this analysis of the grain situation differs from the typical energy analysis we often see. There is no mention of the total grain supply. Nor is the concept of grain return on grain invested brought up. No net grain either. If it were done, the author would be a laughing stock.

    The article is a model of how energy should be analyzed. Each form is taken separately and compared with last years supply and usage. Total grain is not mentioned, because it doesn't matter. What matters is that there is supply available for usage of each form. That the forms of grain are not interchangeable is well understood. The same should be true of forms of energy.

    For example, the oil supply should be projected and compared with this year's supply. Then likely usage by the next year's vehicle fleet compared to the vehicle fleet this year. Then other oil uses should be taken into account.

    Instead we often see various forms of energy mixed. Conventional light crude, heavy crude, tar sands, bio diesel and ethanol are often added together in the analysis. Little regard is paid to characteristics and utility of each form let alone price which compensates for differences. Sometimes other fossil fuels that are not even in liquid form are thrown in like gas and coal.

    If corn which is grown all over the world under widely differing weather conditions can be supply projected, oil supply should be a piece of cake. It seems to me that counting cows, pigs and poultry is harder and less accurate than counting vehicles. Animals die and are slaughtered. Not so much vehicles. The number of vehicles of which nearly all have to be registered should be easy. And automakers regularly report production.

    It is no wonder that there is so much misunderstanding and confusion about energy, energy policy and Peak Oil.

    Quite a bit of head scratching as I read that article. Very illogical to say prices have doubled the last two years because meat consumption has expanded over a much longer period. Ethanol and weather were the major factors in driving the food index to record highs.

    Corn prices doubled in the past two years as farmers failed to keep up with meat
    consumption that expanded 62 percent in a generation. Stockpiles fell in eight of the past 12 years and are down 34 percent since 2000, contributing to a surge in world food costs. Growers are now planting the most corn ever and more feed will come from a projected record wheat harvest.

    Peak corn? It's safer to blame cows. Just as traditional (food/feed) uses for grain are reaching an all time high, we begin to use corn as a substitute for oil. Along comes a drought, costs rise. We certainly don't want to raise the price of petrol any more than necessary or (god forbid) create a shortage at the pump. Hungry folks will have to pay up or go hungry - your free market at its best. Better they starve than you give up your big mac or walk.

    Ethanol and red meat: good for farmers, bad for resilience.

    [goes back to munching on his leftover ribeye]

    Well, the article does say:

    About 30 percent of U.S. corn went into producing the fuel in 2008, compared with 11 percent in 2002,

    But it fails to update the information and mention that about 40% of U.S. corn production is now going into fuel ethanol, and the percentage is rising. That's approaching half of the US corn crop! I would blame cars for the current high price of corn, not cows.

    ‘Oil Movements’ continues to report level OPEC exports after November mini-surge

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

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

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

    The report also in part confirms an increase in output of Saudi Arabia in recent weeks, although when adding up the numbers, well ... they don’t add up. That is -- the widely reported increase in oil ‘output’ was not fully reflected as an increase in ‘exports’. Therefore one can only conclude that Saudi Arabia (1) used more oil for internal purposes (2) put some oil into storage or (3) gave a significant amount of oil to Yemen – for free – as they cope with attacks on their oil and refining infrastructure.

    Even with the increase in Saudi ‘output’ and a large increase in Libya’s exports, OPEC is still exporting 400,000 bpd less than at the start of February 2011.

    Shipping reports out this week indicate that China is actively bidding for oil around the world, not just from Mideast OPEC members (where the ‘East’ as a group bought 80% of their oil exports since March 15). China is presently suffering from a minor diesel shortage, and may be making a preemptive move to build up supplies before, for example, Iranian oil exports may be cut.

    OPEC Exports Rise to 9-Month High on Libya, Oil Movements Says

    By Grant Smith - Dec 22, 2011 11:30 AM ET

    OPEC will ship 23.63 million barrels a day in the four weeks to Jan. 7, up from the 23.23 million barrels shipped daily in the month to Dec. 10, the Halifax, England-based researcher said today in an e-mailed report. Libya is exporting about 500,000 barrels a day, according to the company.

    “It’s nearly all Libya,” Roy Mason, founder of Oil Movements, said by phone. “The Middle East has reached a peak for the winter. The increase is a more or less normal winter event; the real difference is the Libyans are adding to it.”


    Minerals management has moved their online data to here:


    Thunderhorse fans bashers will have a very merry x-mas.

    This is very cool. Do you have any suggestions for looking up lease numbers? Do you have the Thunderhorse number?

    All GOM lease numbers can be found here:

    Deepwater Natural Gas and Oil Discoveries and Fields

    Using Banned's site above, copy and paste in the lease number into the lease number box, check the first three boxes, (Lease Number: Production Month: Production Year:) change the "From" date to whatever month and year you wish, then click "submit query" and you will get the data.

    Ron P.

    UK oil production fell an astounding 22.7% compared to the same quarter last year:


    Some mouthpiece tries to claim this is due partially to seasonal maintanance (but that tends to take place at roughly the same time each year); if you give him the benefit of the doubt and say some part of the collapse is due to that, you are still looking at dramatic falls.

    No wonder the UK balance of trade figures published on Wednesday were dreadful, as they swing massively into oil deficit.